Hidden Gems in Indonesia: Top 10 Places to Visit

by | Jul 25, 2023 | Asia, Destinations, Hidden Gems

Comprised of 17,000 lush islands, Indonesia is truly a sparkling emerald of the Equator. The country houses brilliant beaches, spectacular volcanoes, diverse rainforests, and a huge slice of the Indian Ocean’s beauty. We have heard about Bali and Lombok, which are Indonesia’s proud destinations. However, the country keeps a myriad of flawless hidden gems that stay off the tourists’ radar. In this blog, we are going to urge you to head for an out-of-the-ordinary adventure by visiting these hidden gems in Indonesia. Check it out and get ready to be blown away! 

Belitung Island, Sumatera

hidden gems in Indonesia belitung island

Sitting off the coast of Indonesia’s second-largest island, Belitung Island is a hidden paradise. The island keeps an abundance of metal resources, making it one of Indonesia’s main mining sites. However, the island starts to gain popularity due to its outstanding natural beauty. Get ready to be captivated by powdery white-sand beaches adorned with gigantic granite boulders and mangrove trees. In Belitung Island, the Indian Ocean is in its best state. Turquoise and deep blue colors create a picture-perfect scene that will take your breath away. 

Although the island is surprisingly tiny, it offers a myriad of impressive spots. Get a birds-eye view of the sun-soaked beaches from an ancient Dutch lighthouse on Lengkuas Island, dive to see a group of cute starfish, take some pictures of the sky blue-colored Kaolin Lake, and dip yourself in the natural pools of Kelayang Islands. Moreover, Belitung Island does not know the word ‘crowded’. It is one of our highly-recommended hidden gems in Indonesia for a relaxing beach vacation. 

Tangkahan, North Sumatera

Close your eyes and let the harmony of nature melt your stress away. In the deep jungles of Tangkahan, you are asked to unwind and leave your bustling everyday life behind. Verdant canopies, gentle rivers, and a glimpse of swinging monkeys welcome you for an exciting adventure. It only gets better as you encounter Sumatran elephants bathing on the river and grabbing some leaves to munch. A haven where people and wildlife live peacefully, Tangkahan defines ecotourism perfectly. 

Tangkahan is one of the must-visit hidden gems in Indonesia for nature lovers. In the region, you can have close contact with the Sumatran elephants. You can interact with the gentle giants, which includes bathing, touching, and feeding them. Thus, Tangkahan has a long journey of animal conservation. The elephants that call Tangkahan ‘home’ were rescued from the conflicted area and damaged jungles in North Sumatera. Now, they are living peacefully and showing us how important it is to take care of Mother Nature. 

Weh Island, Aceh, Sumatera

hidden gems in Indonesia Weh Island

As the northernmost region of Indonesia, Weh Island is simply unique. The idyllic island overlooks the endless Indian Ocean, offering a spectacular landscape. It houses beautiful white-sand beaches, jungle-clad hills, and astonishing marine wonders. Thus, a unique monument that marks the zero-kilometer point of Indonesia also stands on the island. Not to mention, it stays off the tourists’ radar and fits the category of ‘hidden gems in Indonesia’ perfectly. 

Traveling to Weh Island can lead you to a lasting memory. The beautiful underwater landscapes, quaint beaches, and stunning viewpoints of the island are hard to forget. However, make sure to dress modestly and display a kind manner when visiting the island. Weh Island is a part of the Aceh Province, which is home to Indonesia’s largest Muslim community. Nonetheless, get ready to meet friendly faces and warm gestures from the locals of Weh Island. 

Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java

best hidden gems in Indonesia Ujung Kulon

Indonesia is recognized for its spectacular biodiversity. So, it is not surprising that the country has countless nature reserves and conservation centers. Ujung Kulon National Park is one of them and it calls for an adventure. Comprised of 123,000 hectares area, the national park boasts lush rainforests, beautiful islands, and impressive wildlife species. It is home to the critically endangered Javan rhinoceros, which you can see through a guided tour. 

Traveling to Ujung Kulon National Park means going for a wholesome outdoor adventure. Besides going jungle trekking, you can also say yes to canoeing, island hopping, snorkeling, and more. Head to Peucang Island, a remote island with flawless beaches and spectacular underwater landscapes. Additionally, you can stop by Cidaon. See a herd of wild bulls running around the endless savannah. Therefore, Ujung Kulon National Park is one of the must-visit hidden gems in Indonesia. 

Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, East Java

hidden gems in Indonesia tumpak sewu

Imagine yourself being rewarded with an extraordinary scene of a colossal waterfall surrounded by jungle-clad cliffs. You can get this unforgettable experience in Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, East Java. Tucked in the outskirts of Lumajang, a small regency in East Java, Tumpak Sewu fits the word ‘hidden gem’ perfectly. Shrouded in limestone hills and thick rainforests, the 120-meter-high waterfall will captivate everyone who visits. 

Tumpak Sewu Waterfall gains popularity as its picture-perfect landscape hits the internet. With the backdrop of the mighty Mount Semeru, Tumpak Sewu Waterfall offers a magical scene of cascading waterfalls and gaping canyons. Thus, you need a 2-3 hour hike to reach the waterfall. The challenging and slippery hike will be worth it as you reach the bottom of the gigantic waterfall.  

Labuan Cermin Lake, East Borneo

Source: Indonesia Kaya

Tucked away in the deep jungles of Borneo, Labuan Cermin is one of the most sensational hidden gems in Indonesia. This enormous lake features an enchanting gradient of blue, turquoise, and emerald. Thus, the name ‘Cermin’ means ‘mirror’, which represents the crystal-clear water that reflects the items and landscapes above it. For that reason, visitors won’t leave the lake without taking a bunch of pictures of this unreal destination. 

Besides that, Labuan Cermin Lake features both freshwater and saltwater. The water comprises two layers, with freshwater being the top layer and saltwater being the bottom layer. Thus, you can get a unique experience of finding both marine and freshwater animals in the lake. This unique phenomenon makes Labuan Cermin Lake a bucket list-worthy destination. 

Derawan Islands, East Borneo

The name ‘Borneo’ might ring a bell. This exceptional Southeast Asian island is home to lush rainforests and exotic wildlife species. However, Borneo is more than that. The island also offers glimmering beaches, idyllic islands, and mesmerizing marine life. Head to Derawan Islands and let this archipelago of four islands show you what a perfect vacation looks like. 

Derawan Islands feature beautiful beaches, diverse coral reefs, impressive wildlife, and captivating natural scenery. Traveling to Derawan Islands is perfect for the adventurous souls out there. You can spend a relaxing day on the pristine beaches, spot a whale shark during a diving session, explore mangrove forests, and dip yourself in natural pools. Moreover, make sure to visit Kakaban Island and dive into the Kakaban Lake. It is home to a huge group of stingless jellyfish. Therefore, Derawan Islands is one of the must-visit hidden gems in Indonesia. 

Kei Islands, Moluccas

We won’t leave Moluccas out when we talk about hidden gems in Indonesia. Land of precious spices and astonishing beaches, Moluccas is an extraordinary destination to visit. Thus, Kei Islands will give you a glimpse of how amazing this Eastern Indonesian region is. The islands are blessed with flawless beaches, mesmerizing caves, unique mangrove forests, and distinctive culture. Besides that, Kei Islands are home to friendly faces that will welcome you like their own family. 

Traveling to Kei Islands is an interesting blend between beach vacations and cultural trips. You can spend your days exploring the white-sand beaches, dipping yourself in the warm turquoise ocean, and seeing a flock of pelicans on an inhabited island. On the other hand, you are invited to immerse yourself in the unique culture. You can visit traditional fishing villages, join a cultural festival, and learn about the sustainable practices of the locals.

Banda Neira, Moluccas

This small island in the Moluccas fits the ‘hidden gems in Indonesia’ category perfectly. Quaint, rich, and beautiful – those are the words that describe Banda Neira. The island keeps a long history of Dutch settlement, which was attracted by the archipelago’s spice diversity. For that reason, you can find centuries-old fortresses, castles, and historical sites among the island’s dazzling natural beauty. 

Not many people travel to Banda Neira, so it offers a relaxing and serene environment. You may feel like you are on a private island. The rolling hills, towering Banda Mountain, glimmering blue sea, and white-sand coastline of the island are for you to enjoy. Moreover, Banda Neira is a world-class diving destination. Find abundant coral reefs and exotic marine species that will take your breath away. 

Baliem Valley, Papua 

Source: Authentic Indonesia

As the easternmost island of Indonesia, Papua is simply charming. Biodiversity, diverse culture, and magnificent landscapes dwell in this bird-shaped land. Thus, one of the must-visit places in Papua is the Baliem Valley. Sits at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, Baliem Valley offers an exquisite natural landscape and charming cultural wonders. You can see a series of meadowed hills surrounded by towering rocky mountains. Therefore, hiking through the Baliem Valley will lead you to an unforgettable experience. 

Besides its unspoiled natural beauty, Baliem Valley is known as the settlement of the Dani tribe. This indigenous Papuan tribe practices their generational traditions until today. Learning about their culture and way of life is a one-of-a-kind experience that will enrich your horizons. Moreover, you can see the diversity of the local tribes in Papua through Baliem Valley Festival. This annual festival features traditional costumes, dance, music, and many more from the tribes.

Indonesia is incredibly beautiful! Thus, its hidden gems are something you should put on your bucket list. Do you want to explore Indonesia and see the amazing hidden gems? We have a great idea for you!

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