Jolene's Report from Indonesia

This report is written by a first-timer to Indonesia. Jolene's report follows:

Exciting, enchanting, and diverse are just a few ways to begin to explain the wonders of Indonesia! Your adventure will commence with a long airline flight from Los Angeles. Be prepared by drinking plenty of water and juice, which are plentifully supplied throughout the flight. Throat lozenges are also helpful to a avoid sore throat caused by the dry cabin air. Your flight will probably stop in Honolulu. You will usually be on the ground for about an hour, just enough time to stretch your legs, as Honolulu has an open-air airport which provides for a pleasant walk. No need to shop, for there will be plenty of shopping when you reach Bali. Most flights arrive into Bali in the morning. Upon arrival, do your best to stay awake for rest of the day. To minimize the effects of jet lag, it's best to try to adjust to the current time schedule as soon as possible.

Upon arrival in Indonesia, it is customary to visit a temple to receive a warm welcome from the Gods. Uluwatu Temple is a beautiful choice. Towering over a steep ocean cliff, you will have your first taste of the incredible culture and beauty of Indonesia. However, do take heed of the warnings to put stow away unattached accessories such as sunglasses and hats. The monkeys are quite fond of such items and love the game of keep-away. No need to worry though, they are quite harmless, just very playful.

The weather in Indonesia is generally very warm and humid, so light cotton clothing is a must. In Bali, shorts are acceptable attire. Just remember to bring a sarong or some type of wrap to cover your legs in the event you are to enter a temple. The legs must be covered in a place of worship.

Following a light tour of Bali (you have had a long trip) you will certainly want to settle into your hotel. The Kul Kul Resort located on Kuta beach is a great choice. You will be welcomed with friendly smiles and a cool drink. If lucky you may experience a traditional dance preformed by the beautiful ladies of the staff. Following your welcome, a nice long shower in one of the private but open-air bathrooms among the tropical foliage is very refreshing. Then perhaps a relaxing dinner at the Blue Cactus Mexican restaurant located atop the resort's lobby. The food is quite good , the live entertainment fun, and the view of the beach and the ocean is beautiful.

If you are planning to sail on the Adelar, as I did, you would depart on an early morning flight to Bima on Merpati Airlines, one of the popular domestic carriers. Most of the flights stop in Lomboc. You may experience some waiting, so have patience handy, and take the time to study your guide book. Bima and Lomboc are areas of both Muslim and Hindu religion. Please dress accordingly - again light clothing covering the legs and shoulders is both comfortable and customary. Taking pictures of people in Indonesia is acceptable, however it's always a good idea to ask permission in advance. The phrase "Photo?" is recognized, and is usually answered with a smile and a pose. Once you arrive into Bima you will be transferred by van transfer to Sape Harbor, along a scenic route through the mountains where you will view huge rice and garlic fields, and the farmers hard at work, as they have cultivate the land for thousands of years.

From Sape Harbor, it's a short sail to the islands of Komodo and Rinca, home of the famous Komodo Dragon. For a small fee you may tour Komodo and view the huge monitor lizard found only on these islands and in parts of Flores. Growing to the size of three meters, these lizards are fearsome and unforgettable! While hiking the Island of Rinca we also encountered wild horses, boars, dogs, monkeys and more! Have long pants or long shorts with tall socks, and sturdy shoes. This is a true hike!

Last but certainly not least I must tell you about the diving in this region. Keep your eyes open for the mighty whale shark that has been spotted here. During the course of my first dive off Rinca, I counted eight lion fish among the pinnacles. Also seen while diving here were hundreds of thousands of reef fish, a variety of eels, huge sponges, clown anemone fish, nudibranchs and an abundance of both soft and hard coral. The surge of the current can appear somewhat intimidating from the surface. Once several feet below the surface the current will lessen, but always be prepared for sudden and swift changes. Stay with your buddy and remain calm as you "go with the flow." The sea will reward you with one of it's most beautiful displays of a profusion and diversity of marine life equal to the best the world has to offer.

Keep in mind that my report only scratches the surface of a small part of this very large and enticing country. Which ever area you may choose to visit, you are sure to encounter friendly people, unique cultures, exotic wildlife, and exciting diving, as you Explore Indonesia!

Island Dreams has dedicated color brochures, articles, travel tips, and information about Indonesia, Bali, and points beyond. You are invited to call or e-mail for additional information, advice, or assistance with resort bookings and special fares on Garuda Airfares.

Please follow these links for information about travel to Komodo, Alor, Indonesia, and beyond:

Read "Exploring Indonesia" -- Ken Knezick's comprehensive dive report

Read "Wakatobi Found" -- Report from Wakatobi, Indonesia

Link to Itinerary for Ken Knezick's September 6 - 20, 2003 Wakatobi Group

Link to Kararu Dive Voyages - Excellent New Indonesia Live-Aboard

Link to Komodo Island Index Page

Link to Komodo Photo Gallery by Secret Sea Visions

Link to Beneath the Dragon's Realm - Exploring Komodo National Park

Link to Excerpt from an upcoming book on Komodo National Park

Link to Lisa Crosby's First-Hand Alor Report

Link to Political Concerns? - An Insider's Report from Indonesia

Photos provided courtesy of Secret Sea Visions - Burt Jones, Maurine Shimlock
Additional photography by Ken Knezick - Island Dreams
Stories courtesy of Burt Jones, Maurine Shimlock, Gerald Allen, and Kenneth Knezick
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