Bali – The Island Of The Gods – Is Indonesia’s most visited travel destination.
And understandably so.
But with an archipelago that stretches the same distance as London to Moscow, there are infinite wonders that get left off the tourist map.
Our ultimate guide will take you from the North Eastern tip, through the Central Summit, all the way to the country’s most Westerly Treasures.
Here is WowShack’s ultimate guide to travelling Indonesia, outside of Bali.
Sumatra represents Indonesia’s largest land mass.
Rich with rainforests, lakes and waterfalls, and made up of disparate yet equally rich cultures from the Acehnese, Batak and Orang Rimba.
The island’s natural history leaves travellers of all stripes satisfied, no matter what kind of holiday they are looking for.
And what better place to begin than at Indonesia’s most North Easterly point…
This is the little island that has everything.
Off the coast of Banda Aceh, Pulau Weh has a beach for every occasion, sensational diving experience and that beautiful balance of “In The Know” backpacker vibe.
The result of the largest known volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago, Lake Toba is the largest Volcanic Lake in the World.
Lake Toba’s majesty makes you acutely aware that you are on the site of one of natural history’s most explosive moments.
With cute places to stay, play and just be, it’s unlike any holiday destination in Indonesia.
Part of Gunung Leuser National Park – Bukit Lawung is fast becoming one of the last sanctuaries for Orangutans in the country.
Nothing quite rivals getting up close to our primate cousins, and seeing how similar we really are.
With 140 million people, Java is the most populated island in the world.
It’s busy capital Jakarta is the hub of an island that offers so much more beyond the megacity…
Need to escape Jakarta? Pulau Macan is an affordable Thousand Island getaway.
Diving straight into Crystal clear water from your sea side bungalow is what island dreams are made of.
Central Java’s largest city is steeped in history.
Old Town serves as a connection to the Dutch Colonialist past, and the local government has done a fantastic job of refurbishing its architectural uniqueness.
Yogyakarta is famed as Indonesia’s artistic and cultural hub.
Home to Borobudur – A Wonder of the World, and the excellently preserved 9th Century Mataram relic Prambanan Temple – Yogja represents the best of Java’s ancient past and creative present.
A seemingly stranded island 80km into the Java Sea, Karimunjawa is the island getaway for travellers that like it rough.
Well worth the journey.
At over 2,300 meters, Bromo is one of The Ring Of Fire’s most well known Volcanos.
The name of Bromo derives from the Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation. It certainly deserves the respect of a deity.
And compared to some other Indonesian peaks, it’s a relatively accessible climb… just have your celebratory cigarette after you reach the summit, not before.
Bordering Malaysian Borneo, the Indonesian side is home to the world’s Palm Oil, and some of the most diverse natural habitat in the world…
Tanjung Puling National Park
Another National Park of outstanding natural beauty, Tanjung Puling is another protected space for Indonesia’s incredible variety of flora and fauna.
As deforestation continues, these National parks will not only become increasingly vital for preserving habitat, but something approaching a natural museum.
Off the East Coast of Kalimantan, Derawan island is an island getaway far below Bali on the list of places to visit, but offers the more deserted island feel with modern luxuries.
Get there before the hordes come!
Another East Kalimantan gem is Kakaban.
Famous for its fresh water Jellyfish, swimming amongst the stingless, gelatinous creatures is a wild experience!
Perhaps the world’s only island that looks like it’s performing a shamanic dance, Sulawesi has an abundance of beauty to behold.
In spite of terrible natural disasters, the local population remains determined to make sustainable tourism a huge part of future development.
Toraja is home to one of the world’s most beautifully bizarre ancestral ceremonies.
The dead are mummified and displayed, and taken out for special occasions. Another example of Indonesia’s broad traditions.
A nearly untouched beach getaway.
Go at the right time and you can have endless white sand to yourself!
The north westerly tip of Sulawesi makes Monado closer to Manila than Jakarta – a fact reflected in the people, religion and customs.
As a result, Bunaken is an island that just feels different to the other 17,000.
Home to the famous Bajau Laut or “Sea Nomads” – The Tongean Islands are notoriously hard to get to.
But that’s how you maintain paradise in the 21st Century.
This incredible collection of islands is far more than “just Bali”.
Hindu, Christian, Muslim and animistic cultures exist as neighbouring islands, separated and united by the same stretches of ocean.
Here are just a handful of examples…
There’s a new Kuta on the block.
You couldn’t get a more opposite destination to Kuta, Bali… except that the waves are just as gnarly.
Flores is an island larger than Bali, and offers just as many travel experiences.
Home to the largest Lizard in the world, the Komodo National Park is about to take a massive price hike so get there while it’s still affordable!
Home to one of the world’s best, most exclusive hotels Nihiwatu, tourism to East Sumba – and the island as a whole – is going to ramp up in the years to come.
An island that has so much to offer… including a history of cannibalism.
Being one of the more contested areas of Indonesia takes nothing away from the natural and cultural beauty of the region.
Known as the Grand Valley, Baliem Valley is home to the Dani Tribe – an entire stretch of 8okm agricultural land left completely isolated from the rest of the world until 1938.
Last but not least, Raja Ampat.
Widely regarded to posses the world’s richest marine biodiversity, Raja Ampat represents the rich maritime gifts of Indonesia.
Gifts that must be sustainably preserved so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.
The issue of an ultimate guide to Indonesia, is that there is not enough data travelling through the internet to cover it all.
That’s the beauty of our archipelago.
The joys and hidden treasures will never cease to amaze and excited travellers from abroad, and those that call Indonesia home.