If there’s one thing that people love about cruising, it’s the fact that you can visit some really stunning destinations. Well, that and the fact that things like charter cruises make cruising one of the best ways to enjoy а vacation, especially some of the beautiful islands in Indonesia.
And out of all those exotic destinations that you can visit, Indonesia is truly a gem that should definitely be on every traveler’s bucket list. With over 18,000 islands, it’s definitely perfect for cruising, and it’s also home to over 1,300 ethnic groups, which means you’ll see quite the variety.
That being said, it’s impossible to visit all of Indonesia in one cruise trip, so we’ve gone ahead and picked some of the most beautiful islands that are on the agenda of the popular cruise lines. They’re all unique and some of the most immensely beautiful islands so each is a must-visit in Indonesia!
This post was sponsored by Aqua Expeditions.
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Raja Ampat, one of the most beautiful islands of Indonesia
The archipelago considered by many to be paradise on earth is a prime destination. Translated into English, the name means “Four Kings”, referring to the four largest islands, which are Salawati, Bantanta, Misool and Waigeo. While there are over 600 islands as part of the group, these four are the largest ones.
A great way to get really close (if your cruise allows for it) is to grab a kayak. It is a bit of work, but it gets you incredibly close to all those small islands that are truly a sight to behold. The water is crystal clear, which makes this an even better place to visit.
Now, even though the beauty of Raja Ampat should be reason enough to visit, there’s one more thing that’s going to push your decision the right way – it’s a prime spot for diving. The coral life is just incredible, and when paired with the fact that not a lot of tourists have discovered this yet, you’ll have a lot of fun here.
Bali, a popular island in Indonesia
Of course, we have to mention Bali, which is Indonesia’s most popular island when it comes to tourists. And if you’re wondering why, it’s simple – Bali will get you almost everything Indonesia has to offer, on one island. From sandy beaches to bustling nightlife, and everything in between, the place is just incredible. This is also why a lot of tourists tend to visit it, and why it might not be the prime choice if you’re after intimacy. But we’ve got an alternative for that in a minute.
Among other things, Bali is known as the home of Balinese Hinduism. This means that you get a vast variety of temples to explore, and each one has something new to offer. If this is something you’re passionate about, you’ll love Bali.
Here’s a tip you might not find elsewhere – if you’re keen on getting around the island in a quick and reliable way, either rent a scooter, or a tuk-tuk. Both are very versatile, and they’re absolutely crucial when it comes to getting around in Bali traffic.
Lombok is the calmer alternative we spoke about a minute ago, and in some ways, it’s similar to Bali. But it’s different in one key aspect – it’s not as popular with tourists. This means that if you’re out on a honeymoon, or just want some privacy, Lombok is the place you’re looking for.
There are a couple of smaller cities on the island, the largest of which is Mataram. A fun fact to know is that Mataram is an incredibly packed city when it comes to culture. The Taman Narmada complex is a prime example. It has a few temples as part of the complex, and Hindus consider it a sacred place – it’s still available for you to visit.
If you’d like to be a bit more adventurous, Lombok is one of Indonesia’s prime surfing spots. There are a lot of beaches that have some excellent waves, such as Kuta and Ekas for the beginners, or Desert Point for the more experienced ones. It’s all up to you and how prepared you are.
Last but definitely not least, the Maluku Islands, also known as the Spice Islands, are an interesting location with quite a lot of history. The islands got their name from the fact that they were, at one point, the only source of nutmeg in the world, which led to a war where the Dutch emerged victorious and had complete monopoly over the nutmeg trade. Well, until a Frenchman managed to smuggle young seedlings to Mauritius, that is.
However, the islands are about a lot more than just nutmeg. They’ve got some of Indonesia’s finest culture and nature, both unspoiled as they aren’t too popular with tourists. There’s a lot of architecture there, witnessing the post-war period, and most of it is in a stunning condition for you to enjoy.
To add to this, the coral life on the Maluku Islands is incredible. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of diving or snorkeling, there’s something for everyone, and you’ll enjoy every minute you spend here.
While Komodo Island is actually a part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, it is arguably the destination to go to if you’re headed in that direction. The Komodo National Park spreads across Komodo, Padar and Rinca, three islands that combined have over 2,500 Komodo dragons. This species is the world’s largest species of lizards, and they coexist on the islands alongside other wildlife such as deer, horses, wild boar and snakes.
But Komodo is not all about the animals. There are some stunning locations to visit, such as the Pink Beach, which has a rather specific hue that you will only find in seven locations in the world. To add to this, if you’re a fan of the waters, you’ll enjoy some excellent coral life that gives you incredible diving opportunities. Komodo Island is accessible by boat, so by all means add it to your list of destinations.
This is a group of islands, rather than a single island, but the trio gives you an incredible destination to head out to. The names are Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno, and each of them has something to offer that you’ll love.
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three, and the most developed one. It’s got a modern vibe, with vibrant nightlife and seaside cafes that you can enjoy throughout your stay. Gili Meno is a lot more quiet and private, making it perfect if you’re keen on visiting it for a honeymoon, or just a relaxing, chill vacation. And last but not least, Gili Air is all about adventures. The underwater world has both some of the rarest, and some of the most dangerous species, but if you’re keen on diving, it’s a paradise.
Thanks to the fact that they’re all close to each other, you can visit them all in one go – it won’t take up a lot of time.
Similar to Gili Islands, Nusa Islands is another string of three islands that are all in close proximity to Bali. It’s rapidly rising in popularity, with attractions that are just stunning and some of the most beautiful landscapes to visit.
So, what does each island offer? Well, Nusa Ceningan will get you cliffs to jump off, and Nusa Lembongan is just a walk across a yellow bridge away if you want to experience beautiful beaches and views. Last but not least, Nusa Penida gets you the pleasure of enjoying the worldwide famous Kelingking beach also known as Trex beach. Instagram certainly has made this one of the most popular spots and islands of Indonesia!
What the islands all have in common is the coral life. You enjoy a calm ocean under which there are some of the most spectacular underwater scenes you’ll ever experience. It’s a destination that must be added to any traveler’s shortlist, even if you’re only there for a few hours.
Weh Island, an undiscovered gem
If you’re keen on a bit of privacy and exploring an island that has yet to be discovered by the tourist masses, Weh Island is just perfect for you. It’s Indonesia’s westernmost point, and the fact that it’s a bit remote makes it perfect.
The entire island is white-sand beaches and crystal clear, translucent water, which is one of the most tranquil environments you could ever experience. A thing we love is the fact that the wildlife is undisturbed and actually thriving, so fans of diving and snorkeling will enjoy this.
Fortunately, the lack of tourists doesn’t mean this is an underdeveloped island. You’re looking at some of the most charming cottages and magnificent beachside restaurants that offer fresh seafood and Indonesian cuisine.
Hope this inspired you to plan that dream trip to Asia and cruise to some of the beautiful islands of Indonesia!
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