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Indonesia’s 17,000-plus islands are often overlooked in favor of the tourist-beaten road to Bali, the country’s hottest spot for foreign visitors.
But the country has much more to offer in the way of cultural enlightenment, outdoor activities and relaxation. Here are some top alternative (or additional) islands for your clients to explore.
Belitung IslandLocated east of Sumatra, the largest island wholly controlled by Indonesia, Belitung island is known for its scenic granite boulders along beaches of white sand and pristine water — most notably on the shorelines of Tanjung Tinggi and Tanjung Kelayang.
After a walk along one of these beaches, clients can venture to the island’s largest town, Tanjung Pandan, to see Dutch colonial architecture. On one of Belitung’s six offshore islands, called Lengkuas (which translates to “galangal,” for the root that can be found growing there), a 19th-century lighthouse overlooks the sea. Nearby Bird Island (Pulau Burung) features a giant granite structure in the shape of a bird’s beak.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Iskandar Kunaefi (@iskunaefi) on Apr 3, 2019 at 12:09am PDT
A post shared by Iskandar Kunaefi (@iskunaefi) on Apr 3, 2019 at 12:09am PDT
What Not to Miss: Centrally located in Tanjung Pandan, Billiton Hotel is inspired by Indonesian and colonial-style architecture, and it is only minutes away from Tanjung Pendam Beach.
Kalimantan, BorneoBorneo is the largest island in Asia and shares its landmass with Malaysian states Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesian Kalimantan. Kalimantan is a relatively new tourist destination where clients can explore rainforests, rivers, beaches and cities. One such city is Balikpapan, a port town known for white-sand Kemala Beach and the sprawling Akbar At-Taqwa Grand Mosque.
What Not to Miss: While in Balikpapan, pay a visit to Samboja Lestari, a rehabilitation center that protects an area of tropical rainforest as well as its endemic orangutans and sun bears.
Komodo IslandKomodo Island gets its name from the Komodo dragons that call the island home. The world’s largest species of lizard has venomous saliva, but don’t let that deter clients from coming here to see the fearsome animals up close — namely at Komodo National Park, which covers nearby Padar Island and Rinca Island.
What Not to Miss: The Komodo dragons tend to overshadow the island’s Pink Beach, a cotton candy-colored expanse along the western tip of the island. The beach gets its pastel hue from microscopic organisms called foraminifera, which produce red pigment on nearby coral reefs.
Lombok IslandOften called Bali’s more laid-back counterpart, Lombok is a peaceful oasis away from Bali’s crowds. A popular island-hopping destination, Lombok offers great surfing and diving opportunities along its many scenic beaches.
For a challenge, avid adventure-seekers can embark on a three-day hike to the top of Mount Rinjani — an active volcano — and be rewarded by otherworldly views of purple mountains and a crater lake. The island is also home to the Sasak people, whose culture consists of animist, Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim influences. Lombok’s three offshore islands — Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air — give tourists even more activities to choose from, including snorkeling and nightlife.
What Not to Miss: The Lombok Lodge, a luxury boutique hotel, is known for its outstanding views overlooking Medana Bay and its highly personalized service.
Samosir IslandSitting in the middle of the largest crater lake in the world — Lake Toba — Samosir Island is a unique volcanic island estimated to have been formed about 77,000 years ago in northern Sumatra
Tourists can swim or take a boat tour around the lake, in addition to learning about the indigenous Batak people by exploring the villages and tombstones of their ancestors. Clients can also watch traditional Batak dance and music hosted by various island guesthouses such as Bagus Bay Homestay and Samosir Cottages.
What Not to Miss: As a volcanic island, Samosir is home to many healing hot springs — specifically in the Pangururan region.