Sam Poo Kong (Gedung Batu Temple)

In the Ming Dynasty, during the treasure voyages of Zheng He, Admiral Zheng allied China with the Asian and African countries in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, which helped to forge trading and cultural interactions among them. Bergota, where the great voyager landed in Java Island, was renamed after him as “Semarang” to commemorate his contributions towards the history of Indonesia. Zheng He built a Chinese temple there for performing Islamic salah (obligatory prayer of Islam). It collapsed in a landslide in 1704. The local community rebuilt it in a different location 20 years later. It became the red colour temple crowned with a triple-layered pagoda-style roof honouring Zheng He and Captain Wang Jing Hong, who stayed behind to help construct Indonesia.

The five temples in the Sam Poo Kong complex embrace both Chinese and Javanese architectural styles. The temples worship Zheng He, Wang Jing Hong and the Earth God. They also house the anchors Zheng He and his crew used, and the guandao (a type of Chinese pole weapon) of Zheng He. The anniversary of Zheng He's arrival in Semarang falls on the 30th day of the sixth lunar month, on which a massive ceremony is to take place. Indonesian Chinese hold the statue of Zheng He for a procession symbolising the great admiral making the rounds in the city. The ceremony is not exclusive for Chinese only today. It welcomes the vibrant participation of different ethnicities and religious groups.

Borobudur Temple Compounds

The population of Java Island is predominantly Muslims. There is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world hidden in the luxuriant forest. This magnificent Buddhist temple Compounds named Borobudur was listed as a World Cultural Heritage in 1991 and has drawn countless visitors for exploration since then.

The gigantic Buddhist temple was built in three tiers with a monumental stupa at the top. Around the circular platforms stand 72 openwork stupas and each contains a statue of the Buddha. The temple is well-preserved from wind,rain, and even volcanic eruptions for thousands of years.. You may sometimes see monks climbing up the stairs and meditating in front of the Buddhist statue. When you come here for a visit, you may need a professional tourist guide so that he/she can tell you the stories behind this enormous temple. Next to the temple is a park with vendors selling street food and souvenirs with local characteristics.

The Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat

Indonesia has long been a Republic, yet interestingly, you can find the Yogyakarta Sultanate, a Javanese monarchy in the Yogyakarta Special Region. It is the sole reigning Sultanate in Indonesia, with the Yogyakarta Sultanate being the government of the Yogyakarta Special Region. Located in the old city, the palace complex where the Sultan of Yogyakarta resides is the administrative centre of the region. The hereditary sultan's title and some ceremonial privileges were legally secured for its rulers. They are claimed to own almost 10% of Yogyakarta's land. Autonomy is also granted to the Sultanate by the Indonesian government.

The Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat is not just the residence of the reigning sultan and the royal family, but also a museum demonstrating and preserving Javanese culture. The palace complex in the old city stands on the straight line with Tugu Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Monument), Mount Merapi and Panggung Krapyak (Krapyak Hunting House) on the main street in the old city. The two Dwarapala statues at the palace entrance symbolise good and evil. It is believed that the artifacts in the palace have the power to repulse evil. Taking a little tour in this huge palace to find out more about the Javanese culture and royal collections would be an enjoyable afternoon activity.

Komodo National Park

Do you know what the world’s largest lizard is? Given the name Komodo Dragons, they are the largest and the most fierce lizard in the world with a body reaching 2-3m long and a powerful tail, which turns them into some invincible creatures. Their poisonous fangs make them even more dangerous. They are savage and have been living on Earth for almost four million years. Many biologists are fond of their uniqueness and even developed a national park to conserve them.

The vast Komodo National Park, a major habitat of Komodo Dragons, sits between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. It is also home to different rare species, both terrestrial and maritime, such as tarsiers and blue-ringed octopuses. The park has broadened the goal to protect its entire biodiversity over the years and was listed as a World Natural Heritage in 1986. Both the lush jungles and the oceans amidst the islands are precious biological treasure houses.

Raja Ampat

If you are looking for the wildest and most fascinating Indonesia, and experiencing the most pristine forms of forests and oceans, Raja Ampat is the spot that you cannot miss.

Raja Ampat is an archipelago comprising more than 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool. The archipelago truly is a paradise for animal lovers and scuba-diving enthusiasts. Why? It is home to 75% of the world's species, according to a report developed by the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International. You can find large primitive coral reef systems underwater, and the habitats for birds and endemic species of cuscus on the islands. Photography lovers are thrilled to capture the absolute beauty of all the living things amidst the thick jungles, as if you are playing the mobile game Pokémon GO in real life! You are encouraged to arrange homestays with the Papuan, so that you can mingle with the locals and get to observe their unique traditions. Let’s indulge ourselves into the whole experience of the spectacular Papuan dance and their hospitality.