The Jakarta Post
Bada Valley's unique ancient structure in Poso regency, Central Sulawesi. (Shutterstock/File)
A New Year means new places to explore. With the rise of infrastructure development and government efforts to promote local tourism, travelers now have more opportunities to visit every corner of Indonesia.
The Jakarta Post has compiled five Indonesian destinations that you should add to your travel bucket list this year.
Banyuwangi regency in East Java is home to the Ijen volcano complex, which is known for its blue fire and turquoise-green sulfur lake. Since Jakarta-Banyuwangi direct flights are scheduled to begin soon, this year is the perfect time for a visit to the regency.
What to see and do: Visit Ijen volcano complex and hike before dawn to see the blue fire. Those who prefer aquatic activities may swing by Bangsring Underwater, as the conservation area offers a wide array of activities, including shark-feeding and snorkeling.
(Read also: Banyuwangi's must-visit tourist attractions)
Kompas.com recently reported that the government had registered Lasem's 241 Chinese architecture houses to the UNESCO Asia Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Situated in Rembang regency, Central Java, the town is only 136 kilometers away from the province's capital Semarang, which makes it ideal for a weekend getaway.
What to see and do: The town was once an opium trading center. Check out the houses and learn about Lasem's history.
The Anambas Islands is a small archipelago located in Riau Islands province. Having been declared a special economic zone (KEK), the islands are currently undergoing infrastructure development, which includes the development of Letung Island airport. Moreover, a new eco-friendly resort is set to be opened in Bawah Island, a part of Anambas Islands, sometime after the second quarter this year, adding one more reason to put Anambas Islands on your bucket list.
What to see and do: The crystal clear waters make Anambas Islands the perfect place for snorkeling and diving.
(Read also: Things to do while holidaying on the Anambas Islands)
During the 2016 World Halal Tourism Awards, Aceh was named winner of World's Best Airport for Halal Travelers and World's Best Halal Cultural Destination, which is why food enthusiasts should include Aceh on their bucket list. The province is home to a wide array of delectable dishes, including ayam tangkap (Acehnese fried chicken), ayam pramugari (stewardess chicken), mie Aceh (Acehnese fried noodles) and the lesser known sie reuboh (a beef dish consumed by Acehese heroes and heroines during the war against the Dutch).
(Read also: Aceh: a guide for visitors)
Bada Valley, Togean Islands and Matantimali are three areas in Central Sulawesi that have been included in the 10 prioritized destinations list. In conjunction with the plan, the government is currently building up infrastructure in these destinations, such as roads and accommodations.
What to see and do: The Togean Islands in Tojo Una-Una regency are known for their breathtaking underwater scenery, making them suitable for sea enthusiasts. As for thrill-seekers, schedule a visit to Matantimali in Sigi Regency for paragliding. For history buffs, Bada Valley in Poso regency offers many magnificent ancient objects and megalithic statues that can be explored. (kes)