10 Unspoilt Islands in Indonesia for Your Next Beach Vacation

10 Unspoilt Islands in Indonesia for Your Next Beach Vacation

Why stick to Bali when Indonesia has so many islands that are left unexplored? Check out these 10 Indonesian islands that are increasingly gaining popularity from the growing number of tourists flocking into the country.

Indonesia has 12,000 islands; half of these are permanently inhabited. If you’re planning a beach vacation to this island-packed country, visiting the tourists-glorified Bali island may be one, but we’re also suggesting that you be one of the firsts to take the off-the-beaten track and visit these Indonesian islands that are gaining popularity (but visit them before they become too popular).

1. Lombok Island

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Known affectionately as the sister island of Bali, Lombok Island is located next to the country’s doe-eyed favourite and is often known to be the pre-tourists-fested time of Bali.

Although less developed, Lombok, has bigger beaches and volcanoes, and more varied landscapes than Bali. Independent travellers and backpackers who have visited this island are drawn to the intoxicating water and outdoor adventures such as snorkeling, diving, hiking and surf sports.

The best time to travel Lombok is during the dry season from May through October, so remember to bring a bottle of sunscreen lotion, two if you prefer to be porcelain white.

2. Komodo Island

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Ask most Indonesians (and maybe some well-travelled globetrotters) and the first thing that comes to their minds at the mention of Komodo Island is the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world. In fact, this huge lizard has made itself so comfortable at home in this island, the entire island has come to name after it.

Although they are scary looking, most of these huge creatures don’t bite or turn violent as long as you do nothing to make them flare at you.

This harmless Komodo dragon is a common sight when you visit the island

Known only to intrepid divers in the past, Komodo Island is gradually surfacing as an excellent spot for water activities such as diving and snorkelling. However the local tourism board warned those with little experience with diving to stay within the safe zone of the water. There have been cases where doughty divers plunged to their deaths when they were swept by the strong current that spirals downwards.

The latest statistics have seen a 20% increase in tourism in Komodo island in 2013

Also read: 8 Obscure Islands in Malaysia for an Exotic Beach Vacation

3. Karimunjawa Islands

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Set to become the second Bali, Karimunjawa is named the virgin paradise by Java Tourism.

Although Karimunjawa island is also prized for its excellent (and safer) diving adventure, its main seduction still lies in its unpolluted beach, smashing good tropical reefs and challenging treks through the hills.

Resort companies are setting their eyes on this island, and if you’re travelling to the island now, you’ll see newly furbished resorts up and running. It won’t be long before this hole and corner paradise is let out of the bag to the public, so before prices start soaring sky high and the natural sceneries are replaced with tourists gimmicks, visit this place and soak in the natural habitat of Kariminjawa.

4. Derawan Islands

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The Derawan islands are isolated from the rest of its island-mates. Not only do you have to switch between flights to step foot on this island, you have to also make sure that you have a pocketful of cash (literally) unless you want to be stranded in a no man’s land with penny in your pocket. There is absolutely no ATM machines around here.

Derawan islands are 3D painted pictures of a perfect beach – sandy white beach set alongside waving palm trees accompanied by the splendid sea that changes from blue to green throughout the day.

Only, the godforsaken island is still in its infancy, but it’s only a matter of time before this exotic paradise starts getting on the public’s radar and tourists flocking into this undiscovered gem.

Travellers who’ve heard of this far-flung island are also drawn to see the island’s most unique and well-protected species such as coconut crabs and Dugongs.

5. Wakatobi Islands

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Sounds like a Japanese island to you? Wakatobi is actually an anagram of the four islands within the archipelago – Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. Like Derawan islands, Wakatobi is also located in the remote corner of Indonesia.

As if there isn’t enough places for diving already, this place is proud to be another fantastic dive site. In fact, it is crowned, among professional divers, as one of the world’s best dive sites. The islands are also gaining its ground among photographers, newbies or professionals, for its beautiful coral reefs and the outstanding biodiversity the islands have to offer.

Merely getting to Wakatobi Islands would have been a near impossible mission if not for the growing fondness for the island among divers and photographers alike. Now, tourists can easily fly to the island via a domestic flight from Bali.

6. Raja Ampat Islands

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Also known as the Four Kings, Raja Ampat Islands is comprised of four main islands – Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo – while being surrounded by the other 1,500 smaller islands, islets, cays and shoals.

Raja Ampat Islands is a relaxing spot to unwind and recharge. You’ll be able to see beautiful islands near and far at every turn. Raja Ampat Islands tends to charm the recreational divers with its remarkable marine creatures that live under the sea. Tourists who’ve been to the islands spoke of seeing waves after waves of (harmless) Wobegong Sharks, Manta rays and Morays, amidst the smaller fish of various kinds – ghost pipe fish, mandarin fish and octopus.

7. Seram Island

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Seram in Bahasa Indonesia means “scary”. Yet in all irony, Seram island is one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia.

The largest and main island of Maluku province, Seram island is also located in a mountainous location, so if you’re inclined to getting muddy and clammy, Seram island is one of the best trekking spots in Indonesia.

Surreptitiously hidden away from the North Coast of Seram Island is the Ora beach, most loved by eco-travellers around the world. Thanks to its close proximity to the sea rather than the bustling cities, the beach has welcomed a number of honeymooners who have come for a romantic,  uninterrupted time in this concealed wonder for a romantic beach getaway.

8. Mentawai Island

A perfect shot of a big wave in Mentawai island

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Mentawai island was a quiet, remote island that is not that far away from the mainland, but it came to public’s attention when its strong winds and unpredictable currents have surfers from all over the world come to challenge the water. It is the best place to surf in Indonesia. However, despite its recognition as the perfect surfing spot, only the experienced surfers should attempt the roaring waves because of the sharp and jagged rocks and the shallow coral reefs that can easily cause accidents.

Much of the Mentawai Island is still covered in tropical rainforest. Its rich collection of bio-diversity is also designated as the UNESCO biosphere reserve.

9. Samosir Island

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Unlike the previous islands on the list, Samosir Island does not boast of excellent diving site, nor does it have perfect surfing waves. It is one of the few islands that promote exotic cultural and history of the area. Samosir island is located within the largest volcanic lake in the world, lake Toba in Sumatra.

Tourists who travel to Samosir island will make a trip to admire Lake Toba, before trudging to the nearest traditional village for a night’s stay.

Market in Tomok, Samosir island

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Despite its lack of adventurous thrills, this Singapore-size island has continuously received tourists from all walks of life. The island also offers travellers a bountiful of fresh air to relieve the heavy loads on their shoulders.

10. Morotai Island

Morotai island today is a peaceful, sleeping island waiting to be uncovered.

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Morotai in 1944 – 1944 was used as the base by the Japanese to capture the Philippines

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Morotai today is attracting tourists for its great beaches and interesting diving spots.

However, Morotai in 1944 to 1945 attracted Japanese soldiers for all the wrong reasons. Exactly 70 years ago, during the Second World War, Morotai Island was forcefully occupied by the Japanese soldiers for its ideal position to launch an attack on the Philippines, which is just North of Morotai.

Tourists who visit this island and are aware of this part of the history will arrange to go for their diving sport just to witness the remaining wrecks that have sunk underwater.

Planning for an island vacation? Be sure to check the best flight deals to Indonesia, as well as TripZilla’s Island and Beach vacation!

About Author


Angela is a History enthusiast who indulges in exploring the whirlwind of events happened during the two World Wars. The one place she wouldn’t miss in her travel itinerary is to visit the Historical monuments. Her favourite movie, Schindler’s List, fuelled her desire to one day visit Schindler’s enamelware factory that eventually rescued over a thousand Jews.


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