I Want to Travel the World: 10 Must-See Places to Visit in Indonesia

Asia, Travel & Culture

This list of places to visit in Indonesia will help you prepare a trip to a country full of exotic corners that we are sure will leave you speechless.

This country known for:

being one of the great jewels of Southeast Asia, has a varied and extensive offer for all types of travelers and trips highlighting its more than 17000 islands where you will find from tourist sites such as Bali and the Gili Islands to less crowded places like Sulawesi, Sumatra or Papua New Guinea.

In addition to all its natural wonders, temples and beaches, Indonesia has some of the most incredible seabed in the world and a population that will welcome you with a smile that will make that when you return, you can only count the days left to return.

If you are not yet convinced to travel to Indonesia, we can assure you that another of its strong points is its wide range of healthy and delicious cuisine based on rice, fish, vegetables, chicken and fantastic natural fruit juices.

You must bear in mind that this country is unreachable in a single trip, if you do not have several months, reason why we recommend you for a first trip, to concentrate in the zone of Java and Bali, and if you have time left over, to dedicate some days to know the islands Gili, Komodo and Flores or zones of Borneo and Sulawesi.

The best time to travel to Indonesia:

During the dry months that go from May to October, this way you will avoid that the monsoon rains ruin your trip. It is necessary to bear in mind also that the prices in the summer months in tourist zones like Bali increase very much and that to the being a very extensive country it is necessary to be informed of the particular forecasts of each island that you want to visit.

Here are the 10 must-see places in Indonesia. Let’s do it!!


1. Bali

Bali, known as the Island of the Gods, is one of the places to visit in Indonesia more essential and more paradisiacal of the world.

For us it is also one of our favorite places in the world to live for a season, something we did the last time we visited the island, spending more than a month in a villa rented with Airbnb near Ubud from where we wrote the Bali freelance travel guide.

Visiting some of the more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, strolling through its beautiful rice fields, bathing under an impressive waterfall, surfing on the wild beaches of the south, doing some trekking like climbing the Batur volcano or having a relaxing foot or back massage, are just some of the best things to do in Bali.

Another of the best advice to travel to Bali is to lodge in Ubud and to make routes of a day in motorcycle, car of rent or car with driver, by the most beautiful places of the island, something that will allow you at the same time, to know the island and to take relaxed days to enjoy to the maximum of the paradise.

If you prefer to spend the last days of relaxation in the beaches of the south of the island, you can make before a circular route by the places to visit in Bali more essential to later dedicate the end of the trip to the most absolute relaxation.

Nusa Penida, Klungkung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Nusa Penida, Klungkung Regency, Bali
One of the places to visit in Indonesia.
Nusa Penida Island - Indonesia - Travel Tips

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Nusa Penida Island – Indonesia Travel Tips – Full Guide

2. Sumatra

Sumatra, the largest island to visit in Indonesia and the sixth largest in the world, offers a variety of experiences and landscapes difficult to match anywhere else in the world.

On this island you can walk among rice terraces or through the lush jungle, relax on quiet beaches, snorkel or dive in its clear waters, surf, see orangutans in the wild and with a lot of luck a tiger, climb a volcano and above all, feel the hospitality of its people.

Keep in mind that Sumatra and Borneo are the only two places in the world where you can see orangutans in the wild, being in this case obliged to move to the area of Bukit Lawang and Gunung Leuser National Park.

Another of the best experiences in Sumatra is to climb one of the active volcanoes such as Sibayak, Sinabung or Merapi.

After touring part of the island by bus or plane you can relax on the island of Pulau Weh or the Mentawai Islands, perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Mount Sinabung, North Sumatra - place to visit in Indonesia
Mount Sinabung, Kuta Gugung, Karo Regency, North Sumatra

3. National park of Tanjung Puting

Tanjung Puting is a national park located in the south of the island of Borneo and is without a doubt, another of the places to see in Indonesia essential.

Famous for the conservation and care of the orangutan thanks to rehabilitation and procreation programs, it has become a world reference and one of the places you can not miss on your trip, although in recent times it has become quite touristy.

For us, traveling along the Sekonyer River in a klotok, a wooden boat, and stopping at the different orangutan observation points, was one of the best experiences we have had in our travels. We were also able to see orangutans in the wild and other species such as the snub-nosed monkey and enjoy spectacular views at night with the fireflies that settle in the palms, forming beautiful Christmas trees.

To reach the park, the best option is by plane from Jakarta or Semarang, landing at the small airport of Pangkalan Bun.

Although you can hire the klotok at the pier itself, we recommend booking in advance to avoid running out of places, especially in recent years, which has greatly increased the influx of tourism.

Orangutan in Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan, Indonesia
Orangutan in Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan, Indonesia

Recommended cards for travel

Remember that to avoid paying commissions and to always have the current exchange rate we recommend you to use the Revolut card or the Wise card, are free and will save you a lot of money.

4. Komodo and Flores Islands

The Komodo National Park consists of 29 islands and was created in 1980 to protect the world’s largest lizards endemic to these islands, the famous Komodo dragons.

Boat excursions to visit these huge dragons, which can reach 3 meters long, are made with the company of a ranger to protect you from any attack of this dangerous animal. These boats depart from Flores, another of the islands to visit in Indonesia and a real paradise for nature lovers, with beautiful landscapes dotted with small villages and surrounded by rice terraces.

To reach these two islands you can take a plane from Denpasar that will take you in a short time to Labuan Bajo, located on the island of Flores. Once in Labuan Bajo and after touring the island of Flores, you can negotiate with a local agency or dive center to make a two or three-day excursion to Komodo National Park, where in addition to seeing dragons, you can snorkel and swim in spectacular beaches. Another alternative is to book in advance the excursion here.

A less safe and not very recommendable option to arrive to Komodo is to take one of the old boats that leave from Bali, Lombok or the Gili Islands, that are another of the places to visit in Indonesia.

Padar Island, Komodo, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Padar Island, Komodo, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

5. Borobudur and Prambanan

The temples of Prambanan and Borobudur, both declared World Heritage Sites, are one of the wonders of the island of Java and another of the places to visit in Indonesia.
Prambanan, is a spectacular set of more than 200 Hindu temples of the ninth century, which has a certain resemblance to the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, in which despite the passage of time and several earthquakes, you can see beautiful sculptures and stone carvings.

To reach Prambanan from the nearby town of Yogyakarta you can take bus 1A on Maliboro Street, which leaves you in less than half an hour a few meters from the entrance.

Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world and another of the places to see in Indonesia, impresses with its more than seventy stone stupas with a Buddha statue under each of them. In addition to the stupas, this monument built between 750 and 850, has six square platforms decorated with relief panels and numerous statues of Buddha that make it a place of Buddhist pilgrimage.

To get to Borabudur from Yogyakarta you can take bus 2A or 2B from Jombor Terminal to the last stop and from there another bus to the entrance of the temple in a total journey of no more than an hour.

Another more comfortable option to reach these two temples and learn about their history is to book this day tour with English speaking guide from Yogyakarta, where you can choose to see the sunrise or sunset at Borobudur, two unforgettable moments in this place to visit in Indonesia essential.

Borobudur Java Indonesia
Buddhist monk in Borobudur, Java, Indonesia

6. Bunaken Marine Park and Raja Ampat, another of the places to see in Indonesia

Bunaken, an archipelago of more than 1500 islands located in the north of the island of Celebes, near the Philippines, is one of the best places to dive in the world and what to see in Indonesia.

The richness of its seabed full of corals and all kinds of tropical fish, the depth and clarity of its waters in addition to the temperature which is around 30 degrees all year round, make it a paradise for all diving lovers.

To reach the Bunaken Islands the best option is to take an internal flight to Manado and from there book dives with some dive centers, which meet the standards of safety and quality.

Another impressive place to dive is Raja Ampat located in West Papua, where you can find a protected marine area where you can find one of the greatest biodiversity in the world and you can see from mantas, turtles, sharks, ghost pipefish, dudongs, to hundreds of varieties of corals.
To get to Raja Ampat you can take a flight to Sorong and from there get on a boat to reach some of the best islands for diving as Mioskun and Misool, other places to visit in Indonesia.

Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Dampier Strait, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

7. Gili Islands, one of the places to visit in Indonesia

Another of our favorite places to see in Indonesia are the small Gili Islands, located less than two hours by boat from Bali.

These three small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, surrounded by a spectacular seabed, are a paradise for those looking for a few days of relaxation after a great trip around the country and for divers.

Keep in mind that there are many things to do in the Gili Islands and that each of them has different characteristics and a different atmosphere, so you have to choose well in which you are going to stay or change, if you have enough time.

Gili Trawangan is the least quiet island and has numerous hotels, villas, restaurants, discos, diving companies and young people willing to have fun.

Gili Air, although it has grown a lot lately, still retains a backpacker atmosphere and a good infrastructure, which makes it for us, the best of the options and one of the places to visit in Indonesia essential.

Gili Meno, located between Gili Trawangan and Gili Air, is perfect for couples who want to enjoy the beach and a more relaxed atmosphere, although it also has the least infrastructure.

To arrive to the Gili Islands the best option, already be from the tourist Bali or the neighboring Lombok, is with fast boat. The majority of travelers contract a package that includes the transport from the hotel to the port and the transfer in fast boat to the island. The price is between 70 and 90 euros, round trip and a good option is to reserve with anticipation the ticket to a similar price and with an agency of confidence. to avoid surprises of last minute.

Gili Islands - places to visit in Indonesia
Gili Islands, Indonesia (biggest Gili Air Island in front)

Travel insurance for Indonesia

To travel to Indonesia, there is nothing better than having a good travel insurance. You can be travel insured with Mondo, with whom you can take a fully adequate insurance to the needs that you will have on the trip.

8. Bromo National Park

The Bromo National Park, located to the east of Java, is one of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes of the world and another of the places to visit in Indonesia essential.

This immense park has in the Bromo volcano, one of the most active volcanoes of Java, the Semeru volcano which is the highest in Java with 3676 meters and the Tenger Sand Sea of 16 kilometers in diameter, its most outstanding places.

To enjoy a full view of these 3 places is essential to climb before sunrise to the viewpoint located on the mountain Gunung Penanjaka from where you can see the sunrise.
After sunrise you can go down to the “Sea of Sand”, an extensive area of volcanic sand, which looks like a lunar landscape, where you can even see a Hindu temple and climb stairs to the crater of Mount Bromo, depending on the level of activity and emanation of gases from the volcano.

We arrived at Bromo National Park from the city of Malang hiring a 4×4 that took us to the viewpoint and the Sand Sea area. You can complete the Java volcanoes route with a trek to Ijen, another of the most famous volcanoes to see in Indonesia, where miners work collecting sulfur blocks in subhuman conditions.

Another highly recommended alternative is to reserve this tour of 3 days for the Bromo Mount and Ijen from Yogyakarta to Bali, this one from Surabaya, both in Spanish or this excursion to the volcano Bromo from Surabaya.

Bromo National Park, Semeru volcano - best place to visit Indonesia
Bromo National Park, Semeru volcano
East Java, Indonesia

9. Lombok, another of the places that to visit in Indonesia

Lombok, known as the Island of the Pearls, remains to the shadow of its neighbor Bali still maintaining low levels of tourism that do not correspond with the marvels that it hides.

This wild island in the predominant green of its rice fields and its immense forests full of waterfalls, has in the trekking to the Rinjani volcano and in the beaches of turquoise waters, its main attractions, making of this island, another of the places to visit in Indonesia.

In addition to these wonders, Lombok has other essential places to see as Sasak Village, a traditional village of the native ethnic group of the island, the beach of Kuta for beginners or surfing, the waterfalls Tiu Kelep and Sengang Gile, the beautiful beach Tanjung Aan and Hindu temples like the Meru.

To tour the island you can rent a motorcycle or hire a car with driver, although it is essential to bear in mind that you have to negotiate the price and the places you want to see before getting into the cab, as sometimes they are aspects that are not usually made clear and thus avoid surprises or misunderstandings on the way.

Another recommended option can be to contract this tour for the island of Lombok to the complete one with guide in Spanish.

To arrive to Lombok, another of the places to see in Indonesia essential, we took a fast boat from the port Padangbai of Bali that takes little more than one hour.
If you are not in Bali or in the Gili Islands, located to few minutes in boat of Lombok, the best option to arrive to the island is to land to the international airport of Mataran.

Pandanan Beach - Lombok - place to visit in Indonesia
Pandanan Beach – Lombok, Indonesia

How to have internet in Indonesia?

If you want to have internet in Indonesia a good option is to buy a Holafly SIM card, with which you will have internet from the moment you land, several Gb of data, keeping your WhatsApp number.

10. Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja is the most famous region of Sulawesi Island and one of the most impressive places to visit in Indonesia, turned into a tourist destination thanks to the traditional houses known as tongkonan, which are shaped like a saddle, and for the funerals of the Torajas.

The tongkonan, built of wood and decorated with colorful geometric shapes, can be seen inside in the tourist village of Kete Kesu or in other villages, if you are invited by a clan or family.

Another of the best things to do in Indonesia and in this area, is to attend a funeral of the Toraja, unique in the world, which has become one of the great reasons to travel to this area of the country.

For this ethnic group, a Toraja is not dead until the funeral is held and must be cared for, fed, talked to, as if he were still alive at home. The funerals, which can last several days, do not take place until the whole family of the dead person gathers, usually in the dry season of July and August.
It is advisable not to refuse any invitation to see the deceased in any house or to attend a funeral in exchange for an offering, as it could be considered as a slight.

To get to Tana Toraja from Jakarta or Denpasar, the best option is by plane landing in Macasar, the capital of the island. From there you can take a day or night bus that takes about 9 hours passing through roads with many curves and potholes before arriving at another of the places to visit in Indonesia must-see.

Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia
Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Common Questions:

Q:What local cuisine in Indonesia should we try?
A: The indigenous cuisine, which comprises of rice, fish, veggies, chicken, and excellent natural juices, is both healthful and delectable.


Q:When should I travel to Indonesia?
A: To avoid the inconvenience of monsoon rains, the best time to visit is between May and October during the dry season.


Q:What is Bali’s top lodging option?
A:The greatest option is Ubud, where you can unwind and enjoy paradise while taking a day tour by motorbike, vehicle, or driver to some of the island’s most stunning locations.


Q:What is Bali’s top lodging option?
A:The greatest option is Ubud, where you can unwind and enjoy paradise while taking a day tour by motorbike, vehicle, or driver to some of the island’s most stunning locations.


Q:Where in Indonesia might we find orangutans?
A: Bukit Lawang and Gunung Leuser National Parks on Sumatra and Borneo, respectively, are the only sites in the world where orangutans may be found living in the wild.


Q:What credit card do you think works best for traveling?
A: Revolut or Wise card is recommended since you may eliminate commissions and always pay at the most recent currency rate. They are also free!


Q:What are the activities in Raja Ampat and Bunaken Marine Park?
A: One of the top dive sites in the world is the 1,500-island archipelago of Bunaken, which is located between Celebes and the Philippines. For those who are interested in aquatic life, Raja Ampat provides a vast range of plants and animals.


Q:Why should I go to the Gili Islands?
A: The magnificent seabed is located apart from the three little islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Looking for a calm setting with your significant other at your side? Visit Gili Meno. seeking amusement This is the location for you: Gili Trawang!


Q:What kind of insurance do I need for trip to Indonesia?
A: Purchasing quality travel insurance, such as from Mondo, is the best way to travel to Indonesia. For the conditions you require, they can provide you with the greatest insurance.

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