Indonesia is one of the world’s most vibrant countries, an archipelago as diverse as it is scattered. And while many of us have succumbed to Bali’s charms, there’s plenty more on offer than the typical resort experience. We asked the Flight Centre team to list five of Indonesia’s best under-the-radar spots for travellers with some serious wanderlust.
Five of the best places to visit in Indonesia
East Java: Mount Bromo
Unrepentant thrill-seekers should lace up their walking boots and pack a sense of adventure. Around three hours’ southeast of Surabaya, Mount Bromo, part of the breathtaking Tengger massif range, welcomes intrepid travellers from around the world. Situated in the middle of a plain known as “The Sea of Sand” that can be crossed on horseback, Bromo is accessed from the nearby village of Cemoro Lawang. From there, you can pick up a guided jeep tour to the volcano, before summiting its slopes on foot for a truly unforgettable experience.
Flores Island: Kelimutu
In a nation as geologically active as Indonesia, it’s hardly surprising that we have another volcano on our list! Although Kelimutu last erupted back in 1968, this volcano has a unique and different appeal, with three crater lagoons formed at its peak. Two of these lagoons, known as the “Twin Lakes”, are separated by a single crater wall, and regularly change colour depending on their current composition of minerals and volcanic gases. Their hues vary dramatically, from bright red to an almost fluorescent green; both lakes change colour independently of their twin, making for spectacularly photogenic contrasts.
Here be dragons… Komodo dragons, that is! Get up close and personal with the island’s most famous residents at Komodo Island National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site. As the world’s largest living lizard, this mythical-looking creature can reach almost three metres in length and has a deadly reputation. Further spectacular sights await at Padar, another of the three islands that make up the park; hike to its summit for a seriously wow-worthy view that’s almost surreal in its beauty – three different bays, each a different colour (white, pink and black), separated by the island’s craggy terrain and surrounded by crystal-clear blue seas.
Just off the tip of Indonesian Papua, you’ll find the 1,500 tiny, mostly uninhabited and almost impossibly beautiful islands that comprise Raja Ampat. Although undeniably challenging to reach, most would argue that Raja Ampat’s isolation is a huge part of its appeal – forget ubiquitous hotel chains, and instead enjoy authentic island life at eco-resorts or even liveaboards. The diving here is amongst the best in the world, with extensive, largely untouched coral reefs teeming with diverse, vividly coloured marine life. For the ultimate retreat from the outside world, Raja Ampat is impossible to beat.
Bunaken National Marine Park
Say hello to your newest diving paradise – Bunaken’s incredible level of marine biodiversity has to be seen to be believed. Famed for the clarity of its waters, Bunaken National Marine Park is home to hundreds of types of colourful coral and species of tropical fish, with steep underwater walls covered in the kind of creatures that make the seascapes of Finding Nemo seem dull in comparison! Seahorses, starfish, sea turtles, dugongs, black-tip and white-tip reef sharks… this place has it all and then some; even snorkelling in the shallows at Bunaken’s balmy beach resorts should reap rich rewards.
Planning an Indo adventure? Contact the experts at Flight Centre Hong Kong at 2830 2730, or visit flightcentre.com.hk.
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This article first appeared in the October/November 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.