day dreamers // sun seekers // itinerary builders
If you are anything like me you’ve found this blog by frantically googling when you should really be working. Congrats on outfoxing the company IT policy and accessing a blogging site!
As exciting as the prospect of a long-haul holiday is, it’s also pretty stressful to get the planning just how you want it. One thing I have been trying to conquer is my anxiety when it comes to travelling. I’m not scared of flying, I’m totally fine with eating the local cuisine and the language barriers don’t phase me. What I am always plagued by is the age old problem of FOMO. To those of you not as a quite down-with-the-kids as me, that is ‘Fear Of Missing Out.’ With so much of the world to see, the chances of me being back anytime soon are pretty slim, so I’ve simply GOT to make sure I won’t be missing out on anything and everything. As a result, pre-trip research and comprehensive itinerary building is crucial to me having a relaxing and enjoyable trip- I can relax safe in the knowledge that I have the opportunity to experience everything I have been so looking forward to.
Timing wise, at the beginning of November, we were hitting the very end of the dry peak season and crossing into the low rainy season. My extensive googling on the matter suggested that this should be okay- there may be occasional downpours but they would be brief, although humidity would be high. This was pretty spot on. Other than one incredibly rainy afternoon we were blessed with blue skies throughout. My emergency pacamac only had the one outing! However it was clearly low season and both the costs and lack of crowding reflected this. This had its pros and cons. We often commented on how pleasantly surprised we were by the lack of restrictions travelling in the low season had brought. I can’t imagine I would have enjoyed Gili T more crowded than it was, but Candidasa felt incredibly sleepy.
On the flip side of this, we were told by locals that the rainy season did appear to be quite late this year so it looks like we were a little lucky. It was incredibly humid, but not unmanageably so (except for our camping nights, more to follow!) The one big disadvantage I would like to point out though was the effect this had on our surroundings. The lush green mountainous islands of Komodo National Park were not quite as lush and green as the pictures had promised and the famous lake temple Pura Ulan Danu Bratan was most definitely missing the lake aspect! None of these things lessened our enjoyment (once I got over the fact that I perhaps would’t be invoking the level of insta-envy that I had hoped!) but it’s worth bearing in mind.
Next was, for me, the really overwhelming part. How on earth could we properly experience Indonesia into three weeks? We wanted wildlife, diving, culture, activities and lots of photo opportunities. However, we also wanted sun sea and a good relax. When I began researching our destination we knew we definitely wanted to go to Bali. MM was set on the Gili Islands, having heard great things about the diving and general vibe, so we added that into the mix. It seemed logical to then carry on into Lombok. I had been incredibly lucky to visit Komodo National Park on a cruise contract and I was really keen for MM to experience it too, so we added Flores into the trip. The decision to go to Flores really cut out the option of travelling down from Jakarta to Bali. Whilst travelling overland by train would have been fantastic, it would really have required at least an additional week to have made the most of experiencing Java.
So now we knew the main outline of where we wanted to hit- Bali, the Gili Islands, Lombok and Flores. Structuring how we were going to do this, little bit trickier. It was ambitious to do in three weeks, but it didn’t feel rushed.
We started off with our basic ‘lets just get there’ flights. We flew Garuda Indonesia to from Gatwick to Jakarta with connecting flight to Bali, Denpasar for £485 return each. At the time of booking this was marketed as a direct flight to Jakarta BUT we later found out that there was a fuel stopover in Amsterdam on the way there and back which we had to debark the plane for. Not the hugest deal in the world, but would have been better to know at the time of booking- I like to know when I am settling down for my flight that These flights no longer run as of spring 2016 but they do have other options out of Heathrow. For anyone interested in taking the slightly cheaper (yet safety concious) option but that haven’t heard of the airline before, you can find out lots of further info about the (SEVEN!) Garuda Indonesia flights we took during our trip in a forthcoming blog post. Seven flights seems like a huge amount in a three week trip, but actually only three were internal and they were all for time-saving purposes. We could have travelled overland (and sea!) to get to our destinations, but if we wanted to optimise time and hit three main islands we needed to think in advance. We booked these before we left, got decent prices and had forgotten that we had paid for them by the time we took them. For those vacationing instead of long-term travelling, I would highly recommend this approach.
Part two of the blog post coming soon with full itinerary details…