Top 10 Must Visit Places in Indonesia

Indonesia being diverse and extensive with 17,000 islands. You may be sure to find everything to your fancy, but there are a few must-visit places here that you should know. After all, not everyone has the time to traverse entire wonderful Indonesia.

Be it for leisure, shopping, culture, history, diving, trekking, or nature; you can find all those in places below of our top travel places in Indonesia.

Jakarta

The capital of Indonesia, everyone would inevitably find themselves visiting Jakarta as their first or last stop in Indonesia. Jakarta is also a vital international airport hub for Indonesia serving airlines worldwide. Your visit here would not be complete without getting absorbed into the hectic and congested city. Once attuned, you would be ready to take on the rest of the country with ease. It has many hidden treasures, nightlife, and is a shopping haven.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Jakarta
-> Read Top 10 Things to Do and Must See in Jakarta

-> Find Jakarta hotel deals at Booking.com. Book now pay later! *
Jakarta Night Skyline, Indonesia

Jakarta night skyline. Photo by yohanes budiyanto


Yogyakarta

Personally, Yogyakarta is my favourite place to visit in Java, Indonesia. Is has everything from ancient attractions to shopping to food and culture. Explore the main street and the narrow valleys in search of silversmiths, puppet makers, street arts and food vendors, soaking in the culture, people and food of Indonesia as it has always been.

Yogyakarta serves as a hub for historical and cultural Java, Indonesia, this is the best springboard for you to find the magnificent temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. Bath in the remains of two great kingdoms of two different religions – Buddhism and Hinduism.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Yogyakarta
-> Read Top 10 Things to Do in Yogyakarta

-> Find Yogyakarta hotel deals at Booking.com. Book now pay later! *
Trishaw at Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Trishaw at Yogyakarta. Photo by bob|P-&-S

Mount Bromo

Do not miss out the majestic Mt Bromo at Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, with active and dormant volcanoes to choose from. Standing tall at 2329 m, it is one of the most iconic mountains in Indonesia. You may ride a horse or catch or rent a jeep to the top and be in time to catch a sunrise. You will be rewarded with one of the most out-of-this-world views as the sun appears on the horizon over the blue misty volcanic craters. It is one place you should put on your must-visit list in Indonesia.

-> Check out our Guide to Hiking Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo @ Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, Indonesia

Mount Bromo, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. Photo by masterbutler

Lake Toba

Relax and unwind from the hectic of travels at Lake Toba, swim in the largest volcanic lake in the world on lazy afternoons and have a long massage after then followed by an excellent meal to end the day. With a quiet and serene beauty, it is famous for travelers as a place to unwind and while the time away, especially after a hardcore long backpacking or trekking. Lake Toba is one of the most visited lakes in Indonesia, and that must mean something.

-> Check out our Lake Toba Travel Guide

-> Find hotel deals at Lake Toba on Booking.com. *
Largest Volcanic Lake at Lake Toba, Indonesia

Largest Volcanic Lake at Lake Toba. Photo by schristia

Bali

Tourist-packed? Yes. Well beaten track? Yes. Overrated? Maybe, maybe not. You should go there with your open heart and mind despite after Eat, Love, Pray commercialization and hope to still get the glimpse of the real beauty of it. No matter what the sceptics say, Bali remains a must visit place for every tourists in Indonesia, and it remains so with full of zest. After all, it is still the place with Bali best beaches, misty treks across volcanoes, amazing famous temples like Uluwatu and Tanah Lot and laidback coasts. At night you can even set out for a party or two along Kuta and other Bali night clubs.

-> Check out our Bali Travel Guide
-> Read Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali

Lombok

A quieter shadow of Bali, this place is slowly becoming a popular visit place in its own rights. People come here to escape the crowds and for the blue waters and green mountains. For the adventurous, a trek up Gunung Rinjani would not disappoint or surf the great waves at coast. The nearby Gili Islands are also no strangers for the people who escape Bali.

-> Check out our Lombok Travel Guide
-> Read Top 10 Things To Do in Lombok

-> Find Bali or Lombok hotel deals at Booking.com *
Gili Trawangan @ Lombok, Indonesia

Gili Trawangan, Gili Islands. Photo by Jeda Villa Bali

Tana Toraja

A highland and the most popular destination in Southern Sulawesi, this cultural island in between mountains are simply unique. Engulf in its rich culture, traditional villages and fascinating ceremonies that would wow even those who thought they have seen it all.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Tana Toraja

Graves @ Lemo, Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Graves at Lemo, Tana Toraja. Photo by 710928003

Baliem Valley

Best place to explore the Papua area in Indonesia, you may find tribes, which are still practicing rites and ceremonies from ancient times in places among cool air, misty purple mountains and buzz of human activities. Trek and explore the lands of Lani, Dani and Yali tribes in this remote Papua.

-> Check out our Travel Guide to Baliem Valley

Barapen Ceremony at Baliem Valley, Indonesia

Barapen Ceremony at Baliem Valley. Photo by Arian Zwegers

Raja Ampat

Known as one of the best diving destination in Indonesia and the world, Raja Ampat is estimated to host over 75% of world’s coral species with more than a thousand tropical fish species, many previously unknown.. It is definitely a diver’s paradise and for those who love marine life.

->Read our Travel Guide to Raja Ampat

Dive at Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Dive at Raja Ampat. Photo by lakshmioct01

Komodo National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia have the most famous Komodo Dragon which is the largest living lizard. You may even catch legions of flying foxes (large fruit bats) in the star-filled night sky.

-> Read our Travel Guide to Komodo National Park

Komodo Dragon walking at the beach

Komodo Dragon walking at the beach. Photo by Adhi Rachdia

Versi Bahasa Indonesia10 Tempat Wisata yang Wajib Dikunjungi di Indonesia

Related articles:
Top 10 Things To Do in Indonesia
Top 10 Things Must Do in Java
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Why Visit Indonesia

Indonesia may not be the first place that many people would think to go but it is a truly hidden gem in the Southeast Asia even though it is a giant in size, having more than 17,000 islands with 240 million people!

You will find that a lot of tourists love coming to Indonesia because of how beautiful and diverse this country is. Known to many as Wonderful Indonesia, it brings you the second largest tropical forests, many pristine beaches with great dive sites and surfing waves, amazing hikes to active volcanoes and wildlife.

Being a large country in size with such diverse culture and covering many time-zones, one can find from mysterious Balinese spiritual to the fascinating Komodo Dragon. Indonesia is still very much off the radar of travel map, except for Bali, with its infrastructures still lacking and development very much challenged. Backpackers can enjoy the thrill of exploring the unbeaten tracks while luxury seekers may find that they do indeed have many choices as well.

People and Festival @ Bali, Indonesia

People and Festival at Bali, Indonesia. Photo by The Wandering Angel

Natural Tourist Attractions

Indonesia have most of nature’s best such from pristine beaches and deep sea to tropical forests and mountains. Be wow by idyllic beaches like in the famous Bali, the emerging Lombok, luxurious Nusa Dua or the quiet Gili Islands. You may also find hiking here amazing as you can hike up the many active volcanoes, such as Mount Bromo and Ijen Crater in East Java, Mount Rinjani in Lombok and Mount Batur in Bali. Many tropical forests here are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia like Ujung Kulon National Parkk in West Java and three major parks in Sumatra. Not to forget is the famous Komodo Dragon found in Komodo Island and the permanent glacier at Lorentz National Park in Papua, a part of Indonesia which sets it a bit different from its Asia counterparts.

Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by paulzpicz

Historical Attractions and Ancient Rites

For those who are interested in historical and cultural tourist attractions, Indonesia have its long history, giving birth to places like Borobudur in Central Java with its world’s largest Buddhist monument dating from 8th century, Prambanan with its Hindu monument and the famous Yogyakarta, all in Central Java. For more historical interests, check out the ancient funeral rites still in practice by the people in Tana Toraja.

Diving and Surfing

Dive at Bunaken Island, Indonesia

Dive at Bunaken Island, Indonesia. Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

There are many beautiful dive sites that goes unnoticed in Indonesia such as Bunaken, Raja Ampat and Wakatobi. You’ll also be surprise to find that it is another surfer’s paradise, with great waves at Nusa Lembongan, south of Lombok or for even greater waves at Sumbawa.

People, Culture, Festival and Indonesian Food

With people from diverse origins and religions, Indonesia has a good mix of cultures and Indonesian festivals, creating a unique melting pot of sorts. But one thing similar about the people is that they are generally nice to travelers. Diverse cultures bring amazing food of varieties and taste. Try out all the delicious Indonesian food such as nasi padang, nasi timbel, nasi uduk, bakmi, kuetiaw, bakso, soto ayam, ayam bakar, gado gado, sambal, kue and fresh local fruits just to name a few. From street food to eating house (restaurant) to higher end dining, you can be sure to satiate your appetite in Indonesia. Here’s Top 10 Indonesian food for you to start with.

Indonesian Food - Soto Mee

Indonesian Food – Soto Mee


All in all, Indonesia has a lot to offer even for those who travel on a budget in Indonesia but willing to take the extra time and effort to get to some places which is good to know that are worth it. In summary, you should go to Indonesia for the untouched nature of beaches, tropical forests, active volcanoes and wildlife, and magnificent history of monuments, and for great diving and surfing. But most of all, you should go to Indonesia to experience all it has to offer from people to culture and food, which in the end seal up what we would call a fulfilling and unforgettable trip.

Ready to start your trip to Indonesia? Start here:
Indonesia Travel Guides
Top and Best of Indonesia

Related Articles:
Top 10 Must Visit Places in Indonesia
Top 10 Things to Do in Indonesia
Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Indonesia

Tourist Visa Requirements for Indonesia

Getting a tourist visa for your travel or visit to Indonesia is relatively easy if flying in and the visa requirements are straightforward.

Many neighboring countries will get Visa free entries for 30 days while the rest can obtain tourist visa on arrival for up to 60 days which are also allowed for visa extension renewals. Only few countries in the world would need to obtain visa before traveling to Indonesia.

For a traveler, you would need a tourist visa.

Visa Free / Waive

Length of stay

30 days

Visa Extension

No

Additional Notes

Cannot be extended, transferred or converted into other kind of visa.

Visitors from these countries do not need visa:

Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam

Visa-free entries are only permitted in these port of entries

Airports
Juanda (Surabaya, East Java), Adisutjipto (Yogyakarta, Java), Adi Sumarmo (Solo, Central Java), Achmad Yani (Semarang, Central Java), El Tari (Kupang, West Timor), Hang Nadim (Batam, Riau Islands), Hasanuddin (Makassar, South Sulawesi), Husein Sastranegara (Bandung, West Java), Ngurah Rai (Denpasar, Bali), Polonia (Medan, North Sumatra), Sam Ratulangi (Manado, North Sulawesi), Lombok International Airport (Praya-Mataram, Lombok), Sepinggan (Balikpapan, East Kalimantan), Soekarno-Hatta (Jakarta), Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II (Palembang, South Sumatera), Sultan Syarif Kasim II or Simpang Tiga (Pekanbaru, Riau), Supadio (Pontianak, West Kalimantan) and Minangkabau (Padang, West Sumatera).

Seaports
Bandar Seri Udana Lobam (Batam, Riau Islands), Belawan (Medan, North Sumatra), Bitung (Manado, North Sulawesi), Lembar (Mataram, Lombok), Nongsa Terminal Bahari (Batam, Riau Islands), Sekupang (Batam, Riau Islands), Sri Bayintan (Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, Riau Islands), Tanjung Balai Karimun (Karimun, Riau Islands), Tanjung Perak (Surabaya, East Java), Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi (Bintan, Riau Islands), Batu Ampar (Batam, Riau Islands), Benoa (Bali), Dumai (Riau), Lhokseumawe (North Sumatra), Marina Teluk Senimba (Batam, Riau Islands), Padang Bai (Bali), Selat Kijang (Bintan, Riau Islands), Tanjung Mas (Semarang, Central Java), Tanjung Pinang (Bintan, Riau Islands) and Tenau (Kupang, West Timor).
Land crossing: the Malaysia-Indonesia border crossing at Entikong (West Kalimantan-Sarawak).

Visa on Arrival

Length of stay

30 days

Criteria

Must have a return to point of origin, or onward destination ticket

Visa Extension

Yes, for another 30 days at local immigration

Visa Fee

25USD, extension 250000RP

Additional Notes

May pre-obtained visa if you want to avoid the long immigration.

Visitors from these countries are eligible for visa on arrival

Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, East Timor (Timor-Leste), Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and USA.

Visa on Arrival are available at these port of entries

Airports
Sultan Iskandar Muda, in Banda Aceh, (Aceh), Polonia in Medan, (North Sumatra), Sultan Sharif Kasim II, Pekanbaru, (Riau), Hang Nadim, in Batam, (Riau Islands), Minangkabau, in Padang, (West Sumatra), Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II, in Palembang, (South Sumatra), Soekarno-Hatta, Jakarta, (DKI Jakarta), Halim Perdana Kusuma, in Jakarta, (DKI Jakarta), Husein Sastranegara, in Bandung, (West Java), Adi Sucipto, in Yogyakarta, (Yogyakarta Special Region), Ahmad Yani, in Semarang, (Central Java), Adisumarmo, in Surakarta, (Central Java), Juanda in Surabaya, (East Java), Supadio, in Pontianak, (West Kalimantan), Sepinggan in Balikpapan, (East Kalimantan), Sam Ratulangi, in Manado, (North Sulawesi), Hasanuddin, in Makassar, (South Sulawesi), Ngurah Rai in Denpasar, (Bali), Lombok International Airport, Praya-Mataram, Lombok, (West Nusa Tenggara), El Tari, in Kupang, (East Nusa Tenggara).

Seaports
Bandar Bentan Telani Lagoi (Bintan, Riau Islands), Bandar Seri Udana Lobam (Bintan, Riau Islands), Batu Ampar (Batam, Riau Islands), Belawan (Medan, North Sumatra), Benoa (Bali), Bitung (Manado, North Sulawesi), Jayapura (Papua), Marina Teluk Senimba (Batam, Riau Islands), Maumere (Flores, East Nusa Tenggara), Nongsa (Batam, Riau Islands), Padang Bai (Bali), Pare-Pare (South Sulawesi), Sekupang (Batam, Riau Islands), Sibolga (North Sumatra), Soekarno Hatta (Makassar, South Sulawesi), Sri Bintan Pura (Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, Riau Islands), Tanjung Balai Karimun (Karimun, Riau Islands), Tanjung Mas (Semarang, Central Java), Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Teluk Bayur (Padang, West Sumatra), Batam Centre (Batam, Riau Islands), Tenau (Kupang, West Timor) and Yos Sudarso (Dumai, Riau).

Land crossing
the Malaysia-Indonesia border crossing at Entikong (West Kalimantan-Sarawak).

Visa before Arrival or Tourist Visa

Length of stay

60 days, single entry

Criteria

Must have a return to point of origin, or onward destination ticket

tourist Visa Fee

50-100USD

Additional Notes

Multiple entries available depending on policy in issuing embassies. Normally 3-7 working days to processed and need to apply in person.

Visitors from these countries would need apply for tourist visa before arrival:

Afghanistan, Israel, Albania, North Korea, Angola, Nigeria, Pakistan, Cameroon, Somalia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Tonga, Iraq.

Passport Validity

Remember to check your passport validity. All passports must valid for at least six months from date of entry is required.

Generally getting a tourist visa is hassle free for your travel to Indonesia. You may get your visa online as well.

Indonesia Health and Safety

Although there are large numbers of natural disasters reported in Malaysia, it is against a wide area as Indonesia is a large country spanning across few time zones. Natural disasters common here are the earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions but very limited to the region that would be affected itself.

Crime

The crime rate in Indonesia has increased over the years but most are just petty thieving like robbery, theft and pickpocketing. Avoid showing your valuables and money in public and like most places in the world, be aware of your surroundings especially popular public places. There are several bombing reported at highly concentrated tourist area such as Bali and Jakarta, so as to minimize your risk, try to avoid tourist packed nightclubs or restaurants.

Vaccination

It is recommended to get vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid fever before traveling to Indonesia as food hygiene in some areas are questionable. Get more information in vaccinations for traveling in Indonesia.

Medical issues

Dengue is rampant in remote areas of Sumatra, Borneo and Lombok or points east, so bring strong repellants and be careful. Also the air quality in Indonesia is quite poor, especially in major cities, with occasional haze (June-October) from forest fires in Borneo and Sumatra, so if you have respiratory problems do remember to bring your medication and breather.

Areas to avoid

Maluku – there is serious civil unrest in this area with long standing communal tensions.
Papua and West Papua – political tension creates a high risk security situation in that area.
Central Sulawesi – security situation on risk due to religious tensions and terrorist activities.