Bali brings the gap year traveller the gift of almost endless variety. An archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, which could be beach paradise or dense jungle and might contain anything from the highest-luxury resort to a remote tribe of headhunters. Among them are Bali, Borneo, Java and Komodo – Indonesia is surely the most exotic place on Earth.
Indonesia will challenge the hardiest of adventure travel aficionados. You can go trekking with monkeys, leopards and orang-utans through the deep jungles of Sumatra and Papua, travel through the headhunter’s stamping ground of Borneo by klotok (motor canoe), swim with whale sharks at Pulau Weh or seek out the dragons of Komodo. All this and smoking volcanoes and ultra-vivid marine life too.
Indonesia remains relatively cheap for student travel, and the islands tend to be easy to get around. If you’re looking for R&R, Bali is a world-renowned party spot, and there’s plenty here to satisfy your cultural needs, including the artistic centres of Ubud and Yogyakarta and the colossal Buddhist monuments of Borobudur on Java.
If you really want to explore the rich culture of Indonesia, consider getting involved with volunteer work. There are great opportunities to do valuable work helping with the country’s rural communities.