Updated: Oct 14, 2022
With hundreds of thousands to millions of visits every year, unsurprisingly Bali is over touristed. As eco-travellers, this is the time for us to #TravelCooler to other destinations to help Bali recover! Here are 5 tropical paradises cooler than Bali.
Indonesia experienced multiple spikes in tourism in the first decade of the 21st century. Bali’s tourism itself has tripled over ten years since 2008. And that led to an over-tourism in Bali.
Besides large crowds in a lot of places and traffic, over-tourism also causes damage to the local environment.
Below, we will introduce you to Indonesia’s 5 equally beautiful and interesting places other than Bali!
1. Kepulauan Seribu, DKI Jakarta.
Located in the northern part of Jakarta’s coast, this chain of islands consists of 342 islands with 36 islands being utilized for recreation; 13 are fully developed as resorts and historical parks, and 23 are privately owned.
These islands are usually a quick getaway for locals in Jakarta areas. Their white sandy beaches and clear waters are perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. You can also wind down by islands hoping to enjoy the tranquillity these islands have to offer. To name a few, Harapan Island, Tidung Island, Tiger Island, and Onrust Island.
2. Bintan Island, Riau Islands.
Bintan Island is a part of the Riau Islands, Indonesia. It is the largest of the Riau Archipelago’s 3.200 islands with a coastline of 105 km. That whole length provides a combination of excellent beaches, mangrove forests, and old town/villages with an interesting mix of cultures and ethnicities thriving dating back to the 3rd century.
Bintan Island offers varieties of beaches and activities within. It has Trikora Beach, White Sands Islands, Lagoi Beach, to Pondok Santai Family. Or you can go visit the dazzling sand dunes at Busung Desert, Kijang Blue Lake, Tanjung Pinang or 500 Lohan Temple.
3. Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua.
The exceptional wonders with 1.800 islands from 25 million years of evolution, Raja Ampat is one of the last true paradises. The origin of its name is believed to be derived from a legend where a woman found seven eggs, with four of them hatch and become the kings of the four main islands, while the other three became a woman, a ghost, and a stone.
Raja Ampat covers 9.8 million acres of land and sea. And it is the home of 540 types of corals, more than 1,000 types of coral fish and 700 types of molluscs. Raja Ampat’s magnificent beauty is such a spectacle to see for snorkelling and diving activities with various locations such as Kabui Passage, Sawandarek, Friwen Wall, and so much more.
Besides its underwater lustre, the richness of its cultures also comes with the breathtaking landscape above the Raja Ampat’s water surface. Raja Ampat has a constellation of tiny islets which you can explore and enjoy the beauty.
And the wildlife? It doesn’t stop underwater. You will see Indonesia’s endemic Eastern Fauna such as Cendrawasih or mostly known as The Bird of Paradise, the Waigeou cuscus or Waigeou spotted cuscus (Spilocuscus papuensis) which is a species of marsupial.
Last but not least, you can mingle with the locals at the Arborek Tourism Village and experience their local culture and traditions.
4. Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara.
This remote and tranquil island is situated in the West Nusa Tenggara. It is the largest island in the West Nusa Tenggara and is blessed with picturesque meadow, pristine clear water, volcanic ridges and its crown, Mount Tambora. The island is relatively untouched by tourists.
Sumbawa is a haven for surfers, and it’s renowned for its diverse challenging wave riding spots such as Lakey Peak, Yo-Yo’s, Supersucks and Scar Reef which are often visited by pro surfers who would love to challenge themselves with 100 metre long waves.
Maluk Beach offers crisp white sand, clear blue waters, and breathtaking panoramic views of the hillside. It also hosts a turtle conservation site where you can engage in turtle-releasing activities. If you wish to hop between islands, there are other 3 islands available, namely Moyo, Sangeang, and Satonda islands.
But if you prefer a more different experience, Sumbawa Island has them too! Mount Tambora for example. It is the highest mountain in Sumbawa measuring 2,722 meters above the water surface and is also the site of the most powerful volcanic eruption recorded in history in 1815. A hike to the top of this mountain will be rewarded with breathtaking views, including that of the enormous and mesmerizing 1,100 M deep crater.
5. Morotai, North Maluku.
Local people might recognise this island as the strategic base of the Allied Forces from which they attacked posts in the Philippines and Borneo in their fight against Japanese forces during World War II. From 1944-1945, Morotai was a hive of military activities. Situated in the north of Halmahera, North Maluku, the 1800 acres of land offers spectacular natural beauty and splendors of underwater scenery. You can cruise between islands like Bau Island and Dodola Island.
Morotai's strongest appeal lies in its history. Packed with the legacy of warfare activities from World War II, there are a number of interesting underwater wrecks to explore (since the water is crystal clear, which contrasts the beauty of tragedies and the healing nature of underwater).
To name a few, a half-submerged Japanese wreck named the Tosimaru can still be seen from the shore near Kao Bay, and a lone statue of General Douglas MacArthur on the island of SumSum near Daruba.
Bumi Journey envisions climate positive ecotourism by providing carbon-conscious ecotourism experiences focusing on conservation, education, and community empowerment so travelers can contribute positively to the earth’s climate. Learn more about our story here.
Writer: Virda Risyad
Editor: Faiz Karim
Instagram: Bumi Journey
Bali is Overtouristed, Here are 10 Destinations to Visit Instead, 2019. https://www.bemytravelmuse.com/bali-alternatives/
10 Indonesian Islands That Could Be The Next Bali https://www.worldnomads.com/explore/southeast-asia/indonesia/10-islands-that-could-be-the-next-bali
Thousand Islands, Wikipedia, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand_Islands_(Indonesia)
Bintan Island: What you need to know before you go. https://www.hotels.com/go/indonesia/bintan
Raja Ampat by Wonderful Indonesia.
Which Places To Go in Indonesia Other Than Bali.
Sumbawa by Wonderful Indonesia. https://www.indonesia.travel/au/en/destinations/bali-nusa-tenggara/sumbawa/sumbawa
15 Best Places to Visit in Sumbawa (Indonesia), 2021.
Morotai Island, North Maluku.
The Island of Morotai by Wonderful Indonesia.