So Indonesia. Hmm. A hard one to write about. The country has it all, beautiful, dramatic landscapes, unique flora and fauna, amazing dive sites, good food (when you can find it) and for the most part, delightfully welcoming people.
In all we only visited 3 of the main islands, Sumatra, Flores and Lombok while only passing through Bali. We have had some of our best times here but also some of the worst.
Lets start with Sumatra, Bukit Lawang was amazing as was visiting the volcano at Berastagi but in between was the most uncomfortable we have felt anywhere we have been to date. I honestly didn’t want to go outside on occasion as the constant leering was getting to me, but then as I said at the time, we were doing it on the cheap. For the most part it was the gangs that dealt with the transport that ruined this for us, so much so that we actually brought our flights forward to leave (Air Asia had moved our flight so this didn’t cost us anything) and also the weather was very bad and after getting all our stuff soaked once we decided to miss out one of the main highlights of Indonesia, Lake Toba. If I was coming back here again I’d definitely do it on a higher budget, though that is true of the other countries too, here in particular it’s so much hassle on a low budget so I’d just hire a car and driver just to not be hassled.
Flores, ah Flores. The diving was insane in Komodo, we loved it! Labuan Bajo on the other hand was a bit of an odd spot. It is however probably on the verge of being ruined by ever increasing tourism. We do plan to come back to Komodo but probably on a Live-A-Board from Lombok so we can go to a larger variety of dive sites. As for the rest of Flores, it is actually really great how un-developed it is for tourism as the locals are so welcoming, interested in you and not all out for what they can get from you (basically just the taxi cartels again) but accommodation is expensive. We would like to do the far end of Flores if we came back here- from Maumere across to Alor (good for diving apparently).
Lombok, where we were in Kuta is also about to take off, so no doubt it’s sleepy surfer vibe with empty beaches will soon come to an end. If we managed to get back here we would probably go elsewhere on the island as we don’t surf. One of the quieter Gili Islands (if one still exists by the time we get around to going there again).
Or go somewhere else! Sulewesi is supposed to be really nice for diving and of course there is Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), which I have heard good things about from friends who have visited. Plus Java.
Over all, with shying away from touristy areas (when we could) it is has been a bit of a mixed bag over all but mostly good- Komodo National Park, Flores and (if you can get a taxi) Bukit Lawang were the definite highlights here.