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12 Best Beaches in Indonesia

Written by Joni Sweet
Apr 2, 2020

You're never too far away from a beach in Indonesia. The archipelago contains more than 17,000 islands. While each of these distinct lands offer different cultural experiences, cuisine, and attractions, the one thing they all have in common is endless expanses of coastline — spoiling beachgoers for choice on their vacation to Indonesia.

Indonesia regularly tops the travel bucket lists of beach aficionados, not only because of the amount of coastline, but also the quality and diversity of the seashore escapes. Looking for a wild pebble beach with surf-ready swells on a secluded island? Or a palm-fringed white-sand beach near world-class resorts? How about something a little different, like a pink-sand beach with epic snorkeling close to the shoreline filled with big lizards? No matter your definition of paradise, you can find a beach in Indonesia that meets it.

Grab some sunscreen, swimwear, and sandals. Then, plan your perfect vacation to Southeast Asia with our list of the best beaches in Indonesia.

1. Nusa Dua Beach, Bali

Nusa Dua Beach

Nusa Dua Beach shows you what a Balinese beach is all about: sugary white sand, tranquil waters, and plenty of nearby attractions. It's like a postcard of a tropical island hideaway brought to life — especially at sunrise, when the sky casts a crimson glow on the sapphire sea.

Just a 20-minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport, Nusa Dua Beach is a convenient place to soak up the sun on a short trip to Bali. The calm surf makes this beach an ideal attraction for families looking for a safe place to swim and sunbathe for hours on end. Plus, Nusa Dua Beach is home to some of the top-rated family resorts in Bali, like The St. Regis Bali Resort, which will take care of your every need on your trip to Indonesia. This is the stuff beach vacation dreams are made of.

Don't just stay on the sand, though. There are many tour operators who offer glass-bottom boat trips, which showcase the marine life that flourishes beneath the surface of the water. Other attractions around Nusa Dua Beach include self-drive jet skis, underwater sea walker experiences, and parasailing.

2. Pink Beach, Komodo Island

Pink Beach on Komodo Island

Most tourists visit Komodo Island in search of the destination's eponymous dragons — the largest lizards in the world. The species has been protected since 1980 at the island's Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that welcomes tens of thousands of tourists every year.

But Komodo Dragons aren't the only attraction on this island. The destination is also home to one of the best beaches in Indonesia, Pink Beach. The area gets its name from its flamingo-pink sand that looks like something in a Dr. Seuss story. Its rare blushing color comes from the red shells of tiny coral insects known as foraminifera that mix with white sand, giving the beach its eye-popping pink tint.

More than just a colorful environment, Komodo's Pink Beach is also a delight for divers. Coral gardens in the serene, shallow waters offer tourists plenty to explore with a snorkel or scuba gear.

3. Gili Trawangan, Lombok

Gili Trawangan

The Gili Islands, a cluster of three tiny islands to the northwest of Lombok, have long been a favorite destination for island-hopping backpackers in Indonesia. They maintain a unique charm and a laid-back atmosphere that hits all the right notes for a fun weekend.

While each of the Gili Islands has stunning coastlines, Gili Trawangan boasts some of the best beaches in all of Indonesia. Think gentle turquoise waters washing up on glistening white sand, shaded by flowering trees. They feel like a world away from Gili T's main drag of lively restaurants and beach clubs. It's worth renting a bike to explore the beaches during your stay on this car-free island.

If your hotel or lodge lends out snorkeling gear, take advantage of the offer. The waters around Gili T are filled with vibrant marine life, especially sea turtles. You can often find the graceful shelled creatures swimming just 15 or 20 meters from the beach. Seeing sea turtles in the wild is a magical experience that might become your favorite memory of your trip to Indonesia.

4. Sire Beach, Lombok

Sire Beach on Lombok with Mt. Rinjani in the distance

With the peak of Mt. Rinjani, Indonesia's second tallest volcano, rising in the background, Sire Beach is one of the best beaches with a view in Lombok. A carpet of soft green grass with tall, fluffy palm trees blankets the area around the beach. The coastline stretches for 3.8 kilometers in a crescent shape, treating travelers to panoramic views of lovely sunsets with cotton candy clouds. Rental shops along the beach have everything you need, including snorkeling equipment and canoes, to enjoy the water.

A local's favorite, Sire Beach is much more than just a place of leisure. It's also an important cultural gathering space, giving tourists unique sightseeing opportunities. You may see a live performance of dangdut, a genre of Indonesian folk-dance music, or larungan, a traditional ceremony where people release floating offerings on the sea. Experiences like these give new meaning to a day at the beach.

5. Trikora Beach, Bintan

Palm-lined Trikora Beach

Looking for an easy escape from city life in Singapore? Hop aboard a ferry to Bintan, a resort island with plush accommodations and glorious beaches. Trikora, on the northeast side of the island, is the go-to beach area in Bintan. The windswept expanse features four adjacent beaches with soft white sand and picturesque boulders. Across the clear blue sea, you can see other islands in the distance — an especially pretty sight at sunrise. Look closely for small snails and other creatures in the area.

Have you ever wanted to try kite surfing? Give it a whirl at Trikora Beach. Bintan has two seasons for kite surfing, which typically run from November through March and June through September. Tourists can take lessons from various kitesurfing schools and resorts in the area.

6. Nongsa Beach, Batam

Nongsa Beach

Bintan isn't the only easy beach getaway from Singapore. Nearby Batam, part of the Riau Islands, also invites tourists to enjoy sun, sand, and surf at its beaches. One of Batam's best beaches, Nongsa Beach, is just a 20-minute drive from the airport. You can see the Singapore skyline from the golden sandy shores of this beautiful beach area, surrounded by lush greenery.

Water sports draw many tourists to Nongsa Beach. Whether you want to zip around in a banana boat, defy gravity on a parasailing adventure, ride the waves while windsurfing, or rent a couple of Jet Skis for the day, you can find an operator around Batam to make it happen.

7. Pangandaran, Java

Fishing boat on the beach at Pangandaran

Better known as home to big cities like Jakarta and the cultural gems of Yogyakarta and Borobudur, the island of Java is also a great destination for a relaxing getaway along the coast. One of the best beaches in Java is Pangandaran, on the south side of the island. Tourists can relax on the silky white sand and gaze out on the magnificent water, which seems to exude every shade of blue imaginable. The chilled-out vibe and natural scenery feels like a breath of fresh air from the urban sprawl elsewhere on Java.

You can find some of the region's best surf breaks around Pangandaran, hence the abundance of surf schools and board rental shops in the area. But if hanging 10 isn't your thing, you can still appreciate the amazing waves by taking a long stroll up the beach as the sun sinks over the horizon.

8. Seminyak Beach, Bali

Aerial view of colorful umbrellas on Seminyak Beach

Craving an escape from the crowds and frenzy of Kuta? Head to Seminyak Beach. Just 25 minutes away by car, this beach feels like a blissful escape from all the tourist traps.

Seminyak Beach is one of the most upscale oceanfront hangouts in South Bali. The five-kilometer-long beach boasts wide stretches of golden sand, lined with five-star resorts, outdoor restaurants, and beach clubs. Try to snag one of the dozens of cool bean bag beach chairs at La Plancha, a colorful beach shack that serves just-caught seafood and refreshing drinks near Seminyak's famous surf break. It practically converts into an outdoor theater for tourists to watch the sun go down every evening.

9. Mangsit Beach, Lombok

Mangsit Beach at dusk on Lombok

Skip the white-sand beaches elsewhere in Indonesia and treat yourself to something different: black volcanic sand that seems to sparkle in the sunlight. You can find it at Mangsit Beach, a five-minute drive from Senggigi on Lombok. The gentle surf creates the perfect environment for swimming.

And if you prefer lounging around, you don't have to worry about interruptions from touts, boisterous restaurants, or big crowds. Mangsit Beach is decidedly less developed than other beaches around Lombok — and that's all part of what makes this beautiful coastal destination so charming.

10. Air Manis Beach, Sumatra

Sunset at Air Manis Beach

Air Manis Beach in West Sumatra has everything you'd expect from one of the best beaches in Indonesia: low waves, bronze sand, views of volcanos, and warm seawater. But it's also known for another peculiar attraction: Batu Malin Kundang, a curious rock formation that looks like a kneeling man.

According to a Southeast Asian folktale, a poor sailor snuck aboard a merchant ship and amassed his own fortune. Upon returning to his home village, he felt ashamed at his humble roots and shunned his aging mother. She cursed him — turning his body and ship to stone, which is now here on Air Mains Beach. The legend gives you something to ponder as you soak up the sun in this scenic space.

11. Nusa Penida, Bali

Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida, Bali

There are no other beaches in Indonesia quite as epic as the collection at Nusa Penida, a small, relatively undeveloped island just south of Bali. You may have to trek down steep sets of stairs, or hike along the bottom of jagged cliffs to reach the beaches, which feel as pristine as those you'd find on a deserted island.

There's a beach for everyone on Nusa Penida. Head to secluded Kelingking Beach for incredible photo ops of a famous cliff that looks like an open-mouthed Tyrannosaurus Rex jutting out into the sea.

If you want to watch a breathtaking sunset, head to the west-facing Crystal Bay Beach. The calm waters also lend themselves to swimming and snorkeling.

Tembeling Beach is a great spot for tourists looking to go off the beaten path in Nusa Penida. The long stretch of soft sand and turquoise water is surrounded by lush forest, where you can find hidden swimming holes, cliff jumping spots, and ceremonial grounds with traditional statues.

Another popular option in Nusa Penida is Atuh Beach. The only thing that would make a day at this pure white-sand beach with mesmerizing cliffs even better would be a fresh coconut. Fortunately, coconut sellers in the area have got you covered. Order one of the refreshing fruits and sip your way to bliss in this paradise.

12. Cimaja, Java

Sunrise at Cimaja beach in Java

A four-hour drive southwest of Jakarta brings tourists to Cimaja, one of the best surfing beaches in Indonesia. The rippable waves are cherished by intermediate and advanced surfers looking to get out on their boards. Rather than sand, the beach has big round pebbles, giving spectators a pretty place to watch these skilled surfers hone their skills.

Never surfed before? Don't worry. Even first-timers can enjoy the experience of learning to surf at some of the calmer areas around Cimaja. Ask the local surf schools for recommendations on the best places to go, or better yet, consider taking a lesson.

The beach isn't the only place to enjoy the water around Cimaja. Tourists can check out the Cisolok Hot Springs, about a half hour from the beach at Cimaja. The hot spring water is cooled off naturally by a running river, bringing it to the perfect temperature for soaking sore muscles.

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