At the beginning of the year, we had our travel wish list for 2016. We wanted to go to the Philippines with a friend in February, but we couldn’t make it. And since we were planning the end of the year trip the prices had gone up, and we didn’t like it that much. But that is not a reason to cancel, no. You just need to find a different destination. So, Indonesia will be our home for 2 weeks.
Location, history and other facts
The Republic of Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia between the Indian and Pacific ocean. It has a population of 249 million, which makes it the 4th most populated country in the world. What?!
It consists of 17500 islands, the largest are Sumatra, although it only has one-third of the country’s population, Java, where the capital city of Jakarta is, Kalimantan (Borneo) which is divided into several countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei), Sulawesi and New Guinea. Most of the islands have lush vegetation and many volcanoes, some of them still active (the last eruption occurred in Lombok island in September).
Because of its dimension and for being a very geographically disperse country there is a lot of ethnic diversity, 580 languages and dialects are spoken. 86% of its population are Muslim and this makes Indonesia the country with higher Islamic population (not Saudi Arabia, not Iran, nor any other in the Arabian Peninsula), but it is a secular country. And yet, the largest Hinduist temple in the world is in this country, in Java.
It became independent from The Netherlands in 1945 and since then they’ve had their ups and downs with governments, dictatorships, and attempts for independence in some regions, as we said before it is a diverse country. East-Timor achieved its independence in 1999 giving strength to other regions to keep trying, however, from the government there’s been constantly agreements to avoid this from occurring.
What do you need to know before starting the trip?
Do you need a visa? For Spaniards and many other nationalities, there is no need to ask for a visa in advance, you can have it on arrival (check here if you need a visa in advance). There are a few basic requirements, though: at least 6 months of a valid passport and at least one empty page where they can stamp.
Do you need any vaccination? There is no mandatory vaccination, but it is recommended to be hepatitis B and typhus vaccines. If you have been in Africa or South America 6 months prior to your visit you will need to certify that you have your yellow fever vaccination too. It is advisable to have mosquito repellent as there is malaria in some regions.
Some places in Indonesia have become overly crowded by tourism, so besides meeting all sorts of tourists annoying/responsible/etc, picaresque is raising among the locals. We have been warned about scams, constant hustle, higher prices… So be cautious, be aware of where you are and why you’ve come, be respectful to traditions and be “decent” according to their standards (like in many countries these goes to women).
What shouldn’t you miss in Indonesia?
As you can guess, given this country’s proportions it is something really difficult to decided.
In Java, there are the Kawahljen and Bromo volcanos, Sumur Gumuling mosque, Prambanan and Borobudur temples, or the Dieng area just to mention a few.
In Bali you’ve got Tanah Lot, Goa Gajah, Besakih or Kahen temples, Ubud area, the rice terraces, the volcano Batur, Padangbai, Jimbaran and Kusamba beaches, also just to write down a few.
In Lombok island, there is Rinjani volcano (the one we mentioned above), the mini-archipelago of the Gili Islands, Senggi or temples like Pura Lingsar and Surandi.
Then there are Komodo and Rinca islands where they say it is one of best spots to scuba dive and of course the Komodo National Park and its dragons.
Flores island, swimming in a sea under the same name, there are also volcanoes like Kelimutu, fishing villages where there is little tourism and where traditions are kept intact.
In Sumba you’ve got some unspoiled beaches…
¡¡¡¡And this is only around Java!!!!
Most travelers/tourist (nobody gets offended) tend to go to Java and Bali. On the one hand, it is probable that you land in Java, so you take the opportunity to get around the island. On the other hand, Bali is definitely the most well-known island and it looks like it is charming too.
What did we decide to do?
Well, we land at Jakarta so we’ll have to see something in Java, but we don’t feel like going around the island (we would have to come back then). So we’ll choose to go to Yogyakarta and its temples. Java has a total surface of 128300 km² and a population of 140 million.
You search and search and talk to people and Bali is something you shouldn’t miss either. Beyond its idyllic beaches, which they are, the island is also known for its hundreds of temples, its traditions and culture, and its rice fields… Bali’s surface is 5780 km², it is almost 3500 km² smaller than Cyprus and more than 4000 km² larger than Gran Canaria with a population over 4 million.
It has become a thing, but with a soft spot for diving like we have we need to incorporate it into our itinerary: Flores Island, and from there to the Komodo National Park the options for scuba diving in a protected area would ensure an incredibly biodiverse underwater life experience. The dimensions of Flores are also surprising, 13540 km² and a population of almost 2 million.
Shall we talk about money?
Not everything is as cheap nor as expensive as they say. You can adapt your trip to your own budget. 1€ = 14358 IDR (it is going to be a nightmare)
The most expensive (proportionally speaking) is the flight ticket to Flores. You can do it by boat (it takes between 2 and 3 days) but it limits our time. A big part of the budget also goes to organized activities, especially diving.
The cheapest is the food, accommodation can be found at very cheap prices but it depends on where you are, it is cheaper (quality-price) in Bali than it is in Flores for example.
Flight ticket Istanbul – Jakarta 453€ per person
Flight ticket Jakarta – Yogyakarta 32€ per person
Flight ticket Yogyakarta – Bali 31€ per person
Flight ticket Bali – Labuan Bajo 65€ per person
Flight ticket Labuan Bajo – Yakarta 104€ per person
Flight ticket Labuan Bajo – Ende (round trip) 56€ per person
Accomodation between 7 and 19€ per room and night (it really depends on your budget and where you are)
So get ready, the next few weeks you will discover our route, our adventures and misadventures and something else about this Southeast Asian country. Will you join us?
Departure date 11 November 2016; return date 27 November 2016
All our tour around the country in our section of Indonesia.
And you, have you been in Indonesia before? Leave us a comment! What did you like best? Did you miss anything? What was your favourite food? Any regrets? Would you go back?