Amazing Indonesia: roundup post

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”

– James A. Michener –

Sadly, our trip is now over. This usually means that we are already planning a new one, but to really give you an overview of this past trip, we would like to share a small recap.

ImageIndonesia is an archipelago with more than 18.000 islands stretching from the Indian ocean to the west of Malaysia all the way to the northern most tip of eastern Australia, a population of over 240 million (the fourth most populous in the world) and a multitude of languages, religions and landscapes. It has 130 active volcanoes and some of the best dive sites in the world. It’s the only country in the world, where the Komodo dragons live. If your favorite color is green, you’ll be thrilled by the rice fields around almost every corner. Indonesia is very affordable (at least for western standards). It’s also a very safe country. It’s suitable for backpackers, as well as the ones, who are after resort accommodation. Indonesia is great if you want to visit well traveled destinations (Bali or Gili islands) and even better if you want to wonder off the beaten track. There’s something for every taste!

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Where have we been?

We visited Nusa Lembongan, flew to Labuan Bajo, went on a multi day boat trip from Flores to Lombok, stayed on Gili Trawangan and visited Gili Meno. Than we went to Bali, where we stayed in Ubud and in Jimbaran (Bukit peninsula). We spent our last day in Jakarta.

What we loved the most?

  • Swimming with manta rays for the first time! It was a long lasting dream come true 🙂
  • The tranquility of Nusa Lembongan. It was the best possible introduction to our Indonesian trip.
  • Seeing rice terraces for the first time. We could lose ourselves in all the green. It was definitely one of the highlights.
  • The fact that Indonesia is very affordable country. We even afford ourselves quite some luxuries and in the end we didn’t spend a lot.
  • Talking to the local people. Everybody was really friendly and helpful.
  • Getting up close to the famous Komodo dragons as well as hiking in Komodo National park. It has unique scenery. At times you feel like you’re in the middle of African savanna and at others like you’re in a tropical rainforest.
  • The boat trip from Flores to Lombok. We really got to see the beautiful underwater world and all the uninhabited islands.
  • Mmmm the food. Food in Indonesia is very diverse, but mainly it’s similar to the other SE Asian food. So if you like food in Thailand, Malaysia…, you will enjoy it here. Food prices vary between regions and restaurants, but in general, it’s very cheap. What’s better than spicy Indonesian rice first thing in the morning? 🙂

Image What we didn’t like?

  • Indonesians aren’t really animal lovers. There are a lot (really a lot) of abandoned cats and dogs wondering around every island and all the towns. We love animals and at times it was heartbreaking to see the poor animals struggling to get a piece of food.
  • Indonesia is beautiful, but it won’t be forever, if they’ll continue throwing garbage everywhere. They burn their garbage as well…
  • Even though we liked the boat trip from Flores to Lombok, it was also one of the scariest moments of our lives. At night, when we found ourselves in the middle of thunderstorm on a very unsafe small slow boat and the captain even lost direction, we thought to ourselves that it was the worst decision ever to go on that trip. When we look back, it wasn’t that bad. We still wouldn’t go again on that boat, but it was the best way to see the islands, Komodo dragons and to snorkel in Komodo National park. It was a highlight as well as the lowlight.
  • We were very disappointed by the seafood found on Gili Trawangan. Almost all the restaurants, as well as the night food market, were selling very old fish. Usually locals, living by the sea, sell fresh seafood, since the sea isn’t far and they go fishing every day.
  • I (Gašper) had a few problems with digestion. I don’t know what the reason was, but I suspect ice. Luckily it was not so bad, so we could enjoy our trip without any problems.

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 Our Indonesia in numbers

  • Days on trip: 18
  • Money spent: 19.000.000 IDR (1.600 EUR)
  • Domestic flights: 3
  • Islands visited: 12
  • Boat trips: 7 (1 long distance)
  • Different accommodation: 7
  • Great snorkeling experiences: 6
  • Manta encounters: 3!
  • Sea turtle encounters: 3
  • Taxi transports offered: 17.315.247 (seriously a lot)
  • Rice consumed: a few kilograms
  • Bintangs drank: too many
  • Number of WOW moments: infinitive

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Useful information:

  • Travelers diarrhea: If you travel to Indonesia, you should make sure, that you have with you at least something for re-hydration in case of food poisoning and diarrhea. We got even some pills and antibiotics, but we didn’t use them. Spirits after each meal usually serve well as a cure against food poisoning. We practice it and it helps (ok, this time it failed, but it usually doesn’t).
  • Transportation: For longer distances we arranged a private transport (a car with a driver). They are comfortable and not very expensive. You could probably get a shuttle service anywhere for a good price. For shorter trips or sightseeing, we rented a scooter and cruise around. You can get one very cheap (for around 3€ per day) and fuel is also cheap (1€ for full tank). We recommend renting a scooter if you want to see more. Taxi service can be a problem. We used a Blue Bird Company in Jakarta, but got ripped off by a driver anyway. In big cities, be sure that you use licensed taxi services. In Jakarta we also travelled by bus. It is good and safe, maybe a bit confusing at first, but you soon get used to the system. Just as a precaution, we didn’t use it at night.
  • Malaria and antimalarials: We were in Indonesia in April, just after the rainy season. In our travel clinic, we were recommended to take antimalarials (we always use Malarones) at least for the time we spent around Flores and Lombok. We decided to eat antimalarials just for that period. If we were in Indonesia later (in dry season), we would reconsider taking them.

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Go! It’s not that far…

Have you ever visited Indonesia? What were your pros and cons?

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28 thoughts on “Amazing Indonesia: roundup post

  1. Ohhh please, what kind of post is this? AMAZING! You make me want to go there even more than I already want…this post is a total inspiration for my trip to Indonesia. Also, I loved your pictures and just have to thank you for sharing so many useful tips! 🙂

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  2. As you know, I loved Indonesia too. But I too was really upset by the way the country dealt with their garbage. I understand that Indonesia is a poor country. I’m definitely used to seeing third-world countries burn trash. And it always upsets me. I also couldn’t believe the amount of trash that washed up on the shores of Kuta Beach, Bali, It was definitely one of the dirtiest beaches I’ve ever seen. Since the people on Java use the rivers and ocean as trash cans (I guess there’s is no waste management) all the trash flows down to Bali. It is really sad. I hope Indonesia finds a way to deal with their trash problems soon!

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    • I agree that poor countries face many problems, a lot of which are much bigger than burning garbage. Still I hope they’ll realize that tourists come because of the beauty that the country has. The beauty will be lost sooner or later, if they won’t care for pollution and trash…

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  3. Seriously, your photos are just awesomely amazing. I agree that Indonesia is totally worth a visit, it’s my go to place when I can’t really travel far since I have limited funds. Helps a lot to have plenty of budget airlines flying there from Singapore. Since it’s such a big area, you can definitely find all kinds of activities to suit yourself. The only think that puts me off slightly is how tourism has taken over some areas but I will still come back anytime…:)

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    • Hi,

      thank you 🙂

      We recommend visiting Ubud. Although it’s quite touristy, we loved it. If you like more tranquil places, maybe you would like Nusa Lembongan, an island on SE of Bali (only 20 minutes driving away from Bali). It’s really beautiful place and the snorkeling there is great too. You can check more here: https://2ticketstowonderland.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/7-things-to-do-on-nusa-lembongan/

      I don’t know how much time you have. I’d skip the south Bali, if I were you. We didn’t visit the north Bali (we didn’t have enough time), but we heard that Menjangan and places nearby are beautiful…

      Have fun, you’ll have an amazing time!

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  4. Thank you so much for this post! As an Indonesian, I share similar dislike as yours – the first two dislikes. These two points are so true and can be seen in other parts of Indonesia besides the places that you have visited. And garbage is everywhere, I also found some plastic garbage underwater during diving, even in remote place like in West Papua.
    Very sorry about the digestion issue. It could be water or food 😦 Trust you had great time in Indonesia 🙂

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    • We had a great time despite the digestion problems.We wouldn’t change anything about our trip and we loved it as it was.
      It’s sad that the garbage can be slowly destroying such an amazing country. I hope that with the tourism developing very fast it will became more and more important how the country deals with trash…

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    • Thanks for the compliments. Totally understand what you mean, same feelings here (ugh, we want to go back!!) 🙂 If you haven’t been, you should put it on your list, because it is definitely worth visiting. Hope that some of our tips help you or that our photos will convince you to go. 🙂
      Have fun!

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  5. Hello there! Thank you for your comment on my blog and I am happy to hear you have enjoyed Indonesia! I just came back to Jakarta from my trip to Lombok and Gilis! How did you find Gili Trawangan? Pretty crowded eh? Did you visit the other gilis? They were much more quiet and chilled. I could have sworn that I also saw another comment coming from you guys but as I was on my trip didn’t really pay attention and now it has disappeared 😀 I am pretty new to this blogging thing so might be that I messed something up, or I that I just dreamt the comment, also happens to me sometimes hahhah.

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    • Indonesia was great! We were there in April. Gili T was quite nice. It wasn’t packed, but there were a lot of people (we had some trouble finding accommodation). We went on daily trip to Meno and it was much better. Really quiet and a lot less people. We didn’t go to Air, because we didn’t have enough time (maybe next time).
      Don’t worry about that. We are also quite fresh and sometimes still working our way through WP. 😀

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  6. Sorry to hear about the garbage, but happy to hear that you love the food! I may sound bias as I’m born in Indonesia, but I’ll be honest and say that Indonesia absolutely has the best foods I’ve ever had!!! =p Anyway, it looks like you have plenty of great adventures there – Komodo Island, Lombok, Flores, all great places that I haven’t done myself. Also, if you have the chance to visit Indonesia again, you should consider Raja Ampat. It’s gorgeous both above and under the water!

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    • Indonesia’s food is truly delicious. I could eat it every day (but we don’t have many choices in our country 😦 ).
      We’ve heard about Raja Ampat, we were actually considering visiting Raja Ampat or Flores, Gili islands and Bali and in the end we decided on the later. We hope that someday we’ll be able to return and go there as well.

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  7. Pingback: Travel plans 2015 | 2 tickets to Wonderland

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