Indonesia is made up of around 12,000 islands; half of these are permanently inhabited. So if you’re planning a vacation to this island-rich country, we suggest you take the off-beaten track and go elsewhere besides Bali! Here’s a selection of eleven exquisite and unique islands that are well worth visiting☺️
Portuguese for “flowers”, the island’s name is parallel to its beauty. Flores is bordered by flawless beaches of white sands and one of only the small number of pink beaches in the world. It is also home to amazing marine biodiversity!
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On land, witness the famous Mt. Kelimutu that is located near Maumere. Mt. Kelimutu is popular for its three lakes of different dazzling colours that transforms from time to time, depending on the weather and climate.
Credit: @ramon.espantaleon on Instagram
Plenty of lush waterfalls can be found on the island such as the Cunca Waterfalls on the western part of the island – an excellent place to swim in clear pools of water, nestled within the dense forest. If you’d like to experience the local culture, Larantuka (the eastern part of the island) is a fascinating place where locals still continue traditions that the Portuguese brought over to Flores some 500 years ago.
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A fusion of exotic culture and environment – Flores made it to the top of this list😊
Next to the Seram Sea and beyond the thriving laneway of aquatic life, lies one of the four major islands in the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua, Misool.
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The water is sooo crystal clear that at times, you can witness (as far as 30m below the surface) colourful underwater life and coral from a boat😮
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Misool has a predominantly limestone covered landscape with lush greenery and mangrove swamps. Besides enjoying the beach, the island has some very important historical and cultural sites. Petroglyphs as old as 5,000 years can be found on the caves throughout the island.
If you’re still contemplating whether to visit Raja Ampat, check out 9 more reasons why Raja Ampat will mesmerize you!
3. Samosir Island
This island is found within the largest volcanic lake on earth – the famous Lake Toba in Sumatra.
Credit: Andrey Samsonov on Flickr
Globetrotters who travel to this island will make a pit stop by Lake Toba to admire its beauty before making their way to the nearest traditional village to stay for the night.
Traditional Batak houses are a common sight here. Immerse yourself in true village life by staying at one of these houses!
Credit: @laketobaindonesia on Instagram
Unlike the other islands on the list, Samosir Island does not offer excellent diving sites or perfect surfing waves. But it boasts one of the most exotic culture and history Indonesia holds☺️
The island of Belitung is located on the east coast of Sumatra in the Java Sea. Belitung is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in South East Asia!
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It truly is a unique spot with pure beaches of white sand and shimmering azure waters. Skip the crowd and be mesmerized by the charm this rare gem has to offer.
Credit: @yusup_m_ig on Instagram
For the geography-enthusiast, Belitung has granite rock formations and some have land formed into small tunnels – turning it into an enjoyable spot to play and swim!
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Make time to visit the offshore uninhabited islands on one of the local tours just to marvel at this paradise🤗
5. Lombok Island
Lombok Island is affectionately known as Bali’s sister island. And like it’s sister, this island is stunning in its own right😍
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Think bigger beaches and more volcanoes! Yes, we’re talking about the famous Mt Rinjani! Trek up this mountain and be amazed by the spectacular views that await you at the top.
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Solo travellers and backpackers are attracted to this island’s water and outdoor adventures that it has to offer such as snorkeling, diving, hiking and surf sports.
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#HHWT Tip: The best time to visit Lombok is during the dry season from May through October. Don’t forget to dab yourself with loads of sunscreen lotion!
6. Komodo Island
Did the Komodo Dragon came to mind? Well, the world’s largest lizards have been long-term residents of this island…and the island is fittingly named after it!
Credit: Gabriel ^(oo)^ on Flickr
They may be scary looking but these huge creatures won’t bite unless you anger or threaten them😉
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Komodo Island used to only be known by divers in the past but is now emerging as the go-to spot for diving and snorkeling. As its strong currents are said to be ruthless, the local tourism board has warned amateur and beginner diver to stay within the safe zone of the water.
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But don’t be intimidated by these lizards and the waters! This may just be the adventure you’ve been waiting for😌
7. Karimunjawa Islands
En route to become the next Bali, Karimunjawa is named the virgin paradise by Java Tourism.
Credit: @aloen2_karimunjawa on Instagram
Karimunjawa’s charm lies in its challenging treks through the hills, untouched beaches and vibrant tropical reefs. The island is also known for its safer diving adventures!
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Word is getting out about this hidden gem – you’ll see plenty of newly furbished resorts up and about. Immerse in the natural sceneries of Kariminjawa while you still can before it gets replaced with tourist traps. Now’s your chance to visit this place before the prices start to soar!
8. Derawan Islands
Derawan Islands is much more remote than its island counterparts. To get here, you need to switch between flights. Make sure that you plenty of cash in your wallet as there are absolutely no ATM machines on the island. Keep your pockets heavy (literally) unless you want to be stuck in a no man’s land living like a pauper.
Credit: @derawantrip on Instagram
Globetrotters who’ve heard of this island are drawn to the island’s most unique and well-protected species – coconut crabs and Dugongs. Besides its teeming biodiversity, the view here is fantastic😍
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Imagine pristine white sand set alongside swaying palm trees accompanied by the azure sea that changes from blue to green as the day goes by. It would only be a matter of time before this hipster paradise starts getting more noticed and tourists flock in by the dozen.
Credit: @onthewayindonesia on Instagram
Don’t say you didn’t get the memo!
9. Wakatobi Islands
If you think Wakatobi is a Japanese name, you’re not the only one! It’s actually an anagram of these four islands – Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. Getting to Wakatobi Islands would have almost been mission impossible if not for the islands’ growing popularity among divers and photographers. Tourists can now easily fly to the island via a domestic flight from Bali.
Credit: Aneo on Flickr
Photographers, newbies and professional divers are checking out these islands for the excellent biodiversity it has to offer.
Credit: @andhikabayu88 on Instagram
Wakatobi is also another island to add to your diving list! Geographically positioned in a remote corner of Indonesia, it offers to be another fantastic dive site☺️
Credit: Wakatobi Dive Resort
Professional divers have even crowned it as one of the world’s best dive sites, so this island is one not to be missed!
10. Seram Island
If you understand Bahasa, you might find the name peculiar. Seram means “scary” in Bahasa Indonesia but don’t be afraid by the island’s name! There’s nothing seram about this island! In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia.
Credit: @wonderful_indonesiaqu on Instagram
Seram Island is the largest and main island of Maluku province. The location is mountainous, making it one of the one of the best trekking spots in Indonesia too.
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Secretly hidden from the North Coast of Seram Island is Ora Beach. The beach is adored by eco-travelers all over the world and is gaining popularity among honeymooners who come here for a romantic, uninterrupted time.
Credit: @terasbiroe.id on Instagram
This concealed wonder is farrrr away from bustling cities and makes it the perfect romantic escapade☺️
#HHWT Tip: If you’re planning to visit this island, here are some of the floating resorts you can stay at!
11. Mentawai Island
Mentawai Island used to be a lull, secluded island. Until recently, it has caught the public’s attention with its strong winds and currents that have made it the perfect surfing spot!
Credit: @genpimentawai on Instagram
Surfers know this the best place to surf in Indonesia and would come here to challenge the water, so this is the place to be if you want to challenge yourself😉
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A vast area of the Mentawai Island is covered in tropical rainforest – offering a rich collection of bio-diversity and has been given the title as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
What’s that you say? You’re planning for an island vacation already? Be sure to be one of the firsts to visit these emerging Indonesian islands. Your next adventure awaits🤗
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