20 Reasons to Visit Indonesia at Least Once in Your Life

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Visit Indonesia is a gorgeous Southeast Asian nation comprising over 17,000 islands. This archipelago country stretches over 3,200 miles between the Indian and Pacific Oceans with a kaleidoscope of cultures, mouthwatering cuisines, stunning scenic vistas, and wonderful wildlife.

If you are wondering why you should visit Indonesia at least once in your lifetime, here are 20 compelling reasons that will convince you to pack your bags right away!

Visit Indonesia
Visit Indonesia

1. Spectacular Scenery and Diverse Landscapes

Indonesia’s sprawling archipelago boasts breathtakingly diverse natural scenery—from volcanic mountains and lakes to tropical jungles, iconic rice paddies, sandy beaches, and exotic underwater life. Some stunning Indonesian landscapes include:

  • Kelimutu’s tri-colored crater lakes in Flores
  • Mount Bromo’s volcanic moonscape in East Java
  • Padar Island’s iconic hilltop overlooking Komodo Islands
  • Verdant jungles and orangutans in Bukit Lawang
  • Iconic terraced paddy fields in Bali’s central highlands
  • World-famous diving sites around Bunaken in North Sulawesi

With over 17,000 islands to choose from, Indonesia promises boundless natural beauty wherever you go!

2. Vibrant Culture and Heritage

Indonesia stands out for its vibrant culture, tradition, and heritage shaped by centuries of cross-cultural interactions. Some highlights include:

  • Intricate Hindu-Buddhist temples like Prambanan and Borobudur
  • Spectacular cultural performances such as Javanese court dances and Balinese masked dances
  • Fascinating cultural festivals, e.g., the Buddha’s birthday festival in Borobudur
  • Distinct artistic crafts like Balinese woodcarvings, batik, silverwork
  • Over 300 different native languages and ethnic groups

As one of the culturally richest countries globally, Indonesia offers profound insights into humanity across the ages.

3. Mouthwatering Cuisine

Indonesian cuisine beautifully blends Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and European culinary influences into something uniquely its own. With over 300 ethnic groups, Indonesia has one of the world’s most diverse cuisines. Some iconic dishes you must try include:

  • Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice)
  • Rendang (Slow-cooked meat curry from Padang)
  • Satay(Grilled meat or seafood skewers with peanut sauce)
  • Gado-gado (Vegetables served with peanut sauce)
  • Soto ayam (Chicken soup with turmeric, ginger, and herbs)
  • Bakso (Meatballs soup served with noodles and veggies)

With such incredible diversity of flavors, Indonesia is truly a food lover’s paradise waiting to be discovered!

4. World-Famous Destinations

Indonesia houses some world-famous tourist attractions—many listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites—like:

  • Bali: Famed for its gorgeous beaches, iconic rice paddies, Hindu temples, vibrant culture, luxe resorts, and exciting nightlife
  • Komodo National Park: Home to the infamous Komodo dragons—the world’s largest lizards
  • Borobudur Temple: The world’s biggest Buddhist monument dating from the 8th century AD
  • Prambanan: Stunning 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Java
  • Raja Ampat Islands: Often called “The Amazon of the Seas” for incredible marine biodiversity

You are sure never to run out of iconic sights to explore in Indonesia. It has something for everyone—nature lovers, culture buffs, beach bums, wildlife enthusiasts, divers, photographers or spiritual seekers.

Visit Indonesia

5. Incredible Marine Life

As the global center of marine biodiversity, Indonesia offers fantastic snorkeling and some of the world’s best scuba diving sites teeming with exotic underwater creatures.

Top diving destinations include Raja Ampat Islands, Komodo Islands, Bunaken, Wakatobi Islands, Lembeh Strait, and more. From majestic manta rays and reef sharks to pygmy seahorses and wobbegong sharks, you’ll discover incredible marine life barely found elsewhere.

6. Ancient and Mystical History

As a major Southeast Asian maritime trade hub for over 2000 years, Indonesia boasts a mystical history reflecting global connections since ancient times.

Across its islands, you’ll uncover traces of early kingdoms, coastal palaces, ancient shipwrecks, gold hoards, mosaic glassware, ceramics, and more left by early Indian, Chinese, Arab, and European traders who came here seeking spices and treasure.

Indonesia’s long history of globalization stretching over two millennia is reflected in the diversity of its modern population and culture today.

7. Shopping Paradise

Indonesia promises unmatched retail therapy with bustling bazaars, markets, malls, and handicraft shops selling anything you can imagine at great bargains.

Shop for:

  • Intricate handicrafts, textiles, paintings, and clothing
  • Fragrant spices, coffee beans, and tea leaves
  • Stunning jewelry, accessories, bags, and shoes
  • Vintage goods, curios, antiques, and more

Haggling is common across Indonesia’s street markets and independent shops, so flex your bargaining muscles!

8. Relaxing Beach Escapes

With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a beach bum’s paradise. You’ll discover islands with every flavor—deserted tropical hideaways, hip backpacker havens, family-friendly resorts, or luxury escapes.

Some top beach destinations in Indonesia include Bali, Lombok’s Gili Islands, Java’s southern coast, Sumatra’s Mentawai Islands, Sulawesi’s Togean Islands, and Malaysia’s gorgeous beaches in East Kalimantan province.

Laze on the beach, revel in water sports, party hard or just completely switch off—you choose!

9. Ethical Wildlife Encounters

Indonesia offers incredible ethical wildlife encounters—a chance to see threatened species up close while also supporting their conservation.

Top ethical wildlife experiences in Indonesia include visiting orangutan rehabilitation centers in Kalimantan, spending a day with Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, volunteering in sea turtle conservation programs, and going on wildlife cruises to spot dolphins, whales, marine life and more.

10. Volcanic Landscapes

As part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, Indonesia contains over 400 volcanoes—more than any other country globally!

While this seems alarming, Indonesia’s volcanic landscapes now create spectacular sightseeing opportunities for adventurous travelers instead of fears.

Top volcanic destinations include Mount Bromo, Ijen Crater’s electric blue sulfur flames, volcanic lakes like Kelimutu and more. Travelers flock here to capture Instagrammable moments surrounded by dramatic volcanic vistas.

11. Mystical Healing Practices

Indonesia offers deep insights into ancient healing techniques like traditional Jamu herbal remedies, soothing massage therapies, yoga, meditation, and more.

You can rejuvenate both body and soul by learning ancient Javanese healing practices passed down through generations on secluded hilltop sites. Or join a yoga/meditation retreat in Ubud to find your inner peace amid gorgeous green rice paddies.

12. Adventure Sports

Outdoor adventure junkies will love Indonesia’s exotic landscapes promising thrilling activities like volcano trekking, surfing perfect barrels, wreck diving, white water rafting, paragliding over scenic islands, ziplining over lush jungle canopies, cave tubing and more.

Top adventure destinations include Bali, Lombok, Sumatra, Java, Flores, and Sulawesi. With so much natural diversity, activities for all levels of expertise abound across Indonesia guaranteeing high-octane thrills.

13. Fascinating Festivals

Festivals beautifully showcase Indonesia’s rich culture and tradition. From street parades featuring colorful costumes, giant papier-mâché monsters to ritual dances, music and feasts, each festival has unique flair waiting to be discovered.

Top cultural festivals in Indonesia include Yogyakarta’s Festival of Lights synchronizing with Hindu Diwali, the Buddhist festival of Vesak celebrations in Borobudur, Bali’s iconic Galungan festival symbolizing the victory of good over evil, as well as numerous events tied to the agrarian cycle celebrated across this largely rural country through the seasons.

14. Welcoming People

Despite its enormous size and diversity, Indonesia shares a universal spirit of hospitality and friendliness deeply ingrained within its societies reflected in the enduring concept of “gotong royong” meaning mutual cooperation.

As a visitor, you’ll be overwhelmed by locals’ genuine warmth as you travel across Indonesia’s vast archipelago. Don’t be surprised if you are invited home to share a meal with Indonesian families curious to know about your life! Such personal interactions make for the most rewarding memories.

15. Affordability

While Indonesia offers great value across tourism segments—from backpacker hostels to family resorts and luxury escapism, it outshines when it comes to budget travel. Indonesia stretches your money much further compared to regional peers.

With some bargaining, you can enjoy a hearty meal for $2-3, backpacker dorm beds for $5-10 per night, longer inter-city bus journeys across Java or Sumatra for $10-15, and get 1-hour traditional massages from $7 onwards.

16. Tranquil Hill Stations

Escaping the tropical heat, Indonesia’s sublime hill stations established during Dutch colonial-era offer cooler climes, misty vistas of lush plantations, quaint bungalows, colonial architecture and opportunities for hiking.

Top hill stations include Brastagi and Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Berastagi in North Sumatra, Bandung in West Java, Sawahlunto in West Sumatra and Malang’s Batu region in East Java. Meander through pictorial landscapes for a uniquely Indonesian experience away from typical tourist trails.

17. Instagrammable Destinations

Indonesia serves ‘gram-worthy moments at every turn—whether that’s iconic shots of Bali’s infinity pools with ocean views, the brooding volcanic silhouette of Mount Bromo during sunrise, stilt fishermen silhouetted against dreamy pink skies, or the perfect sunrise yoga shot in Ubud.

With its visually stunning landscapes, rich cultures and traditions translated into color and artistry, Indonesia is full of picture-perfect backdrops waiting to flood your social media feeds!

18. Perfect Surfing

With over 17,000 islands surrounded by thrashing waves, Indonesia is widely considered the world’s surfing nirvana thanks to endless reef, point and beach breaks suiting all levels of expertise across this massive archipelago.

Top Indonesian surfing hotspots blossoming around palm-fringed beaches include the Bukit Peninsula and Canggu in Bali, G-Land in Java, Krui in Southern Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands off West Sumatra and Sumba Island in East Indonesia.

Ride barrels, earn your surfing merit and fulfill lifelong dreams here in Indonesia!

19. Exciting Nightlife

Jakarta, Bali and Yogyakarta are famously known for their exciting nightlife scenes spanning flashy mega-clubs, rooftop bars, open-air lounges, beach raves under the stars to underground and indie music venues.

Sip artisanal cocktails, dance the night away to trance house music, bar-hop across neighborhoods, enjoy sunset views from chic rooftop terraces or laugh with new-found friends from every corner of the globe well into sunrise—Indonesia’s nightlife leaves you spoilt for choice!

20. Easy Accessibility

Indonesia is remarkably easy to reach thanks to extensive connectivity. As Southeast Asia’s largest aviation market with abundant low-cost carriers, Indonesia is just a short, affordable flight away from surrounding region hubs like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong along with direct long-haul links to Australia, China, Japan and the Middle East.

Alternatively, you can enter Indonesia by affordable ferry services from neighboring Malaysia and Singapore landing directly on Indonesian islands like Batam or Bintan, making it super convenient.

FAQs About Visiting Indonesia

Why should I visit Indonesia?

With stunning scenery spanning volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, tropical jungles to world-famous beaches along with incredibly diverse cultures, cuisines and wildlife, Indonesia offers tremendous beauty, excitement and insights unlike anywhere in the world.

When is the best time to visit Indonesia?

April – October is ideal with relatively drier weather, although regional variations exist. Dec – March brings heavy monsoons across most islands. Surfing peaks from May – September. Travel requires more logistical effort during peak seasons of July/August when both foreign and local tourists mob popular destinations.

Is Indonesia safe for tourists?

Absolutely yes! Indonesia attracts over 16 million visitors annually with tourism contributing significantly to its economy without any major incidents. Exercise reasonable precautions applicable when traveling anywhere unfamiliar.

How many days are ideal to visit Indonesia?

With over 17,000 islands, each having unique offerings, you can spend anywhere from two weeks to a month exploring Indonesia without getting bored. Focus on 1 or 2 regions allowing adequate time to immerse in the local culture, cuisine and attractions instead of rushing across too widely.

What is the best way to get around Indonesia?

Domestic flights are the quickest and most comfortable options to cover long distances across islands. Buses, trains, ferries and private transfers work for shorter hauls on specific islands. Go local by using public transportation to enjoy positive interactions with locals.

What should I pack for visiting Indonesia?

Pack light, breathable cottons and linens. Always carry a light sweater for overly air-conditioned interiors. Use reef-safe sun protection while outdoors along with mosquito repellents. Bring proper hiking or watersport equipment if planning extended outdoor activities. Carry medications for stomach upsets, heat strokes and first-aid since accessibility on remote islands can be limited.

What vaccinations are required for Indonesia?

No mandatory vaccinations except Yellow Fever for travelers arriving from infected areas abroad. Recommended vaccines include typhoid, hepatitis A and boosters for tetanus, diphtheria. Consult your doctor beforehand.

How expensive is Indonesia for tourists?

Indonesia offers unmatched affordability compared to regional peers – travelers can easily enjoy its top experiences on $50 per day using public transport, street eats and budget lodging across most islands besides Bali or Jakarta. Mid-range options average $80-100 daily while high-end escapism pushes over $300 per day.

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