Whether you’re into lounging on the sand, leaping into the surf or simply watching the sun set over the water with a cocktail in hand, Indonesia has a beach to suit everyone. It’s not surprising – with more than 17,000 islands in the archipelego, it has the fourth largest coastline in the world.
While it would be impossible to write about every one of Indonesia’s breathtaking beaches, we’ve picked our favourites to help inspire a bit of winter wanderlust. Read all about them, and then put together your dream beach break with Wonderful Indonesia.
Seminyak Beach, Bali
This three mile stretch of golden sand is backed by a strip of some of Bali’s trendiest beach bars and restaurants. Plonk yourself down on a sun-lounger, shaded by a colourful umbrella, and enjoy the sound of the waves lapping the sand. For a romantic treat, visit one of the stables and go horse riding along the beach. If you’re into surfing, the best time to visit Seminyak is in the morning. The waves at Seminyak are often twice the size of the ones at Kuta – and it’s often blissfully quiet, too. There are a few surf camps in the area, if you fancy learning how to “hang ten”.
How to get there: Seminyak Beach is just over 7 miles from Bali (Denpasar) Airport.
Mandalika Beach, Lombok
Backed by lush green hills and lapped by the Indian Ocean, the sparkling white beaches of Mandalika were once a hidden gem visited only by in-the-know surfers. Today the area is being touted as ‘the new Bali’ with plenty to keep visitors entertained – buzzing bars and nightclubs, racing circuits and water parks have recently sprung up around the area’s gorgeous natural attractions. Plan your visit during February and you can enjoy Seger Beach’s unique Bau Nyale Festival, which celebrates the Nyale sea worms – catching them at the first light of day is said to bring good luck. There’s also a surf competition, photography contest and food stalls selling local delicacies.
How to get there: Mandalika Beach is on the south coast of Lombok island, 12.6 miles from lombok International airport.
Ancol Beach, Jakarta
Add even more culture and history to your beach break by basing yourself in Indonesia’s bustling capital city, Jakarta. Once you’ve wandered the streets of Kota Tua (the Dutch colonial old town) and visited sights like the National Monument, head to Ancol Beach in the north of the city. This urban beach is a favourite with locals, and is lined with shopping malls and international restaurants. If you’re feeling energetic, head to Aqua Fun – an aquatic obstacle course made out of inflatables.
How to get there: Ancol Beach is just seven miles north of Central Jakarta, and takes around 24 minutes by taxi.
Pok Tunggal Beach, Yogyakarta
The journey to Pok Tunggal Beach can be a bit tricky with narrow, rocky tracks but it’s worth it to reach this secluded slice of paradise. The white sands and blue waves are backed by coral cliffs where wild monkeys frolic. Although it’s private, it’s not completely deserted – there are a few stalls selling street food. It’s an amazing place to watch the sunset, and you can even hire tents for a bit of wild camping. Once you’re finished at the beach, head into Yogyakarta and immerse yourself in Javanese culture, crafts and traditional music.
How to get there: It takes two hours to get to Pok Tunggal from Yogyakarta. As it’s a private beach there’s a small fee to visit, but this includes little extras like food, a tent, a tour guide and parking.
Nongsa Beach, Batam
A wide stretch of white sand backed by resorts make Nongsa Beach the most popular spot for relaxing on Batam Island. You’ll probably spot some day-trippers from Singapore, which is just a short speedboat ride away – at night you can see the lights of the skyscrapers from the shore. Locals also flock here to paddle in the calm, clear waters and lounge around under the trees. If you prefer quiet beaches, hop on a pompong (small diesel-powered boat) and take the seven minute journey to unspoiled Putri Island.
How to get there: Nongsa Beach is really well located, just eight miles from the island’s Hang Nadim Airport.
Tanjung Aan Beach, Lombok
Turquoise water, white sand and swaying palm trees – there’s no doubt that Tanjung Aan is a typical tropical paradise. It’s also super peaceful – the long stretch of sand is often quiet, so you can find your own secluded spot. When you’re not snapping photos to make all your Instagram followers green with envy, it’s worth taking a hike. The headland by the beach is can be tricky to climb in the heat, but if you make it to the top you’ll be rewarded with some truly incredible views.
How to get there: Tanjung Aan Beach is on Lombok’s south coast, about 15.9 miles from Lombok International Airport.
Trikora Beach, Bintan
Fine white sands, turquoise waters and large boulders make Trikora Beach another Instagram-worthy spot. This truly tranquil place is popular for scuba, snorkelling and simply lounging around. It’s also known for fishing – you’ll see locals hanging out their nets to catch ikan bilis (small fry, the local fish) as well as anglers from Singapore and Malaysia who rent out kelongs (fish traps) on the boardwalks. If you feel hungry, head to one of the small traditional restaurants and sample the local seafood.
How to get there: You can take a domestic flight from Jakarta, Perkanbaru, Matak, Batam, Dabo Singkep or Natuna. Alternatively, you can fly into Singapore and take a ferry – this takes around one hour.
Kampung Ujung Beach, Labuan Bajo
Good news for foodies: this island beach is well-known for its excellent seafood. After spending the day lounging on the sand, take a stroll along the promenade. During the evening it turns into a gastronomic wonderland. The smell of barbecued fish fills the air as hawkers and restaurateurs compete for business.
How to get there: Fly Kampung Ujung is just 1.5 miles from Komodo Airport, less than ten minutes by taxi.
Kri Palau, Raja Ampat
The islands of Raja Ampat are an unspoiled tropical paradise that’s only just appeared on the tourist radar. There are 1,500 islands to explore in the archipelego, and Pulau Kri is one of the best for beach lovers. Look out for homestay house reefs – these traditional wood houses sit on stilts on the sand, so as soon as you get up in the morning you can dip your toes in the crystal clear waters. It’s an excellent place to try your hand at scuba or snorkelling. The Raja Ampat islands boast some of the best diving in the world, with incredibly diverse coral reefs where colourful fish meander through the crystal clear waters.
How to get there: Fly into Sorong and take a ferry to Wasai, Raja Ampat’s capital city. From there you can take a boat to Kri.
As you can see, there’s so much more to Indonesia’s beaches than a nice place to relax and read a paperback. You can tantalise your tastebuds with freshly caught seafood from a beach shack, experience local traditions and festivals or try your hand at a new water sport. Start planning your trip to the beaches of Wonderful Indonesia now and end 2019 on a real high.
*All prices included in this article are estimates based on Skyscanner’s search tools, and were correct at the time of writing in October 2019. Flight prices are subject to fluctuation and may rise or fall.