10 Top Tourist Attractions in Indonesia

Indonesia is a huge country, in both population and land area, with significant cultural and geological diversity. With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, it is the largest archipelago in the world. The population of around 240 million people is derived from 300 ethnic groups who speak over 250 different languages. While Bali is usually the destination most familiar to foreign visitors, there is a wealth of other top tourist attractions in Indonesia to discover in this vast and varied country.

10Lake Toba

Lake Toba on the island of Sumatra is an immense volcanic lake about 100 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide. Formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Genetic estimates suggests that there were only a few thousand humans that survived the catastrophe. The island in the middle – Pulau Samosir – is the largest island within an island and contains two lakes. Besides visiting “a lake on an island within a lake on an island” tourist also come here to kick back and relax and swim in the volcanically warmed waters.

9Tanjung Puting
Tanjung Putingflickr/Hulivili

The Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. The park is a popular ecotourism destination, with many local tour companies offering multi-day boat tours to view wildlife and visit the research centers. Wildlife include gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, pythons, crocodiles and – most famously – orangutans. Unfortunately the park is heavily threatened by illegal logging and forest clearing for agricultural uses.

8Baliem Valley
Baliem Valleyflickr/710928003

The Baliem Valley in the highlands of Western New Guinea offers a glimpse into what was recently a stone-age world. The valley was not known to the outside world until 1938 when an aerial reconnaissance flight southwards from Hollandia (now Jayapura) discovered a large agricultural population. Wamena is the starting point for most visitors who come nowadays to marvel at the mountain views, roaring rivers, tribal villages and at the tough but sweet spirit of the warm Dani people.

7Mount Bromo
Mount Bromoflickr/Zimmelino

Gunung Bromo is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java. At 2,329 meters (7,641 feet) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but it is the most well known. The area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Indonesia and Java. The top of the volcano has been blown off and the crater inside constantly belches white smoke. It is surrounded by the Sea of Sand of fine volcanic sand. The overall effect is unsettlingly unearthly.

6Bunaken

Located at the north of the island of Sulawesi, Bunaken is one of Indonesia’s most famous dive and snorkeling areas. The island is part of the Bunaken Marine Park where you can see more than 70% of all fish species that live in the western Pacific ocean. The best time for diving in Bunaken is between the months of April and November.

5Torajaland
Torajalandflickr/gromanuk

Torajaland (Tana Toraja) is a highland region of South Sulawesi, home of the Toraja people. Torajans are famous for their massive peaked-roof houses known as tongkonan and spectacular but gruesome funeral rites. After a person’s death, the body is kept – often for several years – until the actual funeral ceremony which can last for several days. The deceased is then finally buried in a small cave or in a hollow tree.

4Gili Islands
Gili Islandsflickr/yeowatzup

Lombok’s most popular tourist destination, the Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. The islands are very relaxed and laid-back, with countless little beachside cafes still playing reggae and no cars or motorbikes to disturb the peace. Note that the name “Gili Islands” is rather redundant as gili simply means “small island” in Sasak and there are many other islands around the coast of Lombok with Gili in their names.

3Komodo National Park
Komodo National Parkflickr/Jungle_Boy

The Komodo National Park is a national park located within the Lesser Sunda Islands that includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rincah, and 26 smaller ones. The park is named after the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest living reptile that can reach 3 meters or more in length and weigh over 70kg. Although Komodo dragons eat mostly carcass of dead animals, they are formidable predators and will also hunt prey including birds, and mammals. Attacks against humans are very rare.

2Borobudur

Located 40 km (25 miles) northwest of Yogyakarta on Java, the Borobudur is the one of the most famous Buddhist temple in the world. The Borobudur was built over a period of some 75 years in the 8th and 9th centuries by the kingdom of Sailendra, out of an estimated 2 million blocks of stone. It was abandoned in the 14th century for reasons that still remain a mystery and for centuries lay hidden in the jungle under layers of volcanic ash. Today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Indonesia.

1Bali

Bali is one of the world’s most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. The varied landscape, rugged coastlines, tropical beaches, lush rice terraces and volcanic hillsides all provide a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual and unique Hindu culture. The combination of friendly people, a magnificently visual culture infused with spirituality and spectacular beaches with great surfing and diving have made Bali the unrivaled number one tourist attraction in Indonesia.

More Indonesia tourist attractions can be found in the Explore Indonesia page.

Map of Tourist Attractions In Indonesia

13 comments

  1. After several journeys through Indonesia I have seen most of the above mentioned attractions. However, the Gilis are my personal favourite. Especially the tiny island of Gili Air allows to relax in a certain way, that I could not find at any other place, not only in Indonesia.

  2. Han

    For me, Borobudur Temple is an amazing creation. The size is so big and high. You need extra energy to climb the temple to the top.

  3. vina

    Bromo is definitely a place worth going. I wouldn’t hesitate to go there again. The view is breathtaking.

  4. Cal Harris, Ph.D.

    I haven’t visited Indonesia in 30 years. My last visit was a few days in Jakarta with a H.S. exchange student friend, a trip to Surabaya for three days, four days in Bali and then flew into Solo and took a bus to Jokjakarta. They were very friendly to Americans in 1981.

    I am a bit concerned about the general attitude towards Western tourists but would love to return to Bali and Jokjakarta.

  5. Yeah, You must visit those places if you would come to Indonesia. But Indonesia not only those top 10 places, there are many more such as Mentawai, Raja Ampat, Wakatobi, Prambanan.

  6. Fadil

    Visited all place on the list, and much more.
    You have to make a 50+ list of places to visit in Indonesia. :)

  7. Great list. So many beautiful places in Indonesia since Indonesia has 17,000-ish islands. Anyways, The Baliem Valley looks very unique. Hopefully can visit that place someday.

  8. incredibly beautiful , I really can not wait to get out there. Raja Ampat is one of the best diving spots in the world not only diving and swimming , you can also do a lot of activities there

  9. Hunter

    Nusa Dua is also a great retreat in Indonesia, specially if you like being pampered and spoilt with every luxury! The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali is excellent in every sense of the word.

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