Luke McKibben

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve it heard it a million times, but here’s proof from STA’s Luke McKibben that might actually get you and your clients to visit Indonesia beyond the beaches of Bali.

You could be excused for ticking Indonesia off the bucket list by visiting Bali for a week.  Of course, in every sense of the word, you have BEEN to Indonesia by visiting the idyllic island nation made up of beachside precincts Kuta, Sanur and Seminyak and mountaintop region, Ubud – to name but a few.  However, by writing off the rest of Indonesia and limiting travel solely to Bali, the only person impacted is oneself.

(Disclaimer: this article could easily have been titled 50 reasons … (etc), but read below for 7 reasons you simply must go beyond Bali on your next adventure to Indonesia.)  


1. Flying between destinations is dirt cheap; it’s almost a joke! 


Flying from Denpasar airport, it’s less than a three-hour flight (and under $70AU) to just about every corner of Indonesia.  Garuda, Lion Air, Air Asia Indonesia and Wings Air offer a huge number of daily connections, making a side trip to other Indonesian destinations very easy.

(Hint: book the side trip flight in conjunction with your main international flight for an even better deal)    


2. The Island of Flores (Bali: without the price tag and better scenery)

For some of the most impressively stunning coastal scenery, you’ll find in SE Asia, head to Flores.  East Nusa Tengara’s beaches (look up: Padar) and mountainous terrain will leave you in a state of awe.  Check Kelimutu National Park for one of the more unique natural phenomena.

As if that wasn’t enough, given that Bali’s price tags have definitely taken a hike in the wrong direction the past five years (a Bintang and a burger will easily set you back $15AUD), the same order in Flores will cost less than half that price. Cheap eats and scenery to match – yes, please!


3. Days on end without hearing the Occer drawl

Image: Jared Rice/Unsplash

Image: Jared Rice/Unsplash

Many Australians call Bali their second home (even if only for two weeks a year). Now there’s nothing wrong with the accent native to our sunburnt country, but what better way to leave the call of home behind than to go beyond the realm of the island heaving with our Aussie mates. Go hours, days and weeks without hearing or speaking to another Australian, allowing a greater depth of local immersion.


4. Sumatra

Bali has somewhat lost its adventurous travel edge in the past decade, instead favouring the ‘Fly’n’Flop’ market.  Sumatra embodies what travel should be.  Exciting, relaxing and interesting.  The northern jungle teems with native wildlife, most intriguing of which are the gibbons and orangutans, while the shores of Lake Toba rest idyllically on the historically significant land of the Batak people, making for a fascinating cross-section. And with curries to combat the world’s best, no doubt the north of the island is easily a foodie haven as well.



5. Mt Bromo’s exquisite sunrise brilliance

Image: Lorraine Goh/Unsplash

Image: Lorraine Goh/Unsplash

On the eastern frontier of Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, Mt Bromo takes the cake as one of the more stunning examples of Indonesia’s scenic offering.  As we know, Bali’s volcanoes wreak havoc whereas the only pain associated with Bromo is not being able to stay longer.

**tip – the 3.00am wakeup call to see the sunrise at Bromo’s volcanic peak is made far more bearable with 2 cups of coffee prepared by any number of vendors at the summit


6. Regional culinary delicacies

Indonesia takes regional cuisine to new heights, with significant differences between the nations’ provincial culinary highlights. Nasi (rice) and mie (noodles) are the sole basis for similarity with additions varying per region.  Sumatra is known for spicy, dry curries, while Java favours wetter, more flavourful foods.  Of course, Bali is home to a plethora of culinary delights itself, though there is a certain magic associated with enjoying them in their native surrounds.


7. The feeling of being at least a little different

Padar Island Image: Ash Edmonds/Unsplash

Padar Island Image: Ash Edmonds/Unsplash

Fill your Facebook feeds and Instagram stories – and of course your own mind – with memories and experiences your friends haven’t already done. There’s so much opportunity for exploration in rural and cosmopolitan Indonesia that is too often lost to the travelling mind.  For sure, Bali is a great starting point, but make it the basis for an epic adventure instead of the pinnacle of relaxation for which it is so commonly used.


READ: Discover Indonesia’s other jewels

READ: Australia’s obsession with Bali is borderline unhealthy

Have you travelled beyond Bali?