Indonesia has 12,000 islands; half of these are permanently inhabited.
If you're planning a beach vacation to this island-packed country, visiting the tourists-glorified Bali island may be one, but we're also suggesting that you be one of the firsts to take the off-the-beaten track and visit these Indonesian islands that are gaining popularity (but visit them before they become too popular).
1. Lombok Islands
Known affectionately as the sister island of Bali, Lombok Island is located next to the country's doe-eyed favourite and is often known to be the pre-tourists-fested time of Bali.
Although less developed, Lombok, has bigger beaches and volcanoes, and more varied landscapes than Bali. Independent travellers and backpackers who have visited this island are drawn to the intoxicating water and outdoor adventures such as snorkeling, diving, hiking and surf sports.
The best time to travel Lombok is during the dry season from May through October, so remember to bring a bottle of sunscreen lotion, two if you prefer to be porcelain white.
2. Komodo Island
Ask most Indonesians (and maybe some well-travelled globetrotters) and the first thing that comes to their minds at the mention of Komodo Island is the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world. In fact, this huge lizard has made itself so comfortable at home in this island, the entire island has come to name after it.
Although they are scary looking, most of these huge creatures don't bite or turn violent as long as you do nothing to make them flare at you.
This harmless Komodo dragon is a common sight when you visit the island.
Known only to intrepid divers in the past, Komodo Island is gradually surfacing as an excellent spot for water activities such as diving and snorkelling. However the local tourism board warned those with little experience with diving to stay within the safe zone of the water. There have been cases where doughty divers plunged to their deaths when they were swept by the strong current that spirals downwards.
The latest statistics have seen a 20 per cent increase in tourism in Komodo island in 2013.
3. Karimunjawa Islands
Set to become the second Bali, Karimunjawa is named the virgin paradise by Java Tourism.
Although Karimunjawa island is also prized for its excellent (and safer) diving adventure, its main seduction still lies in its unpolluted beach, smashing good tropical reefs and challenging treks through the hills.
Resort companies are setting their eyes on this island, and if you're travelling to the island now, you'll see newly furbished resorts up and running. It won't be long before this hole and corner paradise is let out of the bag to the public, so before prices start soaring sky high and the natural sceneries are replaced with tourists gimmicks, visit this place and soak in the natural habitat of Kariminjawa.