Sunday, August 19, 2012


Indonesia is a perfect getaway with jungles, beaches and culture. Whether it is on a budget or if you want to spend lavishly, the option to do either or both is available. I only spent 11 days here but I managed to still get around to a few different spots. If I was able to I would have liked to have extended my stay for longer to see what else the country had to offer, but I guess I’ll just have to head back there another time.

Kuta, Bali:
Beautiful beaches from Kuta to Seminyak. The waves here are perfect for those budding surfers and boards can be rented right by the surf. Many cafes, restaurants, shops and markets line the beach where you can practice your haggling skills.

Gili Trawangan:
This island has clear, pristine waters best known for its coral reefs off the coast and dive sites. We were fortunate enough to be able to swim with  large sea turtles each time we entered the waters. Accommodation here range from 150,000 rupiah per night, (being more inland in the villages) or 200,000 rupiah plus if you would like a beach front property. There are many bars and restaurants available to choose from but if you would like something a little cheaper and more local they have a nightly market by the wharf with a variety of different foods to choose from. I would definitely recommend trying this at least once or twice while you are here, the food is delicious and for the seafood lovers, it's all fresh!

To get here from Bali there are fast or slow boats that depart from Padangbai Harbour, about an hour and a half drive away from Kuta. Many different shuttle services offer this whether you want to take a fast boat option (only takes about 2 hours and costs slightly more) or take the local slow ferrys that can take between 8 to 12 hours. The difference between prices cost between $3 to $60 USD. I highly recommend shopping around as different companies are willing to negotiate. We managed to get a return for 550,000 rupiah each (noted that some companies were offering this price or more just for one way) and this included a shuttle bus from Kuta to the harbour, fast boat to Gili T, (we then made our own way across to Lombok with a different company), the boat from Lombok to Padangbai and then a shuttle bus to your next destination.

For those that are a bit more adventurous, nearly every other cafe openly advertise that they have the best magic mushrooms that will take you to the moon! The popular option here is making it into a milkshake, which you'll see a lot of tourists casually walking around with these cups in hand.

Padangbai Harbour

Kuta, Lombok
Lombok is a quieter island with the less “touristy” factor. A smaller town and Kuta Beach is nothing less than amazing. White sand beaches, private coves, less crowded and clear waters. Many bungalows and homestays line the main town area of Kuta along with tourist services if you wanted to explore the area a bit more. Otherwise, Novotel is just a short drive away with their own private beach.

Sengiggi, Lombok
A quaint little town which usually acts as a stop before heading back to Bali. Close to the couple of harbours that transport you to and from the Gili’s. The Sunset here is well known and the people line the beach to view this every night.

Here is where most would say the heart of Balinese culture is. Local traditions is very evident here. Monkey Forest Road is the main downtown area which has surprisingly a lot of branded shops (whether they are real, who knows). Otherwise there is the Ubud Markets if you want to pick up a few souvenirs, food or cheaper clothing and jewellery. Across from this you will also find their large tourist information centre if you are a bit lost, want to book a tour or just have any general questions.

If you venture off down the side streets a bit more you can find more sweet little cafes and restaurants with traditional Indonesian food for good prices.

Rice fields surround the outskirts of Ubud with a few famous temples not too far away. Day trips can be easily booked and there are many tour operators to bargain with. Definitely a good place to reflect and get some peace and quiet if that is what you're looking for. A met a couple of travellers who came to Ubud especially for their yoga and meditation retreats if that is something up your alley.

View from the restaurant off Monkey Forest Road

Tanah Lot Temple


-       Jungle trek

-       Visit Sumatra

-       Visit Uluwatu / Bukit Peninsula

One thing I have taken away from my experiences here in Indonesia is that their culture; their way of living and the people; really make you reflect on the priorities in your life. I have gotten back to more of a minimalistic mindset since returning to South Korea. Seeing happiness radiate from local villagers (adult and children alike) and seeing what they have makes me re-evaluate circumstances and what makes me happy. They have such a joy for the simple things in life that it’s so refreshing to see and you can't help but enjoy along with them.

(P.S and FYI, Icecream here are all imported from Korea! Otherwise, gelato stores are around nearly every corner)