There’s more to Indonesia than just Bali. I know, it’s shocking, isn’t it? While it might not seem like it sometimes, Indonesia has a lot more to offer than just Bali. If island laid-back island life is what you crave, there are plenty of other islands besides Bali. If lush mountains to trek are your fancy, you can find bigger ones that are less crowded elsewhere. If culture and bustling Southeast Asia city life are what you want, then there are definitely better places to go. So when you’re planning your next trip to Indonesia, at least consider some of these other options besides Bali.
A Close Substitute: Lombok
The neighboring island to the east of Bali, Lombok, is seen by many as a nice substitute for the now too-crowded Bali. It is like Bali used to be many years ago in a lot of ways. Still very underdeveloped, not too touristy, but will all the natural beauty. Adventurers can trek Mount Rinjani; most itineraries are three-day, two-night treks with all meals and equipment included. The prices vary, but it’s generally best to just book when you get there.
Lombok is also known for its great surf. Desert Point is the best-known surf spot and is usually the most likely to have the best waves. You can find decent breaks year-round in Lombok and elsewhere in Indonesia but the best months are usually April and October.
From Lombok, you can take a short 15-20 minute boat ride out to the Gili Islands. This chain of three small islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air are amazing beach spots with a range of different atmospheres. If you were looking forward to the party atmosphere in Kuta in Bali, then head to Gili Trawangan, the most popular of the three islands. While not as loud as Kuta, the party scene is alive and well on Gili T. Meno and Air are much more laid back, with Meno being the quietest of them all. Regardless of which island you choose, you will find the idyllic beach paradise you were looking for in Bali.
For The Jungle Trekkers: Borneo
The bottom two-thirds of Borneo is Indonesian land. Borneo is home to some of the most exotic creatures in the world, thanks to housing the oldest rainforest on Earth. At 140 million years old, the Bornean rain forests are even older than the Amazon, thus allowing the creatures it inhabits more time than anywhere on land to evolve. Among the many rare creatures, you will find in Borneo are the orangutan and the Proboscis monkey. You can either trek into the jungle yourself or take a tour, whichever suits your fancy.
Urban Explorers: Jakarta and Yogyakarta
Indonesia’s capital is intense, to put it lightly. One of the most densely packed cities in the world, Jakarta will definitely heighten your senses and make you feel alive. Located in western Java, this city is dynamic, meaning you can find anything you want to find here. Always changing, and always evolving, Jakarta is the place to see how the vast majority of Indonesians live.
To dial it back a little, head east to Central Java, where you can explore one of Indonesia’s largest tourist destinations: Yogyakarta. A big part of its popularity on the tourist trail comes from its convenient proximity to the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, which are definitely sights to see.
Indonesia is a bustling and vibrant country with so much to see. Despite Bali’s beauty and allure, there is so much more to see!