On fiery-peaked Java, the megacity of Jakarta is booming. The traffic and vastness seem daunting at first, but this is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines - seeking them out is part of its allure. The old town of Batavia will transport you to Indonesia’s Dutch colonial past. Hop on one of the bikes for rent and buzz in and out of the tiny side streets where performers and artists mingle.
Istiqlal Mosque is fascinating - it can host 120,000 worshipers and is made from Javanese marble that glistens in the tropical sunshine. And the fascinating flea market on Jalan Surabaya Street has pretty much everything, including fakes, so know your stuff and haggle. It’s ok.
When you’re hungry, head to the trendy Menteng district for modern Indonesian fare like marinated pork ribs and banana pancakes. Or wander the hip hub of Jalan Benda where you’ll find French art deco pieces. And a great cup of Java.
Finally, from Jakarta you can sail to one of the 16,000 uninhabited islands in the Indonesian archipelago, each like a lost world: rainforest-green amid jewel-colored seas, volcanoes and unbelievable beaches, exotic wildlife and a wildly exotic trip.