Our highlights of Indonesia

We spent two and a half weeks travelling around Lombok, Bali and the Gili islands from December 2016-January 2017. It’s such a huge country, but even if you stick to a couple of islands you can find every type of landscape you’re looking for. One day you can be relaxing on a serene beach, the next you can be climbing a mountain or wandering through rice terraces. We celebrated Christmas on the pristine beaches of Gili Trawangan and New Year’s Eve in the cultural centre of Ubud, Bali. It was definitely a holiday season to remember. Here are our highlights.

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Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep waterfalls, Senaru, Lombok

Before we arrived in Lombok I had my heart set on visiting these waterfalls, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. They are located in Senaru in northern Lombok. The setting is beautifully lush and green and well maintained. Tiu Kelep is the best one, it is much taller and more impressive than Sendang Gile. There is quite a large area under the waterfall where you can swim. Calling all nature lovers, go here if you get a chance.

Read more: Guide to Lombok

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Tiu Kelep waterfall

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali

As soon as you enter this place you are surrounded by monkeys and it is absolutely incredible. We spent around 2 hours here, walking through the huge area of beautiful forest and making lots of monkey friends. I couldn’t believe just how tame they are, they happily sit on your lap and are pretty friendly in general. Just be careful, and if they get a bit angry, just stay calm and gently get them off you. They are cheeky little creatures, so if you have any open pockets/bags they will try to steal from you and if you don’t want one on you, don’t sit down!

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Such curious creatures

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Climbing Mount Batur, Bali

Mount Batur is an active volcano which stands at 1,717m. A very popular thing to do while staying in Ubud is a sunrise trek to the top of this volcano. This involves getting up at 1.30am, which is tough but don’t let that put you off it. The climb up took around 2 hours, gradually getting steeper and more difficult towards the end. The climb was totally worth it as we watched the clouds disappear, the sun come up and we gazed in awe at the incredible sunrise view. I definitely recommend doing this, it’s a really rewarding experience, just be prepared to have a nap when you get back to Ubud!

Read more:Balinese Mountaintop Sunrise.

WP_20161228_015-1-1024x575 Our highlights of Indonesia

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View on the way down
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Look out for the monkeys!

Kecak fire dance, Ubud, Bali

Bali is unique among Indonesian islands in that its primary religion is Hinduism. This makes it an interesting cultural combination, with the native folk traditions having fused with the Hinduism from India. A good way to experience this unique culture is to see a fire dance. It’s a play, based on the “Ramayana”, an ancient Hindu epic poem , involving pyrotechnics. A core part of the play is the monkey army, who sit in a circle around the fire chanting “chak” over and over in a hypnotic rhythm. While it’s very hard to follow any sort of plot, the traditional costumes, dancing, music and fire combine to make a very entertaining cultural experience.

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Snorkelling, Gili Meno

I’d never been snorkelling before so I jumped at the chance to have my first experience of it in the crystal clear waters of Gili Meno. There are lots of boats at the beach which you can hire for snorkelling trips at a reasonable price. Our boat driver took us to a few different locations including a shipwreck and the Meno wall where there are lots of green sea turtles. We saw a turtle swimming along, it was so surreal, and we also saw hundreds of colourful fish. It was such an amazing experience and I am looking forward to doing a lot more of it on our future travels.

Have you been to Indonesia? What was your highlight? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

Planning a trip to Indonesia? Check out our other posts:

Guide to Lombok

Gili Islands Travel Guide

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WP_20161228_015-1-1024x575 Our highlights of Indonesia


WP_20161228_015-1-1024x575 Our highlights of Indonesia

22 Replies to “Our highlights of Indonesia”

  1. The pictures say you had a great time :)… Not sure when I would be going to Indonesia although we have been always contemplating on Mount Kelimutu! … Well, Tiu Kelep waterfall looks interesting! How was Snorkeling at Gili Meno? I am fan of finding places to scuba dive during my beach vacations – Would love to know if this place would be a good option for scuba diving?….

    1. Yes the waterfall is amazing, definitely worth a visit! The snorkelling was great, it was so cool to see a turtle πŸ™‚ yes lots of people do scuba diving there too! Where have you scubadived? I would love to do scuba diving sometime, but we decided to keep it cheap this time.

  2. Perfect timing! I’ll save this and refer to it as we plan our trip for next April!

    1. Great! We also have a guide to Lombok you should check out πŸ™‚ hope you have a great time! Thanks for reading

  3. I really liked watching the kecak dance in Bali and also eating the roasted pig (babi guling) with the chillies and pickles – SUPER SPICY!

    1. Yes the dance is fascinating to watch! We didn’t try that, glad you enjoyed!

  4. Indonesia is on my list! I’d love to go snorkeling and climbing there. It looks SO beautiful! Great photos!

    1. Yes there are so many great activities to do there, it’s a great mix of nature! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  5. Have not been to Indonesia, but if I ever visit, I plan to swim with the Komodo dragons. You got some really beautiful pictures there. The moneys are a pain n the wrong place it seems, like monkey island from Thailand. Did you try nasi Goreng?

    1. Yes we wanted to see the Komodo dragons but unfortunately our boat trip was cancelled. Definitely want to go back! I love monkeys so I didn’t have any problem with them being everywhere haha. Yes love nasi goreng!

  6. I love that you visited different parts of Indonesia and explored more than it’s seaside. The waterfalls from Senaru look stunning! And the monkeys from the Monkey Forest seem very friendly. I am afraid of monkeys, all that I’ve met were violent, haha.

    1. Thanks! I like the beach but I’m not that much of a ‘beach person’, I prefer exploring nature and cities. Have you been to Indonesia? Aww sorry to hear that, but they can be really nice, you just have to be careful they don’t steal from you haha.

  7. Oh wow your photos are gorgeous. I really want to go to Indonesia, this has been a great post for inspiration. I soooo want to see some amazing wildlife, I want to see Komodo dragons!!! xxx

    1. Thanks πŸ™‚ So glad you enjoyed it! Indonesia is a really special place, you can get such a nice mix of landscapes. Yes I want to go back and see the Komodo dragons!

  8. Such a shame I’ve not yet been to Indonesia, considering the fact that I live so close. I’ve realized from your post that there are many different things to see and do in Indonesia, whereas my only thoughts of Indonesia before were Bali and drunk tourists partying on the beaches. Should plan my visit to Indonesia soon!

    1. You should definitely head to Indonesia! There is so much more to it than beaches, I’m not a very big beach person and loved exploring the nature and small town of Ubud. Lombok is a great island to explore, I have separate guide to it if you want to read more πŸ™‚

  9. That waterfall looks amazing! We’ll have to head this way sometime.

    1. Yes it was incredible to swim in! Definitely worth a visit, there are so many outdoorsy things to do πŸ™‚

  10. Looks like you had an epic adventure!

    1. Yes we did! Indonesia is definitely one of my favourite countries. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  11. I can’t wait to go to this monkey forest and see these waterfalls!

    Didn’t know about the fire dance, but I love cultural ceremonies like this, so I’ll have to put this on my list also!

    1. Great to hear you are getting some inspiration! Loved the waterfalls, definitely worth the trip over to Lombok! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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