The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Indonesia

Rice terrace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Rice terrace in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia | © Christophe Faugere / Shutterstock
Photo of Edira Putri
30 April 2021

The sprawling archipelago of Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands, 300 ethnicities and countless idyllic landscapes, making it ever-intriguing to explore. From majestic mountains to glorious temples, discover the most beautiful places in the country.

Dieng Plateau

Natural Feature
Map View
Lake Telaga Menjer, Dieng Plateau, Wonosobo
Lake Telaga Menjer, Dieng Plateau, Wonosobo | © Mulawardi Sutanto / Alamy Stock Photo
Perched at 2,000m (6,562ft) above sea level, Dieng Plateau is one of the coolest destinations in Indonesia, and not just weather-wise. Other than the sweeping mountain view of jungles and distant villages, this highland also has a multi-coloured lake, a hot spring and ancient Hindu temples. Once a year, tourists flock to the spot for a much-anticipated festival that includes traditional rituals, performances, and jazz above the clouds.

Borobudur Temple

Archaeological site, Buddhist Temple
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Candi Borobudur, Jawa, Indonesia
Candi Borobudur, Jawa, Indonesia | © Valery Bocman / Shutterstock
The biggest Buddhist sanctuary in the world is must-visit, not only because of its religious significance but also for the beauty and charm. Built around the eighth century, this temple is a reflection of the long and intricate national history, incorporating religion, culture, customs and architecture. Visiting, you can observe the ornate and mesmerising stone carvings, gaze at the main grand structure and immerse themselves in the surrounding scenery.

Komodo National Park

Park
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Mighty and otherworldly, the Komodo dragon could be the most fascinating creature on earth – and one you can only encounter in the wild at the Komodo National Park. And that lizard is hardly the only interesting thing in the string of exotic islands that constitute the reserve. The three islands (Komodo, Padar, and Rinca) have glorious hills and a beach view, along with a breathtaking coastline, lush tropical hills and thriving underwater wildlife. Komodo Island even has the famed pink sand beach, while Padar Island has an iconic hill with a view of three magnificent bays.

Raja Ampat

Natural Feature
Map View

With an incredibly lively underwater scene, this tropical paradise is home to more than 530 species of coral, 700 species of mollusk and 1,300 types of fish. Despite the magnetism of exotic species and a breathtaking island view, Raja Ampat remains largely pristine, largely thanks to the remote location. More than just a divers’ paradise, Raja Ampat is also unforgettable for birdwatchers, photographers and adventurers. Hell, even if you just long for a luxury vacation with an amazing view, you’ll have a great time.

Mount Bromo

Natural Feature
Map View
Mount Bromo area, Java
Mount Bromo area, Java | © dbimages / Alamy Stock Photo
This volcano, often surrounded by smoke and a multi-colored sky, has become one of the iconic sights of Indonesia. Watching the sunrise at Mount Bromo from Java Island is an unforgettable excursion. The volcano also shares the area with a vast desert, other lush mountains and hills, sweeping flower fields and some waterfalls, most of which can be explored in a day or two.

Ubud

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Considered the art and culture capital of Bali, Ubud charms with elegant art galleries and lively traditional performances. It’s also a beautiful neighborhood: the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, for example, is a must-visit spot while in Bali. The lush jungles and calming rivers have also provided many wellness retreats with a serene atmosphere. Even a casual stroll or meal in this locality could easily come with a lovely view of nature or architecture.

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Lake Toba

Natural Feature
Map View
Toba is not only the biggest lake in the country; it could be the most beautiful. Almost twice the size of Singapore, there are so many viewpoints from which you can enjoy this volcanic lake, surrounded by hills and lush greenery. Make sure you visit Samosir, the charming island in the middle of the lake. Then, in the nearby villages, you can also explore the fascinating Batak culture.

Tana Toraja

Natural Feature
Map View
Green and brown rice terrace fields in Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi
Green and brown rice terrace fields in Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi | © Hans Gert Broeder / Alamy Stock Photo
Mostly prized for the bewitching local funeral customs, Tana Toraja is a beautiful destination. This highland in South Sulawesi has a majestic backdrop of mountain scenery, lush tropical jungles, and ornate villages with captivating traditional houses. Tourists can start the day watching the sun rise from above the clouds, then continue exploring the villages and picturesque hills, including the eerie but fascinating burial cave.’

Derawan Islands

Natural Feature
Map View
Free dive at Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia
Free dive at Derawan, Borneo, Indonesia | © Misbachul Munir / Shutterstock
This archipelago in East Kalimantan is a stellar example of a tropical paradise. It’s comprised of six islands and some smaller islets, each with individual adventures and charm. Maratua Island, for example, has sublime sea caves, lakes and lavish resorts. Kakaban Island offers swimming in a lake full of stingless jellyfish. Meanwhile, Sangalaki Island is popular for diving and snorkeling; the thriving underwater scene is filled with coral, manta rays, turtles and more. The relatively remote location helps conserve the natural beauty of this archipelago, keeping it pristine and beautiful

Bangka Belitung Islands

Natural Feature
Map View

Located off the coast of mainland Sumatra, Bangka Belitung Island is famed for its idyllic beaches with blissful white sand, iconic granite boulders, and palm trees. But beyond the translucent water and hypnotizing sunsets, the locality is also home to impressive cultural and historical landmarks—many of which are heritage buildings from the colonial era—that suit the charming natural view. From this archipelago, tourists can also venture to the surrounding smaller inhabited islands for even more pristine natural beauty.

Wae Rebo Village

Natural Feature
Map View
Bird eye view of indigenous conical huts in Wae Rebo Village, Flores Island, Indonesia
Bird eye view of indigenous conical huts in Wae Rebo Village, Flores Island, Indonesia | © Suwida Boonyatistarn / Shutterstock

The unique charm of this village in Flores has earned it more and more recognition worldwide. The cone-shaped houses align beautifully against the backdrop of mountains and mist; they’re adored by domestic and international tourists alike. Don’t miss the surrounding nature either, with thriving orchids, wildlife and tropical greeneries all nearby.

Lombok

Natural Feature
Map View
Selamat_Pagi,_Kuta_Lombok
Selamat Pagi, Kuta Lombok | © Focusfeel / WikiCommons
Some say Lombok reminds them of Bali decades ago, before the island became a tourist magnet. The landscape and beaches here are no doubt on par with Bali – in fact, their pristine state may make them even more beautiful. Among the most glorious sights are the volcano Mount Rinjani and Pink Beach. The Gili Islands, just off the coast of Lombok, are also a must-visit, offering a mix of natural beauty and modern attractions such as luxury resorts and hip bars.

Nusa Islands

Natural Feature
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Kelingking Beach on Nusa Penida
Kelingking Beach on Nusa Penida | © Galjan / Shutterstock

Sometimes dubbed The Maldives of Bali, this string of three islands off the coast of Bali is an up-and-coming tropical paradise with natural attractions that many would argue outshine the famed mainland. Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan each have their own specialty, but all three offer a splendid underwater scene. There’s always thriving wildlife and translucent water all around – perfect for diving, snorkeling or water sports. Other favourite activities include cliff-jumping in Nusa Ceningan, crossing the yellow bridge between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, caving and hiking.

Bukittinggi

Natural Feature, Building
Map View
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Minangkabau traditional house in Bukittinggi | © Robert Wilson / Flickr

This charming town in West Sumatra is at the forefront of tourism in the province. At 930m (3,051ft) above sea level, it has a glorious highland view and crisp air. Popular destinations include the majestic Sianok Canyon, Japanese WWII tunnels, hilltop fortress Fort de Kock, Pasar Atas market and Jam Gadang clock tower, which was built during the colonial era in 1926.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Sarine Arslanian.

These recommendations were updated on April 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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