Whenever people hear “Indonesia”, they immediately think of “Bali”. Whether you have been there or not, “Bali” makes you think of gorgeous beaches, breathtaking nature, and exotic culture. It such an alluring place that most people head to Bali and spend their whole holiday there, never exploring the rest of Indonesia. But, that is a huge mistake.
We have just returned from a 17 day Indonesian Adventure that was truly extraordinary. I might even go so far as to say it was one of the best trips that I have ever taken for the sheer number of times I thought to myself …”I can’t believe I’m seeing this”.
Indonesia is made up of approximately 15,000 islands. Bali is only one of them. Pretty much every single island has their own gorgeous beaches and incredible nature. Most of these islands have their own cultures, traditions and languages as well because they developed separate from each other. The ocean, dense jungle and hundreds of volcanoes ensured that travel between islands, and even within islands, was very difficult.
Accordingly, your experiences on one island will likely be completely different from your experiences on another. For us, that is exactly what happened on our Indonesian adventure. Over 17 days, my husband and four kids (13, 14, 16, and 20 years old) spent a few days on the islands of Bali, Flores, Borneo and Java. We also explored many other smaller islands on day trips. Every day was unique and filled with sights that often left us speechless.
Our Indonesian Adventure
When I created our Indonesian adventure itinerary, I wanted to get a taste of everything that Indonesia had to offer. Of course, that is almost impossible to do in 17 days. But boy, did I try!
I wanted to find gorgeous beaches and thankfully, those were everywhere! However, we spent our time on beaches in Bali and Komodo National Park off of Flores. I love wildlife and we had UNBELIEVABLE animal viewing and interaction in Komodo National Park where we hiked with Komodo dragons and swam with turtles and giant manta rays. Also, in Borneo, we trekked for orangutans in the jungle. I hoped to hike up a volcano and watch the sunrise. We did that on Kelimutu on Flores Island. Finally, I wanted to explore Indonesian’s culture and history. So, we visited small remote villages on Flores and learned about their life. In Yogyakarta, we visited Buddhist and Hindu temples which were absolutely stunning.
Bali – 3 Nights/2 Days
We flew from Vancouver, British Columbia to Bali. This was a 22 hour travel day with a 14 hour time change. Our goals in Bali were very simple – recover from our flight and become acclimatized to the time change. We stayed at the Westin in Nusa Dua and enjoyed the beautiful resort.
The rooms were large and beautiful. The pool was huge and gorgeous and the beach was a 1 minute walk away. Food, cocktails, and service were excellent. In other words, the perfect place to meet our goals and start our holiday.
Komodo National Park – 3 Nights/3 Days
This was the first of many unbelievable experiences that we had on our Indonesian adventure. We flew direct from Bali to Flores. We were transported by private boat to Komodo Resort on the deserted island of Sebayur. Over three days, we explored Komodo National Park, a world Unesco site. We hiked with Komodo dragons running free, swam with giant manta rays, hung out on deserted pink beaches, and witnessed thousands of bats migrate while watching the sunset. It was three days of absolute jaw dropping moments.
For more information about our time in Komodo National Park, please see my two articles:
- The Unbelievable Wonders of Komodo National Park In Indonesia; and
- Komodo Dragons and Pink Beaches: Just Another Day in Indonesia.
Kelimutu Volcano – 2 Nights/3 Days
Two of my wishes on our Indonesian adventure were to spend some time visiting remote villages and learning about Indonesian culture and tradition. In addition, I wanted to visit one of the hundreds of volcanos found in Indonesia. With our 3 day stay near Kelimutu volcano on Flores, I was able to accomplish all of this and more.
We flew direct from one side of Flores to the other. Then, we drove over two hours into the mountains and countryside to Moni, a village close to Kelimutu volcano. We stayed at Kelimutu Crater Lakes Ecolodge, which offered comfortable western accommodation in this very remote part of Indonesia.
We had a fascinating stay. With our own guide and driver, we visited three small villages and learned about their way of life and their traditions. We were even invited by Chiefs into important ceremonial buildings to understand more about their customs. In another village, we watched the local women weave using traditional techniques passed on for hundreds of years.
A highlight was hiking up to the top of Kelimutu volcano to watch the sunrise. There, we saw three different coloured lakes that sat in massive craters. I loved watching the sunrise and seeing each lake slowly unveil itself as the day grew lighter.
For more information about our time in and around Kelimutu volcano, please see my two articles:
- Kelimutu: A Breathtaking Indonesia Volcano and Its People; and
- Exploring the Untouched Beauty of Kelimutu Indonesia.
Bali 1 night
We could not fly direct from Kelimutu volcano on Flores to Pangkalan Bun on Borneo. Instead, we had to break up our flights and spend a night back at the Westin in Nusa Dua on Bali.
Borneo 3 Nights/3 Days
One of our extraordinary experiences during our Indonesian adventure was spending time in Borneo trekking for orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park . We stayed at Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge. During the day, we explored the rivers of the National Park and spotted all kinds of wildlife with our own private boat and crew. We hiked into the jungle and watched orangutans feed and interact with each other. Remarkably, we ended up mere steps from an alpha male who at 250 pounds of pure muscle could have easily harmed us. But didn’t! It was an incredible experience.
We planted trees in an area devastated by fire, learned about the plants and trees in the rainforest that have important ingredients for western medicine, and visited a village along the river. A highlight was a dinner in the dark surrounded by lightning bugs. It was magical.
For more information about our time in Borneo, please see my three articles:
- A Stunning Borneo Ecotour With Teens;
- Trekking For Orangutans In Indonesia; and
- Indonesia: The Magic of Lightning Bugs In the Rainforest.
Yogyakarta 4 Nights/4 Days
Our final four days on our Indonesian adventure were spent exploring Yogyakarta and the cultural wonders that surround it.
I loved Yogyakarta. It is a young and vibrant city with an exciting art scene. We took an amazing food tour that enabled us to try different foods and see interesting parts of the city. One day, we explored Borobudur, the oldest Buddhist Temple in the world, and Prambanan, the oldest Hindu temple in Indonesia. They were both extraordinary places. We also did a jeep tour of Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia. This tour was both fun and sobering. The jeeps took us on crazy off road terrain with amazing views of the volcano, but also took us to see a museum filled with remnants from a village destroyed in the 2010 eruption.
For the rest of our time, we shopped and explored Yogyakarta. It was a wonderful way to finish our Indonesian adventure.
For more information about our time in Yogyakarta, please see my article Indonesia: The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta, Food and Fashion.
Indonesia has it all. Beautiful beaches, breathtaking nature and wildlife, and culture. Even better is that so much of Indonesia is undiscovered. There aren’t too many places left in this world where you feel like you are seeing things that hardly anyone else has.
Our Indonesian adventure was absolutely extraordinary. I encourage you to book your trip as soon as you can!
If you would like to save this article, please click on the “Save” button on the photo below. Please feel free to share this article on your social media channels! Thanks!