Despite the swarms of Australians who flock to Bali, and only Bali, each year, it’s not actually the only island in Indonesia that’s worth a visit. The archipelago is home to a whopping 18,110 islands and islets, roughly 6,000 of which are inhabited.
So, other than Bali, which of these 18,110 islands is worth a visit? From an island where you can trek through the jungle to see orangutans in the wild, to one that’s home to wild horses who run up and down beaches, and another with enough Instagrammable sights to give you content for a full week, ahead are a few of our favourite Bali alternatives.
Related: Want to Escape the Crowds in Fiji? Try These 5 Underrated South Pacific Islands Instead
Related: 10 of the Best Kid-Friendly Resorts Currently Making a Splash in Fiji
What’s commonly referred to as Komodo Island is actually a group of islands that make up UNESCO World Heritage site Komodo National Park. Of the three main islands in this group, Komodo and Rinca are the only islands left in the world where you can find Komodo dragons, while Padar has a stunning viewpoint with rugged, snaking mountains and bays on either side. The area is also home to a pink sand beach. It’s best explored by overnight boat, the quality of which can vary greatly.
Sumatra is the largest island in Indonesia and the sixth largest in the world. It’s known for its active volcanos, amazing surf, and stunning, secluded beaches. The island is home to the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros, elephants, and orangutans, which you can spot in the Gunung Leuser National Park. Also on the island is the natural wonder of Lake Toba, the world’s largest crater lake.
Nusa Lembongan is part of a collection of three islands that are a 30-minute ferry ride from Bali – the other two being Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. Visit Dream Beach to see turquoise waters and white sand, and the natural wonder Devil’s Tears with its crashing waves. Hop over to the next-door island Nusa Penida to take snaps at Kelingking Beach and Angel’s Billabong.
Less than an hour’s flight from Bali, Sumba is best known for its incredible surfing and the wild horses that gallop across its beaches. The only luxury hotel on the island – it’s twice the size of Bali and takes seven hours to drive from one end to the other – is Nihi Sumba, which has just 27 villas, each looking onto the Indian Ocean and NIhiwatu Beach. Inland, you’ll find waterfalls, swimming holes and countless maize and rice fields.
Sulawesi is the world’s 11th largest island, famous for its remote regions where ancient cultures are still kept intact and its dive sites in Bunaken National Park and Wakatobi National Park. Visit Tana Toraja to see Tongkonan houses and burial grounds and Tangkok National Park for the chance to spot tarsiers, gremlin-lookalikes and some of the smallest mammals in the world.
Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.