Indonesia is the very first country we travelled to as a couple; it was the start of our 8 month Asian adventure together, plus the beginning of a new and unexpected way of life for us. For these reasons it has a very special place in both of our hearts.
We arrived in Yogyakarta in the mid-day heat. Tyler decided we would take a local city bus to our hostel instead of a taxi. Of course we missed our stop by about a kilometer; this lead to a mild-culture-shock-induced-frustrated-hungry-and-sweaty argument right in front of the busy Malioboro Street market before making our way to where we wanted to be…. and we have never looked back.
Over the next two months we explored East Java, Bali, Lombok and Sumatra. Indonesia is huge and we are looking forward to one day returning to see much more of it, but for now we have to humbly admit that this blog is but a glimpse of what this incredible country has to offer.
Indonesia is loaded with beaches and you really can’t go wrong wherever you go. We spent time on the beaches of Pacitan, Sukamade, Lovina, Kuta (Bali), Nusa Lembongan, Senggigi, Kuta (Lombok) and Gili Trawangan. They are all picture perfect places that would fit right into any paradise-themed calendar with light-brown or white sand, fading into turquoise blue ocean. The downfall to most of these beaches is that they are often better for surfers which means there is a reef nearby and probably a pretty good tide – not to mention big waves. For some people this would be a huge bonus, but we are swimmers who prefer a calm ocean to float around in. While they weren’t the best beaches for swimming (with the exception of Gili T, which is an absolute paradise) they offered gorgeous sunsets night after night.
Soooo Indonesia doesn’t really have mountains like the Andes or the Rockies…. but it has A LOT of volcanoes. We climbed Bromo, Ijen and Sibayak; all of which were active at the time we climbed them (2012). I have personally wanted to climb Rinjani ever since, but with it’s recent eruption, I’m not sure when it will be safe to do so. Maybe it’s not fair to compare beaches to volcanoes because obviously volcanoes are SO MUCH cooler. Maybe we’re just ignorant Canadians who see volcanoes as exotic instead of dangerous. Either way, the treks we did to these volcanoes were unforgettable. Bromo is like something you would expect to see on the moon. The contrast between the acid lake and sulfur deposits of Ijen are indescribably beautiful. Taking pictures beside smoking fumaroles on Sibayak before climbing down in a serious downpour, then ending up soaking in the hot springs at the base of the volcano was an even better experience than we could have ever planned for.
Verdict: Volcanoes. In our opinion you can’t experience Indonesia without climbing a volcano (or three).
Have you ever been to Indonesia? What do you think: better beaches or better “mountains”? Please tell us about the places we’ve missed so we can add them to our next Indonesia itinerary!