Have you always dreamed of visiting Bali but want to skip the crowds? Here are the top alternatives for Bali that you can visit to experience authentic Indonesia.
Bali is often considered a top destination in Asia, especially among younger travelers and digital nomads. While the island is truly a beautiful destination, unfortunately, it has become a victim of over-tourism. Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, of which nearly 6,000 are inhabited. There are so many other islands in Indonesia to explore other than Bali that offer just as beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and an authentic look at Indonesian culture. If you are planning your next holidays, check out these five Bali alternatives that will make your trip memorable.
Located right next to Bali, Lombok is an incredibly beautiful island filled with sandy beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, and picturesque ricefields. On the southern coast, you can find some of the best beaches in Indonesia with amazing waves that are perfect for surfing. Among the top beaches, you can find Kuta Beach or Selong Belanak. On the north side of the island, you can explore lush jungles, swim in waterfalls, or even hike up the iconic Rinjani volcano with its blue lake on top. Unlike Bali, Lombok is a rather serene island that will not only give you a variety of options for daily activities but will also make you experience a more authentic side of the country.
If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, then Sumba is the place to go. Located much further away from Bali than Lombok, Sumba is home to one of the top world-famous luxury resorts – Nihi. Asides from luxury resorts and beachfront hotels, Sumba is also known as the ‘Forgotten Island’ of Indonesia. The remoteness of the location makes it a rather attractive destination for surfers and adventurers that enjoy natural diversity and lack of crowds. If you want to get a more authentic experience and learn more about deep-rooted Indonesian traditions, you can explore local villages such as Lamboya or Wanokaka.
If one of the reasons you want to visit Bali is its wildlife, then Sumatra is a perfect Bali alternative for you. This lush island is home to a variety of unique species such as orangutans, endangered Sumatran tigers, rhinos, elephants, and even wild monkeys. Asides from incredible wildlife spotting opportunities, you can spend time relaxing on pristine beaches such as Banda Aceh which will make you feel as if you have entered paradise. For more adventurous days, you can plan a hike to one of the many volcanoes on the island or simply have an educational trek through the jungles. It is the sixth largest island in the world, which means that you definitely won’t run out of places to see and visit.
Part of the Lesser Sunda chain of Indonesia, Komodo island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers magnificent landscapes and truly incredible wildlife that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. The island is mainly known for its namesake fauna species, Komodo dragons which are the world’s biggest lizards that can grow up to three meters long. While Komodo dragons are probably one of the main attractions of the island, Komodo is also home to beautiful pink beaches. Lounge around on the beach, spend some time snorkeling, or hiking, or plan a day trip to the nearby islands for an even more adventurous time.
Last but not least, we have the Gili Islands. This is a collection of three small islands that are closely located near Bali and offer a similar Indonesian experience but with a lesser touristic imprint. Each island offers a slightly different experience, this is why it is best to visit all three islands together to get an ultimate experience. Gili Trawangan has a modern touch to it, making it a perfect destination for vibrant nightlife and meeting new people. Gili Meno is a perfect island for honeymooners or couples looking for a serene and private vacation. The third, Gili Air, is the most adventurous feeling island of all. Here you can go scuba diving to explore the unique underwater world or spend time relaxing at beautiful sandy beaches.
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