In 2012, my friends told me they were going to Indonesia in the summer and I did not hesitate to buy the ticket to join them right away, although I felt a little scared / excited because it was going to be my first time in Asia. Who would have imagined that I would love this continent so much?
That is why I insist that the best medicine for racism and radical political systems is to visit the world and not just believe in the stereotypes that our societies tell us.
Note: This was my first post and the reason I opened the blog. So, many details are missing, but I hope you like it and you know that you can ask me any questions in the comments.
The whole trip last 18 days, but since we flew with Emirates, we decided to stopped two nights in Dubai before heading to Jakarta.
In 2012, when we were there, it was not easy to book some of the hotels online (outside of Bali) or internal flights, this is the reason why we had to go back to Bali so many times to catch different flights from there. Also some of the tours were impossible to find online, so we took the risk of going without lots planning. But we have a friend who visited Indonesia a year before us, so at least we had her recommendations and some contacts.
I think Indonesia now, in addition to Bali, has become a popular destination for tourists, so I guess booking hotels and flights shouldn’t be that difficult.
If you are planning a similar trip, especially to Flores, I recommend dizziness pills for the road trip and maybe the boat if you need them, water shoes to protect you from the corals (but try not to step on them), a lot of sunscreen, Flashlight, a strong mosquito repellent (we took the malaria prophylaxis while being in Flores), and buying snacks for Flores roadtrip in case you get tired of the Nasi Goreng.
In this whole trip we spent per person around 700euros in Indonesia (hotel, food, tours, etc.), 800euros in the international flights and 350euros in national flights.
Day 2: Dubai
Day 3: Dubai – Jakarta – Bali
Day 4: Bali
Day 5: Bali
Day 6: Bali – Gili Trawangan
Day 7: Gili Trawangan – Bali
Day 8: Bali – Flores
Day 9: Flores (Kelimutu Volcano)
Day 10: Flores (Riung + islands)
Day 11: Flores (Labuan Bajo)
Day 12: Flores – Different Islands
Day 13: Different Islands – Flores (Labuan Bajo)
Day 14: Flores (Serayat Island)
Day 15: Flores – Bali
Day 16: Bali
Day 17: Bali – Yogyakarta
Day 18: Yogyakarta – Jakarta – Dubai – Madrid
Day 3 – 5: BALI
Our flight from Madrid to Jakarta, stopping in Dubai for 2 days, cost us 800€ per person. The same day we arrived in Jakarta, we flew to Bali with Batavia airline (3 hours, 120€). As the national terminal is not the same, we used a shuttle bus to go from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1C. Once there, we waited a couple of hours for flight to Bali. Careful, the flights are announced only in Indonesian, so we had to ask around to find out when our flight was leaving, which didn’t happen on time.
Upon arrival in Bali we took a taxi to our hotel in Kuta for 100,000 rp. We stayed at hostal Suji Bungalow (free wifi), a very nice, clean and cheap hostal. We paid 80$ per night (sorry for having prices in different currencies) for a 2-story bungalow with AC and 1 bathroom for 5 people with basic continental breakfast (bread with butter and jam, juice, fruit and coffee).
We book a driver with the hotel (car + driver + gas for 500.000rp) for the next day, that took us to Kabupaten (15.000rp), to try Copi Luwak coffee (40.000rp a cup and 180.000rp for 200 grams of coffee), Pura Ulun Danu Temple in Bedugul (30.000rp), Jatiluwih Rice Terrace (15.000rp) and sunset in Uluwatu temple (15.000rp) We have lunch in the rice fields for 70.000rp per person in an indonesian buffet that our driver recommended us.
On the fifth day of our trip, we book the same driver as did yesterday, for the same price but with a personalized itinerary: went to Monkey Forest (20.000rp), Elephant Cave (15.000rp), Tanah Lot Temple (10.000rp + 10.000 parking) where we saw the precious volcano from a restaurant with a gazebo where we ate (70.000rp), Tampak Siring (15.000rp) and we saw the Kecak dance (100.000rp) at night in Ubud.
Day 6-7: GILI TRAWANGAN
To go to Gili we booked the fast boat for 550.000 rp (round trip) from our hotel in Bali. There are a other cheaper/slower boats but if you go only 1 day I don’t think is worth it. Also, on the street of Bali, we saw tour guides offering cheaper options but it gave us more confidence to use the hotel tour.
We were picked up from the hotel at 6:30 am, went to the port (almost 2hr by bus from Kuta) and we left directly to Gili (almost 2hr by boat). Once you arrive, there is not dock, so you pretty much have to jump in the water (this was in 2012, maybe now they have a dock since it has become a very touristic place), so maybe better to carry a small bag and be prepare to get wet from waist down.
Gilli Trawangan is a very small island, full of cats, really, I think I have never seem that many cats together in my life. I have a serious cat phobia that might sound ridiculous to you, but it was pretty hard for me to be surrounded by so many cats. I even had to ask oa restaurant to open their secnd floor, which was close that day, just for us to dine, otherwise it would have been impossible to me to eat anything.
Cats aside, the island is BEAUTIFUL, you can walk the whole island in like 2-3 hours, the beach is super clear, there are no cars only donkeys, all the restaurants are by the beach, you don’t need that much clothes, and it’s incredible for snorkeling.
We stayed at the The Beach House hotel (800.000rp per room per night with breakfast and wifi) which was an excellent option, in front of the beach, with a nice small pool, great restaurant and excellent price. We managed to book this hotel online before going to the island, nevertheless, besides being high season (August) it was easy to find a hotel last minute since there were a lot of guys offering hotels once you get out of the boat (probably this has changed since 2012).
It’s a shame (except for me and the cats) that we only stayed one night.
Next day, we took the boat back to Bali around midday.
Day 7-8: BALI
After arriving from Gili Trawangan, we went in the afternoon to Seminyak by taxi (50.000rp), which is the posh area of Bali, but we also liked it because there are quite a few unique shops, the bars on the beach are beautiful and also food looked delicious (but probably expensive too).
That night we stayed on Sun Boutique hotel (1.600.000 rp for a room for five with kitchen). The hotel is far from the center to walk, but the facilities are good, and the staff was very friendly.
On the eighth day, we woke up very early to take a taxi (90.000rp) to the airport to take our flight to Maumere (Flores Island).
This stop in Bali was only for logistical reasons, because we could only go to Gili Trawangan from Bali, and there was no time to catch a flight from Bali to Maumere on the same day.
Day 8-9: FLORES (Maumere to Kelimutu Volcano)
General recommendations for Flores: take a lot of cash with you, it was almost impossible to find an ATM and they don’t take cards outside Labuan Bajo, try Flores coffee, and if you don’t have a lot of time, maybe think about flying directly to Labuan Bajo to enjoy the beautiful beaches/islands you can visit from there (Rinca, Komodo, etc.), this way you can safe a lot of driving hours (although you’ll miss Kelimutu and Riung).
Maumere: we flew with Lion Air from Bali (1.5 hours, 120€) and our drivers were waiting for us at the airport to start our trip. These drivers (Donato and Conrad) were recommended by our friend that came to Flores last year (I lost their contact, sorry for that). From the airport, we stopped in Wuring, a pretty rural fishing village, and then had dinner at Surobaya restaurant. That same night we went out to Moni. The trip takes around 3 and a half hours even though it is approximately 100km, but the roads are very bad and our driver had to drive at 30km / hr.
Moni: We arrived around 11pm and our drivers were incharge of recommending/booking our hotels, but their first choice (Hidaya Hotel) was fully booked last night, so we had to go to their second choice (and last choice too), that was this half built hotel called Flores Sare hotel (250.000 rp for a double room and 100.000rp for extra bed with breakfast, not Internet) with no water no electricity, but it wasn’t that bad because our expectations were really low.
Next morning (day 9), we left the hotel at 4:00am to go to Kelimutu Volcano (entrance 20.000rp + 6.000 parking) which is approximately 30min driving from the hotel. Then we hike around 20-30min up to the colored Lakes and watch the sunrise from there.
If you are planning to do this same hiking, my recommendation is to bring a sweater and a flashlight (which was very useful last night too). It’s also worth staying until the sun hits the lake (around 7:30 am) to get a good look at the colors of the lake.
In Moni we also stop at a waterfall and in a fruit market. We visited Wologai, a village of wooden houses, a rice field in Detukeli, that was prettier than those in Bali and you don’t have to pay anything to see them.
We then had lunch in Cita Rasa in Ende, stopped at the bluestone beach some minutes and head to Riung.
Riung: It took us 3 and a half hours from Bluestone Beach (Ende) to get there, but Riung is probably the most beautiful little village we have visited in Flores so far. We slept at the Bintang Wisata Riung hotel (325.000 rp for two rooms with breakfast included). This hotel did have water (not hot), electricity (it went out several times) and a fan.
We had dinner at Murah Meriah (340.000rp for dinner for 7, including some beers), very close to our hotel, and of course we had Nasi Goreng again: stir-fried rice, which I really like it but after a few days eating the same for lunch and dinner, we are a little tired of it.
Day 10: FLORES (Riung + islands)
We book a boat trip in our Riung hotel to the 17-island park. We left the hotel at 8:00am and visited: Montoloe, which is full of bats, we stopped to snorkel in the middle of the sea and then we went to Tiga island for snorkeling and they guys from the boat cooked us the best meal of the trip: Fish, salad and Papaya with lime.
For this tour, we paid 700.000rp for 5 people with food included plus 95.000rp to enter the park (5 people plus the entrance of the boat). At 13:30 we were already returning to the port to leave for Bajawa. In Riung it may be worth staying 1 more night to enjoy the beaches a litlle more.
Our next stopped was Bajawa, 4 hours driving from Riung, where we spent the night at Hotel Bintang Wisata (325.000 rp for 2 rooms). We dined at Dito’s restaurant (300.000rp for 5 people).
Day 11: FLORES (from Bajawa to Labuan Bajo)
On our way to Labuan Bajo, we stopped in a town called Bena, where they have cacao, spices and scarves. A “donation” between 15.000-20.000rp per group is required to visit this town.
Then we stopped in Ruteng to see the Spider Web Rice Field, too bad it was a little foggy.
Once in Labuan Bajo, we checked in our hotel called Laprima (1.600.000 for 2 rooms, breakfast included), which a total luxury after the hotel we have stayed in this trip. Also, we had dinner in a restaurant called Lounge, where we finally saw something different from Nasi Goreng: PIZZA!
Day 12: FLORES (Labuan Bajo + islands)
Next morning, we took a bus from the hotel to meet Odin at 9:00am in the main harbor (our drivers gave us his contact) and started our “cruise” through some of the Indonesian islands. The cruise was 2.500.000rp for the five of us, for 2 days and 1 night.
First stop: Rinca Island, where we hike for about an hour to see the Komodo Dragons and monkeys. The entrance to the National Park was 20.000rp per person, 50.000rp per camera and 50.000rp for the tour guide (mandatory).
From there we went to another island (don’t remember the name of it) to snorkel and then to Komodo Island where we slept on the boat. Our meals were prepared by the guys in the boat and were actually really good and fresh (mainly fish and salads), and of course, we couldn’t take a shower that night, but I honestly didn’t even think about it, I enjoyed so much the views and the beach that all I have is good memories from this trip.
Day 13: FLORES (Islands + Labuan Bajo)
The next day we visited Komodo Island to see the dragons and take a walk in the park for about 1 hour. If you save the park entrance that you already paid in Rinca, it is not necessary to pay it again, only the guide, which was 50.000rp.
Then we went snorkeling in Pink Beach, a very beautiful beach where we saw manta rays, moray eels, clown fish, swordfish, etc. Water shoes were also useful in this island to get to the beach, because it was full of corals.
To go back to Labuan Bajo it took us around 4 hours on our boat which was very slow, but there was no rush.
Once in Labuan Bajo, we had dinner in Made in Italy, have some drinks and took a bus to our hotel (we stayed again at Laprima Hotel).
Day 14: FLORES (Serayat Island)
The next day we analyzed the options we had to do in Labuan Bajo: caves with bats (2 hours by car), waterfalls (1 hour and a half and then 1 hour walking) or going to some other island. We decided to go to Serayat Island, so again we took the bus from the hotel to the main harbor and we met the guys from our boat again that charged us 500.000rp (no food, only coffee) to take us to this island. The island is spectacular, it has some bungalows on the beach that looked very nice to spend a night. We spend our day snorkeling, we were not able to see turtles like other people but we saw rays, lionfish, etc. It also has a restaurant, but we didn’t eat there because we brought some snacks we bought at the harbor.
In Labuan Bajo, we had dinner in the Mediterranean Restaurant.
Day 15-16: FLORES – BALI
I was so sad of leaving Labuan Bajo, but we had our flight at midday with Lion Air to go back to Bali. Once in Bali, we went to our hotel: Febri’s Hotel (in Kuta), which was bigger than the previous hotel we stayed in Bali, but it was fine for one night.
We had dinner in Bubba Gump in Kuta, because we are all fans of this restaurant that we don’t have in Spain. Of course it was quite expensive compared to the other dinners of the trip (25-30 euros per person).
The next day we went to the Brahmavihara Arama Buddhist temple in Lovina, that is quite far from Kuta, with the traffic and the distance you pretty much need a whole day to go to this temple. However, we had time to stopped at hot springs and Git Git waterfalls. Apparently, in Git Git you have to pay for the tour with a guide otherwise you can get lost inside the park. I’m not sure that’s true, but well, we weren’t going to fight about it. I don’t remember the price exactly, but I remember it was expensive compared to other tickets / tour and again if you don’t have much time it can be ruled out.
Also, with these extra days in Bali, it gave us time to walk around the center, stay for a while on the Kuta beach watching the surfers, etc.
We slept another night in Bali at Bed Bunkers hostel, extremely cheap (about 9 euros a night per person) in rooms for 18 people. It was clean and also we only spent a few hours there because we had to get up early to go to the airport.
Day 17: BALI – YOGYAKARTA
Since the flight from Bali arrived at Yoyakarta very early, it gave us time to go directly to the temples from the airport. We paid 500rp (if I’m not mistaken) for the 4×4 transfer to Borobudur and Prambanan that we booked in our hotel (Venezia Garden hostel, very cheap). In each temple we paid around 50rp to enter.
Both temples are beautiful and worth going to Yogyakarta to visit them, although this is a bigger city and so it is hard to find the same kindness that we found in Bali and Flores. It took us a long time to get a taxi because they did not know where our hotel was and we obviously looked like tourist.
We had dinner at a Pizza Hut near the center.
Day 18: YOGYAKARTA – JAKARTA – DUBAI – MADRID
The next day in Yogyakarta, we had a few free hours and went for a walk downtown, but we didn’t see anything special and also we were very tired and ready for our flight back home.
My first time in Asia was a total success, I felt in love with Indonesia and I wouldn’t mind repeating the story of EAT PRAY LOVE (a cliche, I know, but I really liked that book).