Indonesia is a country located in Southeast Asia. It has an abundance of natural beauty, with forests, beaches, and volcanoes. The country’s culture is rich and diverse too, with over 300 ethnic groups that live there.
It offers a variety of things to do, such as hiking the mountains or exploring the rainforest. With wonderful places to see and adventures to be had, Indonesia is worth visiting!
It has an abundance of natural resources and cultural heritage that can be found throughout its 17,508 islands. From gorgeous beaches to breathtaking temples, there are many reasons why Indonesia should be on your bucket list. There's so much more than just the tourist attractions too. You’ll find unique people and wildlife in every corner of this diverse country.
If you're planning to visit some of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia, this article covers the destinations that are not only breathtakingly stunning but also offer so much more than just sun and sand.
First of all, Bali offers a great mix of amazing natural scenery, beautiful tropical beaches, and interesting wildlife. Bali is easy to get around and has so much to offer it will keep visitors coming back year after year.
Bali is famous for its beautiful seascapes and the gracious hospitality of its people. The culture of Bali mainly reflects Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism. It has some great beaches, such as Kuta Beach and Sanur Beach.
The adventure opportunities in this area are endless for solos with an adventurous spirit, from mountain biking to cliff jumping to diving to surfing. There are even luxury safari tours.
Lombok is also a little bit less developed than Bali, which means it has fewer tourists while still having a lot of all the same activities that you would find in Bali. The best thing about visiting Lombok is touring Mount Rinjani National Park.
Lombok is a great destination for adventurers and thrill-seekers. The island has limestone cliffs, palm trees, lush rainforests and mountains with spectacular views of the ocean below. There are also plenty of activities to get your adrenaline going.
One of the most popular spots on the island is Green Club – combining surf lessons with football games at its beautiful coastal location, which makes it an awesome place to hang out and meet others.
Another reason why you should choose to explore these islands is that there are some small islands off the coast of Bali and Lombok that are great for snorkelling and diving.
3. Komodo Island
If you are looking for something different from the usual tourist destinations, Komodo Island in Indonesia is a great destination to visit. When you hear the name “Komodo”, one of the first things to imagine is picturesque beaches and crystal clear blue water with not a soul in sight.
But that’s only one part of what makes this island destination so great. It is also home to interesting wildlife, like sea snakes and dragons (the Komodo dragon), butchered by wannabe pirates some 300 years ago.
Most people come here because they want to see these awesome creatures up close and personal. Remember though, that these creatures may be fully grown – komodos can grow up to three metres long.
One of Indonesia's most famous national parks, Komodo National Park is a stunning adventure with waterfalls, bat caves and the opportunity to swim among these giant reptiles.
Indonesia's newest national park was established in 1990, and it is one of the world's most important protected areas for biodiversity. Wild orangutans inhabit this remote island chain, along with over two hundred different bird species.
Visitors can set out on foot trails through dry forest carrying sturdy walking sticks for protection against stinging branches and insect life such as spiders and scorpions.
4. Gili Islands
The Gili Islands offer a more relaxing vacation but still plenty of things to do. The Gili Islands in Indonesia are a collection of three small islands in the Pacific Ocean west of Bali. These three small islands, called Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan, offer many water sports such as snorkelling, diving and surfing.
The best time to indulge in these water adventures is the early morning before the start of the day's tourism activity when sea turtles come to shore to lay eggs in this area. If you haven’t dived or surfed before, join a local tour company that will provide the necessary briefings and safety equipment.
Depending on the time of year that you visit Gili Meno, you’ll find plenty of activities for any solo. For ocean lovers, the island is ideal for fishing, deep-sea diving, boating and swimming. For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground and delve into social activities, then visiting markets in the village or taking a traditional Balinese dance lesson with one of the locals might work for you! Whatever your preference of activity, this small island definitely has something to keep you active on your trip.
Gili Air is a more laid-back island than the other two islands and is popular for its fun activities. One of these is snorkelling in the blue waters for dazzling tropical fish, spotted sharks, colourful coral reefs, and magnificent sea turtles, and at times you may even cross paths with playful dolphins.
You can also try your hand at fishing, lay on the beach under a shady palm tree or dine in one of the restaurants offering menus with international cuisine from Asian to Mediterranean dishes.
Gili Trawangan is where you see more backpackers relaxing on the beach than on any other island in the region. The popular party scene usually takes place around Billy's Bar at night time while listening to live music or watching hypnotic fire shows.
Another good reason for visiting these beautiful islands is to enjoy a scrumptious fresh seafood lunch at one of the many restaurants that offer great service. Gili Islands are also scenically perfect, with lush vegetation such as banana palms and gorgeous watercolour sunsets.
5. Irian Jaya
If you want a truly unique experience, then head up north into Irian Jaya in Papua New Guinea, where there's no electricity or running water.
Irian Jaya is a new part of Indonesia that was mandated to become part of the country, but unlike other areas in Indonesia, there are no volcanoes, no temples, just a wild jungle.
Irian Jaya is one of Indonesia's 30 provinces, with a total land area equaling 710,300 square kilometres. The capital is Jayapura, and the second-largest city is Wamena. There are many interesting activities that can be enjoyed in Irian Jaya, such as nature tourism and bird watching at Puncak Jaya Mountains National Park, which attracts migratory birds from various continents.
Trekking to Gunung Kemiri for great views overlooking the surrounding rice terraces, visiting ethnic villages such as Tolikara Village, Sabukan Village and Seko Papi Village to get an insight into what daily life is like there. The natives are mostly native to Papua, and they speak Bahasa Indonesia in addition to one of the Papuan languages.
Irian Jaya is a good place for scuba diving. One great spot to visit is Sangeang Pools, which is in the Gulf of Tomini, not far from Lontar Island. It's easy to get there by boat and it has some of the best coral reefs around!
Here you can also find Mount Sumbing – the second highest peak in Indonesia (5,888 meters), which rises abruptly from near sea level (200 meters). It is often shrouded by clouds offering spectacular scenery.
6. Sumba Island
Sumba Island: located off the eastern coast of Java, this island is known as one of the best surfing spots in Indonesia. It offers great waves year-round with several breaks, including Black Rock Point, which has challenging waves even during low tide.
There's also a beach called Pantai Seririt where you can watch surfers ride some gnarly waves while you enjoy some swimming or watching others playing volleyball on the white sand.
Sumba is a really nice place to explore. There are three main spots – one is the Hindu temples near Waingapu- they're just beautiful and so interesting and mysterious! The second spot is around Wanokaka, which has some waterfalls and waterfall pools that make for great swimming. And the third spot would be Pura Lalemuta Temple on Bima Island.
Also, there's an interesting waterfall called Papandayan on the way to Puncak Jaya (the highest mountain on the island). You can find sulfuric pools near the town of Sulameindro.
If you like climbing mountains, then Mount Empung offers good terrain with some breathtaking viewpoints; it's just a day's hike away from the popular tourist destination of Kumai Village. You can spend 10 days in this charming part of Indonesia, which is more than enough to see its beauty.
7. Nusa Penida Island
Nusa Penida is a famous island in Indonesia, just 25 kilometres from Bali. It is a tiny island compared to Bali, but it offers scenic landscapes and beaches.
You can easily visit Nusa Penida on a day trip from Bali. However, if you have time, it is worth staying a few days to explore everything the island has to offer.
During your visit to Nusa Penida, don’t miss Kelingking Cliff, the most iconic spot on the island. This rock, shaped like a T-Rex, stands out and offers incredible ocean views. It is a famous spot, so make sure to go early; it makes a big difference.
Other beautiful places on the island include Broken Beach, Crystal Bay and Tembeling Beach.
8. Flores Island
Flores Island is one of the most unique and beautiful islands in Indonesia. It is approximately 400 kilometres from Bali, but it offers an entirely different experience.
This hidden gem has many activities for solo and adventure travellers, from swimming in stunning lakes and pristine waterfalls to kayaking and exploring caves.
In addition, you can see wildlife like Komodo dragons, visit traditional villages like Wae Rebo and snorkel with wild whale sharks.
Conclusion on the best Indonesian islands to visit
If you are looking for an adventure-filled destination with diverse cultures and interesting sights, then look no further than Indonesia! Indonesia is a destination that offers something for everyone, from the adventurous to those looking for more seclusion.
I hope these tips have given you some insight into what it would be like to visit Indonesia and the inspiration to plan a trip there.