The mere mention of Indonesia elicits a few typical responses, and one of them is inevitably ‘Bali!’. Did you know, however, that Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, and Bali is only one of them? It is the most popular tourist destination, but think, if one small island has so much to offer, what about the entire nation? The tourism board of Indonesia has recently let slip that there are in the midst of developing ten new Balis, i.e. ten destinations that will have a strong infrastructure and networking system, and be easily accessible to tourists just like Bali. Not to mention that they will have a lot to offer!
The first destination is Lake Toba in North Sumatra. This is the biggest Crater Lake in all of Southeast Asia, is almost the size of Singapore itself—and let’s just say it—is downright stunning. Nature lovers, please take note. The second place of interest is Tanjung Kelayang in Belitung Island. A white sand beach with stunning waters and granite boulders, this is one of the prettiest destinations in Indonesia. Stay in a villa, or a hotel and enjoy its natural beauty.
Get the best of activities at Tanjung Lesung in Banten, where experiences such as relaxing on a pristine clean beach to walking through rice fields await you. Did you know you could rent a private island of your own? At the Thousand Islands, located north of the Bay of Jakarta, you can. This cluster of islands (which is actually made of a 101 islands, despite its name) includes Pari Island, Pramuka Island and Tidung Island, among many others. Stay in floating cottages, watch baby turtles hatch, go snorkeling and many other fun activities.
If you need a slight break from nature, check out Candi Borobudur in Central Java. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a grand 9th-century Buddhist monastery and is big, the largest of its kind in South East Asia, in fact. Don’t forget to catch the sunrise from the monument.
Have you heard of Mount Bromo? Located in East Java, this is an active volcano, and guess what—people love to hike on it! The area around Mount Bromo has beautiful gorges and cliffs, and it’s a treat to watch the sunrise from here. Mandalika, Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, is a surfer’s paradise with its stunning Tanjung Aan Beach. The fact that the destination has both the hills and the beach doesn’t hurt either.
Another one of the 10 New Balis, Labuan Bajo in East Nuga Tenggara really has something special. It has access to Komodo Island, where you can go komodo dragon-spotting, and to Pink Beach where true to its name, you get to touch special pink-hued sand. If diving is on your bucket list, visit Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi to visit the Wakatobi Dive Resort. And lastly, Morotai Island in North Maluku has both beauty and history. American General Douglas MacArthur had taken shelter in this now-tourist destination during World War 2. Today the site has the beautiful Zum Zum Island, pretty sands and water.