Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 22 December 2017 • Destination
Instead of looking back to what we’ve done in 2017, we decided to end the year by looking ahead to 2018. So we’ve gathered a few recommendations from friends who’ve traveled a lot in Indonesia on which destination you should consider in 2018 and why. Along with that, we added our personal recommendations as well.
So, where should you go in Indonesia in 2018?
Here are 12 destinations in Indonesia for your 12 months in 2018.
“Because you could see whale sharks only 10 meters from the shore, and it shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. I only paid IDR50,000 for the fisherman’s boat and IDR20,000 for the bait. And, Gorontalo has really good food, such as the ilabulo* and tuna bakar rica*”.
Recommended by Indra Febriansyah, an old friend of ours who’s been traveling far and wide. He was in the North Pole when I asked for his recommendation, and he’s been to 30 (out of 34) provinces of Indonesia so far. Instagram: @indrafeb.
*Ilabulo is a mixture of seasoned chicken liver, chicken gizzard, and grated banana, wrapped in banana leaf and then grilled. Tuna bakar rica is simply grilled tuna in hot and spice seasoning called rica.
“If you’re into history and culture, Lasem is the place to go. I fell instantly in love with the Chinese houses from 18th and 19th centuries that still exist. One of them, called Lawang Ombo, used to be an opium storage in the Dutch colonial era. And then, the batik. It’s gorgeous and the history goes way back to the time of Admiral Cheng Ho (15th century) when one of his troops decided to stay in Lasem and introduce Chinese painting on cloth.”
Recommended by Astri Apriyani or Atre to her friends, a travel writer who often writes for magazines and travel videos. She was just about to depart for Makassar, South Sulawesi, when I asked for her recommendation. Instagram: @atre7. A co-founder of: kesengsemlasem.com (in English and Indonesian).
Mumun’s take on Lasem, here.
“Swimming in the lake with fresh water from the spring is a dream come true for me. Being in Paiso Pook lake felt like I was in another world, though it’s located near a village, where the people do all sorts of activities here, from children playing to the grown-ups washing their scooters. The journey to get there is quite long and adventurous because there’s no direct access, but it’s really paid off once I dipped in the sexy turquoise water.”
Recommended by Vidi Primadania, a friend of ours who works at a pharmaceutical company, who used up all her annual leaves to explore places mostly within Indonesia. Instagram: @vidi_sehat.
“Yogyakarta is great because not only it is easy to access and tourist-friendly, it also offers so many cultural destinations. The Keraton and Taman Sari water palace are two of the places I recommend. If you stay at Yats Colony, you can get there by becak or walking.”
Read also, our latest post on Warungboto, a new site in Yogyakarta, here.
“Nemberala beach is still my most favorite place to surf in Indonesia. The waves work for beginner to pro level surfers. It’s got a perfect wave shape, thanks to the reef cluster underwater, which is also pretty and can be seen from the surface through the crystal clear water. Most visitors are surfers from around the world, only a few local tourists. The beach is pristine and clean, and a very simple village is located nearby.”
Recommended by Gemala Hanafiah, a professional surfer, blogger and vlogger, who can’t live far from water. One minute she’s in Jakarta, the next in Rote, the next in Papua, it’s like playing ‘catch me if you can’ with her. Instagram: @g_hanafiah. YouTube: WetTraveler.
“I haven’t explored the whole of Flores yet, but I am in love with this island since my first visit back in 2008. Flores is a place with plenty opportunities for exploration. You can do the sailing trip and meet the Komodo dragons, explore and chat with locals in traditional villages, check out the sunset from the hills or local bars, climb the volcanoes; either Inerie (which is less popular but equally great) or the famous Kelimutu. The options are endless.”
Recommended by Firsta, a fellow Indonesian blogger who has traveled as far as Africa, likes to hike the mountains and dives the deep oceans. She is also a travel organizer and a little bit on the OCD side. Instagram: @hellofirsta. Blog (in English): discoveryourindonesia.com.
“Diving in Komodo waters is the best by far. It’s got colorful reefs and abundant fish (maybe even over populated!). I’ve had four dive trips to Komodo and always had great visibility. The corals are intact perhaps because not many newbies dive there due to the current. And after a couple of dives, it’s great to go trekking on the islands with gorgeous view.”
Recommended by Normansyah Mugni, a friend who got a kick out of diving at first because it was simply fun, and another hobby that is underwater photography. Norman only started to travel abroad after more than 300 dive logs because diving in Indonesia is his first priority when it comes to traveling. Instagram: @normugni.
“It’s so hard to choose which part of Sumba is the best, every place I went there is beautiful! Watu Maladong beach is one my favorites because it’s unique, it’s got this big rock in a turtle shape. When low tide, you can walk to the rock but you gotta be careful because the sand is so soft, it can ‘suck’ your feet in up to your knees. It’s located next to and actually connected to my other favorite beach, Bwanna*.”
Recommended by Terry Endopoetro, a graphic designer who is enthusiastic and blogs only about Indonesia, from the culture, food, to the people and the arts. Instagram: @negerikitasendiri. Blog (in Indonesian): negerisendiri.com.
*Some also call it Mbawana beach. And more about beaches of Sumba you can read here.
“I know it’s cliche and a big city, but while a lot of people are rushing to Bandung and Yogyakarta for culinary adventures, some incredible things are happening in Surabaya. With a combination of amazing Chinese and Javanese food as well as an influx of people from all over the archipelago, the city already had a lot going. But recently with the growing prominence of high quality food bloggers and the entrepreneurial spirit that already existed, a lot of really terrific fusion food, cafes and dessert places have sprouted up around the city. It’s truly a great combination of new arrivals and old favorites.”
Recommended by Matthew Mendelsohn, a friend that we knew through a collaboration with the company he just resigned from. Now Matthew is traveling to Israel and Africa for months with his wife Jo and their son Liam. Instagram: @matthewmendelsohn. Blog: thecoconutrace.com.
“People usually comes to visit Labuan Cermin lake in Biduk-biduk, Berau Regency, as the bonus of their trip to Derawan. But the district actually offers its own charm asides with Labuan Cermin, such as the white sand beach along the region, Segending River to see dozens of sea turtles everyday, the waterfalls at Teluk Sumbang area, and the underwater attractions around Kaniungan Islands.”
Recommended by Edna Tarigan, a journalist for a Japanese newspaper, who takes at least one weekend trip every month, which sometimes spills over the weekdays, mostly within Indonesia. Instagram: @edededan. Her story on Biduk-biduk: edededan.com (in English).
Our own recommendations:
I think Banda will always be just below the surface of travel trends. With the ambiance of remoteness, the friendliness of the people, and the abundant sources, Banda offers the idea of being in a tropical country. It’s one of my favorite places because living in Neira Island makes me feel like living on the lake side, a sensation I rarely have. Infrastructure is relatively ready, with enough rooms just to accommodate high season visitors. Transportation hasn’t been improving much but apparently people find a way to get to the small islands, as it’s pretty full during holiday season.
A story of scars from Banda, you can read here.
Bintan is like a simple version of Bali in the west Indonesia. It’s a complete package of culture, history, food, and nature activities. The highlights for me was spending an afternoon in Senggarang village where the people were welcome for some casual conversation, the savory fish soup in Aulia restaurant, Tanjungpinang (and you must know that I don’t normally like fish soup!), and the Crystal Lagoon because it’s pretty and you can choose from so many fun water activities.
So, where will you be traveling in 2018?
Or do you have other recommendations for those traveling Indonesia in 2018?