By Team Ocider
Okay folks, if you intend to do just Bali for your next vacation, then let me tell you, you are actually missing out quite a bit that Indonesia has to offer. Bali is a must, of course, but as Indonesia Tourism’s Country Manager in India, Sanjay Sondhi suggests, you should venture out to explore other Indonesian destinations each for its own USPs: The mighty Mount Rinjani for volcanoes, Bandung for fashion shopping, Komodo National Park for Komodo dragons, and so on.
“The trouble is Indians are less advantourous than their European conterparts. Most of them would rather be at one place, in this case Bali,” Sondhi says. However, travel agents are trying hard selling other Indonesian pockets, gradually convincing travellers to pack in a day or two extra to see other destinations beyond Bali. And believe me, they are coming back with rare memories. How about a lazy day on a beach that has pink as its colour? So here are six places you should drop anchor at. And don’t forget to thank Ocider after you return!
1. YOGYAKARTA, the never-ending Asia
There are pickpockets if you take a local bus, but that shouldn’t deter you from walking around Yogyakarta, the second most visited destination in Indonesia after Bali. Together with its twin city Surakarta (Solo), it is the cradle of civilisation on Java. Also known as Neverending Asia for its endless appeals, this city is a cultural melting pot. Climb the magnificent Borobudur temple, visit the Keraton (Sultan’s Palace) and the famous Alun Alun, watch silversmiths produce amazing jewellery at Kotagede and also learn to make one yourself. Shop at Malioboro road or relax in a Javanese spa! It’s a small city but the range of things one can do here is endless. And oh, ride on a becak, traditional three wheeled pedal powered cart. You can hire a mobike too.
2. BANDUNG for fashion shopping
Surrounded by green fertile mountains, you may be overwhelmed by the large number of factory outlets scattered along Dago, Riau, Cihampelas, and Setiabudi. That’s because Bandung is the centre for textile mills. Shop to your heart’s content and grab famous brands, trendy fashion items and a lot more with surprisingly affordable price! Once known as a town for wealthy planters who owned miles and miles of tea, coffee and cinchona plantations, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, the friendly climate of this town allows access all through the year.
3. SURABAYA CITY for bull race
There is a submarine museum here. If that doesn’t interest you, this modern industrial town also has a Cheng Hoo Mosque. Or maybe you can visit the island of Madura for a thrilling bull race. Situated on the mouth of the Brantas river, Surabaya is home to the nation’s navy. The city also works best as a base to explore the other attractions of East Java including Mt Bromo, the cool mountain retreats of Malang and the natural beauty of Ijen Plateau. Foodie, are you? Pick the most famous food souvenir here – the layered cake brand of Spikoe Resep Kuno and almond crispy chips, Bu Rudy’s chilly sauce and Surabaya Snowcake – a mix of pastry and sponge cake. Ask for a good guide who knows the highlights of this vibrant metropolitan. You may also hire a motorcycle to go around.
4. LABUAN BAJO for romantic sweet nothings
To most travellers and to westerners who own many businesses here, this developing town is somehow favourable and even romantic. The view of wooden cottages with thatched roofs camouflaged by shrubberies and trees up in the sloping township, overlooking an idyllic harbour, makes an evening conversation with traveling partners an unforgettable experience. For some adventurers, Labuan Bajo can be an ideal getaway. It’s a small fishing site actually but with surprisingly comprehensive tourist facilities. Why? Coz tourists come here in large numbers for the Komodo dragons.
5. KOMODO NATIONAL PARK for Komodo Dragon
But it’s at the Komodo National park where you can see an abundance of rare Komodo Dragon. The park includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands. At least 2,500 komodos live in this area. Large dragons are usually three meters long and weigh up to 90 kg. On Rinca Island, you can see komodos lying down outside the homes of national park rangers, or “parking” near the officials’ homes. If you are lucky, you can see Komodos attacking prey or fighting. If that’s too wild for you, you can try to spot a group of deers, buffaloes or wild horses.
You can also go for other activities such as diving and snorkeling here. Take a cruise ship or fishermen’s boat to enjoy these activities. Divers claim that Komodo waters are one of the best diving sites in the world with fascinating underwater scenery. You will also encounter dolphins, whales, green turtles, sharks and stingrays. Your feet will be your trusted companion on this island. Good thing most people never leave home without them.
6. LOMBOK ISLAND for spectacular natural beauty
With divine beaches, the majestic Mt Rinjani and spectacular marine life to discover, the island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara has no shortage of attractions both in and out of the water. It’s little wonder then that Lombok is the most popular destination in West Nusa Tenggara. Challenge yourself with a trek up steep volcanic peaks. Hire a bike and cycle through lush evergreen rice paddies. Whichever way you choose to spend your time you won’t be disappointed with the spectacular natural beauty on offer here.
Lombok’s Kuta Beach offers a different vibe with no less attractions. There is also a ‘Pink’ Beach with pretty corals making the shore look blushed. There are amazing waterfalls too. Don’t miss out on the Grupuk surf camp and brush up your wave riding skills in the Selong Belanak beach. Join the the Sasak tribe and experience their daily life. From Bali, you can take a fast boat to reach mainland Lombok.
7. THE MIGHTY MOUNT RINJANI for volcano trail
This is really cool. Mount Rinjani mountain is a massive volcano which towers over the island of Lombok. A climb to the top is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in Indonesia. At 3,726 meters tall, Gunung Rinjani is the second highest mountain in Indonesia and offers you one of the best views in the country.
Within the mountain is a crescent shaped lake. The Balinese come here each year, especially on a full moon night, and perform a ceremony to appease the mountain spirit. This lake of sulfur is located 600 meters below the crater rim. Rising from the waters of this lake is a new volcano, Mt Baru, which is a result of a series of eruptions during the 1990s. The most popular way to climb Rinjani is through a four or five day hiking expedition, starting at Senaru and finishing at Sembalun Lawang.
So ready for Indonesia beyond Bali? We hope we got your pulses throbbing.