Thanks to reasonable flight times, cheap airfare and of course, the tropical appeal, Indonesia remains a firm holiday favourite with Australians looking to escape for some serious downtime. Looking for a little destination inspiration? Here are West Indonesia’s hidden gems well worth discovering on your next holiday….
Bali and Lombok
One of the better-known islands in Indonesia is Bali, it’s also one of the most popular getaways for Australian residents. While it might not be as hidden these days, it’s still worth a few nights to soak up the Bali vibes and head to slightly less crowded areas such as Lovina – a lowkey coastal town free from the busy tourist hotspots in the northern part of the island. Just east of Bali you’ll also find Lombok, another quieter, peaceful destination that’s home to beautiful beaches, grand mosques and a number of excellent hikes with breathtaking views.
Sumatra is part of the Sunda Islands in West Indonesia, less visited by tourists but completely worthy of your precious holiday time. Sumatra is diverse with cities, beaches, national parks and smaller towns. Lake Toba is undoubtedly one of the highlights here in Sumatra, with the largest crater lake of its type in the world. Said to be the aftermath of a volcanic explosion, you can now take a boat out on the lake, or if you need to cool down – jump in and take a dip. Hire a motorbike and travel up the mountains, here you’ll find small yet welcoming villages and some amazing natural hot springs.
The Mentawai Islands
Looking for the best surf conditions in Indonesia? Head to The Mentawai Islands just off the coast of Pedang in West Sumatra to catch those waves. Made up of 70 small islands, this is the perfect spot to relax on the beach and soak up the laid-back vibes. Many parts of the islands are made up of untouched rainforest, therefore a great place to visit for hiking enthusiasts. Water sports are also popular here, so if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, followed by an afternoon lazing on the beach – you can’t get much better than these picturesque islands.
This small village is nestled in the outskirts of the Gunung National Park and is known for a number of famous residents. This stretch of protected jungle is home to a group of orangutans that are a popular attraction for visitors. If you want to catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, take a hike up to one of their feeding platforms to watch them swing through the trees in the hope of seeking out a delicious banana. Hiking is popular in Bukit Lawang, with many visitors setting up camp for some of the longer treks. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and high-protein snacks.
One of Sumatra’s best-kept secrets is Weh Island, a tropical paradise that lies just off the coast and offers an abundance of natural beauty and crystal clear waters. Popular with divers and snorkelers, there’s plenty to see and do on the island, and equipment is available to hire if you fancy checking out some of the marine life. Looking to stay the night? There are plenty of guesthouses available, and be sure to pop by one of the fabulous beach cafes for a bite to eat at sunset.
Now you just need to decide which hidden gem to uncover first.