8 best beaches in Indonesia
Golden sands stretching for miles, warm tropical waters and a stay in a cute beach bungalow that won't break the bank: sounds like the ideal getaway? Indonesia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and a trip to any of them could be just the ticket if the winter's already got you dreaming of summer sun. Here are eight of the best Indonesian beaches.
1. Pink Beach, Komodo
When you think of Indonesian hideaways you probably think of remote islands, tropical rainforests and golden sandy beaches. Komodo certainly ticks all of these boxes, with one exception, this particular slice of paradise features pink beaches, made from mixed white and red sands. There are plenty of secluded spots to throw down your beach towel, but if you're after a bit more adventure then check out some of the local wildlife. Try snorkelling or diving, or stay on dry land and head out in search of the island's most famous residents, Komodo dragons.
2. Tomini Bay
Situated in the north of Sulawesi, one of Indonesia's main islands, Tomini Bay lies close to the Equator, making it the perfect place to spend a few sun-soaked beach days. Get up early for a beautiful sunrise, then jump aboard with some friendly fishermen for a day sailing, or go under the waves to see wonders of the scuba world. Seafood lovers won't be disappointed. Get your catch cooked up before your very own eyes at one of the local restaurants.
3. Air Manis Beach
West Sumatra is home to Air Manis Beach, which, according to legend, is where Malin Kundang, a sailor from a poor family, was turned to stone, along with his ship, after his mother cursed him for disowning her when he made his fortune. You can visit these fabled rock formations, or take in the views of Mount Padang from the shore. Take a stroll along the beach to Pisang Kecil, a small island accessible by foot when the tide is low whose name translates to 'small banana'.
4. Pandawa Beach
One of south Bail's most secluded stretches of sand, Pandawa Beach is the spot for watersport enthusiasts, with plenty of great opportunites to go canoeing or paragliding. If you're in town during March then you must check out Melasti, a religious parade held to purify the world as part of Hindu-Balinese New Year celebrations.
5. Gili Nanggu
Looking for the authentic castaway experience? With only one accomodation option on the island, the Gili Nanggu Cottages and Bungalow, this is the perfect place to escape the backpacker crowds that visit nearby island trio, Gili T, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Spend days exploring this peaceful island by bicycle or _jukung, _a traditional Indonesian canoe, or snorkel with the clownfish and sea turtles that swim offshore.
6. Gili Terawangan and Gili Meno
Leave modern life behind on the Gili islands off the north-west coast of Lombok. No cars or motorbikes are allowed on the island; instead, get around on foot, by bike or cidomo, colourfully decorated horse and carts. These islands attract divers from around the world with internationally renowned wreck sites and reefs to explore. For cheap eats, check out the night market on Gili Terawangan for a wide range of Indonesian street food; from gado gado (peanut satay vegetables) to freshly grilled squid.
7. Ora Beach
Birdwatchers: bring your binoculars! Ora Beach, on the north coast of Seram Island, is famous for the feathery creatures that live here: there are 117 different species of birds on the island in total. Be prepared and pack heavy for a trip to this remote destination. There is only one restaurant on Ora Beach, and if you fancy checking out the beautiful underwater gardens then you'll have to bring your own diving gear as there are no equipment shops on Seram.
8. Sawarna Beach
Rice paddy fields, rows of coconut trees and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean stretching out before you: these are just some of the wonderful sights that await when you arrive in Sawarna on the south coast of Java Island. Get some surf time in on Sawarna Beach, where the waves have attracted board pros from all over the world. The karst caves in Sawarna are also worth a day trip inland. Watch out for the hundreds of bats that hang from the walls of Lalay Cave.