10 Idyllic Islands in Indonesia You Have to Visit Besides Bali

It comes as no shock that captivating Bali in Indonesia islands — with its abundance of exquisite temples, yoga retreats, lush jungles, and surf spots — has gained immense popularity among travellers. However, despite its enduring beauty, this tropical haven has become significantly busier than in the past. 

For those in search of a quieter and more authentic escape, it’s worth turning attention beyond Bali and exploring other Indonesia islands. As the world’s largest archipelago, this mesmerising country is home to over 17,000 isles. So, you definitely won’t run out of island tour destinations here! To help you find new  islands in Indonesia to obsess over, we’ve curated a selection of our favourites below.

Also read: Bali Implements New Tourist Tax: This Paradise Comes With a Price Hike Starting 14 Feb

Top Indonesia islands to visit instead of Bali

1. Morotai Island

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Morotai Island is a true gem among the best beaches in Indonesia. Renowned for its untouched beauty, Morotai is a haven for beach enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its palm-fringed shores and vibrant coral reefs, this island offers a picture-perfect setting for sun-soaked days and underwater adventures.

That said, Morotai isn’t just a haven for beach lovers; it’s also steeped in rich history. Once a crucial military base during World War II, it features remnants of the past that add a fascinating layer to your island experience. From the shore you can see a Japanese wreck, Tosimaru, that is half submerged. As you bask under the sun on Morotai Island, you’ll also discover the cultural tapestry woven into the island’s landscapes. Truly, this is a unique destination for those eager to explore beyond the ordinary!

2. Natra Bintan

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Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, thrill-seeker, or someone who savours relaxation, Natra Bintan offers a diverse range of activities to suit every taste. From scenic hikes through dense forests to leisurely strolls along pristine beaches, the island invites you to connect with nature.

For those seeking more exhilarating experiences, Natra Bintan doesn’t disappoint. Make the turquoise waters your playground by engaging in water sports such as kayaking or paddleboarding. The island also presents opportunities for cultural immersion. Whether it’s chowing down delicious local cuisine or joining traditional dance performances, Natra Bintan ensures a memorable journey amid the splendours of Indonesia islands.

3. Wakatobi

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Wakatobi, Indonesia’s largest reef system, is renowned for its vibrant coral reefs and pristine underwater wonders. Diving enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise as they plunge into the crystal-clear waters. Here, divers will discover a kaleidoscope of marine life, including colourful coral gardens and a variety of exotic fish. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner eager to take the plunge, Wakatobi’s underwater realm promises an unforgettable experience for all.

Get into the heart of the local culture by participating in traditional weaving workshops, where you can craft intricate textiles alongside skilled artisans. Not only is this an opportunity to learn a new skill, but it also allows you to connect with the rich heritage of Wakatobi. Plus, you’ll get to create unique souvenirs that carry the essence of this charming Indonesian island.

4. Gili Islands

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Step into the paradise of the Gili Islands archipelago, where the magic of Indonesia islands unfolds with a blend of tranquillity and vibrant activities. Explore vibrant coral gardens while snorkelling, and swim alongside lively turtles as they gracefully navigate the underwater realm.

On land, Gili Islands invite you to indulge in laid-back island vibes. Rent a bicycle to explore the car-free pathways lined with charming beachside cafes and reggae bars. Drink with a view? Yes, please! With friendly locals, diverse water activities, and chill ambience, Gili Islands stand as a must-visit destination combining relaxation and adventure in perfect harmony.

5. Sumba Island

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Escape the hustle and bustle of mainstream tourism and embrace the tranquillity of Sumba Island, your quiet alternative to the lively energy of Bali. Known for its untouched natural beauty, Sumba invites you to explore a more serene side of this tropical paradise. Marvel at the iconic traditional villages, where megalithic stone tombs and intricately designed houses showcase the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Engage in unique cultural experiences by witnessing the exhilarating Pasola Festival, where locals engage in mock battles on horseback to celebrate their ancestral traditions. Locals celebrate it between February and March. For outdoorsy adventurers, Sumba offers fantastic opportunities for surfing. Here, uncrowded waves provide an ideal playground for both beginners and seasoned surfers. 

6. Lombok

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Lombok is Bali’s charming sister island and one of the best islands in Indonesia. Known for its distinct blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, Lombok offers a more laid-back alternative to its bustling sibling. Sink your toes into the soft sands of Kuta Beach, where the azure waters and picturesque coastline create a serene haven for beach lovers.

Lombok’s enchanting landscapes extend beyond the shorelines, with the iconic Mount Rinjani dominating the island’s skyline. Hiking enthusiasts can trek to the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and the stunning crater lake below. For a touch of culture, explore traditional Sasak villages, where unique thatched-roof houses and vibrant local markets showcase the island’s authentic charm.

7. Belitung

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Known for its smooth gigantic boulders, vibrant coral reefs, and some of the best beaches in the country, Belitung proudly stands among the best islands in Indonesia. Sink your toes into the powdery white sands of Tanjung Tinggi, a beach famed for its unique granite boulders scattered along the shoreline, creating a picturesque setting that’s great for a relaxing day by the sea. Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters to discover the colourful marine life beneath the surface, adding a splash of adventure to your beachfront retreat.

Beyond the coastal allure, Belitung invites travellers to uncover its rich cultural heritage. Explore the traditional fishing villages of Tanjung Kelayang and Tanjung Binga, where local life unfolds amid colourful boats and charming waterfront scenes. Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Lengkuas Island, home to a historic lighthouse offering panoramic views of the archipelago.

8. Raja Ampat

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Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure in the stunning archipelago of Raja Ampat? Featuring four main islands and more than 1,500 small islets, cays, and shoals, it’s a true gem among Indonesia islands! 

Known for its marine biodiversity, this tropical haven in the coral triangle is a paradise for divers and nature enthusiasts. These waters are home to around 75% of the world’s coral species, after all! Plunge into the translucent waters and venture into lively coral gardens. Every corner bustles with a remarkable diversity of marine creatures, from vividly coloured sea slugs to majestic manta rays.

Beyond the aquatic wonders, Raja Ampat’s landscapes beckon you to explore its hidden treasures. Hike through dense jungles to discover hidden waterfalls and panoramic viewpoints that showcase the breathtaking beauty of these remote islands. Engage with local communities in traditional villages like Arborek Tourism Village, where warm smiles, genuine hospitality, and unique local customs welcome you into the heart of Raja Ampat.

9. Komodo

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Discover the captivating wonders of Komodo, an Indonesian island paradise famed for its iconic Komodo dragons, vibrant coral reefs, and breathtaking landscapes. A visit to Komodo National Park is a must. Traverse the rugged landscapes, keeping an eye out for Komodo dragons as they roam freely in their natural habitat — the only place on Earth where they can be found. Keep your distance, though; Komodo dragon bites can be fatal to humans.

For a panoramic perspective of Komodo, hike to the top of Padar Island. The summit’s breathtaking view reveals a mosaic of turquoise bays and green hills — the perfect backdrop for memorable photos! Komodo is not just about wildlife and landscapes; it also offers opportunities for water activities such as kayaking and island hopping. 

10. Karimunjawa

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Karimunjawa — the largest island of the Karimunjawa Islands archipelago — boasts a tranquil atmosphere that’s perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape. Immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty by exploring the pristine beaches, such as Tanjung Gelam, where the soft white sand meets the gently lapping waves, creating a serene haven for relaxing swims and beachside picnics.

Snorkel or dive in the crystal-clear waters to encounter a kaleidoscope of marine life, from colourful coral formations to schools of tropical fish. Meanwhile, kayaking adventures through the lush mangrove forests offer a tranquil escape into the heart of nature. With its warm hospitality, diverse activities, and serene landscapes, Karimunjawa stands out as a friendly retreat among Indonesia islands.

Also read: 52 Basic Indonesian Phrases That Every Traveller Needs to Know

As we conclude our exploration of Indonesia islands beyond Bali, it becomes clear that this archipelago is a treasure trove of diverse experiences. With their friendly locals, breathtaking landscapes, and a wealth of activities, these hidden gems offer an enchanting escape into the heart of Indonesia.

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