7 Cultural Experiences Before You Leave Indonesia

Indonesia is an amazing place. Many tourists visit the country throughout the year and it is growing in popularity. According to Reuters, the Southeast Asian country received 4.12 million tourists in the first five months of 2023.

Apart from the typical tourist attractions, Indonesia is rich in culture, history and traditions. Next time you travel to Indonesia, check out these vibrant cultural experiences before you leave the country.

Flower bath in Bali

Photo credit: Oleg Breslavtsev

Flower baths are part of ancient Indonesian history and traditions. The spiritual bath symbolizes the rejuvenation of the body and is a must-see when visiting Bali. Large bathtubs and sinks are filled with water, beautiful flowers, rose petals and essential oils for guests to bathe in. Many of these experiences overlook Indonesia’s incredible landscapes, from rice fields to mountains. Travel agencies can assist travelers in booking flower bath tours. However, some notable companies include Kaveri Spa, Dewi Gangga Spa and Skaijoglo.

Visit the world-famous death ritual in Thanato Raja

indonesian ritual
Photo Credit: John Elk III

In the Inland Regency of Thanatoraya, death is the most important moment in a person’s life. The aboriginal Toraja people here have some of the most complex funeral rites in the world. They welcome tourists to experience authentic Indonesian culture.

Don’t be surprised by hanging coffins, catacombs and death rites. At Thanatoraya, this is an important part of their rich history. Here, the Torajas celebrate death more than birth, and centuries-old Indonesian culture lives on.

Attend a Java Batik Workshop

Photo credit: Prayudi Hartono via Getty Images

Batik is an Indonesian fabric that is used all over the world. Travelers can attend a Java Batik workshop to learn how to make products for export. Batik comes in different colours, styles and sizes. It was made by drawing patterns in wax and sealing them with dye. These beautiful fashions are used to make some of the country’s traditional clothing. Java is also one of the best places in the country to buy batik.

Discover Indonesian Handweaving in Sukarara Village

Photo Credit: Los Muertos Crew

After travelers have finished batik in Java, the village of Sukarala should be the next stop before leaving Indonesia. Tourists can experience Indonesian tenun craftsmanship. This colorful hand-weaving process takes place daily in Sukarara, and visitors are welcome to watch locals weave colorful threads together to create a masterpiece. Guests can witness the natural dyeing process and the traditional tools locals use to create each fabric.

Witness the miracle of ancient dance at Setu Babakan Betawi Cultural Village

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An hour from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the Setu Babakan Betawi Cultural Village is a sight to behold. Indonesian culture really comes alive here. Locals honor the indigenous Betawi tribe with traditional masks, music and the ancient Blantek topeng dance. While watching the dance, visitors can enjoy a bir pletok drink. Made with sumac, pepper and ginger, this non-alcoholic drink offers a warming, tingling sensation.

Learn to play traditional games and music at Borobudur

Image credit: Sanchai Loonggroong

Borobudur is a hotspot of Indonesian culture. There is so much to see and do here. Visitors can explore the majestic Buddhist temples, wander through the village of Karangrejo, and learn to play some traditional games. If tourists can’t make it to Java, they can experience batik fabric making at Borobudur. At Pendopo Bu Condro, visitors can hear gamelan music composed by traditional Indonesian percussion ensembles.

Overnight at Wae Rebo Village

Travel website Wonderful Indonesia described Vaerebo village as a “fairytale-like” destination. The unique buildings in the village are like scenes from Disney movies. Made of thatched dragon pagoda, these special traditional buildings provide shelter for the minority population of the village. Locals welcome tourists and even invite them to some of their celebrations and ceremonies.

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