Raja ampat archipelago in Indonesia

Paradise Found: Indonesia's Most Idyllic Islands

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Niarra Travel

At the crossroads between Asia and Oceania lies the world’s largest archipelago – Indonesia. Hugged by the tropical Indian Ocean to the West and the powerful Pacific to East, the region is made up of a mesmerising mosaic of around 18,000 islands, each one as stunning as the last. With the most blissful beaches on the planet, world-class surf breaks, and water as clear as glass, you cannot help but be enamoured by the true island paradise that awaits you.

While the exact numbers of islands and islets remains elusive even to the country itself, the unparalleled beauty of each and every one makes selecting the best islands in Indonesia a formidable task. But who doesn't like a challenge? So here is our selection of the most idyllic islands to visit, where you'll be swept away by their distinct charm and insurmountable beauty.

Bali

Bali is often regarded as the classic island escape with its laidback beach culture, crystal-clear waters and iconic green rice terraces carved into mountain sides. Known as the Island of the Gods, you will be forgiven for thinking you have arrived in heaven when you step onto its shores.

Ancient temples perch on wave-lashed cliffs and traditional Balinese dances are performed under the starlit skies. This lush, tropical oasis is teeming with cultural richness, vibrant landscapes, and a thriving nightlife scene. Sip on a cocktail as you take in the iconic sunsets over the Indian Ocean at one of their many chic beach bars and clubs.

For those looking for more adventure, head to the sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud - home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques - to interact with these mischievous primates. Or snorkel around the beautiful coral reefs, bursting with a rainbow of marine life.

More developed than the other islands in the list, Bail has all the amenities you could ask for and is famed for its unrivalled Balinese and international cuisine. It truly is the epitome of tropical island living. Whether on a romantic honeymoon trip or a family adventure, Bali has something for every traveller.

Novotel Bali rice paddies

Lombok

To the East of Bali lies the island of Lombok, an islet more rugged and untouched than its popular neighbour. Lombok is a sanctuary for those seeking tranquillity away from the crowds. Its northern coast is fringed by exquisite coral gardens that host a dizzying array of marine life. While the southern coast dazzles with sweeping bays and dramatic cliffs.

For those looking for aquatic adventures, the island is known for having some for having the best scuba diving in the world. Explore the tropical waters and coral reefs where you'll be sure to find leatherback turtles, blue spotted stingrays and even whitetip reef sharks circling the area.

Head further inland and you will find Mount Rinjani. This epic mountain invites adventure seekers to trek the challenging trails and reach the summit of this active volcano on hikes that span several days. Below its peak lies Segara Anak, a stunning crater lake known for its shimmering blue waters reminiscent of the sea, where you can rest up and take in Lombok’s beguiling beauty.

Lombok

Sumba

Sumba is an island steeped in tradition and natural beauty. Its rolling limestone hills, quiet, sandy beaches and Marapu villages give you a glimpse into a world where tradition runs deep and the way of life has remained unchanged for centuries.

What sets Sumba apart as one of the best islands in Indonesia is its distinctive landscape of sweeping hilly savannahs that undulate between verdant green in the rainy season to golden yellows in the dry.

Sumba's isolated location has preserved its unique flora and fauna, like the Sumba hornbill and the Sumba buttonquail, which are almost as enigmatic as the island itself. Here you can take a dip in the natural pools formed by the sacred Lapitu waterfalls or hear the soft neigh of the wild horses that roam the palm-fringed ocean shores.

Surf the waves at Sumba’s undisturbed beaches before sunbathing on the white sand shores of this secluded island escape. Or explore the colouful reefs by kayak or paddle board as shoals of tropical fish dart around the extensive coral formations.

Nihi Sumba Indonesia 7

Sumatra

Sumatra's rich and complex ecosystem makes it a must visit destination for nature lovers on the search for wildlife encounters like no other. The sixth-largest island in the world, the island’s landscape is incredibly diverse, ranging from dense rainforests and mist-shrouded mountains to pristine beaches and fertile valleys. Explore the island's national parks and trek through the dense jungle in search of some of the rarest animals on the planet.

The island is a haven of incredible biodiversity. Its lush tropical rainforests are the last refuge for many endangered species that are endemic to the island. From the majestic Sumatran tiger to Sumatran rhino.

Spend time with one of our closest living relatives, the orangutan at Gunung Leuser National Park and see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat as they swing through the canopies. The island is also home to herds of Sumatran elephants that you can spot on a trek through the forested lowlands.

Once you have had your fill of thrilling animal encounters head to Lake Toba. Formed in the caldera of a super-volcano, the area offers a tranquil retreat from the wild jungles where you can take dip in its mineral rich waters.

Sumatran tiger

Padar

One of three islands that make up Komodo National Park, Padar is a place less trodden but still as spectacularly beautiful as its busier counterparts. Its four deep bays cut into the land will leave you in awe as you sail up to its shores. Take in the panoramic views of the cerulean seas that border its winding coastlines as you traverse its craggy peaks and steep volcanic hillsides.

While vegetation is sparse the island is home to a variety of wildlife, including a small number of the infamous Komodo dragon for which the national park gets its name. The surrounding waters are equally compelling, with vibrant coral reefs that teem with life, making Padar a phenomenal spot for both snorkelling and dive trips.

Witness the rare beauty of the island's pink sand beaches. Red coral fragments combined with the white sands give the sand its blushing colour and is a must visit for anyone who steps foot on this enchanting island.

For a taste of what you can experience on your own Indonesian adventure take a look at our Komodo Cruise and Sumba Island Luxury tour where you will journey through the pristine islands and turquoise oceans of the spectacular region. With so many islands to visit the only questions you’ll be asking yourself is where to go next?

Killian pham padar komodo unsplash

Ready to create your own idyllic island experience exploring the best islands in Indonesia? Then get in touch with our expert travel specialists on +44 (0) 20 3821 5994 (UK), +1 (833) 215 9353 (US) or at explore@niarratravel.com

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