Indonesia, a country of 1,700 islands and one of the largest countries in Asia in size and population, offers many captivating tourist attractions for travelers. Surprisingly it may not be one of the world’s top destinations yet, but it is a good thing as it kept the place with the charm of the unexplored, except for the famous Bali.
Indonesia’s tourist sites include attractions from historical to natural to cultural. For historical tourist attractions, you will find ancient temples and grand mosques. For natural tourist attractions, you will discover breathtaking volcanoes, serene crater lakes, Komodo Dragons, and Orang Utans for a unique underwater diving experience. On cultural tourist attractions, there are ancient funeral rites and tribal villages.
Read on about the best tourist attractions in Indonesia to know more about these wonders.
Historical Indonesia Tourist Attractions
This 9th-century temple is one of Indonesia’s UNESCO Heritage sites in the heart of Java. It is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world, consisting of six square platforms with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. Thousands of Buddhists make their pilgrimage here in Borobudur during Waisak Day. This Buddhist temple is one of its kind, setting itself apart from the rest of Asia’s Buddhist temples with unique structures and carvings. Try to get in during the earliest opening time at 8 am to catch the temple at the most serene to appreciate its beauty fully. It is also recommended to stay at Manohara Resort * and take the Borobudur sunrise tour exclusively from them. This is definitely an Indonesia tourist attraction not to be missed!
Prambanan, a Hindu temple in Yogyakarta, is a well-known Indonesia tourist attraction in Java, Indonesia. It is built during the 9th century for Trimurti as an expression that God is the Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu), and also the Destroyer (Shiva). It is also one of the Indonesia UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This ancient temple is one of Southeast Asia’s largest Hindu temple architecture.
This spectacular temple is perched at the edge of a large rugged limestone cliff 70 meters above the Indian Ocean. Imagine a scene from a cliffhanger with a temple as the touch of dramatic splendor. This temple is located in Bukit Peninsula in Bali. Its majestic structure has been constructed and expanded since the 11th century. Go to the higher grounds nearby for a breathtaking view of either side and sunsets over Uluwatu temple. One of the most popular places to stay here is Gravity * and read where to stay near Uluwatu temple for more.
Baiturrahman Grand Mosque (masjid raya)
This majestic mosque, located in the city center of Banda Aceh, is one of the top destinations here and stood as a testament to the historical grandeur of Sumatra. It is a significant symbol to the Aceh people for their rich religion and culture. This is especially so as it survived the devastating 2004 tsunami still intact. The design of this mosque is a fusion of colonial and Moghul Indian architecture with the local traditional Acehnese features.
Natural Indonesia Tourist Attractions
Mount Bromo, located in East Java, can be touted as the most iconic among the many volcanic mountains in Indonesia. It strategically lies in the middle of Tengger caldera, a crater of fine volcanic black sand, while standing foreboding, spewing off white sulfurous smoke. It is still one of the most active volcanoes in the world and continues to draw many travelers from far and wide to wake up in the wee hours to hike and catch the sunrise over the ethereal view of Mount Bromo. This Indonesia tourist attraction should be on your travel bucket list!
This largest volcanic lake measuring 1,707 sq ft, is called Lake Toba, also known as Danau Toba. It is formed after a gigantic volcanic eruption about 70,000 years ago and is the world’s biggest caldera lake. Lake Toba is rumored to be a product of a massive supervolcanic eruption known as the Toba catastrophe theory, which has supposedly killed much of the human population. This interesting Indonesian attraction is worth a visit. Besides, the Batak people here are well known for their friendliness. The best-rated hotels here are Horas Family Home * and Toba Village Inn *.
Found at Komodo National Park in Flores is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia and an attraction you must visit. Komodo dragons may very well be the last dragons in the world. Come here and get up close and personal with them, though be careful as there are rare reports of an attack. This park is also a refuge for many other wild terrestrial species, with a mixture of Asiatic and Australian origins and a wide variety of marine life. To get here, fly to Labuan Bajo or take a boat trip from Bali or Lombok to Komodo Island. Stay at the highly-rated Komodo Resort * just next to the Komodo National Park.
Orangutan at Bukit Lawang
Bukit Lawang became a top tourist attraction in Indonesia because of the chance to see the Orang Utan living in the wild in proximity. This Orang Utan sanctuary is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Indonesia and means “door to the hills.” Travelers will come here to do trekking in hopes of catching sight of the rare Sumatran Orangutans. There is an Orangutan viewing platform with twice-a-day feedings that will almost guarantee a view of them. The Best Accommodations in Bukit Lawang are Hotel Orangutan * and EcoTravel Cottages *.
Raja Ampat Islands is one of Indonesia’s top tourist attractions for divers and nature lovers and travelers alike. This diver’s paradise is well known for its riches in marine wildlife, pristine reefs, and corals that would wow even the most seasoned diver. It is part of the world’s Coral Triangle, known for housing more than 3000 species of fish and other extraordinary habitats that breed the biodiversity of its marine life. Also, Raja Ampat is a remote place left untouched by development, and only independent travelers that are nature lovers made their way here.
Cultural Indonesia Tourist Attractions
Funeral rites at Tana Toraja
Tana Toraja, also known as Torajaland, is a highland in southern Sulawesi. A land almost lost in time spans lush green rice terraces, tall limestone, and bamboo graves with misty blue mountains as a backdrop. The main tourist attraction here is the funeral rites practiced for ages, even after many had adopted Christian beliefs after the Dutch colony. It is said that they are obsessed with the idea of death, not in a morbid way but as something significant to them. You may find cave graves, hanging graves, tau tau (life-sized wooden effigies), baby tree graves, and even mass slaughter of buffaloes, all these bringing you a sense of strangeness yet captivating. This fascinating Indonesia tourist attraction is not easy to get to, but well worth it when you do.
Tribal Villages at Baliem Valley
Baliem Valley is a remote place that can only be accessed by flying into Jayapura, the nearest town. The Indonesia tourist attraction here is the chance to discover tribal villages by trekking from one to another. The people of Lani, Dani, and Yali tribal or Asmat lands live very much like they have always been. You will find unique cultures (mummy and tradings) and fashion (traditional penis gourd attire). At the same time, you can marvel at the mountain views, rivers, and vast green fields. The traditional grass huts here are also unique, while the tribes’ daily activities are fascinating. The Baliem Valley trekking range from half-day walks to 30 days expeditions deep into the tribal lands.