The picturesque islands of Bali, Batam and Bintan likely come to mind when one mentions making a quick getaway to Indonesia. However, with thousands of dreamy islands in the Indonesian archipelago, there’s more to explore than the usual suspects, especially for those seeking a retreat from the daily grind of Singapore.
Find peace at Lake Toba
Escape the urban sprawl of the city at Lake Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake and a stunning natural wonder on the western Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Steeped in as much history as beauty, the ancient lake was formed in the wake of a massive volcanic explosion some 70,000 years ago. Feel the worries of the world melt away as you soak in its warm and languid waters and lap up striking views of surrounding mountains. The high altitude of Lake Toba also allows for a cooler climate than the rest of Sumatra, offering a refreshing break from the heat and humidity of the city.
While here, be sure to visit to Samosir — a Singapore-size island in the middle of Lake Toba. Just a 40-minute ferry ride from Parapat district located by the lake, it offers a rich cultural experience of the Indonesian Batak tribe’s way of life. View traditional Batak houses, waterfalls, rice fields and mountain ranges around the volcanic island, and watch traditional dance performances at the Batak museum.
Join a temple run in Borobudur
Search for Instagram posts geotagged in Borobudur and you’ll find thousands of images of people posing among large and elegant bell-like structures at sunrise. Located in central Java, Borobudur is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument sitting atop a hill overlooking lush fields and distant hills. Many people visit this World Heritage-listed monument for a taste of history, but few know that a marathon is held on its grounds once a year.
The annual Borobudur Marathon, which began in 2012, takes runners around the temple grounds, painting a scenic running route from start to finish. Join one of the world’s most spectacular races on Nov 17 this year at Lumbini Park. Visit borobudurmarathon.com for more information.
Discover the legend of Mandalika
A trip to Indonesia won’t be complete without a visit to one of its many idyllic beaches. Hop from one beach to another in Mandalika, a surfer’s paradise along the south coast of Lombok that offers challenging waves reaching up to 3m in height. Or chase romantic sunsets at Kuta Beach, Gerupuk Beach and Tanjung Aan on the island.
For a one-of-a-kind cultural experience, visit Seger Beach. Keep a lookout for the Princess Mandalika statue, which honours a local legend about a princess who sacrificed herself for peace in the province.
Meet Komodo dragons in Labuan Bajo
The town of Labuan Bajo in Flores Island in southern Indonesia is home to the last lair of Komodo dragons in the world. While here, make a day trip to the Komodo National Park to get up close with the heaviest lizards on the planet. There are different tours by various groups that you can join to learn more about these unique reptiles.
Apart from Komodo dragons, Labuan Bajo also offers you the chance to be immersed in calming environments such as Bidadari Island, where you can snorkel in azure waters, and Seraya Island, where there are breathtaking hiking trails.
Dive at Likupang Beach
With nearly 2,000 islands in Indonesia, you’re bound to find one that will give you the best underwater views. The crystal clear waters of Likupang in the province of North Sulawesi makes it one of the archipelago’s frontrunners.
The beach is a popular diving spot among locals and tourists because of the rich marine life underwater. You can even have a go at fishing in the area.
Visit indonesia.travel to discover more of what the vibrant and colourful country has to offer.