1. The Tibu Ijo Waterfall, Lombok
Known for its clear turquoise waters, the Tibu Ijo Waterfall is a favourite among locals and tourists. The waterfall remains a hidden gem with minimal crowd as there aren't any signboards for it. The journey includes an hour-long trek and you'll need to cross two rivers to get there.
2. Orchid Forest Cikole, Bandung
Walking into this forest will make you feel like you've accidentally stumbled into a fairy village. The Orchid Forest Cikole in Bandung has more than 100 species of orchids - there's even an Orchid Clinic for 'sick' flowers. You can also stay overnight by setting up camp at their designated Camping Ground.
3. A hidden canyon in Bali
Doesn't look like something you'd expect to see in Bali, right? This hidden canyon is situated in Gianyar, which can be quite difficult to find if you don't have a local guide. You'll trek from the Guwang Village to the Beji Guwang Temple, where you can find a sacred pool and a separate one with free 'fish therapy'. After that it's just a short upstream walk to the canyon!
4. The beaches of Pulau Weh, Banda Aceh
The waters around Pulau Weh are so clear that you could even see the fish and coral reefs that are on the ocean floor. There are more than 20 dive sites around the island, where you can see eels, stingrays, and even sharks! Don't forget to catch the sunset, which is said to be one of the most beautiful ones in Indonesia.
5. Dolok Tinggi Raja, Medan
Also called the 'White Crater', Dolok Tinggi Raja is a natural hot spring with white limestone banks. The snow-white colour of the banks is the result of calcium carbonate deposits that are left after the hot spring waters pass flow over the rocks. As the water temperature can go as high as 90°C, you're not allowed to swim in it. The locals also call the place 'Snow Heat' due to the steam that it produces.
6. Harau Valley, Padang
If you want the best view of the area, Harau Valley is the place for it. Nestled between the rocky mountains are paddy fields, villages, and a winding river. You can visit the waterfalls in the mountains, or take a short walk around the village.
7. Buluh Cina Tourist Village, Pekanbaru
The Buluh Cina village is located within a tropical rainforest, where tourists can visit and even mix with people from two local tribes. The villagers are skilled fishermen who still use the traditional methods of fishing, and they even build their own boats. Visit during the month of October and you might be able to catch their annual dragon boat race!
8. Embun Waterfall, Palembang
This unique waterfall features three 'curtains' of water streaming down from the top of the cliff. The water is quite shallow, so you can easily walk into the waterfall to explore. You can also find lots of street food being sold nearby, like local snacks and even grilled snails!
9. Sungai Kapuas, Pontianak
This is the longest river in Indonesia, which branches into the sea at Pontianak. The river is best viewed on a cruise during the evening. You can choose your preferred cruise style - anything from a simple sightseeing tour to one with candlelit dinner.
10. Taman Wisata Alam Mangrove, Jakarta
The mangrove forest in Taman Wisata Alam Angke Kapuk is a great place for nature lovers. There are many ways to explore the forest: you can take a relaxing walk along their many nature paths, or rent a canoe and explore via the river. Those who want to spend a night can also rent cottages in the park.
11. Goa Jomblang, Yogyakarta
Photographers love capturing shots of sunlight shining through the roof of the cave in Goa Jomblang. This cave is connected to other chambers within the cave system of Gunung Kidul, formed by rainwater and underground rivers that used to flow through it thousands of years ago. It's a 50m-deep cave, so you'll need to be lowered into it by rope.
12. Kenjeran Beach, Surabaya
13. Brown Canyon, Semarang
The Brown Canyons of Semarang are remnants of an old quarry near the city. All the mining has left the area looking like the canyons of Arizona and Utah, which is great for photography enthusiasts. You can even cycle around the area as there are a few trails around.
14. Apparalang Cliff, Makkasar
If you're brave enough, head to the cliff diving area at Apparalang and take that leap of faith into the crystal blue waters; or you can just head to the docks to have a closer view of the clear waters. Apparalang is accessible via public transport from the city, but it's better to hire a private car to bring you there.
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With more than thirteen thousand islands, Indonesia is definitely a Southeast Asian destination that's worth exploring. It doesn't take too long to get there (3.5 hours at most), accommodation is not too expensive, and there are lots of halal food options too!
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