You’ll nosh on world-famous cuisine with bold flavors and be captivated by live entertainment that are uniquely Indonesian in their execution. Island life in Indonesia encourages you to move at your own pace, whether it’s raising your heart rate during a volcano hike or practicing a mind-body yoga experience to slow down.
Now is the optimal time to plan a trip to Indonesia for travel in the coming months. Escape the chill of winter or spring at home and be rewarded with sunny beaches in Southeast Asia, which will surely delight all of your senses.
Where to go in the Indonesian Islands
With more than 17,000 islands in this expansive archipelago, how do you decide where to go? Some of the best beaches that the Indonesian islands have to offer are easily accessible from these six destinations:
- Labuan Bajo
- Raja Ampat
As one of Indonesia’s most well-known destinations, Bali is basically synonymous with the beach. Its shorelines range from white to black sand, while the surrounding waters are part of the Coral Triangle, a biodiverse marine area adored by divers and snorkelers.
Venture inland on a daytrip to explore Bali’s dense jungle, walk along rice terraces and waterfalls, and admire Hindu temples and ancient religious sites. Or lace up your hiking boots for the 9,994-foot trek up Mount Agung.
City lovers can base themselves out of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital and largest city. Jakarta’s modern-day skyscrapers provide an interesting juxtaposition against the historic Dutch-colonial buildings of its old town. Foodies will delight in delectable options ranging from freshly grilled streetside eats to world-class sit-down meals.
Those who want to get into nature will still have plenty to do. Visit Bidadari Island for its stunning beaches and tropical forest hiking trails. Choose Anyer Island for its resorts and memorable sunset views from the westward-facing beach. And venture out to Carita Beach if you want to snorkel or diver surrounded by curious fish.
Java Island’s cultural hub of Yogyakarta is a favorite among history buffs for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Prambanan Temple Compounds is Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple complex and Borobudur Temple Compounds is a Buddhist complex dating back to the 9th century.
Yogyakarta makes it easy to transition from historic sites to beautiful beaches. Nearby Parangtritis Beach is a favorite for both its adventurous and romantic sides. By day, you can rent an ATV to conquer the sand dunes, and by night, you can relax in the back of a bendi as you’re pulled along the beach in this horse-drawn carriage. Other charming and popular nearby beaches include Pok Tunggal Beach, Ngobaran Beach and Sundak Beach.
Adrenaline fans should seek out Batam city, which is in the Riau Archipelago just south of Singapore. At Batam Cable Ski Park, you can wakeboard, water ski or just hang out and enjoy music and sunshine. Explore local signature seafood dishes like chili crab, otah-otah, sea snails and BBQ seafood with local marinades.
When you’re ready to relax, golf, shopping and massages are wonderful options, as well as unwinding at Nongsa Beach.
A trip to Indonesia would not be complete without seeing one of its legendary Komodo dragons. To explore Komodo National Park, you’ll want to stay on the island of Flores, with the small fishing town of Labuan Bajo serving as your “base camp.” While you’re on Komodo Island, you must stop by the remarkable pink sand beach, known as Pantai Merah. It’s one of seven such wonders in the world and a popular spot for snorkelers.
When you’re back in Labuan Bajo and ready to relax on the sand, Wae Cicu beach is a nice local spot to spend the afternoon.
Raja Ampat Islands
The Raja Ampat Islands demand to be photographed. The water rolling off their golden shorelines transitions from emerald to deep blue. Thick jungles among these islands are teeming with exotic flora and diverse wildlife from birds to mammals.
While the islands are sparsely populated, the Papuan locals are welcoming and offer homestays so you can experience their hospitality while learning about local culture and traditions.
How to Get to the Indonesian Islands
The international airports serving Jakarta and Bali are top options for flights to Indonesia from the United States, in addition to providing easy access to other parts of the Indonesian islands. From there, you can take a connecting flight, bus, boat or, in some cases, rent your own vehicle to explore further reaches of the islands.
Here are some top routes and fares from the United States to Indonesia:
- New York City to Bali from $440
- New York City to Jakarta from $421
- Miami to Bali from $923
- Miami to Jakarta from $808
- Los Angeles to Bali from $442
- Los Angeles to Jakarta from $424
- Chicago to Bali from $586
- Chicago to Jakarta from $744
- Boston to Bali from $743
- Boston to Jakarta from $626
Beach Destinations in the Indonesian Islands
It’s undeniable that Indonesia is home to some of the best beaches in Southeast Asia, if not the world. And while you can have a truly relaxing vacation soaking up the sun, you can also add in other activities that treat your senses.
Don’t miss out on experiencing this gem of Southeast Asia while flights prices are still low. You’ll save extra by traveling in the next few months, and you really can’t beat leaving the chill of winter and spring behind while you relax on a beach half a world away from home.