I’m Off to Indonesia!

27 hours. That’s how far in advance I booked the flight that I’m about to take. I sit here at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) about to board a flight bound for Taipei. That will be my home for the next 12 hours or so as I head off on my latest adventure, one which I kind of threw together at the last minute. Heck I only officially decided on a destination on Saturday, and here it is, Tuesday night and I’m at the airport.

So What Am I Doing? 

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I’m off to Indonesia! Not directly though. I chose this particular flight routing because it afforded me a 12 hour daytime layover in Taipei, so I’ll get a chance to explore that city a bit before jetting off to Singapore!

My flight arrangements aren’t bad either! San Francisco (SFO) to Taipei (TPE) on an EVA Air 777-300 and Taipei (TPE) to Singapore (SIN) On a Singapore Airlines A330. Not too shabby if I do say so myself, especially since I booked this ticket last night and was trying to avoid flying a long haul segment on United (I used to United miles for this flight, which is how I was able to book it so last minute).

From Singapore, my plans are still a bit in flux given the fact that its Ramadan and the first two weeks of August will be pretty nutty as Muslims celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan which is a major homecoming holiday in Indonesia (think Thanksgiving weekend in the US but for two weeks, so not a time you’d really want to be traveling). I expect though that I’ll spend 4 days or so in Singapore before heading over to Indonesia.

I’m rather keen on passing up Bali in favor of one of the less touristy islands an I’m thinking I may focus on Sulawesi, with its vibrant tribal regions. One region in particular is famous for its elaborate funeral ceremonies, many of which occur during the dry season (which happens to be August).

I’d also like to spend some time on Java, exploring the famous temple ruins, though not till after Ramadan. Java is supposed to be particularly crazy surrounding the Eid holiday (which is called Idul Fitri in Indonesian).

So we’ll see. I’m really good at going with the flow of things. And while I’m generally good at not planning, this is the first time I’m embarking on a trip with almost no research either. But you know what? I’ll still have one amazing adventure!

 Help Me Plan my Trip!

Have you traveled around Sulawesi or other less touristy islands in Indonesia? Do you have any suggestions for me?

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22 Responses to I’m Off to Indonesia!

  1. Alid Abdul July 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Hey I’m Alid and I born and live in wonderful Indonesia ^__^
    Indeed that eid fitr will be so crowd with people coming back to their kampong, we call it as mudik (homecoming). Avoid Java and Sumatra coz that 2 islands is the biggest moslem population. Even Bali, island with Hindu majority will be crowded coz lotsa people take vacation in there :p

    Sulawesi, Borneo, Ambon, Papua, Flores, Sumbawa and other island is less crowd but still a bit crowd.

    fyi, there is an annual even in Jember call Jember Fashion Carnival, held on 25 august. A carnival like mardi grass in Brazil.

    anyway just come to my country and feel the crowd of eid fitr, I bet it will be amazing experience for you 😉

    • Aaron July 29, 2013 at 4:35 am #

      Thanks for your advice Alid! I’m planning on going to Java after the Eid holiday and the Jember Fashion Carnival sounds wonderful! We’ll see if I make it there! Cheers!

  2. Someday I'll Be There - Mina July 24, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    I lived in East Java for 5 months and wrote a lot about it and the trips I did around there, I’ve also went to Gili Islands (I recommend Gili Air)

    If you’re planning to visit East Java let me know I can help you plan it a bit 🙂

    • Aaron July 29, 2013 at 4:36 am #

      How fun! Numerous folks have suggested the Gili Islands so we’ll see if I make it there. And I booked myself a flight out from Jakarta to KL (as I need a return ticket to get a visa) so I think Eastern Java will be in the cards… just after Ramadan…

  3. Lim July 25, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    Aaron, Ramadan in Singapore isn’t all that bad. the majority of the people in Singapore are Chinese, and we do not celebrate Ramadan. Early August might be a good time to visit too as National Day is on the 9th of August. If you want to, you can catch the fireworks display on the night of 9th August, @ approximately 8pm.

    Feel free to drop me an email if you need more information

    • Aaron July 29, 2013 at 4:38 am #

      Thanks, but I wasn’t worried about Singapore. I’m actually here now and know it wouldn’t be much of an issue here. But I’ll be in Indonesia during Ramadan, so that was my concern…

  4. Lisa @chickybus July 25, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    I recommend Sumatra. Definitely less touristy than some of the other islands and has some of the best food in the entire country (in W. Sumatra). In fact, when I left there, I kept noticing ‘Padang’ style food offered elsewhere. It was never quite as good as in Sumatra–especially the Rendang. Here’s a link to ‘Padang food.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padang_food

    And if you go to N. Sumatra, to Lake Toba, you’ll find the Bataks, who are actually Protestant and very different than people I met on the other islands. (The men are super handsome, I too.) 🙂 And of course, there are the Gili Islands, which are gorgeous, but they’re quite far away. I was there during Ramadan and it was fine.

    • Aaron July 29, 2013 at 4:40 am #

      I don’t think I’ll make it to Sumatra on this trip. I’m trying not to plan to cram in too much since Indonesia is such an enormous country! It always seems to work out better that way. Next time though! Thanks for the tips!

  5. Tracey - Life Changing Year July 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    I have zero suggestions because I haven’t been to Indonesia. But this sounds like a really fun way to plan and execute a trip! I hope you keep us updated along the way!

    • Aaron July 29, 2013 at 4:44 am #

      Hahaha thanks Tracey! It is rather exciting! I’m currently in Singapore and planned to stay till Monday (today) but decided yesterday I wanted to go to Indonesia on Wednesday instead, so I just booked that flight! Excited for what’s coming next!

  6. Jennifer August 13, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    I’ve never been to Indonesia so can’t make any suggestions I’m afraid, but looking forward to reading about your travels, its a destination I’d love to visit.

    • Aaron August 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      You should definitely visit! I’m having a grand old time! Nice people. Beautiful, diverse, vibrant country!

  7. Nico August 14, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Hi, Aaron! You should visit Yogyakarta, it’s a really nice place I guarantee. It is also one of the foremost cultural centers of Java. My Indonesian wife and I are currently living in Yogyakarta 🙂

    • Aaron August 20, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      Funny enough, I’m currently in Yogyakarta!

  8. Agness October 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Great news Aaron! I’ve never made it to Indonesia, but it’s on my bucket list. Do yo think it’s possible to survive there for less than $25 a day per person? That would be my budget for there. Enjoy your time!!

    • Aaron October 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

      Yeah! I made it on US$30 a day. You could certainly get by for less. I didn’t make it to Bali but I hear it’s a bit more expensive than elsewhere in Indonesia.

      • Agness October 11, 2013 at 1:28 am #

        Awesome news! I’ll go there soon :).

        • Aaron October 12, 2013 at 10:21 am #

          Cool! Enjoy!

  9. Okki Asetyana July 23, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    It looks like you really enjoy your trip to Indonesia. why did you choose Java, Yogyakarta as a tourist destination especially you. do not you been to Bali. or you did not set an environmental liked the beach as part of your holiday trip. but this post is very interesting. thanks for the share.

    • Aaron July 24, 2015 at 10:54 am #

      Nope, I haven’t been to Bali. Bali is instantly what people think of when they think of Indonesia and that’s kind of the place I try and avoid when I travel to places. I have no doubt that Bali is a great place, but I wanted to experience something else in Indonesia (I spent a significant amount of time in Sulawesi before moving on to Java). But, as I always say, there’s always next time! I know I’ll be back in Indonesia soon, as it was an absolutely incredible place!

  10. James White April 20, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

    Indonesia have many interesting place to travel, beside Sulawesi and and java, Indonesia have komodo island , papua and sabang, there are places with beautiful sea , and have good place to to dive or just snorkeling. Or you can hiking on Mountain Rinjani in lombok. beside hiking you can just travel around lombok, hope you can enjoy your travel in Indonesia.

    • Aaron April 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm #

      Thanks James, but I’ve already been to Indonesia (this post is from 2013). I made it to Sulawesi and Java. Papua looked so interesting but it just wasn’t in the cards. Next time though!

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