Do you dream of traveling to Indonesia?
Java, Bali, Lombok, Borneo ... Indonesia is full of magical places to discover. In addition, it seems that the Indonesians are very welcoming and friendly. We met Courtney from the Blog Discover Indonesia, lover and expert of the country (she lived there 10 years ). She gives us her tips and advice to travel serenely in Indonesia.
Can you introduce yourself quickly and your blog?
Hello, I'm Courtney, from the blog Discover Indonesia. I would like to share with you my passion for this beautiful country. I lived there for about ten years. I was a guide at the National Museum of Jakarta, adventure travel organizer, diving instructor (I had the opportunity to dive into some remarkable and uncrowded spots as a cruise director). Blogger, curious, great lover of travel, I traveled through Indonesia: alone, with my family, friends, tourists or professionally and I continue to do so.
Can you introduce us to Indonesia?
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with about 17 000 islands and extends over 2 000 km around the equator and over 6 000 km from east to west.
The main islands (in terms of surface area) are Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and West Papua. Kalimantan is bigger than France and Java makes a little more than a quarter of France !!! To this, is added smaller islands but very touristic like Bali and Lombok and the small islands of the Sonde.
Indonesia has a high seismic activity. Located at the convergence of 3 tectonic plates (Asian, Australian and Pacific), there is a belt of volcanoes (called belt of fire) that goes from Sumatra to Papua. Many volcanoes are still active, and it is not uncommon to feel a jolt without gravity and there have been a few notorious natural disasters (Tsunami in Sumatra in 2004, eruption of the Agung volcano in Bali in 1963 ...).
250 millions people live in Indonesia of which 120 million on the only island of Java. Like many Asian countries, you will be surprised to see people everywhere, especially in cities. For example, Jakarta, the capital is a city of 12 million inhabitants. But this archipelago still offers many virgin and wild places.
It is a young republic with an elected president and various political parties. The main religion is Islam. In the Indonesian constitution, 5 religions are allowed: Islam, Hinduism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Buddhism. There is no imposed religion, but the Indonesians must declare one of them. Religion is also inscribed on their identity papers.
What is the best time to travel to Indonesia?
Indonesia is a large country which covers several latitudes and which is divided into 2 by the band of Wallace, allowing to travel there in all seasons. The best season to travel to Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi is from May to November and if you go further west of the Wallacea area (or intermediate zone), the Moluccas, Papua or the small islands of the probe , The best season is from November to April.
Is it easy to travel to Indonesia?
The geography of Indonesia with its 17,000 islands requires choices:
Either you go from islands to islands: you will need to fly or boat, so plan to have time, to book a ticket or even to find a ferry or boat schedule. You can buy tickets from Indonesian airlines from France, online on their sites (Lion Air, Air Asia, Sriwijaya, Garuda, etc ...).
Either you stay on an island: you have the choice between the usual land transport: car, taxis, motorcycle.
The road network is not very developed and traffic in large cities is heavy. In Jakarta there is a not too bad bus network (the new Transjakarta buses), and trains going to the main cities of Java.
In Bali, buses are almost non-existent and best to rent a motorbike or a car.
Generally, in big cities you will find buses but no plans of lines. The simplest is to look at the direction that is marked and ask the driver if it serves the place where you want to go. My advice: If you can, take a driver, it is not very expensive and it will save you a lot of hassle. Driving is difficult especially in cities because of traffic jams and all-round motorcycles. Don’t worries You will find cars and motorbikes to rent everywhere.
What are your top 3 experiences not to be missed in Indonesia?
Diving of course ...
If you have never done this experience, Indonesia is the country where you have to do at least a diving baptism. The bottoms are colorful, fishy and the visibility is very good. The temperature of the water varies between 22 ° and 30 ° C according to the places and the seasons. You will find diving clubs everywhere. The security’s rules are the same as everywhere and the procedures follow the specifications given by organizations worldwide (PADI, CMAS, NAUI, etc ...) so no panic on this side!
A trek of a few days ...
Among the Baduis in Java or elsewhere to live in a still virgin nature in beautiful villages, cut off from the outside world and discover their rich ancestral cultures.
The ascent of a volcano ...
Like the Kawa Ijen in East Java where you will see sulfur carriers, the Rijani in Lombok from which you can admire the entire island, or the Kelimutu in Flores with its 3 colorful lakes or Mount Agung in Bali .
Be careful, do not underestimate these treks, because if they are not technically difficult, the differences in height are very important. Many people turn around before reaching the summit because they are poorly equipped and unprepared. Do not go with flip-flop !!! Allow more time than what the guides will tell you. But the view at the top is definitely worth the effort.
Let us dream: can you tell us about your best memory in Indonesia?
I have many strong memories, but I will choose the day we left the Korowais in Papua and where the children decorated with flowers, accompanied us on the makeshift tarmac, to the small plane that came to retrieve us. We were 6 women and we had just spent 5 days with them in their jungle. It was very moving.
Do you have any other advice for future travelers?
Do not plan to drive too many miles because the roads are not in a very good condition. Take time to relax and enjoy the weather, the people. The Indonesians are very smiling and welcoming, let them guide you, make you discover their country, their culture. They will always do it with great pleasure.
Thanks to Courtney for sharing her vision of Indonesia with us. You will find more info, tips and tricks to stay in Indonesia on our blog on Dive and sail Indonesia.
Happy Holidays to all !