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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,” followed by what are the “best Indonesian beaches.” Luckily we know the answers to both.

Don’t get us wrong- Bali is one of the best places to visit in Indonesia (one of our favorites in Bali being Amed), 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. They are considered some of the best places in Indonesia.

So, if you’re wondering where to go in Indonesia other than Bali and are looking for the best Indonesian beaches, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve pulled together a list of our favorite Indonesian landmarks and islands to help you explore more!

It's not all about Bali, we found some of the best beaches in Indonesia elsewhere. #Bali #Beaches #indonesia

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 (perhaps for a surf and yoga retreat), you need to have a solid idea of what you want to do and what interests you.

We know waterfall lovers are smitten by Banyumala Waterfalls in Bali. Still, Indonesia has so much to offer, from serene beaches to the most stunning Indonesian landmarks, that without a plan, you’ll regret 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 Indonesia’s best islands and beaches 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 making its mark in Bali, wandering around off-grid places, and discovering destinations still untouched by masses of tourists, we’ve got you!

With thousands of islands, though, choosing where to go next gets pretty hard. We’ve narrowed it down to seven places anyone longing for unscathed tropical bliss will love!

Raja Ampat is one of the best places to visit in Indonesia besides Bali, and has some of the best beaches in Indonesia.

Raja Ampat

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 created an almost otherworldly 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. 

Not sure where to go in Bali? How about outside the island? There are so many great places to visit in Indonesia that are also worth your time- like these islands.

Samosir Island

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

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, around five hundred more dragons are 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!

Moyo Island

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.

Vibrant coral reefs is just some of the things you're find on the best islands around Bali, Indonesia. #Bali #Gili

Gili Air

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.

INDONESIAN LANDMARKS

JAVA

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

Seram Island

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

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.

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BEST BEACHES IN INDONESIA

Sumba Island

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.

Besides finding some of the best beaches in Indonesia outside Bali, you'll also discover more about this beautiful country and it's culture.

WHY WE LOVE INDONESIAN BEACHES

Indonesian beaches are some of the best in the world, with crystal clear waters, lush greenery, and some of the best sand in the world and because of the sheer number of islands, there are 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 best Indonesian beaches are left for more adventurous souls to discover.

best Indonesian beaches

Indonesia, with its extensive archipelago of over 17,000 islands, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. These beaches are known for their stunning scenery, crystal clear waters, and diverse marine life.

Here’s a list of some of the best beaches in Indonesia:

Bali Beaches:

  • Kuta Beach: Famous for its surfing, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful sunsets.
  • Seminyak Beach: Offers upscale resorts and is known for its fine dining and high-end shopping.
  • Nusa Dua Beach: Known for its luxury resorts and calm waters, ideal for swimming.

Lombok Beaches:

  • Senggigi Beach: Lombok’s most famous beach, known for its beautiful sunsets and great snorkeling.
  • Kuta Beach, Lombok: Not to be confused with Kuta Beach in Bali, this is a more serene beach known for its stunning coastline.

Raja Ampat Islands:

  • These remote islands are known for their pristine beaches and some of the best diving spots in the world.

Gili Islands:

  • Gili Trawangan: The largest and most developed of the Gili Islands, known for its vibrant nightlife.
  • Gili Meno: The smallest and quietest, perfect for honeymooners or those looking for a serene retreat.
  • Gili Air: Balances both relaxation and moderate nightlife with beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling.

Komodo Island:

  • Famous for its giant lizards, Komodo Island also boasts beautiful pink sand beaches, a rare phenomenon caused by red coral fragments mixing with white sand.

Wakatobi Islands:

  • Located in Southeast Sulawesi, these islands are a divers’ paradise with vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life.

Nihiwatu Beach, Sumba:

  • Often rated as one of the best and most exclusive beaches in the world, known for its luxury resort and excellent surfing.

Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan:

  • Known for its turtle habitat, jellyfish lake, and beautiful underwater life.

Belitung Island Beaches:

  • Famous for its unique granite rock formations and crystal-clear turquoise waters.

Bintan Island:

  • Close to Singapore, this island is known for its high-end resorts, golf courses, and beautiful beaches.

Each of these locations offers a unique experience, from luxurious resorts to remote, unspoiled natural beauty. It’s important to consider the type of beach experience you’re looking for, whether it’s diving, surfing, relaxation, or exploring local culture, when choosing your destination in Indonesia.

While great beaches aren’t hard to find, they cannot compete with the sheer variety and abundance of Indonesian beaches, which makes putting together a list of the best places to see in Indonesia that much harder.

Between the electric cities and the undiscovered parcels of land floating in the ocean, you’d be hard-pressed not to stumble onto not only the best beaches in Indonesia but some of the best in the world.

So, you’ll never have to ask what to do in Indonesia because regardless of whether you’re looking for Indonesian beach destinations or whether finding Indonesian landmarks is more your thing- there’s something to be found on one of the 17000 islands!

3 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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