Discover secret islands and fascinating wildlife in Indonesia…
Indonesia; beautiful Indonesia. But how much do you know about it beyond Bali? Beyond the yoga studios, acai bowls and cocktails on the beach? If we think about it, we have to admit, we don’t really know that much. So when we saw travel blogger Sarah Richard was off on an adventure off-the-beaten-path again, we just had to ask her more about this fascinating country and learn a thing or two about Indonesia.
Have you noticed how so many people refer to Bali as a country? “I’ve been to thre countries this year, X, X and Bali”, or “Bali is my favourite country”, and I’m not judging those people, I think they know Bali is not actually a country… it’s a bit like when people ask you where you are from and you say the nearest city as people would have never of heard of your small hometown. However, after returning from two weeks exploring Indonesia, I am now on a mission to show others that this incredible country is a hell of a lot more than just Bali. In fact, these three places may just be some of the best I have ever travelled to in the world, and they are all just a few hours from our home in Hong Kong.
Tanjung Puting, Borneo
This stunning National Park in Borneo is located on the south coast of the world’s third largest tropical rain forest and is one of the last remaining places in the world you can see wild orangutans. Accessible only via river, on a ‘klotok’ boat (a wooden open topped boat) the journey to this wonderful rainforest destination takes you all day and all night. Sleeping under the stars at night, and with the sounds of the rainforest as your alarm clock, you rise early to trek into the jungle in search of these endangered apes. Camp Leaky is your final destination, an orangutan rehabilitation centre where you will have the chance to observe orangutans in their natural habitat.
To put into words this experience is quite impossible, orangutans are the world’s largest tree-climbing mammals, but their forest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia is rapidly disappearing, putting the future of Asia’s only great ape in peril. We don’t know how long an experience like this will be available, and trust me when I say; that journey along the Sekonyer river will be truly unforgettable. To find out more information on how to get there and how you can get the chance to see these amazing animals take a look at my guide to seeing wild orangutans in Tanjung Punting, Borneo.
Wangi Wangi, Wakatobi
If there’s one thing I could keep secret about my recent discoveries in Indonesia, it may just be this place. But then I decided it was too good not to share! Wakatobi is one of those islands that is ten times more beautiful than the ones you see in magazines and ten times less visited, yet is practically undocumented in the virtual world.
So let’s see this as a secret island, away from the jaws of the world wide web and trusted by the whispers of travellers that have come before. And what makes Wakatobi even more wonderful? It’s underwater world that’s what. Part of the ‘coral triangle’ Wakatobi has been voted one of the best places in the world to scuba dive and I can vouch for that – the ocean is brimming with hundreds of species of coral and fish unlike any other dive site on earth.
I’ve put together some more photos and info of scuba diving in Wakatobi if you too have the scuba-bug like I do!
If orangutans and tropical fish weren’t enough, I’ve only gone and put Komodo dragons into the mix! Yes, actual, real life dragons. Right next to me. That can kill you in one bite. Did someone say run? Joking aside, these are some of the most fascinating creatures in the world and there is only one place on the whole planet you can see them. You guessed it; Komodo National Park in Indonesia. Apart from coming face to face with the world’s largest lizard, the islands around Labuan Bajo are unlike any other in South East Asia and make you stop to stare in disbelief.
Padar island is home to the most awe-inspiring hike I have ever done, and scuba diving in Manta Point in Komodo came up on top with Wakatobi. For me, Komodo islands win my heart, this part of Indonesia has it all, and I can’t think of a better way to show you this than by letting you into that time I went hunting for Komodo dragons live on video!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a hardcore Bali fan. But I think I got too comfortable in its awesomeness and I neglected to step outside to see what other amazing things were just around the corner. Now I’m not only a Bali fan, but a Borneo fan, a Wakatobi fan, a Komodo fan, and an all round Indonesia fan! I urge you to step outside that Bali bubble and discover how truly wonderful the rest of Indonesia really is.