Whether it be a short walk through rice paddies or a multi-day trek up smoking volcanoes, Indonesia holds thousands of interesting hiking trails. Many of these take visitors through untouched rainforests, open savannas, and deserted white sand beaches.
To aid your search for your next adventure destination, we’ve compiled a list of our 19 favourite hiking trails with jaw-dropping views. These scenic routes are replete with crystal blue waters, interesting wildlife, active volcanoes, wandering rivers and impossibly green rice paddies.
So get your camera and hiking shoes ready. We’re about to inspire your wanderlust and make you itch for a new adventure.
1. Explore Jurassic World of Today – Padar Island, Komodo National Park
Padar Island, part of Komodo National Park, is home to the area’s namesake – komodo dragons. While the Komodo and Rinca islands create the largest tourist destinations in the park, the least-visited Padar Island offers hiking with gorgeous views.
Photo Via: Patrice Anglade
As an added bonus, you might even run into the local reptilian inhabitants while you climb – beware!
Photo Via: Asoka Remadja
As you make your way from the pink sand beach all the way up to the top of the island’s tallest peak, you will be surrounded by gorgeous blue, white and green views.
While hiking up and down the main peak takes between two to three hours (depending on how many photos you’ve snapped), you might want to allocate some time for snorkelling among the island’s reefs, where you can find over 1,000 species of fish!
Photo Via: Asoka Remadja
From the top of the peak to under the sea, the ocean views from Padar Island are certainly hard to beat.
2. Adventure to the 3 Multi-coloured Lakes – Mount Kelimutu, Flores
Mount Kelimutu’s three multi-coloured volcanic lakes, the crown jewels of Flores, offer hikers a bright reward.
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Each of the three lakes has its own colour, ranging from vibrant blue to muddy brown. The lakes can change colour several times a year.
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As the top of Mount Kelimutu is often covered by impenetrable fog, hikers must begin early to reach the summit by sunrise. Most often, hikers catch an 8-seater truck version of public transportation between 3:30 and 4 AM. This truck drops passengers at the Kelimutu National Park parking lot. From there, it is a well-marked, 30-minute climb.
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Those who suffer from motion sickness might want to consider the longer hike. A 20-kilometre path leads to the lakes from Moni village. This takes at least 4 hours to climb.
Kelimutu National Park is well-known these days, but the view of the three lakes from its only hike is so magnificent, you shouldn’t miss it even if you’re only looking for off-the-beaten paths.
3. Swim with Stingless Jellyfish – Kakaban Island, East Kalimantan
As soon as you see Kakaban Island appear on the horizon, you will be eager to jump off the boat and explore. Not only is the island home to gorgeous reefs and forests that remind you of Jurassic Park, it is also one of the only places in the world to have a lake inhabited by stingless jellyfish.
Photo Via: weirdandfascinatingcreatures
And you can swim with them!
The hike to the lake begins at the 120-metre dock that extends into crystal clear waters. From the end of the dock, the path takes you up a staircase so that you can cross to the other side of the island. Be sure to turn around at the top of the stairs and take in the view!
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You will then pass quickly through a dense mangrove forest before reaching your destination, the stingless jellyfish lake.
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Slide into the water and marvel at the natural wonder. Be careful not to wear fins in the water or jump too quickly into the lake as both actions may harm the jellyfish.
Photo Via: weirdandfascinatingcreatures
The hike (including return) and swimming with the jellyfish should take about two hours. If you have some extra time, don’t miss the chance to snorkel in the lively waters surrounding Kakaban Island.
4. A Photographer’s Dream – Sipiso-Piso Waterfall, North Sumatra
The 120-metre tall Sipiso-Piso waterfall (located at the North side of Lake Toba) won’t fail to impress both photographers and nature lovers. Even from the parking lot of the trail, the views are amazing.
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Who can resist snapping a photo?
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From the parking area, the trail winds down over 600 steps, and at the bottom, visitors can wash off their tropical sweat by swimming in the waterfall’s pool (though unfortunately, there isn’t a pool at the top to cool off in after the climb back up).
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Altogether, a visit to the waterfall should last about one and a half hours.
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5. The Hundred-Mile View – Mount Rinjani, Lombok
One of Indonesia’s most popular hikes, Mount Rinjani in Lombok is famous for its breathtaking views and eerie isolation.
The three-day climb takes hikers through a range of ecosystems, from sub-montane rainforest to savanna.
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Photo Via: HayazeeHarun
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At the top, trekkers are rewarded with views of the crater lake called Segara Anak. If the day is clear, views can extend outwards to around the entirety of Lombok island and even to Bali.
Photo Via: trekkingrinjani
This hike is not easy and as there are several different routes up the volcano, a guide is recommended.
Photo Via: trekkingrinjani
6. Up a Volcanic Island – Gunung Api, Banda Islands
What can be more pleasurable than finishing a hard climb, only to be rewarded with the most gorgeous sea views? That is exactly the story of Gunung Api Banda.
Photo Via: anoo_13
The climb is tough. After all, this is a deserted volcanic island. There are presently two trails. One ascends straight up the mountain, with no switchbacks or winding paths. This path begins on the side of the volcano that faces Banda Neira.
Photo Via: Ismawah Ismail
The other is a longer but easier path found around the back side of the island. While a local guide is not necessary, he or she can locate the easier trail for you.
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The steepness of the trails is not the only tricky part of this climb. The path is made of small volcanic stones. One step up means two steps back. Because of this, the 666-metre climb takes most people three hours.
You might be huffing and puffing by the time you reach the top, but you will soon forget your struggles – the views over the blue water are certainly some of the best in Indonesia.
7. To Isolated and Indigenous Populations – Baliem Valley, West Papua
In West Papua, the Baliem Valley is home to some of the most isolated populations in the world. Up until 10 years ago, many of these villages had no access to the modern world.
Photo Via: Kim
Today, multi-day treks allow tourists to visit these isolated villages in order to witness their ancient traditions. Traditional dress for many of the locals includes grass skirts and penis gourds.
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Among the most traditional villages in West Papua is Anggurak in Yali Country. Anggurak is accessible via a 4-6 day trek (one way) from Wamena.
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The trek offers breathtaking views of the lush countryside and interesting interactions with villagers en route to its final destination.
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Baliem Valley is surely Indonesia’s best destination for experiencing Papuan culture.
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8. Snow-capped Peaks and Glaciers in the Tropics – Puncak Jaya, Papua Province
Puncak Jaya (4,884m), also known as the Carstensz Pyramid, is commonly referred to as the seventh peak by climbers. This is because it is the highest peak on the Australian continent. So, Puncak Jaya is included among the seven most coveted peaks in the world (one for each continent).
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Puncak Jaya and its neighbours are some of the only peaks in Indonesia where snow is regularly seen. (Yes, it does snow in Indonesia. How awesome is that?)
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Puncak Jaya was first summited in 1962, almost 10 years after the first ascent of Mt. Everest.
However, we advise that only serious and experienced mountaineers should attempt the summit. It is the most technically challenging of the 7 Summits and requires a four-day climb through dense jungle just to get to base camp.
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The climb from base camp requires an additional four days round trip. Of course, guides, porters and adequate planning for the expedition are required.
The allure of snow and glaciers in Indonesia is sure to fascinate both locals and foreigners alike!
9. The volcano with blue fire – Ijen Crater (Kawah Ijen), Java
Have you ever seen water so blue?
Photo Via: Kalani Gordon
While Indonesia is home to hundreds of volcanoes, the Ijen Crater is one of the most stunning. Some people believe it perfectly represents the Christian idea of Hell.
Photo Via: Oliver Grunewald, zoeraymondtan
The blue lake, billowing poisonous gas, and yellow sulfurous rocks create an ethereal scene.
Photo Via: Wanderlust-East-Java
Throughout the morning, miners risk their lungs to haul sulphur out of the crater by hand.
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The 3km, 3 hour hike to Ijen Crater is best begun at 5am, in order to reach the crater for sunrise.
Also read -> The complete guide to climb Ijen Crater
If you feel adventurous, find a guide and complete the hike in the middle of the night. At the crater, you will be rewarded with views of the odd phenomenon called blue fire.
Whenever you choose to visit Ijen Crater, please do not wander too close to the sulphur gas clouds. If you do choose to go exploring, a gas mask is highly recommended.
10. Travel Back in Time – Wae Rebo Village, Flores
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Wae Rebo, a historical Manggarai village, is situated around seven traditional huts called mbaru niang. These conical houses are built of palm fibers and wood and offer a unique view for visitors approaching the village.
Photo Via: Asoka Remadja
In the village, friendly locals sporting colourful ikat sarongs are happy to socialize with tourists. They only get a few hundred visitors every year.
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Trips to Wae Rebo generally take three days and require a guide. The first day is spent driving along the steep road from Labuan Bajo to Denge. The second day is for climbing from Denge to Wae Rebo. This trek on the second day is only for the physically fit and takes between three and six hours, but offers wonderful views over lush valleys.
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The final day includes breakfast in Wae Rebo and a much easier descent to Denge from where tourists can return to Labuan Bajo or continue on a tour of Flores.
Photo Via: Wira
Don’t forget to buy local handwoven handicrafts before the long descent!
11. In the Midst of 7 Heavenly Peaks – Gunung Merbabu, Central Java
The views from the top of Gunung Merbabu (Mount Merbabu in English) are out of this world. With a 360-degree view, hikers can see 7 significant peaks: Gunung Sumbing, Gunung Sindoro, the Dieng Plateau, Gunung Telomoyo, Gunung Ungaran, Gunung Merapi, and Gunung Lawu.
Photo Via: Adriyano Louizzao
The ascent of Gunung Merbabu takes about 14 hours return and is best completed during the night in order to reach the summit at sunrise. The trek can also be stretched between two days if you choose to camp at the summit. Most hikers begin from Kopeng, but Selo, on the south side of the mountain, is an alternative yet steeper option.
Photo Via: widyatmoko sumowijoyo
While the length of this trek may make it difficult (some readers who have conquered Ijen Crater easily have told us they didn’t even make it to the top of Merbabu), the views from the top are well worth it.
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12. Through World War II History – Lake Sentani, Papua
Lake Sentani offers a dramatic welcome for visitors entering Papua. The lake sits just 30 minutes outside of Jayapura, the capital of Papua.
Photo Via: Michael Thirnbeck
The lake itself exudes calm. Barely a ripple disturbs the peaceful water.
It is surrounded by 24 villages and dotted with 22 islets. Abandoned buildings dating back to World War II whisper of the tumultuous history of the region. It is here that General MacArthur, the American war hero, developed his strategies to win back the territory from the Japanese.
Walking all the way around the lake would take more than one day. Most visitors take smaller day hikes or canoe trips on the lake.
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Popular destinations include the village of Taturi, Doyo Lama where locals create rock painting art, and the monument for General MacArthur on Mount Ifar.
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If you come here during the month of July, you will able to catch the traditional dance during the Sentani Festival too!
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Whichever hike you choose, you will return with an inner calm borrowed from this fantastic destination.
13. Do You Dare? – Goa Langse, Gunung Kidul
Some people say the hike to Goa Langse is one of the most dangerous in Indonesia. The path follows the cliff face, forcing visitors to walk on narrow paths and climb hundreds of metres up and down slippery ladders.
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The ocean views from the path during the hour hike are amazing. And at the end of the trail, you’ll reach a cave that’s perfect for yoga and meditation.
Photo Via: MeditationSpot-tirtabakti
Are the views worth the risk and danger? You decide.
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14. Through the Heart of Borneo – Embaloh River Catchment, Betung Kerihun National Park
Reaching Betung Kerihun National Park in West Kalimantan is no walk in the park. Don’t expect the trekking to be easy either.
Photo Via: icnesia,pilgrim
While this trek may not be for beginners, the views of the Embaloh River and the unexpected wildlife sightings along the way make the climbing, leeches and sweat seem insignificant.
Photo Via: Laurio Leonald,pambudi85,Nina Ninut,bundany
This particular hike, called the Embaloh River Catchment Trek, is considered the easiest in the park. It begins at the camping area and climbs at a 45-degree angle along a ridge. On one side of the steep ridge, the Embaloh River Catchment stretches out for your enjoyment. On the other, endless jungle-filled hills greet you.
Photo Via: John Boyd Macdonald
After 2 kilometres of climbing, the views are at their best and the trail turns, sending you down the steep hill.
A local guide and proper trekking shoes are essential. Bug spray and leech socks are also recommended. This hike will take the better part of a day to complete.
15. A Blue Lake and Hot Waterfalls – Telaga Biru, Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park
Just 85 kilometres from Bandung, Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park offers visitors an escape from congested city life. The park includes twin peaks (Gede and Pangrango), the unreal Telaga Biru, swamps, and waterfalls.
Photo Via: Peppy
From the Cibodas entrance, visitors can take the cobblestone path uphill to visit both a hot spring waterfall and the fascinatingly colourful Telaga Biru Lake.
Photo Via: uwenk_39
The colour of the lake, which can range from unearthly blue to green and even red, is a result of algae in the water (the colour changes are based on the life cycle of the algae).
Telaga Biru is located approximately one mile from the Cibodas entrance. To take in both the lake and a waterfall, allocate two hours for the hike. More adventurous souls can continue up the path to the summit of Mount Pangrango (3,015 metres).
16. The Best View of Mt. Bromo – From Mt. Penanjakan, Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
While most people are fascinated by Mt. Bromo, Mt. Penanjakan actually offers the best views in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. At the peak, visitors can capture both Mt. Bromo and Mt. Semeru as well as their famous plumes of smoke in the same photo.
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The best time to begin an ascent of Mt. Penanjakan is around 4am, in order to reach the summit at daybreak. Most visitors hire a vehicle to drive them to the top, but the two-hour ascent by foot from Cemoro Lawang is worthwhile.
Photo Via: galmoygal
The trail begins next to Cemara Indah Hotel, and you can enjoy constant views of smoking volcanoes along the trek. You might even capture better photos along the hike than at the top where the crowds are!
From the top of Mt. Penanjakan, Mt. Bromo is only a 45-minute descent, so you can get the view and see Bromo’s crater all in the same day.
17. On a Cliff’s Edge – Nusa Lembongan Cliff Walk
Nusa Lembongan, one of the small islands surrounding Bali, offers views to stun even the most difficult to please. In particular, the cliff walk skirting the edge of the island and passing through the Devil’s Tear outcrop is among the most awe-inspiring hikes in Indonesia.
Photo Via: rbbenno,katkakvardova
The hike begins at Dream Beach. From the beach, walk north to the Devil’s Tear outcrop. Be vigilant here. The waves crashing over the cliff are strong and visitors caught unaware may place themselves in danger of being swept over the edge.
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Continuing north from the Devil’s Tear outcrop, the path crosses Sunset Beach. On the other side of the beach, the path turns northwest and starts to climb. At the top of the ascent, hikers will once again be on the cliff line with magnificent views across the Bandung Strait to Bali.
Finally, the trail drops down into Mushroom Bay, where plenty of shops and restaurants sell cold drinks to refresh you after your hike.
Photo Via: Jimmy McIntyre
This hike can take one to three hours, depending on how long you spend at each attraction along the way.
Special tip from us: Try to take this hike around sunset. The views over Bali are stunning as the sun sinks behind the neighbouring island.
18. Local Flavour Among Rice Terraces – Selogriyo Temple, Borobudur
While the rice terraces of Ubud in Bali may be the most famous in Indonesia, we think the views of the amazing farms on the way to Selogriyo Temple might be even better.
Photo Via: Tapish Yadav
This walk certainly isn’t as crowded as the one in Ubud. You will probably have the trail all to yourself!
Photo Via: @sswanderlust
The ancient Hindu temple at the top of the climb is unfortunately not a good reason to complete the hike. It is rather small and dilapidated. Instead, take in the views from the peak, which are even better than those you have already marvelled at on the way up.
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This hike takes about two hours to complete for a round trip, not including driving time from Borobudur. Guides are not necessary but are available.
If you’re up for an off-the-beaten path trail with local flavour, topped with beautiful views of rice terraces, you will fall in love with this hike.
19.The Rolling Valley View – Kebun Buah Mangunan, Yogyakarta
Want to see a gorgeous view of the mountains and valleys while visiting Imogiri in southern Yogyakarta?
Photo Via: kelanakecil
Check out Kebun Buah Mangunan.
After a short drive and a climb from the entrance pavilion that takes less than an hour, you will be gazing down over an expanse of green hills and winding river. If you’re lucky, there might be some morning mist to make your picture perfect.
Photo Via: rezahandhika
Kebun Buah Mangunan is also an orchard of hundreds of durian, orange, mango, and guava trees to make your climb extra sweet!