The Asian vacation checklist is incomplete with the mention of Indonesia. Attracting tourists from all over the globe, Indonesia enjoys the status of a well-known travel destination with some famous stops. Although, you might not have heard about all that Indonesia has to offer. Some of the hidden gems of this island country are only known to pro-travellers.
Indonesia is the world’s largest island country with more than thirteen thousand islands on its home map. Yes, more than 13,000, bet you didn’t know that! Then why do all our travel plans point to Bali every time? No doubt, Bali is an amazing experience every time you visit this beautiful island; but you can imagine that in such a big island country, there would be more options?
For the same reason, we’ve listed few of the top choices apart from Bali which you can consider on your next Indonesian trip. We tried to cover all the aspects of the places and have brought you this write up where you can get to feel the extended Indonesian vibe and a motivation to plan a trip!
Witnessing most of the history of Indonesia on its soil, Java is world’s most populated island. It has the recognition of being one of the world’s largest island by the size. Although, Java is often overlooked as most of the tourists directly head to Bali when it comes to Indonesia. While in Java you can visit some stunning temples and active volcanoes. Trekking while covering caves and waterfalls, exploring island off the cost are some of the activities you can enjoy here.
Attractions to Visit in Java
You can explore the historically significant city of Surabaya and take a walk through the old parts of the city which still showcase the traditional buildings dating back to the Dutch colonial period.
You can also soak the tranquillity of the large Buddhist temple complex in Central Java at Borobudur Temple which is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites for its 72 sculpted figures of Buddha.
Other Places to Visit While in Java
- Visit the seaside town of Anyer located in Banten.
- Explore the usually deserted yet beautiful Batu Karas beach.
- Visit waterfalls of Baturaden located in Purwokerto.
Activities to Enjoy in Java
Trek to Mount Merapi which is one of the active volcanoes in the region, last erupted in 2010. You can easily reach Mount Merapi if you partake the tour from Yogyakarta which will also help you understand the history behind it and why it considered sacred?
Go snorkelling and diving in clear visibility waters of Karimunjawa Archipelago. It has 27 tropical islands and beautiful beaches which are mostly deserted. Pro Tip: Rent a boat and visit as many of the 27 tropical islands that you can, as all the spots are mostly deserted making them fun to explore.
Other Activities to Partake in Java
- Trek on to the Dieng Plateau: Situated at an altitude of 2,100 meters don’t forget to explore Buddhist templates.
- Hike to the Top of Mount Bromo: Make sure you don’t miss out on the beautiful sunset when you reach the top!
- Witness the Largest Acidic Crater Lake: Climb Mount Ijen and watch the largest acidic crater lake in the world.
Where to Eat in Java
Patio Venue & Dining: Located at Jln. Wijaya XIII, Panglima Polim, Jakarta. You can enjoy lunch, dinner and brunch choosing between Italian, European, Indonesian, Asian, Vegan, Halal and Gluten free options.
Street Grill & Friends: Located at Jl. Cihampelas, Hotel Grand Tjokro, Bandung. The specialities of the restaurant include Steakhouse, Southwestern, Pizza, Grill, American, Bar, European, Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options, Halal and Gluten free options.
Other Options to Eat in Java
- Steak Hut Manyar Kertoarjo: Located at Jl. Manyar Kertoarjo, Surabaya
- The Sawah: Located at Sekarpetak, Bangunjiwo, Kasihan, Bantul, Yogyakarta
- Bandar Djakarta Alam Sutera: Located at Kav. 6, Serpong Jl. Alam Sutera Boulevard, Serpong
Where to Stay in Java
1) Cherish American Classic Design with a Large Space to Stay in Jakarta
Situated in Jakarta and built with luxurious American classic design in mind, this Homeaway rental consists 5 large bedrooms, a pantry, a living room and a large dining area. In the past, the house was opted by many media personalities and photographers for its value of thematic photo shoots, video shoots etc. Those who visit Java also opt for this rental for family vacation or a place to stay before the wedding.
Average Price Per Night: INR 12,995
2) Enjoy your Family Vacation in this Hillside Villa with Pool in Bandung, Jawa Barat
If you are on a family vacation in Java, look no further than this 5-bedroom villa homestay offer by HomeAway. This very spacious rental comes with a pool and did we mention it is on the hillside!? You also have a golf course, famous restaurants and scenic views nearby. The property is newly constructed and has a beautiful ambience in the evenings as well.
Average Price Per Night: INR 27,430
Other Stay Options
- Stay in the Eco Wooden Bungalow built with Traditional style
- Enjoy the Family stay in this spacious hillside Villa
- Enjoy the Lush Greenery and pool at this Stay in Yogyakarta
Bali’s next door neighbour Lombok is just a ferry ride away on your vacation. It is the highlight holiday destination of Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara Province. Lombok is popular for its Gili islands located on its north-west coast.
Once in Lombok, you’ll admire the colorful Sasak culture, great dive spots, scenic and secluded beaches, beautiful waterfalls and lush forests surrounding its active volcano, Mount Rinjani.
Often overlooked in the shade of Bali, Lombok promises an exotic overland adventure and rugged natural beauty experience. It is well-known for its still well-preserved traditional arts and historical landmarks.
Where to Visit in Lombok
Visit Autore Pearl Farm: Lesser known fact – Lambok is widely famous for its pearl farms. With the cultivation of prettiest pearls in Southeast Asia, Lombok thrives on this niche business. The best bet to explore and know all about the Pearls, you can partake a tour at the Autore Pearl Farm. You can also explore the products and buy yourself some pearls.
A Sunny Trip to the Selong Belanak Beach: Known as one of the prettiest beaches on the Lombok island, Selong Belanak Beach is located in South Lombok. If you are of the kind that seeks solace, then believe us you’ll find this beach heavenly as it is rarely crowded where you can gaze at the golden sand and beautiful waters for all day. You can also rent a surfboard or sponge board for a day of activity.
Other Place to Visit in Lombok
- Visit ‘Water Palace’ at the Narmada Water Park
- Explore the chain of small islands at Sekotong Island
- Embrace solace and beauty at Senggigi
Activities in Lombok
Dive in the ‘Pink Beach’: Locally called the ‘Pink Beach’, Tangsi Beach gets its title for the sand on the beach that distinctly portrays the pink colour hue. Its a perfect spot for you to take the swim, go snorkelling in the coral reefs to explore the colourful marine life, go canoeing or just spend a day at leisure sunbathing.
Scale Mount Rinjani: Experience the thrill of trekking on an active volcano and opt to scale Mount Rinjani. The attraction is famous for its view from the summit where you can see the crater, azure lake and the grand view of Lombok. If you are a pro you can opt for the trek with a shorter time, else opt the longer treks that allow more rest time.
Other Activities to Partake in Lombok
- Trek to the gorgeous Benang Kelambu Waterfall
- Explore the best trekking spot – Tanjung Ringgit
- Trek via jungle streams to Tiu Kelep Waterfall
Where to Eat While in Lombok
Santi Lounge: Located at Pondok Santi Estate, West Nusa Tenggara. With the option of full bar access, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner here with the options ranging between International, Fusion, Indonesian, Seafood, European, Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options and Gluten Free Options.
El Bazar Cafe & Restaurant: Located at Jl. Raya Kuta, Intersection with Jl. Mawun, Kuta. Claiming to serve the best coffee in the town, you can enjoy their rustic breakfast all day long. They serve varieties ranging between Moroccan, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Vegan Options, Halal and Gluten Free Options.
Other Places to Eat in Lombok
- Classico Italiano: Located at Gili Air Lombok, Close to Scallywags Smugglers, West Nusa Tenggara
- Pachamama Organic Cafe: Located at Jl. Svea, West Nusa Tenggara
- Quah Restaurant: Located at Jl. Raya Mangsit, Qunci Villas, Mangsit, Senggigi, Lombok
Where to Stay in Lombok
1) The Comfort Stay with Luxury and a Magical Private Beach
Located on the island of Gili Trawangan, this HomeAway holiday home provides a first-class accommodation with all the luxuries that you can ask for along with the natural beauty that you can expect in Lombok.
The stay features 4-bedrooms, a swimming pool, and a private beach! If you are on a family vacation, group tour with friends or better if you are on your honeymoon, look no further and book this stay for its tranquil peace and luxurious offering.
Average Price Per Night: INR 46,104
2) Stay in the Modern Ambience with a Pool
Located in Gili Meno, near Gili Meno Harbour is the HomeAway stay. This stay offers modern Gili’s architecture with minimalist design. Opting for this stay you also get access to a tropical beach spot with a close proximity to a restaurant and WiFi.
You also have access to the best of the attractions in the region while staying here. Also, all the rooms in the property are air-conditioned and in the form of en-suite bathroom.
Average Price Per Night: INR 9,636
Other Options to Stay in Lombok
- Stay in the cozy Villa between lush Tropical Garden
- Stay within access to the beautiful Infinity Pool
- Stay in a Dreamy Villa at Gili Trawangan
Often overshadowed by the Balinese vibe, Sumatra in itself is a hidden gem of a place. It offers a different view of the country and is the home for the famous wildlife including Sumatra Tigers, Elephants and Orangutans.
From majestic volcanoes to the gorgeous rainforest, Sumatra is one beaut of the destination. Once in Sumatra, you’ll appreciate the deserted beaches scattered throughout the island. You can take diving at the world-class spot in Pulau Weh or surf in the Mentawai islands, the opportunities of activities in Sumatra are endless.
What to Visit in Sumatra
Visit Lake Toba: Five-hour drive apart from Meda city, Lake Toba is one of the prominent attraction in Sumatra. It is known as the largest crater lake of its kind in the world, which is right by the side of an extinct volcano. Whilst on the way to Lake Toba, you can also explore a cultural village on the island of Samosir and can also find hot springs and villages around the countryside.
Visit Batusangkar: Jotted as one of the most important places in Sumatra, Batusangkar is located in the Tanah Datar Regency which falls in the west of Sumatra. Once in Batusangkar, you can visit Fort Van Der Capellen, from the colonial period or partake the famous ‘pacu jawi’ festival, a cow racing that is performed in the muddy fields around the city.
Other Places to Visit in Sumatra
- Explore cobalt blue seas and sandy beaches at Belitung
- Hike and Visit beaches in Lampung
- Experience the high elevated town of Berastagi
Activities to do in Sumatra
Surf in Nia’s waters: Bali has come to dominate the surf scene in Indonesia, although if you are in Sumatra and are looking for some waves then look no further than the island of Nias. Here you will find a less crowded version of Bali and you can easily rent surf or diving equipment and explore the seas around the island.
Surf in the Mentawai Islands: Giving a home to 70 little islands off the coast of Padang in West Sumatra, The Mentawai Islands is your favourite place to be in Sumatra. If you have a surfing soul, The Mentawai Islands are known to have the best surfing conditions in Indonesia. You can also take a long swim, partake water sports and even trek in the adjoining rainforests on many islands.
Other Activities to do in Sumatra
- Hike the dormant Gunung Sibayak volcano
- Snorkel and Swim in the Belitung island
- Dolphin spotting at Pasir Putih Beach in Lampung
Where to Eat in Sumatra
Nelayan Restaurant: Located at Jl. K. H. Zainul Arifin No. 7, Sun Plaza 3rd Fl C No. 38-41, Medan. With options from Chinese, Seafood, Asian, Indonesian, Vegetarian-Friendly and Halal, you can also avail Takeout facility along with the seating option.
Pondok Patin H.M. Yunus: Located at Jl. Kaharudin Nasution no. 1, Pekanbaru. The restaurant is a 4-star rated food establishment providing Seafood, Asian, Indonesian and Halal option.
Other Options to Eat in Sumatra
- Pempek & Es Kacang Vico
- El’s Coffee
- Taman Santap Rumah Kayu
Where to Stay in Sumatra
1) Stay with a Sea View and Luxurious Amenities in Batam
Staying in this HomeAway holiday rental, you get to enjoy the blissful ambience. The rooms at this property have teak flooring, private balcony with spectacular sea view. Also, you also get the rain shower in the bathroom, talk about luxury! Besides all the deluxe amenities you also get access to the beach or pool views based on your choice. All this at a moderately cost per night.
Average Price Per Night: INR 4,501
2) Enjoy the Homely Stay Near Lake Toba in Sumatra
Ever wanted to live right on the beach, well your wish may come true when you book your stay in Sumatra on this HomeAway rental. The property is located right at Lake Toba. Still, you have your access to all the modern amenities that you may need during your stay. Being on the beach enables you to mingle with the local population, have an eventful time and living in this property you also can take a trip to Samosir Island.
Average Price Per Night: INR 1,444
Other places to Stay in Sumatra
- Stay on the Batam Beachfront with a Sea View
- Wooden Villa stay for you amid lush greenery
- Dip in the Infinity Pool and Enjoy the Luxury
4) Nusa Islands
Nusa Penida is one part of the Nusa Islands, where the other two parts are Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. For its beautiful beaches and great surfing experience, in the recent time, the Nusa Island is starting to get more tourists.
You can swim, surf, take a dive, spend a night at the beach, take a cycle tour or explore the mangrove forests in a boat – the adventurous value of the island is amazing. All the fun without being right between the crowded ambience of the other famous places. This is for those who seek solace yet fun on their vacation.
What to Visit in Nusa Islands
Visit the Mesmeric Crystal Bay: A long strip of sandy beaches, crystal clear water and surfer’s darling – Crystal Bay is one of the prominent attraction of Nusa Penida. The place gets its name for the crystal clear water, which is apt for snorkelling. Although even being famous, you won’t find it crowded for most of the time and hence can enjoy your cold beer or sunbathe in peace.
Explore the Mushroom Beach: Most probably, Mushroom Beach will be the first place you’ll visit whilst your stay. Situated on Nusa Lembongan, most of the boats make their home here and dock. It is one of the perfect places to swim, snorkel or take a dive. Additionally, you can also rent a hut on the beach and spend your day here or even sleep while being close to the beach.
Other places to visit in Nusa Islands
- Visit Pura Penataran Hindu Temple
- Visit the mesmeric Dream Beach
- Explore Mangrove Forests in a Boat
What to do in Nusa Islands
Dive at the Temple Point: If you are an explorer kind, we won’t have to sell you on this location. When you take a dive at the Temple Point, you witness the amazing underwater world around Bali. You can optionally choose to take a swim or snorkel, but whatever you do, you must visit the Temple Point. You will explore statues of Lord Buddha and other sculptures carved out of rocks here underwater.
Surf in Nusa Lembongan: Surfers who spend time in Bali visit Nusa Lembongan for extended surfing experience, it serves as an alternative to the crowded surfing experience in Bali. Playground, Lacerations and Shipwrecks are the three breaks here and can be reached easily. These breaks are located above coral reefs and are for moderate to experienced surfers.
Other activities to do in Nusa Islands
- Enjoy Mushroom Spa in Mushroom Beach Bungalows
- Spelunk Goa Giri Putri and pray in the Temple
- Explore Nusa Lembongan in Cycle
Where to Eat in Nusa Islands
Penida Espresso: Located at Jl. Ped – Buyuk. Famous for their Smoothie Bowls, the restaurant offers the choice of Italian, Cafe, International, Asian, Indonesian, Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options and Gluten Free Options.
Warung Tu Pande: Located at Jl. Raya Toyapakeh. Conveniently located on the way to the Crystal Bay, the restaurant offers varieties of Italian, Cafe, International, Asian, Indonesian, Seafood, Vegetarian-Friendly and Vegan Options.
Other Places to Eat in Nusa Islands
- Penida Colada: Located at Jl. Raya Ped, Ped Village
- The Gallery Nusa Penida: Located at Jl. Raya Bodong, Desa Ped, Klungkung
- Warung Kekinian: Located at Jl Ped Buyuk
Where to Stay in Nusa Islands
1) Abode to Stay and Spoil Yourself with Luxury in Nusa Lembongan
If you are on a vacation with your friends or maybe two couples taking a trip together, there cannot be a better option than this one. Spoil yourself in this two bedroom HomeAway Villa Kingfisher where your only regret will be that you have not booked more nights to stay here. You get a wonderful infinity edge 20-metre swimming pool, a large relaxation bale (gazebo), as well as countless other areas to kick back and relax.
Average Price Per Night: INR 19,220
2) Live in a Tree House Whilst in Nusa Islands
Well, this might be a little on the adventurous side, but what’s a vacation without an adventure. This one is also light on your wallet and high on fun as you get to stay in a treehouse with mesmeric and surreal sea views, dreamy sunsets and amazing sunrise scenes. This exotic tree house sells faster than you can imagine as anyone who wants to seek abode in nature finds it here.
Average Price Per Night: INR 2,673
Other places to Stay in Nusa Islands
- Stay amidst the Mesmeric Ocean Views and lap-pool
- Beachfront Living at the Sandy Bay
- Romantic Stay overlooking the Ocean