20 Things Indonesia Is Famous and Known For

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Indonesia is famous for its tropical beaches, imposing volcanoes, as well as historical and religious sites that exude a local charm.

Indonesia is an archipelago, which means that it consists of a culmination of 17,000 unique islands. They are diverse from each other, with different cultures and geographical features. It is located in South East Asia, bordered by two oceans: the Pacific and the Indian. It is also surrounded by many seas, making it the ideal beach getaway.

What Is Indonesia Famous For?

Primarily, Indonesia is famous for its romantic tropical beaches, the most popular being Bali. Similarly, there are over 150 volcanoes that bring visitors’ attention thanks to the healing lakes and mines they are usually surrounded by. Also, Indonesia is known for its historical temples such as Prambanan and Borobudur.

History, Culture, And Traditions Indonesia Is Known For


The largest island in Asia is a colossal ecosystem called Borneo, which is over three times larger than the United Kingdom! It is divided into four regions belonging to Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

The Indonesian part is named Kalimantan, which constitutes almost three-quarters of Borneo. It is made up of rainforests, peat swamps, wildlife-rich landscapes, and more.

Some of the most interesting natural landmarks include Tanjung Puting National Park, which is known for its orangutan conversation. Another stunning reserve is Danau Sentarum National Park, an exotic blue lake system.



Although there are six prominent religions in Indonesia, the majority of the population is devoted to Islam. This is followed by Christianity and Hinduism.

As a result, Indonesia is famous for its religious festivals such as Eid-Ul-Fitr. This commences at the end of Ramadan; it is marked by a huge feast after the month-long fast.

Islam became prominent in Indonesia during the 15th century. Hence, this also is when most of the most exquisite mosques were constructed, such as the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Aceh.



Indonesia is famous for its natural landmarks such as its exciting beaches and peaceful lakes. However, it is also home to 150 volcanoes, half of which are active. Many are also Holocene, meaning that they have been active since the fourth period of the Cenozoic Era.

Mount Rinjani in the city of Lombok is one of the most popular volcanoes. It is notorious because of its many surrounding attractions such as Sendang Dang Waterfall and its vibrant crater rim.

Ancient Traditions


Many traditions of Indonesia originated from a city centuries ago and have since then spread throughout the island.

Fahombo, which began in North Sumatra, is an age-old tradition for a young man to prove his strength. He would jump over a 2-meter-tall stone covered in spikes and bamboo. If he succeeds, this marks the transition from boy to man.

Another famous tradition is the water buffalo ceremony, Kebo-Keboan. A man is chosen to dress as a water buffalo, painted black and adorned with spikes. This is believed to induce rain during the humid dry season.


In Bali, the Hindu festival of Galungan is celebrated annually. This is a famous Indonesian religious holiday lasting 10 days, where it is believed good spirits arrive on earth.

The purpose of Galungan is to express joy over the victory of Dharma, which universally represents “a force of goodness”. The triumph of Dharma over Adharma, known as evil, is marked by visiting temples in gratitude and offering sacrifices.

On Kuningan, which is the last day of Galungan, the spirits leave earth until their next visit 210 days later.

Cities And Travel Destinations Indonesia Is Famous For



Jakarta is the bustling capital city of Indonesia, located on the island of Java. Consequently, it is home to many Indonesian famous places.

Although it is a metropolitan city, the most prominent landmarks are predominantly historical and have deep cultural influence. The National Monument is a 132-meter column located in Merdeka Square. It signifies Indonesian Independence from the Dutch Empire.

The Istiqlal Mosque is another popular place to visit, especially since Indonesian culture is largely influenced by the Islamic religion.



When asked what is Indonesia famous for, the younger population will undoubtedly mention Bali. This is because it is an affordable holiday destination with many beach resorts scattered around the island. Additionally, the nightlife is lively and there are plenty of exciting surfing opportunities.

Similarly, Bali also has distinct wildlife and educational facilities like nature reserves. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a great example of this. It helps to protect endangered species while serving as both a spiritual and religious landmark.

Beyond these, there are many caves, statues, and temples to explore.


Surabaya is the 2nd biggest city in Indonesia. Therefore, it is influenced by a combination of cultures that make up its population.

The Arab Quarter is a district paying homage to the Middle-Eastern roots of its residence. It is a lively area with mosques, street fairs, and murals. Just nearby you will also find Chinatown, a dynamic neighborhood made up of markets and historical monuments.

As you explore Surabaya, be sure to visit the Heroes Monument, one of the most famous things in Indonesia. It pays tribute to Indonesian independence.   



Bandung is the capital of West Java. It is the thrill-seeking city that Indonesia is famous for. You will find plenty of hikers and nature lovers here.

Bandung is mostly known for its geographical features such as volcanoes, one of the most popular destinations being Mount Papandayan. The mountain itself is a nine-hour hike.

A safer way to explore Bandung is through nature resorts. The Dusun Bambu Family Leisure Park is perfect for children, who will enjoy canoe rides, sporting activities, and bamboo houses.

On the other hand, there are also many religious landmarks such as St Peter’s Cathedral and the Bandung Grand Mosque.

Landmarks And Architecture Indonesia Is Known For

Prambanan Temple


The Prambanan Temple is a sacred holy site for Hindus that is located in southern Java.

Originally, the temple was built in the 9th century as a way of demonstrating loyalty to the Trimurti. These are three gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. They created the universe, maintained order, and destroyed the universe respectively.

The complex itself is made up of 224 individual temples, each with similar traditional Hindu architecture.

National Monument


One of the most famous landmarks in Indonesia is the National Monument in Jakarta.

It is a 132-meter-tall obelisk with a golden flame on its peak. The huge column structure, known to the locals as Monas, was built in 1961 but did not finish construction until a decade later. This illustrates just how colossal the structure is.

The National Monument is a representation of Indonesian Independence from the Dutch Empire after 125 years of colonization. Indonesia finally achieved independence on August 1945.

Komodo National Park


The Komodo National Park in the Lesser Sunda Islands is the ideal place to visit with family or friends. It is made up of Komodo, Padar, and Rincah islands.

The heritage park is appropriately named after the 5,700 lizards it hosts. Komodo dragons are one of the most interesting reptiles Indonesia is famous for, as they are the largest lizards in the world! Despite their cute name, they are notorious predators and some even have a venomous bite.

Other things to do here include exploring the pink Pantai Merah Beach and diving with whale sharks!

Borobudur Temple


A fun fact about Indonesia is that it is home to the largest Buddhist temple in the world! The Borobudur Temple is found in Muntilan, Central Java.

The temple was finally opened in 825 AD after almost a century of construction. It is devoted to Mahayana Buddhists, whose main principles focus on mortality and patience. In contrast, Theravada Buddhists emphasize achieving enlightenment.

The distinct architecture is a huge reason to visit the temple. It is made of a pyramidal base, a circular middle platform, and a stupa at its peak. The main stupa is higher than the rest, due to the belief this is closer to the spirits.

Food Indonesia Is Famous For

Nasi Goreng


The national dish that Indonesia is famous for is Nasi Goreng.

Nasi goreng, known simply as Indonesian fried rice, is a hearty dish cooked with three staple ingredients. These are meat, vegetables, and rice. The meat, which is usually beef rump steak, is mixed with white rice, green beans, onions, and chilies.

The most important element of nasi goreng is kesap, a thick aromatic soy sauce that adds sweetness. The dish is topped with a fried egg and served! You may be surprised to know that this rice dish is one of the common dishes for breakfast in Indonesia.



Although satay has many variations and countries such as Malaysia claim it to be theirs, the origin is no other than Indonesia!

Like many famous Indonesian food, the main ingredient of satay is chicken. Bite-sized chunks are grilled on sticks and these are incredibly addictive. You can have them with some fresh vegetables like onions and cucumbers.

The best part is the peanut sauce which adds an incredible depth of flavor. Chili is also regularly paired with this sauce, in comparison to other countries that prefer it milder.



Whilst soups are often overlooked, they are just as delicious as other famous Indonesian dishes.

Soto Ayam is a simple yet flavorsome combination of chicken, broth, and vegetables. To add more texture, rice noodles are also added. As always, the dish is topped with a boiled egg, customary in several households!

Klepon (Onde-Onde)


In South Asia, a popular dessert is sweet rice balls. Indonesia is famous for adapting this recipe by adding pandan, which gives klepon its distinctive green color.

Like many traditional recipes, sweet rice balls are made by combining coconut milk with glutinous rice and rolling them into a ball shape. In Indonesia, a pandan paste is also added to this mixture, which has a grassy taste.

The rice balls are filled with liquid Palm sugar giving them a strong sweet taste. They are also rolled over grated coconut for both a nice visual and subtle fragrance.

Modern recipes sometimes call for lime, which is the ideal refreshing treat in the summer.

Famous People From Indonesia

Taufik Hidayat

Most famous Indonesian athletes are known for badminton. Taufik Hidayat is considered to be the best player in the country, recognized as ‘Mr. Backhand’ because of his successful backhand stroke.

Hidayat has won the Indonesian Open six times since 1999, which is more than any other player. In addition, he won the men’s singles gold medal in the Summer Olympics of 2004 in Athens.

Agnes Mo

Agnes Mo is a famous singer, dancer, and actress. Although born in Jakarta and living in Indonesia, she is internally known. Mo has been featured in Vogue USA, hosted the American Music Awards, and been nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Mo’s albums reach a wider demographic as they are classified as pop, despite the fact Mo is also a soprano. She has starred in operas, as well as countless television dramas and movies.

Joko Widodo

Many figures that Indonesia is famous for are politicians. Joko Widodo is the 7th President of Indonesia, part of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

Because of the seemingly flawed political system, Widodo was a refreshing new start. He is the first president to win an election that does not have a political background, giving his supporters hope and an element of relatability. Widodo has been successful in reducing crime, growing the economy, and improving healthcare drastically.

Discovering More Things Indonesia Is Known For

Many people travel to Indonesia primarily to enjoy a tropical beach vacation filled with warm weather, stunning sunsets, and beautiful ocean views. However, Indonesia is known for more than just its nature.

Religious temples were built as early as the 8th century and have been magnificently preserved due to their importance in Indonesian culture. Additionally, ancient traditions and lively festivals have been kept up, and age-old dishes encouraged by the locals.

Of course, don’t forget about the delicious Indonesian food and friendly locals. As you spend more time in the country, you will no doubt uncover more things Indonesia is famous for.



Book Your Flight

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Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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