Although the wily jungles of Indonesia are slightly tamer than the days of the Borneo headhunters, there are still many options for the modern day thrill seeker. Whether trekking in the jungles and mountains of the vast archipelago, diving in some of the most biologically diverse waters in the world, or visiting with some of the few remaining tribal groups in the world, Indonesia can still live up to its unfettered past.
Sprawled off Lombok’s north west coast is the majestic Gili Islands, a perfect aggregate of three coral islands that have consistently drawn visitors from all over the world for its pristine waters which is conducive for great snorkelling and diving experience. The islands’ natural ambiance have been preserved to this day, and even transportation is still by way of the traditional cidomo horse cart, modern transportation such as cars and motor bikes being prohibited by local legislation.
Apart from the popular attractions discussed above, a stay in Lombok offers excellent opportunities for activities such as partying, shopping and dining, scuba diving and other water sports, night time entertainment, sports activities, and relaxation in spas and massage bars. As it is, it only necessitates an exploring spirit to fully enjoy what a good Lombok tour package can offer.The area also boasts of fine sandy beaches, and a night-time skyline filled with glittering lantern lights from a fleet of fishing lines up offshore. It is also a vantage point for witnessing blood-red sunsets over neighboring Bali.
From the snow capped peaks of Papua to the smoking volcanoes of Java, Indonesia presents any trekker with a wide array of choices, regardless of skill level. The further a field you plan to go, the more valuable you will find using a tour agency to arrange your trip. Tour agencies often get better deals on national airline tickets and can arrange for transportation and accommodation in areas where such amenities are scarce. Papua, the easternmost province of Indonesia, is unfortunately experiencing periods of civil unrest, so be sure to get updated information if you plan to set off there. The snow covered Carstensz Pyramid, locally known as Puncak Jaya, is the highest mountain in Papua. Please note – the trek up Carstensz Pyramid is for the experienced climber.
For those looking for something challenging, but without the need for carabineers, try the third highest peak in Papua, Trikora Mountain. Indonesia requires all trekkers in Papua to obtain a climbing permit, usually arranged by your tour company. Trekking can be combined with a visit to one of the few remaining tribal groups on the island to experience first hand the wonder of what it means to live off the land.
If you like diving, the blue waters of Indonesia, teeming with marine life of all shapes and colors, are not to be missed. Some of the best diving in the world is found in Indonesia and options come in all price ranges, from a quick dip off the coast of Bali to a two week liveaboard that will take you to areas otherwise inaccessible. Among the most popular dive spots for those wanting easy access, as well as beach resorts, is Bunaken Island off the coast of North Sulawesi. Bunaken has suffered some damage to its coral reefs from blast fishing, but much is still alive or recovering through the efforts of local conservation groups. If you prefer a liveaboard, there are many operators to the Komodo Islands, Sulawesi’s Wakatobi and Lembeh Strait, Flores, and Alor, to name a few. Shop around for the best price and definitely check up on the company or you might find your accommodations less than desirable. Once you get in the water though, expect to be awed by teeming barracudas, colorful cuttlefish, and mantas.
A component of the world famous Ring of Fire, Mount Rinjani is also known as Indonesia’s second highest mountain. It is traditionally considered as a sacred spot both by the locals of Lombok and Bali, and folklore have it that the top of the mountain is a dwelling place of Gods. The Segara Anak crater of Mount Rinjani draws thousands of pilgrims who take a bath and make offerings in the water for the purpose of having their diseases cured.
A home for various flora and fauna such as Belibis, an endemic duck, Mount Rinjani is also a model of eco-tourism in Indonesia, offering visitors an opportunity for exhilarating trek expeditions and magnificent scenery. A trek, which starts either at Sembalun in the east or Senaru in the north, consumes three days before taking the trekker to the mountain’s summit.
For the eco-tourist, the options are endless. From orangutan spotting and jungle trekking in Kalimantan to Komodo Dragon watching on the shores of Komodo, options vary by budget and time frame. The orangutan population continues to dwindle every year and some of the money garnered from eco-tourism goes to support foundations and local groups that work to save them. Although the number of visitors is limited each year, tour companies can arrange a visit to the famous rainforest study area of Tanjing Putting National Park and Camp Leakey in Kalimantan. A visit to the Ministry of Forestry’s feed station might earn you the chance to interact with the orangutans directly.
Accommodation and transportation are best arranged beforehand as flights can vary throughout the year. Another popular ecotourism destination is Komodo National Park which includes the three large islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Padar as well as several smaller islands. A visit to this area can be combined with a dive trip as the waters in the reserve are home to an estimated 900-1,000 marine species. The Komodo Dragons themselves, giant monitor lizards, are relatively easy to spot, but you’re guaranteed to find them safely with the help of a guide. Accommodation in the National Park is rustic, but the staff is friendly and the food is decent. With the proper initiation, you can do the best travel experience by using our service.