Indonesia is such a vast country, spanning 1,904,569 square kilometres. Its the 14th largest country in the world, and home to some of the most natural awe-inspiring phenomenons on the globe, including: volcanoes, Komodo dragons, earthquakes, elephants, tigers and much more. In fact, there are so many things to see and do in Indonesia, if you spent a day on each island it would take you 50 years to visit all 18,307 islands!
When most people daydream about their Indonesian travels, their minds often wander to the rice fields and idilic beaches of Bali. However, Indonesia has SO much more to offer than just the island of Bali. From the ancient city of Yogyakarta to the remote Komodo Islands, you’ll always find something to see and do here.
Here are The Top Things to See & Do in Indonesia
Relax in the Gili Islands
The Gili Islands consist of three islands, Gili Meno (smallest), Gili Air, and Gili Trawangan, all located off the coast of Lombok. The largest, most populated and lively of the three is Gili Trawangan, but even so, there are only basic roads and transport is in the form of bicycles or horses and carts.
The Gili Islands are in easy reach for travellers. Many make the trip by ferry or speedboat from Bali or catch a low-cost flight to Lombok and then a very short ferry ride to the islands. All islands are peaceful, tranquil and a great place to rejuvenate and detox from the busier towns of Sengiggi in Lombok or Bali itself.
Beaches of Bali
For many people, when they think of Bali their first thought is stunning beaches. Arguably Indonesia’s most popular vacation spot for tourists and locals. Bali also has a number of cultural landmarks and traditions that make a visit here worthwhile. But anyone who travels to Bali is going to have warm sand and blue water on their mind, and trust us, the island doesn’t disappoint. Kuta is the most popular and best known beach, and is great for those who like to combine sun, surfing, and partying. Because of its popularity, you’ll find no shortage of restaurants and activities here. However, we recommend only spending a short time here and exploring the rest of the island. If you’re looking for something a little quieter and less crowded, Nusa Dua is quieter and home to many world-class luxury hotels. Sanur is the place to go for a little more culture as well as great water sports and surfing.
Dive in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat, meaning the ‘Four Kings’, is a cluster of islands off the coast of West Papua in Indonesia. It is becoming an emerging tourist destination in recent years, mainly due to famous travel “Instagrammers” showcasing these stunning islands. This archipelago is known for housing some of the most diverse marine life on earth including thousands of species of fish, turtles, and rare coral you will not find anywhere else in the world. There are four major islands in the archipelago, some of which feature ancient rock paintings, and tourists can ride on traditional wooden boats between the various islands, run by the local fisherman, giving a real sense of local culture and history.
Who hasn’t dreamed of seeing a dragon at least once in their life? The Komodo Dragons of Indonesia are not mythical creatures, however they are fierce and deadly animals, so precautions must be taken. Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, encompasses five main islands and a number of smaller ones, as well as the surrounding marine areas. The waters off these islands are some of the richest and most diverse in the world. The Komodo Dragons are the stars of the show on any visit to the islands. However, there is much more to see and do here, including hiking, snorkelling, canoeing and visiting local villages. Travellers can only arrive by boat, including an entrance fee plus additional costs for transportation, guide services, and other activities, which can add up to a pretty hefty total. However, it’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and 100% worth the cost.
Borobudur Buddhist temple, is located in Magelang, Central Java. Thousands of travellers visit this temple every year to witness its beauty and history. Close to the city of Yogyakarta, many travellers make the journey in the early morning from there. Dating from the 9th Century, Borobudur is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a central dome surrounded by 72 sculpted figures of Buddha, making it the largest Buddhist temple in the world, pretty impressive! People from all over the world come to worship, scale the central platform, and marvel at the beautiful scenery that stretches beyond the temple complex. Make sure to stay for sunset!
Mount Bromo, Java
Indonesia sits on the Ring of Fire, an area with some of the most active volcanoes in the world. Many of the country’s volcanoes, such as Mount Merapi, are famous for their violent eruptions and their stunning, but dangerous beauty. Mount Bromo is among the best known throughout Indonesia, thanks to its incredible views from the summit, particularly when seen standing over the caldera at sunrise. Bromo’s peak was blown off in an eruption, and you can still see white smoke spewing from the mountain. The volcano is part of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which also includes Mount Semeru, the highest peak in Java.
Visit the lakes of Kelimutu, Flores
Kelimutu is the name of a volcano in central Flores which has three crater lakes located within it. The lakes are famous for their differing colours of blue, red, and green, which has been created by their continued volcanic activity and gases beneath the surface of the water, an outstanding natural phenomenon. Many travellers choose to visit the lakes, solely to witness this natural phenomenon or to hike to and sleep near the volcano to watch the sunrise over the crater.
Surf in Nusa Lembongan
For tourists wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bali, Nusa Lembongan has proven a welcome relief in recent years and just a short ferry ride from Bali, it’s of easy access. Famous for its crystal blue waters, Nusa Lembongan offers visitors an array of water sports such as diving, snorkelling, and surfing. There are many surfing opportunities and the clear waters are home to a vast selection of marine life and pristine colourful coral. You’ll be swept away with it’s natural beauty, and many never want to leave this idilic island a short hop and skip from Bali.
The easternmost province of Indonesia, Papua Province should not to be confused with Papua New Guinea, the neighbouring country just to the east. Papua, as of yet is not a popular or well-known destination for travellers, however many are missing out, as it hosts some of the largest areas of untouched rainforest outside of the Amazon. There is a vast array of unique flora and fauna in Papua as well as coral reefs and tribal art for intrepid travellers to explore and their will.
See the Orangutans of Borneo
No trip to Indonesia would be complete without seeing orangutans, and Borneo is the place to witness these beautiful and endangered animals. Though orangutans still live in the wild, several sanctuaries rescue and protect orangutans as land development infringes on their natural habitat. Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan, Borneo, is home to the largest orangutan population in the world, as well as other primates, birds, and reptiles. In addition, Borneo is home to some of the dense and naturally ‘alive’ rainforests in the world, hiking through Borneo is an experience in itself, and should definitely be on your list when travelling to Indonesia.
Have we missed out any great things to see and do in Indonesia? Or do you have a question? Do not hesitate to comment below, we love hearing from you guys!
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