Beyond Bali: 3 Incredible Places To Discover On Your Next Trip To Indonesia

There are over 18,000 islands in Indonesia yet over 1 million Aussies each year flock to just one of them. That’s you, Bali.

I’m a big fan of Bali, especially the more laid-back areas of Canggu and Ubud, but lately some of the lesser-known islands of Indonesia have entered my travel radar.

So for travellers who like to get off the beaten-path, I’ve selected 3 islands that offer a mix of blissful beaches, world-class diving and something a little extra special in terms of culture or geography.

Read on to learn about Raja Ampat, Yogyakarta and Flores, plus the luxury abodes I’ve sniffed out for you stay in when you visit!

Discover the beautiful islands of Indonesia beyond Bali

Raja Ampat

Just magical - Raja Ampat Indonesia by Wanderlust Chloe
Just magical – Raja Ampat Indonesia by Wanderlust Chloe

One glimpse at a photo of the jungle-clad mounds and royal blue waters of the Raja Ampat Islands and I’ll guarantee you’ll want to visit.

The 1500-odd UNESCO protected islands of Raja Ampat are tucked away off the northwest tip of Indonesian Papua – an archipelago so little-known I’ve just spent most of the morning trying to read up on it! (Travel blogger Wanderlust Chloe has an excellent travel guide to Raja Ampat.)

Aside from the beauty found above water, one of the major attractions in this area is the diving – the marine life is so abundant and varied Raja Ampat has been described as a biological hotspot.

Overwater villa at Misool Eco Resort Raja Ampat. Image source.
Overwater villa at Misool Eco Resort Raja Ampat. Image source.

The majority of visitors to this region tend to stay in simple beach huts or dive centres but I’ve sniffed out a luxury option for the stylish traveller. At Misool Eco Resort you can stay in a rustic yet luxurious overwater villa with steps that lead directly into the teeming lagoon. The resort operates as a conservation centre, which your stay directly supports, and also runs a sustainable beach front restaurant and spa with spectacular views of the surrounding islands.

View all properties in Raja Ampat

Transiting through Jakarta? Check out this Jakarta travel guide


Borobudur Temple Yogyakarta. Photo via Flikr/SIPAT: View from the Edge
Borobudur Temple Yogyakarta. Photo via Flikr/SIPAT: View from the Edge

If you thought Ubud had culture you won’t believe how much soul there is in Yogyakarta. Known as the cradle of civilisation on Java, Yogyakarta (pronounced ‘Jogjakarta’ or Jogja for short) is one of the foremost cultural centres of Indonesia.

The most significant archaeological sites include the magnificent Borobudur temple (the world’s biggest Buddhist monument) and The Sultan’s Palace, a historic walled city from the 18th century which houses a museum, market, batik makers and mosques.

Executive Suite At Hotel Tentrum. Image source.
Executive Suite At Hotel Tentrem. Image source.

Yogyakarta also offers many temptations for shopaholics – from the jewellery at Kotagede to arts, crafts and batiks on Malioboro Road – and the prices are far cheaper than what you’d find in Bali.

Stylish accommodation is more reasonable too. For luxurious lodgings close to the monuments and markets check into the 5-star Hotel Tentrem Yogyakarta. From the dazzling gold lobby to the chic poolside bar, the interiors of this independent hotel have been thoughtfully and artfully appointed. Why not indulge yourself with a suite?

Search for hotels in Yogyakarta


Kelimutu Crater Flores. Image source.
Kelimutu Crater Flores. Image source.

You may be familiar with Flores as the spring board for visits to the fascinatingly scary (if you ask me!) Komodo National Park – home to approx. 2500 Komodo Dragons.

But there is much to see and do in Flores if you decide to explore further. Like Raja Ampat, Flores has empty stretches of pure white sand beaches and incredible diving but it also adds to the mix the magical colour-changing lakes found in the Kelimutu crater.

The Kelimutu Crater Lakes Ecolodge. Image source.
The Kelimutu Crater Lakes Ecolodge. Image source.

Ecolodges Indonesia run a couple of different stylish yet eco-conscious properties on Flores. Options include the Bajo Komodo Ecolodge, a beachfront abode with views of the Komodo Islands, or Kelimutu Crater Lakes Ecolodge, a solar-powered resort situated near the traditional village of Moni in Eastern Flores.

Compare hotel prices in Flores 

Do any of these lesser-known Indonesian destinations tickle your fancy?

3 incredible islands in IndonesiaYou may also like:

How to avoid Bali Belly

3 things you may not know about Bali

Stylish Guide to Canggu, Bali 

Best pools in Bali: Top 5 hotel swimming pools

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

5 thoughts on “Beyond Bali: 3 Incredible Places To Discover On Your Next Trip To Indonesia”

  1. Thanks for including my pic of Raja Ampat. I’ve got so many, I don’t know how I’m ever going to choose my favourites! I was in Indonesia around a month but never made it to Flores – next time eh? Cx

    • Ha I reckon there is just so much to see! I have been to Bali twice and never left it so I’m determined to see more of Indonesia on my next visit Jx

  2. I briefly made a stop in Flores when doing a two week trip to Indonesia. I absolutely loved it. So untouched. I need to go back to explore those crater lakes! I also made it to Java but I most definitely want to go to Raja Ampat next time! Looks so stunning. x


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