When it comes to natural beauty, Indonesia’s appeal is endless, with countless of attractions from which to choose. The following destinations are prominent and beautiful enough that the country has declared and preserved them as nationally protected areas. From mountains to oceans, discover the most beautiful national parks in Indonesia.
To say that Komodo National Park is a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction would be an understatement, as it has qualities that no other places in the world have. This national park is the only place where people can encounter the rare and ancient species of Komodo dragons, one of the oldest animal species that still exist today and often dubbed as “the last dinosaur on earth.”
Komodo National Park comprises three big islands – Komodo Island, Padar Island, and Rinca Island – and some smaller islands. The spot’s rich wildlife extends far beyond the dragon, with abundant biodiversity ranging from the mighty Timor deer, dugongs, dolphins, turtles, as well as 1,000+ species of tropical fish, corals, and sponges. Due to its pristine mesmerizing beaches and hills, the Komodo Island in Komodo National Park is also a popular honeymoon destination.
Located deep in one of the world’s most prominent lungs, Borneo, this area makes a wonderful home for the adorable orangutan primates, as well as other peculiar native species such as the bearded pig, pythons, and pitcher plant. The park, with an area of 416,000 hectares, consists of forests, swamps, mangroves, and even a coastal beach, presenting visitors with a wide range of flora and fauna. Beyond a popular ecotourism destination, the park also houses research centers and conservation facilities for orangutans.
Throughout the massive Indonesian archipelago, Bunaken National Park covers one of the planet’s densest spots for marine biodiversity. It has a very rich coral ecosystem lying on the seabed, including the impressive and massive vertical coral wall inhabited by various corals, sponges, and mollusks. With those impressive features, Bunaken National Park has at least 20 popular diving points with varying highlights, difficulty levels, and depths. Beyond the sea, this national park’s beauty expands to its land area, with lush palm trees, coconut trees, and endemic species of wild deer, macaque, and bear cuscus.
The expansive national park spans over four provinces in Sumatra and includes the country’s second highest volcano peak, Mount Kerinci. The unspoiled nature helps wildlife to thrive in this area, making the national park a home to a mixture of peculiar species. More than 4,000 plant species also call the park home, including the world’s largest flower, Rafflesia arnoldi, and also the tallest flower, Titan arum. The area is also the natural habitat of protected wild species of tigers, rhinoceroses, and birds.
The massive Krakatoa explosion in 1883 wiped out villages, which, in turn, caused humans to flee, in the area that now makes up the national park, allowing the peninsula to host various flora and fauna. Decades later, people returned, but only to preserve and observe the vibrant wildlife in the lowland rainforest. The park includes the Krakatoa islets, some small nearby islands, and the peninsula area at the westernmost of Java. The protected park is home to numerous endangered animals and plants species, including the iconic one-horned rhinoceros, Java mouse-deer, silvery gibbon, and more.
Located in Lampung, Sumatra, the Way Kambas National Park is home to some critically endangered species, including Sumatran elephants, tigers, and rhinoceroses. Locally, the park is well known as a habitat and conservation area for elephants where visitors can interact with the animals. The park also has an elephant training center with accommodations nearby. It also has mangrove areas, freshwater forests, and a coastline. Sadly, the park and the endangered animals are under constant threat of poaching.
Although many parts of Bali are now well-developed touristy destinations, raw natural beauty remains at the tip of its northwest area. West Bali National Park features lush greeneries, majestic hills, and mountains, as well as idyllic, pristine beaches. The park is home to some endemic species and exotic birds, including the endangered white Bali Starling, sacred kingfisher, and more. The park area also includes Menjangan Island, a favorite diving spot known for its beautiful walls and untouched corals.
This national park highlights Mount Bromo, an awe-inspiring active volcano that sits in the middle of a plain called Segara Wedi (Sea of Sand). The iconic blown-off top, showing an active crater that emits white sulfurous smoke, has been one of the most popular sceneries from Indonesia. The national park also has Mount Semeru, also known as “The Great Mountain” or Mahameru, the highest and one of the most active volcanoes in Java. The “Tengger” from the national park’s name refers to the Tengger people who inhabit the area around the park, an ancient community believed to be descendants of the Majapahit Kingdom’s princes.