Top 5 Places You Should Visit in Indonesia [For First-Timer]

    ” Any recommendation of places to go in Indonesia? “

    That questions once came out from me. I am Indonesian but yet I had a very little knowledge about places to go around Indonesia. I did go to some places in Indonesia when I was younger or even much younger – like when I was still in primary school? The biggest trip I had then was going overland to Jakarta, Jogjakarta and Bali, with my family joining a group tour. That time I was still staying in my hometown, Medan and I can’t remember how did I get there to Jakarta – by flight I suppose? Or by sea?

    And now, it was only about three years ago, I was having that urge to see what my own country has to offer out of sudden. Yeap, that’s the beginning of Indonesia Explorer [IDE] Travel Group. Since then, on and off, I have been visiting places that I never thought I would have a chance to. Meanwhile, I also received numerous messages whether from friends or friend-to-be or strangers that happened to read my blog asking the same question that I had in the past – recommended places to go in Indonesia. I was happy to receive such messages.


    You know that feeling of being asked a similar questions again and again for a period of time? Sometimes I just feel like want to copy and paste my answer from one message to another. I am bad, I know. But I never did that as I appreciate people who spare their time to message me. Haha, love you guys! 😉 So, to ease that bad feeling or in a more professional way to say – to be more effective and efficient, I think it would be much better if I put it on my blog about Top 5 Places You Should Visit in Indonesia, especially if you are first-timer. Not one, it is alright, too!

    Where Should I Start From?

    First of all, Indonesia may still be considered as a developing country and still left behind in some ways compared to its neighbouring countries. But well, that what makes Indonesia unique. You may still expect to see untouched natures in Indonesia with the friendly locals, good food, rich cultures, and so on.

    I have not been all around Indonesia yet and what I am going to share is based on my past few years travelling experiences around Indonesia – my version in random order. I choose a few places below and indicate for first-timer with consideration of the uniqueness of the places and also facilities that available on the area. So, here you go – My version of the top 5 of places in Indonesia you should visit:

    1. Bali

    Bali has been one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia for as long as I can remember. Even some people probably ever heard of Bali but not Indonesia. The natures and cultures in Bali Island have attracted visitors from all over the world to come and spend their holiday there. Because of its long history of tourism, many of the places have been developed well which I think it is a good starting point for you who have not been to Indonesia before.

    Bali may be considered as a small island among other islands in Indonesia but myself who have been there several times always found new places to explore on my every visit. Either beaches, mountains, lakes, foods, not forget to mention strong cultures and traditions, all can be found here in Bali.

    2. Mount Bromo

    When people ask me where to go hiking for the first-timer. I don’t know why but Mount Bromo always comes out in my mind right away as the first recommendation. Probably because we don’t really need to hike to get to the crater although it does require an amount of motivation to walk for some distance in the middle of the desert-like area. Not yet climbing about 250 steps up to the crater rim that obviously quite physically demanding. But not to worry, there are few small resting spaces along with the steps.

    But then again, for those who can’t walk long, may opt for a horse ride to get to the possible nearest point to the crater before the steps. Yes, you still can’t get rid of those little steps to the crater rim but at least by doing so, it helps you to save your energy to climb later on.

    3. Mount Ijen

    I am a die-hard probably for this place. I have been to Mount Ijen three times and I am still fascinating with the place every time I go. Starting from the hike to the turquoise crater lake and then witnessing the blue fire flame with my own eyes, all are amazing experiences. However, to enjoy this place, it requires a little bit more of our stamina because we need to hike about 3 km up to reach the top of the mountain. The path is steep all along the way and only about the last 100 m to 200 m is flat ground.

    But, is it doable by everyone? Yeap, definitely. Now the locals even come up with an idea to provide a trolley kind of transport service to bring you up or down for those who need support to complete the mission in visiting Mount Ijen.

    4. Komodo National Park

    Komodo National Park is not a park with all trees and greens like we usually see but rather a park which consist of three major islands – Komodo, Rinca and Padar Island with the rest of smaller islands around the area. Jurassic Land, that’s how some people call this place because of the hills that somehow will remind us of the “Jurassic World” movie. It is one of my most favourite destinations so far.

    I usually spend at least one night on the sailing boat to visit Komodo or Rinca island for the famous giant lizard that can only be found in Komodo National park. Then head to Padar Island where we can hike up to the top for the breathtaking view that we can’t find it elsewhere. We will also stop by a few snorkelling spots around the islands and if you do dive, Komodo National Park is famous for its diving spot, too.

    5. Mount Kelimutu

    Mount Kelimutu is a volcano located close to the small town of Moni in central Flores island in Indonesia. This mountain has three crater lakes that each lake shows a different colour depending on the month. Nowhere else we could find scene like this, so do you need me to state more reasons for coming here?

    The sensation of seeing the sunrise here is quite different with other places especially when the fogs come around, the feeling can be dreamy. The way going up to the sunrise viewing point is quite easy with pavement and steps built almost along the way. So, there is no reason for not coming here.

    • • •

    That’s it. This list may be updated in the future as I travel more and discover more places in Indonesia. For sure, if you plan to travel to Indonesia, whether it is your first time visiting or not, you shall not miss the five places I mentioned above.

    P.S: If you are keen on those places above, feel free to contact me for upcoming available schedule or request for a private trip.

    Have you been to Indonesia? If you have not, which places stated above that you would like to visit the most? Or if you have, do you think there is any other places not listed above that should be added into the list? I would love to hear from you. 🙂 


    1. Exploring in your own backyard is a great way to get started traveling and cures that travel itch when you don’t have time or money or whatever to explore farther away. You are lucky to live in such a beautiful place for exploring! I have never been to Indonesia, but really would love to go. We always travel with the kids and I would love to show them your beautiful country.

    2. I agree with Bali! It is a total Must-See! I would add Lombok on that ist as well! 🙂 Unfortunately I didn’t go to the other place you recommend…

      • Aaa…ya..I was actually in doubt whether to include in Lombok or Bali. But then I decided to include Bali instead because of more things to see and more accessible for first-timer. I would include Lombok in my another list in the future. 🙂 You should visit all the rest of the places I mentioned! Haha..those are really beautiful places. 🙂

    3. How cool that you got to revisit your “homeland.” I’ve never been to Indonesia, and of course everyone talks about Bali, but I think I would love to visit Mount Ijen and Mount Bromo. I love hiking and love seeing breathtaking scenery. The caves at Mount Ijen look like they could get a bit eerie since they’re dark, but I guess if you go with a group then it won’t be bad since there will always be people around. Anyway would love to visit Indonesia one day!

      • Hi Diana, the one that looks like cave in Mount Ijen is actually the sulfur mining. There are many sulfur miners go down to the crater to collect the sulfur then sell it to the factory or parties that need it as a raw material. There is an interesting work production scene in the crater itself which I think no where else has this. Hope to see you one day here in Indonesia! 🙂

    4. Wow, Mount Kelimutu looks amazing. I’d love to go there. And Bali has been on my bucketlist (me and everyone else in the world) for many many years. I’ll have to go there soon! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post 🙂

    5. We have only been to Bali and haven’t ventured much further around Indonesia, but I have always wanted to go to Komodo National park – I’m obsessed with the dragons! And Mount Kelimutu looks absolutely breathtaking! Thank you for the inspiration!

    6. Well, Indonesia is pretty big and in this post you just have considered a really small part of it (something like less than 5%)! All the places suggested here are amazing and beautiful for all the people that go there for the first time, but after travelling around whole Indonesia you can forget about this list because there more places more beautiful than this list! Anyway, nice post 😀

      • Haha..I do agree with you! This list is just like an introduction or “warming up” session before digging more deeper where else to go in Indonesia. 🙂 Btw, which one is your most favourite?


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