Formed of an incredible 17,508 islands, Indonesia is a fascinating blend of people and cultures. Experience the sense of serenity that washes over you as soon as you arrive in Bali. Enjoy the secluded paradise of the Gili Islands with horse riding on the beach and diving adventures below the waves. Or relax in the tropical paradise of Lombok, whose naturally beautiful landscape remains unchanged. Indonesia has somewhere for everyone to adore and is ideal for combining multiple islands in one trip.
As a gateway to Indonesia, begin your adventure with a stopover in Singapore; a melting pot of ancient traditions and modern design, where futuristic architecture contrasts with vibrant communities, such as Little India and Chinatown. This multi-faceted city has a fascinating colonial past – a cocktail in Raffles Hotel for the famous Singapore Sling is a must-do event. For thrills, plan your visit around the Singapore Grand Prix that takes place every September and stay right on the racetrack. Whatever time of year you visit Singapore, it’s always an enthralling experience. A stopover in Singapore makes perfect sense because there are no direct flights from the UK to our next island suggestion.
Bali is bursting full of unique culture from architecture to craftsmanship. Make sure you catch a performance of Balinese dance, using every body part, hypnotising onlookers with its gracefully dynamic choreography and colourful gilded costumes.
Ubud – Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Surrounded by scenic rice fields and with a flourishing arts and crafts community you’ll get a taste of authentic Indonesia in Ubud. Watch in awe as the local craftspeople create woodcarvings, jewellery and batik paintings front of you. Or spend a day uncovering the hidden charm of Ubud Palace where the local royal family still reside, plus Pura Dalem Agung, nestled in the jungle in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
As a former fishing village, coloured boats are usually found moored along the long beach. Hotels in Sanur retain the charms of traditional Balinese style with thatched grass roofs, carved wood and white stone while providing guests with modern amenities to make you feel at home. Shops and bars in Sanur give the resort a more contemporary feel, creating a charming blend of old and new.
Pura Tanah Lot
Pura Tanah Lot meaning "Rock by the Sea" in Balinese is a rock formation situated just off the west coast of Bali. Just one of the seven sea temples situated around the coast, Pura Tanah Lot has played a part in Balinese mythology since the 16th century and has significant Hindu influence. This popular tourist and cultural attraction is beautiful to be seen against a burning sunset.
After immersing yourself in the culture of Bali, take in the sights of the otherworldly Komodo National Park including its main attraction, the Komodo dragon. First discovered over 100 years ago the Komodo dragon is a truly fascinating animal which you can see in its natural habitat. This two night tour from Bali is the ideal extension for those seeking wildlife, nature and off the beaten track adventure.
If you prefer a peaceful island retreat head over to Lombok, home to white and black sand beaches and Indonesia’s second tallest volcano, Gunung Rinjani. Take a guided tour and hike to the top to discover hot springs and the breathtaking crater lake, Segara Anak. For relaxation and tranquillity, Kuta Beach is an ideal spot, as it still remains largely unspoilt and uncrowded. For a spot of shopping head to Senggigi Beach, where you’ll find all the usual tourist amenities with that unmistakable, laidback Lombok ambiance.
Made up of three small palm-fringed islets just off the north-west coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands are perfect for castaway tranquillity, with amazing dive sites along the way. You won’t see cars or motorbikes on any of the islands as forms of motorised transport are not allowed, but don’t worry, all the islands are small enough to explore by foot.
Gili Trawangan is the largest, you can actually walk around its circumference in two hours. It’s also the livelier of three, with colourful bars along the beach. Diving is a must while you are here. You can expect to see corals, turtles, giant clams in the blue and green waters. It’s worthwhile staying to watch the luminescent sunsets from the sand, especially if you are on North Beach.
Gili Meno is the romantic island sitting in the middle of the islets. The white beaches are perfect for watching the world go by with a loved one, while you are left undisturbed. Spend your days lazing around in a hammock channelling your inner castaway, or take to the water and discover Gili Meno Wall. The colourful corals of Gili Meno Wall are home to a wide array of crustaceans, turtle and eels which can be seen by snorkelling or diving.
Gili Air is the chill-out island, rustic and bohemian and easily accessible by island hopper boats. There’s plenty to do on a day tour to the island, even though it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are three dive sites on the island, so you can explore the corals.
Have you decided which island you’d like to explore? Visit our Indonesia pages and start planning your next adventure.
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Have you always dreamed of sleeping in an overwater villa in the Maldives? Perhaps you’d love to drive Route 66, or experience an African safari? Talk to us and see where in the world you’ll explore next. Find more inspiration from our very own wish list.