My seven Indonesian wonders

My seven Indonesian wonders

Indonesia was in my TOP 5 of countries to visit on my round the world trip. I had heard so many good things about the country and been recommended to go there so many times. And I’m glad to say that Indonesia didn’t fail to impress me. The landscape, the cuisine, the people – 5 stars out of 5 making the country one of my favourite countries I have been to.

My Indonesian wonder #1: Borobudur

While I was visiting Yogyakarta, locally also called Jogja, I took a trip to Borobudur. It is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world and it was built in the 9th century. The words that came to my mind to describe the temple were: Stunning. Impressive. Intricate. One of the most amazing I have seen and certainly one of my favorite now.

Borobudur Buddhist Temple
Borobudur Buddhist Temple
Borobudur Buddhist Temple
My Indonesian wonder #2: Alfad Nur Ikhsan

Now, you certainly won’t find Alfad by using Google maps. Alfad is not a place. Alfad was my first host in Indonesia. He hosted me in Jogja for four nights and we also met in Bali later on. Alfad is one of the kindest and most positive hosts I have ever had! He is always smiling, laughing or cracking jokes. And he has a heart of gold. I loved my stay with him and the time we spent together.

He went out of his way to make my stay as good as possible. He was kind enough to pick me up when I arrived and see me off when I was leaving. He took me to places where I could eat tasty vegetarian dishes. And he also took me on a trip with his friends and I really enjoyed riding with him. While visiting Bali we rented a motorbike and spent exploring the beautiful island together.

Alfad and I daytripping near Yogyakarta
Alfad and I exploring Bali
My Indonesian wonder #3: Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

Having arrived at noon on the first day, I had the time as well as the weather on my side and I went hiking to Gunung Penjanakan also known as the Viewpoint 1 (2770m). I passed a lot of minor viewpoints and Viewpoint 2 and Gunung King Kong viewpoint as well. With every new viewpoint I was more and more amazed at the beauty I saw. My heart skipped a beat a couple of times that day. I can’t say how many times I said Wow.

Going up there was not a single person anywhere which I loved. Only at the top, there were a few people, locals only. Upon replying I came from Slovakia I was surprised to hear the word Bratislava. They knew Slovakia! They were a young married couple with their family. He had been studying in Germany for 7 years, she had been there for a year. We even chatted in German. And he understood my Dutch! And there was some picture taking of course.

As I was hiking down I felt like crying thinking of the beauty I had seen. By the time I reached the village the volcanoes and the caldera disappeared in mist and clouds. I had the impression that Indonesia had started to compete with Kyrgyzstan for my favourite country on this trip.

On the second day, I made it to the first active volcano ever – Bromo. It’s not a high one and the hike is not a demanding one. But it was a great start. But walking on the rim was a bit unnerving. My legs were shaking at one spot. The rim is about a meter wide with a walkable path being half that sometimes. But it was incredible.

I got up at 3.15 that day and started hiking 15 minutes later. I had a companion – Tibor, a Hungarian living in the States. But only going up. There were a lot of people going to different viewpoints to see the sunrise. There must have been over a hundred, or many more jeeps which wasn’t really pleasant. I was once again reminded how different tourism Asian style is from tourism elsewhere. Nevertheless, the sunrise was amazing. I hiked to the same mountain as the day before only to see a different scenery which I loved.

Bromo volcano before sunrise
Bromo volcano after sunrise
On the rim of Bromo volcano
My Indonesian wonder #4: Arif Prabowo

Arif was my second host in Indonesia and although I only stayed for night I had a fantastic time. It was my 100th day of couchsurfing and Arif was my 40th host on this trip. And he was an amazing host. He is such a nice, kindhearted guy. I knew he was amazing even before we met. He agreed to host me within seconds I reached out to him and he was really excited about hosting me. That makes you so happy as a guest. He is very enthusiastic about making new friends from abroad and sharing what he knows. In addition he likes to make videos and has big dreams like me.

Arif and I in a park in Surabaya
Arif and I in a park in Surabaya
My Indonesian wonder #5: Gili Meno

After visiting Gili Air I came to Gili Meno. Gili refers to a small island in the local language while Pulau refers to a large island. If heaven is a place on Earth, it’s Gili Meno. The water so clear, the sand so white, the sky so blue. The feeling priceless.

I was staying in the Rabbit Tree hostel there and it was another hostel with style. It was like Alice in Wonderland or Alesh in Wonderland. Secret doors, funny things happening, pillow room, star gazing deck. I loved it.

A white sandy beach on Gili Meno
A white sandy beach on Gili Meno
The hostel I was staying in on Gili Meno
My Indonesian wonder #6: Gunung Rinjani (Mount Rinjani)

I made it! I hiked up Gunung Rinjani, the second highest active volcano in Indonesia at 3726 m asl. It was a 2.5 day hike. The second day was the hardest. We started hiking at 2.30 am and it took us 3 hours to hike the mere 4 km to the very top. I was engulfed with joy upon making it to the top. The scenery was breathtaking and the views were stunning.

Reaching Gunung Rinjani before sunrise
Sunrise at the top of Gunung Rinjani
Going down from the top of Rinjani
The lake in the crater of Rinjani
Hiking down to the lake
My Indonesian wonder #7: Kelimitu crater lakes

Kelimutu crater lakes are the highlight of the Flores island which is an off the beaten track place in Indonesia. How do people get to the lakes? By motorbike or car. How did I get there? I hiked! When do most people go there? For sunrise. When did I go there? After the crowds had left. The real beauty of the lakes is in its colours which show only later. It’s a pity I didn’t get to see the blood red or chocolate brown version (the lakes change colour with time).

Kelimutu crater lakes
Kelimutu crater lakes
Kelimutu crater lakes

There were more beautiful places I saw, more enjoyable things I did and more amazing people I met in Indonesia, but these are the seven highlights of my trip through the country – my seven Indonesian wonders.

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