Blessed with abundant natural resources on land and sea, Indonesia is one of the best places I have visited till date. A recent study claimed that the country has about 17500 islands, many of them offering unique experiences to the visitors. Spoilt with so many choices, it is often difficult for travellers to decide on best islands to visit. To help you choose, here is the list of top islands to visit in Indonesia.
Consisting of rainforests, farmlands and national parks, Sumatra is a popular destination for travellers especially those visiting from Singapore or Jakarta due to the proximity. A visit to Lake Toba is a must. It is one of the largest volcanic lakes in the world. Famously known as the ‘The lake on an island within a lake on an island,’ it was formed by a gigantic volcanic activity almost 70,000 years ago. Besides this, Sumatra is also known for its orangutans who find their natural habitat on the island. Swinging and jumping on the branches, these orangutans are a delight to see in their natural habitat.
If you are looking to escape the touristy crowd, Java is the right place. It has a lot to offer right from Yogyakarta which is a base for popular temples such as Borobudur (the largest Buddhist temple in the world) or Prambanan, considered among the world’s most beautiful Hindu temples. The island also has the volcano of Mount Bromo and the Ijen crater. Here you can go right into the sulphur spewing crater. Relax and indulge yourself in leisurely activities at the Thousand islands and Tanjung Lesung situated on Java’s northern and western coast.
One of the world’s most visited and popular destinations, this place needs no introduction. Apart from the popular tourist check points on the island, there are tons of different things to see and experience. Whether it is the amazing scuba diving in Amed and Nusa Lembongan or white water rafting and canyoning in central Bali or visiting the small fishing villages of Lovina and Amed, the list of activities here is endless. If you are just looking to relax on the island with rice paddies around you and good food, then head to Ubud or explore your spiritual side by visiting one of the many beautiful Balinese temples.
Located very close to Bali, this is a comparatively smaller and less populated tourist destination. Main sights here include the famous trekking destination of Mount Rinjani or the beaches of Kuta (different from the one in Bali, this is a small surfer town). The biggest attractions here are the 3 Gili islands namely Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Allowing you to explore the local culture through horse drawn carriages or bicycles since no other vehicles are allowed in here, you can indulge in a lot of activities from backpacking to bar hopping on these islands.
Hugely popular for its backpacking trail, the main reason everyone visits Flores is for the Komodo National Park. You can scuba dive to get the most amazing underwater experience or have a look at the giant Komodo dragon lizard. If you are petrified of lizards like me, then the idea of facing them might seem like your worst nightmare come true. It is however known to be something not to be missed out on.
The main draw of Sulawesi is the abundance of snorkeling and diving options such as the Bunaken National Park, Lembeh Strait and the Togian Islands. More than 70% of all fish species that live in the western Pacific Ocean can be found in the marine parks of this island. Then there are the southern plains with the mountains of Tanah Toraja, whose beautiful scenery, unusual architecture and vibrant festivals are popular tourist attractions.
A large unexplored rainforest, Kalimantan is the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Malaysia and Brunei share this island too. Kalimantan is a forest covered landmass that appeals to those looking to venture into the unexplored territory. Take a trip along one of its waterways to get a taste of the traditional life of the indigenous people who are called Dayak and make sure to visit one of the island’s amazing floating markets.
With everyone keen on visiting only the popular and well known beach and wildlife destinations, Indonesia comes as a surprise for most. It has something unique to offer every time you visit and it will surely not disappoint you. Here’s hoping you make it the next offbeat destination!
Tripoetic can help you in planning a trip to Indonesia.
Author: Neha Bhise (Guest Travel Blogger)