Infinity sales consultant Yolante recently visited some of Bali’s neighbouring islands … members recently spent some time in Indonesia.
After many visits to Bali and thinking that I had ‘done it all’, I decided to explore some of Indonesia’s other island gems. Bali’s neighbouring islands, Java, Lombok and the Gili islands may not yet be as popular with Australian tourists as Bali, but I recommend you visit them before the secret gets out!
Lombok is fairly large, but from what I experienced the roads aren’t too bad. It still takes some time to travel relatively short distances though. It is close to a 1.5 hour drive from the airport to the main beach resort area of Sengiggi, for the uninitiated in Indonesian taxi driver negotiation techniques, I’d highly recommend an arrival transfer!
Senggigi is a small beachside town with nice beaches and plays host to a wide variety of good value hotels and restaurants.
Bangsal Harbour is about 30 minutes north of Senggigi. This is where most of the boats to Gili islands leave from.
Sitting just off the north-west coast of Lombok lies the Gili islands. Gili Trawangan is the most well-known out of the Gili island group and also features the most hotels and resorts.
The peace and tranquillity of the islands is maintained because there are no cars or scooters on the island. You’ll definitely be on “island time” with walking, riding a bike or taking a horse and cart the only ways to get around, although with spectacular beaches, loads of relaxed bars and restaurants as well as numerous day spas – what’s your rush?
The fringing coral reefs also make the Gili islands very popular with divers!
For a complete change of pace, I next flew to the Island of Java, and right into the hustle and bustle of the cultural city of Yogyakarta.
It is best to stay close to Maliboro Street, which is a busy street that has good shopping for local specialties – batik and leather! Although the city itself is relatively small and you can always take Becak (three-wheeled bicycle rickshaw) anywhere you need to go.
The main attraction and a MUST SEE in Yogyakarta is the spectacular Borobudur Temple. It is about an hour’s drive out of the city, and the best time to see it is on a sunrise tour.
Flying around Indonesia (airport taxes!)
Escaping the well-trodden tourist trail of Bali is a fantastic holiday option if you’ve been to Bali before or if you would like to explore Indonesia’s diverse culture a little further, but make sure you always have some cash on you at the airports to pay for arrival and departure taxes at each airport.
- There is an arrival tax in Bali of $35USD, I would highly recommend you have your US dollars handy before you arrive.
- All domestic flights will also incur small departure taxes (Passenger Service Charge) as you make your way round Indonesia. The cost varies from airport to airport between 35000 –75000 which is around $3–7AUD).
- When leaving the Bali, there is an International departure tax of 200000RPH (close to $20AUD).