Fantastic things to do in Indonesia



With all the things to do in Indonesia, I am surprised that most people who visit Indonesia usually go straight to Bali and skip other beautiful attractions located in other parts of the country. This is a real pity. I have been lucky enough to visit Java, the Komodo Islands and Bali and I can confidently say that there are many more things to do in Indonesia; there are way better places to visit in Indonesia other than Bali. In fact, I think that Bali is actually overrated, both in general terms but especially compared to the rest of the country, which has a lot more to offer in terms of natural and man-made attractions.

Read more about what I think about Bali on my post “Has Bali Lost its Magic?”

Indonesia tourist attractions are many and varied. From interesting and lively cities such as Yogyakarta to small villages where the pace of life is slower; from the pristine beaches and waters of the Komodo Islands to the volcanoes of the ring of fire; from the thick jungle to the dry landscapes; from the traditional dances to the delicious cuisine there are many things to do in Indonesia, and incredible places to visit in Indonesia. But before pointing out the many fun activities, here are a few facts that can help prepare a trip to Indonesia.

places to visit in Indonesia

Relax – one of the things to do in Indonesia

Fantastic things to do in Indonesia

Essential Information

Deciding when to visit Indonesia

The temperatures in Indonesia vary little throughout the year. Unless in the mountainous regions, the weather in Indonesia it is always hot, at times unbearably so. There are two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Yet, the climate changes have been such that the rainy season, which normally starts in October, is being pushed increasingly forward. Deciding when to visit Indonesia is thus rather easy: any time is good to go, but prices are significantly cheaper during the low season (which corresponds to the rainy season).

things to do in Indonesia

Deciding when to visit Indonesia? Easy: whenever!

Arrival

People who visit Indonesia usually travel there by plane. Those who hold a valid passport from one of the European Union countries as well as the United States normally receive a 30 days visa which can be easily renewed. Upon entering Indonesia visitors are also generally required to show proof of onward travel – such as a plane ticket that proves they are leaving the country.

Currency

The Indonesian currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). At the moment of writing, $1.00 USD is worth 14,000 IDR. The exchange rate is usually very convenient, which means that those who visit Indonesia generally find it more than affordable.

Things to do in Indonesia

Things to do in Indonesia: act like a millioner – photo courtesy of JasonParis (flickr)

Safety

Despite what the media may say, people who visit Indonesia find it to be a safe country. I encountered no problems whatsoever as a western female traveler, and I must say that, other than finding crossing the street very challenging due to the terrible traffic, I did not perceive any danger. People were always kind, helpful, and friendly beyond belief.

things to do in Indonesia

Meeting the friendly locals: one of the things to do in Indonesia

The worst that can happen is finding some very persistent vendors or taxi drivers. In this case, the best thing to do is saying a straightforward no or just ignore. I used minimum precaution in crowded places, just as I would do anywhere else in the world.

visit Indonesia

People who visit Indonesia find crossing the street the biggest challenge – photo courtesy of Josh (flickr)

Transportation

The most common means of transportation in Indonesia is the bus. The quality varies depending on the price paid – more expensive buses are very comfortable, with fully reclining seats and air conditioning.

things to do in Indonesia

Riding a bici-taxi: one of the things to do in Indonesia

Taxis are everywhere and easily available, as well as motorbike taxis. They are fairly convenient, but it is important to negotiate the fare (as with almost everything, haggling is one of the things to do in Indonesia) before actually jumping on, as the tendency is that of charging travelers much more than they ought to be. Traffic in cities is so congested that at times I found walking would actually be faster, anyways.

Eating and drinking

One of the things to do in Indonesia is eating. The food is varied and generally quite tasty (not to mention very spicy!). White sticky rice and tofu or tempeh accompany almost every meal. My favorite thing to eat was by far gado gado, a salad made with bean sprouts, cabbage, tempeh and tofu, boiled eggs and seasoned with a delicious and mildly spicy peanut dressing. Chicken satay (skewers of chicken meat grilled and accompanied with peanut sauce) is delicious. I also enjoyed nasi goreng, a dish of rice fried with vegetables, chicken, shrimps and served with a fried egg on top.

best things to do in Indonesia

Looking for things to do in Indonesia? Just eat!

One thing that surprised me a bit during my first meal is that only fork and spoon are used to eat – knives are only used when eating western style food. Indonesians will generally hold the fork with the left hand and use their right hand to hold the spoon, with which they chop the (very soft) meat and then scoop that with some rice.

As a country where the majority of people are Muslim (yet, very liberal), Indonesian hardly drink alcohol during their meals. The most famous local beer is Bintang, which is quite flavorful. One of the things to do in Indonesia is enjoying a sunset Bintang to cool off after a day of exploration!

Shopping

With its convenient exchange rates and the incredible markets full of beautiful fabrics and crafts, Indonesia is a shopping paradise. Markets are among the best places to visit in Indonesia – they are so full of colors and scents, packed with interesting looking people, and a good way to see a bit of local action too. Not to mention, shopping is one of the things to do in Indonesia. Don’t forget to haggle!

things to do in Indonesia

Shopping – one of the things to do in Indonesia – photo courtesy of Michael Sauers (flickr)

Toilets

Some public toilets require a small fee to be used. Toilet paper is generally available but it is good practice to carry some. Toilets are generally clean, although often flooded as it is common to have what to me seemed like small tubs with a bucket which is used to flush the toilet. In the less touristy regions the squat toilets are very common.

Places to visit in Indonesia (other than Bali)

Indonesia is a huge country and it would require a few months to explore it properly. There are many places to visit in Indonesia, but some are simply unmissable. Here are some of Indonesia tourist attractions that can’t be missed.

Bandung and its surroundings

The fourth largest city of Indonesia, and capital of West Java, Bandung was once considered the Paris of Java. However, the uncontrolled development has turned it into a chaotic web of small streets and big suburbs. Yet, I find that it well deserves to be included in the list of places to visit in Indonesia. Bandung is indeed a great starting point for visiting some of Indonesia tourist attractions, and it has a restaurant scene that shouldn’t be ignored.

Volcanoes around Bandung

One of the unmissable things to do in Indonesia is visiting the various volcanoes and craters that are scattered around the country. At about 30 km north of Bandung, Tangkuban Perahu is the huge crater of an active volcano that last erupted in 1969. It is still possible to see smoke coming out of it (and to smell the typical sulphur gases). Known as the “upside down perahu (boat)”, its shape is due to the fact that its walls collapsed under the weight of the ashes.

places to visit in Indonesia

Tangkuban Perahu is one of the places to visit in Indonesia

Although the first part of the crater line is literally invaded by vendors and their stalls, it is possible to walk around the entire crater (the walk lasts about two hours) and to get splendid views of it. In fact, it is so impressive that I find it to be one of the places to visit in Indonesia.

South of Bandung there is Kawah Putih, another of the places to visit in Indonesia. This is a beautiful crater, located at around 2300 meters above sea level. Although the crater is smaller than that of Tangkuban Perahu, in this case there is a gorgeous green lake in it, and the landscape is a bit surreal yet very beautiful.

places to visit in Indonesia

The gorgeous Kawah Putih is one of the places to visit in Indonesia

Cultural activities in Bandung

One of the things to do in Indonesia is learning about its diversity. A great way to do that is by experiencing the Saung Angklung Udjo show in Bandung. Mostly geared to tourists, this show is actually a lot of fun to watch and to take part in. The director, Mr Udjo, has made it a point in teaching the children and teenagers that attend the school the importance of protecting their cultural heritage, whatever that is, and to always be proud of it and to respect each other.

visit Indonesia

Saung Angklung Udjo is one of the places to visit in Indonesia – photo courtesy of Inna Dee (flickr)

The students take part in the show, and turn it into a great experience. The first part is dedicated to showcasing the various traditional dances, costumes and cultures of Indonesia (in a show full of color and rhythm). The second part is more interactive: members of the public are given an angklung, which is a bamboo instruments that, shaken, produces varying sounds. The director of the school then directs the public into playing it, and the final result is that of an orchestra. I found it very entertaining, and for sure I would say that Saung Angklung Udjo school is one of the places to visit in Indonesia.

The great restaurant scene of Bandung

I am not what people would call a foodie, but there is no doubt that one of the things to do in Indonesia is trying its interesting food. The surroundings of Bandung are packed with great restaurants. The fantastic locations and settings and the amazing food make the experience an overall great one.

Among my favorite restaurants in the area there is Dusun Bambu, which is located on gorgeous hills and is a favorite of locals who crowd it at weekends not only for the delicious food but also for the amusement park on the ground – it is in and of itself one of Indonesia tourist attractions and a good place to spot some local life.

Another great restaurant is The Peak – the perfect location for a special night out with its fine dining, great live music, fantastic views and huge choice of wines.

Finally, Kampung Daun is simply outstanding: surrounded by a luscious jungle and bamboo forest, there are small huts that serve as eating platforms, each completely surrounded by nature. The overall impression is that of a very relaxed place, and the food is delicious.

Borobudur

Among the places to visit in Indonesia, Borobudur (a short distance from Magelang) deserves a special mention. This is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, built in the 9th century and located in a gorgeous setting of hills covered in rice fields and palm trees swept by the wind. It is little wonder this gorgeous monument is considered to be one of the most amazing Indonesia tourist attractions and that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A first taste of Borobudur can actually be enjoyed from the incredible Amanjiwo, a luxury hotel in the Menoreh Hills near Magelang that offers great views of the temple and that also has a fantastic restaurant. For as expensive as it may be, if having some money to spare, eating or spending a few nights in Amanjiwo is one of the things to do in Indonesia.

places to visit in Indonesia

Seeing the sunrise from Borobudur is one of the things to do in Indonesia

As nice as seeing Borobudur from afar is, I still think that one of the most amazing things to do in Indonesia is actually admiring the sunrise from Borobudur. This implies a very early wake up call to get to the site when it is still dark, and then waiting until the sun finally rises. For as tiring as it may be, the incredible view is worth every effort.

Kaliurang

At about 25 km north of Yogyakarta, Kaliurang is a popular weekend destination and one of the most pleasant places to visit in Indonesia thanks to its lovely climate. Indeed it is located at 900 meters above sea level and the temperatures are much milder than in the nearby Yogyakarta.

In Kaliurang, the Ullen Sentalu Museum is a pleasant surprise and deserves to be mentioned among Indonesia tourist attractions. The museum is a celebration of Javanese culture and its interesting exhibit is mostly focussed on the most influential and famous women of Java and in particular on the wives of sultans.

Yogyakarta

Considered to be the soul of Indonesia and its cultural and artistic centre, Yogyakarta is the most interesting city in the country and thus one of the best places to visit in Indonesia. This lively, fun city is a great mixture of modern life – imagine traffic jams, scooters zipping about, advertising boards, fast food chains and posh restaurants – and expressions of ancient cultures such as the production of batik, unique rituals and traditional music. Not to mention, Yogyakarta is also a great starting point to visit a lot of other Indonesia tourist attractions, such as the temples of Prambanan and Borobudur.

Yet, what I loved the most about Yogyakarta are the great positive vibes it sends to its visitors: people are friendly beyond imagination, the city is welcoming, the range of things to do in Yogyakarta incredible. It is not surprising that those who visit Indonesia – myself included – end up falling in love with Yogyakarta.

Things to do in Yogyakarta

Discovering Yogykarta history and culture

One of the things to do in Indonesia is uncovering its interesting history. Yogyakarta is one of the places to visit in Indonesia just for this purpose. Paying a visit to the Royal Palace and the Water Palace are both things to do in Yogyakarta. These historic complexes are an oasis of peace from the chaos of the city, with their tiny alleys to wander around, artists parlours, mosques, schools and markets. Life is slower there.

places to visit in Indonesia

Visiting the Royal Palace compounds is one of the things to do in Yogyakarta

The Kraton, or Royal Palace, is the giant sultans’ palace of Yogyakarta and the heart of the fortified city. The innermost parts were built between 1755 and 1756 and the current sultan of Yogyakarta still lives there. Aside from the beautifully furnished buildings and great exhibits on the lives of the sultans, here it is possible to observe some of the most ancient traditions of Java.

Attendants pass on their profession to their sons. They wear the traditional javanese costumes and and take care of the palace. Another one of the things to do in Yogyakarta that is best enjoyed at the Royal Palace is a gamelan (traditional instrument) concert.

places to visit in Indonesia

Enjoying the lovely street art: one of the things to do in Yogyakarta

The Taman Sari, or Water Palace, is a beautiful park with palaces, pools and canals that was once used by the sultants, his wives and his court to entertain themselves. It is a pleasant place to walk around and therefore paying a visit is one of the things to do in Yogyakarta.

Workshops in traditional crafts

One of the things to do in Indonesia is taking part in workshops to learn its traditional crafts. Kota Gede is a district of Yogyakarta which is famous for its silver factories. I had the opportunity to visit and observe the art and technique in making silver jewelry. However, I fully appreciateD how difficult a job that is when I was given all the necessary equipment and invited to decorate a brooch myself. I was quite hopeless at that – yet, I must say that among the things to do in Yogyakarta this one was a lot of fun.

things to do in Yogyakarta

Having a try at local crafts: one of the things to do in Yogyakarta

Learning how to make batik and… shopping!

One of the things to do in Indonesia is shopping for batik. There is no better place than Yogyakarta to do that: it is shopping paradise! Yet, one of the things to do in Yogyakarta is actually learning how to make batik: there are several workshops where it is possible to observe the batik making process and where patient teachers will try to pass on some of their incredible skills to their visitors. I gave it a try myself, but holding that hot wax pen and drawing on a piece of fabric was no easy task (although a lot of fun!).

Speaking of shopping, one of the things to do in Yogyakarta is going on a walk along Jl Malioboro, a shopping street packed with souvenir shops as well as clothing stores, although the most interesting thing is actually observing the very busy local life and befriending the lovely locals who gladly pose for pictures.

Visiting the archeological sites

As I have already said, Yogyakarta is a perfect starting point to explore some of the archeological sites and temples nearby. One of the places to visit in Indonesia is Kraton Ratu Boko, a site which is divided in various levels or terraces and whose exact functions are still uncertain. Walking around there is very pleasant, despite the heat!

things to do in Indonesia

Kraton Ratu Boko is one of the places to visit in Indonesia

Prambanan – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991 – is a fascinating site, not to mention the largest Hindu temple in Java, and as such one of the places to visit in Indonesia. The overall site is quite spread out in a beautiful park where it is pleasant to go for a stroll. Yet the main attractions are the eight central buildings. The best time to visit is right before sunset, when the light makes the temples glow.

places to visit in Indonesia

Visiting Prambanan – one of the things to do in Indonesia

The best sunset views can actually be caught a bit far off from the central structure. Yet, seeing Prambanan at night is one of the things to do in Yogykarta. In fact, it is one of the things to do in Indonesia! This amazing view can be enjoyed at its best from the nearby restaurant which, although mostly geared to tourists, has really tasty food.

places to visit in Indonesia

Gazing over Prambanan temples at night: one of the things to do in Indonesia – photo courtesy of Juan Jerez

Shows

Among the interesting things to do in Yogyakarta there is seeing the Ramayana Ballet Show. This takes place in an open air theatre right next to the Prambanan temple and its lasts around two hours. The pace of the show is quite slow, but the choreography and the special effects incredible. My best advice is to actually read the Ramayana story before attending the show, so to get a better understanding of the developments and to appreciate the show fully.

Mount Bromo

Considered one of the bucket list destinations of Java, Mount Bromo definitely is one of the places to visit in Indonesia. Part of the Bromo Tengger National Park, this spectacular volcano may not be the highest one compared to others nearby, yet it is the most impressive one. Seeing the sunrise on Mount Bromo and hiking up (or riding a horse to) the crater is one of the things to do in Indonesia.

things to do in Indonesia

Seeing the sunrise on Mount Bromo is one of the things to do in Indonesia

However, for as gorgeous as it is, this Indonesia tourist attraction is seriously mismanaged and receives many more tourists than it can accommodate, thus often turning the experience of visiting into an unpleasant one – this is what happened to me.

Read more about my misadventures on Mount Bromo by reading my post “Ring of Fire or Circle of Hell?”

My recommendation is to plan to visit Mount Bromo on week days to avoid the masses of tourists that go during the weekend. It is also important to pick a good tour operator and guide that work in a responsible way that is respectful to the environment, the people and the animals such as the horses that work on the site.

Komodo Islands

Those who visit Indonesia and go to the Komodo Islands all agree on one thing: these are the most incredible places to visit in Indonesia, and they are simply unmissable. I must admit that the Komodo Islands were indeed the highlight of my trip, I thought I had found heaven on earth and I would have gladly spent a bit more time there. Compared to the rest of the country, these islands felt way quieter. There are less people living there, and this means that the traffic is not nearly as bad as in the rest of the country; and the pollution levels are significantly lower.

Read more about my experience on the Komodo Islands on my post “How to find Heaven on Earth”.

places to visit in Indonesia

A gorgeous sunset in the Komodo Islands

Local culture

Nature in the Komodo Islands is at its best, but that is not the only great thing about them. As I have said before, one of the best things to do in Indonesia is meeting the locals. The Komodo Islands are a perfect place to get to know the culture of one of the many ethnic groups that live in Indonesia. In Melo village it is possible to experience a Caci traditional dance performance. Yet, even a simple walk around the village will allow visitors to meet the friendly local community: everybody is interesting in sharing a bit of their daily life and curious about the visitors.

places to visit in Indonesia

A walk in the Komodo Islands – photo courtesy of Seth Carnill

Volunteering

I have often said that I am not a big fan of voluntourism. Yet, if the organization that employs volunteers is a valid one, and the project is beneficial to the local communities, I am all in favor of it. I have found that volunteering is one of the things to do in Indonesia, and joining the program of Taman Bacaan Pelangi, an organization that has set up libraries and reading workshops in the Eastern part of Indonesia, including the Komodo Islands, is a highly recommended one. I only spent a few hours at Taman Bacaan Pelangi, and I hold great memories of the experience.

Read more about my volunteering experience at Taman Bacaan Pelangi on my post “Why I gave volunteering a second chance”.

Komodo Islands

I recommend volunteering as one of the things to do in Indonesia

Wildlife and Nature

One of the best things to do in Indonesia is enjoying its fantastic wildlife and nature. The Komodo Islands are among the places to visit in Indonesia just for this reason. There live the Komodo dragons, gigantic lizard-like creatures that can be as long as three meters and weight well over 100 kilograms. They are normally spotted on the Komodo National Park, which is a heavily protected UNESCO site, and since they are actually quite dangerous and known for having attacked humans in the past, the park can only be explored with a ranger.

places to visit in Indonesia

Admiring wildlife in the Komodo Islands

Another fantastic thing to do in the Komodo National Park is hiking one of the many trails – again, the company of a ranger is required. The difficulty and length of the hiking trails vary, but the views over the bays, the surrounding hills and the sea below are always spectacular.

places to visit in Indonesia

Catching a gorgeous view in the Komodo Islands

Snorkeling

I am a spoiled girl from Sardinia. I know what beautiful sea and gorgeous beaches are supposed to look like and will hardly find anything that is up to my very high standards. I have to say, Indonesia did not fail to amaze me in this sense and it is for a good reason that among Indonesia tourist attractions there are its gorgeous beaches.

One of the places to visit in Indonesia is the Pink Beach – a gorgeous, secluded beach in the Komodo Islands where the sand truly is pink and the setting fantastic: hardly any people around, as it can only be reached by boat. And, to top this off, snorkeling there is simply fantastic! The quantity of colored fish I was able to spot in the clear waters was incredible. There is no doubt that one of the things to do in Indonesia is snorkeling and, for the most adventurous ones, diving.

things to do in Indonesia

Pink Beach: by all means, one of the places to visit in Indonesia

Have you been to Indonesia? What were your favorite places to visit in Indonesia?

If you need assistance in creating a personalized itinerary in Indonesia, you can contact me in private through my contact form.

Legal Disclaimer: This article was written in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia as part of the #WonderfulIndonesia campaign. All the views and opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience. The views expressed are honest and factual without any bias.


 


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91 Comments

  • Michelle
    10 December 2015 at 19:31

    My sister’s same exact words! There are so many incredible natural places in Indonesia and the cultural/religious differences, that you can emerge yourself into simply by exploring the different islands (Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores) are a whole experience in itself! // Will show this blog post to my sister 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      10 December 2015 at 19:47

      I would love to go back to visit Sumatra and Gili, and perhaps Lombok. But I will definitely stay away from Bali – there are way more things to do in Indonesia other than visiting Bali!

  • Revati
    11 December 2015 at 10:35

    Eating and Drinking would definitely be at the very top of my list for Indonesia. the food looks so delicious!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      11 December 2015 at 10:41

      Definitely! Eating is one of the best things to do in Indonesia

  • christine
    11 December 2015 at 10:51

    I am here now so this is perfect for me!! I was going to do the hike up to the volcano but I hurt my leg in a scooter accident, hopefully it heals up so I can do it before I go! I heard the hike is not an easy one!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      11 December 2015 at 10:55

      Christine, haven’t you read my post on Mount Bromo? I think you had – you had commented on it as well. Before you go there, make sure to read it. Mount Bromo is one of the places to visit in Indonesia but SERIOUSLY mismanaged and you need to be fully prepared before you go!

  • Jessica
    12 December 2015 at 8:06

    I love the diversity of Indonesia. In every island you visit, looks like you are in a different country, because of their local langauages, food, culture and time zone. Lots to explore in this wonderful country! 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 December 2015 at 22:45

      Definitely a lot of things to do in Indonesia!

  • Marta
    12 December 2015 at 10:57

    For many years I didn’t know any better and totally dismissed Indonesia as a destination: all I heard about it was the Bali beaches and, as much as I love relaxing on white sand, I never really felt like it was worth travelling that far just for that! Now, reading posts like yours, Indonesia is quickly climbing up my list of places to see: what really attracts me are the archaeological sites and would love to do volunteering: I have heard about the travelling libraries and it’s great to see they are an actual beneficial effort. I travel with kids and I think it would be a great thing for them also to get involved into. I am hoping to go next year, budget permitting! In case, I will sure ask for your advice

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 December 2015 at 22:46

      Please do so. But don’t go straight to Bali. I didn’t really like it. There are many more places to visit in Indonesia than just that, worth much much more!

  • Divina CA
    12 December 2015 at 11:34

    Great list of things to do in Indonesia…. I personally love going to yhe beach and some gasyronomic adventire 🙂

  • Erica
    12 December 2015 at 12:36

    It’s a shame that the other islands are so underrated. I need to make a beeline to Yogyakarta on my next trip to Indonesia. Although I am torn because I do want to explore the Gili islands! So many places, so little time!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 December 2015 at 22:47

      I have missed Gili and… so wish I could go! But for sure, many things to do in Yogyakarta so go there 🙂

  • chrysoula
    12 December 2015 at 14:06

    I haven’t traveled to this part of Asia and I am one of those people that only knew Bali. After reading this I was amazed of he diversity of things one can do in this country and they seem less touristry than Bali. What really got my attention though was mount Bromo! So breathtaking! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 December 2015 at 22:48

      There are many places to visit in Indonesia. Mount Bromo is a great attraction but… before you go, read my other post ok?

  • Stefan
    12 December 2015 at 15:12

    Absolutely agree – most people go to and only to Bali and skip the rest. Bali was so overrated for us (with exception of Ubud). But the real highlight was all the scuba diving around the Komodo National Park – nothing can top this from other diving experiences we’ve had in Asia!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 December 2015 at 22:48

      Ah, the Komodo Islands. A little piece of heaven on earth!

  • Jackie
    12 December 2015 at 16:39

    Such a great post! I have seen a few of these places in Indonesia discussed on their own, but it was nice to see them listed and explained altogether. I am considering a trip there in 2016 and have bookmarked this post for referencing later. I also so appreciate you reminding your readers to consider responsible companies when visiting Mt. Bromo. I’ve read not so good things about how the horses are treated.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 December 2015 at 22:49

      You may have read my other posts 😉 I had a horrible experience on Mount Bromo and I wouldn’t want anybody to go through the same. Way better places to visit in Indonesia where tourism is done responsibly.

  • Dave from Daves Travel Pages
    12 December 2015 at 16:43

    I think your article brings home just how vast and varied Indonesia is! You could spend a lifetime exploring it, and still only scratch the surface. As a bit of an archaeology fan, I love the old temples. Borobudur is amazing 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 December 2015 at 22:50

      Seeing the sunrise from Borobudur is for sure one of the things to do in Indonesia. An experience I highly recommend.

  • Mary
    12 December 2015 at 23:50

    Wow, what a great resource article. Totally shows how big Indonesia is and how many great options there really are! Thanks!

  • Meg Jerrard
    13 December 2015 at 2:54

    Thanks for this list Claudia – we’re hoping to get to Indonesia really soon. I know you mention the majority of people fly, though we’re actually thinking about doing a cruise. I already had Komodo Islands in my sights, the big lovers of exotic wildlife that we are, seeing the dragons is a huge thing on our list, and Borobudur looks amazing too. I’ll have to take your advice and get up early for the sunrise. Thanks for the tip!

    I’m thinking I don’t really need to visit Bali, I read your article about the island being overrated and I think I’ll get there and probably end up agreeing. Thanks for helping plan my vacation!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 11:02

      I think any experienced traveler ends up not liking Bali in the end. Unless you spend your time in a luxury resort and never get out, that is. Or unless you are a 20 year old whose only interest is getting wasted in a club 😉 Waaaay many more things to do in Indonesia . yup, I say skip it. I have heard that Gili is fantastic. I haven’t been there but apparently it is really worth it!

      • Praveen Maloo
        10 January 2016 at 11:49

        Hey Claudia – I have only been to Bali and absolutely loved it. The people, the culture and the landscapes. What you say about Bali is certainly true when it comes to the touristy beaches in the south, but there is so much more to explore in Bali itself, including great diving 🙂

  • Karilyn
    13 December 2015 at 3:27

    I am one of those people who have only been to Bali. I always wanted to venture all over Indonesia but time never allowed. But wow!! what amazing places there are to see. My son is super into volcanoes, so I know he would be super into venturing around. Thanks for such beautiful inspiration to get back to Indonesia!!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 11:03

      Your son and I have something in common! I love volcanoes. I would love to get back to the country and explore more. But… I think I need to plan it carefully as I don’t want to go when there are too many people. Bromo was way too crowded for my taste. Yet, there are so many places to visit in Indonesia that I am sure it is easy to get out of the tourist trail.

  • Jessica
    13 December 2015 at 5:41

    This is so super awesome, what a great resource about the country! I haven’t been to this part of the world just yet, but I’ll definitely keep this post in mind for when I do! Especially love the safety info – so important!

  • Jen
    13 December 2015 at 7:07

    You give such detailed and thorough information about Indonesia. I’m going to bookmark this for travel planning. I love spicy food so I should be pretty happy between that, the lovely views and shopping!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 11:06

      Hahahaha watch out with spicy food. Eating is one of the things to do in Indonesia but hey, they sometimes overdo the spicy. I was in Yogyakarta once and I remember eating something REALLY spicy. As I chewed on it, my face turned different shades of red. My mouth turned numb and as I swallowed my throat turned numb too. Perhaps a good thing to do when having a sore throat lol!!

  • Natasha Amar
    13 December 2015 at 9:33

    Thank you for sharing this detailed guide to Indonesia. Yes, all we hear about the country is Bali (just as all you mostly hear about Greece are the islands of Santorini and Mykonos), but there is so much more to discover.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 11:08

      It’s the same all over the world. I say I am from Italy and people ask if I am from Milan, Florence, Rome or Venice. I say I am from Cagliari, Sardinia – and point out it is an island. Next thing I know, everyone thinks I am from Sicily. I hate it!! Sardinia is a GREAT place. Anyways – yes, way many more things to do in Indonesia that don’t involve going to Bali 🙂

  • Grietje | TravelGretl
    13 December 2015 at 12:58

    Great list of things! And very helpful you put some travel essentials there too! I recognize a lot of places from pictures actually. I’ve never been to Indonesia, but it has been the first trip my parents ever made far away (and only trip). I never thought about going to Indonesia, it did not appeal to me. But lately it totally switched. How cool would it be to go after them, almost 30 years later?! 😀

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 13:23

      I bet they wouldn’t recognize it as it is now!!

  • Travelwith2ofus
    13 December 2015 at 13:39

    There are so many other options to Bali. When I do visit Indonesia I will go to Bali of course, but it would not be the only place I would visit. Bandung seems pretty interesting to me as well as Borobudur and the Komodo Islands. I have always wanted to see a Komodo dragon so the wildlife is also of great interest to me.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 13:43

      Waaaay more places to visit in Indonesia other than Bali, for sure!

  • Kathrin
    13 December 2015 at 15:07

    Indonesia is one of the countries I really want to visit! I recently met quite a few people from Indonesia and they are all very nice, open and friendly! Would love to discover the country – this may or may not be the case because I really want to try the food (it looks sooo yummy).
    Overall, this is a great and very detailed article and I’ll keep it in mind for future reference. It’s great that you talk about other places than Bali as I plan to discover as much as possible.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 19:50

      Many more places to visit in Indonesia other than Bali. And yes, the people are fantastic. Truly friendly. Unbelievably so!

  • Gemma
    14 December 2015 at 1:39

    What an extensive overall article for Indonesia, I like to read about off the beaten track ideas for future travels and those islands sound ideal. I’d love to dive in the pink beach. We found that although the media paints Colombia to be unsafe, it really wasn’t – go with what fellow travellers say!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 December 2015 at 9:15

      Totally! Indonesia is safe – and there are lots of things to do in Indonesia!!

  • Joe Ankenbauer
    14 December 2015 at 1:51

    I loved visiting Indonesia ! I lived in Singapore for a length of time and would constantly explore the nearby islands. So beautiful and remote! I agree with 100% that Indonesia is way more than Bali! Thanks for the great post!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 December 2015 at 9:14

      Apparently it is a great escape for those in Singapore 🙂 yup, lots of places to visit in Indonesia!

  • Alli
    14 December 2015 at 3:01

    This is an amazing post! It came at such a good time as I was just starting to research Indonesia and where to go for my honeymoon!!! My massage therapist got me off Bali and said she really was not impressed, so i really wanted to know what other places to see! Thanks so much for the great suggestions!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 December 2015 at 9:13

      I haven’t been to Gili but apparently it is GREAT. Make sure you don’t get stuck in a place – way too many things to do in Indonesia!!

  • Mar pages
    14 December 2015 at 6:44

    I agree with you. There so many things that can be done in Indonesia. Bali is not just the place to be. I have seen the view at the Prambanan temples. The sunset at Komodo Island is just breathtaking!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 December 2015 at 9:12

      I would love to go back and visit Gili. Some people I know have been there and it really seems like the kind of place I would love. Many more places to visit in Indonesia other than Bali!

  • Elaine J. Masters
    14 December 2015 at 8:18

    There’s so much to see and do in Indonesia. I’ve only been to N. Sulawesi to dive and long to return. I’ll put these tips to good use.

  • Anita Hendrieka
    14 December 2015 at 9:22

    Wow, what a great post. I loved Indonesia, the people were amazing and the nature was beautiful!

  • Jesper
    14 December 2015 at 12:24

    Ah, man! Really? I’ve been planning a trip since forever and just the other day I decided to stick to the European land for a bit and now you come up and write this?? Not fair! Very complete guide, great photos and I love your style in the photo taken on the komodo island (seriously???? that’s like my dream going there and seeing those big monsters!) Kind regards from sunny barcelona!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 December 2015 at 10:52

      Hahahahahaha. You want to know something funny? I live in Sardinia. I keep thinking it is time to explore a bit more of Europe and every single time I just end up in other continents.

      Yup – Komodo Islands are great!

  • Nic
    14 December 2015 at 13:20

    Great and informative piece. We will be heading over some time next year so it’s great to have all this at hand. We will be saving this post to help us plan our visit. 🙂

  • Carol Colborn
    14 December 2015 at 14:46

    An epic write-up on Indonesia! Makes me remember my trips to Jakarta and wonder how I missed all these remarkable places: Borobodue, Prambalang, Mount Bromi, Komodo Islands. Those were times I did not know how to travel!: And the Jakarta airpoet…the only one I gave,seen so far that is indigenous in design! Thanks fir this comprehensive article on Indonesia!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 December 2015 at 10:53

      I was so tired when I landed in Jakarta that I didn’t notice at all. Ahhh yes, too many places to visit in Indonesia!

  • Vicky and Buddy
    14 December 2015 at 16:18

    Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to visit any of the other islands in Indonesia besides Bali. I still had a wonderful time though. Some places like Kuta Beach are obviously more crowded, but I thought Ubud was great and I was still able to observe and learn from many cultural experiences.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 December 2015 at 10:54

      Oh that is too bad! There are way many more places to visit in Indonesia other than Bali!

  • Dariece
    14 December 2015 at 18:00

    I LOVE all the detail in this post–there’s so much helpful information in here! We definitely didn’t know as much as you do about this country so if we ever visit again we’ll be coming back to this article for sure!

  • Julius from Traveltipy
    15 December 2015 at 14:54

    Wow, that’s really a comprehensive guide. It seems that you spent amazing time in Indonesia. In the past I collected postcards from different countries and the best of them was from Indonesia. 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      16 December 2015 at 17:44

      Well, with so many things to do in Indonesia… it was easy!

  • Thiago & Anna
    16 December 2015 at 17:12

    Wow! That was an amazing post!

    We always wanted to visit Borobudur but you opened our minds to the bunch of things that Indonesia has to show us! And gosh, what a view from Parambanan Temples at night! We need to go there!

    We will definitely check your post when going to Indonesia! Thank you!!!!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      16 December 2015 at 17:45

      So many places to visit in Indonesia. Make sure to pick wisely when you go!

  • Andrew
    17 December 2015 at 9:09

    Couldn’t agree more. Bali is so overrated and the Komodo islands definitely a must go. We had such a fantastic time. The food however isn’t as great as other parts of Asia we thought

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      17 December 2015 at 9:12

      The Komodo Islands were my favorite! And… I wouldn’t know about the food, I haven’t been to other countries in Asia 🙂 Soon though!

  • Daphne
    20 December 2015 at 18:08

    Ooh, I love that you focused on places other than Bali! It looks like you had an amazing trip, thanks for the recommendations!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      20 December 2015 at 19:16

      You bet. Bali is way overrated and there’s many more places to visit in Indonesia!

  • Travelsito
    28 December 2015 at 22:14

    Now that was a fun to red post about Indonesia!

  • ciki
    29 December 2015 at 2:25

    babe, awesome post.. loved every minute of reading it.. btw that photo is not “walking in Komodo Island” i think? we were only on Komodo briefly… remember.. LOL

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      29 December 2015 at 9:41

      True, that was in Flores when we went to Melo Village 🙂

  • the-worldwide
    1 January 2016 at 12:29

    Seems very nice to know about the Indonesia. Photos are amazing. Got a lot of fun seeing the driver sleeping on the rider. Is this taxi is running by engine or human itself.

  • the-worldwide
    1 January 2016 at 12:30

    Seems very nice to know about the Indonesia. Photos are amazing. Got a lot of fun seeing the driver sleeping on the rider. Is this taxi is running by engine or pulling by the driver.

  • Matt
    2 January 2016 at 12:37

    A good stat for you. Around 40% of Indonesia’s c10 million annual foreign tourists visit Bali alone, which represents just 0.3% of Indonesia’s total land area …
    … Bali remains a beautiful island, but my favourite parts were the north and out-lying islands such as Nusa Lembongan, away from the overly urban chaos of the southern tip. It’s a pity that you didn’t have a chance to experience these. But there’s more to Indonesia than even Java, Komodo and Flores … there’s great stuff on just about every island (West Papua, Sulawesi, Sumatra amongst them), with some amazing wildlife and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. It’s increasingly easy to visit some of the far-flung islands with the recent increase in the domestic airline industry and, for now, there are relatively few tourists with all the advantages and disadvantages this brings.

    I did find the best food in Indonesia in Bali so development does have its advantages!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      2 January 2016 at 16:59

      “away from the overly urban chaos of the southern tip” – that just is my kind of place. I really don’t like chaos. We were meant to go to Borneo but the haze was a huge issue so we didn’t get to go in the end. Too bad for us, as tourists. But really my main concern is that Borneo is burning, with all the consequences this has on the environment, the animals and the people 🙁

  • Aulsid Wijaya
    13 February 2016 at 17:39

    Hi, I’m Indonesian 🙂
    I think you missed these places :
    1. Raja Ampat Islands, a Piece of Heaven that Fall to Western Papua, Indonesia with Guaranteed Manta Rays.
    2. Wakatobi, also nice for marine tourism.
    3. Bunaken Marine National Park, Here, you can meet The Indonesian Coelacanth. The Living Fossil Fish that Live in Indonesian Sea of Northern Sulawesi
    4. Baluran Savanna in Baluran National Park, East Java. The Africa Van Java. Feels like in Africa. The miniature of Africa in Indonesia
    5. Lake Toba The Largest Caldera Lake on Earth, Located in North Sumatra Province. It also famous as the prehistoric mega eruption of the Mount Toba. One of the largest eruption on earth. The lake also has a big island in the center of it called Samosir Island.
    6. Mentawai Islands, Best For Surfing. Feel the Wild wave live from Hindian Ocean 🙂
    7. Nias Island and Its Rock Jumping Culture, called Fahombo.
    8. Weh Island and The Sabang City in Aceh Province.The Gate of Western Indonesia
    9. Kakaban Island and The Lake Kakaban in Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan Province… Lets Swim with Thousands of Stingless Jellyfish.
    10. Mount Semeru, The Most Romantic Volcano in Java
    11. Green Canyon, Pangandaran, West Java, The Miniature of Grand Canyon in USA but very green and fresh
    12. Kawah Ijen, East Java province. a Volcanic crater that has a rare phenomenon on this earth, The Night Blue Fire. That only exist in two different place, in Iceland and Indonesia.
    13. Way Kambas, Lampung province, lets play and have fun with many friendly Elephant there! 😀
    14. Kampar River. This River has a fantastic waves that challenging for any surfers that wanna try surfing on a wild river. The Waves called as Bono by the locals and also known as “The Seven Ghost” Wave. Kampar RIver located in Riau Province.
    15. Oro-oro Ombo, The hidden paradise area in mount semeru that crowded by many Verbena flower that looks like Lavender field in France but it still in Indonesia ^_^
    16. Mount Rinjani, Lombok Island, its near Bali. But Different Province. I always Speecless if i want to describe the Mount Rinjani.
    17. Karimunjawa Islands. Here you can swim with many reef sharks. Don’t worry, the sharks are friendly and safe ^_^”
    18. Lake Kelimutu, The Three Coloured Volcanic Lakes in Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province. The Colours could changed.
    19. Lake Labuan Cermin, East Kalimantan Province… Oh sorry i’m speechless again >_<
    20. Hawang Cave, Kei Islands, Souther Maluku (Molucca). The fusion of exotic cave and crystal sea water make this cave different than another caves
    21. Pindul Cave, Yogyakarta, Lets Cave Tubbing here
    22. Masigit Cliff, Padalarang, West Java Province. If you love extreme destination and love playing with adrenalin, go to play extreme hammocking there!
    23. Sukuh Temple, The Most Unique Historical Temple in Indonesia that looks like Chichen Itza building in Mexico but in a different size and architecture.
    24. Leang-leang Cave in Sulawesi, Indonesia.. There prehistoric cave that has the oldest prehistoric cave paintings on the world.
    25. Sangiran, an archaeological site and park in Indonesia. Where the oldest Homo erectus discovered.
    26. Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi Province, rich with cultures of Toraja. Also famous with their Death Ritual like Ma'nene, the Indonesian Mummy ritual, and also the Toraja Coffee.
    27. Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve in North Sulawesi, Here, you can meet the Tarsiers, one of smallest primate species on the world that endemic to Indonesia. Also the beautiful Hornbill birds and cute Cuscus.
    28. Ternate city, North Maluku province, an exotic city that close to Gamalama volcano and you can see its beautiful when you fly on it.
    29. Palembang city, Ampera bridge, and Musi River, South Sumatra. don't forget this city and its iconic bridge if you travel to Sumatra ^_^
    30. Lake Maninjau. The Best Paragliding Spot in Indonesia and also in Asia.
    31. Cendrawasih Bay, Papua, Indonesia. Lets play with many friendly Whale Sharks!
    32. Nusa Penida Island, Southern Bali province, here you can meet the Giant Mola-mola Fish
    33. Bukit Barisan National Park, in Sumatra. Here you can find the rare, and the tallest Flower on earth,Titan Arum flower, (Amorphophallus titanum) and can reach over 3 metres. And also the Rafflesia arnoldi. The largest flower on the world.
    34. Jayawijaya mountains, Papua province, and the highest point in Indonesia (4884 M) The only place in Indonesia that covered by Snow. The scenery looks like himalaya or switzerland. But you still in Indonesia.
    35. Wasur National Park, lets play with many cute Wallabies there! A dwarf Kangaroo species. Not Only Australia that has Marsupial animal but Indonesia also has. Marsupials in Indonesia are : Wallaby, Tree Kangaroo, Cuscus, Possums, Sugar Glider, and Ect. Indonesia also the home of the Bird of Paradise. Mostly live in the virgin forest of Papua.
    36. Parangkusumo Sand Dune.. Yogyakarta. Feels like in Sahara.
    37. Gunung Palung National Park. The Heart of Indonesian Borneo. Thanks to Mr.Tim Laman and his team for showing to the world about the Wildlife of Indonesian Borneo and Indonesian Papua on Instagram 😀 🙂
    38. Lake Cinta, a natural love shaped lake in Papua province, Indonesia
    39. Lake Sentani, a unique lake in Papua with 21 islands in it.
    40. Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi that has Prehistoric statues that Looks like Easter Island statues

    And Many More Interesting Places in Indonesia. It could be a very long lists. Those list are not including the Diversity of Cultures from the 1340 Ethnics in Indonesia from 17.504 Islands, more than 700 Local Languages and Local Dialects, Hundreds of Traditional Dress, Thousands of Traditional Dance, Thousands of Diverse Culinary, Hundreds of Diverse Traditional Musical Instruments, Long history and many folklores, and different characteristic from each ethnics and diverse religions but we still together by our Motto : Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) (^_^)

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 February 2016 at 11:43

      WOW, what can I say? Thanks for this!!

    • Ferenc Csonka
      17 April 2016 at 4:05

      This is amazing, thank you!

  • Carmen B
    5 July 2016 at 19:51

    Fantastic post!
    I backpacked in Indonesia for 3 weeks, hitting many of these spots plus some other awesome ones. I would definitely recommend adding Kelimutu and Gili to your Indonesia itinerary.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      5 July 2016 at 20:04

      Gili (and Lombok) is definitely in my plans. I hope to go back soon!

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Hi, my name is Claudia. One day I packed my life and started travelling... except I packed too much. Follow me as I fill my life with dreams, drop the weight and inspire you to live your dreams. Learn more about me here...

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