Indonesian Island Hopping: Why You Need to Do It and How to Pull It Off

Indonesia is the world’s largest island country with almost 18,000 of them within its territory. Fewer than 1,000 of them are permanently inhabited, and there are several that are bird or animal sanctuaries. Some of the best-known ones have become popular tourist attractions, with visitors from all over the world traveling to Java, Bali, Sumatra, New Guinea, Gili and many more.

With so many islands spread over a large area, it should be no surprise that it is estimated that more than 750 different languages are spoken by over 300 ethnic groups that live on them. Although some travelers want to head for the tourist spots and never venture much further, to really see the various cultures and enjoy the hospitality of people that are said to be some of the friendliest in the world, you need to hop from island to island, and then you will get the true taste of the Indonesian islands.


Between them, the islands have active volcanoes, jungles, beaches that are flanked by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and flora and fauna that can be vastly different on each one. You will see landscapes and sunsets that are so beautiful you would not have thought them possible, but to appreciate all of these things, you need to visit several of the islands.

There are several ways to get around the islands, and for instance, there are several options for getting from Bali to The Gilis and back again. Duck Ferries not only operate a speed boat service between the two, but there are several pick up points on Bali where you can jump on a shuttle bus to take you to the boat.

Cultures and Cuisine

The cultures of the inhabitants do vary from island to island, and if you go island hopping you will get to see how they all live. They welcome visitors and in many places will invite you into the homes and to eat with them. You will get to see what real life in Indonesia is like and enjoy dishes that you will not come across anywhere else.

In the larger towns, there are usually vendors selling prepared food on the streets. These are very highly regulated for hygiene and you can often eat as much as you like for as little as $2. This cuisine is something that everyone visiting the Indonesian islands should try, but the locals will tell you that even this does not compare to the delicious food you will be served when you eat in their homes.


Generally, people do not visit the Indonesian islands to find huge theaters or theme parks for entertainment; here you will be occupied with things of a different source. Watersports are very popular as the waters are clear and clean, but some islands are better for surfing and others for snorkeling.

There are islands with historical buildings and some where there are monasteries that are still used. With waterfalls, hills to climb, beaches that are some of the best in the world, and stunning views, you will never be short of something to do on the Indonesian islands.

Getting Around the Indonesian Islands

The most common way to move around the islands is by boat. There are ferries that move between them that are regular and inexpensive, or speed boats that will get you there much quicker. It really depends if you want a leisurely boat trip or one that does not take too long. Most people try both while they are island hopping, as it just adds to the wonderful experience of the Indonesian Islands.