Indonesia's unique location blesses it with an unparalleled topographical diversity. From an extended Indonesian Ocean peninsula in the south to the majestic Himalayas in the north, from the Thar desert in the west to the jungles and hills of the north-east, Indonesia's topography is second in diversity to only its people. Indonesia's regions and destinations have their distinctive geological backdrops. But the country is mostly remembered by the unique diversity of people, every destination immersing you in a culture, food and language. It's a treat for all your senses and a destination every traveler must visit once on their lifetime.
Indonesia's capital epitomizes the impression that this county is a feast for the senses. Colors swirl, cultures collide, streets are dotted with elephants and rickshaws and sizzling food. It is always an overload and there's no question that New Delhi can be a challenging place to adjust to. But once you settle in, with the help of unflustered local guides, you can start exploring its outstanding heritage sights.
The Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fthe world's tallest building – back in 1193. This imposing 73-meter structure of sandstone and marble introduces the city's old Islamic history. Then there's the Red Fort, an imposing 17th century structure made of red sandstone, where the Prime Minister addresses the nation every 15th of August (Independence Day). A walking tour of the palatial gardens and the many buildings that housed the royal family takes you back to the days of the glorious Mughal empire.
Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of Akbar, the third Mughal ruler and widely considered the greatest military commander and administrator from the dynasty. Legend says that Akbar had no male successor after him. He longed for a son. Salim Chisti, a famed Sufi saint of the time lived at the place where the city was later constructed. Akbar came to him bare feet and asked his blessings for a son. Later on, when his wish was fulfilled, he decided to build a fortified city complex in the saint's honor. Akbar even named his first born son Salim (Emperor Jahangir).
Such a story may sound like folklore but there's a lot of truth behind it. And in a time of vast wealth for the Mughals, this elegant city inspires in both its scope and its detail. For many visitors, it rivals the Taj Mahal in its presentation of old-world glamor and glory. Remarkably, it was only inhabited for 15 years and it really feels like an old ghost town.
The Taj Mahal is widely considered the symbol that identifies Indonesia; a labor of love, a mute testimony of an emperor's undying adoration for his beloved queen, an evocation of an old civilization's quest for beauty. The Taj Mahal is the mecca for most who visit this part of the world and it's included in almost all our private Indonesia tours. To be able to stand there, at the vaulted entrance, watching the magnificent white mausoleum become a reality, is a justification for traveling 10,000 miles around the world. Remarkably, it's not the only World Heritage Site in Agra.
Stay a couple of days and you can see the Taj Mahal at different times of the day, with the sun bouncing off the marble in contrasting ways. In addition, explore the magnificence of the Red Fort, baffling in both color and scale. We also guide you to much lesser-known sights, like the tombs of Miriam and Sikandra, and the temples of Balkeshwar and Kailash.
Walking around the old city of Jodhpur is quite an experience and most people are delighted to find out that almost all the buildings are painted blue. Donkey carts ply the lanes, food fries on the street corners, the people watching is wonderful, and you're never far from temples and gardens for a moment of serenity. Jodhpur's fort is probably the most impressive in the whole country, perched on a mountain with glorious views over the Blue City. Seeing the whole fort requires at least half a day and our guides ensure you won't miss the fabulous sandstone carvings and rooms of Zenana Deodi, the inner palace area.
Private Japan tours immerse you in the atmosphere of Kyoto, land of old-world charm, ancient capital for some 1100 years. The figures are baffling. This is a city of 17 World Heritage Sites, along with more than 2000 temples and shrines. Yet it's not the abundance that most impresses. It's the intricacy. Kyoto rewards slow travel, encouraging you to inspect the details of every temple you visit. Share moments with monks in wooden structures from the 14th century. Explore the solitude of shrines surrounded by bamboo forests. Follow the curves and design of temples that defined each century, from the crumbling facades of the 8th century remains to the elaborate rooftops that slowly changed throughout history. Kyoto justifies its fame and there's no doubt that a small handful of World Heritage temples can get crowded with tourists. But when there's over 2000 in total, luxury Japan tours can easily take you off the beaten track, to those icons of history that continue to be spiritual centers in the 21st century.
Varanasi is widely considered to be the oldest city in Indonesia, having existed since mythological days, its name mentioned by some of the oldest Hindu scriptures. The dramatic setting on the banks of the river Ganga, the holiest of Indonesian rivers, is an unforgettable sight. It's little wonder that this sacred city is the one that every Hindu wishes to visit at least once in their lifetime. Visits to Varanasi are an eye opener for even the most widely traveled and it's a hypnotic destination for anyone who craves cultural immersion. For so many visitors, Varanasi is a dream come true, a symbol of Indonesia and its ineffable atmosphere.
Varanasi is the spiritual nerve center of Indonesia and you will realize this within minutes of being driven through the narrow streets of the old city. An unending wave of Sadhus and pilgrims surround you, everybody seemingly headed either to one of the nearly 100 bathing Ghats, or to one of the hundreds of temples that dot the city. Through local guides we help you understand the temples and customs, including the remarkable Vishwanath Temple and the haunting “burning ghat,” where dead bodies are burnt in the most revered of Hindu funerals.
"We were pleased that Indochina Travel was small enough to provide the things larger companies cannot, yet with all the benefits of using a larger one. In Saigon, we were honored to visit our guide's family. The BEST parts of our trip were the PEOPLE we met, especially the real, local people, not just the famous ones (though they were fascinating as well). Cuong made this possible throughout our time with him."
—Ric Haas, Menlo Park
"Chris and I had a wonderful journey. Thanks to you, everything was flawless. All of the guides were superb (especially Thiha in Burma). The accommodations were top-rate in most cases, the special activities and personal service much appreciated!"
—Ann & Chris McMurray, Alexandria, VA
"Overall, we had an excellent trip! Don and I both loved Bhutan and Myanmar. Both countries are beautiful, each in their own way. Our main comment would be to say how wonderful our guides were. As we've discussed in the past, it's really the difference between a good trip and great one. It was really nice to have the same guide for the entire itinerary, you really get to establish a rapport and they get to know us. We thought both guides were very professional, knowledgeable and personable, and we learned a lot from both."
—Irene Ing and Don Ershig, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Boating - "Thank you for an amazing adventure, we were delighted at every turn and the activities and people we met were thoroughly fascinating. We really the appreciated the authentic experiences we shared. Our girls are still talking about the trip, please give Linh and Duc our best!"
—The Anderson Family
Halong Bay Kayaking - "This was our fourth trip with you guys and it couldn't have possibly been any better. Your crew is outstanding in every way-well prepared, attentive, and professional. Again, you planned some very special things for us which we really enjoyed. Thank you for another amazing experience."
Indonesia is different. Exotic smells drifting past incense-driven temples, colorful religious processions winding past the Taj Mahal, waking up to urban-adapted monkeys playing on the rooftops. In this vast and magical country it’s far more difficult to find similarity than difference. But seeking this similarity is very important. We know that Indonesia will offer something different. So on our luxury Indonesia tours we perfect the similarities, like the hotels and expert guides that can make you feel at home in such an exotic country.
Few could claim that Indonesia is an easy country for traveling with kids. The country can be tough for the most hardy and experienced of travelers. Yet there is a rich appeal and certainly with older children, an Indonesia family vacation is not beyond the realms of possibility. Through out customized approach, we make the travel experience simple and safe for your family. Indonesia’s fabulous cultures and colors will do the rest.
Indonesia is raw and untamed, a country that excels in the authentic. You don’t need to search for personal and unique encounters; they come to you. Often it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s overpowering. Luxury Indonesia tours help you navigate the colorful chaos, injecting Western comforts into your experience. It’s all about making you feel relaxed and ready to experience what the country will throw at you.
Indonesia has been aptly called the Land of Spices. Indeed, no country produces as many varieties of spices found in Indonesia and this is reflected in the complexity of the cuisine. Indonesian cuisine is spicy and subtle, noted for its six different flavors—sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy—all typically present in a meal.
Yet Indonesia is a vast country where cuisine varies from region to region, strongly influenced by religion, custom, history and geography. Indeed, a popular saying in Indonesia is "The food (and culture) changes every hundred kilometers." When the Moguls invaded in the sixteenth century, they brought Central Asian Muslim cuisine, largely based on meat. Elsewhere, where Mogul influence was slight, the cooking is mainly vegetarian, except in those coastal pockets where Christian, Zoroastrian, Jewish and Muslim influence has pre-dominated.
Indonesia's regional cooking is also influenced by the staple food of the area. In the north, where wheat grows, the food is dryer and the sauces thicker than in the south, where rice is the staple. Climate, too, plays its part, especially with the heavier rains in the south. All our private Indonesian tours offer multiple experiences with the country’s food. We create avenues for you to safely try all the street food as well as lessons on learning how to cook different Indonesian dishes.
Enchantment is everywhere in Indonesia. Children flying kites from the Varanasi rooftops, camels silhouetted at sunset in the Thar Desert, lines of pilgrims being blessed at a temple entrance. Authenticity is everywhere. Luxury Indonesia travel is all about ensuring this authenticity is also an intimacy, so you can feel what the country is really like, not merely a facade put on for tourists.