Things to Do in Indonesia
Besides the giant lizards who give the park its name, Komodo National Park is also well known for its beautiful and undeveloped beaches. One of the most unique is Pink Beach (Pantai Merah), named for the rosy sand that gets its color from eroded bits of red coral from the nearby reef.
Clear, calm waters make the beach an excellent site for snorkeling, especially since the coral reefs just beneath the surface are home to hundreds of species of marine plants and animals. Located about 15 minutes by boat from the Loh Liang boat jetty, Pink Beach makes for a convenient place to relax in the sun or cool off in the water after a day of trekking in the national park.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Komodo National Park covers 669 square miles (1,733 square kilometers) of islands and pristine ocean. Its attractions are twofold: Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizard, and lush reefs. Besides the dragons, wildlife includes boar, bats, deer, wild horses, and monkeys.
The classically Balinese combo of rice fields and river gorges is what makes Ubud’s landscapes so beloved, and the Campuhan Ridge Walk, the best-known walk in Ubud, is the perfect way to appreciate them. Starting at Pura Gunung Lebah, choose between a 2-hour circular route around Campuhan and Sanggingan or a longer hike to Keliki and Taro.
Set on a hill with views over the Prambanan temples, Ratu Boko Temple was not actually a temple but a palace. Most likely the main court of the Mataram dynasty, the vast 8th-century complex includes bathing pools, meditation caves, an elaborate gateway, various halls, and a cremation platform. While ruined, it’s a great sunset spot.
When volcanic and seismic activity permits, 12,224-foot (3,726-meter) Mt. Rinjani is one of Indonesia’s great volcano climbs—even if you stop, as many climbers do, at the crater rim. The towering peak, complete with crater lake, dominates north Lombok, so even when the mountain is closed to visitors, hikes on the lower slopes appeal.
Bali is known for it beautiful beaches, but the interior has its own appeal. Here you’ll find one of the region’s most active volcanoes, Mt. Batur (Gunung Batur), rising 5,633 feet (1,717 meters) above sea level In the highlands of Kintamani.
Not far from Ubud, Tegenungan Waterfall foams in a white cascade over black stone cliffs into a quiet pool. At around 66 feet (20 meters) high, it’s an impressive flow, and that’s not all the site has to offer. Besides climbable cliffs, a secret smaller waterfall, and simple food stalls, a charming grotto houses a sacred spring.
Opened in 1868, in a grand building on Merdeka Square, Indonesia’s National Museum is one of Jakarta’s most fascinating attractions. A rich collection spanning hundreds of thousands of years covers everything from early hominids to the archipelago’s spectacular range of textiles, along with gold, statuary, and architectural models.
Considered to be the Bali that time forgot for its unspoiled landscape, Penida Island (Nusa Penida) sits about 10 miles (15 kilometers) off the Bali coast, alongside the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. Besides snorkeling and diving—the island is known for mantas and mola-molas (the world’s largest bony fish)—Penida offers unspoilt villages, rugged landscapes, and sacred temples.
A true lost world, Jomblang Cave is a collapsed sinkhole that’s part of a cave system that runs through Gunung Kidul, outside Yogyakarta. Visitors are lowered around 165 feet (50 meters) on a rope and then hike down a tunnel to the Grubug Cave, which is flooded with rays of sunlight. Some claim the sunken forest is prehistoric.
More Things to Do in Indonesia
A Balinese Hindu site, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is populated by some 700 long-tailed Balinese macaques that live in and around the forest. The monkeys are believed to protect the area and the three Hindu temples within—Pura Dalem Agung, Pura Beji, and Pura Prajapati—from evil spirits.
In East Jakarta, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia Mini Park) showcases the sheer diversity of this archipelago of approximately 18,000 islands. The 247-acre (100-hectare) space houses full-scale replicas of homes from different cultures, plus museums, theaters, gardens, a waterpark, an aviary, an IMAX cinema, a cable car, and more.
Sprawling over 20 acres (8 hectares) of tropical forest and gardens, Bali Zoo is home to an eclectic mix of animals, including Indonesian favorites such as Sumatran elephants, Borneo orangutans, and babirusa pig-deer. Visitors are encouraged to get up close with experiences such as “breakfast with orangutans” and elephant encounters.
The stunning Tegalalang Rice Terrace, part of the Cultural Landscape of Bali Province UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprises cascading emerald-green fields worked by local rice farmers. Just outside Ubud, it has become a destination for travelers making their way between Bali’s sandy beaches, towering mountains, and steaming volcanoes.
Situated just outside Kuta on Bali’s southwestern tip sits an ancient temple perched atop towering seaside cliffs. At Uluwatu Temple, one of Bali’s most important directional temples, Ganesha statues welcome visitors who’ve come to enjoy spectacular views, observe wild monkeys, or watch a traditional Balinese dance at sunset.
Just north of Ubud in Bali’s northeast highlands lie the village known as Kintamani and the region of the same name. The star attractions here are Mt. Batur, an active volcano above a lake with hot springs, coffee farms, and spice plantations; rice field landscapes; and villages populated by the Bali Aga indigenous people.
Tanah Lot Temple is one of Indonesia’s most popular religious attractions. Commonly referred to as the “temple of the rock,” this temple off the coast of Bali is set upon a black-stone peninsula that juts into rippling waters. Incredible ocean views, clear mountain air, and a deep spiritual connection draw visitors to this unique sight.
An East Java highlight, the Ijen Crater (Kawah Ijen) towers above the Ijen Plateau. A highly acidic crater lake yields sulfur for local miners, while burning gases emit an eerie blue glow at night. Views of Java’s most perfect volcanoes, including Mount Merapi and Mount Raung, make the summit worth bagging.
One of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, Mt. Merapi’s name literally means “mountain of red fire.” The mountain, which looms over Borobudur, occupies a sacred place in the hearts and minds of many Javanese. When it’s not closed or partially closed due to volcanic activity, Merapi also makes for a spectacular volcano hike or climb.
Waterbom Bali provides water-themed activities for the whole family, with slides, saltwater pools, adrenaline-pumping rides, and kiddie pools—plus dining, shopping, and shaded gazebos. The park is set in a tropical garden and provides habitat for endangered species, with more than 50 percent of its area maintained as natural green space.
When volcanic activity permits—an evacuation zone has been in place since 2017—the sacred volcano Agung offers one of Bali’s most challenging and exciting hikes. Towering 9,444 feet (2,878 meters) above northeast Bali, it’s typically climbed in one long and tiring day, either from Pura Pasar Agung or from the Mother Temple of Besakih.
A strip of golden sand with calm, gentle waters perfect for families—and stand-up paddleboarding—Jimbaran Bay is a popular beach renowned for its beauty. Besides the charms of the ocean, Jimbaran offers stunning Balinese sunsets and a wealth of restaurants serving Indonesia’s signature dish: grilled fish (ikan bakar).
Home to around 800,000 people, Bali’s bustling capital, Denpasar, is a vibrant and multicultural city that most visitors skip over in favor of beaches and/or rice fields. Besides being home to the island’s best street food and largest markets, Denpasar offers attractions including parks, monuments, sculptures, and the Bali Museum.
One of north Bali’s most striking waterfalls, Aling-Aling tumbles around 98 feet (30 meters) down a cliff in a twin stream. Aling-Aling is sacred, so it’s forbidden to swimming in the pool, but around it several smaller waterfalls offer adventurers cliff jumps and natural slides. These include Kembar, Kroya, and Pucuk.
- Things to do in Ubud
- Things to do in Komodo
- Things to do in Ambon
- Things to do in Yogyakarta
- Things to do in Seminyak
- Things to do in Kuta
- Things to do in Jimbaran
- Things to do in Nusa Dua
- Things to do in Jakarta
- Things to do in Singapore
- Things to do in Malaysia
- Things to do in East Java
- Things to do in West Java
- Things to do in Bali