Islands In / Around Indonesia To Think Long & Hard About For Yr Next Vaycay

You wouldn’t go to the UK without seeing some of Europe, so it makes sense to treat the rest of the world with the same approach. Hear me out – I’ve been to Bali upwards of five times. Sure, I’ve ventured out of Kuta because a human can only take so much Arak, but never have I made a real go of Asia off the back of the trip.

Don’t make the same mistake as me + so many other people, and consider the below next time you head O/S and in Indonesia‘s direction.


Photo: Contiki.

WHERE: Off the Northwest Coast of LombokIndonesia. You’ll need to get a boat over from the main island of Bali, so please, for the love of god, do not make the same mistake as me and do that hungover. 

WHY: Whether you hit up Gili T (the bigger, party island), Gili Meno (for da honeymooners) or Gili Air (for the ~chill~, laid-back peeps), these islands are unlike anything else. For example, all three islands don’t allow cars, so you need to either opt for a bike or horse, which makes it super quiet / chill.

The water here is crystal freaking clear. It’s also quite warm, so, like, that’s nice and this is *the* place to get ~under the sea~, down where it’s better / wetter etc. 

You absolutely have to go snorkling or scuba. I swam with turtles every day for a week. Some amazing coral bombies too, and the water is like a bath,” Chloe Patterson tells PEDESTRIAN.TV.

Try not to have too big of a night beforehand, so that your breath can go the distance. You know what I mean. 

That being said, the nightlife here is good, namely because it’s chill and feels like a backyard house party of sorts. Mingle after you hit up the ‘The Datu Swing‘ in Gili T (aka one of those most frothed over pic opps of the Indonesian Islands). 


Photo: Flickr / Richard Toller.

WHERE: Borneo is half Indonesia, half Malaysia, within the Malay Archipelago. Kota Kinabalu Airport (which is best for Sabah) is only a three-hour flight from Bali‘s Denpasar airport, however, flights are limited. Plan ahead.

WHY: To be at one with nature y’all. Borneo is the third-largest island in the world (double the size of Germany) and home to the oldest rainforest in the world (130 million years) and one of two places in the world where orang utans can be found in the wild. 

What can ya do there? So glad you asked. Venture on a two-day climb up Mount Kinabalu (the highest peak in South East Asia) + take a canopy walk at Kinabalu Park, snorkel off of Sipadan Island (rated one of the best dive sites in the world), soak in the healing waters of Poring Hot Springs, check out the Proboscis monkeys (which remains the weirdest looking animal I’ve ever seen, second to Nicholas Cage) in Sabah‘s Klias Wetlands. Seriously, look at ’em here.


Photo: Instagram / @amberhalleday_mta.

An island of the Philippines. You’ll have to fly in to Manila (four-hour flight from Denpasar) and then you can get an Air Swift flight to El Nido (more expensive than the flight > bus option but sooo much easier) and a lil’ motorbike taxi into town. 

WHY: Coron and El Nido are two very popular destinations of Palawan. The turquoise lagoons that you kayak through here are insane and one of the most Instagrammable things you’ll do – a v. different aesthetic to that of Bali and Gili. 

It’s the perfect destination to relax, island hop, take boat trips, snorkel, surf and more. The boat stops off of El Nido are without a doubt some of the most beautiful (and warmest) waters I’ve ever dipped in, however, the journeys to and fro’ can be wet n’ wild, so pop a motion sickness tablet prior. 


Photo: Flickr / Mike Behnken.

WHERE: You’re best getting a two-hour ferry from Phuket. ICYMI, Phuket airport is only a five-hour flight from Denpasar airport in Bali. Not bad, not bad at all. 

WHY: Phuket’s a wild time and all, similarly to Bali, but the real beauty’s over on the surrounding Islands including: Kho Phi Phi. The limestone cliffs, viking caves, white-sand beaches and snorkelling opps will have you feeling luxe / relaxed AF.

The island is also home to Maya Bay of Kho Phi Phi Lay, the smaller, sister island + enclave of A+ paradise of Phi Phi. Considering this part can now be overcrowded by tourists thanks to Tinseltown, Kho Pha-Ngan is also a goer is you’re looking to party hard (ahem, Full Moon) or Kho Tao is good for an unwind. 

Go on, book that annual leave stat.

Photo: Flickr / Eddie Yip.