The landmarks in Indonesia are some of the most awe-inspiring in the world and with good reason. Impressive natural, religious and historical destinations make up some of these incredible landmarks in Indonesia.
Consisting of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the world’s largest island nation. Its impressive landscape takes you from towering volcanoes to delicate cays teaming with fish to endless, emerald rice fields.
You’ll find yourself exploring ancient temples, climbing into dreamy treehouses and, most importantly, getting to know the diverse population that adds the essential ingredient to Indonesia’s incredible majesty.
Let’s look through some of the landmarks in Indonesia that make this country one of the most popular destinations in South East Asia.
No itinerary of gorgeous landmarks in Indonesia is complete without a visit to one of the nation’s most impressive volcanoes. Warm yourself with a cup of coffee as you watch sunrise over the crater of Mount Bromo.
Then, if you are the more adventurous sort, trek across the Sea of Sand and hike to the very rim of the volcano.
While Mount Bromo is one of the most visited landmarks in Indonesia, it is also an active volcano and walking the caldera’s edge should be done with caution. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and a warm jacket for the cool mornings!
Samanvaya Tip – Instead of staying in Surabaya or one of the other big cities that are jumping-off points to reach Mount Bromo, spend the night at one of the homestays just outside of the national park. It’s a great way to support local families and you can enjoy the crisp, cool air in the morning after you’ve explore Bromo.
Situated in the lush valleys of East Bali, this former royal palace features exquisite gardens filled with tropical blooms, tiered water fountains, towering statues and pools filled with multicolor fish. You can spend the afternoon walking though the shaded gardens or simply sitting on a bench enjoying the breeze. Pay a small amount of money for a bag of fish food and watch the carp swirl around you as they compete for a snack.
Samanvaya Tip – If you are traveling to Amed, this is a great midway point where you can stretch your legs and take a break from the road.
Famed for its fierce Komodo dragons, Komodo National Park is home to the largest species of lizard on the planet. Growing up to 3 meters in length, these incredible reptiles are the primary predator in their environment.
Don’t let that scare you! If you follow the instructions of your guides, you will be able to experience these amazing animals in their natural habitat.
For those interested in natural Indonesia’s beauty, Komodo National Park has so much more to offer within its 29 island interior. Visitors can enjoy world-class diving, expansive vistas, invigorating hikes and pristine beaches.
Samanvaya tip – Don’t forget to visit Pink Beach and make footprints across the famous blush-colored sands.
Borobudur is one of the most famous landmarks in Indonesia and with good reason. Although Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, it features a diverse religious history and is home to the largest Buddhist monument in the world.
Constructed in the 8th or 9th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists, but it is also a place of mystifying beauty and history you can feel in your bones.
Standing atop the temple stones and looking across the endless Javanese jungle, you can feel why pilgrims climbed these steps to be closer to the heavens.
Borobudur is best enjoyed at sunrise as the soft glow of sunlight warms the ancient temple stones and chases the fog out of the valleys.
Samanvaya Tip – If you want to avoid the crowds and experience Borobudur like a local, drive up to Punthuk Setumbu and watch sunrise while bundled up in a jacket.
For those who enjoy off-the-beaten-path travel, the surreal Tricolor Lakes of Kelimutu cannot be missed. Located within Kelimutu National Park on the island of Flores, these three crater lakes are famous for their changing colors.
Because the lake colors are in a constant state of flux between aquamarine, topaz, deep brown and even a rich red, each visit is a different experience.
Samanvaya Tip – We recommend beginning your hike early in the morning (4am or 5am) to ensure that you arrive at the caldera‘s edge in time for sunrise.
Although most people will visit the Tegalalang Rice Terraces while in Bali, we recommend exploring the sweeping terraces at Jatiluwih. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers unparalleled views.
The natural beauty is breathtaking -emerald green rice, reflective pools when the fields are flooded, self-guided trekking trails of varying difficulties, laid-back cafés, rushing rivers and, most importantly, a view into the daily lives of Balinese people.
Samanvaya Tip – After an afternoon of trekking through the fields, replenish your strength with a cup of tea and a bowl of bubur ayam, a hearty Indonesian rice soup made from the very rice you just explored.
Picture yourself at the very edge of a cliff overlooking the endless sea, a sky aglow with sunset and waves rushing into the rocks below you. This dramatic view can be experienced at Tanah Lot.
One of seven impressive sea temples located in Bali, this Hindu shrine is perched on top of a rock 20 meters from the shore. Venomous (but shy) sea snakes live beneath the temple walls and many local people believe their presence protects the temple from harm.
Samanvaya Tip – We recommend checking the tide chart before visiting this landmark because it is unreachable during high tide.
Located far from the towering skyscrapers of Jakarta or the bustling streets of Seminyak, Raja Ampat consists of over 1,500 thickly jungled islands and offers natural beauty at its finest.
Abundant in wildlife both above and below the seas, this paradise is a haven of biodiversity and represents one of the healthiest ecosystems in the world.
According to Conservation Atlas, Raja Ampat is home to 76 percent of the world’s coral diversity and 1,700 species of fish supported by the nutrient-rich waters.
Samanvaya Tip – Reaching this archipelago is difficult, but a homestay experience in this marvelous remote region should be at the top of your adventurous bucket list.
Located within misty Ubud, which is considered the cultural and spiritual capital of Bali, the Sacred Monkey Forest is a Hindu religious site home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques. Although this landmark attracts tourists ready to see the curious monkeys, it is also a place of great spiritual significance for Balinese Hindus.
Dressed in traditional sarongs and kebayas, Balinese women can often be seen carrying baskets of offerings and fragrant incense to be laid at the temple steps.
Samanvaya Tip – As the monkeys are wild animals, please be careful when visiting them and make sure these inquisitive primates don’t steal your phones, sunglasses or other personal belongings.
For those looking to indulge the child within, take a short trip from Bali to the dramatic cliffs of Nusa Penida and climb into the treehouse of your dreams.
From the steps of tiny ladders and peeking through handmade windows, watch dramatic waves crash onto the shores of Diamond Beach, smell the salt on the air and try to spot a turtle playing in the surf.
We recommend visiting for sunrise or exploring with plenty of sunscreen and water during the day.
Samanvaya Tip – If you’d like to spend the night in one of the treehouses, you can book a room via Airbnb. However, keep in mind that the facilities are minimal and other people will climb up to the treehouses in the morning to take pictures.
Known as “the Gates of Hell”, Kawah Ijen is an otherworldly volcano that contains the world’s largest sulfur lake and is famous for its brilliant, turquoise waters and flickering electric blue flames. These flames erupt when sulfuric gases ignite so it’s advisable to reach the edge of the crater while it’s still pitch black so you can see them clearly.
Hiking this volcano is not for the weak of body or faint of heart. In order to reach the summit while cloaked in darkness, you must begin your hike in the early hours of the morning.
As you climb along the thin trail, you will see sulfur minors lugging chunks of yellow sulfur from the depths of the crater all the way to the bottom of the volcano.
If the winds carry sulfur gases across your path, then you must put on the gas mask provided by your guide or hotel.
The journey to the edge of the caldera is undeniably difficult, but it’s worth it to watch the pink and orange light of sunrise contrast with the stark turquoise waters and the rugged black edges of the volcano.
Samanvaya Tip – Many of the miners carve small figures out of the solid sulfur and offer them for sale. Buying one of these tokens is a great way to support these hard workers, but some people have reported trouble brining the sulfur carvings back to their home countries. So if you buy one of these items, keep in mind that you might not be able to take it with you.
Regardless of where you visit, witnessing some of the most incredible landmarks in Indonesia will provide the experience of a lifetime and memories you will not soon forget.
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Sampai Jumpa (until we meet)!
BY EVA JOHNSTONE