This year we are traveling to a country that, on the surface, is very intimidating.
It is home to the most pirate attacks per year, beating Somalia. (It is never good to be worse than Somalia at anything.) It is a country where people are suspected of practicing cannibalism (see footnotes). It is the 4th most populous country on earth and has the world’s largest Muslim population, which is intimidating to people who vote Republican.
It has 127 active volcanoes and is famous for some of the most violent eruptions ever known. It bore the brunt of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami where 200,000 people died and half a million were displaced.
Oh, and the country also has man-eating lizards.
If all of that isn’t terrifying enough, it is the place were a 6-year-old Barack Hussein Obama was taken to be brainwashed so that he could later take over the USA in a democratic election and bring down the country from within through healthcare reform.
This is one bad-boy country, a country you can’t exactly take home to mom. The country is Indonesia, and that is where we are headed in October.
Indonesia Travel Plans
Why did you decide to go to Indonesia, you are asking? We had two very important requirements for travel this winter: cheap and warm. After hemorrhaging money all over Italy last year and suffering through an Alaskan winter, cheap and warm were priorities. Indonesia fits both requirements.
Aside from that, Indonesia has many things we love to see and do. We love visiting ruins and temples, something Indonesia has in abundance. We love climbing volcanoes. (Correction: I love climbing volcanoes). We enjoy a day at the beach, something Indonesia can do better than just about anywhere in the world. We love the vibrant culture and friendly people of Asia. We love visiting a temple and getting our photo taken with 30 locals. We love walking by a school and having 20 kids shout Hello! Hello! Hello!
Indonesia, with 17,000 islands and over 200 languages, seems like a challenging and exciting country to visit. Just the names of the islands – Bali, Sulawesi, Borneo, Papua, Sumatra – evoke a sense of exotic adventure.
We have 60 days in Indonesia and no concrete plan. We will of course start out visiting Java, Bali and Lombok. I’d love to make it all the way out east to Papua, commune with cannibals and pick up a penis gourd souvenir, but Indonesia is surprisingly vast. It will take time and money to go that far. If not Papua, perhaps we will trek to the interior regions of Sulawesi, or hang out with orangutans in Sumatra. No matter what, adventure awaits, because it is Indonesia.
The Accidental Eat, Pray, Love Tour
After booking these tickets, I realized that this is an accidental Eat, Pray, Love tour we are on, because two years ago we went to India and last year Italy. Now we will see Bali. I have seen many women carrying around that polarizing book the last few years and I am sure it will be the same in Bali, as girls seek their own personal Javier Bardems.
For my part, I won’t be seeking Love (already have that) or Pray (although I could use some), but I will be seeking some Eat. I love Asian food and eating my way through the archipelago may be the highlight of the trip. And if I come back with a taste for human, you will know that we made it all the way to the Papua.
Have you been to Indonesia?
What do people taste like?
I’d love to hear any advice you have.
Note: in researching this post, I found out about a man-eating cult in Papua New Guinea. Check out these crazy-stories from 2012 and 2013.
Cannibal cult members’ arrested for murder, eating raw brains and making penis soup
Hacked, slashed and castrated: How ‘cannibal’ cult leader ‘Black Jesus’ Steven Tari met his death
Papua New Guinea charges 29 alleged cannibals
Follow along on our trip to Indonesia by liking Planet Bell on Facebook or Following on Twitter
I can’t wait to follow your trip! It sounds amazing!
It should be fun. In a crazy country like Indonesia there ought to be plenty of adventure, and mis-adventure, to blog about.
I wish I was going.
Quit your job and meet us there 🙂
Welcome to Indonesia! Finally you’re going to the country. Here are some highlights I can recommend to you: Borobudur and Prambanan temples for ancient ruins; Mount Bromo and Mount Rinjani, both are active volcanoes; and the beaches of southern Lombok and eastern Indonesia for some powdery white sandy beaches. Of course you have vast options to choose from. Enjoy traveling across Indonesia!
Thanks for the tips! We are planning to do Yogyakarta and those temples first, then Bromo and Ijin Volcanoes before hearing over to Bali and then Lombok. I don’t think we will make any plans and just go where the mood takes us. Can’t wait to get there.
Where do you live?
I was just about to suggest you chat with Bama but wonderful he is already here. I look forward to following along and will go find you on FB.
It is a small blogging world! It should be a fun trip.
“Accidental” sure… Lol jk. looking forward to reading about ur trips!
Ever since I read the book, I just had to see these places…
Keep me posted on that penis soup. Sounds like a local delicacy!
It sounds delicious. Hopefully nobody gets to enjoy mine. I don’t think it will grow back.
Jeff, I can’t begin to tell you how many ways you crack me up. 🙂 Fabulous post … and you will love Indonesia. It’s one of our all-time favorite destinations. We’ve spent a lot of time there, always trying different areas. But we haven’t made it to Papua or Sumatra yet – always another great reason to return.
I was going to recommend that you check out Bama at What an Amazing World – and I already see he’s commented above. His writings about Indonesia are terrific. Also James at notesplusultra.com is excellent. We wrote several posts and you might enjoy the one James wrote about Happy Hour in Yogyakarta (one of our favorite spots if Mt. Merapi is behaving). ~Terri
Thank you for the tips. I will check out Bama’s blog in detail now that I’m headed there. I liked your post also. Did you visit Krakatoa?
Ironically, I will likely be heading that way this winter as well. Although sadly it will not be at the same time as you. Tentative plan is a recruiting trip to Taiwan and Malaysia, which means of course I will extend it to vacation…
Nice. That should be pretty cool. Is that where you get most of your J-1s from?
This year it was mostly Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore. For 2015, thinking Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Bulgaria.
Ahh, Indonesia! I’ve lived here for the past year and could probably stay another five just exploring all of the different islands it has to offer.
I would highly recommend adding Flores to your to-do list. I just did a 10 day road trip from Labuan Bajo in the West over to Ende further east. Possibly one of the most beautiful islands I’ve been to so far, with a little for everyone from Wae Rebo to 17 Islands National Park and Kelimutu Crater Lakes. Keep an eye on wet season to make sure it doesn’t hamper any of your plans, as travel times can be long and roads pretty awful. Also, Sumatra, North Sulawesi and Kuta in Lombok are all highly recommended (by me!). I’m hoping to make it over to Raja Ampat in Papua and Tana Toraja in South Sulawesi before I head home in January.
Looking forward to reading your adventures!
Thanks for the tips. Flores does look appealing, especially the 17 islands and the 3 colored lakes. Where are you living?
I’m based in Sanur, on the south-east coast of Bali. Amazing sunrises, and not overrun with tourists like some parts of the western-side of the island. Also, only 30min boat ride out to Nusa Lembongan, which is a great place to spend a couple of days (fantastic snorkelling & diving there).
That sounds nice. What is the one thing I have to do in Bali that is off the beaten track?
Hmm, that’s a tricky one. It’s a pretty small island with a LOT of tourists! 😉 I would definitely recommend Munduk – up in the hills with stunning views and some beautiful waterfalls and treks. Stop off at the botanic gardens and temple by the lake in Bedugul on the way. Les Waterfall in North Bali is also well worth a visit. I don’t think a lot of tourists make it up there. Nearby Les there is also a place called Tejakula which has a newish marine protected area and some fantastic snorkelling and diving in the area, with a dive operator run entirely by people from the local area.
Whoops – that’s 3 things!
Thanks for the tips! I’ll be sure to look in to these places.
Maybe I am late in recommending your travel plans. Sulawesi is my favorite island – aside to Bali (I have too many favorite islands in Indonesia). I would suggest to visit Sulawesi as well – visiting Toraja then ends up snorkeling in Bunaken (North Sulawesi).
Additionally, if the eastern part of Indonesia is too far to visit on your timeline, do visit Flores for Komodo dragon, snorkeling with the mantas, Kelimutu mountain (three color lakes), traditional villages Wogo. If you are a scubadiver then I suggest to dive in Indonesia – the corals are simply stunning.
Right now we have done Bali and Java and are heading to Lombok for about 10 days to climb Rinjani and then recover on the beach. After that, we are thinking Flores with a stop at Komodo. We are trying to decide between Sulawesi and Timor for our last 10 days of the trip. Toraja looks really fascinating. Have you been to Timor? How about Pantai Bira in Sulawesi?
Hi Jeff, I have never been to Timor and have no friends who have been there so I can’t say much about it. Bira, of what I have heard from friends, has beautiful beach – pristine and relaxing. A friend who went snorkeling there also saw turtles 😉 It is still in my bucket list to visit 😉
Thanks for the info! Timor seems really off the beaten path which could be good or bad. Everyone seems to really like Sulawesi. We can’t decide.
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