Blissful beaches, friendly locals, extreme shopping opportunities, and western-like development. It’s hard to say no to a place like Bali. People from around the world flock to this part of Indonesia each year to experience its well known and gorgeous little island.
But what about the 17,000+ other islands in this magical archipelago?
While it is certainly going to be a struggle for you if you are trying to see every island—OK how about impossible, you’d literally need to see over 188 islands per year for 90 years to see all of them… But this curated list of the best beaches in Indonesia will start you off!
With the help of my fellow travel bloggers around the world who have landed and lounged on far more than just Bali, I bring you 23 incredible Indonesian beaches to visit that AREN’T on Bali.
We think this will spark some extra beachy Indo wanderlust in you so you can plan to visit some of the other pieces of paradise on offer.
23 of The Best Beaches in Indonesia (That Aren’t on Bali)
1. Derawan Beach, East Kalimantan
Derawan Beach was considered for a possible UNESCO Heritage title for its wondrous beauty and its plethora of endangered sea life, but apparently keeping it as a growing tourist spot is better for business.
With or without the title, Derawan is filled to the shoreline with sights to behold, from the largest green sea turtle population to coconut crabs.
You can come to observe the sea creatures, to wander among the coconut trees, to snorkel with master divers, or just to rest on a beach brimming with so much nature and wildlife.
2. Watu Karung Beach, Pacitan, Java
Paci-what? Most people haven’t heard of this place. Even locals can be perplexed if you’re coming from Yogyakarta.
If you’re into surfing, this will be a haven. The beaches in this area (there are numerous in Pacitan) are beautiful and are perfect for snorkelers, surfers, or beach bums alike!
The town is sleepy, the accommodation is a bit scarce, and the beaches are often empty. It’s a perfect place to seek refuge from the big bustling tourist towns.
Here’s more info on this incredible hidden gem including how to get there (it can be a feat!).
3. Senggigi Beach, Lombok
More sea life! Senggigi is well known for the almost perfectly transparent sea that laps up onto shore.
Such clarity makes Senggigi the perfect spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, or even just walking along the shore and looking in at the waters teeming with creatures big and small.
As a bonus, this area is much drier even during its wet season than other parts, which means you have a more open calendar to work with.
4. Cimaja, Java
Up for some surfing? Well, surf is always up in Cimaja. You may catch a wave as small as four feet or as big as ten feet or more.
Cimaja is one of the best beaches in Indonesia for surfing. It’s less of a classic tourist attraction because it’s got pebbles on the beach as opposed to sand, making the walk more of a hike and less of a casual stroll.
You’ll get a more rough and rugged landscape, which can be a nice break from white sand beach after white sand beach. This relative calm means you can catch some waves and chill without having to push past idle tourists and gawkers.
5. Belitung Island, East Sumatra
Looking for a day filled with island activities? Belitung island has got the Indonesians beaches for you.
You can tackle giant rock formations; dive underwater to check out the myriad sea creatures; and even venture inland a bit to explore a sandy filled Blue Lake, known as Danau Kaolin.
You’ll think you tripped onto some snow-capped mountains from the way the sand hills and valleys dip around this crystal blue water. Prepare to be amazed.
6. Air Manis Beach, West Sumatra
Air Manis is one of those mystery islands that must be visited at a certain time to reveal its secret. This Indonesian beach has a land strip that appears only during low tide.
You can walk along it to a nearby island. Something about an experience only available at certain times makes it so much more appealing. Add to the element of rarity the gorgeous white sand beaches and the turquoise surf, and you’ve found a magical utopia.
7. Plengkung, Java
Also on Java is another surfer’s paradise; Plengkung’s got those huge waves for those looking for the ultimate ride, and it’s got the classic sandy beach for lounging afterward.
This combo makes it possible for you to do both, or just chill on the beach and watch the masters conquer epic waves if you’re more of an observer. Because it is a very steep and dangerous trip overland to get to Plengkung, you may still find it relatively unpopulated.
8. Komodo National Park, Komodo
Recommended by: Anna & Tom from Adventure in You
The beaches here are composed of some of the best, brightest, and most vibrant marine life. If you love diving, a trip to Komodo National Park is a must. It will be some of the best diving you do in Asia.
Traveling around by boat, you can visit different islands around the park. On the boat trip, there will be pretty awesome beaches to stop at and chances to see pods of dolphins and manta rays. This is definitely one of the beaches in Indonesia you wouldn’t hesitate to go back to.
9. Selong Belanak, Lombok
Recommended by: Sharon from Where’s Sharon
Selong Belanak is a beautiful beach on the south coast of Lombok. It’s picture-perfect with beautiful sand, water, and picturesque views.
The best part is the local stallholders make a big effort to keep it clean so it’s also one of the cleanest beaches in the area.
It’s well set up with lounge chairs and enough stallholders to have what you need but it is not in a built-up area at all. It’s usually a quiet beach where relaxing is the name of the game.
10. Parai Tenggiri, Bangka
Yea yea, you say. Sure, another white sand beach.
Yes. Parai Tenggiri has all the usual gorgeous elements typical of Indonesian beaches.
But what makes this one of the best beaches in Indonesia is the extra level of seemingly supernatural beauty: the water is a shimmery sea through green.
You’ll feel like you’ve discovered a mermaid cove as you take a dip in these surreal waters or lie on the giant smooth stones on the shore. Parai Tenggiri is one of those places you won’t believe exists until you set your toes in its sands.
11. Pink Beach, Komodo
Recommended by: Elaina & Victoria from The Freedom Travellers
Pink Beach is one of only seven beaches in the world where the sand is pink, not white! The pinkness is due to tiny fragments of red coral that combine with the white sand and produces a soft pink color that is only visible from the shoreline.
As you sail around Komodo National Park you’ll have the opportunity to jump off the boat and swim to shore to check it out. Turtle encounters are a strong possibility and vibrant and alive (literally) coral with colorful tropical fish are waiting for you.
12. Sumur Tiga Beach, Aceh
Recommended by: Julian from Globe Slice
Located just a few minutes outside of Sabang, the main town, this quiet beach offers two miles of primo white sand to lay on.
This is a great beach in Indonesia because of its chill vibes, it’s charming little bungalows, and best of all, the epic sunrises.
13. Gili Islands, Lombok
Recommended by: Stefan & Sebastian from Nomadic Boys
The Gili’s are home to some of the most popular beaches in Indonesia, famous for their white sand, warm tropical waters and abundance of sea turtles just meters from the beach.
Gili T is the most popular and attracts crowds and party revelers. A good tip is to venture out to Gili Meno or Gili Air, which have fewer people and have even more incredible Indonesian beaches to explore. You can go snorkeling and diving. It’s surrounded by healthy coral and is great for swimming with turtles.
It’s really easy to get from Bali to the Gilis with the quickest option being a fast boat.
14. Liang Beach, Ambon, Maluku
Recommended by: Anita from Anita Hendrieka
White sand and a beautiful blue ocean—it’s incredible and not a tourist in sight! You can rent tubes from the locals to really relax and enjoy this paradise.
15. Dream Beach, Nusa Lembongan
Dream beach is, well a dream. Located on the southern tip of one of Indonesia’s lesser-known islands, Nusa Lembongan, it’s a picture-perfect scene without the hordes of tourists getting in your shot.
If you’re staying elsewhere on the island then grab a cycle or motorbike and come down for the day, the ride alone is worth it.
At the beach, watch clear blue waters lap against the sand and you’ll no doubt get chatting to the locals who won’t hassle you to buy anything, unlike on some nearby Bali beaches.
Grab a drink, chill, and when you want to explore more, keep going on your bike: you might see dolphins frolicking in the water and you’ll definitely get to high-five a lot of local school kids.
16. Saparua Beach, Maluku
Recommended by: Vanessa from The Island Drum
Semi deserted beaches may not be for everyone but Saparua Beach, on Saparua Island in Maluku has that timeless tropical island ambiance that fuels one’s imagination.
With only a smattering of fishing skiffs dotting the shoreline it can certainly be a quiet place to “waste” away the day or take a swim if the seas are calm.
This long stretch of white sand beach is adjacent to the historic 17th century Fort Duurstede and hopefully under no threat of development anytime soon.
The fort itself has been refurbished and is open for visitors, but it isn’t nearly as interesting as a walk through the colorful street market in the nearby village.
17. Tanjung Karang Beach at the Prince John Dive Resort, Sulawesi
Recommended by: Jub from Tiki Touring Kiwi
If you are looking for a private beach, you need to check out the Prince John Dive Resort. There are just 15 bungalows here so you know the Prince John beach in Indonesia is never going to be overcrowded.
The fact that it is so empty makes it so appealing. The beach is just in 70km from the equator which means there are minimal tides, which is great for swimming!
While you sit on the chairs provided you can sip away at your Bintang from the beach bar contemplating how to tackle the art of slacklining. Want to check out the action below water? There are snorkeling spots a few hundred meters away with boats readily available to take you.
18. Pantai Ngandong, Java
Recommended by: Derek from Holidaze
Every visitor to Indonesia that escapes Bali eventually passes through Yogyakarta. There Parangtritis and Indrayanti beaches are the two that get all the attention.
Don’t it wrong, those two are great if you want to be surrounded by foreigners or harassed by locals eager to take your money.
But if you and a group of friends (or even that special someone) want to slip away, head west from Indrayanti past the rock cliff and take the next dirt road on the right.
There is the deserted Pantai Ngandong. (Don’t be fooled by Pantai Sundak, which is in between Indrayanti and Ngandong.)
On one side of the beach is a couple of small bungalows with squat toilets and ceiling fans, nothing fancy. However on the other side of the beach lives a local family, the husband of which is a fisherman.
His wife will happily cook up fresh food for you all day, prepare elaborate meals at set times if you have a big group, even get you beers from the nearest store back down the road. And all for dirt cheap.
This is a place where one or two Indonesian families go on the weekend, and only for a few hours because the women don’t go swimming. No one visits during the week.
Note: it is worth mentioning that since the only foreigners who discover Pantai Ngandong come with local Indonesian friends, you should know at least a few basic words in Indonesian to get by.
19. Tangkoko Beach, Sulawesi
Recommended by: Helena from Through an Aussie’s Eyes
Tangkoko Beach AKA the black beach at Tangkoko Nature Reserve in North Sulawesi is one of those untouched secrets. Upon arrival, walk through a beautiful rainforest nature reserve.
Stop to look for the black crested macaques, the Tarsiers (world’s smallest primate), hornbills and so many other unique animals. After this walk, you wander off the path and suddenly you burst through the last line of trees and you are on the black sand beach.
Don’t forget to explore the many walking tracks in the rainforest and beach. This Indonesian beach really is a hidden gem which could mean that it’s just you and the black crested macaques here!
20. Kri Floating Island, Raja Ampat
Recommended by: Jeanette from Traveling Honey Bird
As the soft, soothing swell of the ocean brings you closer to the pristine, golden sands you’ll be forgiven for staring. The water here is stunningly crystal clear blue, framed by an island of golden sand.
As you step off the back of the boat the warm water embraces you and invites you to forget all your worldly worries and enjoy a moment of frivolity playing in the sand. There is nothing but the pure unadulterated nature.
There’s no pop-up bar, no children skipping school to sell you a bracelet or even a lady to offer you eyebrow threading. As far as the eye can see is the shimmering sea tempting you to come play within its gradient blue, green water.
The Pasir Timbul sandbar, or as it’s more affectionately known, the Kri Floating Island is the perfect place to add to your list of beaches in Indonesia to visit.
Located only 20-25mins from the majority of the main resorts in Raja Ampat this sneaky beach is easily accessible during a day trip and can be used as a drop point for scuba diving or snorkeling.
21. Bintan, Riau
Recommended by: Mar from Once in a Lifetime Journey
Bintan is an Indonesian island mostly visited by residents of Singapore. Lying only 75min by ferry from the island-state, Bintan is a popular weekend getaway destination from the city’s hustle and the people are eager to trade in the container-ship dotted horizon for a gorgeous Indonesian beach.
One of the nicest beaches on Bintan is the beach shared between the Angsana Resort Bintan and the Banyan Tree Resort Bintan. A half crescent white sand powdery beach that stretches long enough for a walk and is washed by turquoise clear waters.
In the distance, Singapore’s madness is blurred and the clean transparent waters are the perfect spot to build castles or simply sunbathe.
22. Friwen Beach in Raja Ampat, West Papua
Recommended by: Paula & Gordon from Contented Traveller
If you want a remote beach destination, where the water is clearer than you can ever imagine, where the sea is full of brightly colored fish, and children run freely, then head to Friwen Beach.
Pulau Friwen or the island of Friwen is located in Raja Ampat, in West Papua in Indonesia. It is a popular beach and island with divers who frequent this spot because it is close to Friwenbonda and the famed dive site of the Friwen Wall.
It is a small and protected beach in Indonesia where one could tree swing into the very clear waters, and collect shells all day. It’s also ideal for snorkeling just off the beach, or out at Friwen Wall.
The beach is surrounded by jungle with coconut and sago groves. You can get from the main port of Waisai, in Waiego by speedboat and live the dream at a homestay on the island.
23. Mawun Beach, Lombok
Recommended by: Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel
After exploring some of the best beaches in Indonesia, you will find yet another in the south of Lombok. One of the best is Mawun Beach, located a bumpy 30 min scooter ride away from Kuta, Lombok. It sits in a quiet bay, making the beach perfect for swimming.
Mawun is much lesser known than Selong Belanak Beach and as a result, tends to attract a more local crowd. If you want to make the most of your day at Mawun, make sure you arrive early to grab a shady spot under the big tree.
There are some truly incredible things to experience in Indonesia but Indonesian beaches are the best!
We are certainly not saying there is anything wrong with Bali, but, hopefully, this has sparked an interest in expanding out past the known.
Having been to eight different islands, I can confidently say I want to return again and again to experience more than just the best beaches in Indonesia but the unique characteristics that each island holds.
In search of an itinerary for Indonesia? What about the costs of traveling these islands or some tips? Here’s a backpackers guide to Indonesia to help you on your trip!
Which of Indonesia’s beaches are you headed to next? Let us know in the comments!
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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad and epically failing at the American Dream since 2011. Her sassy yet informative blog, Where in the World is Nina? is all about how to work abroad to live a more adventurous life. If you want to travel longer you have to work to wander.