Whilst Indonesia has plenty to entice visitors, it is the hidden depths that often offer the most compelling allure. The depth and breadth of folklore and history mirror the cultural diversity across the archipelago, from the northern tip of Sumatra to West Papua’s border with Papua New Guinea, and indicate the influence of long-held customs. Magnify this across innumerable religions, languages, cultures and islands to have some idea of the myriad stories that only begin to scratch the surface of Indonesia’s mythology and teach lessons to those willing to learn. Here are eight such examples.
One of the lesser-heralded joys of visiting Indonesia is that of exploring without purpose. Simply turning up somewhere new and heading into the sprawl with no set plan represents a rare kind of excitement, one rewarded by a treasure trove of unexpected delights showcasing the uniquely complex charms of the archipelago.
Indonesia is littered with such places: on the off-chance that visitors find themselves with some time to spare, they will encounter sleepy towns, raging bulls, gloriously beautiful mosques, vibrant festivals and plenty more besides.
Sumenep, on the island of Madura, is one of Indonesia’s great mysteries. Once the crucible of the country’s modern foundations, it is now an oft-neglected regency of rural calm, vibrant culture, delicious food and deserted beaches. The welcome is extremely warm, too…