Indonesia is a pure paradise that has been drawing in tourists with its beaches, turquoise waters, and 17,000 islands for decades. This is a nation that stole my heart years ago, and one I’m constantly returning to. And one of the best ways to explore Indonesia is on a cruise!
Islands like Java, Bali, and Lombok are must-visit destinations, portraying the traditional Indonesian culture juxtaposed by trendy cafes and paradise island vibes.
But all travelers are looking for different things, and fortunately, Indonesia offers a variety of diverse experiences, including destinations like Sumatra and Raja Ampat that are much further off the beaten track.
In this short guide, we look at the best places in Indonesia to visit on a cruise.
There’s plenty to see and visit in Indonesia, and if you plan to cruise here then it helps to know a little bit about the islands you might visit on your trip.
In this short guide, we’ll take you on an informative island-exploration journey where you can learn more about Indonesia and its islands and check our recommendations on which islands to visit.
Whether you’re looking to join a coastal cruise from Java to Lombok, or perhaps a more intimate liveaboard in the Raja Ampat archipelago – we have you covered.
Table of Contents
Where To Go On a Cruise in Indonesia
Here are our top recommendations for cruising in Indonesia:
How to Choose the Right Indonesian Island
There’s no wrong or right answer when choosing the right Indonesian island to visit; at the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal preferences.
Before going any further with the article, make sure to check the latest Indonesia cruises and book yours well in advance.
Java is the home island of more than 140 million people. Pretty impressive, huh?
It’s the most populated island in Indonesia and the 5th largest island in Southeast Asia. Java is a popular tourist destination due to its ancient tradition, culture, and history.
What’s a better place to experience Indonesian culture firsthand than on this marvelous, breathtaking island?
You will also find plenty of luxury resorts along the coastline, so if you’re up to a more luxurious type of vacation, make sure to book your stay in advance.
Bali is on many travelers’ lists, and for a reason. You’ve probably seen thousands of pictures of Bali on Google, social media, travel magazines, etc.
This paradise-like island will be one of your favorite travel experiences if you visit it and learn more about Indonesian culture.
It’s the perfect island to explore the culture and learn more about the local community, customs, traditions, and lifestyle.
Make sure to spend a couple of days there and visit places like Canggu, Ubud, and Uluwatu.
You could also take a trip to East Bali and visit the famous Pura Lempuyang Temple. Then, you can climb Mount Batur and enjoy the panoramic view from the top.
There will be plenty of shore excursions available for your trip to Bali, with the island offering a huge variety of tourism activities.
You could also extend your trip here and spend some time exploring the island yourself!
Sumatra is next on the list because it fosters incredible natural beauty and a vast range of wildlife species.
If you want to reconnect with nature despite experiencing the cultural side of Indonesia, then Sumatra is the right choice.
The reserves and national parks will make you fall in love with sites like the Gunung Leuser National Park and Bukit Lawang; a rare chance to meet plenty of Indonesian wild animals, including orangutans, rhinos, tigers, and Sumatran elephants.
You should also take this chance to visit the gigantic crater of Lake Toba, an ancient volcanic lake in the heart of Sumatra.
Walking the jungle trekking footsteps will take you on an unforgettable journey of seeing the hugely impressive Lake Toba, hiking the steep slopes, and exploring the rainforest.
4. Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is considered part of the Papua region of Indonesia and consists of four major and 600 minor islands. The major islands are Misoo, Waigeo, Salawati, and Bantana.
The main reason many tourists visit Raja Ampat is the local community, where they can learn more about the culture, customs, and traditions, and let’s not forget – the incredibly beautiful snorkeling and scuba diving spots.
If you want to experience the cultural part of Indonesia at its finest, you must try its cuisine. The cuisine is the best representation of a nation’s history and culture.
Raja Ampat is also one of the most popular areas for Indonesian cruises and scuba liveaboards.
Lombok is somewhat similar to Bali in terms of population and size. You can participate in many activities, like cooking, yoga classes, snorkeling, trekking, climbing, waterfall hiking and more.
With its crystal clear waters, pristine beaches and stunning views, Lombok is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway. It is also home to some of Indonesia’s most beautiful islands, such as Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.
If you get the chance, make sure to visit Mount Rinjani’s volcano and at least one visit to a local village for the ultimate cultural experience.
An added bonus is that the locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming, so you’re sure to get a warm welcome wherever you go!
Why Cruise in Indonesia?
Indonesia is full of surprises and remote, little corners waiting for you to discover them.
But no matter how hard you try, you will never visit all 17,000 of Indonesia’s islands.
The good news though is that with a cruise in Indonesia, you can at least visit a few of them!
Even if you visit just two of the islands mentioned above, it’ll be more than enough to have an incredible time in Indonesia.
Yes, you can go on a cruise in Indonesia. There are a variety of cruise companies offering trips around the country that vary in length and destination. Popular destinations include Bali, Lombok, and the Gili Islands.
The best liveaboards in Indonesia can be found in Raja Ampat, Komodo Islands, and Cenderawasih Bay in Sulawesi. Each destination offers its own unique experience, with a variety of activities such as snorkeling, diving, and other water sports.