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Indonesia is home to an abundance of beautiful islands, each with its unique charm and attractions. So whether you’re a nature lover, a beach bum, or a culture enthusiast, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are twelve of the most exquisite islands in Indonesia that should be on your travel list.
1. Why visit Labuan Bajo
Labuan Bajo, located in the westernmost tip of Flores, is one of the hottest off-grid locations right now in Indonesia. With its laid-back lifestyle and small harbour crowded with boats, Labuan Bajo is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the tropical blue seas and islands dotting the skyline.
Labuan Bajo is an excellent choice whether you’re here to explore living out at sea on a liveaboard or enjoy beautiful beaches and encounter marine life. This small town is also the popular gateway for diving and snorkelling in the Komodo National Park – home of the famous Komodo dragons and stunning Pink Beach. Labuan Bajo is one destination that needs to be visited!
2. Things to do in Pulau Balbulol (Misool)
Pulau Balbulol is an idyllic and secluded corner of the Raja Ampat archipelago, blessed with crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life. In this corner of Indonesia, visitors can expect to see the vibrant Wilson Bird of Paradise in Dampier, along with various corals and exotic fishes.
Explore Pulau Balbulol on a yacht and feel like you’re in another world, entirely removed from city life. Take a leisurely snorkel or dive beneath the surface of the plankton-rich waters to observe the breathtaking biodiversity that Pulau Balbulol has to offer.
With more specific sights such as Tomolol Bay cave’s traditional rock paintings, beautiful Darat beach, waterfalls near Arefi Village, flying foxes at Mioskon, trekking up Mount Pindito, visiting a natural pearls farm in Aljui Bay and parrots at Kabui Bay – Pulau Balbulol is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
3. Why visit the Mentawai Islands
The Mentawai Islands are located off the west coast of Sumatra and are a paradise for adventure seekers. Consisting of four primary islands – Sipora, Siberut (a UNESCO reserve), South Pagai, and North Pagai – the Mentawai Islands provide a variety of activities for both land and sea.
These beautiful islands boast some of Asia’s top surfing spots, including E’bay, Beng-beng, Nipussi, and Pitstop and some of the most breathtaking beaches in Indonesia, such as Mapadegat beach, Jati beach and Nang Nyang beach.
With stunning trekking trails, excellent opportunities for pristine photography, and even live experiences with indigenous Mentawai tribes who practice traditional customs such as ‘turuk’ dances and hunting activities, this archipelago has something to offer everyone.
Add to this mix a vibrant animal life around every corner full of Siamang Dwarf (Bilou), Lutung Mentawai, Mentawai Ape (Bokkoi) and Pigtail Monkey (Simakobu) there is never a dull moment here. Add the Pujujurung and Simatobat waterfalls into the mix, set against a serene backdrop that will leave visitors in pure awe at Mother Nature’s capabilities when at Mentawai.
4. Belitung, a getaway in the making
Belitung is an island off the east coast of Sumatra that has been gaining recognition in recent years for its beautiful beaches, traditional villages, and UNESCO Geopark. Belitung lies between Singapore and Jakarta; however, it remains relatively isolated.
The full effect of Belitung’s beauty can be seen over its amazing turquoise waters, surrounded by many tiny islets and granite rock formations. Tanjung Pendam Beach, Tanjung Kelayang Beach, Lengkuas Island, and Tanjung Tinggi Beach are all great places to experience Belitung’s unique rocky landscape and stunning beaches.
For those wanting something more adventurous, Batu Baginda offers a moderate hike to the top of a massive boulder with views over the Java Sea. Belitung also hosts other wonders such as Kaolin Lake – a bright turquoise mineral lake – and Tanjung Tinggi Beach, which holds Belitung’s most photogenic beach, with a giant balancing granite boulder. Belitung also features coral reefs and an interesting Dutch lighthouse from the 1800s, sure to fascinate historical buffs.
5. Wayag Island – the poster child for a tropical escape
Wayag Island in Raja Ampat, West Papua, is fifth on the list because it truly offers an unforgettable experience. Wayag Island is a paradise for nature lovers, boasting mesmerizing limestone cliffs, crystal clear waters and abundant marine life.
Whether you choose to explore the island by snorkelling or diving, you’re guaranteed to see vibrant coral and a vast array of species, including majestic manta rays. Wayag’s untouched beauty encompasses its pristine beaches and surrounding coves and atolls, which remain ever-peaceful with no soul in sight.
With a yacht or phinisi, you can treat yourself to an isolated paradise experience like no other. Wayag Island provides an incomparable escape that offers relaxation, adventure, and something special, and all rolled into one remarkable destination.
6. Sumba Island – a luxurious escape to paradise
Sumba Island is a luxurious escape to paradise, located in the Lesser Sunda Islands within East Nusa Tenggara. Sumba is known for its traditional culture and the Pasola Festival -an annual horseback riding competition for locals and visitors.
Aside from this, Sumba’s sweeping coastlines also provide stunning surf spots like Nihiwatu, Tarimbang Beach, Marosi Beach, Watu Malado Beach and Weekuri Lake – a magical saltwater lagoon with crystal clear waters.
Sumba never fails to amaze with its traditional culture in Kampung Tarung village and spectacular nature; a majestic 90-meter waterfall will take your breath away. Sumba Island is a splendid place to be experienced once in your lifetime if you’re looking for something away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Paradise awaits! ◼
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© This article was first published online in Feb 2023 – World Travel Magazine.