The 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia [photos]

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia

With a mix of historic sites from diverse architectural traditions and a bountiful yet tumultuous nature, Indonesia hosts eight World Heritage Sites classified by the UNESCO. Famous Buddhist and Hindu temples, rich natural parks with unique endemic ecosystems and volcanoes are but a few highlights of Indonesia’s natural and cultural wealth.

Fruit of the interactions between indigenous populations with foreign influences from the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia and Western countries, the Indonesian culture is rich of multiple traditions, customs and religions. Together with a luxuriant and diverse nature, they make Indonesia a vast and culturally diverse country with multiple centers of interests.

Within more than 1000 historical and natural sites in the world, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganizationUNESCO – has recognized the importance of the Indonesian culture through the classification of eight sites for their unique historical, architectural and natural value for mankind.

Here is the complete list of World Heritage Sites in Indonesia together with details and beautiful pictures to keep in mind for the use of travel and tourism professionals, and the viewing pleasure of all.

The 8 World Heritage Sites listed by the UNESCO in Indonesia

Borobudur Temple Compounds

Borobudur Temple

© Photo: regent zakaryya satriandhana

The Borobudur temple is a large Buddhist temple from the 8th and 9th centuries. Situated in central Java, it is famous for its pyramidal shape and numerous stupas arranged in concentric circles, surrounded by finely carved outer walls with numerous statues of Buddha.

  • Location: Megalang Regency, Central Java, Indonesia
  • Site type: cultural
  • Year of inscription: 1991

Komodo National Park

Komodo Dragon Photo

© Photo: Richard Susanto

The Komodo National Park is a natural site made up of volcanic islands that are home to a unique species of giant lizard: the Komodo dragon. The natural landscape and vegetation of the islands add up the zoological interest of this endemic species.

  • Location: East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
  • Site type: natural
  • Size: 219,322 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1991

Prambanan Temple Compounds


© Photo: zsoolt

The Prambanan temple is a large hindu temple built in the 10th century in central Java. The three main temples in the center of the complex are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, and decorated with depictions of the Ramayana.

  • Location: Central Java, Indonesia
  • Site type: cultural
  • Year of inscription: 1991

Ujung Kulon National Park

Eruption at Anak Krakatau in June 2009

© Photo: Tom Pfeiffer

Located at the South-Western tip of Java, this beautiful natural site is one of the last shelters for several endangered animal species. Composed of the Ujung Kulon peninsula and surrounding islands, it is home to the famous Krakatoa volcano.

  • Location: Banten and Lampung, Indonesia
  • Site type: natural
  • Size: 78,525 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1991

Sangiran Early Man Site


© Photo: NCSSM

The Sangiran site is the source of half of all hominids fossils found. Inhabited for one and half million years, its importance to the knowledge of the evolution of man make it a unique place for scientific interest.

  • Location: Central Java, Indonesia
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 5,600 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1996

Lorentz National Park

Papuan rainforest

© Photo: Michael Thirnbeck

Located in the Papua province, the Lorentz National Park is Southeast Asia’s largest protected natural area. With a great diversity of geography, fauna and flora, the Lorentz national park is a haven for biodiversity.

  • Location: Papua, Indonesia
  • Site type: natural
  • Size: 2,350,000 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1999

Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

Empcompassing three national parks, Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra is an endangered site of primary forest and endemic species under threat of destruction.

Gunung Leuser National Park

Sumatran Orang utan & infant

© Photo: Arddu

Kerinci Seblat National Park

Amorphophallus beccarii

© Photo: Arddu

Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park

Sumatran Tiger

© Photo: Sue Everett

  • Location: Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Site type: natural. This site has been listed as endangered since 2011 due to poaching, illegal logging and encroachments for agriculture and roads projects.
  • Size: 2,595,124 ha
  • Year of inscription: 2004

Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy

Composed of five rice terraces, water temples including the famous Pura Ulun Danu Batan temple and canals, the egalitarian Subak water management system originates from the 9th century. Proving very effective for rice farming, this water system is the manifestation of the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, that assembles the world of men, spirits and nature.

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

The Jatiluwah Rice Terraces - Unesco's World Heritage Site, Bali, Indonesia

© Photo: Sivakumar Ramakrishnan

Pura Ulun Danu Batan temple in Bedugul

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

© Photo: balbo42

  • Location: Bali, Indonesia
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 19,520 ha
  • Year of inscription: 2012

Other Indonesian sites submitted to the UNESCO tentative list

The Indonesian authorities have also submitted the following sites to be considered for nomination as UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • Betung Kerihun National Park (Transborder Rainforest Heritage of Borneo) (2004)
  • Bunaken National Park (2005)
  • Raja Ampat Islands (2005)
  • Taka Bonerate National Park (2005)
  • Wakatobi National Park (2005)
  • Derawan Islands (2005)
  • Tana Toraja Traditional Settlement (2009)
  • Bawomataluo Site (2009)
  • Muara Takus Compound Site (2009)
  • Muarajambi Temple Compound (2009)
  • Trowulan – Former Capital City of Majapahit Kingdom (2009)
  • Prehistoric Cave Sites in Maros-Pangkep (2009)
  • Sangkulirang – Mangkalihat Karts: Prehistoric rock art area (2015)
  • The Old Town of Jakarta (Formerly old Batavia) and 4 Outlying Islands (Onrust, Kelor, Cipir dan Bidadari) (2015)
  • Semarang Old Town (2015)
  • Sawahlunto Old Coal Mining Town (2015)
  • Traditional Settlement at Nagari Sijunjung (2015)
  • The Historic and Marine Landscape of the Banda Islands (2015)

UNESCO logoHere is the full list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia. For more information about them, visit the Indonesia page on the website of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO.

For more information on the other UNESCO sites in the ASEAN region, visit the World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia.

Original header image: Gunkarta for Wikimedia Commons

What do you think of these World Heritage Sites in Indonesia? Which do you prefer? Do you have some tips to make a better visit? Any other site in Indonesia you think should be added by UNESCO? Leave your comments below!

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