A diver explores the crystal clear waters at the Bunaken coral reef in Manado, northern Sulawesi.

8 stunning reasons to visit Indonesia, recommended by locals

Sophie Eastaugh, for CNNUpdated 16th November 2015
(CNN) — When we asked you to tag your #BestofIndonesia photos, we weren't quite prepared for the kaleidoscope of stunning beaches, waterfalls, forests and mountains.
In short, your response made us desperate to choose Indonesia as our next getaway.
While Bali is a well known spot for tourists, we turned to recommendations from locals for our travel inspiration.

1. Lake Toba, North Sumatra

Photographer and software developer Suwandi Chandra from Medan, North Sumatra took this photo in April using just his iPhone6s and the photo editing app Snapseed. "I've been to this lake for many times, but every time I am here, it shows different kind of beauty. This was my first sunset there and I think that's the best time to enjoy the lake."
This month (November 19-22) the town of Berastagi will host the Lake Toba Festival, a celebration of Sumatran culture including boat races, music, fashion and art.

2. Mount Bromo, East Java

24 year-old Yanta Paramean from Wamena, Papua province took this photo of the stunning Mount Bromo, an active 2,329 meter high volcano in in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.
"I'm now living in Jakarta, the capitol city but I started travelling around Indonesia in 2010," Yanta told CNN. "The enchanting beauty of Mount Bromo is endless. Mount Bromo's eruptions formed the caldera (crater), and the surrounding "Sea of Sand" (a vast plain) provides beautiful scenery. It's one of the best places to watch the sunrise."

3. Stunning coastline

Kevin Anda from Jakarta went on an envy-inducing backpacking trip around his country last year. "I started backpacking with my girlfriend from Jakarta then we took the local trains across Java island. We took the local ferry to Bali and Lombok island, then sailed from one little island to another.
"Finally we reached an island called Satonda island. There's a huge lake in the heart it. I took this picture of my girlfriend who was amazed with the scenery -- as Indonesians we'd never actually never been to the eastern side. She just stood there for quite some time -- I think deep down she was celebrating."

4. Lush tea plantations

As well as the renowned Javan coffee, Indonesia is one of the world's top tea producers. Visitors can enjoy stunning views over rolling tea fields, or heady aromas on a guided tea tour.
Instagrammer Putri Anindya sent in this photo of a worker picking tea in the vast plantations of Bandung, West Java.

5. Floating markets

Abdus Salam from South Kalimantan tagged this stunning picture of traders selling their wares at a floating market in Lok Baintan, South Borneo.
"It's very unique, there are traders and buyers as well as tourists in the boat," he told us.
Lok Baintan is one of Indonesia's most famous floating markets. Seaborne shoppers can rent a boat from Banjarmasin and travel there in 45 minutes to barter for exotic fruits and traditional hot food.
It certainly beats a trip to the supermarket.

6. Borobudur Temple

Borobudur temple in Central Java was built in the 8th and 9th centuries and is one of the world's most important Buddhist monuments.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the temple is made of three tiers of circular platforms, surrounded by 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha.
21 year-old Instagrammer Ari Nuryaddin Putra told us, "Borobudur Temple is a priceless and ancient center for pilgrimage and education in Mahayana Buddhism."
Borobudur was used as a Buddhist place of worship from its construction until sometime between the 10th and 15th centuries when it was abandoned.
In the 19th century it was re-discovered and eventually restored a century later into a Buddhist archaeological site.

7. Hiking

Aside from the stunning coral reefs of Bunaken, Manadu in North Sulawesi offers beautiful hills for hiking.
Photographer Suwandi Chandra wrote, "It's true Bunaken is beautiful but with the many volcanoes surrounding the city, exploring the highland also a great and affordable activity. I took this photo from Mount Mahawu overlooking this Tondano lake -- it's an easy hike."
"I'm sure you will love it especially at the top with this superb view, blue sky, yellow and green fields and lake water, complete with cool and refreshing air."
We're sold.

8. Tranquility

With 17,508 mountainous islands in the archipelago, you're sure to be able to find a moment of peace in Indonesia.
Alexander Sriewijono lives in Jakarta, but escaped to the Gili Islands for this picture. "I am not a city person, but I have to live in Jakarta for the time being. That's why I love to find some hidden paradise all around Indonesia during my spare time for a sweet escape. This is Gili Layar, a beautiful tiny island in southern Lombok, West Nusatenggara. It's one of my #BestOfIndonesia choices for flirting with nature and embracing my solitude. Both the sunrise and the sunset are amazing."
"Moreover, the corals around this island are incredible. There are only two families who live in this island and one bungalow to stay in. A perfect getaway-hidden paradise."
By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. More information about cookies