Skip Bali and Head to these Indonesian Paradise Islands Instead
One of the most asked questions any travel blogger gets is usually “where to go in Bali”. Don’t get us wrong- Bali is one of the best places to visit in Indonesia, and certainly has some of the best beaches in Indonesia, is most definitely the go-to place for holidayers, backpackers, youngsters on a gap-year, and retreat-seekers. And while Bali *is* quite wonderful, there are some magical places to go in Indonesia other than Bali.
There are 17,000 other pieces of paradise including some islands near Bali that are screaming at you to come and explore instead that are considered some of the best places in Indonesia. So, you’ve come to the right place if you’re asking where to go in Indonesia other than Bali. We’ve put together a list of our favorite Indonesian landmarks and islands to help you explore more!
WHAT TO DO IN INDONESIA
First things first, if you’re coming to find the best places in Indonesia, or trying to figure out where to go in Bali alone, you need to have a solid idea of what you want to do, and what your interests are. Indonesia has so much to offer, from serene beaches to the most stunning Indonesian landmarks, that without a plan, you’ll be left regretting not using your time wisely. So instead of putting together a top 10 things to do in Indonesia, or a 2 week Indonesia travel itinerary, we’ve pulled together some of the best islands and beaches in Indonesia to make it easy for you to plan your trip.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN INDONESIA OTHER THAN BALI
If you’re into more than the cafe culture that’s making its mark in Bali, and wandering around off-grid places and finding yourself in destinations that are still untouched by masses of tourists, we’ve got you!
With thousands of islands, though, it gets pretty hard to choose where to go next. We’ve narrowed it down to seven places anyone with a longing for unscathed tropical bliss will love!
Raw and uncharted, this archipelago is part of the less-traveled West Papua. Raja Ampat is a must for those who enjoy venturing into off-the-beaten-path destinations.
With a surreal looking scenery comprised of jungle-enveloped islands, secret lagoons, and cone-shaped islets surrounding the main islands, Raja Ampat has chalked up an almost otherworldly-looking landscape.
The ocean around the archipelago is one of the most biodiverse in the world, making it an ideal destination for those who would like to explore beneath the waves. Gigantic turtles, colorful fish, sharks, and mantas are just some of the few species that have made the waters around this paradise bliss their homes. If there is one place to add to your list of things to do in Indonesia, this should be it. It is one of the best places in Indonesia, if not in Asia.
Samosir Island is for those looking for an adventurous retreat. Set in the middle of the largest crater lake in the world (that also happens to be inside an extinct volcano), this tiny island in Sumatra is home to the indigenous Batak tribe.
Ancient culture, rollings hills to be hiked, and idyllic hot springs to relax in after a day of exploring a truly recondite place are all waiting for you at Samosir!
Komodo island is one of the new Seven Wonders of the Natural World, which should be enough to convince you to go.
If wildlife spotting is your thing, then there is no better place to head to than Komodo National Park. The island’s most famous inhabitant is unsurprisingly the Komodo dragons (the largest lizard in the world). In fact, there are around five hundred more dragons living here than humans!
Aside from that, the lush jungles of the island are also home to monkeys, deer, snakes, and more. Plus, the crystal-clear waters boast incredible coral reefs, dolphins, whales, and mantas, too!
Aside from one luxurious resort, Moyo Island is relatively remote and mostly undeveloped which makes Moyo Island not only of the best places to visit in Indonesia for those who want to see a less crowded, more natural side of Indonesia, but who also want access to luxury amenities.
If that wasn’t reason enough to make it one of the best islands around Bali, Moyo Island is also perfect for those who enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling and has some of the best Indonesia beaches.
Just off the coast of Lombok is a collection of islands known together as the Gili Islands. One of these is Gili Air, part of the cluster known as Gili Island, the island closest to Lombok, and the perfect island to head to if you’re looking for a relaxed vibe, and a ton of outdoor activities.
With beautiful coral reefs and majestic underwater life, it’s no wonder that scuba divers, snorkelers, and freedivers all flock to this popular island. The nighttime entertain vibe is just as laid back with bars and live music adding to the relaxed mood.
If you’re also curious about the other two Gili’s – Meno and Trawangan, here’s a guide on how to choose which Gili island is your best fit.
Java is the large island west of Bali, and is home to some of the best cities in Indonesia including Jakarta. Java is one of the best places to see in Indonesia if you’re looking for the rich cultural history and heritage of Indonesia along with volcanoes, places of worship and some of the best beaches in Indonesia.
Because it’s a hop away from Bali, you can easily fit it into your Indonesia travel itinerary. As a minimum, all you need is a 10 day itinerary from Java to Bali. The island is full of Indonesian landmarks such as ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples like Borobudur and amazing structures like the Sultan’s Palace. Our favorites are the iconic craters near Mount Bromo, the sulfur men at Mount Ijen and the mouth dropping sunrise hike at Dieng Plateau.
BEST TREKKING ISLANDS IN INDONESIA
While tropical bliss isn’t hard to find in Indonesia, Seram Island might just as well be the star.
Located in Maluku, an archipelago in the Banda Sea, Seram Island is known for its incredible trekking opportunities amid lush and dense rainforests.
Seram is a bit harder to get to than other better-known islands in Indonesia, but that is what makes all more worth it! If untouched places that brim with nature are your thing, then this island will not disappoint.
Kalimantan makes up around two-thirds of the mysterious island of Borneo. For centuries, this wild side of the world has fascinated explorers and naturalists for its extensive and unique ecosystem.
Indigenous tribes, virgin rainforests, winding rivers, playful gibbons, and the endangered orangutans delight Borneo’s adventure-craving visitors.
BEST BEACHES IN INDONESIA
Savannah, sandstone hills, empty beaches, hat-roofed tribe huts, and a full immersion into one of the last prehistoric cultures in the world that still abide by their traditions all come together in this extremely off-grid island. So, if its no wonder it is considered one of the best beaches in Indonesia.
The Wakatobi Archipelago
Comprised of four islands in the southern part of Sulawesi, the Wakatobi archipelago have gained popularity among the diving community for its incredible marine life and a vibrant coral reef.
The main attraction in Wakatobi lies beyond the ocean’s surface: an unparalleled coral reef. Wakatobi was designated a UNESCO Marine Biosphere Reserve that is being relentlessly protected by the islands’ inhabitants.
WHY WE LOVE INDONESIAN BEACHES
Indonesian beaches are some of the best in the world with crystal clear waters, lush greenery, and the some of the best sand in the world, and because of the sheer number of islands, there thousands of remote islands that you can escape to if you need to find your zen. Luckily, since most people only think about where to go in Bali, the thousands of other Indonesian beaches are left for more adventurous souls to discover.
While great beaches aren’t hard to find, it’s hard to compete with the sheer variety and abundance of the Indonesian beaches, and that’s what makes putting together a list about the best places to see in Indonesia that much harder. Between the electric cities to the undiscovered parcels of land floating in the middle of the ocean, you’d be hard-pressed to not stumble onto not only the best beaches in Indonesia but some of the very best in the world.
So, you’ll never have to ask what to do in Indonesia because regardless of if you’re looking Indonesian beach destinations, or whether finding Indonesian landmarks is more your thing- there’s something to be found on one of the 17000 islands!
Great list! We stayed in Bali for a few weeks last year and went on to discover other places nearby. We found the Komodo Islands to be one of the best places in the world to experience liveaboard diving.
Im visiting Indonesia in October, planning to visit Bali as well but will definitely look into visiting some of these places as well! Obviously Java is a must, a place I will also visit, but some of the other islands sounds like true paradise! Especially Raja Ampat 🙂 Really great guide with lots of good suggestions.
Such a fantastic place! Loved it!
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