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The country of Indonesia is made up of approximately 17,000 islands. If you visited an island a day, it would take you almost 50 years to visit them all. The truth is, most people only visit the island of Bali. And yes, it is truly spectacular. Fragrant hibiscus blossoms wrap themselves around sandalwood branches. The shorelines are a mix of angelic, alabaster sands and black volcanic beaches and if you aren’t careful, cheeky macaques will steal your coconut sunscreen from your beach bag. No question, Bali is stunning.
But it would be a huge misstep to forget the other 16,999 islands completely when you are planning your clients’ next trip to Indonesia. Here are just some of the highlights.
Aren’t we all children at heart? Komodo National Park offers up real life dragons as an innovative way to draw visitors. Only a short flight from Bali, plus a couple of hours of sailing the Flores Sea, will bring your clients to the park, which is actually made up of three islands: Komodo, Padar, and Rinca. While Komodo Island is the most popular spot to see the nefarious venom-secreting monitor lizards taking on the island’s namesake, your clients can also see the creatures in nearby Rinca. But more than lizards, the national park also offers glorious pink, sand beaches in Rinca and the opportunity to swim with manta rays with wing-like pectoral fins spanning up to four meters. Note: access to Komodo Island will be closed during 2020, but surrounding areas are still worth the visit.
Just a half hour flight from Bali, Yogyakarta is the gateway to visit two of the most important temples of Java. Interestingly, Borobudur dates back to the 8th and 9th centuries, but it was hidden for years under a blanket of volcanic ash before it was unearthed. Local folklore told of a mysterious monument covered deep in the jungle, but it took until the 18th and 19th centuries before the temple would eventually see the light and not until 1970s that it was open to the public. Prambanan temple, the country’s largest Hindu temple, lies separate from the Borobudur complex, but en route from the airport, so it’s often included in the day trip.
Just an hour flight from Bali, the city of Surabaya on the island of Java is the starting point to a visit to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and home to Indonesia’s arguably most-photographed volcano, Mt. Bromo. It’s best seen at sunrise by taking a jeep to nearby Mount Penanjakan, and then exploring the crater’s rim by either foot or pony.
Accessible only by boat and just off the coast of Lombok, which in turn is just off the coast of Bali, your clients will find the three sister islands that group together like an 80’s girl band but far more interesting. If snorkeling or scuba diving amongst parrot fish, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks sounds appealing, then Gili is a must to include. The islands have a much more laid back appeal than Bali. The only traffic your clients will spot is a school of clownfish heading home to their anemone. Visitors can either stay in the islands themselves or do day trips from nearby Lombok.
Only a 30 minute flight from Bali or a 90-min speed boat ride, Lombok is said to be what Bali was 30 years ago. It offers a coastline of unspoiled beaches, but an interior of rice paddies, waterfalls, and rainforests. For the more adventurous client, a 2-day hike to the lip of the island’s active volcano Mt. Rinjani can be arduous yet rewarding.
In short, Indonesia is so much more than the island of Bali. While your client may not want to devote 50 years to unearth all the country has to offer, at least make a point of crossing off more than just Bali on their next trip.
If your clients are interested in Indonesia for travel in 2019, have a look at our great specials available to book until the end of July.
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