Indonesia is the largest island country in the world and boasts over 17,000 islands. It is located in South-East Asia and lies between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean. The Indonesian archipelago’s capital Jakarta is one of the most populous urban cities in Indonesia and a pit stop for travelers traversing through the country. One of the most popular spots to visit in Indonesia is Bali, which is a haven for tourists. The scenic beauty, pristine beaches and azure waters are ideal for relaxing. Indonesia is also famous for its coffee and Java produces some of the best coffee. You can taste different varieties of coffee and pay a visit to a plantation to see how it is grown and processed. Some popular attractions to visit in Indonesia are Komodo National Park, Bukit Lawang, Weh Island, and Raja Ampat Islands. Here’s a look at the top 10 best cities to visit in Indonesia to make your travel planning easier.
Indonesia City Name List
Yogyakarta is also referred to as Yogyakarta located in Central Java. This famous city in Indonesia is one of Indonesia’s most important cultural, intellectual, and literary hubs, and is the beating heart of Indonesian tradition. A short flight away from the capital Jakarta, Jogja or Yogya, as it is often abbreviated to, is easily accessible from other major tourist destinations around the region such as Bali or Singapore. Bounded by the Indian Ocean to its south, and the fiery active volcano Mount Merapi to the north, Yogyakarta is also home to Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple compound, Prambanan. Its close proximity to the world’s largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur, also underscores its nature as a multicultural mecca, as Jogja is a predominantly Muslim community.Formed in the 8th century as the capital of the Medang Kingdom, Jogja evolved into the locus of Indonesia’s rich and diverse heritage and became emblematic of the country’s multicultural values and modernity. Yogyakarta was instrumental in Indonesia’s independence struggle and became the epicentre for revolutionary thought against Dutch colonialism. As a result, the city was granted special status to still be ruled by a monarchy in light of its contribution to the independence struggle.
The fourth-largest city in Indonesia, Medan is one of the most diverse areas in the country. With sprawling lawns, old government buildings, the heavy traffic and glistening new malls, Medan also offers an interesting contrast between old and new. Each ethnic group contributes to Medan’s wide variety of food, making it an excellent place for food tourism, and a must-visit for foodies and connoisseurs alike. Lake Toba, in Medan, is the world’s largest volcanic lake and is another popular attraction in Medan. Usually, Medan is overlooked by tourists as a mere transition point to Malaysia or other Indonesian cities, the island of Penang or the beautiful Lake Toba, but the city in itself has plenty to offer in terms of culture, food and sights. Medan is a cultural mix of many ethnicities and religions, so its landscape is dotted with Dutch buildings, mosques, Hindu and Buddhist temples, churches and many other places of worship.With people from almost all kinds of Asian ethnicities, including Chinese, Javanese, different Indonesian tribes, Southern Indians, and Northern Indians, Medan has a vibrant culture, making it a must-visit for any tourist wishing to explore Indonesia.
Makassar, a bustling port is the largest city in East Indonesia. It is a must-visit city in Indonesia because of its cosmopolitan nature and urban attractions. As a city, it is relatively more modern but also has traces of Dutch architecture in a few places, with Fort Rotterdam standing as one of the remaining bastions of colonial architecture. The walkway along Losari Beach is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Makassar is also known for its great diving and snorkelling opportunities off the reef of Samalona Island. Makassar used to be and still is, Indonesia’s largest trade conduit, and this makes it one of the most colourfully cosmopolitan cities in the country. Pantai Losari or the Losari beach is the city’s most famous party where tourists may catch picturesque scenes from the sea and visit the various food stalls, and the famous floating mosque – Masjid Amirul Mukminin. Besides these traces of tradition, the rest of the city is a sprawling metropolis, boasting of the worlds largest indoor theme park Trans Studio and many large malls and luxury hotels.
Located just off the eastern coast of Sumatra, nuzzled up against the Singaporean coast, Batam is one of the most picturesque islands in the Riau Archipelago, and also one of the most modernised areas in Indonesia. The proximity to Singapore also makes this popular city in Indonesia one of the most visited weekend getaway destinations for residents from the island nation that are looking for a retreat, and some fresh ocean air. Batam is a perfect blend of three principal islands, Batam, Rempang, Galang, and a smattering of other smaller islands. Batam is one of Indonesia’s most scenic regions, replete with beautiful vistas, lush forested coasts, sprawling resorts and golf courses, large malls, and some great opportunities for adventure. Filled with places for recreation, beautiful scenery and great, cheap food and drink, it is the perfect tourist destination. Batam is most famous for its beaches and water-themed adventure sports, and of course, its large immaculately maintained golf courses. It also is home to the largest Buddhist temple in South-East Asia and has perfect bike and hike trails along its northern coast. Thus, Batam is an all-rounded experience for any tourist.
Bali is located to the west of Java in the Lesser Sunda Islands. This most famous city in Indonesia is famous for its scenic rice terraces, fragrant cuisine, stunning beaches and a galore of culture and tradition. Bali combines leisure and adventure impeccably with its elaborate temples, endless coastline, some of the world’s best coral reefs, waterfalls and retreats. Bali is where people from all over the world come to lose themselves because this city is a dizzying combination of spiritual awakening and hard-partying. Bali is enough to captivate and entice you into never leaving because this place boasts some of the best sunsets and sunrises. Don’t forget to stop by one of the many terraced rice fields, a feature that only adds to the diversity of Bali’s beautiful landscape. At the beach, surf, dive, take a casual boat ride to gaze at the dolphins, tourists may enjoy an idyllic day and explore the many beautiful temples, the local markets and the waterfalls.
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Known to be the spiritual centre of Bali, Ubud’s humble and understated nature is the antithesis to the loud, brash, hard-partying lifestyle that has come to define Kuta and Seminyak. Ubud is a quaint town of artists brought to the masses in the Julia Roberts film ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, and is regarded as the arts and craft hub with all the galleries and artists’ workshops in the town and nearby villages. Ubud offers visitors the quintessential traditional Balinese experiences and oozes charm and old-world culture. Ubud’s laid-back and leisurely-paced way of life quickly grows on visitors. The world-famous Jatiluwih rice terraces and its tranquil and verdant expanses, the multitude of temples scattered in and around Ubud. This most visited city in Indonesia is also famous for the many art galleries and workshops they conduct and offers the perfect avenue for tourists looking to buy authentic Balinese art, or those that want to learn how to create it by themselves.
The best way to explore Jakarta is by walking around the capital’s city center and you can take the three-hour guided Jakarta Landmarks tour to learn more. The Indonesian capital and one of the top cities in Indonesia is home to the biggest mosque in South-East Asia – Istiqlal Mosque – which is a popular tourist destination. Marvel at its magnificent architecture and the dome which has a 45 meter (147 feet) diameter. It is flanked by tall minarets, adding to its beauty. The Jakarta Landmarks tour package also includes a visit to the Monas or the National Monument, which is 137 meters (449.5 feet) tall. While here, pop down to the museum below the Monas to learn about Jakarta’s history. You also get to see the President’s official residence – the Merdeka Palace – as part of this tour. You also get to visit the Jakarta Cathedral on this tour as the guide clues you in on the history and importance of the landmarks.
Kuta lies to the south of Bali and is a popular tourist haunt courtesy its party scene and vibrant nightlife. Kuta Beach and the resorts in the region are quite popular with travelers and ideal for those looking for fun activities. The beach of this tourist city in Indonesia is famed for surfing and is perfect even for amateurs looking to try their hand at the sport. Walk on the soft golden sand as you soak in the views of the Indian Ocean. The promenade is peppered with quaint cafes and eateries so you can enjoy lunch or a drink here as you relax by the beach. Visit the Leeng Gwan Kuta Temple or Vihara Dharmayana. This Buddhist temple is over two centuries old and the colorful murals and intricate carvings will leave you spellbound. Enjoy a beer at a local shack at night or shop at the flea markets when in Kuta.
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A city of contrasts, Bandung is one of Indonesia’s most significant and most rapidly developing cities. located at a distance of 150 km from Jakarta. Bandung was dubbed the “Paris of Java” by the Dutch colonists featured by rippling rice fields, volcanic mountains, and a distinctly European feel. Due to Bandung’s volcanic geographic features that made it easy to defend from attacks, the Dutch East India Company had plans to relocate the country’s capital from the erstwhile called Batavia (Jakarta), but those plans fell through because of the Second World War. This beautiful city in Indonesia has since blossomed into the preferred weekend getaway destination of many Jakartans. The zoo, botanical gardens, golf courses, lakes, waterfalls and tea gardens are the major points of interest of Bandung that beautifully counter the developing urban hub that Bandung is becoming. Bandung is the perfect weekend destination filled with historical relics, a thriving youth culture, beautiful scenery, and delicious coffee. Bandung offers a welcome relief to the hectic pace of life experienced in Jakarta replete with petite traditional cafes and hot springs.
Known fondly as ‘The City of Heroes’ for the pivotal role that the city played in the Indonesian freedom struggle, Surabaya is one of Indonesia’s most enigmatic cities. The country’s second-largest urban settlement, Surabaya today reflects the influences of its many occupants. Arab Quarter, with its mazy grids of lanes, one of Indonesia’s largest Chinatowns, and the remaining vestiges of classically beautiful Dutch colonial-era buildings all make up Surabaya’s heritage. This best city to visit in Indonesia has much to offer any visitor that chooses to walk through its historic streets. 21st-century developmental projects aimed at alleviating the city’s traffic and pollution troubles aim to elevate Surabaya to a major tourist destination. Surabaya’s pockets of rich heritage, sprawling botanic gardens, the immaculately maintained Sampoerna Museum, beautiful churches, mosques, and markets make Surabaya a hidden-gem amongst Indonesia’s more illustrious tourist destinations.
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