Indonesia is home to over 17,000 islands, each with unique attractions and experiences.

From the stunning beaches of Bali and cultural landmarks to Komodo's prehistoric wonders and world-class diving, this diverse archipelago is a dream destination for island enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. 

If you're looking for the best islands to visit in Indonesia, including some of the best places to travel to in Indonesia that aren't Bali, this list should help narrow it down! 

1. Bali

The best island in Indonesia for couples, families and solo travellers would have to be Bali.

As Indonesia's most popular island destination, Bali is known for its stunning beaches, cultural landmarks, and vibrant nightlife.

It offers various activities and attractions for all ages, including water parks and wildlife encounters for kids!

Bali's secluded areas and hidden beaches have made it a highly sought-after destination for honeymooners in Southeast Asia seeking a peaceful and romantic getaway.

Best Island For:

  • Adventure and nature
  • Healthy and vegetarian food
  • Yoga retreats and spiritual tourism
  • Couples and honeymooners

Best Time to Visit Bali:

May to September

Things to See & Do in Bali: 

  • Stay in Ubud and explore the rice terraces and bike around traditional villages
  • Attend a traditional Balinese dance performance at Uluwatu Temple
  • Practice yoga in Canggu at one of the many yoga retreats
  • Enjoy the beautiful beaches and seafood in Jimbaran
  • Stay in a beautiful villa in Seminyak

How to Get To Bali:

Bali is well connected to major Southeast Asia and Australian cities with direct flights. You can also take a ferry from Java or Lombok.

Best Hotels in Bali:

Best villa to stay in: Ametis Villas, Canggu

Best beachfront resort in Bali: Alila Seminyak

Best cliff resort in Uluwatu: Six Senses Uluwatu

2. Lombok


This Indonesian island offers pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere. Lombok is undoubtedly an emerging island destination in Indonesia.

The island has become one of the best vacation islands in Indonesia, apart from Bali.

It is also home to Mount Rinjani, an active volcano and popular hiking destination.

Best Island for:

  • Adventure tourism and trekking
  • Chill beach vibes
  • Surfing

Best Time to Visit Lombok:

April to October

Things to See & Do in Lombok:

  • Trek to the summit of Mount Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano, and soak in the hot springs
  • Visit the pristine beaches and many waterfalls of the island
  • Explore the traditional indigenous Sasak villages
  • Island hop to all the Gili Islands

How to Get To Lombok:

Lombok is accessible by direct flights from major Southeast Asia and Australian cities.

You can also take a ferry from Bali or the Gili Islands.

Best Hotels in Lombok:

Best boutique accommodation in Lombok: El Tropico Boutique Hotel

Best hotel for surfers in Lombok: Jivana Resort

3. Nusa Islands

Nusa Penida

The Nusa Islands are three beautiful Indonesian Islands consisting of Nusa PenidaNusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan, which offer a quieter and more secluded island experience than Bali.

The main island Penida Island is also the biggest island and home to the famous Broken Beach and Diamond Beach.

With picturesque scenery and gorgeous beaches, you can enjoy water activities such as diving, snorkelling, surfing, scenic hikes, and beach relaxation.

The Nusa Islands are also great islands in Indonesia for a honeymoon.

Best Islands For:

  • Snorkelling and diving with manta rays
  • Off-the-beaten-path adventures
  • Best photogenic spots

Best Time to Visit the Nusa Islands:

May to September

Things to See & Do on the Nusa Islands: 

  • Snorkel with manta rays in their natural habitat in the crystal-clear waters
  • Explore the underwater world of the Nusa Penida Marine Park
  • Visit the mangrove forests of Nusa Lembongan 
  • Take a scenic walk across the yellow bridge to Nusa Ceningan

How to Get to the Nusa Islands:

The Nusa Islands are easily accessible by ferry from Bali.

Best Hotels on the Nusa Islands:

Best stay with a view in Nusa Penida: Rumah Pohon

Best luxury stay in Nusa Lembongan: Ohana's Beachfront Resort & Beach Club

Best unique stay on Nusa Ceningan: Le Pirate Beach Club

4. Gili Islands

Gili Islands

The Gili Islands, one of Indonesia's best islands for couples and solo travellers, includes the three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno.

These three small islands are known for their clear waters and abundant marine life, making them popular spots for diving and snorkelling.

The Gili Islands are a popular destination for travellers of all ages, but they tend to attract a younger crowd.

The island's vibrant nightlife, budget-friendly accommodations, laid-back atmosphere, and opportunities for adventure and exploration make them an ideal destination for young people looking for an exciting and memorable travel experience.

Best Islands For:

  • Relaxation
  • Beach activities and boat tours
  • Party vibes on Gili T

Best Time to Visit the Gili Islands:

May to September

Things to See & Do in the Gili Islands:

  • Enjoy the white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters
  • Go diving or snorkelling
  • Rent a bike or horse cart to explore the famous islands
  • Watch the stunning sunset from the sunset swings

How to Get To the Gili Islands:

The Gili Islands are accessible by ferry from Bali or Lombok.

Best Hotels in the Gili Islands:

Best hotel on Gili T: Pearl of Trawangan

Best hotel on Gili Air: Slow Gili Air

Best hotel on Gili Meno: Meno House

5. Komodo Island

Komodo Island

Besides Bali, one of Indonesia's best places to visit is Komodo Island!

This island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its namesake Komodo dragons, the largest living lizards in the world, which are also the main attraction.

The island also offers opportunities for hiking and diving, with colourful coral reefs and marine life.

This island is one of the top 5 islands in Indonesia to visit!

Best Island For:

  • Wildlife and nature
  • Hiking
  • Diving with colourful fish

Best Time to Visit Komodo Island:

April to December

Things to See & Do on Komodo Island:

  • Go on a guided tour to see the Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizards
  • Snorkel and dive in the Komodo National Park
  • Hike to the summit of nearby Padar Island for panoramic views
  • Visit the famous Pink Beach

How to Get To Komodo Island:

Komodo Island is accessible by flight from Bali or Lombok.

6. Flores Island

Flores Island Indonesia

Flores Island is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, known for its rugged natural beauty, including the famous Kelimutu volcano with its three coloured lakes.

Visitors can also explore traditional villages and learn about local culture on this small island in East Nusa Tenggara.

Best Island For:

  • Culture and adventure
  • Visiting the nearby Komodo Island National Park
  • Volcano trekking
  • Liveaboard adventures

Best Time to Visit Flores Island:

April to September

Things to See & Do in Flores Island:

  • Visit the traditional villages of Bena and Wae Rebo to learn about the culture and way of life of the Manggarai people
  • Trek to the Kelimutu volcano to see the three-coloured crater lakes
  • Explore the caves and waterfalls of Flores Island

How to Get To Flores Island:

Flores Island is accessible by flight from Bali.

Best Hotels in Flores Island:

Best luxury hotel on Flores Island: AYANA Komodo Waecicu Beach

Best affordable hotel with easy access to Komodo Island: Blue Parrot

7. Sumatra


If you're searching for somewhere to go in Indonesia other than Bali, Sumatra is the largest island in Indonesia.

It offers a wealth of natural attractions, including national parks with diverse wildlife, waterfalls, and lakes.

Best Island For:

  • Nature and adventure
  • Secluded beaches
  • Orangutans

Best Time to Visit Sumatra:

June to September

Things to See & Do in Sumatra:

  • Visit the biggest crater lake in the world, Lake Toba
  • Explore the Batak villages
  • Go on a tropical rainforests jungle trek in Gunung Leuser National Park to see the endangered orangutans
  • Surf the world-class waves of the nearby Mentawai Islands

How to Get To Sumatra:

Sumatra island is accessible by direct flights from major cities in Southeast Asia.

8. Belitung Island

Belitung Island

Belitung Island, located off the east coast of Sumatra between the South China and Java Sea, you'll find white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, unique rock formations, and historical landmarks.

Best Island For:

  • Island hopping
  • Sea turtles conservation
  • Beach vacations

Best Time to Visit Belitung island:

March to October

Things to See & Do in Belitung Island:

  • Explore the stunning white sandy beaches and granite rocks of Belitung Island
  • Visit the unique thousand-year-old rocks
  • Go island hopping to Lengkuas Island and visit the iconic lighthouse
  • Go snorkelling and diving to see the colourful coral reefs and marine life
  • Sample the local seafood

How to Get To Belitung Island:

Belitung Island is accessible by flight from Jakarta or Surabaya.

9. Sumba


One of the more exclusive, high-end luxury islands in Indonesia is Sumba.

This is a lesser-known island destination in Indonesia, offering a mix of stunning beaches, rugged landscapes, and traditional villages with unique architecture and culture.

The island of Sumba in Indonesia is also home to wild horses roaming freely across the rugged terrain. These horses are an iconic symbol of the island's unique culture and history.

Best Island For:

  • Traditional culture
  • Surfing
  • Luxury resorts
  • Untouched nature

Best Time to Visit Sumba:

June to September

Things to See & Do in Sumba:

  • Visit the traditional villages of Sumba to see the unique architecture, weaving, and customs of the Sumbanese people
  • Surf the world-class waves of Nihiwatu Beach
  • Swim in the natural pools of Weekuri Lake
  • Hike to the stunning waterfalls of Tanggedu

How to Get To Sumba:

Sumba is accessible by flight from Bali or Jakarta.

10. Wangi-Wangi Island

Wangi-Wangi Island

Wangi-Wangi Island is part of the Wakatobi Islands, known for its pristine waters and coral reefs.

It is ranked among the most beautiful islands in Indonesia, where visitors can enjoy diving and snorkelling in the diverse marine life or relax on secluded beaches.

Best Island For:

  • Snorkelling with tropical fish
  • Diving
  • Beautiful scenery

Best Time to Visit Wangi-Wangi Island:

April to November

Things to See & Do in Wangi-Wangi Island:

  • Snorkel or dive in the Wakatobi National Park to see the colourful coral reefs
  • Visit the traditional villages of Bajo people
  • Watch the sunset from the beach

How to Get To Wangi-Wangi Island:

Wangi-Wangi Island is accessible by flight from Makassar.

11. Bintan Island

Bintan Island

Bintan Island, one of the best islands to see in Indonesia, is a popular getaway destination from Singapore, with luxury resorts and a range of water and land activities, including golf, spas, and water sports. 

Only 60 minutes from Singapore by boat, you can enjoy sunset beach cocktails on one of the best Indonesian islands.

Best Island For:

  • Luxury and relaxation
  • Temples
  • History buffs
  • Golf

Best Time to Visit Bintan Island:

May to October

Things to See & Do on Bintan Island:

  • Relax in the luxurious resorts and spas
  • Play golf at the world-class golf courses
  • Go snorkelling or diving to see the coral reefs and marine life
  • Visit the traditional villages and temples.

How to Get To Bintan Island:

Bintan Island is accessible by ferry from Singapore.

Best Hotels in Bintan Island:

Best beachfront hotel: The Sanchaya

Best glamping experience in Bintan: Natra Bintan

12. Sulawesi


Sulawesi is a diverse island with a mix of cultural attractions and traditions, offering natural attractions such as national parks, waterfalls, and diving spots.

Best Island For:

  • Scuba divers
  • Wildlife encounters
  • Culture and nature

Best Time to Visit Sulawesi:

June to September

Things to See & Do in Sulawesi:

  • Visit the traditional Toraja villages and see the unique funeral rites and architecture
  • Explore the Togean Islands for diving and snorkelling
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Lokon for a panoramic view of North Sulawesi
  • Visit the Tangkoko Nature Reserve to see the tarsiers and black macaques

How to Get To Sulawesi:

Sulawesi is accessible by flight from Jakarta, Bali, or Makassar.

13. Java

Java Borobudur Temple

Java is one of the main islands of Indonesia and the most populous island home to the capital city of Jakarta, as well as cultural landmarks such as Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple.

The island also boasts stunning natural attractions like Mount Bromo and the Ijen Crater.

Best Island For:

  • Incredible temples
  • Volcanoes
  • Culture and history

Best Time to Visit Java:

May to September

Things to See & Do on Java:

  • Visit the cultural and historical sites of Yogyakarta, including Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and the Sultan's Palace
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Bromo for a stunning sunrise view
  • Surf on the beaches of Bali or Pacitan
  • Try the local cuisine.

How to Get To Java:

Java is accessible by flight or train from major cities in Indonesia.

14. Ternate Island

Ternate Island

Ternate Island is part of the Maluku Islands and offers a unique cultural and historical experience, with landmarks such as the Sultan's Palace and the historic Fort Oranje.

During the colonial era, Ternate was a hub of the lucrative spice trade. Today, the Maluku Islands are still known as Spice Islands, with its rich history as a spice trade centre.

Best Island For:

  • History and nature
  • Stunning surrounding landscape

Best Time to Visit Ternate Island:

May to October

Things to See & Do on Ternate Island:

  • Visit the Sultan's Palace, Fort Tolukko, and the traditional market to learn about the history and culture of Ternate Island 
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Gamalama for a panoramic view of North Maluku
  • Snorkel or dive to see the coral reefs and marine life
  • Visit the nearby Tidore Island

How to Get To Ternate Island:

Ternate Island is accessible by flight from Jakarta, Makassar, or Manado.

15. Raja Amat Islands

Raja Amat Islands

The Raja Ampat Islands are a remote diving destination in Indonesia, known for their magnificent coral reefs and diverse marine life.

This has to be the best island for beaches in Indonesia.

Best Island For:

  • Scuba diving and snorkelling

Best Time to Visit the Raja Amat Islands:

October to April

Things to See & Do in the Raja Amat Islands:

  • Scuba dive or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters
  • Go island hopping to see the stunning beaches and limestone cliffs
  • Hike to hidden waterfalls on Batanta Island

How to Get To Raja Amat Islands:

Raja Ampat Islands are accessible by flight from Jakarta or Sorong.

16. Mentawai Islands

Mentawai Islands

The Mentawai Islands are the best surfing islands in Indonesia, with world-class waves, pristine beaches, and opportunities to learn about traditional indigenous culture.

Best Islands For:

  • Surfing
  • White sand beaches
  • Secluded yoga & surf retreats

Best Time to Visit the Mentawai Islands:

May to September

Things to See & Do in the Mentawai Islands:

  • Surf the world-class waves of the Mentawai Islands
  • Visit the traditional villages to see the unique customs and architecture of the Mentawai people 
  • Relax on one of the many secluded, beautiful beaches

How to Get to the Mentawai Islands:

Mentawai Islands are accessible by boat from Padang or by flight from Jakarta to Padang.

17. Borneo


Borneo is the world's third-largest island, shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

The Indonesian side of the island, also known as Kalimantan, is home to dense rainforests and diverse wildlife, including orangutans and proboscis monkeys.

Borneo is one of the best islands in Indonesia to travel to if you're after wildlife!

Best Island For:

  • Wildlife and nature
  • Orangutans in the wild

Best Time to Visit Borneo:

May to September

Things to See & Do in Borneo:

  • Explore the rainforests and national parks
  • See orangutans and other wildlife
  • Go river cruising to see the proboscis monkeys and other wildlife
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Kinabalu for a stunning view (Malaysian side)

How to Get To Borneo:

Borneo Island is accessible by flight from major cities in Southeast Asia.

The Best Islands to Visit in Indonesia – Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Islands Does Indonesia Have?

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world and is made up of over 17,000 islands; off these islands, only around 6,000 are inhabited!

Are the Islands Outside of Bali Safe to Visit?

The islands outside Bali are generally safe to visit as long as you take the usual precautions you would anywhere else in the world. Know your surroundings, and keep your belongings in sight.

Researching the specific island and checking for travel advisories or safety concerns before visiting is always recommended.

How Many Days Will You Need for Island Hopping Around the Indonesian Islands?

The number of days needed for island hopping depends on where you want to go and what activities you're interested in doing!

However, I'd recommend allowing at least 10-14 days for a full island hopping experience, but shorter trips are just as worth it!

How to Get Around the Islands of Indonesia

The best way to get around the islands of Indonesia is by plane or boat. Many domestic airlines fly to the major islands, and ships and ferries are also available for inter-island travel.

Make sure to check the schedules and availability of transportation beforehand, as some of the islands may have limited transport options.

Best Time to Visit the Islands in Indonesia

Indonesia has a tropical climate with a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season generally runs from November to March.

The dry season is from April to October. You'll want to visit the islands of Indonesia during the dry season! The weather during this time is more predictable, and there are fewer chances of travel disruptions due to heavy rains.

However, the peak season for tourism is from June to August, so be prepared for higher prices and crowds during this time.

Final Words on the Best Islands to Visit in Indonesia

It's hard to pick the best islands to visit in Indonesia, as there are so many, and each offers a unique experience for everyone.

Indonesia is every traveller's paradise, from beach vacations to cultural tours, wildlife adventures, and luxury getaways!

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