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Boasting a collection of around 18,000 islands, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago with the longest coastline and therefore, the most beaches.

Stretching over three time zones, Indonesia displays a variety of natural wonders as well as a diversity of cultures, from Sabang in the West, to Merauke in the East.

The world renowned island of Bali might seem a little stale, and with its ever increasing rise in popularity, has now become overcrowded during peak seasons. Not to mention the annoyingly persistent hawkers who will try to sell you everything you don’t need.

Also read: 

11 private islands and resorts in Indonesia for a perfect tropical getaway

9 water villas in Indonesia for a hidden paradise getaway

If you are looking for a tropical getaway with exotic beaches and crystal clear waters, without having to blow up your bank account – here are ten alternative island destinations around Indonesia you should consider for your next trip;

Note: Most of these are a collection of small islands, arrange for a boat to take you around to the best spots.

1. A stone’s throw away from Java – Karimun Jawa Islands, Central Java (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~62 USD, from Singapore: 184 SGD)

1-a) Reasons to visit:

1-a-i. Swim with sharks! – Shark Conservation Pond

The Shark conservation pond, Menjangan Besar Island is a breeding ground for small harmless sharks (as long as you are not on period or have open wounds) as well as turtles.


Photo via tiwitiwiku, hernapardede, arekjeporo, nitama

1-a-ii. Peek under the islands – Karimun Jawa Islands Exploration

A cluster of small islands between shallow waters, you won’t need to dive deep to peek into its underwater life. All you need is a snorkel mask and a pair of fins, and also a boat guide to take you around the best spots.


Photo via vanessavk11, ingaskers, tabuhantrip, aditya.prabowo 2910

1-a-iii. Prehistoric whale and giant prayer beads?! – Bukit Jokotuwo

Hike up Bukit Jokotuwo for a completely bizarre experience. The hill is named after a prehistoric whale that was found on the island.


Photo via nurhayatiyunie, marshela90, kokodearzo, kapanlibur

There is also a rock formation that resembles giant prayer beads, legends speculate, but no one knows for sure why it is there. A panoramic vantage point awaits on the hilltop, with a view of the surrounding islands, perfect for sunsets and sunrises.

1-b) Our favourite stay: Rampant adventures with complementary kayaks! – Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort

Arive at the resort via boat and dock on a private jetty. The Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort promises privacy to soak up the sun and the clear blue sea away from the crowds, as well as a good night’s rest in its rooms decorated in rustic wood furniture.


Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort

Rooms start from 1,150,000 IDR (86 USD)

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Karimun Jawa Islands, Central Java

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

2. Another side of the Metropolis – Thousand Islands, Jakarta (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~8 USD, from Singapore: ~100 SGD)

2-a) Reasons to visit:

2-a-i. The most budget-friendly of them all – Thousand Islands

Only an hour away by boat from Jakarta, it is often overlooked by holidaymakers. With so many nearby islands to explore (as is aptly named), you might just be surprised at what it has in store. It is also arguably the most budget-friendly island on this list.


2-a-ii. Visit an undersea tunnel – Putri Island

Other than all the water based activities you can think of, the Putri Island is home to an undersea tunnel. Different from what you get in seaworld, witness sea creatures interact with one another in their natural habitats, no holds barred.


Photo via helloimmaru, anjaniafilia

Putri Island

Address: Jl. Sultan Agung No.21, Kecamatan Setiabudi, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12980, Indonesia

2-a-iii. Have a special in-ocean lunch – Pantara Island

You might be familiar with a candlelit dinner on the beaches of Jimbaran, why not go all the way and have a romantic one-of-a-kind lunch in the warm and calm waters of Pantara Island? Enjoy a variety of dishes, from Western, Arabic, local, and of course, fresh seafood right from the sea.


Photo via oneglovetv, anastasiabergman

Pantara Island

Check out the couple package available here.

2-a-iv. Tour the damaged island – Bidadari Island

Take a tour of the Bidadari Island, a historical heritage dating back to the 17th century which has been heavily damaged by Krakatoa eruptions.


Photo by deviirawati, arman almageki, Kelor La nationalgeographic

2-b) Our favourite stay: Recline on your private floating patio – Pulau Macan

Get to soak in the island getaway feel in the Pulau Macan’s cottages which are made of driftwood with thatched roofs and recline on the deck chairs provided on your private floating patio.


Photo via vinamy, ryllee, foolishsaint

Pulau Macan

Rate: From $92 per pax for 2D1N
Address: Jl. Fatmawati no. 39 Beehive Cafe, JKT 12430
Contact: +6281297531395


Thousand Islands, Jakarta

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

3. The hidden haven of rocks – Belitung Islands, Sumatra (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~45 USD, from Singapore: ~200 SGD)

3-a) Reasons to visit:

3-a-i. Visit an iconic lighthouse – Lengkuas Island Lighthouse

Go island hopping in the Northwest coast of the island, and take the best vacation photos in years to come. This iconic lighthouse 50 meters above Lengkuas Island was built in 1882 by the Dutch Colony Government.

Go island hopping in the Northwest coast of the island, and take the best vacation photos in years to come. This iconic lighthouse 50 meters above Lengkuas Island was built in 1882 by the Dutch Colony Government.


Photo by wkndwanders, bgenx

Lengkuas Island Lighthouse

Getting there: Travel towards the north of Tanjung Binga village via boat to Lengkuas Island.

3-a-ii. Seek the hidden treasure – Kepayang Island

Trek through a beach jungle, and uncover its hidden treasures of colourful coral fish and giant seashells at Kepayang.


Photo via harrisjaputra

Kepayang Island

Address: Kepayang Island, Belitung Island 33412, Indonesia

3-a-iii. Incredible lake visuals – Kaolin Lake

The remains of Kaolin mining quarries have formed unreal bright blue pools of water with white sands – seemingly out of this world. It’s one of the best areas to explore and take incredible photos too.


Photo via ashadinatha

Kaolin Lake

Address: Jl. Murai, Desa Perawas, Kec Tanjungpandan, Belitung Island, Indonesia

3-a-iv. Watch the movie, read the book, then visit this museum – Museum Kata Andrea Hirata

Apart from appreciating the natural wonders of the Belitung islands, it is also the background to Andrea Hirata’s “Laskar Pelangi” series. Visit his museum and sip on a cup of coffee at its coffee shop, or venture to the historical SD Muhammadiyah featured in his books.


Photo via tyaasfitria annisatiani

Museum Kata Andrea Hirata

Address: Lenggang, Gantung, East Belitung Regency, Bangka Belitung Islands 33516, Indonesia
Contact: [email protected]
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm


3-b) Our favourite stay: Snorkel, dive and canoe at the coral and turtle reserve – Kepayang Island Eco Lodge

If you are looking for something truly unique, reserve a room at the Kepayang Island Conservation Center. Not only do you get a beachfront patio, the island is also a coral and turtle reserve where you can chose to dive, snorkel, or canoe to appreciate it.


Photo by ayuputri86

Kepayang Island Eco Lodge

Rate: From $34
Address: Kepayang Island, Belitung Island 33412, Indonesia
Contact: +62-81280180246; +62-81949189456


Belitung Islands, Sumatra

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

Read more: The complete guide to Belitung Islands: An untouched paradise 1 hour from Batam

4. Dive with a crowd of fish, not a crowd of people – Pulau Weh, Banda Aceh (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~110 USD, from Singapore: ~130 SGD)

4-a) Reasons to visit:

4-a-i. A diver’s secret paradise – Pulau Weh

Pulau Weh offers 20 untouched diving spots. Witness a magnificent display of underwater geographical features with a swarming population of fish, including whale sharks, manta rays, and moray eels.


Photo via eunice khoo, rizkirahmat766, John Fennell

Apart from the underwater canyons and volcanoes, another unique diving spot is the Sophie Rickmers shipwreck, where you can find the rare Angelfish only seen in deeper waters.3ai-weh-via-22_lutfi

Photo via 22 lutfi

4-a-ii. The cherry on top – Zero Kilometer Monument

Located at the North Western tip of Indonesia, it is considered by many travellers as the ‘cherry on top’ by many travellers – with the Zero Kilometer Monument in Sabang, the main city of Pulau Weh as a huge milestone.


Photo via babebasri

4-a-iii. Interesting stone towers – Goa Sarang Bay

Watch how seawater slushes through gaps in the rocks, showing how these beautiful forms of nature were created. Roughly an hour’s trek is required to get this hidden piece of gem on the island of Sabang, do you think it would be worth the trip?


Photo via gatot scoot, rahmadhidayat94, df.hidayat, atelwrhq

4-a-iv. Soak in a mossy stone waterfall lagoon – Pria Laot Waterfall

Take a short trek through a tropical jungle from Pria Laot Village and you will be rewarded with the picturesque Pria Laot Waterfall and take a dip inside its moss covered stone lagoon.


Photo via sinagaega

4-b) Our favourite stay: Wade right in and snorkel through the coral reefs – Pulau Weh Resort

What was once a coconut plantation in Iboih has now become a dive resort with coral reefs right at its doorstep, including two of Pulau Weh’s favourite spots: Batee Tokong and Shark Plateau. Even if diving isn’t your thing, you may find it quite irresistible to nap on a hammock or lounge on a deck chair right on the resort’s white sand beaches.


Photo via farryo, miftahqoir

Pulau Weh Resort

Rooms start from 2,300,000 IDR (176 USD)
Contact: +62 821 632 99118

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Pulau Weh, Banda Aceh

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

5. An island up in the clouds – Samosir Island, Toba Lake, Medan (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~105 USD, from Singapore: ~190 SGD)

5-a) Reason to visit:

5-a-i. The world’s largest crater lake – Lake Toba

Located almost 1000 meters above ground, the Samosir Island sits in Lake Toba, the world’s largest crater lake formed by a prehistoric mega eruption that reduced the world’s population significantly. Trekking up its beautiful hills, you get the feel of its magnitude, how it has changed the course of human history.


Photo via Ahmad Syukaery flickr

5-a-ii. Learn all about its unique culture – Batak Toba

Rich in traditional values, the culture of the Batak Toba people is distinctive from any other in the country. Highly skilled craftsmen decorate the island with effigies that make great souvenirs, while women weave cloth in red, white, and black that reflect their philosophy of life, which is sometimes contradictory from that of Javanese people.


5-a-iii. Visit a treasure chamber and museum! – Batu Hobon, Sopo Guru Tatea Bulan

Birthplace of the Batak race, the Sopo Guru Tatea Bulan illustrates their origins, and is also home to the Batu Hobon, a stone chamber believed to hold the treasure of King Batak’s first son. The Dutch and Japanese have tried all sorts of ways to open the chamber, but the stone lid can only be opened after a ceremony was performed


Photo via Ellia Seider Follow, samosirkab

5-a-iv. Visit Indonesia’s tallest waterfall – Sipiso-piso

If you don’t fancy taking a dip in cold water, take a sightseeing tour on a boat and appreciate the hanging stones on the crater walls, or see Indonesia’s tallest waterfall, Sipiso-piso towering 120 meter above ground


Photo via mr huy, martkristin, Brandon Hoover

5-b) Our favourite stay: Nothing but great views all around! – Tabo Cottages, Tuk Tuk

Also read: Where to stay in Lake Toba

Fits right in between the backpacker homestays and costly hotel resorts. The view from the lakeside pool is surprising entertaining considering the price. The place is often fully booked so make sure you have made reservations.


Tabo Cottages, Tuk Tuk

Rooms start from 710,000 IDR (52 USD)


Samosir Island, Toba Lake, Medan

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

Read more: The ultimate guide to Lake Toba

6. Borneo’s Little Secret – Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~140 USD, from Singapore: ~420 SGD)

6-a) Reasons to visit:

6-a-i. Be truly amazed by nature’s colours – Derawan Island

Perched on Borneo’s East Coast in the Celebes Sea, the Derawan Island may be the least heard of island on this list, at least not until very recently. Bright colours of its surrounding wildlife, including all sorts of species of fish you can think of, indicates its untouched beauty.


Photo via muchlis fatih

6-a-ii. Swim with stingless jellyfish! – Lake Kakaban

A UNESCO heritage site, you can swim with stingless jellyfish in Lake Kakaban, an activity you can do in very few places around the world.


6-a-iii. Slide into a gorgeous and hidden lagoon under caves! – Haji Mangku Cave

Slalom through stone walls at the Haji Mangku Cave, a cave lake that is truly out of this world. You might have to trek through the jungle, but the sight is absolutely worth it.


Photo via amrazing, didi.iger, eemantt, thomas fernando

Only accessible during low tides, a hidden lagoon lies in the jungles of Kakaban and the only way through it is by crawling underneath caves. Watch how the lagoon’s almost transparent water perfectly complements the surrounding mangrove forest.

6-b) Our favourite stay: Forget Maldives, all you need is – Maratua Paradise Resort

Cottages on stilts above water so clear that you won’t even need a snorkeling gear to see the island’s underwater treasure, and when the sun goes down, the skies take turn to put on a show of lights. They certainly were not kidding naming it a ‘Paradise Resort’


Photo via ketoprakdjawir

Maratua Paradise Resort

Rooms start from 550,000 IDR (40 USD)


Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

7. Stranded on an island with real life dragons? Teehee – Komodo Islands (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~145 USD, from Singapore: ~290 SGD)

7-a) Reasons to visit:

From its highest peak, to diving in its deepest waters feels like a scene out of National Geographic. It is clear to see why the Komodo Islands is one of the 7 wonders of the world.


7-a-i. Dive away – Komodo Islands Waters

It’s another one of those great dive locations dive lovers simply can’t miss! Especially when “diving in its deepest waters feels like a scene out of National Geographic” Need we say more?


Photo via marshallsastra, nyamangroup

7-a-ii. How about an unforgettable sunrise? – Gili Laba, Padar Island

Hike up the hills of Gili Laba and Padar island just before sunrise and witness an unforgettable sunrise and the panoramic view after that.


Photo via byyolandasaskia


Photo via asokaremadja

7-a-iii. Thrilling encounters with real life dragons! – Komodo Islands’ Dragons

Get up close (just not too close) with real life dragons, only found in the Komodo Islands. Be sure to follow safety procedures because one bite will send you straight to the hospital.


Photo via searching4sam, airheads

7-b) Our favourite stay: Plenty of accommodation options to choose! – Labuan Bajo, Flores

Most people tend to stay at Labuan Bajo for a bit, before heading to Komodo. and if you wish to extend your stay in Flores, there are plenty of accommodation options available too!


Photo via Valerio, gungho 001, williamsfamilyadventure

Do note that you can’t visit Komodo by yourself, so the only option is to find a tour guide. Negotiate and make sure to ask questions, especially about the boat you will be staying on and its safety features. Prices of a 2D1N tour could be as low as 2,000,000 IDR a trip if you bargain hard enough.

Komodo Islands

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

Read more: The ultimate guide to Komodo islands

8. It’s carefree and oh-so-tropical you won’t want to leave – Gili Islands, West Nusa Tenggara (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~170 USD, from Singapore: ~250 SGD)

8-a) Reasons to visit:

8-a-i. One of the chillest tropical getaways around – Gili Islands

About an hour away by boat from Bali, the Gili Islands display the same vibrant elements of a tropical getaway without the hustle and bustle that usually comes along with it. as Bali, but without all the hustle and bustle.


Photo via Gili Diver Chris, eyespyworldtravel

8-a-ii. Get spoilt for choice with 3 islands! – Gili Trawangan, Meno, Air


Photo by TripCanvas, fashionsurprises

Hop between the three Gilis; Gili Trawangan, known for its festive nightlife. Gili Meno, for its pristine beaches and wildlife. And lastly Gili Air, for the perfect balance of the two above.


Photo via ayreshaxton, baskgilimeno, ugo.monticone


Photo via tiniihitakara, Bliputu, thetravels_

8-a-iii. Get jiggy and party – Jiggy Boat Party

Take the party to a whole new level – party on a boat! The Jiggy Boat Party offers this unique experience for only 350,000 IDR (26 USD) per person.


Photo via Graciajuliaf, Adithyo Dewangga Wijaya

8-b) Our favourite stay: What may be your favourite stay yet – Gili Air Lagoon Resort

Private cottages decorated with a blend of traditional and modern touches,surrounding a moat-like swimming pool, encircling a gourmet restaurant and pool bar in the middle, it doesn’t get cooler than this.


Photo via courtsjoe, milenafoxx

Gili Air Lagoon Resort

Rooms start from 1,200,000 IDR (90 USD)

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Gili Islands, West Nusa Tenggara

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

Read more:
The complete guide to Gili islands (Trawangan, Meno and Air)
15 fun things to do in Gili islands you never knew existed

9. Special mention 1: An underwater Kaleidoscope – Wakatobi, Sulawesi (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~260 USD, from Singapore: ~455 SGD)

9-a) Reasons to visit:

9-a-i. Best dive spot alert! – Wakatobi Waters

Considered one of the world’s best dive spots, exploring Wakatobi’s undersea kingdom is like going on an acid trip. Expect an explosion of colours thanks to its riches in Flora and Fauna.


Photo via Walt Stearns, Wayne MacWilliams, Chung Kim, Dave Conner

With a coral reef that stretches above 600 km in total, non-divers can even enjoy the underwater display from its shallow bay by snorkeling. But for something out of this world, try Fluo-Diving, a technique pioneered in Wakatobi that uses black light to bring out the colours of the sea.

9-a-ii. Pristine wildlife reserve – Wakatobi Island

As international wildlife reserve, the atmosphere on the islands is the pure definition of pristine, decorated with the beautiful song of wild birds. A simple stroll on its white sand beaches and clear blue waters can prove extremely relaxing, giving you the feeling that you have got the island all to yourself.


Photo via pskhun, Fajar Nurdiansyah

9-a-iii. Take a boat ride and spot the sperm whales – Wakatobi Waters

 Depending on the season, you can catch sperm whales and whale sharks that migrate to the warm waters of Wakatobi. Even better, get a boat ride into the deeper waters to increase the chances of spotting them, if budget isn’t a problem.


Photo via xray mag

9-b) Our favourite stay: Plenty of fun activities at this environmentally conscious resort – Wakatobi Patuno Resort

The hardwood furnished cottages along the island’s sandy beaches will surely keep you warm and comfy after a day out on the waters, checking out all the activities the resort offers. Committed to sustainability, the resort even grow their own organic fruits and vegetables served in their restaurant.


Photo via hijir ismail, fadildels, monkeyjaloox17

Wakatobi Patuno Resort

Rooms start from 410,000 IDR (31 USD)

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Wakatobi, Sulawesi

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

10. Special Mention 1: One of the world’s top 10 diving locations! – Raja Ampat, Papua (Total return cost from Jakarta: ~404 USD, from Singapore: ~662 SGD)

10-a) Reasons to visit:

10-a-i. Incredible turquoise pools – Raja Ampat’s Islets

Ridiculous sights – a collection of uninhabited mushroom shaped islets in a pool of warm shades of turquoise blue waters.


Photo via ultimateindonesiayatchsrini w

10-a-ii. One for the nature and dive lovers – Incredible Biodiversity

Rich in biodiversity undersea, on ground, as well as in the skies. In fact it is considered as the best in the country.


Photo via Erwin Poliakoff, Jenny, rajaampatdoberai, Catherine Marshall

Don’t go to Raja Ampat before acquiring a diving license. Raja Ampat ranks in the top 10 diving spots in the world.

10-a-iii. Yacht away – Raja Ampat’s Waters

It is not hard to understand why Raja Ampat is often used as a yachting rendezvous. For a less lofty alternative, arrange boat tours with your homestay owner and you might be surprised at how much less it can cost.


Photo via thesevenseas, ridzuanam, djdemifreedriver

10-b) Our favourite stay: Budget in price, luxurious in views – Hamu Eco Diving Resort

Furnished with the most basic amenities for a complete retreat to nature, this budget resort is situated directly on the waters of Raja Ampat. Explore this scenic area through diving, snorkelling, birdwatching and island tour activities.


Photo via onkykno, damirzurub

Hamu Eco Diving Resort

Rooms start at 719,400 IDR per person per night


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Raja Ampat, Papua

FAQs (Best time to visit, Getting there etc)

Indonesia is definitely not short on islands. With different islands and sights available, we’d find it hard to decide where to explore first too!

Let us know in the comments below which island is your favourite!

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Travel Writer

Currently studying mechanical engineering in Universitas Indonesia. Interested in traveling and music. One of my life’s goals would be to cross off as many destinations as possible on my list of places to visit, becoming an engineer is how I plan to achieve that.