7 Bali Alternatives That Are Worth Visiting

bali alternatives

When you think of Indonesia, Bali is probably the first destination that comes to mind. It’s the poster child of Indonesian tourism, the island paradise that has graced many travel magazine covers and Instagram posts.

But what if I told you that Bali is just the tip of the Indonesian iceberg? Indonesia is a sprawling archipelago comprising over 17,000 islands, each offering its own unique charm and adventure.

It’s time to look beyond Bali’s well-trodden paths and set your sights on the myriad Bali alternatives scattered across this incredible country.

Imagine a world where you can escape the bustling crowds and explore pristine landscapes, untouched by mass tourism. Picture yourself discovering tranquil beaches, serene vistas, and lush green hillsides, all without the hustle and bustle that often accompanies Bali.

Indonesia is an adventure waiting to happen, and each of its islands is a hidden gem just waiting to be uncovered.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey that goes beyond Bali’s well-known hotspots, fasten your seatbelt and prepare for a playful adventure off the beaten path. This is a guide to some of the most enchanting alternatives to Bali, a virtual treasure map to the hidden gems of the Indonesian archipelago.

7 Alternatives to Bali That You Should Visit in Indonesia

1. Lombok

Lombok, often regarded as Bali’s chill younger sibling, is the ideal alternative for those seeking a more tranquil experience. In contrast to Bali’s bustling crowds, Lombok offers a serene and peaceful environment. This island is renowned for its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and epic surf, making it a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

One of Lombok’s standout attractions is Senggigi Beach, which boasts beautiful sunsets that are simply a must-see. The nearby Gili Islands, with their clear waters and abundant marine life, provide an idyllic setting for snorkeling and diving. For those who crave a bit of adventure, Lombok is also home to Mount Rinjani, an active volcano and the second-highest peak in Indonesia. Trekkers and nature enthusiasts will find this an exciting challenge and a rewarding experience. Lombok, with its slower pace and untouched beauty, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

2. Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat (photo source: Indonesia Travel)

For divers and underwater enthusiasts, Raja Ampat should be at the top of your list of Bali alternatives. Located in West Papua, this remote archipelago is home to some of the world’s most biodiverse marine life and pristine coral reefs. The name “Raja Ampat” translates to “Four Kings,” and it lives up to its regal reputation when it comes to diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Underneath the crystal-clear waters, you can explore a vibrant underwater world that teems with life. Witness majestic mantas, sleek sharks, and an array of exotic fish species that paint the reefs with their vivid colors. Whether you’re a beginner eager to take your first plunge into the deep or a seasoned diver seeking new challenges, Raja Ampat caters to all levels of experience. What makes this destination even more enticing is that it remains far less crowded than Bali, making it the perfect choice for those in search of a serene underwater sanctuary where they can connect with nature.

3. Yogyakarta

Borobudur Temple at Yogyakarta
Borobudur Temple at Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta, affectionately known as Jogja, is the cultural heart of Indonesia. Situated on Java Island, this city offers a rich tapestry of history, art, and tradition that is impossible to ignore. What sets Yogyakarta apart is its unique blend of modern and traditional elements, creating a fascinating destination for explorers and culture enthusiasts alike.

The magnificent Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important Buddhist monuments globally, beckons visitors to explore its intricate design and historical significance. Yogyakarta is also a paradise for art and craft enthusiasts, with its vibrant batik and local handicraft markets showcasing the creative spirit of the region. And let’s not forget the culinary delights – countless street food stalls in Jogja offer mouthwatering treats that will satisfy any palate. Yogyakarta is a place where tradition and modernity coexist in perfect harmony, making it a cultural delight for those seeking a deeper understanding of Indonesia’s rich heritage.

4. Flores

Labuan Bajo in Flores
Labuan Bajo in Flores (photo source: Indonesia Travel)

If you’ve ever dreamed of encountering prehistoric-looking Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, Flores is the place to make that dream come true. The Komodo National Park in Flores is home to these remarkable creatures, allowing visitors to observe them in all their ancient glory. But that’s not all Flores has to offer; it’s also known for its rugged landscapes, stunning beaches, and a warm and welcoming local culture.

A visit to Padar Island is a must for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding islands, and a hike to the pink beach on Komodo Island will provide an otherworldly experience. Flores is not just for adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts; it’s also a paradise for photographers, offering a treasure trove of natural beauty and unique opportunities to capture the essence of this remarkable island. With its blend of adventure and wildlife, Flores stands as the perfect Bali alternative for those seeking to explore the road less traveled.

5. Bandung

Bandung (photo source: Indonesia Travel)

Bandung, nestled in West Java, has earned the affectionate moniker of the “Paris of Java” for good reason. This vibrant city is celebrated for its art, fashion, and culinary scenes. One of the first things you’ll notice about Bandung is its pleasant and cooler climate, a stark contrast to Bali’s tropical heat. The city is a visual feast for those with an eye for architecture, thanks to its abundance of stunning art deco buildings.

Bandung’s surroundings are equally captivating, with tea plantations that stretch as far as the eye can see. Kawah Putih, a sulfuric crater lake, is a must-visit destination with the unique feature of changing color based on the weather conditions. For shopaholics, Bandung is a paradise of markets where you can discover unique fashion pieces and antiques. The city’s vibrant cultural scene, combined with its beautiful landscapes, makes Bandung a delightful alternative to the more touristy Bali.

6. Belitung

Tanjung Tinggi Beach in Belitung
Tanjung Tinggi Beach in Belitung

Imagine pristine white sandy beaches, waters so clear you can see the ocean floor, and massive granite boulders scattered across the landscape like nature’s sculptures – this is Belitung. Located off the coast of Sumatra, Belitung remains relatively undiscovered, making it an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of Bali.

One of Belitung’s standout gems is Pulau Lengkuas, an island boasting an iconic lighthouse that beckons travelers to its shores. The nearby snorkeling spots are a must-visit, offering an opportunity to dive into crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. For water sports enthusiasts, beach lovers, and anyone seeking a tranquil escape in the midst of untouched natural beauty, Belitung is the ultimate Bali alternative. It’s a place where you can unwind, unplug, and immerse yourself in the serenity of paradise.

7. Wakatobi


Wakatobi, derived from the names of its constituent islands Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko, is a paradise for divers and marine enthusiasts. Situated in Southeast Sulawesi, this region is home to some of the most pristine and biodiverse coral reefs in the world. Wakatobi National Park has received recognition as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and for good reason.

For those who venture beneath the waves, Wakatobi feels like stepping into a real-life Finding Nemo adventure. The coral gardens are a masterpiece of color and diversity, hosting an array of marine life, from the tiniest critters to the most majestic creatures of the deep. Wakatobi is an exceptional alternative to Bali for those looking to immerse themselves in the incredible underwater wonders of Indonesia. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a novice snorkeler, this underwater paradise caters to your sense of wonder and exploration.

In the end, there are lots of other places in Indonesia besides Bali that are worth checking out.

Whether you want peace and quiet like in Lombok or underwater adventures like in Raja Ampat, there’s something for everyone.

Yogyakarta is perfect if you’re into history and culture, while Flores is great for nature lovers.

Bandung’s cool weather and artsy vibe offer a nice change, and Belitung’s untouched beauty is a real escape.

And don’t forget about Wakatobi – it’s a paradise for divers and snorkelers. So, if you’re looking for a different kind of adventure, Indonesia has plenty to offer beyond Bali!

Read more: 4 Best Alternatives Area to Ubud in Bali

Are you still looking for more alternatives to Bali?

Yes, beyond Indonesia, there are a lot of places that people say are as good as Bali. They are:

Places Like Bali to Visit:

  • Lombok, Indonesia.
  • Flores, Indonesia.
  • Koh Chang, Thailand.
  • Palawan, Philippines.
  • Goa, India.
  • Gozo, Malta.
  • Formentera, Spain.
  • Hawaii, the US.

Indonesia is a treasure trove of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and adventure. While Bali is undoubtedly a popular destination, the alternatives mentioned here offer unique and equally captivating experiences. So, if you’re ready to venture off the beaten path and explore the lesser-known corners of this incredible archipelago, pack your bags and prepare for a playful and unforgettable journey. Bali alternatives in Indonesia await your discovery – it’s time to create your own adventure!

Read more: Ubud, Seminyak, or Nusa Dua: Which One to Choose?

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Receive exclusive inspirations

We can’t wait to share our updates on travel trends and insider staycation tips to add to your bucket list.