6 October, 2015
Travel

5 Secret Indonesia Islands To Visit

6 October, 2015

Explore these hidden island jewels in Indonesia for a slice of paradise!

As the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia is comprised of approximately 17,000 islands. Whether you’ve visited or not, you’ve probably heard about Bali, arguably the favourite Indonesian island for sun worshippers, yogis and surfers alike. But not all of the islands are as commercial and established as prevailing Bali, and they hold relatively untouched natural beauty. These raw islands offer what Mother Nature truly has… yes, there there IS more than Bali to visit in Indonesia!

Worth the exploration, here’s a list of five lesser known islands in Indonesia you need to visit now – before they become too popular!

Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat

Starting from the far east of the archipelago, Raja Ampat islands are located in the West Papua province of New Guinea. Raja Ampat which means Four Kings comprises of four main islands; Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. As part of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is one of the most desired places for diving!

How to get there:

– Making a stop in Jakarta is advisable, as there are no international flights to West Papua, except from Singapore. There are however, direct domestic flights from Jakarta to Sorong (Dominique Edward Osok Airport). The flight usually takes around seven hours.

– To get to one of the four islands, the speedboat service is available from Sorong. Keep in mind it needs to be booked in advanced. For more information visit the official website gorajaampat.com

Accommodation:

Raja Ampat offers a wide variety of resorts and home stay accommodation that is both convenient and fascinating for all you nature lovers. There are a number of agents from Jakarta that can assist in providing useful information. A better alternative would be to contact the Raja Ampat Tourism Board.

Komodo Island

Komodo Island

Komodo Island is located in the East Nusa Tenggara Province close to Bali. Komodo Island is notable as the home of the Komodo dragon (watch out for them!). The island is also a popular area for diving. Travellers can opt for the ‘hunting Komodo trip’ travel through the majestic coastlines, a great way to add some captivating photos to your album! In addition, the island provides various activities such as amazing diving, kayaking and snorkelling.

How to get there:

– Travelling via air is preferable as it takes less time. Flights are available from Jakarta, Bali and Lombok and stop at Komodo airport in Labuan Bajo.

– Tourists can travel by boat to Labuan Bajo, however it is only available from Bali and Lombok.

– It is best to explore with a local tour guide the resort and activities from Labuan Bajo.

Accommodation

There are distinct styles of resorts and home stay available; all of them provide enchanting views of the sea and island mountains. To make your decision simpler, check out TripAdvisor or make a call to your preferred resort for further information, which can be easily found online.

Derawan Island

Derawan Island

Derawan island is part of the Sulawesi sea. Rich in marine biodiversity and also located in the coral triangle, it’s home to over 500 water species. It’s well known for its ponds of jellyfish that can be found in Maratua Island and Kakaban Island. It also features caves that lead you directly to the sea, mostly found in the island of Maratua. A boat trip around the caves is a must!

How to get there:

– Derawan doesn’t have an airport; the closest airport is in Balikpapan also situated in the island of Sulawesi.

– A 3-4 hour speedboat journey is then required to reach Derawan.

Accommodation

The Meratan paradise resort and the Sematan Palm Beach resort are amongst the many top notch resorts Derawan offers. The huts are situated on the shore; imagine spending days lying by the beach!

Belitung Island

Belitung Island

In the east coast of Sumatera lies a medium sized island called Belitung. Known for its tin and pepper, the island was an ideal mining spot. More interestingly, Belitung Island has numerous tourist destinations that features crystal blue waters, soft sand and rocky beaches. Pasir Island is a tidal island that is made of sand; the tiny island has some amazing spots to take photos with starfish! And don’t miss out Lengkuas Island, home to a 129-year-old lighthouse; it is an excellent place to snorkel as it has pristine waters. Guests can also visit the magnificent Kong Hu Chu Temple, the centrepiece of the city.

How to get there:

– Travellers can take a 45-minute flight from Jakarta to Tanjung Pandan (the largest town in Belitung).

– Another alternative is by boat that departs and arrives from Jakarta.

Accommodation

Belitung Island is known for its five star hotels with a natural twist. The hotels are located on its beautiful sandy beaches, and open their windows to a unique landscape… just imagine a beach paradise and you’re pretty much there! Visit local sites such as Agoda to get a deeper insight on the best accommodations.

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Karimun Java

One of the 27 islands on the Java sea, Karimun Java is full of white sandy beaches, coconut trees and breathtaking coral reefs. One of the many attractions is the turtle sanctuary, where travellers can go on diving excursions. Guests can also enjoy a trek on the Mangrove forest along the Barakuda beach. Your weekend can also be spent island hopping around Karimun Java where you’ll stumble upon deserted sandy shores and crystal clear seas. Boats are easily available and can be rented from the local fishermen on the island. I can definitely recommend island hopping here… it truly is a fantastic experience, not to be overlooked!

How to get there:

– Domestic flights are available from Jakarta to Semarang. An additional three hour boat ride is required to reach Karimun Java from Semarang.

Accommodation:

Popular accommodation on this island includes the Kura-Kura resort. ‘Kura-Kura’ or ‘Turtles’ are an icon of the island, and this resort provides lavish treatments and elegant spaces for groups or couples. There are plenty of other options for travellers to choose, check them out on the official websites.

Travel Tips:

  • Your travel kit should consist of sunblock and anti-mosquito repellent at any time of the year (keep those pesky bites at bay!)
  • September-November is perfect season for diving, as the seas are usually gentler with less weather obstructions.
  • To relax and enjoy some casual snorkelling, any time of year is ideal!
  • Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera; the scenery down under is worth the capture!
  • Make sure to bring cash, as there are no ATMs on many of the islands.

Featured image via Pinterest, Image #2 via Pinterest, Image #3 via Wiki Commons, Image #4 via Pinterest, Image #5 via Pinterest, Image #6 via Wiki Commons

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