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I did the 12 day Bali Intro and had the best time! Me and my group loved everywhere w...” Read More

1. Hiking in Komodo National Park

A hiker posing in Komodo National Park on a cloudy day.
Discover the awe-inspiring beauty of Komodo National Park with thrilling hikes and encounter with Komodo dragons.

Komodo National Park comprises several smaller islands besides the three main islands of Rinca, Padar, and Komodo. While the park’s main highlight is undoubtedly encountering Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, it is also a great place for trekking enthusiasts. With experienced guides leading visitors through diverse landscapes of savannah, forests, and coastal areas, hiking in Komodo National Park is one of the best things to do in Indonesia for adventure and nature lovers.

Alternative destinations:

  • Mount Rinjani, Lombok: Mount Rinjani, towering at 3,726 meters, boasts a massive caldera filled with a turquoise crater lake, hot springs, and an active volcanic cone. Trekking to the summit presents a strenuous yet rewarding challenge, with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding islands and landscapes as the ultimate reward.
  • Mount Bromo, East Java: Part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Mount Bromo is a famous volcanic landscape with an iconic crater and the ‘Sea of Sand.’ Hike across the volcanic desert to witness the stunning views of the active Bromo crater at sunrises.
  • Kelimutu National Park, Flores: This national park is home to the famous Kelimutu Crater Lakes, which change color due to volcanic activity. The hike to the viewpoint offers panoramic vistas of these unique lakes.

Best time: April to December ensures dry weather and clearer trails, making hiking conditions more favorable.

Tours in Komodo Islands

2. Explore the ancient Hindu temples of Bali

A woman tourists exploring Besakih temple, which is one of the top things t
Immerse yourself in centuries of culture and spirituality as you explore the enchanting Besakih Temple in Bali

Known as the ‘Island of the Gods,’ Bali boasts over 20,000 temples steeped in ancient lore and history. These sacred sites, adorned with intricate stone carvings and lush landscape, offer a glimpse into Bali's rich cultural heritage, influenced by Javanese, Balinese, and Indian traditions. Visitors can observe age-old customs and ceremonies performed by locals. Exploring these temples during sunrise or sunset is one of the best things to do in Bali, Indonesia.

Recommended temples:

  • Pura Besakih (Mother Temple): Comprising 23 separate temples, Pura Besakih is not only the largest but also the holiest temple complex in Bali, situated 1,000 meters above sea level.
  • Tanah Lot Temple: This sea temple, built on a rock formation off the coast, provides a spectacular backdrop for sunset photography and cultural exploration.
  • Uluwatu Temple: Located atop a precipitous cliff, towering 70 meters above the Indian Ocean, Uluwatu Temple is renowned for its breathtaking vistas and traditional Kecak dance presentations.

Best time: Anytime during the year is suitable, but visiting during weekdays or outside major holidays ensures a quieter and more immersive experience.

Bali Cultural, religious and historic sites Tours

3. Scuba Dive in the Raja Ampat Islands

Scuba divers couple near beautiful coral reef and colorful feather star
Dive into a world of unparalleled marine biodiversity and breathtaking underwater landscapes in Raja Ampat, where every moment beneath the waves promises an unforgettable adventure

Raja Ampat, located off the northwest tip of West Papua, is part of the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. Diving sites such as Manta Sandy and Cape Kri offer encounters with schools of colorful fish and mesmerizing coral gardens. The region's powerful currents bring nutrient-rich waters, drawing many marine creatures, including the majestic Manta rays. Exploring Raja Ampat's pristine reefs should be your top thing to do in Indonesia if you are looking for an underwater adventure.

Best time: The best diving conditions in Raja Ampat are during the dry season from October to April, with optimal visibility reaching up to 30 meters and water temperatures averaging around 29°C (84°F).

Tours in Raja Ampat

4. Spot Wildlife in Tanjung Puting National Park

A female proboscis sitting on a pandanus palm tree at Tanjung Puting Nation
Embark on a captivating jungle safari in Tanjung Puting National Park and witness the iconic proboscis monkeys in their natural habitat.

Observing wild orangutans in their natural environment should be on your top to-do list on your trip to Indonesia, and the place to visit is Tanjung Puting National Park. Established in 1982, the park is home to approximately 6,000 orangutans and other primates, such as proboscis monkeys and gibbons. You can embark on guided boat tours along the meandering riverways, where sightings of these fascinating primates swinging through the dense jungle canopy are common. Stay overnight in rustic lodges within the park to immerse yourself in the rainforest sounds and witness nocturnal wildlife activity.

Alternative destinations:

  • Camp Leakey: As one of the oldest orangutan rehabilitation centers in Tanjung Puting National Park, Camp Leakey offers a remarkable opportunity to witness orangutans in their natural habitat. Visitors can go on guided hikes along verdant rainforest paths, where sightings of these magnificent primates are guaranteed.
  • Sekonyer River: Exploring the winding waterways of the Sekonyer River is an essential part of any Tanjung Puting National Park visit. Guided boat tours along the river offer unparalleled opportunities to spot diverse wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, gibbons, and numerous bird species.
  • Pondok Tanggui: Located along the banks of the Sekonyer River, Pondok Tanggui is another renowned orangutan rehabilitation center within Tanjung Puting National Park. Here, visitors can witness orangutans in their natural environment and learn about ongoing conservation efforts.

Best time: Wildlife sightings are more common during the dry season, which runs from May to October, when the animals are more active. 

5. Witness Sunrise over Mount Bromo

Panoramic view of sunrise in Mount Bromo in Indonesia.
Capture the stunning sunrise at Mount Bromo, a mesmerizing sight you won't want to miss during your Indonesian adventure.

Mount Bromo, part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East Java, is an active volcano standing at 2,329 meters (7,641 feet) above sea level. The surrounding landscape is an expanse of ash fields, sand seas, and towering cliffs, creating a surreal setting for sunrise viewing. Visitors typically ascend to the viewpoint atop Mount Penanjakan in the early hours of the morning to witness the dramatic spectacle as the first light of dawn illuminates Mount Bromo and its neighboring peaks. The area's volcanic activity adds to the mystique, with occasional eruptions emitting plumes of smoke and ash, creating a dramatic backdrop for photography enthusiasts.

Altyernative destinations:

  • Mount Penanjakan Viewpoint: Perched at 2,770 meters (9,088 feet), Mount Penanjakan offers an unparalleled vista of Mount Bromo and its neighboring peaks. Here, visitors gather before dawn to witness the mesmerizing play of light as the sun ascends, casting a spellbinding glow over the volcanic landscape.
  • Kingkong Hill: Close to Mount Bromo, Kingkong Hill presents another captivating viewpoint for sunrise admirers. From this elevated spot, travelers can savor sweeping panoramas of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park aglow with the first light of day. The distinctive rock formations add an extra touch of grandeur to the dawn spectacle.
  •  Love Hill (Bukit Cinta): Nestled on the rim of the Tengger Caldera, Love Hill promises a romantic setting for experiencing the sunrise over Mount Bromo. With its unhindered views of the volcanic scenery, this hill attracts couples and photographers seeking to capture the magical moments of daybreak.

Best time: July to August ensures clearer skies and fewer chances of fog, providing optimal conditions for capturing stunning sunrise photographs.

6. Immerse in Ubud’s Vibrant Art Scene

A tourist man looking at handicrafts in Ubud Art Market.
Indulge in a vibrant shopping experience at Ubud Market, boasting a diverse array of handcrafted treasures and unique souvenirs to add an authentic touch to your Bali getaway.

Located in the Gianyar Regency of Bali, taking an Ubud tour means you will witness traditional Balinese arts and crafts. The town gained international recognition following the success of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, ‘Eat Pray Love,’ which showcased Ubud's cultural charm. Among the best things to do in Ubud, Indonesia is exploring its vibrant markets, like the Ubud Art Market and Sukawati Art Market. Here, visitors are treated to a diverse array of handmade treasures, from exquisite batik textiles to intricate wood carvings and shimmering silver jewelry. In addition, there are a number of museums and art galleries in Ubud, including the Agung Rai Museum of Art and the Neka Art Museum, where guests may view both modern and traditional Balinese artwork.

Recommended destinations:

  • Ubud Art Market: With over a hundred stalls offering a diverse range of handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs, this market is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts and souvenir hunters alike.
  • Blanco Renaissance Museum: Set within the former residence of Filipino artist Antonio Blanco, this museum showcases his eclectic collection of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and personal memorabilia.
  • Puri Lukisan Museum: Bali's oldest art museum, Puri Lukisan Museum houses a rich collection of traditional and contemporary Balinese art, providing insight into the island's cultural heritage.

Best time: Ubud receives fewer tourist crowds from May to July and in September, offering more opportunities for interacting with local artists and craftsmen.

Tours in Ubud

7. Relax on the Beaches of Gili Islands

The Gili Islands used to be a quiet backpackers' destination.
Indulge in ultimate relaxation on the white-sand beaches of the Gili Islands, where crystal-clear waters and serene surroundings create the perfect escape.

The Gili Islands beckon travelers with their pristine beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Each of the three islands—Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno—has a distinct appeal, with private coves and vibrant beach bars. Spend lazy days sunbathing on powdery white sands, snorkeling among colorful coral reefs, or cycling around the car-free islands. Enjoy fresh seafood dinners by candlelight as night falls and immerse yourself in vibrant nightlife.

Recommended destinations:

  • Gili Trawangan: The northern and southern parts of Gili Trawangan offer tranquil beaches for relaxation. With quieter atmospheres compared to the bustling west, these areas provide serene environments with soft sands and calm waters, perfect for unwinding and enjoying the scenery.
  • Gili Meno: Known for its laid-back vibe, Gili Meno offers relaxation across the island. However, the northern and western beaches are particularly serene. They are also less crowded, and feature serene white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, ideal for unwinding amidst pristine surroundings.
  •  Gili Air: The eastern and northern shores of Gili Air are prime spots for relaxation. With soft sands and views of Lombok's mountains, the eastern beaches provide picturesque settings for lounging and picnicking. The northern coast offers quiet spots for wading and swimming during high tide.

Best time: The dry season from May to September offers the most pleasant weather for beach activities.

8. See Traditional Balinese Dance Performances

A Balinese girl performing in traditional dress in Bali.
Experience the mesmerizing artistry of Balinese dance, a must-see cultural highlight of your Bali adventure.

Witnessing traditional Balinese dance performances is one of the most unique things to do in Indonesia. These performances, enriched with the enchanting melodies of gamelan music, serve as living embodiments of Balinese artistry and they often convey stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Popular dance forms include the Legong, characterized by intricate finger movements and delicate costumes, and the Barong, a dramatic portrayal of the eternal battle between good and evil. Performances are held regularly at temples, palaces, and cultural centers throughout Bali, offering visitors a chance to engage with the island's vibrant cultural heritage.

Best time: Balinese dance performances are held regularly throughout the year, with larger festivals and events occurring during religious holidays such as Galungan and Nyepi.

9. Snorkel in the Vibrant Coral Reefs of Bunaken Marine Park

A woman enjoying snorkel around coral reef surrounded by multitude of fish
Dive into a world of wonder and witness vibrant marine ecosystems teeming with fish, sea turtles, and other mesmerizing aquatic life while snorkeling.

Situated off the coast of North Sulawesi, Bunaken Marine Park is home to a sizable expanse of immaculate coral reefs, mangrove forests, and marine biodiversity. The park's coral reefs, which include approximately 390 types of coral and 90 species of fish, are among the most biodiverse in the world. Visitors can explore vivid underwater gardens brimming with fish, sea turtles, and other aquatic life. Dive sites such as Lekuan II and Sachiko's Point offer opportunities to encounter reef sharks, barracudas, and occasionally dolphins and whales.

Alternative destinations:

  • Lekuan II: Renowned for its steep walls and glistening waters, Lekuan II is teeming with marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and on rare occasions, reef sharks.
  • Bunaken Timur: Located on the eastern side of Bunaken Island, this snorkeling site features impressive coral formations and diverse ecosystems, making it ideal for both novice and experienced snorkelers.
  • Pangalisan: A hidden gem within Bunaken Marine Park, Pangalisan offers snorkelers crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral gardens full of marine life, a perfect spot for underwater photography.

Best time: With average water temperatures of about 28°C (82°F), the dry season, which runs from April to October, provides the optimum visibility for diving and snorkeling.

10. Try Street Food in the Markets of Jakarta

Top view of market stall selling traditional Indonesian sweet and savory sn
Savor the irresistible flavors of authentic Indonesian street food, a culinary adventure that tantalizes your taste buds with every savory bite.

Savoring delicious street food is easily one of the top 10 things to do in Indonesia. Jakarta is not just the capital of the country but also the gastronomic melting pot of many cultures. From traditional Indonesian dishes like nasi goreng (fried rice) and sate (skewered meat) to Chinese-inspired bakmi (noodle soup) and lumpia (spring rolls), Jakarta's markets offer a feast for the senses. Wander through markets like Pasar Baru and Tanah Abang to sample local favorites such as martabak (stuffed pancakes), and bakso (meatball soup). Also, don't miss the opportunity to sip on freshly squeezed fruit juices or indulge in sweet treats like pisang goreng (banana fritters).

Recommended destinations:

  • Pasar Baru: Established in 1820, Pasar Baru is one of Jakarta's oldest markets, offering a plethora of street food stalls serving up local favorites such as nasi goreng (fried rice), bakso (meatball soup), and sate (skewered meat).
  • Jalan Sabang: This bustling street in central Jakarta is renowned for its diverse culinary offerings, including classics like mie ayam (Indonesian noodle dish), gado-gado (mixed salad), and soto betawi (Jakarta beef soup).
  • Jalan Mangga Besar: A haven for food enthusiasts, Jalan Mangga Besar is lined with street food stalls and eateries serving up a wide range of dishes, from savory grilled meats to sweet treats like martabak (sweet pancake) and pisang goreng (banana fritters).

Best Time: Indonesian street food can be enjoyed year-round. Visit in the evenings when the markets come alive.

Tours in Jakarta

Need help planning a trip to Indonesia?

From exploring the historic temples dotting Bali's landscape to the lively underwater realm of Raja Ampat, there are myriad of things to do in Indonesia that offer a unique tapestry of culture, nature, and adventure.

If you are looking for a more personalized travel experience, contact our travel experts for a customized trip to Indonesia. For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Indonesia. Our articles on things to do in Bali and things to do in Jakarta will also come in handy.

Indonesia Tours
Published by Astha Joshi, updated on June 5, 2024

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