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What are the best places in Indonesia is a very important question if you are planning on visiting since the country is blessed with more than 17000 tropical islands providing travellers with endless opportunities for adventure. You will find a wide diversity of cultures, landscapes, activities and wildlife.

While this is amazing Indonesian Visas are short so it is important to direct your precious time and money properly. Let me help with that. I have spent over half a year here so my recommendations come from actual experience and my genuine thoughts. Of course, everyone’s opinion on the best places in Indonesia is subjective but then my opinion is as valid as the next person’s so I’m thinking this is as good a place as any. So read on. 

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Indonesia travel, map classic

An Introduction To God’s Own Eden 

Indonesia is truly a remarkable country that has attracted countless adventure-loving travellers to its captivating shores for many years.

 This incredible destination is simply bursting with an array of enchanting natural landscapes, awe-inspiring cultural and historical landmarks, and a vibrant, friendly population that is sure to make any visitor feel right at home. 

Indonesia is an ideal place to discover new perspectives, cultivate wonderful memories, and embark on unforgettable adventures.

Whether you’re looking to explore the depths of a lush rainforest, lounge on a stunning sandy beach, indulge in exotic cuisine, or immerse yourself in the rich and diverse local culture, Indonesia truly has something special to offer everyone. 

Fast Facts
Money, icon, graphics

The rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia. Notes range from 100,000 to 1000 INR. The rupiah is then broken down into Sen. 

population, graphics, icon

Indonesia is the fourth largest population with an estimated 277,534,122 people in 2023. Most of which live in Java

time, icon, graphics

Indonesia covers 3 time zones. UTC+07:00 UTC+08:00  UTC+09:00 from west to east respectively.

So What Are The Top 10 Best Places In Indonesia?

Needless to say, listing the top 50 best places in Indonesia is a tough question to answer let alone the top 10 best places in Indonesia. But after much consideration, these are the best I have found that I feel will appeal to most, so here goes. 

Before I start I want to say that pretty much anywhere you go in Indonesia is going to leave you wide-eyed and in awe.

Each Island has a completely unique feel to the next, but that’s part of the charm. It’s good to be choosy in this incredible country. One thing is for certain you will want to come back again and again. 

The fact is that the best places in Indonesia can not be seen in a single trip or even two or three for that matter.

Togean Islands

Indonesia has mile after mile of picture-perfect palm-fringed stretches of sand for you to sink your toes into, but the Togean Islands in Sulawesi are just that little bit more special. The Togean Islands take the first spot on my list of best places in Indonesia because I loved every minute of the two weeks I was there.

The interior of the islands is filled with dense wildlife-rich tropical jungles that add to that sense that you have reached paradise. 
Trekking from one isolated beach to the next is simply soul-charging. Perhaps you want to try and climb a volcano or snorkel over pristine reefs in crystal clear waters? Whatever you are looking for in your tropical adventure the Togian Islands have you covered. 

Boat, coral, clear sea

The Bajau Sea Gipsies Of The Togean Islands

The indigenous Bajau Sea Gipsies are warm and welcoming. Their Vibrant and timeless culture only adds to the appeal of the place. Their stilted communities are dotted all around the archipelago. It is easy to arrange a tour to visit one of the many villages with your guest house. To find out more about this fragile culture and its future check out this post by Al Jazeera 

Where To Stay On The Torgian Islands

I Stayed at Kadidiri Paradise Resort on Pulau Kadidiri. I can honestly say that this place lives up to its name and some. Go and live your wildest tropical dreams in this beautiful island chain now. 

Tanjung Puting National Park

Orangutang, Baby, Mother

Across the whole of Indonesia, there are 52 national parks and the country boasts a whopping 17% of the whole planet’s species. Needless to say, in answering the best places in Indonesia question I have to include some national parks. It is just hard to choose which ones stand out.

After some consideration, I think Tanjung Puting in Kalimantan is one of those. Taking a slow boat up the winding rivers to reach Camp Leaky is enthralling in the extreme. 

People come to see our red-haired cousins the orangutans in the wild but you are sure to see so much more. 

The park is home to a wide diversity of Bornean wildlife. To find out what you can expect check out this post by the Orangutan International Foundation

Spending your days spotting and spotting wildlife and then Sleeping in your boat listening to nothing but the sounds of the rainforest is simply magical. The park is a mission to reach but your experience is so worth it. 

 

Getting to Tanjung Puting National Park

Due to Tanjung Puting’s remote location, the only way to visit the park is on an organized tour. You can go through a tour agency or just mosey on down to the jetty and barter. 

In the busy season ( June Until August) your bargaining room is very limited indeed.

The Nearest Airport is in Pangkalan Bun and tourists usually fly from Jakarta and leave right after as it’s a very long way to anything. However, those who put in the effort to explore Kalimantan will not be disappointed. Borneo is amazing! 

Tours to the park can be done in as little as two hours one way but why would you want to? It is best done over 3 days in a much slower local boat. 

 

gary mason, volcano, mount bromo

Mount Bromo

When Mount Bromo is not blowing its lid the scenery around the crater is some of the finest in the world. The fiery mountain sits in a desolate creator surrounded by a vast sea of ash. Contradictly you will view said mountain from a green and fertile plateau.

Get up early in the early morning for those dreamy mists and for a view, you will never forget. Mount Bromo is most definitely one of the best places in Indonesia to visit for just about anyone.

As You can see I caught the mountain on a bad day during a tantrum. If you look at the top of this post you can see what you get normally. 

Of all the volcanoes in the world, this one is surely the most beautiful. The perfect cone is actually only one of three active volcanos in the area but it is by far the most vocal. It is pretty much always at least spewing out plumes of smoke. That coupled with the stunning setting makes Mount Bromo a photographer’s paradise. 

Where Will Your Journey Take You? 

Getting To Mount Bromo

The nearest transport hub is Probolinggo in East Java. It is a busy and hectic town with lots of dodgy characters hanging around the transport hubs. Please be careful with who you trust here and if it’s possible try and remember these people are simply very poor and trying to earn a buck. 

There is a minibus station just outside the main Bus station. Ask the staff for directions. They run until 4 pm when they are full so you may have to wait. It is best to arrive by bus as it’s an easy walk. The train station is miles away. If you decide to get a taxi all the way to Bromo expect to pay 500,000 INR at the absalute minimum. 

Where To Stay Around Mount Bromo

No accommodation in the area is especially good value but who cares when you are not there to sit in a hotel? Most tourists stay in the village of Cemoro Lawang as it is right in front of the volcano and still at a safe distance. 

I stayed in the Bromo Otix Guest House and it was not so expensive compared to its neighbours and perfectly comfortable. Book way ahead in the busy season as it can get very crowded indeed around the area. 

Komodo National Park

Komodo Dragon, Giant,

The sun-baked islands of Komodo and Rinka are home to giants. It is a land where you can catch a glimpse of what the world must have looked like when dinosaurs roamed the land. The Komodo Dragon is both beautiful and intimidating at the same time.

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Growing to more than 3m in length and weighing more than 150kg it can feel intimidating to come to the conclusion that take away our tools we are not at the top of the food chain. 

If Giant lizards weren’t enough there are plenty of other species to feast your eyes on in this national park. What’s more the underwater life here is world-class and all tours will include a chance for you to blow some bubbles with the fishes

All in Komodo and Rinca has to be one of the best places in Indonesia to Visit for any traveller here.

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Getting To Komodo And Rinca Islands

There are plenty of liveaboard options from Lombok or Bali and maybe you want that. Bear in mind they are very expensive especially if you are a solo traveller. If money is no problem it is a fantastic option as you have the flexibility to stop wherever you want along the way. 

For the rest of us, it is best to start in Labuan Bajo is Flores. The competition for your money is fierce although I recommend checking the boat out before committing to anything.  Some are far from sea worthy but they will try anyway. 

Where To Stay On Komodo And Rinka Islands

There are a limited number of guesthouses on these islands and a truckload of tourists in the peak season. You can surely do the math. It pays to book way in advance. 

If you decide to sleep here you would be wise to book way in advance. Try the Komodo Guesthouse near the harbour. (tel 0812 3956 6140) There is no visible website I have found. If you plan on staying in Labuan Bajo why not check out this post about the 10 best hotels in the area? 

Borobudur

Along with Bagan in Myanmar and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Borobudur is considered one of the greatest archaeological wonders left by the ancient world in southeast Asia. 

Although much smaller than the first two listed Borobudur is well worth the time to get here. It is somehow both elegant and imposing at the same time.

You don’t even need a vague interest in history to be blown away by this magnificent structure and be able to appreciate it in all its glory. Of course, if you do appreciate the ancient world, Borobudur is sure to leave you breathless. 

 

Getting to Borobudur

Most people visit Borobudur on an organised tour from nearby Yogyakarta. Aside from the spectacular ancient ruins, Borobudur is a small village. Yogyakarta is a stylish city with a fantastic tourist infrastructure that is a tourist magnet, so why not if you are pressed for time? 

However, Here is the downside. As I mentioned earlier Borobudur is one of the great archaeological treasures to be found in Southeast Asia and it is very much discovered. That can be frustrating especially if you enjoy photography for obvious reasons

That means it can get quite crowded if you turn up with the rest of the tours. Don’t get me wrong, the chances of you getting the place all to yourself outside of the height of the monsoon is very slim indeed. 

Where To Stay In Borobudur

However, it’s reasonable to assume you will have the opportunity out of hours for a little quiet. Also, Borobudur is surrounded by picture-perfect villages and they are ripe for walks around the countryside. 

If this sounds like something you want to experience why not check out the Rumah Boedi’s residence? You can do a lot worse than this stylish boutique hotel in its well-tended beautiful garden.

 

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The Baliem Valley

As the most accessible part of Papua’s remote interior, The Baliem Valley understandably sees considerable tourist numbers considering what it takes to visit. The reputation of being one of the best places in Indonesia truly proceeds it.

Even though the modern world has crept into the valley since it was first discovered in 1938. stone tools have been replaced with mobile phones but nonetheless, traditions run deep. Whatever happens the 
Baliem Valley is sure to be a world away from wherever it is you have come from. 

The valley is populated by small communities of the
Dani people. You will find them welcoming and their culture is completely unique. The best way to explore the valley is on a multiday organized trek. These treks are both gruelling and eye-opening to the point of euphoria at the same time. 

Tours In The Baliem Valley

There are a lot of opportunities to find a guide to this part of the island. However, all guides are not created equally and since it’s quite a sizable financial commitment it pays to shop around. 

If you don’t have a guide you can always simply turn up at Wamena’s tiny airport. You are sure to be greeted by a truckload of freelance guides eager to take you into the hills. 

On the other hand, if they were good guides it is unlikely they would hover around the arrivals lounge trawling for tourists. Some may be amazing but you are running a risk. Just saying.

On yet another hand they tend to be way way more affordable than tours from your home country. If you have some cash to burn then check out The Baliem Valley Resort. This outfit might have cost a pretty penny but they seem to get amazing reviews. 

This sort of tour will eradicate too much thinking and you will get to see a lot in a small amount of time. 

If you do plan on freestyling your journey I would strongly recommend putting some real thought into planning what you want to see in as much detail as possible.  

best places in Indonesia ,Baliem valley, mask

On yet another hand they tend to be way way more affordable than tours from your home country. If you have some cash to burn then check out The Baliem Valley Resort. This outfit might have cost a pretty penny but they seem to get amazing reviews. 

This sort of tour will eradicate too much thinking and you will get to see a lot in a small amount of time. 

If you do plan on freestyling your journey I would strongly recommend putting some real thought into planning what you want to see in as much detail as possible.  

Tana Taraja

The Tana Taraja is most definitely one of the best places in Indonesia and quite possibly in all of Asia. The Timeless customs and stunning landscapes will blow your mind. I came for a few days and stayed for two weeks. What’s more, I am planning my next trip back. 

Most people come to the whimsical corner of the universe between June and August when the local people practice their funerals

They are quite the sight and not for the faint-hearted, They include a lot of animal sacrifice and it can be intense to watch even if you have mild feelings towards animals. 

But there is a lot more than funeral ceremonies here. Treks from one timeless village to another through rolling rice paddies will bring something special to your itinerary. 

The incredible long houses that punctuate the landscapes add something special you just cannot get elsewhere. Despite the fact that Sulawesi is moving head-first into the future the culture and customs of the Tana Taraja hold strong. 

You will need a guide to get the most out of your time here. Many tourists simply hire a motorbike and ride around the stunning countryside. 

Of course, there are benefits in freedom of movement there but the chances of you stumbling across one of the extraordinary ceremonies many have come to see. Without a guide, you will be wandering into someone else’s funeral essentially and understandably that can be super awkward. 

How To Reach The Tana Taraja

Considering that the Tana Taraja is genuinely one of the best places in Indonesia to visit and the whole area lies way up in the mountains it is surprisingly easy to access. Well, from the South anyway. 

There are several very comfortable bus services from Makassar every day. Some flights run from Makkasar daily for those of us on a real-time schedule. 

However, if you are heading North it is not the same story in any way. There are sporadic bus services that are very slow and you will lose days from your precious visa sitting in the back of a bus. If you can it is much better to hire a private taxi that will hopefully be less likely to break down and will run on time. 

Merabu

Gary, Mason, Author, travellingwithgary.com

Merabu is a place that not many people would recommend as it’s so far off the normal tourist radar, but that is most definitely part of the charm. Situated deep in the rainforests of Borneo few tourists make it this far. 

Merabu is another of the very best places in Indonesia that few people know about. I loved my time here and it is real easy to lose track of time. 

There are endless opportunities to trek in the hills or meander down the chocolate-coloured waters in a canoe.

The Friendly Dayak Lebo villagers once had to fight for their rainforest they love so much. Today, the people are happy to welcome you into their homes. It is a chance to glimpse into a way of life virtually unchanged for centuries.

These impenetrable forests harbour a vast array of wildlife, but wow, you have to work to find it. The Area is not a national park it is simply a stretch of virgin rainforest you will often have to carve a path through. 

Visiting Merabu is a challenging adventure but worth every bit of effort and sure to leave memories that will last a lifetime.

Merapu, jungle, impenetrable

Where To Stay In Merabu

There are no hotels anywhere near Merabu. It is a homestay job. It is a very well set up project where each house gets a turn with tourists and they all have the chance to make some money. 

It is best to arrange your stay in advance. Contact Yervina at +6281345939332 to arrange your bed. She is in control of this thoughtful project.

How to get to Merabu

There is absolutely no public transport to Merabu village so you will need to organize private transportation. Taxis are happy to make the journey but it will cost you. It is best to ask Yarvina (phone number above) To arrange transportation for you. 

From Berau it will cost about 1,500,000 INR. Heading South to the town of Sangatta will cost you about 2,000,000 INR. However, ending your journey here will be of little value as now you have to wait for very sporadic transportation. A long taxi journey all the way to Samarinda set me back at 3,200,000. If I had to do it again I would despite the high cost.

Mentawai Islands

The Mentawai Islands are a tiny archipelago off the coast of Sumatra that is fringed by stunning beaches and is most definitely one of the best places in Indonesia.

The Mentawai Islands are famous for awesome tubes. Check out this link by Perfect Wave for an in-depth look at where and when is best.

However, there is so much more here than just world-class tubes. Some of the islands particularly Siberut is home to a Tattoo-Covered tribe of hunter-gatherers.

The tribes of the  Mentawai Islands are completely unique. The Best way to visit them is with a Mentawai Ecotourism project

If stunning beaches, surfing and tribes were not reason enough to visit the lush interior is also bursting with wildlife.

What’s more, many species found on the Mantawai Islands are found here and nowhere else on Earth including an impressive 17 species of mammal. 

There are plenty of reasons to make the Mentawai islands part of the itinerary. You decide which is your favourite. Better yet why not enjoy it all? One thing you can bet on is that the Mentawai Islands are one best places to see in Indonesia period. 

Where to stay on the Mentawai Islands

Almost everyone who is planning to trek will turn up on an all-inclusive package lasting somewhere between 2 and 6 days. You can turn up and find a guide but I am not sure it will be cheaper and there is no way to check reviews. So that opens the door to possible pain and disappointment. 

There are quite a few expensive surf retreats dotted around the islands and again they are all-inclusive. It makes sense they are expensive as every last bottle of water has to be shipped from the mainland. 

But when the costs are often in $ and not in INR plus most come with a minimum stay you know it is going to set you back a pretty penny. However, the surf here is world-class and known among surf enthusiasts everywhere. Check out good old booking.com as I have found some good deals on there to be fair. 

Getting To The Mentawai Islands

All boats to the Mentawai Islands leave from the city of Padang or from the Teluk Kabung port 30km south of Padang. Mentawai Fast is a company with a port right slap bang in the city centre and that makes for a stress-free transfer. 

Ambu Ambu and Gambolo are two more ferries that ply these routes. They lack the convenience of Mentawai fast as reaching them involves a leanthy and costly journey to reach them.

Ruffus, Hornbill, bird
Sumba, traditional, house
Bali, Temple, Lake
ijen, volcano, steaming
Tiger, Sumatra, proud
islands, tropical, above
bull, large horns, woman
Monkey, Sumatran, balacj and white

Indonesia Travel FAQ

I will now answer the most commonly asked questions about Indonesian travel according to Google although some seem obvious. Well here goes anyway.

What is the most visited destination in Indonesia?

By far the most visited destination in Indonesia is Bali. The island saw 2.1 million foreign visitors in 2022. If Bali is your chosen destination get ready to share the experience with a lot of other tourists. 

What should you not miss in Indonesia?

Do Not miss the pristine reefs, beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests, diverse wildlife and Vibrant culture. Read the article above for inspiration. 

What is the most beautiful island in Indonesia?

That is obviously a matter of opinion as there are so many to choose from. However, for me the most beautiful island in Indonesia is Sulawesi. It is hard to beat the dramatic scenery and dreamy beaches. 

Is Indonesia cheap for Americans?

Indonesia is cheap for Americans and just about any other nation from the Western world. Indonesia offers fantastic value for money by anyone’s standards. 

In Summary Of My Blog On The Best Places In Indonesia

Well done for reaching the end of this epic post and I hope you found it of value. I certainly put in the effort as I genuinely find Indonesia one of the most enchanting and beautiful countries on earth.

I believe travel is always a wise investment and important for personal growth. If you want out why I think this click the link provided. Although I think most of you would reach the same conclusion. I don’t think it is hard to work out why. 

Indonesia is as good a place as any to experience new things. Plus the warm hospitable Indonesian people make every day a delight to explore. I am not just saying it, there is so much to do here working out the best places in Indonesia for your needs is a question of great value.  

If you have any further questions about this please don’t hesitate to ask. With that, I will see you in the next post and happy planning guys.

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