- Edira Putri
As the world’s biggest archipelago, it’s safe to say that no other country has as many island destinations as Indonesia. Among its 17,000 islands, each with its own allure and charm, these are the most beautiful islands in Indonesia.
Not just a home to pristine beaches and other natural charms, the Bangka-Belitung Islands also have impressive cultural and historical landmarks, including buildings established during the colonial era and Indonesia’s first literary museum. Nature remains the islands’ foremost attraction, especially the iconic white sand beach with translucent water and granite rock formations. Tourists can also visit the surrounding smaller uninhabited islands for an even more flawless natural beauty.
This relatively new-found paradise has quickly gained affection and reputation among travelers for its beauty and exotic wildlife inhabitants. Comprising of six beautiful islands with different charms and characteristics, the Derawan Islands offer an all-in island adventure —snorkeling, diving, riding a boat in a lake as clear as glass, exploring sea caves, chilling in lavish resorts, to swimming in a stingless jellyfish lake.
Often dubbed Bali’s more laid-back sister, Lombok has a beauty matching its popular sibling. The island hosts a wide array of attractions, from mountains, beaches, hills, forests, temples, even historic cities. Many of its idyllic beaches are a surfers’ paradise, especially for those who prefer a less crowded and intimate atmosphere. Many local tourists visit the island to hike the beautiful volcano Gunung Rinjani, with its iconic lake on top.
Located in the less-traveled eastern part of Indonesia, this island was once an important part of the international trade route during the colonial era, also as an island rich in valuable spices. Many historical buildings and fortresses are still standing today, adding a cultural and historical value to the island. Nature-wise, the island is still very much unspoiled and clean, a perfect spot to enjoy and observe marine life in its most natural habitat.
Wakatobi Islands off the shore of Sulawesi has been a world-famous diving spot for decades. Even so, it’s still relatively quiet and pristine compared to other mainstream diving destinations in Indonesia, due to its rather remote location. Each of the archipelago’s four islands has its own unique charm —from marine life, coral reefs, to rare species.
Raja Ampat Islands
Located in the easternmost region of Indonesia, the Raja Ampat Islands manage to maintain its pristine, pure condition, despite being one of the most popular diving sites in the world. Located near the heart of the coral triangle, tourists can expect nothing less than hundreds of exotic species —from corals, fish, to birds. Although the area is developed with lavish resorts and hotels, tourists can also opt to live with locals and immerse in the beautiful culture of Papua.
Translated as “a thousand islands”, this archipelago off the coast of Java comprises of hundreds of small, mostly virgin and uninhabited islands. Some of them are well-developed and commercialized, such as the Bidadari Island, Pramuka Island, and Tidung Island. Other than the natural charms and idyllic beaches, these particular islands is also popular for the strategic location near the capital Jakarta.
This may be a little too obvious, but Bali is among the most beautiful and popular islands in Indonesia. For decades, it has stayed high on the list of island destinations for its many appeals —cultural, historical, spiritual, natural, and more. Welcoming millions of international tourists yearly, there is something for every tourist in this island, from beaches, mountains, sports, food, markets, restaurants, you name it. Even those who have been coming back to this gorgeous island still find something new to do, while many others decided to stay on the island and engage in the never-ending adventure it provides.
The Gili Islands consists of three small islands. Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three, is the most modern, known for its vibrant nightlife. Gili Meno, on the other hand, is far more serene and quiet, making it a popular honeymoon destination. Gili Air is an adventurers’ paradise, with an impressive underwater world hiding the rarest and most dangerous marine species. Even though the three islands have such contrasting features, tourists can visit all three in one visit due to their conveniently close locations.
Flores, named after the Portuguese word for ‘flowers’, is a gorgeous small island in East Nusa Tenggara. Although the island features many natural charms —mountains, lakes, and beaches — perhaps the most intriguing quality of the island is its culture. Flores is home to many different ethnic groups, each with its own culture and custom. In many villages, like the Wae Rebo village known for its iconic traditional houses, tourists are welcome to explore and even stay to learn the locals’ ways.