8 Offbeat Locations in Indonesia You Must Explore

Those wanting to venture off the beaten path will find that Indonesia is a treasure trove of unique cultures, breathtaking landscapes and natural beauty.

Contributed by Travelmynation

What comes to your mind when you think of Indonesia? Bali or Jakarta maybe! Did you know that the Indonesian Archipelago is home to more than 17,000 islands? So, why get stuck with just these two destinations when there are so many more to explore. Those wanting to venture off the beaten path will find that Indonesia is a treasure trove of unique cultures, breathtaking landscapes and natural beauty. So, if you are looking for offbeat destinations to explore in Indonesia we have got just the list for you.

1. Western New Guinea

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This is probably one of the most offbeat destinations in the island country! With limited infrastructure, yet abundant natural beauty it is a remotely located island that is bound to mesmerize you. A trip here will transport you to a place that is still abundant with tribal villages, ancient traditions and their unique way of life. The tribal island requires a permit to visit and you can engage in activities like sailing in Raja Ampat Island, diving with whale sharks, snorkelling near coral reefs and discovering underwater wrecks from World War II.

2. Nusa Penida

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Located off the coast of Bali, Nusa Penida has some of the most stunning virgin beaches in Indonesia. The journey from Bali to Nusa Penida is a 90-minute boat ride and its home to the famous T-Rex island. You can spend a whole day here basking in the sun, swimming the crystal-clear blue waters or hiking around the island.

3. Sumba Island

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To the east of Bali, lies Sumba – a surfer’s paradise hardly touched by tourists. It has gorgeous violet waters, big waves and some of the most amazing beaches. Generally visited by surfers, this little island hamlet provides a sneak peek into local tribes’ life, their unusual huts and the massive megalithic tombs of their ancestors. Apart from surfing the island’s highlights include hidden lakes, breathtaking hillsides, pristine beaches and beautiful waterfalls! Some of the best spots on the island are Weekuri lake, Tarimbang beach, Kampung Tarung and Marosi beach. To get to Sumba island you will have to take a short boat ride from Bali or other islands like Lombok. 

4. Wakatobi Archipelago

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Consisting of four islands, the Wakatobi archipelago is a breathtaking location known for its marine life and vibrant corals. And because of this, it has been designated a UNESCO marine biosphere reserve! The marine life here has attracted scuba divers and snorkel enthusiasts from all over the world and you will find more than 750 species of coral and 942 species of fish here! Another must-visit site here is the Lakasa caves which are located in the Sulaa village. The natural caves have a cool freshwater pool inside with the surroundings decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. You can also take a dip in the Hoga island beach which has pristine blue waters and unspoilt sand. With 12 dive sites, you can also hire a divemaster here to take you on a magical underwater tour!

5. Moyo Island

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Unknown to the majority of tourists is a hidden paradise just off the coast of Bali. Moyo island is a largely uninhabited island that is home to the Moyo Island Hunting park and inhabited by animals like macaques, deer, wild pigs, flying foxes and a large number of birds. The island’s claim to fame is a luxury resort, the only accommodation option on the island that is frequent by a select group of high-end travellers. The coastline has beautiful beaches, clear waters and stunning coral reefs. The best activities to engage in are snorkelling and scuba diving with the southern end of the island the best spot for these activities.

6. Komodo Island

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This island is one of the New Seven wonders of the world and the Komodo National Park is a must-visit whenever you are in Indonesia. Home to the Komodo Dragon, the largest reptile on earth. Komodo National Park is a highly protected region. You will need to book your stay at the nearest island of Labuan Bajo from where you will be taken to Komodo Island by ferry. Apart from being in the presence of the massive Komodo dragons, you can also go on a trek to Padar island, which is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the country. 

The hike is tough but from the top, you will be able to witness one of the most beautiful landscapes you’ve ever seen. If hiking is not your thing, then you can lay back and enjoy the sun at Pink Beach located in Mawan Island. The pink colour comes from a combination of red corals and white sand! Most island tours have Pink beach included in their route as this is a great spot for snorkelling and exploring coral reefs.

7. Sumatra

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Although it is a well-known destination, a lot of tourists skip it on their Indonesia tour. The biggest draws of Sumatra are the national parks, soft sandy beaches and great trekking trails. One of the main attractions here is Lake Toba which is the largest crater lake in the world and has a magical legend behind its creation. The lake is located on top of a long-extinct volcano and the best way to enjoy its serenity is to take a dip here or a short boat ride. One of the best-kept secrets in Sumatra is the Weh Island which has Dawki like crystal clear waters perfect for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing. The coastal front is lined with restaurants, cute little cafes and surf shops from where you can book snorkelling tours.

8. Sulawesi

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Sulawesi is one of the largest islands in the world and home to some mystical and intriguing traditions. If you are looking at experiencing the diversity of Indonesian culture then this is your go-to place! Explore the villages, savour some authentic tribal food and indulge in the natural surroundings of Sulawesi as much as you can. Head to the village of Kete Kusu if you are interested in adventure activities like diving.

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