Indonesia is one of the largest archipelagos in the world, made up of at least 17,000 islands, so if you’re looking for island adventure, you’ve come to the right place.
Some islands make up the main provinces of Indonesia such as Sumatra, Java, Lombok and Bali, many smaller islands are uninhabited, but if you look for something in the middle then you will find a very wide variety of islands Perfect for a relaxing beach holiday, ideal if you want to go diving and explore some of Indonesia’s underwater fun.
Depending on your budget and how far you want to travel, you can still stay away from the crowds while staying fairly close to the main hubs, or if you really want to get off the grid, you can head to some of Indonesia’s off the beaten track enclaves for a while.
Here are 15 of the best islands in Indonesia…
1. Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is part of three islands collectively known as the Gili Islands, located off the coast of Lombok.
Easily accessible by fast or slow boat from neighboring Bali, Gili Trawangan is the largest of the Gili Islands and is often referred to as Gili T. Even though this is the largest island, you can still rent a bike and explore it in a few hours. The sights you’ll see along the way include a turtle sanctuary and vast coconut groves.
During the day you’ll find the must-have sandy beaches and crystal clear waters here, but at night Gili Trawangan comes alive and you can enjoy the excitement consisting of live music, late-night bars, and even party nights and themed events People’s nightlife.
2. Wakatobi Islands
The Wakatobi Islands are the collective name for four islands that form a small archipelago in the southern part of Sulawesi, consisting of Wangiwangi, Kaledupa, Tomiya and Binongko.
The Wakatobi Islands are known for great diving, so if you want to explore under the waves in Indonesia, this is the place to go.
The islands are also within the wider Wakatobi National Park, which aims to preserve marine biodiversity here, and you can enjoy walking around the islands and snorkeling or swimming.
To get to the Wakatobi Islands, you need to pass through Bali, but the long trip is well worth visiting an unspoiled beach paradise that many tourists don’t see.
3. Mentawai Islands
The Mentawai Islands are a collection of more than seventy islands located on the west coast of Sumatra.
The best way to think about the Mentawai people (as they are often called) is like the Sumatra version of Bali, as there is a developed surf culture here that attracts surfers from all over the world.
A series of surfing competitions are held here every year, and it is said that some of the best surfing competitions in Southeast Asia can be found in Mentawai.
If you don’t want to take advantage of the waves, you can take a boat tour that will take you around the island at coves and inlets, or you can hike through the interiors of the many islands and explore the lush rainforest.
4. Lembongan Island
If you don’t want to go too far off the beaten track, but want to stay away from the tourist areas, then Lembongan is a good choice.
Located off the coast of Bali, many people mistakenly believe that Lembongan is part of the same area, even though it is actually a different regency.
Despite its proximity to Bali and Lombok, Lembongan is often overlooked by tourists, which means it still maintains a peaceful vibe and a relaxed pace, and if you love diving, it’s better than most of Bali Choose because the visibility is clearer and you have a good chance of seeing sharks, rays and turtles.
Located in the wider Raja Ampat archipelago in West Papua, the outer islands are one of the hardest to reach and one of the most stunning in Indonesia.
The islands are actually located on coral atolls, covered with white sandy beaches and surrounded by azure seas and blooming coral reefs that are teeming with colorful fish and other marine life.
Sunsets on the island are known for being spectacular, and if you want to spend the day in the ocean and relax on the beach at night, this is not to be missed.
Due to its small size, there is a resort here, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a beach vacation in a secluded location.
6. Geely Airlines
Gili Air is the second largest island in Lombok’s Gili Islands, and although busier than the smallest, Gili Meno, it is quieter than Gili Trawangan.
Many people choose to come here to get away from the party atmosphere of Gili Trawangan, you’ll find some great snorkeling and diving here, and there’s some nice coral offshore that attracts turtles, and maybe even odd ones if you’re lucky whale shark.
You can also hike across the island via a series of scenic trails, and in the evenings you’ll find restaurants on the waterfront serving fresh seafood cooked over hot coals.
7. Bangka – Belitung Islands
The Bangka-Belitung archipelago is located to the east of the main island of Sumatra, and many Indonesians will tell you that these are the most beautiful islands in the archipelago, and indeed deserve praise.
There are many domestic tourists on the island, and while foreigners rarely travel here, you’ll find azure waters and clean sand mixed with scenic rock formations.
There are seven islands here that you can visit as part of a boat tour, allowing you to enjoy island hopping at a leisurely pace, many of which are covered in tropical flora and fauna.
One of them is the island of “lengkuas”, which in English means galangal, a type of ginger that grows in the area.
8. Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is close to Bali and is connected to neighboring Nusa Lembongan by a bridge.
Many choose to come here instead of Nusa Lembongan if they want to be completely off the grid, you won’t find much here other than some seaweed farms, long sandy beaches and beautiful diving and snorkeling opportunities.
The island is very low-key, with little to no Wi-Fi reception and no nightlife to speak of, so come here if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
Many also believe that diving around Nusa Penida is slightly better than Nusa Lembongan, and since there are relatively few tourists here, you can dive with rays and turtles close to the shore.
9. Samosir Island
If you’re looking for a different island experience, then consider visiting Samosir Island in the middle of Lake Toba on Sumatra.
Claimed to be the largest crater lake in the world, Lake Toba is located in an extinct volcano and filled with water from underground springs.
You can swim in the lake or take a boat tour of the waters, and on Samosir itself, you can explore traditional Batak villages and learn how these indigenous people lived in the days gone by.
There is also a cemetery where you can see the ornate tombs of the ancient Batak kings, and if you rent a motorbike and head to the hills around Samosir you will find pleasant hot springs perfect for an afternoon soak.
10. Lembeh Island
Many islands in Indonesia offer you diving opportunities, but Lembeh is a little different as it is known for its silt diving opportunities.
Located on the island of Sulawesi and accessible from the town of Bitung, the waters around Lembeh Island are filled with natural sediments and home to an astonishing array of underwater creatures, if macro photography is your thing, this is the place to be. miss.
You may find some species here, including nudibranchs, crabs and cuttlefish, and you may even spot whale sharks or dugongs while diving here.
11. Seram Island
Seram actually means “terrible” in Indonesian, but don’t let the name keep you from visiting here.
Located in Maluku, one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the archipelago, famous for trekking.
Much of the island is made up of dense forest, and you can follow several trails across the island to admire the local flora and fauna.
You need to put in a bit more effort to visit Seram than anywhere else in Indonesia, but it’s well worth it for the relaxed atmosphere and unspoiled water views.
12. Wey Island
Weh Island, a small piece of land off the coast of the northernmost province of Aceh in Indonesia, is a fascinating excursion for those who venture here.
Easily accessible from big cities like Medan in North Sumatra, Weh Island is a hidden gem in Indonesia, and if you want a relaxing snorkel, you’ll find the vast sandy beaches and azure waters ideal.
Although less frequented by foreigners, there is a healthy domestic market, so you’ll find all sorts of amenities such as hotels, restaurants, and cafes.
13. Karimunjawa Islands
The Karimunjawa Islands sit in the Java Sea and many locals will tell you that they are said to be the new Bali in the next few years.
Locals flock here, and while the Karimunjawa Islands are rarely visited by foreigners, if you travel here, you’ll find tropical beaches and numerous diving spots with excellent visibility.
Snorkeling and swimming are also popular pastimes here, or you can join a jungle trek that takes you into lush valleys and through stunning canyons and streams.
14. Gili Meno
Gili Meno is the smallest of the Gili Islands and is therefore a popular location for honeymooners or those looking to get away from it all.
As with all Gili Islands, there are no cars, you can get around by horse-drawn carriage or rent a bicycle.
If you want to try snorkeling, you can also walk around the island in a few hours and enjoy the gentle waters offshore.
With no pollution, the ocean is crystal clear and almost guaranteed to turtles and rays.
At night, you can sit in a beachside café and enjoy the tranquility, which is a good option if you don’t want to venture off the beaten track, as you can easily hop to Gili Meno from Lombok or Bali.
15. Komodo Island
Located off the coast of Flores, Komodo Island is one of the most famous islands in Indonesia.
The clue is in the name, as the island is home to the fearsome Komodo dragons.
Dragons are actually not as scary as they sound and are actually a large lizard, although their saliva is poisonous so you don’t want to be bitten.
Luckily, Komodo Island has a series of guides who will take you to various places where you can safely observe the dragons, and they carry a large forked stick that is said to keep the dragons from getting too close.
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