Christmas is always waited upon by most across the world, especially the Christians. It is a time of giving and sharing, of forgetting the past and being one with each other. And it is time to be with family too. But you may be confused about where to go this Christmas. Paris, London, New York, nah! This time around, let’s check out Indonesia.
You may wonder why Indonesia, since it is predominantly an Islamic country. But remember, the country has a vast population of Christians too. It is here that you would see how the two ethnic groups mingle and honor one another, and respect each others religion as well. So let’s show you eleven places where you can spend Christmas in Indonesia.
1. Check out the wonder Larantuka, East Nusa Tenggara
Also known s the Vatican of Indonesia, this is a must visit place during Christmas. It will provide you with an experience that will be etched in your mind. You would experience a plethora of Christmas traditions here, and have a pilgrimage done at this place as well. Visit the Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrow) statue, which is set up on a mountain. Check out the beauty of Larantuka, the mountains and beaches, and the sea as well. You can also take a boat ride to the other side, which is the Adonara Island, and check the ferry port where the loading and unloading happens.
2. Indulge in shopping at Manado
Christmas is highly waited upon by the residents of Manado. Over here, around eighty percent of the population is Christian, and the city has a very unique touch and atmosphere to it as Christmas approaches. Right early on from September and October, the people of Manado get excited about the festival, and celebrations in full form begin. If you love shopping, then it would be wise to check out Manado in November. You would find Christmas ornaments on display everywhere being sold. Even Christmas songs are played aloud, reminding you that the festival is fast approaching. There is the famous Christmas festival that happens here, with exciting shows that you should not miss. You may just happen to meet the real Santa Claus here, who knows.
3. Take part in the food celebration at Bali
Bali may be a predominantly a Hindu island, but there are stunning Christmas celebrations seen here. Just prior to the night of Christmas, you would see the churches around Bali decked up in penjor decorations. There is also the ngejot tradition observed during the month of celebrations. Ngejot is a celebration where food is shared in the Balinese society. This is when Christians cook Balinese specialties and share with their Hindu friends and neighbors. This brings about immense tolerance and respect for both religions. By visiting Bali, you can also enjoy Christmas on the beach and sight see around nature as well.
4. For art lovers, Yogyakarta is the place to be
If you have a liking for all things artsy and traditional then Yogyakarta is the place to be in Indonesia. Every religious ceremony here is celebrated with art of the traditional kinds. The priests of the church lead the masses and speak during the service using Javanese English, and they wear typical clothing worn by the folks in Yogyakarta- the blangkon and the beskap. There is a shadow puppet show which depicts the Birth of Christ, which happens here, and there are many more traditional puppet shows that you can enjoy as well.
5. Enjoy the spectacular fireworks in Ambon, Maluku
If you love fireworks, the Christmas week down in Ambon would keep you happy. It is a spectacular scene all around, especially on Christmas Eve, where fireworks are in full form and stunning. And there are hundreds of Santa Clauses that are seen visiting every home to bring gifts to children. Ambon is also famous as a family vacation spot, so you can travel there with your family and enjoy the year end festivities with all.
6. Mingle with the locals while they perform traditional celebrations in Toraja Utara, South Sulawesi
If you want to experience true Christmas celebrations in Indonesia, head to Raja Utara, South Sulawesi where the amazing Lovely December annual event happens. This is a time when you would see a lot of cultural festivities and tourism festivities being held in Raja. The famous Biasnaya festival opens with buffalo slaughter during this time, and there are many competitions held around here as well. Then there is the famous Lettoan procession of pigs, being paraded as a symbol of the human life in three dimensions. By vacationing here, you not only enjoy the Christmas traditions but also get knowledge about how the locals celebrate Christmas.
7. Immerse in the sights and sounds of bamboo lamps across Ruteng, East Nusa Tenggara
This city is also nicknamed or known as the City of Thousand Churches, and surely you will feel the spirit of Christmas here to be very pompous and lively. Catholics across this place have their own traditions in celebrating Christmas. You would see houses lit with lamps made from bamboo and fueled by kerosene. At the Church of Saint Theresa of Jesus, you would see around one hundred bamboo lamps installed. The gate spans around two hundred meters, and it is a beautiful sight.
8. Enjoy the flower parades at Tomohon
When you come to Tomohon, you would notice that this city is very famous for the flower parades, the cool crisp air, and the beautiful mountain set up around. The famous Lake Sineleyan is where the locals flock to, to check out the various Christmas ornaments and colorful lights set up.
9. Pamper yourself on Christmas throughout Bali
Some self pampering is a must, since you are on vacation. There are many retreats in Indonesia, especially in Bali, where you and your family can spend some time to relax your body, mind and soul. Rejuvenate yourself whilst you travel around this beautiful place, and indulge in yoga retreats too. There are many wellness centers that have amazing offers for you to choose from, especially during this time of the year. This would be surely one of the best ways to enjoy Christmas.
10. Party the night away in Bali
If you are a party hopper and love partying, Bali is the right place for you to ring in the spirit of Christmas and New Year. There are awesome parties thrown across Bali throughout this season, and Bali is known to be a party hoppers paradise. The party organizers just need an excuse to throw a wild party, and there are many who come for it as well. This works well for many who are tourists and want a little wild time far away from home. Spend Christmas here and party the night away.
11. Shopping in Bali
Christmas shopping in Bali is fun, and not boring to say the least. There are plenty of malls and local shopping markets, and places where you can buy alot of stuff. There is always something for everyone in these markets. From gifts for kids to unique items for the elderly, or something special for the love of your life, you would not be disappointed when shopping in Bali. If you are on a budget, there are budget shopping places too, to enjoy your Christmas shopping in Bali.
While you plan to head out for this Christmas and to enjoy with family and friends, don’t forget that Indonesia has plenty of things that you can choose to indulge in. You don’t have to spend a bomb or think about the expenses too much since there are many ways to travel Indonesia on a budget as well. And don’t forget to pamper yourself, there are yoga retreats in Indonesia that have various offers that will help rejuvenate your mind, body and soul too.