The most beautiful beaches of Indonesia

When you think about getting away from it all, your imagination knows how to please. You’re probably thinking swaying palms, smooth sands and dazzling sun reflecting on emerald blue seas, or maybe that’s just us at Mr Hudson. In that case, then maybe we’ll have the best beaches of Indonesia all to ourselves this year! But if you share our dream, then you’re very welcome to join. To help achieve our vision, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite Indonesia beaches – black, pink and turtle filled – all tropical and dreamy as heck. Read on for our choice of the best Indonesian beaches from bustling Bali to off-track Komodo.

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Nusa Dua Beach, Bali | Photo: Dennis Van Dalen

1. Nusa Dua Beach, Bali

Indonesia may be awash with bliss beaches but Bali is perhaps the most inundated beach destination. If we had to pick from Bali’s many offerings, Nusa Dua Beach, some 40 kilometres south of Denpasar, would be the one. All white sand, calm water and swaying palm, Nusa Dua is a picture-perfect paradise complete with sunbathing and water sports facilities for easily bored vacationers. Add to that the long stretch of luxury resorts, bars and restaurants running parallel, and Nusa Dua Beach becomes the perfect honeymoon destination. Though somewhat pricey, Nusa Dua has the advantage of being far enough from the busy centres for tranquillity but still close enough to Kuta and Seminyak to be convenient for day trips, 25 minutes from Ngurah Rai Airport Bali.

Across the island, Dreamland Beach Bali is a more affordable alternative not far from Kuta, with surfing classes and massage treatments on the beach, plus access to trendy restaurants and cafés in town.

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali | Photo: Sven Piek

2. Pink Beach, Komodo

Previously mentioned in our rundown of the world’s best pink sand beaches, the Komodo Island Pink Beach is a rare marvel. One of only a handful of pink beaches worldwide, Komodo Pink Beach (or Pantai Merah as it is locally known) is based in the Jurassic world of Komodo National Park, a protected archipelago between Sumbawa and Flores inhabited by eponymous dragons. Most of the Komodo Dragons live on either Komodo or Rinca, leaving the forests and volcanoes of Padar Island free for exploring. From the port hub of Labuan Bajo, you can take a boat trip out to Komodo Pink Beach – around 90 minutes by speed boat – combining a number of the best park attractions into one day trip or taking your sweet time on a liveaboard sightseeing boat over multiple days.

If pink is not really your colour, try …, hands down the best black sand beach Bali has to offer.

Indonesia | Photo: Medz

Pink beach, Komodo | Photo: Merry Amber copia

Mr. Hudson highlight image

Rub two rocks together and you’ve got Kelingking Beach, a site featuring jutting cliffs shaped in the form of a t-rex

3. Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida

Rub two rocks together and you’ve got Kelingking Beach, a site featuring jutting cliffs shaped in the form of a t-rex. See the formation for yourselves on day trips from Bali to the Nusa Islands (30 minutes from Bali), opting to take photos from the viewing platform in the hills above, or braving the steep one-hour hike down to the beach itself. Most tourists come for the viewpoint, meaning that intrepid sand seekers may get lucky and have one of the best Indonesia beaches all to themselves. Organised day tours can help you access the beach more easily, but exploring the whole island by moped instead is a firm recommendation, particularly in the dry season from May to September!

Kelingking Beach, Indonesia | Photo: Shashank Acharya

Photo: Eirik Skarstein

4. Koka Beach, Flores

A local favourite on the pristine island of Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Koka Beach retains its tranquillity thanks to a remote position some 90 minutes away from the nearest towns of Moni and Maumere. Travelling by scooter is our preferred method of approach, allowing for a windswept drive followed by shelter within either of two coves, each distinct from the other and separated by a sandbank. The first is rockier with better snorkelling while the second is smoother for bathers and swimmers. Be prepared to pay at two checkpoints on your way down to the beach (a total of IDR30,000; USD$2.10) but it will be worth it to see the panorama of sea and neighbouring islands from the cliff viewpoint above. Beach huts and warungs (small food stands) line the first bay, so bring cash for convenience!

5. Nihiwatu Beach, Sumba

At 17th on CNN’s list of the world’s 100 best beaches, Nihiwata Beach achieves godly status for all who visit. You’ll have to earn your trip to heaven by way of an hour’s flight from Bali (to Sumba Island) followed by a 90-minute drive, after which you’ll be rewarded by some of the best surfing in Indonesia. As well as catching waves, Nihiwatu Beach is a luxury retreat in its own right, watched over by the very nice Nihi Sumba Resort, a hotel that has exclusive access to the beach (together with the local community). At low tide each evening, join the villagers in scouring the reef for crabs, octopus and seaweed, revelling in peachy sunsets as you go.

Koka Beach, Flores | Photo: Aruka Death L

Nihiwatu Beach, Indonesia | Photo: Ari Saaski

6. Derawan Beach, East Kalimantan

Despite only coming in at 63rd on CNN’s best beach list, Derawan Beach is very much worthy of your towel. Less developed than those mentioned so far, Derawan Beach in Berau, East Kalimantan, will appeal to travellers seeking solace on untouched sands. Of the 31 islands that comprise the Derawan Island archipelago, only four of them are accessible, all retaining a down-to-earth atmosphere.

Manta rays and green turtles are known to swim among the seagrass and reefs offshore, alongside whales and dolphins in the wider area, making Derawan a dream diving and snorkelling spot. The beach is also backed by mangrove forest which serves as a valuable wildlife reserve. Reach Derawan Island on a flight to Tarakan or Berau (via Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan) transferring to car or boat to arrive at Derawan Beach.

7. Tanjung Aan Beach, Lombok

Neighbouring Bali in the West Nusa Tenggara chain, the quieter, lesser-known haven of Lombok awaits. While everyone else is struggling to capture an unmanned piece of sand over on Kuta Beach (near Lombok’s main hub), 20 minutes down the road the people on Tanjung Aan Beach smile peacefully from their bamboo loungers. The bay at Tanjung Aan sees mild surf for beginners and sensational sea views backed by lush scenery, especially beautiful at sunset. Across the bay, the rock formations at Batu Payung make for some even more impressive sunset snaps.

Another Lombok beach worth travelling for is the remote Tangsi Beach (the second pink beach Indonesia) on the island’s south-eastern tip, boasting unique views of Mount Rinjani and offshore coral reefs made for snorkelling.

Lombok | Photo: Suleyman Coskun

Mr. Hudson highlight image

Another Lombok beach worth travelling for is the remote Tangsi Beach on the island’s south-eastern tip, boasting unique views of Mount Rinjani and offshore coral reefs made for snorkelling

8. Gili Islands, Lombok

A low-key alternative to Bali, the three tiny Gili Islands appear to increase in size, emerging like thought bubbles from the northwest coast of Lombok. What they’re thinking is unknown, but it’s no doubt something blissful, much like the beaches that line them. Of the three, Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno are non-motorised, meaning that you’ll have to get from place to place on foot, by electric scooter or by horse-drawn cart (that’s a thing on the Gillis!). Chances are you won’t want to move too much once you find a beach you like, however, instead sway in a hammock all morning before wreck diving off the coast in the afternoon.

Gili Meno is considered the quietest of the three islands, but its Bask Nest Underwater Statues is a top spot for diving with turtles, opposite romantic, upscale accommodation on the island’s other side. The third island, Gili Nanggu, is also a diver’s paradise, with water so clear you don’t even have to don a mask to see tropical fish swimming in the shallows. Remote as the Gili islands are, they are easily accessed on an island-hopping day tour from Bali (via fast boat or ferry from Bali’s Padang Ai), or by chartering a local fishing boat from Lombok’s Tawun Harbour.

Gili Islands | Photo: Stijn Dijkstra

Gili Meno | Photo: Stijn Dijkstra

9. Belitung Island, East Sumatra

Appearing like a shimmering mirage from turquoise waters and spangled with uninhabited islets, Belitung Island in East Sumatra is a wonder to behold. Giving the best Indonesian islands with volcanoes a run for their money, Belitung Island swaps calderas for abandoned quartz sand and clay mines, such as the white basin of Kaolin Lake, now filled with aquamarine waters, just 10 minutes outside of the island’s main hub. With all its white features and elaborate rock formations, Belitung Island is a good home for a number of Sumatra Indonesia best beaches, such as Tanjung Tinggi where rock scrambling and diving are the top activities.

While visiting Belitung, you can also try an island-hopping tour to stop at Lengkuas Island’s Dutch lighthouse, the rock-strewn tiddler of Batu Berlayar and the photogenic Coral Island (Pulau Karang).

Belitung Island, Indonesia | Photo: Alfiano Sutianto

Photo: David Henrichs

10. Kanawa Beach, Flores

Last in our list of the best beaches in Indonesia is Flores’ Kanawa Beach where stunning sights lie above and below its crystal waters. Protected within Komodo National Park, Flores’ western coast comes with some incredible marine life, in particular, the waters around Kanawa Island’s best beach. It’s here you’ll be granted some of the best snorkelling in Indonesia, getting a front-row view of barracuda, turtles and reef sharks swimming among healthy corals. To reach Kanawa Island, take a flight from Denpasar or Bali to Labuan Bajo, followed by a short taxi ride to the Kanawa Office dock. Leave plenty of time to arrive at the dock before noon so as not to miss the only boat of the day to Kanawa Island.

Gili Islands, Indonesia | Photo: Atilla Taskiran

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