Indonesia

→ World’s largest archipelago
→ Packed with stunning beaches
→ Rich in culture and adventure

Indonesia has got extreme geographical diversity from beaches, jungles to active volcanoes offering unique experiences to its visitors.

Mount Bromo (an active volcano), Komodo dragons and Orangutans are some specific reasons that you should visit Indonesia.

Outdoor Activities Lover

Snorkeling and Scuba diving, Surfing, White water rafting, Trekking/Hiking, Exploring National Parks, Bungee jumping, Sky diving, Sailing, Sea Kayaking, Four-wheel driving, Bike riding, Caving, Paragliding, Jungle safari, Water sport activity, Mountaineering

Wildlife and Nature Lover

Beaches, National Parks, Forests, Mountains, Scenic Landscapes, Geological Sites

Art and Culture Lover

Architecture, Museums and Galleries, Forts, Palaces, Mansions:
Culture and Traditions:
Festivals and Events:

Recreation and Fun Lover

Amusement Parks:
Theme Parks:
Fun Parks:

Best season: May-September

Top destinations in Indonesia

This is the list of top destinations in Indonesia where you can have a lot of experience in one trip. This saves your time not only while surfing the internet for the top destinations to travel but also while traveling or exploring that particular location. And of course, this can save your money too.

Bali

Bali

  • Bali is home to a diverse landscape with beautiful coastlines and pristine beaches with lots of water adventures.
  • Bali offers picturesque scenery with magnificent views of rice terraces and volcanic hilly regions. 
  • Ubud, art and culture capital
  • Stunning landscape
  • Tegalalang Rice Terrace
  • Nusa Islands, great beaches with lots of water sports
  • Sightseeing tours of beaches, rice terraces, and volcanic villages
  • Massaging in spas
  • Shopping
  • Surfing
  • Feel the spirituality with Hindu temples and culture

Java

Java

  • Java is home to Jakarta, Capital city of Indonesia
  • You can experience Indonesian culture.
  • Visit active volcano
  • Mount Bromo, an active volcano
  • Mount Semeru, the highest mountain in Java
  • Borobudur Temple, World’s biggest Buddhist sanctuary
  • Yogyakarta
  • Tour around Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia
  • Watch the sunrise over Mount Bromo
  • Visit cultural city of Borobudur Temple and  Yogyakarta

LOMBOK and GILI ISLANDS

LOMBOK and GILI ISLANDS

  • Proximity to the famous Gili Islands
  • Mount Rinjani, a famous active volcano is in Lombok
  • Gili Islands
  • Mount Rinjani, an active volcano
  • Senggigi Beach
  • Kuta
  • Mawun Beach
  • Tanjung Aan
  • Partying in Gili Islands
  • Scuba diving
  • Surfing
  • Trek to Gunung Rinjani
  • Visit mosques and Hindu Temples
  • Know about Sasak culture

Kalimantan, Borneo Island

Kalimantan, Borneo Island

  • Borneo is the place to see endangered orangutans, clouded leopards, proboscis monkeys, and other wildlife species.
  • Borneo is home to some idyllic beaches.
  • Borneo is a culturally diverse region.
  • Kalimantan Island
  • Maratua Island
  • Kakaban Island
  • Danau Sentarum National Park
  • Kutai National Park
  • Tanjung Puting National Park
  • Banjarmasin
  • Diving, Snorkellin, Jet Skiing, Boating
  • Canal Tour in Banjarmasin

Flores and Komodo National Park

Flores and Komodo National Park

  • Labuan Bajo, the best base to explore the Komodo National Park, lies in Flores Island.
  • Kelimutu National Park which is home to 3 differently colored Crater Lakes. 
  • Komodo is home to most endangered Komodo Dragon, a man-eating lizard

Top Sights in Flores:

  • Three crater lakes in Kelimutu

Top Sights in Komodo National Park:

  • Komodo National Park
  • Padar Island
  • Manta Points
  • Cunca Waterfall
  • Taking photographs with Komodo Dragon
  • Diving, Scuba diving
  • Watching the sunset over the sea
  • Hike to Kelimutu’s volcanic lakes

Sumatra

Sumatra

  • Sumatra is a favorite because of its rainforests inhabited by some endangered species (Orangutans).
  • Sumatra is home to the largest volcanic lake in the world, Lake Toba.
  • Endangered species such as Orangutans
  • Lake Toba
  • Gunung Leuser National Park
  • Bukittinggi
  • Sightseeing
  • Adventure trekking and climbing the active volcanoes
  • Swimming in Lake Toba
  • Experiencing the indigenous culture
  • Tour to Bukittinggi

Raja Ampat, West Papua

Raja Ampat, West Papua

  • Popular for its beaches and coral reefs brimming with marine life.
  • Pianemo Island
  • Waisai
  • Wayag Island
  • Snorkeling and scuba diving
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife safari
  • Birding
  • Diving
  • Kayaking, Boat tour
  • Hike to Pianemo Island

top activities to do in Indonesia

Either a valid passport only or valid passport with a visa (depending on your country) may be required to enter Indonesia.
For Australian, Canadian, USA and EU nationals, visas are not required for stay up to 30 days for tourism purposes. Nationals from other countries are advised to check visa requirements (required for the nationals of your country) with the embassy well before you travel.

Citizens from the selected countries (countries that are in the visa waiver program) can stay up to 30 days (depending upon the country) without a visa for tourism purposes.

Nationals from other countries have to apply for a visitor visa which allows them to stay for 30 days.

Credit Cards and Debit Cards are accepted in major cities and tourist places. ATMs are available in major areas. Exchanging traveler’s check can be hard. It’s better to take a small amount of cash with you instead.

Indonesia consists of thousands of volcanic islands. Since the major attractions are well scattered across the Indonesian islands, you should choose flights based on where you want to go and what you want to see.

Domestic Flights:
Domestic flights are convenient and fast for traveling long distances.

Ferries and speed boats:
Ferries and speed boats are a fair option for traveling from island to island.
Some companies provide ship cruising services.

Buses/Coaches:
Some islands have fair quality roads while others don’t. In the case of time availability, buses are a fair option for traveling within the island. City buses/coaches are an affordable option around Jakarta.

Taxis/Cars:
Inside the city, you can get around on foot or by taxi. Hiring a car or picking up a taxi (registered) can be the best alternatives too. Motorcycle taxis called ‘Ojek’ can also be found in cities. You can rent a bike/bicycle too.

Railways:
Railway systems provide limited services in Sumatra and Java Island.

Travel Tips:

Weather Tips:
Since the weather in Indonesia can turn extreme (heavy rain and floods), it is a good practice to always check the latest weather updates before going for exploration. Do not ignore the suggestions given by local people and always follow the instructions given by local authorities. 

Health Tips:
It’s better to take precaution against tetanus, Zika Virus while traveling to Indonesia. Although immunizations are not required while traveling to Indonesia, it is advisable to update your standard vaccinations of mumps, measles, rubella, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, tuberculosis, meningitis, Japanese B encephalitis, and tetanus. If you have previously traveled to infected areas, then you are required to present a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate while entering Indonesia.

It’s better to make full travel insurance.

Others:
You should be aware of the petty crimes (from pickpockets, thieves, scammers, etc.) taking place inside and outside the cities. You should take care of your travel documents, luggage, and other belongings. Don’t walk alone at night and don’t walk through less traveled areas alone.

Note: Indonesia falls in a major earthquake zone so that you have to be prepared for natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.

our recommendations

Based on the places and experiences that you will never get in other countries i.e they are uniquely different from other countries, we tried to narrow down the lists in terms of ‘must-see’ places.

Indonesia is made up of thousands of volcanic islands. Choosing the islands for Indonesia trip is very daunting while you have limited time to visit because most of the islands offer completely different and unique sights to see and activities to experience.

Let’s try to narrow down the list to include the places in your first visit.

Must-visit destinations in Indonesia:

If you are an outdoor activities lover:

  1. For water sports lover:
    1. Bali
    2. Java
    3. Lombok
    4. Gili Islands (Near Lombok)
    5. Komodo National Park
    6. Sumatra
    7. Raja Ampat

    For hiking lover:

    1. Komodo National Park
    2. Sumatra

If you are a beach lover:

  1. Bali
  2. Java
  3. Lombok
  4. Gili Islands (Near Lombok)
  5. Raja Ampat
  6. Kalimantan, Borneo Island
  7. Flores

If you are a nature lover:

  1. Bali
  2. Java
  3. Lombok
  4. Gili Islands (Near Lombok)
  5. Flores
  6. Sumatra
  7. Raja Ampat

If you are a wildlife lover:

  1. Borneo Island
  2. Komodo National Park
  3. Sumatra
  4. Raja Ampat

If you are temples and culture lover:

  1. Bali
  2. Java
  3. Sulawesi
  4. Kalimantan, Borneo Island

   

From the above list, you can see that Java and Bali overlap in four categories, whereas Lombok and Gili Islands overlap in two categories. You can make your trip worthy by planning an itinerary according to your priorities and make much out of it by having a lot of experiences in your single trip without having your time and money wasted in traveling and just covering distances in-between.

Our Pick:  Since Indonesia is mostly about active volcanoes, beaches, nature and culture, and endangered species, our first pick would be Bali, Java, Lombok, Borneo Island, and Komodo National Park. Lake Toba, the largest volcanic crater lake also offers a unique experience.

Follow these itineraries ideas (below): If you want to make most out of your trip; if you want to have a lot of experiences  in one trip missing almost nothing in your whole trip; if you also don’t want to miss the must-see places and if you also don’t want to miss ‘nowhere-else’ destinations on the planet, then follow these tips.

If this is your first-time visit to Indonesia and if you have only a week or 10 days to travel, then it is very tough to choose the places to include in your itinerary. It totally depends on your interests. You have to choose among Tanjung Puting National Park for endangered Orangutans and other wildlife (Kalimantan), Lake Toba, enormous crater lake (Sumatra), Borobudar/Yogyakarta, culture and historic sites, Mount Bromo, an active volcano (Java), natural scenery of Bali, Komodo National Park for Komodo Dragon and great diving spot, Raja Ampat for its beaches and coral reefs rich with marine life, which all are the “must-see” otherwise “nowhere else” places. so if you have just one week or 10 days then, then you should visit Indonesia for a second time in order to cover most of the Indonesian highlights.  


If you have 7 days, then we recommend you to choose the following itinerary:

Just do Java and Bali:

Jakarta(Day 1)→Yogyakarta (Day 2-3)→Bali (Day 4-6)→Return home (Day 7)

or,

Fly to Yogyakarta (Day 1-2)→Bali (Day 3-4)→Komodo National Park (Day 5-6)→Return home (Day 7)

(Tip: Jakarta is not worth staying. Flying first to Jakarta could be a cheap option to reach Yogyakarta. Fly straight to Yogyakarta from your home town instead if you have a tight schedule.)

or,
Just do Bali and Lombok/Gili Islands

or,
Just do Bali and Komodo/Flores

or,
Just do Bali and Raja Ampat

or,
Just do Java and Raja Ampat

or,
Just do Java and Komodo/Flores

(There are many possibilities to combine for your one week itinerary)


If you have 10 days, then we recommend you to choose the following itinerary:

Jakarta(Day 1)→Yogyakarta (Day 2-3)→Malang, Mount Bromo (Day 4-6)→Bali (Day 7-9)→Return home (Day 10)

or,

If possible fly straight to Yogyakarta(Day 1-2)→Malang, Mount Bromo (Day 3-5)→Bali (Day 6-7)→Komodo National Park (Day 8-9)→Return home (Day 10)


If you have 14 days, then you can extend above itinerary. 

Medan, Bukit Lawang (Day 1-2)→Lake Toba→(Day 3)→Yogyakarta (Day 4)→Malang, Mount Bromo (Day 5-7)→Bali (Day 8-9)→Lombok/Gili Islands (Day 10-11)→Komodo National Park/Flores (Day 12-13)→Return home (Day 14) (Our pick for 14 days itinerary)

You could choose between Lake Toba and Lombok Island if you feel that this trip is going to be crammed. If you want to not overdo your beach vacation and if you are including Mount Bromo in your list already, then choose Lake Toba….. We know it is a tough call.

(Note: If you are short in time to reach Borneo for seeing Orangutans (Kalimantan), you can also see them at the Bohorok Orangutan Centre in Bukit Lawang.)

or,

If you are a wildife lover, then include Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan (below):

Yogyakarta (Day 1-2)→Malang, Mount Bromo (Day 3-5)→Bali (Day 6-7)→Lombok/Gili Islands (Day 8-9)→Komodo National Park (Day 10-11)→Borneo, Kalimantan (Day 12-13)→Return home (Day 14)

If you are island lover, include beach in Komodo and Raja Ampat (paradise for divers):

Bali (Day 1-3)→Lombok/Gili Islands (Day 4-6)→Komodo National Park/Flores (Day 7-9)→Raja Ampat (Day 10-13)→Return home (Day 14)


If you have 3, weeks then you can extend above itinerary.

Medan, Bukit Lawang, Lake Toba (Day 1-4)→Medan, Yogyakarta (Day 5-6)→Malang, Mount Bromo (Day 7-9)→Bali (Day 10-11)→Lombok/Gili Islands (Day 12-13)→Komodo National Park/Flores (Day 14-15)→Kalimantan (Day 16-17)→Raja Ampat (Day 18-20)→Return home (Day 21) (Our pick for 3 weeks itinerary)


Tips: Indonesia is much about relaxing and enjoying your life’s most unforgettable moments in nature rather than rushing around to cover all highlights in a short time. So stay focused on a few regions and explore them deeply if you are short on time.


(Note: Please note that the itineraries mentioned here are focused on the routes or directions to follow for saving time and money and still not missing the ‘must-see’ destinations. The days mentioned here in-between the places is a rough estimation just to give you general itinerary ideas. You can shorten or lengthen this time according to your interests, season, budget and time available. For example, sometimes you might want to experience the nature, activities and culture in a relaxed manner without any haste and without feeling cramped.)


We’ve covered our recommendations for ‘must-visit destinations’. The list of other wonderful places throughout Indonesia can get long. The priorities for a destination to visit can be different from person to person as it depends upon personal preferences and interests. But these are the itineraries covering ‘must-do’ or ‘must-see’ places once in your lifetime.