12 Top Tourist Attractions in Indonesia

Oh, Indonesia! Its enchanting islands and vibrant cultures make it a piece of paradise on Earth. This sprawling archipelago is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. So, get your rupiahs ready (you can always exchange more at Crown Currency Exchange), and let’s dive into the top 12 tourist attractions in Indonesia.

Borobudur, Central Java

Borobudur, Central Java

First stop, Borobudur! This colossal 9th-century Buddhist temple in Central Java Province is a sight to behold. As the world’s largest of its kind, it’s crafted from 2 million stone blocks and took 75 years to build. Sure, it spent a few centuries hidden under volcanic ash and jungle growth, but its grandeur hasn’t faded. It’s not just a UNESCO World Heritage site but also a window into history and spirituality.

Scale its central platform, and you’ll get jaw-dropping views of the countryside. And with 72 Buddha sculptures and 2,672 relief panels, there’s plenty to explore.

Things to do:

1. Catch the Borobudur Sunrise

Get up with the birds and witness a stunning sunrise at Borobudur. As day breaks, see the temple light up, showcasing its statues, stupas, and detailed carvings. The shift from complete darkness to morning glow is an awe-inspiring scene that justifies the early alarm.

2. Explore the Temple Complex’s Rich Past

Step back in time as you wander through the entire Borobudur Temple complex. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, established in the 8th and 9th centuries, features a distinct architectural style. Climb to the top for a spectacular view of 72 stupas, each containing a Buddha statue and 2,672 relief panels narrating various tales.

3. Check Out the Museums Near Borobudur

Indulge your love for history by dropping by the three museums near Borobudur: Borobudur Museum, Samudraraksa Ship Museum, and Museum MURI. From historical relics to the remnants of the Samudraraksa Ship, these museums provide a deeper insight into Borobudur and its vibrant history.

Gili Islands, West Nusa Tenggara

Gili Islands, West Nusa Tenggara

After enjoying the majesty and history of Borobudur, why not swap city life for island vibes? Head to the Gili Islands, three tiny slices of paradise near Lombok Island. We’re talking about Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air – all boasting stunning beaches, lush palms, and vibrant coral reefs.

Fancy a swim with turtles? Gili Meno’s your spot. Or maybe exploring a sunken ship? That’s Gili Trawangan. These islands might be close to Bali, but they pack a punch with breathtaking sunsets and top-notch snorkelling. It’s pure bliss.

Things to do:

1. Dive into Snorkelling Fun

Jump into the clear waters of the Gili Islands for an underwater adventure. Swim with sea turtles, lionfish, eels, and rays—it’s like a real-life ‘Finding Nemo’. And don’t skip ‘The Nest’, an underwater sculpture that’s a hit on Instagram. Group snorkelling trips are cool, but hiring a private boat makes it more intimate. Plus, you get to explore the aquatic wonders at your own pace.

2. Try Your Hand at Spearfishing

If you love the idea of catching your own dinner, spearfishing in Gili Islands is a must-do. The clear waters teem with marine life, perfect for this activity. Rent a private boat, captain, and spearfishing guide, and start hunting for your meal.

3. Indulge in Street Food at the Night Market

When night falls, Gili Trawangan’s main street buzzes with delicious smells of street food. From tuna, beef, and chicken skewers to Indonesian curries, this night market is a food lover’s dream. Whether you choose your own skewers or point at curries for a plate of yumminess, you’re in for a food fest that won’t empty your wallet.

Komodo National Park, Komodo Island

Komodo National Park, Komodo Island

Ever dreamt of meeting a dragon? Well, it’s time to turn that dream into reality at Komodo National Park. Tucked away in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands, this UNESCO World Heritage site is the stomping ground for the legendary Komodo dragons – they’re rare, wild, and absolutely captivating.

But don’t stop there! The park, with its collection of islands, is a goldmine of marine biodiversity. Whether you’re hiking, snorkelling, canoeing, or lounging on Pink Beach, adventure is around every corner. Just remember, these aren’t your average lizards – always tour with an official guide.

Things to do:

1. Join the Hunt for Komodo Dragons

If you’re up for an adventure and good at spotting rare creatures, this one’s for you. Your mission? Find the Komodo Dragons, the planet’s biggest lizards that can grow up to 3 metres long and weigh up to 170 kg. They may look slow, but they can run up to 40 km per hour when chasing dinner! Always keep a safe distance from these awesome beasts.

2. Turn into a Wildlife Detective

Komodo isn’t just about the dragons. The islands are home to a bunch of other cool animals. Spot macaques, watch bats fly at sunset, or dive underwater to see manta rays and sea turtles. Whether you’re on land or underwater, there’s a world of wildlife waiting for you to discover.

3. Hike Up Padar for Amazing Views

Got the spirit of an explorer? Put on your hiking boots and head for the top of Padar, the third largest island in the Flore group. Sure, it’s a tough climb, but the views from the top are worth every drop of sweat. And don’t forget your camera – the beautiful scenery of blue waters, green hills, and sandy beaches is perfect for your Instagram feed.

Lake Toba, North Sumatra

Lake Toba, North Sumatra

After a thrilling adventure with the dragons, now we’re heading into the mouth of a supervolcano! Meet Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Indonesia. This mammoth lake sits in the crater of an ancient volcano, showcasing nature’s dual capacity for destruction and tranquillity. It’s more than just a lake—it’s a marvel. Bathe in its warm volcanic waters, or visit Pulau Samosir, a unique island within the lake.

But don’t forget, this spot is more than pretty views, it’s steeped in folklore. Rumour has it that a giant goldfish resides here. Catch it, and catastrophe could strike. So, maybe leave your fishing gear behind.

Things to do:

1. Go Kayaking or Fishing on Lake Toba

Grab a kayak and paddle across the serene waters of Lake Toba. As you float, enjoy the view of volcanic mountains touching the sky. Pack a picnic and find a secluded spot for a lakeside lunch. Or, if you’re into fishing, join a local fisherman on his boat. Just ask around.

2. Explore Samosir Island’s Waterfalls

Make sure to check out the stunning waterfalls on Samosir Island. The 120-metre Sipiso-Piso Waterfall is a must-see, with an amazing view of the area. For a cool swim, head over to Binangalom Waterfall, which falls right into the lake.

3. Soak in a Hot Spring

There’s nothing like a dip in a hot spring, and Lake Toba has loads of them. Located at the base of Pusuk Buhit, these natural springs have been turned into pools where you can chill and unwind. They’re basic and cheap, but if you can take the heat, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Mount Bromo, East Java

Mount Bromo, East Java

Watching the sunrise from an active volcano’s mouth? At Mount Bromo in Eastern Java, Indonesia, 854 km away from the young and volatile volcano (Anak Krakatau), it’s a reality. Although not the tallest, this 2,329-metre peak offers a dramatic spectacle. As day breaks, witness the sky morph into a kaleidoscope of colours over the smoky caldera.

But there’s more. The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, where Mount Bromo resides, also houses Java’s tallest peak—Mount Semeru. So, strap on your boots for an adventure that’s literally, smoking hot!

Things to do:

1. Hop on a Jeep for a Wild Ride

Strap in for an epic Jeep ride up Mount Bromo. Your adventure starts as early as 2:30 AM, and you’ll feel like Indiana Jones navigating the foggy paths and mountain edges. But don’t worry, your expert driver’s got it all under control. Once you reach the top, safe and sound, you’ll be ready to thank them for the crazy journey.

2. Hike to Watch the Sunrise

Get ready for a workout with a view. Put on your hiking boots and head to Mount Bromo’s sunrise viewpoint. Sure, it might be a bit of a climb, but the sight of the sun rising over the mountain makes it worth it. There are plenty of stops along the way for hot coffee or noodles and even bonfires to keep you cosy. Trust us, you won’t forget this sunrise.

3. Enjoy a Coffee Break after Sunrise

After all that excitement, it’s time for a chill coffee break. With temperatures between three to twenty degrees Celsius in the highlands, warming up with a hot cup of coffee feels amazing. Chat, share a few laughs, and maybe grab a banana fritter or some grilled corn from nearby shops. It’s a simple but perfect way to enjoy the chilly morning before your next adventure.

Mount Rinjani, West Nusa Tenggara

Mount Rinjani, West Nusa Tenggara

How about conquering Indonesia’s second-highest active volcano? Mount Rinjani in West Nusa Tenggara beckons. Rising 3,726 metres it’s a challenge, but the rewards are worth it. Trek through a national park teeming with unique wildlife like ebony leaf monkeys and sulphur-crested cockatoos.

Pause by Lake Segara Anak cradled within Rinjani’s caldera, and try your hand at catching goldfish. This trek demands fitness and preparation. But once you’re atop, gazing at rice fields and the blue ocean, you’ll agree it was well worth the effort.

Things to do:

1. Hike Up Mount Rinjani

Put on your boots and get ready for an epic trek up Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, standing at 3,726 metres. Yeah, it’s a tough climb, but the awesome views of Lombok Island, a crater lake, and several active volcanoes make it totally worth the effort. Remember, it’s not just about getting to the top – the journey itself is filled with incredible sights.

2. Camp Out on the Crater Rim

After a day of trekking, you’ll set up camp on Rinjani’s crater rim. As you chill under the stars, take a moment to soak in the crazy, beautiful landscape around you. Just remember to respect the environment and leave nothing behind.

3. Swim in the Crater Lake and Hike Back

Head down to Mount Rinjani’s immense volcanic lake for a refreshing swim. The trail might be tough, but watching porters hop from rock to rock in flip-flops will remind you it’s all part of the fun. Once you’ve enjoyed the lake, it’s time for another climb to the west side crater rim, then finally down to Senaru village. It’s a trip that’ll challenge you but leave you with memories you won’t forget.

Pink Beach, Komodo Island

Pink Beach, Komodo Island

If there are dragons on Komodo Island – well, you’ll be mesmerised once you set foot on the Pink Beach. It’s not a myth—it’s a beach that genuinely blushes! Credit goes to the vibrant corals for this unique hue. Don’t just marvel at the pink sands meeting turquoise waters from the shore—plunge in!

Beneath the surface, a bustling marine life awaits, making it a snorkeler’s haven. What’s more? It’s just a quick day trip from Labuan Bajo in Flores. So, trade those regular white sand beaches for an extraordinary pink one and make your beach day truly memorable.

Things to do:

1. Snap a Photo on the Pink Sands

Once you hit Pink Beach, it feels like you’re walking into a postcard. The pink sand and clear water make for an amazing backdrop that’s perfect for a photo op. So, let your inner model shine, snap a selfie, or get some drone shots. But don’t forget to enjoy the moment. Dip your toes in the sea, lie on the sand, or even have a beach picnic. Just sit back, chill, and enjoy the view.

2. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping with Water Sports and Photography

If you’re all about that thrill, the waves at Pink Beach are calling your name. Grab a kayak and paddle out into the blue waters for a fun ride. If you’re a photography fan, there are tons of great shots waiting to be captured. Stick around until sunset – trust us, you won’t want to miss the sky changing colours.

3. Keep It Respectful Around the Komodo Dragons

Don’t forget that Pink Beach is part of the Komodo Islands, home to the world’s biggest lizards. If you spot a Komodo Dragon, make sure to keep a safe distance and have a local ranger with you. It’s an incredible experience, but staying safe is always the most important thing.

Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua

Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua

Untouched paradise? Yes, it exists in Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua, Indonesia. This archipelago is a biodiversity hotspot, boasting over 530 coral species, 700 molluscs, and 1,300 fish species.

But the allure isn’t just underwater – it’s also a birdwatcher’s dream with the crimson bird of paradise adorning the trees. Photographers, get ready for some eye-popping shots of picturesque islands against vibrant turquoise waters.

Things to do:

1. Dive into the Beauty of Waisai

First things first, let’s hit Waisai, your starting point for the tropical dream that is Raja Ampat. But Waisai isn’t just a pitstop, it’s got great diving and sightseeing spots, including Waiwo Beach, a favourite of President Joko Widodo himself.

2. Check Out the Wildlife in Raja Ampat

Take a break from the water and check out the land. Raja Ampat’s islands are filled with unique wildlife, from rare plants to bright birds. The real stars? The Birds of Paradise. With their colourful feathers and cool dances, they’re a must-see for any nature fan. Whether you’re a serious birdwatcher or just looking around, a walk through the island’s forests will make you appreciate Raja Ampat’s biodiversity.

3. Try Out Raja Ampat’s Tasty Cuisine

After a day full of adventure, give your taste buds a treat with some local cuisine. Being an archipelago, seafood is big in Raja Ampat, from spicy grilled fish to Papeda, a sago starch porridge served with tasty yellow fish soup.

Tanah Lot, Bali

Tanah Lot, Bali

Legend says there’s a temple in the sea – Tanah Lot in Bali brings that tale to life. This ancient Hindu site, nestled atop a rock, isn’t just a spiritual retreat—it’s a photographer’s dream. Just a short drive from Kuta, this seaside marvel attracts droves every evening, all vying for that perfect sunset shot behind the temple.

While temple access is restricted, low tide opens up a path for exploration. After your adventure, relax at a cliffside café, sipping on renowned Kopi luwak. Just remember, you’ll need a sarong and sash.

Things to do:

1. Marvel at the Majestic Tanah Lot Temple

First up in Tanah Lot is the famous temple. Sitting on a rock with waves crashing around it, this old temple seems to float in the air. At low tide, you can walk across the black sand and get a closer look at the wooden buildings. For the best views, go to the cliff terrace. From there, you can watch the sea whirl around the temple, creating an almost magical scene. Just keep your camera on standby – you’ll want to remember every second.

2. Visit the ‘Holy Snake’

Feeling adventurous? Why not visit the ‘holy snake’ of Tanah Lot? Local belief holds that venomous sea snakes protect the temple from bad spirits and unwanted visitors. You can see one of these snakes up close in a nearby cave – for a small fee. Don’t stress, though. These black and white banded sea snakes may be super venomous, but they’re also non-aggressive and hardly ever bite humans.

3. Enjoy the Sunset with a Cool Drink

No visit to Tanah Lot is complete without catching the sunset. And what better way to enjoy this stunning sight than with a refreshing drink? There are several restaurants and warungs near the temple where you can sit back, chill, and enjoy the view. While the food might not be Michelin-star, the sunset sure is.

Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

If you’re in for an offbeat adventure, then get yourself together and head to Tana Toraja (316km away from the capital city of South Sulawesi Province). Here, death isn’t feared but celebrated with unique burial customs—graves set on cliffs or suspended from trees, echoing the Torajan culture’s intriguing take on mortality.

Don’t miss out on the renowned Toraja coffee, a delight for any coffee lover. Visit the Tongkonan traditional houses, stilted structures with roofs shaped like buffalo horns. Sure, it’s a trek to get there, but trust us—the immersive culture and breathtaking landscapes will make every mile worth it.

Things to do:

Stand in Awe at Buntu Burake

One can’t help but feel a sense of peace when visiting Buntu Burake, Tana Toraja’s own version of Brazil’s Cristo Redentor. This awesome statue of Jesus Christ stands tall on a hill, offering an amazing view that’s perfect for Instagram. So, take a breather, get some photos, and enjoy the beauty of the landscape. It’s a calming experience that’ll leave you feeling refreshed.

Go on a Foodie Adventure

If you love trying new foods, then Tana Toraja is the place for you. The area is a food lover’s dream, with a variety of seafood dishes fresh from the Sa’dan River. But the main event? Pa’piong, a dish made from different meats or even rice, cooked in bamboo and packed with tasty flavours. It’s a food journey that’ll have you coming back for seconds!

Immerse Yourself in the Local Market

To really experience Toraja culture, don’t miss the local market. This lively spot comes to life every six days when herders bring their prized buffaloes, including the rare albino buffalo, to be sold. It’s a cool tradition that shows how important buffaloes are in Toraja’s myths and legends.

Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan

Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan

You’re in for a wild ride at Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan. This Bornean gem will take your breath away with its clean air, starry nights, and fiery sunsets. And let’s not forget the real celebs—the orangutans and quirky proboscis monkeys.

With 3,040 km2 to roam, you’ll encounter everything from mangrove swamps to tropical rainforests, all teeming with lively wildlife. It’s not just about the sights, though—this park is vital for flood and erosion control and even serves as a nursery for fish.

Things to do:

1. Sail Down the Sekonyer River

Think about this – you’re chilling on a 20-metre wooden boat, the Klotok, as it smoothly cruises down the Sekonyer River. This isn’t just any river, but Indonesia’s own Amazon. As you sail from Kumai Pier to Camp Leakey for three days and two nights, you’re surrounded by Tanjung Puting’s beautiful plants and animals. Keep an eye out for crocs crossing the river, or just sit back and enjoy the calm and quiet.

2. Hang Out with Orangutans and Other Primates

Ready to meet some primates? Tanjung Puting is home to seven protected primate species, including thousands of Bornean orangutans and groups of proboscis monkeys. You can see these amazing animals in their natural habitat at special camps like Camp Leakey, Pondok Tanggui, Tanjung Harapan, and Pesalat. There’s even a feeding activity where you can offer food to them up close.

3. Go Trekking Through the Jungle

Time to put on your boots and hit the trails. Whether you’re an experienced explorer or a trekking beginner, wandering through the green forests of Tanjung Puting is a must. You’ll need to hike 2-3 kilometres from the Sekonyer River to reach the orangutan camps. On the way, watch out for wild boars, tapirs, snakes, and more. And if you’re feeling extra brave, why not try a night tour? As evening falls and the fireflies start to glow, the forest becomes magical.

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

This may be the last on our list of Indonesia tourist attractions, but definitely not the least—Ubud in Bali. This place is your go-to if traditional crafts and dance tickle your fancy. Tucked away among rainforests and terraced rice fields dotted with Hindu temples, Ubud is Bali’s cultural hotspot.

Get grooving with daily musical performances, or wander through art galleries and craft stores. Check out Elephant Cave’s calming vibe and Gunung Kawi’s rock-cut shrines. Treasure hunt at Ubud Art Market, or find peace at Taman Saraswati Temple. With Ubud, you’re not just dropping by—you’re diving deep into Bali’s spirit.

Things to do:

1. Catch the Sunrise at Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Rise and shine! It’s time to experience the picture-perfect Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Imagine layers of green rice fields falling down the valley, lit up by the morning sun. It’s a sight that’ll have you reaching for your camera. Pro tip: try to get there before 10 AM to enjoy the peaceful vibes before the crowds roll in. Trust us, this is one sunrise worth waking up for!

2. Dive into Pura Tirta Empul

Next, swap your morning coffee for a refreshing dip in Pura Tirta Empul’s holy spring water. This temple isn’t just photogenic; it’s a sacred spot where people come to cleanse their bodies and minds. You’ll immerse yourself in two purification pools and move through 30 stations. Don’t stress about dressing right – the temple provides free sarongs.

3. Have Fun at the Monkey Forest

Ready for some fun? Then, make your way to the Monkey Forest in central Ubud. This green park is home to hundreds of macaques who love to play in the trees, eat bananas, and sometimes sneak into your photos. But remember, they’re wild animals, so keep your distance and avoid showing your teeth. Also, secure any loose items – these monkeys are quick! Even if you’re not into monkeys, the park itself is a gorgeous rainforest where you can escape the town’s buzz.

Final Thoughts

Indonesia is an incredible country filled with diverse landscapes, rich cultures, and friendly people. From the stunning beaches and lively cities to the lush rainforests and active volcanoes, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience. Each spot gives you a fresh take on this captivating country.

As we wrap up our 12 of Indonesia’s top tourist destinations, remember – good adventures start with solid preparation. That includes getting your local currency sorted.

Crown Currency Exchange has you covered with competitive AUD to IDR rates, zero commissions, and no hidden fees. With over 60 branches across Australia, we are as widespread as Indonesia’s islands.

So, before you dive into these mesmerising Indonesian experiences, visit any of our branches and get your rupiah ready. After all, a savvy traveller is a happy traveller!

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