- Diving in Komodo Marine Reserve
- Yogyakarta temples (Prambanan and Borobudur)
- Kelimutu volcano and other Flores landscapes
- Quiet side of Bali (Tegalalang rice terraces, Gunung Kawi)
NICE TO HAVE:
Memories and tips from our travels around the world – to inspire fellow flashpackers
NICE TO HAVE:
For the last days of our trip, we wanted a relaxed beach place to swim, tan and eat. We chose the largest and most developed of the 3 Gili islands, Gili Trawangan, which can be reached easily from Bali (~4hrs shuttle + boat from Bali) or Lombok. We stayed at some nice bungalows on the north end of the main beach, close enough to walk to all the restaurants and bars, but very quiet. My favorite part was eating breakfast on wooden palafitos over the water.
My first impression of Bali was not good, I can’t lie. The Denpasar airport was full of tourists, and the taxi drivers had a very different attitude than we had experienced. Some of the experiences of the next days would show me the beautiful part of Bali, but that feeling of a ‘tourist trap’ and ‘spoiled paradise’ accompanied me for the rest of the trip.
One of the goals of our Indonesia trip was to dive in the Komodo National Park, which apart from hosting the last dragons of the same name, contains one of the richest marine reserves on the planet. We had made a reservation with a local diving company, Wicked Diving, which lived up to the expectations of its near-perfect Tripadvisor reviews. They also ended up having Spanish dive masters 🙂 and together with four other PADI divers, we went on a 2-day sailing trip with 5 dives.The plan was pretty simple: dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, sleep, repeat. It’s definitely worth bargaining with any operator, as we realized that we had been able to get a significantly better price than the rest of the group (~$250 vs. ~$350).
In the afternoon of our 3rd day in Indonesia, we landed in the small town of Maumere, in the northeast of Flores. Flores is one of the least developed islands and one of the least touristy (with the exception of Labuanbajo, on the opposite end). It is my favorite, for it has an authenticity that is lost in most places by now.
Our idea was to hire a local driver to cross the island over 3 days/2 nights, stopping at several points of interest, which we believe is the best way to explore it. It was harder than we had anticipated, and after rejecting one driver for high price and one for sketchy manners, we found ourselves negotiating with our last option, with the sun setting and no real alternative. Luckily, the driver ended up accepting our conditions and being a great guy. His name was Stefano, and after a quick stop at his home to pick up a bag and sharing some candy with his 3 kids, we were on our way.
For our 2 week trip to Indonesia, Elena and I decided to focus on 5 areas: Yogyakarta for temples, Flores for landscapes, Komodo for diving and dragons, Bali for spirituality and Gili for beach. Indonesia is one of the largest and most populated countries in the world, and being comprised of 17,000 islands, you can imagine that there are a lot of spots worth visiting, but it’s hard to get to all of them at once.
We met at Yogyakarta airport, since I had decided to do a 1 day layover in Spain to visit my friends and family 🙂 It was pretty late, so we quickly hoped on a taxi and got to the hostel we had booked online. It was rather crappy but well located near the main street Jalan Malioboro.