An ever-popular beach destination less than three hours from Singapore, Bali boasts a thriving culinary scene, new upscale beach resorts and villas, miles of coastline, and a buzzing nightlife. However, one can’t deny that the Island of Gods, which was once a serene paradise comparable to the Garden of Eden, has been tainted by mass tourism over the years.
While we do love weekend getaways to Bali, sometimes all you need from an island vacation is to get away from the crowds — especially after putting up with never-ending traffic jams, shoving past fellow jaded Singaporeans in shopping centres, and spending sleepless nights trying to block out sounds from roaring vehicles. The last thing you’d want to do while on holiday is race other tourists for the best spot on the beach — or get on a two-hour waiting list just to spend an evening at a world-renowned beach club.
Enter: Lesser-known Indonesian islands that have been the best-kept secrets of seasoned travellers, professional surfers and famous celebrities. These destinations are surprisingly just a short flight or ferry ride from the mainland, yet takes us back in time to how Bali used to be before it became a tourist trap.
From the almost-unheard-of Sumba Island to the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Komodo National Park, check out these underrated Indonesian islands where you can spend a peaceful weekend with your loved ones.