My wife and I are halfway through a 6 month trip through SE Asia and are planning on spending the last couple of months (Jul-Aug) in Indonesia but are unsure of where to go.
We are planning on spending our last week on Bali but other than that keep changing our minds on where to go. The current plan is about 3-4 weeks on Sulawesi and then 3-4 weeks Lombok-Sumbawa-Flores.
Any of the experts have opinions on must see places in Indonesia? i.e How could you goto Indonesia and not see "X"!
No diving interest but do enjoy snorkeling and the beach. Good Food is always an interest and culture also hence Sulawesi for the Tana Toraja funerals but not sure if that alone is reason to go. We like natural wonders like volcano's/mountains but not sure if we are prepared equipment wise to hike them (flip-flops and tshirts doesn't seem like good apparel).
Indonesia is such a big diverse country it is hard to pick out must see's. Sort of like someone saying I want to goto the US there are many different places and things to see it is hard to narrow down where to go.
I guess what I am looking for is a. Is 3 to 4 weeks each a reasonable amount of time in Nusa Tengarra and Sulawesi and are there any indonesia experts who think its crazy that we are going to Indonesia for two months and not hitting somewhere else.
There is a dearth of information on Indonesia on the web so far we have just been looking at the LP guide.
You noticed the dearth of information too huh?
Sulawesi...well getting from Makassar to Tana Toraja is a doddle (compared to any other routes on Sulawesi). Takes about 8 hours...nice buses, nice rest stops with some stunning scenery.
If you want to continue on to the Togians from Rantepao/Toraja it gets a wee bit less comfortable...in fact it's extremely uncomfortable and quite a long trip...think it was 22 hours on a clapped out bus to Poso...overnight in Poso (crappy hotel) then another 5 hours or so to Ampana (when the road is passable). then you have to gt a boat to the Togaians...they run about 4 days a weeks from that side (unless breakdowns). It's possible to stay in Tentana etc en route to Poso but that means trying to get a free seat on a bus when you want to move on. At least if you stick it out the whole way to Poso you aren't standing for 3-4 hours.
Moat people stay at the Oasis Hotel in Ampana...run by the same people as the Paradise Hotel on Kadidiri.
Problem with going to the Togians at that time of year is that it's peak season ...you could do all that trek and then find there are no free beds on the island. I'm not sure I'd risk it myself.
If it were me I'd fly to Makassar then do a side trip to Bira instead (just 5 hours and the bus isn't bad). I've read that the beach can be dirty but for once I'm going to say it was very OK when I was there last year...there are walks and other beaches to see (traditional shipbuilding etc). Not many tourists but a lot of goats last November and some pretty OK snorkelling offshore too...quite a few sea snakes in the shallow bits BTW...do not freak out they're deadly but not aggressive if you leave them alone (except if they are mating...if you see 2 together move away sharpish)
Aftr Bira it's very easy to check out some nearby island like Selayar. If you want you can check even out the Tukanbesi archipelago for me (south of Bau Bau). It might not be possible in your timeframe though.
If you've had enough of S Sulawesi then there's also the north...bunaken etc. Suggest you fly to Manado from Makassar..it's a hell of a long way by road.
Anyway, easily enough to fill 3 weeks on Sulawesi I think...you'll need longer than that if you want to fit in the Togians too(logistics)
Some pics of Indonesia on my flickr site if you're interested.
I do hiking in Tevas (sometimes flipflops) and T shirts. No problem. Don't think you need THAT much special equipment though volcanos can be a pain sometimes...slippy shale.
I think other people are more expert on Nusa Tengarra than me, so I'll let them have a bash. If you're desperate I'll try and help!
I've just returned from some weeks on Bali, Lombok and the West Flores area. I have just put a Trip Report on the last area including Komodo, Rinca and some nice budget resorts with good snorkelling in TRAVELFISH'S TRIP REPORT SECTION.
I'm a beach/island guy and also revisited the Gilis in Lombok, Nusa Lembongan - Padangbai - Candidasa - the Bukit Peninsula all in Bali.
All these have reasonable snorkelling with Lembongan probably the best if you go on one of the snorkelling trips to the bays of nearby Nusa Penida, and all except Candidasa have good beaches.
Of all places mentioned above the standout beach was Dream Beach on Lembongan and the snorkelling at Kanwawa Island off Labuanbajo, West Flores was better than Nusa Lembongan/Penida. I have a bunch of pix and more info on all these places in the link below.
I'm not big on culture, but my limited experience of Indo including time in Sumatra some years back, is that Bali out-cultures the other places no contest. Culture smacks you in the eye in Bali - you often have to go looking for it other places.