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Where to escape the tourists in Indonesia

  • monkindy

    Joined Travelfish
    30th May, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Hi, Im heading to indonesia next March for three weeks.
    I have travelled before in SEA for several months but Im going with a friend who has never travelled before.

    We are going to do a few day stint in Bali learning to surf but after that I am stuck deciding where else to go.

    I know the places I enjoy traveling to the most are the more local less populated with tourist scenes.

    Can anyone recomed any awsome local places ie beaches, walks, cultural atractions that wont be filled with tourists.

    P.S. I will have just spent 2 months in rural Bangladesh so will be very used to the local scene by there how ever my friend wont be. Looking to find a mix to keep us both happy.

    Thanks!

    #1 Posted: 30/9/2011 - 07:55

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  • mooball

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    You could just stay in Bali for 3 weeks and be perfectly happy, but given that Indonesia is much more than Bali, it's probably best to try some other regions too. I'd stick to Bali for half the time and perhaps fly to Flores for the rest of the time. That'd be a good mix. Unfortunately, Indonesia is one of those countries that is so big it is impossible to even scratch the surface on one trip. You could also spend the other half of the trip in Lombok or Java which are close by as well. I'd give everywhere else a miss as you probably won't have enough time.

    There are hardly any tourists in Indonesia outside of a few towns in Bali.

    #2 Posted: 3/10/2011 - 00:37

  • monkindy

    Joined Travelfish
    30th May, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Im looking for any specific recomendations of where to go or what to do which wont be over crowded with tourists that anyone has.
    I have read quite a bit about Flores and have the impression that it is popular so will also be filled with tourists. Is that not correct?
    Anywhere you recomend in Lombok or Java (places or activities)

    #3 Posted: 4/10/2011 - 04:06

  • mooball

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    Well, much of Bali isn't overcrowed with tourists. Get a bike, head up to Amed for a few days, come back via gunung batur, stay Bu the lake and climb the volcano the next day. You'll see tourists, but not crowds.

    Then fly to labuanbajo on Flores and sail out to one of islands between it an Komodo. Yes, you will see tourists again, but not many. Flores is not filled with tourists. Tourists go there, but not many. It's all relative I guess. Compared to almost all southeast Asian countries, Indonesia is empty. I find fewer tourists here outside of Bali than in Burma or laos.

    The other point to note is that I you go to a place that doesn't see foreign tourists, you will be staying in accommodation that your friend will hate. It can be VERY local an uncomfortable in some places.

    My recommendation is to go to places that see a trickle of tourists... An that really is everywhere except Yogyakarta, kuta, sanur, ubud, lovina and maybe a few other places in Bali... You'll be heading there in low season and Indonesia will be virtually deserted.

    One last thing, you'll need to learn some Indonesian if you plan to avoid tourists because in those very local places people can't speak English. Even in big cities like Bandung, people you interact with on a daily basis can't speak English.

    #4 Posted: 4/10/2011 - 10:17

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6256
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    "One last thing, you'll need to learn some Indonesian if you plan to avoid tourists because in those very local places people can't speak English. Even in big cities like Bandung, people you interact with on a daily basis can't speak English."

    The big challenge when getting off the beaten path - you have to learn a new language.

    #5 Posted: 4/10/2011 - 12:09

  • vandriand

    Joined Travelfish
    5th October, 2011
    Posts: 3

    You can go to Tangkuban Parahu Mountain in Bandung (Go flight from Bali takes 1 hour flight) u can stay at Sari Ater Resort. U can find natural Hot Water there contains much sulfur. Another option is go to Kuningan, West Java (u can go by Flight to Jakarta, then take train to Cirebon then go by car for 1 hour to Kuningan). Those place are rare of Foreign so u can enjoy there.......... my opinion is don't go and stay there on Weekend.

    #6 Posted: 5/10/2011 - 13:49

  • KirstyB

    Click here to learn more about KirstyB
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    Location Global Village
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    @monkindy - "I have read quite a bit about Flores and have the impression that it is popular so will also be filled with tourists. Is that not correct?"


    Most of the tourists in Flores are concentrated in Labuanbajo, the jumping off point to Komodo National Park, and there is a small but lively traveller scene there. Outside of there we only saw a handful of other travellers - there are a few in Moni from where you visit the 3 coloured lakes at Kelimutu, but Moni is a one street village and at the lake viewing point there was probably around 15-20 people there for the sunrise so hardly overrun compared to so many places. In all the other places we stayed on Flores we either didn't see any other tourists or just one or two.

    As others have said, outside of the busy parts of Bali and the Gilis Indonesia does seem to attract fewer visitors and you don't need to go too far to go off the beaten track. But with 3 weeks and some of that time in Bali you haven't really got time to get too remote ......

    #7 Posted: 6/10/2011 - 17:04

  • monkindy

    Joined Travelfish
    30th May, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Thank you very much! Most of that info is extremely helpful.
    I think perhapse I had gotten the wrong idea about Indonesia. From what you have said, it is only Kata beach in Bali which is drenched in tourists and outside these places tourists are quite uncommon, or at least not over whelming. Is it fair to say that Indonesia is not as touristy as Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia? (these are the places I have been to before)

    Any more suggestions of must see places or activities are much appreciated!
    Thanks Travelfish team, best website ever!

    #8 Posted: 7/10/2011 - 10:32

  • mooball

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    I've only been to Laos and Cambodia, not Thailand and Vietnam. But, most parts of Indonesia are empty compared to Laos. Exceptions to this are in Bali only - Kuta , Legian , Seminyak , Ubud , Sanur, Lovina & Amed (in high season). Of these places, most people only find Kuta and Legian completely unpleasant if they have an aversion to tourists. Most people are happy to put up with the tourists in Seminyak and Ubud because they are of a kind that suits them - happy to eat good food, drink cocktails and live a more refined existence. :) Sounds like a load of BS and maybe it is, but it's all about the "scene" in Seminyak.

    That said, Bali is a big enough place that you can get looked after in guesthouses without having to be with loads of other tourists. A good case in point is Amed in the low season. Very few tourists about, but plenty of accommodation and places to eat. It's fantastic! Likewise with places like Munduk, Yeh Gangga, Gunung Batur and the Bukit beaches.

    Outside of Bali, recommendations go like this. Lombok as many people say it's like Bali was 40 years ago. Java so you can see Borobudur in Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo and Kawah Ijen. The volcanoes on Java can be stunning. Another top spot that is infrequently mentioned and rarely visited is Karimunjawa off Java. Pristine secluded islands... While in Java, you would also give Dieng Plateau a look, Pangandaran/Batu Karas for beach time and perhaps Bandung to spin around some of the local volcanoes.

    If you go further afield from these islands, things get more remote for tourists. Sumatra is a brilliant brilliant brilliant island to travel around and it is MASSIVE. Starting from the top, Pulau Weh for diving/snorkelling, Bukit Lawang to see orangutans and soak up the relaxed vibe by the river (awesome), Berastagi for the volcanoes, Danau Toba/Pulau Samosir for one of the best laid back destinations in SE Asia in my opinion - a massive island within an even more massive lake (think inland sea) on the island of Sumatra. Then Bukittinggi for the nearby lake and local Minangkabau culture. And finally Padang. Of course, we haven't even touched the Mentawai Islands or Nias or South Sumatra.

    Flores... Same deal - lots of top stuff that hardly anyone visits. Further afield again and you're into Sulawesi where the going can be tough, Kalimantan... and then East Nusa Tenggara where you have really remote islands. Forget Papua and Maluku - you need time for those places.

    So Indonesia is like about 100 countries in 1. 17000 islands, hundreds of ethnic groups each with their own totally separate languages and beliefs. Pick one island outside of Bali and just go for it. You won't regret whichever island it is. Once you've decided on an island, there are plenty of people on Travelfish with lots of experience visiting those places.

    #9 Posted: 7/10/2011 - 15:37

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