Places to Visit in Indonesia

Indonesia Places to Visit

For this travel article, I have summed up several recommended places to visit in Indonesia, especially if you are a first-time traveller heading here.

This article was compiled after spending an incredible two weeks travelling around Indonesia. You should note that the places recommended here start from Bandung on Java Island and go to Komodo Island and Flores in East Indonesia.

Places to Visit in Indonesia

In general, many unique places in Indonesia are highly recommended to visit, but based purely on my personal experiences, I am highlighting the areas that my group visited.

The journey is flexible, and you can rent a car and self-drive or even do plane hopping from district to district to Flores.

Below are the places in no particular order and in simple, straightforward English. None of that historical and factual information that people dread reading. Anyway, if you need detailed information, you can visit the websites of each place mentioned here. The list is;

Tankuban Parahu Crater
The Tankuban Parahu Crater outside of Bandung.

Tankuban Parahu Volcano in Bandung

30 kilometres out of Bandung city is one of the famous active volcanoes called Tankuban Parahu, which comes with a fantastic Sundanese story, which I will leave to the tour guide to tell you. Why ruin a perfect story here?

Once you arrive here, you can walk up 4.5km to the crater or take a shuttle bus, which costs around IDR10,000, which I took, of course. The journey is exciting and saves time, but I recommend you take a slow hike up for nature lovers. 

Arriving at the volcanic crater, you will see a fenced walkway three-quarters around it, and you are free to explore this area. Looking inside the mighty crater, sulfuric steam oozes out from the hole at the bottom, but do not worry, as it is pretty far from where you stand.

Tankuban Parahu is also the only volcano crater where, if you self-drive, you can drive all the way to the rim of it. Many souvenir sellers are seen trying to sell you their wares, but not the pushy kind, so no worries.

It can get really crowded on weekends, so it is recommended to visit as early as possible and best on a weekday. 

Entrance fees: IDR20,000
Opening hours: 6.00 am to 5.00 pm
Travel time from Bandung: 60 to 90 minutes drive one way
Time to spend here: About 1 to 2 hours
What else to see and do here: Visit the Ciater Hot Spring Lake and buy hard-boiled eggs cooked there.
Trekking/Hiking: Available

Bandung Shopping 2016
Bandung Shopping offers numerous factory outlets like this one - Rumah Mode.

Bandung for Shopping

While Bandung, the capital of West Java, is well known for its shopping, there is no doubt that anyone visiting Bandung will most definitely do some serious shopping here.

Bandung, also known as the Paris of Java, is the third-largest city in Indonesia and is 768 meters above sea level; therefore, it is a little cooler than other cities.

The most famous places here are the Factory Outlets in Bandung, where you will find a wide selection of outlets catering to all kinds of fashion, from kids to men and women.

Known locally as FOs, they are well scattered around Jalan Riau, Jalan Dago and Jalan Setiabudi in Bandung.

However, on this recent trip to Bandung, the entourage stayed at the Mercure Bandung Setiabudi at the end of Jalan Setiabudi, and our time was limited; therefore, we did not have the chance to explore the factory outlets in Bandung for shopping.

I have been here before, and Bandung is highly recommended, especially for Malaysians, Bruneians and Singaporeans, as the items here are relatively much cheaper than back home.

Nasi Timbel Bandung
Bandung's famous Nasi Timbel.

The culinary scene in Bandung is also something worth exploring as one can easily find the famous Bandung Food and Layer Cakes, Sundanese food and a fascinating local street food that can be found all over town.

While shopping is the main activity here, you can also experience a colonial European-style atmosphere from the many buildings, malls and cafes here.

There are also several tourist sights you can visit, including the various volcano craters located just out of Bandung.

Travel time from Jakarta: 3 hours drive one way
Direct Flights into Bandung: AirAsia, Malindo Air, Lion Air, Wings Air, SilkAir
What else to see and do here: Shopping, Eating, and Sightseeing 
More information:

Kawah Putih Crater
Kawah Putih Crater.

Kawah Putih Crater in Bandung

Another volcanic crater resembling a beautiful greenish lake is Kawah Putih, or the White Crater, 50 kilometres south of Bandung. What is unique about this crater is that it is located 2,430 meters above sea level therefore, it is a cooling place, nestled inside a national park.

You can simply book a tour from Bandung or self-drive up to the crater to get here. A fee applies for those wanting to drive up while there is a mini-shuttle bus service (IDR20,000) in both directions.

You need to walk down a flight of stairs from the entrance for about 5 minutes before reaching the Kawah Putih Crater Lake area. You can walk around most of the lake; this is a great place to photograph.

The recommended time to come here is during the rainy season when the lake fills up and is the best for photography. Again, the place can be extremely crowded with locals on weekends and school holidays. There are toilet facilities before heading to the crater.

Entrance fees: IDR30,000
Opening hours: 7.00 am to 5.00 pm
Travel time from Bandung: 120 minutes drive one-way
Time to spend here:  About 1 to 2 hours
What else to see and do here:  Hiking around, enjoying the flora and fauna in the area
Trekking/Hiking: Available
More information:

Borobudur Temple Yogyakarta
Borobudur Temple is a must-visit place in Yogyakarta.

Borobudur Temple in Yogjakarta

This is hands down one of the must-visit places in Java Island as Borobudur is on par with Angkor Wat, Cambodia, in terms of the centuries-old rich religious history of the Hindu religion.

Tourists flock here as early as 4.00 am to catch the magnificent sunrise over Borobudur, located about an hour from the main city of Jogjakarta. A tip is to get here early and book a nice spot to take your photographs.

You can spend around two to three hours walking around the temple complex or head on to your next destination. Again, Borobudur Temple is highly recommended for first-timers to Indonesia.

Avoid visiting Borobudur in the evening to catch the sunset, simply because you will have very little time as they close at 5.00 pm.

Entrance fees: USD$20.00, Children USD$10.00
Opening hours: 5.00 am to 5.00 pm
Travel time from Yogyakarta: 60 to 80 minutes drive one way
Time to spend here: About 1 to 2 hours
What else to see and do here: Visit the entire temple complex
More information:

Prambanan Temple Photo
Prambanan Temple, photo taken from the West side of the complex.

Prambanan Temple in Yogjakarta

Another majestic temple complex in Jogjakarta is Prambanan Temple, which is as grand as Borobudur. Candi Prambanan is one of the must-visit places here as it is the largest Hindu shrine in Indonesia and one of the biggest in the world.

Being here gives one the magnificent aura of the entire temple complex. The central temple, known as the Shiva Temple, stands at an impressive 47 meters high, surrounded by seven other temples.

In total, it was known to have a total of 240 temples around the complex, also known as Rara Jonggrang, and at certain places, you can see the remains in the form of rubble.

Original Layout of Prambanan Temple
The original layout of Prambanan Temple.

A tip is to catch the beautiful sunset, which takes place around 6.00 pm, where you can get the temple into the foreground.

The best view to photograph the temple is also from the west side facing the complex. Some stairs lead you down, and you can get a beautiful overall view somewhere halfway.

Exploring the inside of the Shiva Temple is also recommended, as at four corners, you see four different statues, which are pretty dark inside. A flash is required for those who want to take photos inside here.

In Yogyakarta, I stayed at the luxurious Phoenix Hotel, a classic colonial-style hotel in the heart of town that is convenient for travellers or business travellers. This is also one of the high-end luxury hotels in Yogyakarta.

Entrance fees: USD$13.00, Children USD$9.00
Opening hours: 6.00 am to 5.00 pm
Travel time from Yogyakarta: 30 to 40 minutes drive one way
Time to spend here: About 1 to 2 hours
What else to see and do here: Visit Ratu Boko, another Hindu Temple Complex nearby
More information:

Ramayana Ballet Show at Prambanan
Cast of the Ramayana Ballet Show at Prambanan, Yogyakarta.

Ramayana Show at Prambanan Temple

A show to be noticed, especially when visiting the Prambanan Temple, is the Ramayana Ballet Show, based on an epic Hindu poem from India.

The show here is now a Javanese version showcasing the story of King Rama, which involves over 200 dancers and musicians for this spectacular stage show.

The best part of this show is that the Prambanan Temple is used as a natural background. How amazing is that?

Ramayana Ballet Show
The Ramayana Show.

The best time to catch this fantastic show is by visiting the Prambanan at around 3.00pm before heading for the Ramayana Ballet, which starts at about 7.30 pm. Still, I recommend going a little early to get a good seat at around 7.00 pm.

Note the Ramayana Ballet shows are only available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and are weather-pending.

Tickets: VIP: IDR375,000, Special: IDR250,000, 1st Class: IDR175,000 2nd Class: IRD100,000
Opening hours: 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm
Show Days: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays only
Travel time from Yogyakarta: 30 to 40 minutes drive one way
Time to spend here: About 3 hours
What else to see and do here: Enjoy the show! 
More information:

Mount Bromo Surabaya
The majestic Mount Bromo, taken from the most popular photo spots, is on the way down after sunrise.

Mount Bromo in Surabaya

If you visit Java island, Mount Bromo is hands down one of the places to visit, and the closest large airport city is Surabaya, about an hour's drive away. The nearest general city is Malang, which is one hour away.

Known for the spectacular sunrises, landscape photography and fantastic journey to the crater, any kind of traveller would be in for a trip to remember here.

However, I highly recommend visiting Mount Bromo on a weekday to avoid the super large crowds.

Visitors will start as early as 2.00 am, making their way up towards the Pananjakan Sunrise Point to catch the fantastic sunrises, which can be overly crowded.

Your 4WD stops at a certain point, and you must continue walking up to the viewpoint, which is a decent trek.

Local motorbikes will keep asking if you want a lift for a fee. My tip - Stop at Bukit King Kong and hike up as it is less crowded for the sunrise view.

Mount Bromo Photo
The view from the top of Mount Bromo overlooks the Bromo Desert.

After sunrise, your next destination is the Bromo Crater, where a 4WD will take you all the way to the Bromo Desert before you hike your way up or take a horse ride service up for a fee.

A mask is highly recommended here, as the sand and crater sulfur smell very pungent.

My tip - Take your time, relax and head to the Bromo Crater at 10.00 am. After the massive sunrise crowds have left, you will enjoy a peaceful time here, minus the busy crowds.

Usually, Mount Bromo is sold as a package, so you pay a one-time fee, including the 4WD transfer to the Sunrise, Bromo Crater and back to your hotel.

There are a lot of add-on extras like horse rides to the crater and unknown ticket charges, so you best book a proper package by recommendations.

For accommodations, I stayed at Jiwa Java Resort (Formerly Java Banana Resort -, the closest and most excellent resort to Mount Bromo.

Priced on the high side, but as a traveller, this place is impressive with dramatic views and excellent resort service, the kind of room you want to relax in after a long, tiring day.

It is located 2000 meters above sea level. Highly recommended for those wanting a good staying experience.

Entrance fees: IDR267,500 Weekdays, IDR400,500 Weekends, Holidays
Opening hours: 2.00 am to 5.00 pm
Travel time from Surabaya: About 3 hours drive one way
Time to spend here: About 4 to 6 hours
What else to see and do here: Sunrise, Horse Rides, 4WD Desert Adventures and a trek up the crater. 
More information:

Ubud Photo
An art shop along the streets of Ubud, Bali.

Ubud, Bali

Bali is one of the most lively and exciting islands to visit in Indonesia, and for this article, I suggest Ubud as the place to explore for 2016.

Most of you have already been to Bali, especially Kuta, Legian, Nusa Dua, Seminyak and even Ubud, but have you thoroughly explored Ubud's beautiful places?

Ubud is the capital of arts and crafts in Bali and offers visitors a different experience away from the general beaches.

Located on the higher grounds, Ubud's temperature is cool, and the overall surroundings are covered with lots of greenery, which includes the famous hill-terraced rice paddies.

Overall, Ubud is where you can explore on foot as there are just three main roads in town, offering all kinds of interesting shops.

Ubud Bali Photo
One of the interesting Balinese restaurants in Ubud.

For nature, the Ubud Monkey Forest is the place to visit, as it is here where you will see crab-eating macaques roaming freely in their natural habitat, and a sacred temple is inside the forest.

For yoga lovers, the famous Yoga Barn ( is also located in the centre of Ubud, near the Monkey Forest. This is one of the most talked-about yoga retreats in Bali, and it offers the complete yoga experience.

Exploring Ubud, you will come across the famous Ubud Palace, the most popular tourist attraction in town apart from the many art galleries and museums here.

For food, a must-try is the famous Bebek Tepi Sawah (, which serves the unique and traditional deep-fried duck. Recommended for any food traveller.

Alternatively, for pork lovers, you have to try the world-famous Babi Guling at Warung Ibu Oka, which is hands down one of the most exciting pork dishes you will ever try.

They have two branches in Ubud; the recommended one is at the end of Jalan Tegal Sari. The general one is very near the Ubud Palace along Jalan Suweta. Go early to avoid the large crowds; it is best around 11.00 am.

Travel time from Bali: Two hours drive one-way
Time to spend here: As long as you like
Best Time to Visit: May to October
Average Temperature: From 19 to 31 Degrees Celsius 
What else to see and do here: Visit a paddy field, explore museums and speciality shops 
More information:

Labuan Bajo in Flores
Ships and boats outside Labuan Bajo port in Flores.

Labuan Bajo in Flores

With recent connectivity via Wings Air from Bali, you can now explore Labuan Bajo, the island of Flores, east of Bali and Lombok.

This place is also your main gateway to the world-famous Komodo Island, so the best option is to stay in Labuan Bajo. After exploring the town area, this place reminded me of an undeveloped paradise, like Bali 30 years ago.

The airport is ultra-modern as it was recently renovated to a new design; however, you will see a traditional island town when you get further into the city area.

Labuan Bajo has hotels, resorts, guesthouses, cafes, bars, restaurants, tour agencies, and diving centres. Generally, all you need is available here.

Manggarai Tribe
The colorful Manggarai people of Labuan Bajo, Flores.

Interesting places to visit in Labuan Bajo are based on culture and heritage, and one of the best places would be Melo Village.

The village is located about 20 minutes out of town, where you can see the ethnic Manggarai people who perform the unique and traditional Caci dance and ritual. You also need to book a guided tour to get here as language would be a barrier if you do not speak the local language.

For some community work, we visited the Taman Bacaan Pelangi ( or Rainbow Reading Garden in Labuan Bajo, where this non-profit organization establishes children's libraries in remote areas of eastern Indonesia.

You can contact them directly to volunteer or participate in their programs on many of the east Flores islands.

For outdoor lovers, there is quite a bit of trekking and hiking available at Labuan Bajo, namely places like Mt. Mbeliling, Cunca Rami Water Fall, and Crater Lake, all great trekking spots.

This needs to be a guided tour as well. Apart from that, there is a lot of snorkelling, diving, island hopping, and the main event - visiting the Komodo Islands.

On my trip around Flores, I also stayed at the beautiful La Prima Hotel and Resort at Labuan Bajo, just a minute's walk from the main town area.

Travel time from Bali: 1 hour by flight
Time to spend here: As long as you like, ideally, around 5 to 7 days. 
What else to see and do here: Trekking, Hiking, Scuba Diving, Island Hopping. 
More information:

Komodo Island Rinca
Rinca Island viewpoint is part of the Komodo Island in Flores.

Komodo Island in Flores

Without a doubt, visiting Komodo Island is a dream for most travellers. Seeing the mighty Komodo Dragon in person was a massive tick off my bucket list. So, my number one place to visit in Indonesia for 2016 is Komodo Island.

Back in the day, you would have to take a boat and bus to get here, sometimes travelling over 24 hours, but nowadays, it only takes 60 minutes via flight from Denpasar to Bali.

Komodo National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, is right now one of the must-visit places in the world, and to get here, you simply need to fly into Labuan Bajo before coming here.

Tours and boat operators are plenty in Labuan Bajo for day trips, while you can also arrange an overnight trip on a live-on-board boat, which can accommodate from two to six persons.

Komodo Dragon Island
A tough-looking Komodo Dragon is seen on Komodo Island (Photo taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 5).

The Komodo National Park is shared among three main islands, which are Komodo, Rinca and Padar Island and the best place to spot the Komodo Dragons are on the Komodo and Rinca Islands, and the best part is that you can even get pretty close to them; estimate about 3 meters distance.

It is a surreal experience indeed, and this is all worth the trip if you ask me. Apart from the dragons, there are great hiking trails to the top of the hill, where you can get a fantastic view of Rinca Island Bay.

Pink Beach is another must-visit place in Komodo as the sand here is pinkish, and the waters are clear and beautiful for snorkelling.

Marine life is abundant in these shallow waters out of the beach here. I was utterly impressed when I did some snorkelling here.

In my previous article, you can also read about how to get to Komodo Island, which gives you an overall idea of how to travel here.

Entrance fees: USD$13.00, Children USD$9.00
Opening hours: 6.00 am to 5.00 pm
Travel time from Labuan Bajo: 45 to 60 minutes boat ride one way
Time to spend here: About 4 to 8 hours
What else to see and do here: Visiting the many other islands around Komodo
More information:
Update: There has been talk in 2020 about raising the entrance fees to Komodo.

Komodo National Park Malaysia Asia
The writer, David Hogan Jr, poses at the Komodo National Park.

This article will provide an overall summary of the places as my trip around Indonesia was in October under #WonderfulIndonesia, promoting the #INAtopbucketlist campaign.

Together with an international team of media, bloggers, photographers and social media influencers, we took a 14-day trip around Indonesia to experience these stunning places. Thank you to the amazing organizers and Indonesia Tourism for making this bucket list trip possible.


If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please feel free to leave a message below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can follow Malaysia Asia on Instagram and Facebook for my social media updates.

For anyone wanting to visit any of these places, you can get more information from the Indonesia Travel website and judging from my personal experience, I think it would be best to visit some of these places on the weekdays to avoid huge crowds unless, of course, you love busy places.

Again, these places are some of the best places to visit in Indonesia, as I am sure many travellers out there would like to explore some new places in Indonesia.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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