3 Off-the-Beaten Path Places in Indonesia

Like most humans, I know little about Indonesia. Here’s what pops in my mind when someone mentions Indonesia:

  • A Serbian once wailed about the diabolical injustices that the Dutch leveled on the locals during their colonization of Indonesia. So I suppose they were no better than British, Portuguese, and French colonialists.
  • Barack Obama lived there for a few years when he was a boy. He mentioned that he got used to hearing the call to prayer. This is why he doesn’t suffer from Islamophobia has much as other Americans.
  • Indonesia has thousands of islands (fact check: around 13,000).
  • It’s a “weird” Muslim country. First, it’s far away from the bulk of the Islamic region (whose epicenter is Mecca, Saudi Arabia). Perhaps because of that isolation, it’s developed a different and more lenient way of practicing Islam. Still, it has its share of jihadists, who periodically conduct violent operations, especially in Bali.
  • Bali, Bali, Bali. That’s all I ever hear about. It seems that all the tourists focus on that one little island. After getting tired of hearing only about Bali, I became curious about why that island, and only that island among thousands, gets all the attention. It seems one big reason is it’s one of the few islands that the Islam was unable to dominate. It remained Hindu, which is extremely rare in Indonesia.

What are some off-the-beaten track places to go to in Indonesia?

Perhaps you also knew the facts I listed above. You may know a few more. However, before going to Indonesia, it’s worth knowing a few places to visit that are not Bali. Here’s are a few places I had never heard of and seem promising. I hope to see them one day. If you have, then tell me your experience in the comments.

Gili Islands: These 3 islands paradises are ideal for anyone who wants to get away from it all – and be on a secluded beach. Judging from the aerial shots, it looks amazing.

Gili Islands

Krakatoa: For a long time, I’ve heard of the epic 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. I love hiking mountains and soaking in history. Why not do both by trekking around Krakatoa?

Toba, Sumatra: I know I’m a bit obsessed about volcanoes, but the Toba eruption of 75,000 years ago nearly made humans extinct! So you have to check out the site of this deadly eruption, the largest in humanity’s history.

Given the size of Indonesia, there are dozens of other places I could list, but this will get your juices flowing, so that you can think beyond Bali!

Francis Tapon
Francis Tapon is half Chilean and half French and he was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He's been to over 80 countries, but he keeps coming back to this magical city because he loves earthquakes.

He spoke Spanish at home, French at school, and English everywhere else. He can get by in Portuguese and Italian, barely survive in Russian and Slovenian, and speak a few other languages.

Francis has an MBA from Harvard Business School and co-founded a successful Silicon Valley company that did robotic vision. He left his technology life to walk across America four times. He has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and in 2007, became the first to do a round-trip on the Continental Divide Trail. In 2009, he was one of the finalists for the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, which "features nominees who are world-renowned for their skills and who have helped inspire thousands of others to take part in the great outdoors."

Francis has written a couple of travel books including The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us and Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America. He also produced a 77-minute video about his CDT Yo-Yo.
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