Indonesia is a wild and wonderful country of 17,000 islands, and many of the best things to do in Indonesia are off the beaten path. Everyone goes to Bali, which is an amazing island (don’t get me wrong), but it’s been suffering from overtourism and overdevelopment for years. If you branch out to the other islands in Indonesia, you can see smoking volcanoes, sulfur lakes, pink sand beaches, tropical rainforests, exotic wildlife, and so much more.
Since Indonesia is my second home (and my wife’s actual home!), we’ve been privileged to do a bunch of exploring in this beautiful country, including some of the most far flung Indonesian islands. Without further ado, here is our list of some of the best things to do in Indonesia! Indonesia is one of those countries where if you’re not exploring the outdoors, you’re doing it wrong.
Don’t waste any time in the cities, just get in nature as soon as possible! Of course you have the islands and beaches, but there are also all kinds of other scenery in Indonesia too. From Sumatra to Papua, you can find a wide variety of lakes, mountains, rainforests, giant boulders, sand dunes, and more. Indonesia has 400 volcanoes, and 130 of them are active — more than any other country in the world.
Most of them are open to tourists for hiking, and at some of the volcanoes (like Mount Bromo in Java) you can even walk up to the edge of the smoking crater! This is hands down one of the best things to do in Indonesia! In Bali, the most popular volcano to hike is Mount Batur for sunrise, or if you really want a challenge you can climb Mount Agung.
Pretty much every island in Indonesia has at least a few stunning waterfalls if you do a bit of exploring. A lot of the best waterfalls in Indonesia are located in Sumatra and Java, but even the smaller islands like Bali and Lombok have some great ones too. Indonesia has almost 20 percent of the world’s animal species, so there’s a lot of endemic wildlife to see here that can’t be found anywhere else.
You can watch the world’s biggest lizards on Komodo Island, bug-eyed tarsiers at the Tangkoko Reserve in Sulawesi, wild orangutans at Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, and of course the famous macaques at the Ubud Monkey Forest in Bali. Wildlife watching is definitely one of the best things to do in Indonesia!