There is so much more to Indonesia than Bali and Mount Bromo! Indonesia, as the largest archipelago in the world boasting more than 17,000 islands definitely keeps many hidden beautiful places. We’re unravelling some of those secret places  that you ought to pin down for your travel plans. The instagram pictures alone will be worth it!

 

Beautiful Places You Didn’t Know Existed in Indonesia

1)The serene view of Lake Maninjau, West Sumatra

Padang, the capital of West Sumatra Province is famed throughout Indonesia (and maybe the world) for its spicy Padang food such as rendang sapi, ayam pop, soto and sate. Although Padang is a nice city to stay in with a lot of good hotels such as Hotel Pangeran City, the best places to visit are actually scattered outside, so renting a car with a local driver is recommended.

On its north lies a picturesque lake called Lake Maninjau. Often eclipsed by Lake Toba (in North Sumatra), Lake Maninjau doesn’t get a lot of international attention although it is a great place to relax and experience the local rural lifestyle.

To view its magnificent from a height, go up to Puncak Lawang (Hill) where you can try out some paragliding too. If you are not in a rush, slowly drive down Kelok 44, the 44 road bends with forest and rice field surrounding to reach the lake.

2) Braving the bamboo bridge at Punthuk Mongkrong, Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta or Yogya for short is already world-famous for its awe-inspiring Borobudur and Prambanan Temple. There are, however, many hidden places that travellers often skip when they are visiting this laid-back town at the heart of Java Island.

One of Yogya’s best-kept secrets is Punthuk Mongkrong (Hill), where you can walk on a platform/bridge protruding out from a cliff. Sounds unsafe? Might be, but it’s definitely Insta-worthy! Just be careful and don’t try it if you are afraid of height. The bamboo platform is strong enough although it might squeak as you walk on it.

To fully immerse yourself in Yogyakarta’s night market scene, book a hotel within a walking distance to Malioboro Street. One option is Hotel Dafam Fortuna that is reasonably priced and cosy, located just 5-minutes away from the main Malioboro Street.

3) The world’s 2nd largest karst region in Rammang Rammang, South Sulawesi

As the largest city in Sulawesi Island, Makassar is an important port town that connects Western and Eastern Indonesia. Most travellers will straight away head north (9-10 hours) to the highland region of Tana Toraja, but there is a beauty you shouldn’t skip in Makassar: Rammang Rammang. It is the world’s second largest karst area, lying just 1.5-hour away from Makassar.

Almost equalling the size of the karst region in Southern China, Rammang Rammang offers not only a majestic hilly landscape but also archaeological caves from thousand years ago, like Leang Leang Cave. From the river banks, rent a boat to navigate through the water until you reach a local village hidden by towering karts surrounding it.

Do consider to arrange a homestay in one of the local’s houses in Rammang Rammang. Otherwise, you can pick one of Makassar’s numerous hotels. Hotel Singgasana is located strategically near the city’s main attractions such as Pantai Losari (Beach) and Fort Rotterdam.

 

4) Paradise on Earth at Ora Beach, Maluku

 

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Hidden away in Seram Island, Ora Beach is definitely off the beaten track. Taking around 7-hour to reach from the nearest airport in Ambon, the journey is well worth the effort.

Ora Beach feels like the private Maldives, with an amazing view both above and under the water. Every day you will be surrounded by crystal clear water, colourful coral reefs and mountains covered with lush tropical jungle. You will find yourself waking up to the sounds of nature every day.

Ambon itself is a bustling port town with several other attractions such as World Peace Gong, Al Fatah Mosque and Commonwealth War Cemetery. Stay at LeGreen Suite Ratulanggi Hotel, which offers clean and basic rooms right at the heart of Ambon.

5) The Raw and Unexplored Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara

If I could choose one favourite island out of the thousands scattered around Indonesia, Sumba Island would be my pick. Still raw and pristine, Sumba offers incredible landscape ranging from beaches and hills to lakes and waterfalls. A must-visit is Bukit Warinding (Hills), where rows of hills stretch as far as the eyes can see. Viewing sunrise or sunset here would be heavenly, but honestly, it’s always great to come here any time of the day.

Another thing to see in Sumba is the traditional Sumba housing complex called Ratenggaro. The unique houses in the background, coupled with dense forest and clear water nearby creates a picture perfect view that only this island can offer.

While accommodations are limited, you can find some places to stay in Waingapu, the biggest town on the island, or in Waikabubak. Sumba also hides the best hotel in the world: Nihi Sumba Island, a great hotel for you who wish to pamper yourself.

 

Feature Image: Siladen Island, Manado / Imanuel Aaron