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Visa-free Indonesia: Top destinations you must visit!

It's high time that you put Indonesia right up there on your travel bucket list! After all, there is something so enticing about the island countries of South East Asia when you can picture white sandy beaches, scuba diving, thick coconut groves, delectable cuisines, dormant volcanoes, wild beach parties, thermal springs so clearly that you can feel them.

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This island country of Indonesia has it all and is now visa free. So you don’t really have a good reason to leave out the country from your bucket list for your next vacation. Skyscanner has picked out the seven best tourist destinations from Indonesia for just for you.

Top 7 Destinations You Must Visit in Indonesia

  1. Bali
  2. Raja Ampat, Papua
  3. Komodo National Park,Nusa Tenggara
  4. Tana Toraja, Sulawesi
  5. Lake Toba, Sumatra
  6. Yogyakarta
  7. Bandung

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1. Bali

Bali is extremely popular among honeymooning couples but that doesn’t mean you cant enjoy it with your family, or even solo! If you dream of blue oceans, golden sands and wild mangroves bordered by tall palm trees, the Nusa Dua Beach is where you should be heading to. If you are a bit more adventurous and are looking for surfing activities and raving beach parties, Kuta beach located in Southern Bali, should be your pick.

Lovina beach, north of Bali is famous for its volcanic black sands. Did you know the sand on the beach is nothing but the lava of Mt Agung volcano that has cooled and coated the beach with its sheath? Whaaat! Exactly. Spotting Dolphins and sublime sunrises await your arrival. Don’t forget the Balangan beach, reportedly one of the best beaches of Bali. However, because of the high tides and strong currents, swimming and snorkelling are not recommended here.

Read more: Things to do in Bali

Talking about cuisine and know that Balinese dishes are complex in flavours and have derived influences from Indo-Chinese cultures. Some of their signature dishes include bebek betutu (stuffed duck with spices), sate (spiced and minced meat grilled on lemon grass sticks) and babi guling (a spit roasted pig loaded with spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic and chilli).

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2. Raja Ampat, Papua

Known as a diver’s paradise, Raja Ampat, meaning ‘Four Kings’, is located in the Papua province and is home to about 3000 species of fish and a variety of corals. It is also a part of the Coral Triangle. Untouched by industrial invasion, this place is a heaven for nature lovers and solo travellers who visit to capture the beauty of marine life at its best.

Raja Ampat is an archipelago of four major islands namely, Waigeo, Misool, Salawati and Batanta, which collectively have about 30 dive sites blessed with a rich marine life and stunning coral gardens. While snorkelling, be attentive and careful as you might just cross the paths with manta rays, barracudas, giant trevallies and wobble gongs.

What’s interesting is that Raja Ampat is more popular for its “Sea Ghost Phenomenon”. This happens at the end of each year, when a light appears from the ocean and stays on the surface for about 15 minutes after which it vanishes. Take a tour around the villages surrounding Raja Ampat to savour the great exhibit of art in wooden sculptures, design of bamboo flutes and, indigenous fishing techniques. Don’t forget to sample Sup Ikan Kuning, or the Yellow Fish Soup, which is a local delicacy.

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Read more: Most searched Beach Destinations in Asia

3. Komodo National Park, Nusa Tenggara

Capturing exotic shots of Timor deer, wild boar, long tailed macaques and fruit bats in the Flores Island of East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia, would be the perfect treat for wild life enthusiasts. Besides, walking up close to the ‘living fossil’ – the Komodo Dragon, would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Photographers are advised to to keep a distance from these giant lizards as their bites are venomous and that humans intimidate them. Apart from the rich wild life, there are other adventurous activities like, diving, snorkelling, camping and, kayaking. It is common to spot sea turtles and manta rays around this place.

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Read more: Visa Friendly South East Asian Countries for Indian Travellers

4. Tana Toraja, Sulawesi

Lush greenery, roof top rice plantations, bamboo groves and blue mountains covered with coffee plantations is what Sulawesi is all about. Do visit the beautiful highland of Southern Sulawesi – Tana Toraja, popularly known as the ‘Land of Heavenly Kings’. Take a stroll around this place and you will find houses with upward sloping roofs that Toraja people used to carry out rituals.

Tana Toraja is not only famous for its exquisite landscape but is also popular for the peculiar ancient rites people follow, regarding death and funerals. Funeral ceremonies known as ‘Rambu solo’ are not a one day affair and may continue for days. The people honour their ancestors during the event and take steps towards fostering unity in the community. Usually, these ceremonies are held following the clearance of the last rice harvest between July and September.

Ceremonies that rejoice in life and foster continuity are celebrated during the planting season in October. Therefore, when people die, their bodies are not buried immediately but are kept in the ancestral homes till the proper funeral can be conducted at an appropriate time. Which is why, life sized wooden effigies, hanging graves and cave graves are common sightings here.

Adventurists can visit the untouched Toraja countryside that has an amazing terrain for trekking. Braised pork spiced with a special spice of Toraja, supplemented with some palm wine and, chicken cooked in bamboo shoots are some of the local delicacies here.

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Read more: Top 5 Budget destinations for Indian tourists. 

5. Lake Toba, Sumatra

Who would have thought that a gigantic volcanic eruption about 70,000 years ago would have resulted in such a beautiful crater lake that sits about 900 mts. above the sea level? Apparently, Lake Toba of Sumatra is the largest volcanic lake in the world, measuring over 1,145 sq kms with a depth of about 450 mts. This lake contains the island of Samosir in the middle, which is a scenic delight with waterfalls, mountains and mist. If you plan to freshen up underneath these waterfalls, be prepared to share space with the water buffaloes too!

On the main land of Parapat, you can take a peek into the culture and traditions of the Batak Toba and Batak Simalungun people. Batak handicrafts are quite famous and include the traditional red and black hand woven shawls – ulos, wood carvings and Batak calendars engraved on palms (known as rattans). The locals are hospitable and when you initiate conversation with the Batak greeting– “Horas!”, – you are sure to be engulfed in the warmth of music, wine and pipes!

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Read more: Volcano tourism for Tourists with love for lava. 

6. Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is an utterly delightful place if you wish to explore the rich and vibrant Javanese culture and art. The roots of the city go back to the glorious epoch of the Mataram Kingdom, during which the grand Borobudur temple was built. This temple, touted as the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, is a sheer wonder of architecture sporting about 576 Buddhist statues.                                                   

If you’d like to soak up more history, visit the famous Prambanan temple and The Sultan’s Palace. Adventurists can trek up Mt. Merapi , a recently dormant volcano, to capture spectacular scenic views.

Yogyakarta is home to about 70,000 handicraft industries, which means there is plenty of shopping to be done around here. Pick up traditional wooden and leather handicrafts, and dig into delectable Javanese dishes such as _Nasi Rawon (a beef noodle soup), Gudeg (stew made of meat, garlic, spices, coconut milk, young jack fruit and palm sugar) _and Mie Goreng.

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Read more: 10 beautiful monasteries in and around India. 

7. Bandung

One of the hidden gems of Indonesia, Bandung is best known for its lush rolling rice fields and hold your breath…volcanoes! You are probably better off with a local guide who can take you around the beautiful highlands. A short 2-hour drive away from the city of Bandung, lies Kawah Putih, a sulphuric lake created by eruption of a composite volcano, Mt. Patuha .

The location is absolutely picturesque and can be explored within an hour. If your lust for volcanoes doesn’t end here, head over to Tangkuban Perahu – yet another dormant volcano about an hour from Bandung whose crater is now a bustling tourist attraction.

People boiling eggs in the hot water springs emerging from the crater make for an interesting sight! While you are there, don’t miss the musical show at Saung Angklung Udjo, which showcases Indonesian culture through puppet shows and mask dances. Pasar Baru, a local market of Bandung, is just the place you want to hit for fabrics and souvenirs.

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Read more: The best massage therapies in Asia. 

Now that Indonesia is visa free for Indians, are you looking to plan your next vacation there?

Download the Skyscanner App for economic flights and hotel bookings for your dream trip to this amazing country!