Indonesia travel story

Rich in natural resources and an incredible variety of cultures, Indonesia has for centuries attracted merchants, colonizers, missionaries, adventurers, travelers, and tourists. Indonesia is a vast country, consisting of 17,000 large and small islands, my trip focused on very few of these islands, the most renowned and famous and, in part, the most organized. Bali, Lembongan, Lombok, North Gili, those located northwest of Lombok and the Southern Giles, those located to the southwest of Lombok


Defined as the "island of the gods", it embodies this role well with its 20,000 temples, which are large and small in every corner of the street and in every home. Depending on the economic capacity, the Balinese builds his home and dedicates a part of the space available to the temple, the larger the house is the larger the temple. Obviously Bali is not just this, it is a well-known and popular resort, perhaps too busy especially in the southern areas where the main tourist areas and the main beaches of the island are present. In these areas, the chaotic traffic of the residents blends with that of the tourists, to add shops of all kinds, restaurants, warung, night clubs, etc. All in a concentrated form and difficult to bear for me.

The rest of the island is more tolerable, even though the narrow streets and the busy traffic with a large number of unruly motorbikes will not allow you to enjoy a quiet holiday. My stay in Bali lasted a few days and my base was in Ubud at the Teba House, a small, typically Balinese style structure. For this experience I have entrusted to Victor and Kade with whom I have organized excursions with discreet Italian language guides ( that have proved to be timely, careful and available to meet every need. Much of the tours were dedicated to visits to the most important and renowned temples.

The visits started with the Pura Taman Ayum located in the town of Mengwi, an interesting temple surrounded by greenery and surrounded by large water-filled moats, to continue with Pura Sadha in the nearby Kepal, one of the few built entirely of bricks. Another visit by hand is that of Pure Tanah Lot, one of the most famous temples on the island, for its special location on a rock almost isolated from the land. In the immediate vicinity is the small temple of Batu Balong, also here its prominent position, perched on a rock that stretches out to the sea where one part is eroded so as to create an arch that seems to draw a drawbridge between the Temple and land stopped.

Pura Ulu Watu, located on a tall, spectacular cliff on the southwestern tip of Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali, is definitely worth visiting at sunset, making it all very impressive. The area is very popular with tourists and monkeys who are now accustomed to human presence, beware that these animals often "steal" objects of any kind.
Another temple that can not miss visiting this island is Pura Tirta Empul at Sebatu (see picture below) called the temple of purification. The waters flowing from a local source are considered purifiers. The temple is very popular with the Balinese and is easy to assimilate to the rites of purification.

Surely the most important temple in the whole island is Pura Besakih, defined as the "mother temple" of all time. This imposing complex stretches along a hillside, giving good visibility to its vertical development, creating a certain emotional impact on the faithful and the tourist. Bali also offers a lot more than the time, I deliberately excluded the typically tourist areas such as Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, etc. Both for a matter of time and for a matter of little personal interest for those areas oriented only to the exploitation of tourists.

Terraced rice paddies are a very interesting show, even though they are very well exploited (locally dressed as growers who carry jars move around the paddles to get them photographed with tourists and thus pick some tips). I visited those of Tengalalang which although they are not the largest and most famous of the island but they are worth a visit. Another attraction is the Batur volcano with its enormous eruptive eyebrows and its large blue lake lapping it, or the traditional village of Penglipuran (see picture below) which represents tourists a typically Balinese village and life-style that by now no longer exists ..


Day trip to Nusa Lembongan island from Sanur with a great catamaran with all the comforts. About thirty passengers to spend a day at sea. The transfer, with sails explained and with the help of the engine, takes about two hours on a beautiful day with the quiet sea, when the only activity is to sunbathe and have some drinks. Arrival to the island takes place in the northern area near Jungutbatu, a long stretch of sandy coast, where we do not land but we stop off for a bit of snorkeling. There are huge barges in this area where they sail large motorboats that literally "discharge" hundreds and hundreds of tourists who spend their whole day in leisure, sun and all kinds of fun, such as slides, banana boats, and so on. Mass tourism stops here and fortunately that is otherwise the island of Lembongan who knows how it would be reduced.
We resume moving to move to Mushroom Bay (see picture below) where we land. It is a small but graceful little white sandy creek that overlooks some of the locals and a small but well-equipped resort that houses us for lunch (the Beach Club).

In the afternoon relax or visit the village of Lembongan where algae are grown, the only form of support for the inhabitants as well as tourism. In an area of the island where a wide bay extends along with low water and calm sea, an alga is grown which, thanks to favorable temperature and nutrient conditions, has a very rapid development so that a dozen Of crops per year. Here the sea is flat and looks like a field cultivated with long rows of ropes where the alga clings and grows. Once the maturity is reached, the ropes are brought to the shore and the growers, patiently, detach the algae that have developed and twisted on the strings and then relax them to dry them in the sun (see picture below). Once dried, algae is dispatched to various parts of the world to be processed and obtained "carrageenan" an emulsifying agent used as a thickener in the production of ice cream, cheese and many other products, also used as a fat substitute in dietary products.

After a nice bath at Mushroom Bay and a bit of leisure on the beach, the catamaran returns for the return, always slowly, always sailing sails admiring the sea, drinking something, eating a fruit and watching the sun slowly set in front of us To disappear on the horizon just before entering the port of Sanur. A beautiful and relaxing day of sailing boat.


Long obscured by the fame of nearby Bali, Lombok Island is recovering positions and is becoming more and more known. The gorgeous white beaches of the south, the spectacular breaks for surf lovers, the green forests of the interior and the possible excursions to the great volcano or the paddy fields attract more and more tourists from all over the world. To visit this island and the South Giles I was entrusted with a local guide called "Cloud" with which I found myself really good (
As I said initially, Lombok has many things to offer to the tourist, first a much less chaotic reality than Bali, apart from the only true urban area of Mataram that somehow recalls Balinese reality, the rest of the island is very Quiet with narrow, but little frequented streets. The area you need to visit and that of the south coast, here are some beautiful beaches, the sea (ie the ocean) here does not find any obstacles for the waves to reach the shore with considerable intensity breaking with An intense and continuous burst. In addition to the well-known Kuta, just to the east of this resort is Tanjung Aan (see picture below) a postcard beach, while the west is Mawun beach, smaller but just as beautiful, the creek is surrounded by mighty dark hills Which contrast with the blue sea and the white sand perfectly. Going further you will meet the Selong Blanak beach. What to say, even here you will be amazed, there is a small resort overlooking the beach in the corner of the long and wide semi-circular beach almost always deserted.

The discovery of the island continues with excursions inside by visiting the Benang Stokel waterfalls hidden in the forest at the foot of the great Gunung Rinjani volcano (3700 m). Always visiting the interior of the island you can observe interesting aspects of Lombok such as the visit to the lively market of Lendang Bajur where you have the opportunity to capture an important moment in the life of these populations or by going to Ampenan where there is a large fishing village where you can watch the time of the return of dozens of night fishing boats with all the activities that follow.
Another interesting aspect is represented by vast rice fields. Lombok also has extensive cultivated areas including terraced terrain but the nature of the land does not allow the spectacularity of Bali, so less developed in height but much wider (see picture below).

Inside the south island there are some renowned centers for textiles on the frame, Sukarara is one of these places where many women produce Sasak fabrics sold in stores or cooperatives.
Another very interesting part of this island is the southwestern peninsula that extends west of Lembar. In this area there are several beaches and several beautiful Gili, still wild, little frequented and all to be discovered, but for this topic see below "Gili del Sud".

Northern Gili

They are the most famous Giles, three islands located in the northwestern area of Lombok, Trawangan, Meno and Air. The three islands are close to each other and close to the Lombok coast. Very busy in the summer (July-August) so much that it can be difficult to find accommodation in the small structures present. Outside this time of year, they are very enjoyable and enjoyable due to some of their features such as the prohibition on the circulation of motor vehicles, small-scale structures and a low environmental impact.
Gili Trawangan is the most popular and tourist destination because of the arrival point of the various ferries and fast boats that connect to Bali, many tourist packages provide an excursion to this island for a few days within a Balinese itinerary. The remaining two Giles (Meno and Air) are definitely ideal for a relaxing and nature-loving holiday. The coasts of these two islands are a nearly continuous beach, a long strip of white sand so finding a corner where to settle down and enjoy the sun is really easy and simple. The sea is blue and blue with green shades and the presence of some large lagoons with low and crystalline water creates an almost Maldivian context.

I dive center non mancano a fronte di diversi e conosciuti siti di immersione che circondano queste isole , lo snorkeling è però mediocre e non paragonabile a quello che si può fare nelle Gili del Sud (vedi approfondimento "Snorkeling").
Caratteristica comune a queste Gili sono le piccole e strette strade in terra battuta o sabbia che si possono percorrere a piedi, noleggiando una bicicletta o utilizzando, per poche rupie, dei “taxi” costituiti da carrettini trainati da un cavallo di piccole dimensioni (che non è un pony come molti credono). Nei pressi del piccolo porto di entrambe le isole si sviluppa la vita turistica con bar, ristoranti, warung, piccoli negozi e mini-market mentre all’interno si trovano piccoli villaggi o case coloniche indonesiane. Le strutture ricettive sono sempre di piccole dimensioni, pochi bungalow o camere (spesso in legno) e piccoli giardini quasi sempre ben curati. Quasi tutte queste strutture si sviluppano sulla strada perimetrale che gira intorno ad ogni isola quindi con un accesso diretto al mare per una vacanza favolosa.

The dive centers are not far from the many well known dive sites surrounding these islands, but snorkeling is mediocre and not comparable to what can be done in the South Giles (see Snorkeling in depth).
Common features of these Gili are the small, narrow, sandy or sandy streets that can be walked on by hiring a bicycle or using a few rupees of "cabs" made up of small horse carriages (which are not Is a pony as many believe). Near the small harbor of both islands is the tourist life with bars, restaurants, warung, small shops and mini-markets, while small indigenous villages or houses are located inside. The accommodations are always small, a few bungalows or rooms (often in wood) and small gardens almost always well-kept. Almost all these structures develop on the perimeter road that runs around every island so with direct access to the sea for a fabulous vacation.

Southern Gili

They are a series of islands that are located on the southwest coast of Lombok in a stretch of sea that enjoys a protected location over the Indian Ocean currents that strike the south coast of Lombok. The dimensions range from those of an atoll to the size of some square kilometers. They are scarcely inhabited and there are few tourist facilities for tourists. There are many aspects that distinguish them and make them really interesting, the sea full of coral and tropical fish, the very transparent water so adapts to diving and snorkeling of a remarkable level (see Snorkeling in depth), fine beaches White or golden sand, a still wild but not dangerous nature, the great tranquility and the low presence of tourists. It looks like a terrestrial paradise and in fact it's so for tourists who are about to visit them. I had the opportunity to visit several islands with the constant presence of the "Cloud" guide that has always accompanied me on this tour using local fishermen. Wonderful walks on the long white beaches mostly deserted with a wild nature. Gili Sudak is the closest island to Lombok, it has an excellent coral reef but in an area with currents that need to be watched. Not far from Gili Sudak is the small and Maldivian Gili Kedis, a kind of white sand atoll surrounded by a beautiful sea with a beautiful coral reef full of fish.

Delighted by the beautiful Kedis this special tour continues with the transfer to Gili Rengit the largest, uninhabited and wild island, a local fishermen's stand. Even here the island's coast is postcard and the tall sun makes the dazzling sand. The depths around it are really great for snorkeling. The next step of the tour is Gili Nanggu where there is a small and small resort where I stayed for one night (see details on the "South Gili page). In the backdrop of Gili Nanggu is a real rarity, at least for me it was the first time, the cultivation of coral. In the surrounding waters of the island, grills on which corals have been laid in place so that they can grow and grow. When large enough and robust they are "transplanted" in areas where coral is scarce.

The tour resumes and we reach Gili Layar, the other small pearl of these Southern Giles. Uninhabited island, a whitewashed beach with well-stocked and rich fishes. Here at Gili Layar I found the rare blue coral.

After the usual snorkeling, we move to Gili Asahan where there is a small Indonesian village made up of poor fishermen. On this island there is also a minute but very well-tended accommodation with three bungalows overlooking a beautiful and deserted beach.
These Gili are ideal for a rest period of uncontaminated nature, islands that still enjoy this isolation from the world of mass tourism and hopefully continue to be there for a long time.

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photo albums

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