13 Cool Places In Indonesia To Escape The Tropical Heat


Amani Nizari •  Sep 22, 2017

[Updated: 20 Jun 2019]

Every now and then, we all want a getaway to a cold country. But what happens when a trip to Korea or Japan seems like it’s going to break your bank and drain your annual leave? Don’t worry! Escape the heat at these cool destinations in Indonesia where it’s a walking air con all year-round.

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Looking for other scenic places in Indonesia that looks like they're from Europe? Find them here!

1. Lorentz National Park, Papua

Ever heard of snow in the tropics? For a truly phenomenal experience in the tropics, this…is…IT!

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Puncak Jaya is the tallest mountain in Indonesia and is the peak of Jayawijaya. There’s nowhere else in Indonesia where you can find a rainforest, mangrove forest, rich biodiversity and a snowy mountain! It's totally worth the trip ?

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Due to its extreme topography, you will need to secure special local government documentation before coming here. The place is undeniably reserved for only the fearless and most daring of travellers who are up for the challenge.

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After all, this is one of the Top 7 mountains in the world! So, are you up for the challenge?

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2.Bukittinggi, West Sumatra

Suitable to its name, Bukittinggi (‘high hill’) stands majestically at 900m above sea level ? No wonder it's refreshing and cool all the time!

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The town of Bukittinggi is a bustling market town! Being the second biggest city in West Sumatra, it's the favourite spot for locals and globetrotters to enjoy the fresh and chilly air ? Look out for Jam Gadang (‘Clock Tower’), the famous landmark in Bukittinggi that has been ticking since 1926! Witness sweeping panorama lined with hills, valleys and a bird’s eye view of the cityscape.

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#HHWT Tip: Across the Jam Gadang square, wander through traditional markets called Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah ? You'll be flocked with souvenirs, handicrafts, traditional snacks and even fresh local produce! If you have time on hand, head to the city's old Chinatown for shophouses located behind the market.

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3. Dataran Tinggi Dieng, Central Java

If you think Bukittinggi is tall, wait till you hear this - The Dieng highland is 2,093 metres above the sea, so be sure to anticipate the freshest and coldest misty air! We wonder, is this where Elsa goes for her vacations? Perfect climate to be chilling! ? You'll catch sights of the Sikidang Crater and the yellowish limestone, phosphoric smokes and endless green landscape surrounding it.

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While you’re there, squeeze in some time to catch the sunrise at Sikunir Hill. Get your phones ready to snap a picture-perfect moment or simply sit back and marvel in the wonders of nature ❤️

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#HHWT Tip: Are you game enough to stand in the middle of a tall bridge? The Jembatan Merah Putih (Red & White Rope Bridge) is a place to admire the gorgeous Telaga Warna (Lake of Colours) from and enjoy the natural scenery at the same time. Don't worry, even children are allowed ? Helmets and safety vests are provided as well ☺

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4. Malino Highlands, South Sulawesi

Just a short drive from Makassar, Malino Highlands offers a nature retreat, where the beauty of its landscape is hard to miss. If you're looking for a hidden gem to explore, we totally recommend checking this place out ?

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Cool, clean air, and peaking at 1050 meters above the sea, make Malino Highlands ideal for tea-rrific plantations! It's also perfect for a family day out. While parents are immersed in the natural haven, kids and teens will have all the fun ? Try your hands at horse riding, parasailing, cycling, bungee jumping, trampolines and lots more!

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Just 600 metres from Malino Highlands, you'll be falling for the Takapala Waterfall. Standing over 100 metres high, enjoy cool splashes from the waterfall and have fun exploring the area. This majestic waterfall churns out an avalanche of fresh water under the thick mist that surrounds it ? Listen to the sound of water gushing and bask yourself in the sound of nature - absolutely therapeutic

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Looking for more amazing views in Indonesia? Explore these places next! 

5. Puncak Pass, West Java

Don't get this confused with #1 on our list! ? Located in West Java, this beautiful mountainous area is a common weekend getaway for those living in Jakarta. Here's where you should head to if you want to be near nature and wildlife, yet not too far from a major city!

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If you book a room with one of the resorts on the top of the Pass, you'll be in for the relaxing stay of your life as you get to visit Gunung Mas Tea Plantation to try out local varieties, spend a day at Cibodas Botanical Garden and National Park (that even has cherry blossoms!) or simply enjoy the view.

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Wildlife enthusiasts will also love getting up close with the deer at Buana Jaya Village, which you can buy sweet potatoes and feed! Who needs to go to Nara when there's something just as amazing nearby? ?

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6. Bandungan & Ungaran, Semarang

Semarang is well-known for its seaside town and extra hot weather. Tucked away from the rhythm of the city, Bandungan and Ungaran offer visitors a leisurely getaway from the city life. 

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Check out numerous interesting tourist spots while breathing in the cool highland air!

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The Temple of Gedong Songo greets you at the top of the mountain. Horseback or on foot, it's up to you how you arrive here ? Gedong Songo is one of the most scenic temple sites in Central Java and the views are worth it. Cultural junkies will love discovering the nine Hindu shrines here ?

#HHWT Tip: Riding on horseback is definitely faster and gives you a better view of the sceneries!

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Besides temples, head up from Umbul Sidomukti to find Mawar Camping Ground for an outdoor camping experience. Here's your chance to try camping atop a mountain, surrounded by hikers and mountaineers at Mount Ungaran.

7. Kota Seribu Bunga Tomohon, North Sulawesi

With an average temperature of 18 to 20 degrees Celsius, it feels like autumn all year round. Kota Seribu is right at the heart of Mount Lokon and Mount Mahawu, making it the favourite spot in North Sulawesi.

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The best part about this place is the unique and majestic tricolour Lake Linow! Depending on the time of the day, you can get to see the lake in either colour – deep rich Tosca blue-green or yellowish brown. Who knew, the time of day has different effects on the phosphoric waters, allowing this magical view to happen ?

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Set aside some time in the morning to appreciate this magical view where tranquillity peaks. With a cup of hot tea or black coffee (your choice ?), you’ll enjoy a soul-relishing date with gorgeous mother nature ?

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8. Cipanas, West Java

You might wonder - what's a town with 'panas' (hot) in its name doing on this list? ? Well Cipanas is actually a mountain resort town famous for its cool weather ... and natural volcanic hot springs! Make no mistake though, you'll want a dip or two in the hot springs after a long day of exploring what this gorgeous area has to offer.

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Hiking and exploring the local ruins are easy ways to pass the time while you're there. The ancient Hindu temple Candi Cangkuang is nearby for those who are interested in Javanese history, and those who want something more in touch with nature may enjoy the Kawah Kamojang geothermal power plant more. You can even pack a meal to eat at the power plant, and enjoy the geothermal sights around you at the same time!

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After a long day out exploring the terrain, you'll be excited to learn that almost all of the hotels in the area take their cue from the natural hot springs and tend to include it in their rooms. Make sure you do your research so you'll have that warm, comforting tub to sink into once you get back!

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9. Ruteng, East Nusa Tenggara

Ruteng is an important tourist town in Flores. The area used to be the base city for spreading Catholicism, so there are cathedrals with rich historical background for more cultural sights. Thanks to the European-style architecture, the place has earned the title as the Prague of Flores ?

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Besides the nice weather and European-style cathedrals, other touristy areas include the traditional village of Compang Ruteng and the archaeological site Liang Bua. The cave is a prehistoric relic in Indonesia and one of the many karst caves on Flores Island! The site trails the discovery of human-like creatures, otherwise known as ‘hobbits’. 

You don't need rain to wish the spiders away ? One of the most amazing views at Ruteng is the round, spider-web structure of rice fields in Cancar. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world! Wow, some spiders aren't so scary, eh? ?

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If you’re after more exotic adventures, go trekking at Wae Rebo while you’re at it! Wae Rebo is a small, out-of-the-way village. Travellers get to see the iconic Mbaru Niang – tall and conical in shape, like an ice-cream cone. ? Here's your chance to explore the Manggarai housing and witness the everyday life of a local.

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10. Village Sampireun, Garut

If you’re around Jakarta but you don’t wish to join the crowds in Puncak or Lembang, try heading south to Garut. Sampireun village is nestled 70 kilometres away from Bandung and it offers eco-friendly accommodation with the coolest and freshest village scenery, like this! ?

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Explore the infinite wonders of Garut, one of which is Mount Papandayan - known among hikers as 'the mountain for beginners'. Perhaps, the most unique feature of Mount Papandayan is the mysterious Hutan Mati (‘Dead Forest’) ? But before that scares you, it's not actual dead people we're dealing with here ? The forest's vegetation has been scorched away by the lava flow from a past eruption. Most hikers ascending from the mountain look on to capture the exotic view of the mysterious looking forest! 

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Garut is also home to plenty of rivers and waterfalls of unparalleled beauty. Leuwi Jurig is a waterfall that flows between tall cliffs. It really is a sight to behold!

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#HHWT Tip: If hiking up the waterfall sounds like too much of a challenge, you can always visit Lake Situ Bagendit. The lake is found beside paddy fields and against a mountain backdrop - just the right place to recharge your mind.

11. Lake Toba, North Sumatra

If you can't get enough of being in the heart of nature, it's time to visit the iconic Mount Toba! The largest volcanic lake in the world is surrounded by rolling green hills, and it's best to visit between May-September when there's minimal rain.

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Samosir Island is located right in the middle of the lake, meaning you'll get one of the best views ever if you book a stay here! The cool breeze will feel nice and comforting especially against the tranquillity of the lake itself.

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Once you've reached the lake make sure to take day trip out to the Parhallow Viewpoint, where you can see a bird's eye view of Lake Toba that will truly take your breath away.

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[For a beautiful Lake Toba experience, check out the 3D2N itinerary our writer wrote from her own experience!]

12. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bedugul (Bali)

Here is where you'll find the famous Balinese temple that is being printed on the 50,000 Rupiah note. Soak up the beauty of Bedugul by taking a boat ride across the lake where you can enjoy the cool mist! The allure of this temple amidst the tranquil lake and the mountains is a sight to capture. When the sun sets, take your time to appreciate the orange crimson sky that greets you ?

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Fancy some fresh strawberries for a snack? Drop by the Strawberry Farm and choose the freshest produce of the day!

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Another wonder of Bedugul is the Sekumpul Waterfall (‘group of waterfalls’) where you'll find seven waterfalls grouped together. Whenever you’re ready to experience the chilly temperatures in Bali, head over to North Bali and discover a whole new experience different from Kuta or Seminyak ?

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13. Ollon Bonggakaradeng Hill, Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja, a place of nature's beauty and rich culture - truly the best of both worlds. The view from Ollon Hill in Ollon Bonggakaradeng will remind you of the Swiss Alps. Enjoy the panorama of dramatic mountain landscape covered with lush greenery and clear, cool river running through.

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While you’re in Toraja, don’t miss out on visiting the iconic Tomb of Londa, located 7 kilometres south of Rantepao City. The people of Toraja, namely the nobles, honor and bury the dead in one of the most unique ways in the world!

Bodies of the dead are placed in holes carved out from the walls and each hole is accompanied by a wooden block called Tau Tau (which resembles a dead body) ? Learn and see for yourself the burial customs of the people of Toraja!

Not for the faint-hearted but for true adventure seekers ? We’ve definitely reserved the quirkiest of all to be the last on the list!

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Why break your bank just to experience winter when you can go to these places and pretend it’s winter? Indonesia is so amazing - it has everything from mountains, beaches and rainforests. We just can’t get enough of Indonesia and we hope you won’t too! ☺

Planning your year-end holiday to Indonesia? Check out these cool places!