With approximately 17,500 islands, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago of which many are deserted. Everyone knows of the pristine Bali beaches, so instead we asked our Indonesia Travel Specialist Andhika to provide a list of lesser known island destinations.
An island with a fascinating history, Flores (which is Portuguese for ‘flowers’) was a highly sought-after island during the 16th – 19th centuries as Europeans strived to establish trade ports and sources for herbs, raw materials, silks and spices in Asia. The idyllic island is now coveted by visitors for the majestic scenery, such as the Kelimutu volcano which contains three lakes and the Komodo National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another island with a history of European occupation, Sumba was a valuable source of sandalwood which led to it being named ‘Sandalwood Island’ on the Philips’ International Atlas in 1943. Sumba is one of the few places in the world that still practice megalithic burials which date back to the Bronze Age. The island is of particular interest to ornithologists with nearly 200 species of bird, many of which can only be found on Sumba.
While the Bintan Resorts section of Bintan is packed with luxury resorts the ‘true’ Bintan (segregated by checkpoints) is home to untouched beaches and majestic areas of rainforest. The island also offers plenty of water sports and sport fishing options around Trikora as well as some challenging golf courses, if that’s your thing. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle and lose yourself in one of the many fishing villages, stopping to try some readily available and delicious seafood.
Madura lies off the northeastern coast of Java and is home to approximately 3.6 million people, most of whom are ethnically Madurese. Madura is perhaps best known for its bull racing events held during August and September. Jockeys (usually young boys) ride chariot fashion on a wooden sled behind two bulls over a distance of 100 meters. Madura is also a gateway to the Kangean Islands, a fascinating archipelago of 38 barely inhabited islands with sublime snorkeling but little in the way of accommodation options.
The Karimunjawa Islands off the coast of Java are (amazingly) still relatively unknown and accommodation options are limited to only one five-star resort with private flight transfers, and a sprinkling of lower category hotels. We expect numbers to this stunning archipelago to rise sharply as people become more aware of this Indonesian gem, which offers some stunning scuba diving sites and corals to snorkel around.
Our expert local Travel Specialist Andhika is able to tailor any Indonesia holiday to include visits to these lesser known island destinations so make your inquiry today and plan your individual Indonesia experience!