10 Best Places to Visit in Indonesia

Are you going to #Indonesia for the first time or have you ever been to Indonesia before? Pristine beaches, crystal clear water, tropical lush greenery and a colorful culture, Indonesia is all about letting loose and unwinding. With an archipelago collection of over 18 thousand islands, Indonesia is the largest island archipelago in the world. From spending a leisurely holiday to being a playground for adventure lovers Indonesia is an ideal destination for every kind of traveller.

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. So after you get the tourist locations you want to go to, you can find detailed travel tips on the Internet. The shore along much of the mainland of Indonesia isn’t great, but there are countless well-known islands like Bali and Komodo that salvage its rating. Although a bit cliche, Bali makes for a very crucial part of any Bali tour package.

Traveling between locations is easier by plane or even by land using buses, trains and connected by ships. So it depends on the budget you have. Life in Indonesia is easy. The weather is great, the land is beautiful. You can take your motorcycle and find amazing places to unwind; forests, waterfalls, beaches. Indonesians are experts at stealing hearts. They have the most beautiful smiles and they speak softly. Of course with time you realise that a nice smile doesn’t necessarily mean a nice person. But it is still nice to be surrounded by smiling faces.

Best Places to Visit in Indonesia

If you are looking for your first foreign trip with the family then an Indonesian holiday is the best option. Excited about visiting this tropical paradise? Then here are some of the best places to visit in Indonesia:

1. Gili Islands

The Gili Islands, located just off the coast of Lombok, are known for their beautiful beaches and clear waters. The most famous island is Gili Trawangan, which is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and diving. The island is also known for its vibrant nightlife and party scene. To be in paradise without exploring what it hides under its waters? Nah, it's not a good idea! So put on your glasses, grab a snorkel tube and plunge into the crystal clear waters of Gili. Gili Islands are a small group of islands in the northwest of the Indonesian island of Lombok. The archipelago consists of the three sister islands Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan.

Gili Islands have enjoyed great popularity for years, especially among backpackers, but for a long time small boutique hotels with high standards have found their way to the paradises of the island. From Bali it is best to reach the Gili Islands by speedboat in about 1.5 hours from the Padangbai ferry port.

They say that in the waters of Gili you can see turtles with relative ease. You can snorkel for free directly from the beach or hire an excursion that takes you to visit the three islands.

The first stop is usually off the west coast of Gili Meno, with corals and colorful fish. The last stop is the southern part of Gili Air. Many say that in the Gili you can enjoy one of the best sunsets in the world. See the sun hide behind the volcanoes of Bali across the Java Sea.

2. Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is the largest and best-known of the three Gilis, and is also often described as a holiday island. Whether in the night market of Trawangan where you can stuff yourself with sate, nasi campur or grilled fish or in one or another restaurant with sea view dare with Indonesian cuisine, it seems delicious. In the market area during the day there are also very cheap restaurants with excellent food, a smart choice for budget travelers!

The best snorkeling areas for free in Gili Trawangan are in the northeast part. The best bars to spend the night are the Sama Sama, in which every night there are bands that play reggae music, with a super disco and chill out bars in the sunset area. Take a picture of the sea swings. One of the most famous is where near the swing (everything an instagram star) there is also a hammock.

3. Gili Meno

Go snorkeling around secret Gili islands with manta rays and turtles. Besides snorkeling with turtles, snorkel around some amazing underwater statues. There are quite a few of them around the island. This particular site is called The Nest and is located off the coast of Gili Meno. It has gained a lot of popularity worldwide.

Reach here early in the morning. These underwater statues are created by a well known underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. These 48 life size statues are placed on the ocean floor for creating an artificial reef. The hope is to see corals grow along this artificial reef. The concrete used to make these statues is environmentally friendly and the statues are quite the sight to behold.

The statues are 3 metres below the water and next to a reef. It can be reached by amateur swimmers as well. But make sure to be the first people here in the morning to avoid major crowds.

4. Ubud

Ubud is a little spot in the incredible Bali to spend at least one day discovering this incredible town, the spiritual center of the island. Ubud is probably one of the most famous and favourite holiday destinations in Indonesia. It can easily be defined as the art and cultural capital of Bali. Walk through the colorful streets, by lanes and art galleries or be a part of the fairs, festivals and interesting processions.

Blessed on all sides with lush tropical jungles, calming river sides and peace provoking wellness homes, Ubud is an ideal holiday destination. Hike through the jungles, cycle along the coast, visit the Ubud monkey temple and go for the famous giant swing experience. No matter what you do, memories of a lifetime are guaranteed.

5. Komodo National Park

Komodo is a small island of Indonesia located in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Indonesia is the home of Komodo National Park, named after its star citizens, the Komodo Dragon. Presently the biggest living lizard on the planet and the closest point to dinosaurs, these intense dragons are quite the tourist attraction for the excitement seeker. Indonesia is the only place on the planet where they can be found residing in the wild on the 4 islands that comprise Komodo National Park.

The Komodo dragon of Indonesia is the largest reptile in the world and also one of the most effective killers of the animal kingdom. Watch Komodo dragons, heaviest lizards on earth, before these islands get closed for tourists! Having known to consume humans, ensure you go with a couple of park rangers as protection to witness this wild animal.

6. Bunaken

Bunaken is located within the Bunaken National Park. It hosts more than 300 types of coral and 3000 marine species. Apart from that, something usual in these latitudes, it is an idyllic place, where the nights are lit by the thousands of noises inside. Dive, seeing seabeds full of life with dozens of clownfish, the fish known worldwide for the Nemo film and a great defender of its anemone.

Now it is so famous that it has become one of the star fish and still it is easy to see even doing snorkeling, an activity that by the way does not detract at all from diving, since the waters are quite transparent. Snorkeling in Bunaken is almost like doing a dive in a pool full of wildlife.

At the end of the day's dives see the phenomenon of the tide in all its splendor. Diving at night is an experience that a diver should not leave out. Almost the whole island is surrounded by a coral reef. Finally, one of the extra activities you can do in a place like this is see dolphins, but not one or two, hundreds.

7. Crystal Bay Beach

This sheltered cove is lined with palms in the backdrop and quietly lapping waves in the front. The shores are blessed with gently sloping hills and an underdeveloped vibe that makes you feel like you are chilling in a quiet heaven away from the crowd. You can see tourists lazing and the locals grazing their cattles simultaneously here.

This idyllic island is sort of isolated and takes an hour long speed boat ride to reach. A handful of thatched roof cafes, old bungalows and serene makes this beach truly unique. People also go for free diving and scuba diving to explore marine life and rare corals.

8. Borobudur Temple

Visit the famous Borobudur. The Borobudur Temple compound is an iconic UNESCO world heritage site in Bali. Dating back to the 8th and 9th century, this complex is located in the central Java region. Considered to be one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, the ancient Borobudur Temple is blessed with lush greenery on all sides that evokes a sense of peaceful feeling to everyone visiting it.

A drone view will make the temple look like the perfect blocks of Lego set against and artistically interlocked among each other. It has many photo ops and offers a great way of learning more about the rich heritage that is embedded in Indonesia.

Going back to the 9th century, Borobudur is the biggest Buddhist holy place on the planet and is found in Java, Indonesia. Comprised of 2,000+ alleviation panels and over 500 Buddha sculptures, this holy place is an incredible monolith to see. Often crowded in the day, among the very best times to explore the holy place is very early in the early morning when you can watch the dawn while standing at the very top.

Candi Borobudur in Magelang, Middle Java is one of the Forgotten Wonders. Candi Borobudur used to be one of 7 Wonders of the World, but because not many knew about this, it went into the Forgotten Wonders list. There are other old temples such as Prambanan, Boko temple.

Being the single largest Buddhist temple in the history of the world, you definitely cannot resist the temptation of touring this temple especially if you are a religious person. You will have the chance to see the famous Mahayana Buddhist pilgrims that are over 95 feet tall and tour the Island of Java. While here, you will view the breathtakingly beautiful volcanoes that lay in a rhythmic fashion around the island.

9. Mount Bromo

One would think getting to a volcano would be a difficult task, but Mount Bromo's location is really accessible from Malang or Surabaya which are two major cities in Indonesia. One can take a train or fly to Surabaya or Malang and then get picked up by a tour company from their and travel to Probolinggo Cemoro Lawang to stay the night before the sunrise trip.

Malang city becomes a strategic point for you to Mount Bromo. There are tour packages that you can take from Malang, or you can stay overnight in the villages around Mount Bromo. Don’t worry, Mount Bromo is very easy to reach because there are comfortable stairs.

It's one of the very few places in the world where what you have seen on social media photos is exactly what you will get in real life. There are no filters needed to make this destination more appealing. The view from the crater rim is just as jaw dropping! Firstly looking out across the sea of sand makes you feel like you're on another planet and staring into the crater is truly once in a lifetime.

Visiting Mount Bromo is adventure travel from waking up before the crack of dawn, travelling in pitch dark in a bumpy jeep not knowing where you're headed, braving the cold for sunrise and then crossing the desert sea of sand to summit the crater rim is truly an adventure one deserves in Indonesia.

Indonesia also boasts some of the most gorgeous sunsets on the planet with among the very best being seen from Mount Penanjakan overlooking the well-known Mt Bromo Volcano. Literally any able-body person can visit Mount Penanjakan for sunrise and all you need to do to summit Mount Bromo is walk across a patch of sand and climb some stairs to the top.

It is far from physically demanding and it really is a great trip for children and healthy elderly folk wanting to visit. Most people would think summiting a volcano would cost and arm or a leg, but again, Mount Bromo proves you wrong. As compared to other man-made attractions in Indonesia, or even the costs of staying at a fancy hotel or villa. The cost of visiting Mount Bromo is surprisingly reasonable.

Due to the rise in popularity of this wonderful destination, there are a number of local accommodations just outside the entrance to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, meaning that there’s no need to camp out. You can sleep in comfort, eat food from a restaurant and have a hot shower before you visit this incredible location.

10. Ijen

It's time to make the expedition to the Kawah Ijen, the blue lava volcano. If you like trekking then don't miss the Ijen Crater. Ijen Crater is famous for its blue fire. Imagine a 5-meter-high flame flickering in the night sky. It's so cool. There is a lot of sulfur in the gas emitted by the volcano. Under high pressure, sulfur and air ignite, and the flame generated is blue. That's why Ijen volcano emits blue lava.

Ijen Crater is located between Banyuwangi Regency and Bondowoso Regency of East Java. The ferry that comes from Gilimanuk, in Bali, leaves you in Banyuwangi, which is precisely the best place to stay if you want to visit the Kawah Ijen volcano. Through Airbnb you can also find very good offers. Or if not, you can take a train or bus directly to Banyuwangi to cross to Bali. But in Banyuwangi there are some seas which are also beautiful.

Do not imagine the red lava of the volcano that you have always seen on television but of blue color! First of all it will cost you a bit to see the lava because smoke does not stop coming out of the volcano and secondly you will not see the lava move but rather you will see some blue flames and the surrounding rocks as if they were red hot but in this case the bright blue.

In spite of this, the Ijen volcano is something unique to see and of course we loved having lived it. Not only the power to see blue lava, but the whole experience of the walk in the middle of the night, the miners working with the sulfur, seeing the sunrise inside a volcano.

With conventional cameras it is impossible to photograph the blue lava, only those from National Geographic can. So if you do not have a super reflex camera do not waste your time taking pictures in which then you will not see anything and enjoy the moment watching such a spectacle of nature to retain it in your memory.

Right next to where you will see the blue lava there is a turquoise lake of hot water! The gases that give off the volcano and the sulfur mine overwhelm a bit and sting the eyes. The sulfur extracted from the mine is basically used to make cosmetic products. About 8 or 9 in the morning they will leave you again in the hostel and you will be able to rest because you have spent the whole night awake.

Indonesia is all about a cultural and an adventure packed experience. It is the best destination for everyone to let loose and get more in touch with their internal peace.

Kalyan Panja