15 Indonesian Islands to Visit

Hello, how are you there?

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but here I am with a new post.

This year, I did not travel much, I only went to Da Nang, Krabi, and Zhangjiajie (China). I know lots of stories to share haha, but yeah, I haven’t travelled much to other part of Indonesia this year.

We all know that Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 17,500 islands and one of the most exotic and diverse places on earth. It is located at the point where the Indian and Pacific oceans meet!  Few other destinations offer so many different activities for travellers, from diving and snorkelling to trekking, wildlife, beaches, and scenery. It just sounds astounding.

The sheer number and variety can make it hard to choose which of the Indonesian islands to visit, so here are 15 of the best islands to get you started!

Ready for an adventure in Indonesia? Here we go!

15 Indonesian islands to visit

Sumatra

As the westernmost of Indonesia’s islands, Sumatra is one of the largest islands in Indonesia. Its magnificent landscape of mountain lakes, jungle and active volcanoes is the main draw.

To be honest, I only have visited several provinces here, such as Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, and Lampung.

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Going on a road trip to Lembah Harau in West Sumatra

Come here for trekking and rafting or to meet fascinating hill tribes living in the highlands. Sumatra is also one of the best islands in Indonesia for surfing. Do you know which one? 😊

If you love wildlife, the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre located north of Medan is a must-see.

Java

As I live mostly in Java island, thus mostly I visited some of the places on this island.

I live in the vibrant capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and sometime in Bandung. Meanwhile my parents live in Central Java.

Come to Java, if you want to hike around the spectacular terraces and volcanoes and to experience Indonesia’s colourful culture and religions. Two of the most popular sights are Borobudur, a 9th-century Buddhist temple and Prambanan, an ancient Hindu temple complex.

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Catch the sunset at Candi Ratu Boko in Jogja (quite close to Prambanan!)

Around Karimunjawa located in Central Java, an archipelago of islands off the north coast, there is excellent snorkelling and diving.

Bali

With hidden waterfalls, vibrant paddy fields and intriguing temples it is easy to see why Bali is so popular. Sometimes I dream living on this Island of The Gods. Hopefully soon lah! 😊

Perhaps some people think that there are not much off the beaten track in Bali, but there are plenty of things to do – from the beaches around Kuta to surfing on the south coast and spectacular temples such as Tanah Lot. Stay at Kuta or Jimbaran for beaches, Ubud for yoga, and Seminyak for luxury. If you want a more quiet area, you can head to north of Bali.

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Find the water blow in Nusa Dua, Bali

My next plan to visit in Bali is Nusa Penida! Who’s coming with me?

Lombok

Between Bali and Sumbawa is mountainous Lombok. Lombok, also known for surfing and white sand beaches is also the location of Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. You can complete the challenging trek to the summit in two or three days.

Most people stay at Senggigi beach on the west coast. The area around Kuta, which is full of scenic coves and fishing villages, is also popular. If you stay in the southern area of Lombok, don’t forget to explore the exotic south beaches of Lombok. My favourite is Pantai Seger!

Gili Islands

Who doesn’t love Gili Islands?

Located off the north coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands were first discovered by backpackers in the 1980s. There are three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. With palm trees, stunning white sand beaches and coral reefs, the Gili Islands have an air of romance and are increasingly popular as chic retreats for honeymooners.

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Ride a bike at Gili Trawangan (this photo was taken in 2012)

It is said that Gili Meno is for the couples, Gili Air is for the family, and Gili Trawangan is for the youngsters. Am I right or wrong? You can guess, which one is my favourite? It’s Gili Trawangan, which has a nickname – Gili T.

Sulawesi

Mysterious Sulawesi is where to go for a unique experience. The mountainous landscape is ideal for trekking and supports an array of exotic wildlife including the famous crested black macaque. Diving activities centre around Manado in the north.

Sulawesi’s natives are called the Toraja, and their way of life is another intriguing feature of this island. I almost visited Toraja, but something came up and I had to cancel. Nevertheless, I managed to visit the other area of South Sulawesi, called Tanjung Bira.

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Curious about the making of Phinisi boat? Just head to Tanjung Bira in South Sulawesi

Ambon

Ambon lies east of Sulawesi in the Maluku archipelago. With turquoise sea and perfect white sand beaches, it is one of the most idyllic and untouched islands in Indonesia. Most people visit Ambon to dive on the coral reefs around Liang and Ora beaches, but otherwise, there are very few tourists. The capital – also named Ambon – is where you’ll find accommodation and facilities.

Well, Maluku is one of many Indonesian islands that I have not visited yet. I did, however, have a plan to visit Bandaneira in the past, but, again, I had to cancel it.

Batudaka

Batudaka is an island above central Sulawesi in the Togian archipelago. It is an unspoilt white sand paradise with coral reefs and sparkling sea, perfect for divers. Hardly any tourists make it here, and there is only a handful of guesthouses in Wakai, the primary town. Wildlife enthusiasts will love exploring the tropical rainforest in the interior.

Sumbawa

With Lombok to the west and Komodo to the east, Sumbawa is conveniently located and yet is still relatively unexplored, so you are unlikely to see many tourists. Surfers come to Sumbawa to ride the uncrowded waves in the west, and there is excellent snorkelling on the north coast. There are also stunning views from Mount Tambora, the island’s active volcano. Most accommodations on this island are located in the surfing hub Pantai Lakey.

Komodo

It’s dry, volcanic landscape makes Komodo somewhat inhospitable, but thousands of tourists still visit every year to see the island’s famous inhabitant, the Komodo dragon, including myself, a while ago.

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See the famous komodo dragon at Rinca island or Komodo island

Komodo is one of the best islands to visit in Indonesia for wildlife enthusiasts with many extraordinary species. It is also popular with divers and is the location of one of only seven pink sand beaches in the world. Walk to the top of Mount Ara for panoramic views.

Usually, visitors like to have a live on-board trip to explore Komodo Island and other islands near it.

Flores

Known for its unspoiled beauty and flawless beaches, Flores is becoming increasingly popular with tourists. You’ll find excellent diving and snorkelling around Labuan Bajo. The island’s famous volcano, Mount Kelimutu has crater lakes which famously change in colour. Moni is where to base yourself if you want to trek up to the volcano.

If you are interested to feel and live in a traditional village, there’s a village called Wae Rebo, which is one of the UNESCO’s heritage site.

Alor

Idyllic Alor lies east of Flores in the Alor archipelago. The island has an abundance of marine life with coral reefs, whales and dolphins and is one of the best Indonesian islands to visit for snorkelling and diving. Alor is also culturally interesting – visit villages such as Takpala and see the tribe’s traditional pyramid houses. Travellers stay in Kalabahi on the west coast, which is the only real town on the island.

Sumba

Sumba has also started to become famous nowadays, and I know why people are attracted to this island.

The fascinating island of Sumba lies below Flores in the province of East Nusa Tenggara. Less volcanic than other islands, there is a surreal landscape of low rolling hills. Many people visit Sumba for the Pasola festival, a four-week-long event that sees villagers fighting on horseback with spears. Sumba is also the best place in Indonesia for Ikat weaving. If you want to surf, head to the south coast.

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Many beautiful and unspoiled beach at Sumba. This is one of them. The name is Pantai Walakiri in Waingapu

Lembata

Alor! One of my bucket lists.

Lembata is the largest island of the Alor archipelago and the most visited. However, it is still extremely remote. Culturally fascinating, you can visit the intriguing village of Lamalera, whose residents still hunt whales for food. In the north, you can see traditional Ikat weaving. Most people stay in Lewoleba, an attractive town on the west coast.

Raja Ampat

Oh, how I dream of visiting Raja Ampat!

Named ‘the world’s most beautiful islands,’ Raja Ampat is a group of thousands of tiny islands off the north coast of West Papua. It is one of the most remote locations in the Indonesian archipelago and contains the most varied sea life in the world. A huge number of species live on these islands above and below the water, and a trip here will delight nature-lovers. Bird-watching, snorkelling, diving and kayaking are all popular activities. Accommodation is centred around the four main islands, Misool, Waigeo, Batanta and Salawati.

Pick and explore!

You definitely won’t be bored during your journey around the Indonesian islands; with each one comes a unique and fascinating culture. And, there are activities for all kinds of travellers, whether you want to be spell-bound by incredible wildlife, as by the scenery and ancient temples, or go on an exciting dive.  The list only showed you a small number of Indonesian islands here – thousands more are waiting to be discovered – so start exploring! You can visit Bookmundi for some interesting holidays and tour packages.

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Ready to explore the Indonesian Islands? Just pick and go! 😉

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