Before hopping back to Europe for the summer, we spent some relaxing time in Indonesia. We flew into Bali, wanting to see for ourselves what the fuss is all about. It’s quite touristy indeed, but avoiding the main Kuta neighbourhood and renting our own motorbike we managed to escape most of the crowds. On the upside, May-June is still low season, so we found cheap and veeery nice hotels everywhere. So developed tourist locations are not always bad! Bali’s religion is mainly hinduism, and in the streets we saw endless rows of temples, daily offerings and celebrations that made the island particularly interesting to visit.
Temples temples temples
Sometimes the temples look like little tropical gardens that beautify the streets
Getting ready for the celebrations
Traditional sarong costume, used in everyday life but especially for celebrations
The sculptures also get the traditional sarong outfit!
It’s holding someone’s head… must have a religious significance, but no idea what that is!
The monkey is also wondering about the meaning of life
Cesar loving the psychedelic sculptures… I wonder why??
More psychedelic statues and monkeys wondering about them
Some of the temples even looked Japanese to us 🤔
Traditional offerings in the temple, but they are also displayed every morning around the house, shop or street
The hotel put an offering on our motorbike, probably to wish us a safe trip 🙂
Walking around beautiful rice fields
Eat Pray Love was filmed here in Ubud, so now there are yoga studios everywhere
Remains of colonial Dutch architecture
One evening we went to see the traditional Legong dance, it was really worth it! Their music (gamelan) is a bit like the sculptures – psychedelic!
The little island of Nusa Penida is just an hour by boat from Bali, but very few tourists make it. No idea why, because this place has by far the most beautiful beaches!!
Enjoying the view from the top…
…then stepping down on rickety bamboos to see the lost beach
As we were walking back up, we could see manta rays hunting in the water!
Good night Bali!
After a week in Bali, we started moving East, and hopped on the neighbouring island of Lombok. That island is majority muslim, and it was ramadan time, so we could hear lots of mosque prayers which gave an extra exotic touch to the atmosphere. We had no trouble finding food during the day, because the Muslim community here is quite relaxed (for example, not all women wear headscarves), and they seem used to mixing with other religions so many businesses and shops were open. Lombok has way less tourism than Bali, but we saw many resorts currently in construction so they are getting ready for a boom. We can understand why, as Lombok has much nicer beaches!
In the food market, weird local deserts
… of course, Cesar had to try this! Jelly, condensed milk, cheese, syrup… just a few of the healthy ingredients 😛
Strangely, he didn’t want to try the dried fish
WOW… and this beach was 100% empty!!!
Like, empty other than us and the doggy…
The local ladies are very skilled at cutting pineapple lollies
Which one should i gobble down first??
Exploring the dozens of beautiful bays
Just another bay…
Incredible empty beach where…
…we tried surfing a couple of times… but not very successfully, the waves beat us up 😅
So instead of surfing we could do yoga
or chill and look at the passing buffalos
We hopped to the Gili islands for a few days
Look at this water!!
We found our favourite hangout!
This cafe definitely knows how to attract customers like us 😅
After a week of beach bumming, we got on a 4-day boat trip to go to the island of Flores, and the Komodo national park to see the infamous dragons. It was a very nice way to get there, with stops to swim, snorkel, and check those cute poisonous reptiles. Flores is not very developed yet, so it was interesting to travel in a much more rural Indonesia – a bit less comfort, but people were really excited to see us. And guess what, Flores is majority Catholic – so far 3 islands, 3 religions! And we didn’t continue East to Papua, where we could have seen animist tribes…
We travelled for 4 days on a boat like this
We slept on mats directly on the floor, all 20 of us – and it wasn’t bad at all, except the one night with lots of waves.
The view when you wake up… just need to jump in!
Cesar jumped in and started floating in bliss
Floating shop – who wants a Bintang beer?
Chilling on the deck
Ready to snorkel and see huge calamars
Hike on top of one of the islands in the Komodo national park
The Komodo dragons move slowly, except when they suddenly lunge to bite their prey. Then they let the buffalo (or silly tourist!) run away, knowing that within a day their venom will cause it to die… at which point they find it and eat it 😛
We could only approach them with a guide who had a stick
One morning we woke up at 4am to hike up a volcano. Normally people pay a guide to take them up by scooter but we decided to do it all by ourselves. It was magical to walk in the jungle by the light of the stars!
All sweaty and happy to see the sunrise over the beautiful countryside
So pretty in the morning light!
Near the top, we entered the clouds
On the top, we saw 3 crater lakes, all different shades of green
Crater number 2
Crater number 3.. infested with monkeys!
Beautiful flower trees
The local girl-scouts were overjoyed to meet us in the forest!
We toured the island by motorbike and visited some traditional villages of the Ngada tribes
The cemeteries are near the houses… this way the dead can still hang out with their family! The island is Catholic, but animist beliefs are still strong. For example, in the middle of these Ngada villages they build “umbrellas” as a symbol of male ancestors, and flat-roofed little houses for female ancestors
Touring with our little scooter
Another hike, another volcano 😅
And to finish, here’s a little video with some snapshots from our Indonesia adventures. In particular we were very impressed with snorkelling in the Komodo national park, where we saw 4 huge bioluminescent squids (changing colour to fit in the corals!), manta rays, calamari, lots of beautiful fish and amazing multi-coloured corals. A shame that the camera doesn’t do justice to the beauty that we saw…
Indonesia is so diverse, feels like each island is a different country. Even within one island, it’s beautiful to see different religions and ways of life tolerantly sharing the space. We will definitely have to come back, to see Sumatra, Java and of course Papua!