ManiPedi (Manicure Pedicure) Spa and Beauty Treatments in Seminyak

ManiPedi (Manicure Pedicure) Spa and Beauty Treatments in Seminyak

Coming to Bali on vacation? You definitely want to be pampered! In this case, you have come to the right island because Balinese massages are reputed to be among the best. Take advantage of being in Seminyak as there are many quality spas and salons. You can treat yourself to a professional haircut, ManiPedi and many other beauty treatments. Spas in Seminyak range from chic and elegant salons to modern studios with views of the rice paddies. These services will generally cost you between IDR 60,000 and 1,000,000 (from less than € 4 (yes!) to € 89 and more.

Spring Spa Seminyak (Seminyak Village Mall – rooftop)

From our Villa Carissa to Spring Spa Seminyak only takes 8 minutes walk.

Open 7 Days : Mon to Sun: 10:00am – 7:00pm
This spa is located on the amazing Rooftop Terrace of the new iconic lifestyle shopping mall that is Seminyak Village. We bring a fresh new approach with socially distanced and private zones for your individual or group occasion.

Seminyak Village Mall – rooftop

This spa is located on the amazing Rooftop Terrace of the new iconic lifestyle shopping mall that is Seminyak Village. We bring a fresh new approach with socially distanced and private zones for your individual or group occasion. Our rooftop spot features beverage and blow dry bars.

Treatment menu:
Adresse : Jl. Kayu Jati No.8, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 813 38627222

Carla House

From our Villa Carissa to Carla House only takes 4 minutes walk.

Great treatments at a great price. Carla House is exceptionally clean and the staff are very friendly and professional.


Located in Jalan Kayu Aya, heart of Seminyak. You can find Carla House easily after walking and enjoy sightseeing around. You will be very welcomed and treated like a family every time you visit us here. Enjoy our best care by our friendly staff.

Address: Jl. Kayu Aya No.33, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 851-0018-1011
Whatsapp appointment: +6285100893233
Website and treatment menu:

Kimberly Spa – Jl. Kayu Aya Oberoi

From our Villa Carissa to Kimberly Spa only takes 5 minutes walk.


Phone: +62 823-4033-4111
Address: Jl. Kayu Aya, Kerobokan Kelod, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia


From our Villa Carissa to BodyWorks only takes 16 minutes walk.

Nice massage and beauty center. The prices are affordable with a very correct quality of service compared to other centers in the region.


Open Daily 09:00 – 22:00
Jalan Lebak Sari No.3, Petitenget, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Bookings :
Inquiries :
Tel: +62 (361) 733 317

Spa Prana

From our Villa Carissa to Spa Prana only takes 23 minutes walk.

Inspired by the Indian and Middle Eastern theme, the interiors of this lavish spa will allow your mind and body to relax and rejuvenate. Prana Spa is one of the best spas located in Seminyak. It features eye-catching architecture and a fresh sandalwood scent that will soothe your mind. This place has 23 treatment rooms as well as a yoga studio where you can relax and calm your senses while enjoying the various spa treatments like Moroccan herbal baths and gold infused massages.

Address: No. 118 X, Jl. Kunti I, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia


Photo credit: stevepb via Pixabay

From Bali to Port Moresby

This is an exotic destination par excellence! Getaways in Papua New Guinea offer visitors a moment of total change of scenery. Dreaming to go from Bali to, Port Moresby – Papua New Guinea is divided into four regions: Highlands, Papua, Islands and Momase and has several facets: on one side flat and on the other side mountainous (its highest peak is Mount Wilhelm at 4509 m), the country also boasts of having a vast archipelago (the islands of New Britain, Bougainville Island, New Ireland etc.).

Thanks to its favorable geographical location on the edge of the Coral Sea and its moving past, Port Moresby appropriates the reputation of a chivalrous city. High places of tourist campaigns, these beaches and their hotels welcome many travelers for a favorite stopover. The city occupies a strategic place in the country and the region! It will offer you a directory of must-see sites and exceptional architecture. Wildlife reserves and a priceless historical treasure await you. Book a ticket for this charming region and have the best of stays.

From Bali to Port Moresby

It is possible to get from Bali to Port Moresby by plane. Unfortunately there is no direct flight from Bali to Port Moresby (vice versa). The fastes flight takes around 7h 50m via via Cairns and if you count with the transit, it can go up to 18 hr 30 min depending on the days.

What airlines run services from Bali to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea?

  • Air Niugini
    • Flights from Bali to Port Moresby via Cairns
      Average time 7h 50m When: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday Estimated price €210 – €800
    • Flights from Bali to Port Moresby via Singapore Changi
      Average time 10h 25m When: Wednesday Estimated price €480 – €1100
    • Flights from Bali to Port Moresby via Sydney
      Average time 2pm When: Sunday Estimated price €350 – €1300

Read also: Bali Airport DPS | Important and Practical Tips to Improve your Experience at Ngurah Rai Airport

  • Qantas
    • Flights from Ngurah Rai to Port Moresby via Sydney, Brisbane
      Average time 13h 15m When: Daily Estimated price €1000 – €3400
    • Flights from Ngurah Rai to Port Moresby via Cairns, Brisbane
      Average time 12h When: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday Estimated price €330 – €1200
    • Flights from Ngurah Rai to Port Moresby via Darwin, Brisbane
      Average time 14h 5m When: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday Estimated price €320 – €1200
    • Flights from Ngurah Rai to Port Moresby via Brisbane
      Average time 11h 15m When: Daily Estimated price €360 – €900
    • Flights from Ngurah Rai to Port Moresby via Perth, Brisbane
      Average time 16h 10m When: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday Estimated price €1000 – €3400


  • This city is home to many luxury hotels because the beaches are magnificent and the seabed is very beautiful.
  • The parliament building (visits are sometimes allowed)
  • The National Botanical Garden
  • Moitaka Wildlife Sanctuary
  • You will see that luxury also rubs shoulders with poverty because there are slums in the heart of the city, which is why certain neighborhoods are considered dangerous for tourists.

Popular places to visit in Port Moresby

Port Moresby Nature Park

Staying in Port Moresby? Discover Port Moresby Nature Park and have a blast in the heart of its green spaces during outdoor activities. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to an invigorating stroll along its port.

Varirata National Park

Staying in Port Moresby? Discover Varirata National Park and have fun in the heart of its green spaces during outdoor activities. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to an invigorating stroll along its port.

46 km from the capital, Varirata National Park offers many hiking trails in a preserved nature with a large fauna. You have to come early in the morning to observe the fabulous parade of the paradisiers of Raggi. The Sogeri road which leads to the park offers beautiful views of the region. This park is often frequented on weekends by residents of Port Moresby and expatriates. During weekdays, you might have the park just for you.

University of Papua New Guinea

Take a stroll around the campus at University of Papua New Guinea during your trip to Port Moresby. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to an invigorating stroll along its port.

Loloata Island

Connect with nature and get some fresh air at Loloata Island while exploring Port Moresby. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to an invigorating stroll along its port.

It takes around 30 minutes from Port Mresby to this island.

Loloata Island sits on the edge of the Papuan Barrier Reef and there are 29 dive sites around the island where experienced divers can explore its reefs, spectacular sea life, shipwrecks and even a World War 2 Boston bomber. There are also excellent snorkeling sites.

Marina Royal Papua Yacht Club

Take advantage of your stay in Port Moresby to discover Marina Royal Papua Yacht Club and relax by the water. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to an invigorating stroll along its port.

Hubert Murray Stadium

Catch an event at Hubert Murray Stadium during your trip to Port Moresby. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to an invigorating stroll along its port.

Ela beach

Formerly known as Era Kone, meaning Turtle Beach. Ela Beach Hotel is an 8-minute walk from the center of Port Moresby.

Located along the Ela Beach front are various recreational facilities such as basketball courts, beach volleyball courts, a boardwalk, a three-star hotel, two kiosks and an amphitheater.

Ela Beach Port Moresby
Ela Beach Port Moresby. No machine-readable author provided. Toksave assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ela Beach is also the host venue for the annual Hiri-Moale Festival, the great festival in mid-September which celebrates the country’s independence from Australia in 1975. Each year, one or two coastal villages are mobilized to build this traditional symbol vessel which will sail to Ela beach Beach at the foot of downtown Port Moresby. A few hours before the big start, the excitement is at its peak. The experience over the shoulder, the elders inspect the ship where the final hammer blows resound. We refine the last skirts of dried leaves and prepare the bunches of buaïs, betel nuts which will be distributed to the crowd.

PNG National Museum and Art Gallery

The PNG National Museum and Art Gallery is the main museum in Papua New Guinea. It is located in the capital, Port Moresby, precisely in the district of Waigani, a suburb where the university, the Parliament, the residence of the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court are also located. Its collections focus on three main areas: traditional Papuan art, contemporary production and objects related to the New Guinea campaign during the Pacific War.

Papua New Guinea National Museum May 2015
PNG National Museum. Nick-D, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Other famous destination in Papua New Guinea


It’s hard not to be impressed when you arrive in Rabaul. Already on the road, black ash is piling up on the sides, the trees are becoming rarer. And, once past the market, an atmosphere of desolation strikes the visitor. It takes real effort to imagine that a city once lay across this field of ash, a city whose ancient streets are barely discernible.

All under the incessant ash rain projected by the Tavurvur volcano, still active. Two hotels are still open in Rabaul, the port is still in operation, and part of the population, threatened with respiratory diseases, still lives on the outskirts of the city. Despite this state of desolation, Rabaul deserves at least one visit and probably one night, to better feel the atmosphere of the volcano. The discovery of the surroundings of Tavurvur will remain a great memory of a trip to Papua. As for divers, the surrounding waters have many wonders in store for them.

When to go to Rabaul: the best periods

The maximum temperature in Rabaul is on average 29°C over the year (from 29°C in February to 30°C in June). It rains 4138mm over the year, with a minimum of 264mm in September and a maximum of 452mm in March. The climate is correct to go on a trip to Rabaul in January and from June to November. The water temperature is suitable all year round for swimming.

Do a tracking on Kokoda Track

Papua New Guinea is one of the last frontiers. The Kokoda Track is a 96 kilometer hike that will take you through wild and pristine landscapes. You will cross rivers and climb steep slopes, all in a primary rainforest environment. You will discover along the track, the wounds left by the Second World War and the famous battle of Papua.

Kokoda bridge crossing
Stream crossing Kokoda Trail. Nomadtales, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dive into an underwater sanctuary

Papua has some of the most beautiful scuba diving sites in the world. It is located in the heart of the Indo-Pacific and boasts an immense variety of fish and corals unlike any found anywhere else. What characterizes diving in Papua New Guinea is the immense richness of the funds. It is no coincidence that the greatest underwater photographers prepare the photos here that they present at international competitions. You will have the opportunity to dive on drop-offs, reefs and coral gardens, not to mention the beautiful wrecks from the Second World War.

Explore extraordinary coral reefs

Papua lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle, an area of ​​great underwater biodiversity comprising Indonesia, the Philippines, East Borneo, Papua, and the Solomon Islands. The reefs in this area have suffered enormously in recent years. Papua New Guinea is relatively spared from these degradations and you can admire them while snorkeling, with a mask and a snorkel, in shallow waters. You will appreciate the vivacity of the reefs, their colors, and the incredible fauna, from the smallest leaffish, to the majestic rays or turtles.

Explore the fjords

Who would have thought of going to Papua New Guinea to explore the fjords? The province of Oro, in the south-east of the country, is full of superb fjords, formed by volcanic eruptions. Explore them at the start of Tufi Resort, an isolated ecolodge, located at the entrance to a fjord. You can sail in a canoe inside the fjord, to meet the villagers. This will be an opportunity to get to know a culture very different from the rest of the country.

Collecting Papuan Tribal Art

Papua New Guinea is the cradle of a rich artistic tradition linked to its ancestral culture. Collectors around the world, as well as the largest international museums have pieces from Papua in their collections. This varied art takes the form of statues, drums, masks and headdresses, shields, spears, arrows and other warrior objects. No need to be very rich to be able to afford a souvenir from Papua, it is possible to find pretty pieces at affordable prices.

Admire the great diversity of birds

Papua New Guinea is paradise for bird watchers. Thanks to its dense primary forest, no less than 708 species of birds have been recorded. Whether you are in the coastal areas, in the highlands, or on the banks of the Sepik River, experienced observers will be delighted. Papua is the home of the Bird of Paradise. Of the 41 species in the world, the country has 31. Besides this magnificent bird, you can observe toucans, kingfishers, parakeets and parrots, as well as a large number of passerine species.

In plain authenticity, without too many infrastructures

If you are a fan of ecotourism, traveling in unspoiled nature, discovering an authentic culture, then Papua New Guinea is the destination for you. Here, you will not find large hotels, but only small establishments that are well integrated into their environment. Some lodges do not offer more than 10 bungalows. This will be an opportunity for you to get closer to the wild nature of New Guinea.

Facing an ancestral culture still alive

With 700 languages ​​spoken across the country, Papua New Guinea has one of the most diverse populations in the world. There is a wide variety of ancestral cultures that are all very different. Whether you visit the highlands, the banks of the Sepik, or the coastal plains, the common point is tradition. This tradition is transmitted from generation to generation through the family, the clan, the village… Welcome to an authentic world.

Participate in a sing sing

Papua New Guinea showcases its colorful culture at gatherings of local tribes. These festivals called “Sing-Sings” are a unique opportunity to participate in an event that makes the villagers proud. Tribes from all over the country come to participate. Each tribe “exhibits” its beliefs, traditions, festive costumes, dance and music. Prepare your cameras! The aim of these gatherings is to peacefully share traditions as each Islands have their own dance.

Festivals or sing sing are an essential aspect of Papuan culture. About fifty ethnic groups from all regions of the country come together for major festivals that are the pride of the villagers. Gatherings are an opportunity for each tribe to exhibit their culture and impress each other with their dances, customs, beliefs and music. The men and women wear the colors of their ethnicity with magnificent masks, characteristic ancestral body paintings, rich traditional costumes or bila, colorful feather adornments as well as bewitching traditional dances and songs.

In November, the cultural festival of Alotau is held, much less famous than the Mount Hagen Show in August or the Goroka Show which takes place in September around the national holiday. The Kenu & Kundu Festival is a friendly and exciting gathering because it allows, because of its small size, much more dialogue and interactivity with passing travellers. The event is focused around the traditional Kenu canoes or war canoes whose prows are decorated with magnificent wooden sculptures typical of the Milne Bay region. During the festival visitors attend canoe races, Sing-Sing gatherings and grand banquets where the tribes exchange food. The Kundu or the traditional Papuan tribal drum features on the arms of Papua New Guinea. The wooden instrument, which takes the long shape of an hourglass, has a snake membrane, a richly decorated handle and ornaments in the shape of animals. Among the Papuans, the Kundu is the voice of the ancestors who manifest themselves during rituals and religious or civil ceremonies.

Take a cruise on the Sepik River

With its 1,226 km, the Sepik River is the largest in the country. Many communities live along the river and its tributaries, contenting themselves with cultivation, hunting and fishing. They remain completely isolated and protected from the modern world and thus perpetuate their ancestral culture. Discover the influence of the Crocodile God, and the superb artistic expressions on wood.

Sepik 0057
Snapshot of the daily life of the people living around Sepik River. Top1963 / Tryfon Topalidis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Alotau – Papua Region, Papua New Guinea

The small provincial capital does not look like much, but breathes the sweetness of life. The beauty of its bay and the kindness of its inhabitants, its small port and its market justify spending a day there. With 6,000 inhabitants and a few streets, it is difficult to get lost, but there is nevertheless a hospital and the main banks. Starting from the port and the beach, Alotau lines up its shops and administrations for a few hundred meters, then climbs up the hills, which are more residential.

Popular places to visit in Alotau

Port of Alotau

Staying in Alotau? In this case, discover Port d’Alotau and allow yourself a moment of relaxation by the water. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to superb walks along its seaside and its beaches.

Alotau Beach

Want a 100% relaxing stay? Alotau has just the right thing for you: Alotau Beach! This destination is perfect for taking a relaxing stroll along its seaside or spending some downtime in its shopping.

North Bay War Memorial
Learn about the history that shaped Alotau with a stop at North Bay War Memorial. Explore the region and treat yourself to invigorating walks along its marina or discover its monuments.


Staying in Alotau? In this case, discover Harbor and allow yourself a moment of relaxation at the water’s edge. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to superb walks along its seaside and its beaches.

Cameron Secondary School

To learn more about the events that marked Alotau, do not hesitate to stop at Cameron Secondary School. Take advantage of your stay in the region to treat yourself to superb walks along its marina and its beaches.

View across Milne Bay in Alotau. Manuel Hetzel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


To learn more about the events that marked Alotau, do not hesitate to stop at Viewpoint. Explore the region and treat yourself to invigorating walks along its marina or discover its monuments.

Mount Hagen – Highlands Region, Papua New Guinea

The surroundings are not lacking in charm and the great “Hagen Show Festival”, which is held there every year on the second weekend of August, makes this city an essential stopover during a trip to Papua.

In 1994, the Pope John Paul II, during his pilgrimage to Papua New Guinea, stopped at Mount Hagen (seat of a Catholic archdiocese ) where he met the indigenous people as well as the local ecclesiastical authorities.

Mt Hagen Cultural Show PNG 2008
Mt Hagen Cultural Show, one of the largest annual cultural events held in Papua New Guinea. Jialiang Gao (, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Popular places to visit in Mount Hagen

Mount Hagen Market

During your visit to Mount Hagen, do some window-shopping at Mount Hagen Market. Explore the region and let yourself be surprised by the beauty of its mountain panorama or take the time to discover its monuments.

Mount Hagen General Hospital

If you came to Mount Hagen specifically for Mount Hagen General Hospital, hopefully you’ll get to see a different side to this place. During your stay in the region, set aside some time in your diary to discover its shops and monuments.

Photo credit (main picture):

Photo  description: a typical sing-sing scene of Papua New Guinea, a gathering of different tribes singing and dancing with their unique make-up and traditional costumes. Photo taken in Wabag, Enga Province (It is on the Lai River; the Highlands Highway passes through the town, between Mount Hagen and Porgera).

Seminyak Center long term rental Villa Carissa 3-bedroom

You found one of the best Seminyak Center long term rental Villa or annual rental in Seminyak, with a private swimming pool. If you want to rent in a lively area, which offers you many activities, and which will allow you to never get bored, then Seminyak Center is the place for you! Our villa is tucked inside a quiet place. Ideal for you to have a peaceful time, but when you want to go out to well-known and touristic area in the south of Bali, or even to party, our villa is the right place.

Villa Carissa 3-bedroom long term rental

How much is our yearly and monthly rent?

  • 1 year rent: IDR 800 000 000.
  • Monthly rent: IDR 85 000 000.

Inclusive of:

  • Cleaning service: 3 times/week
  • Pool cleaning: 2 times/week
  • Internet
  • Banjar fee + security (district contribution).
  • Bin collection

Not included:

  • Electricity
  • Linen and towel laundry

Villa in Seminyak | Villa Carissa, 3 bedrooms Villa With a Private Pool


Non-refundable. No modification.


All payments must be paid at once, and up front.


To comply with the local authorities, we will need a copy of your ID card. Please kindly note for all foreigners, we will need a your copy of ID card/passport with visa or KITAS (Indonesian residence permit) valid. Thank you.

Once you’re agreed with our long term rental, we will give you the lease contract.

Villa Carissa’s location for your Seminyak Center long term rental villa

For example, you can walk to Ku De Ta beach for only 12 mn….

Learn more about villa for year-round rental in Seminyak Central, Bali

Seminyak centre, a well-known and touristic area in the south of Bali. If you want to rent in a lively area, which offers you many activities, and which will allow you to never get bored, then Seminyak is the right place for you!

Several very different neighborhoods in Seminyak

You will find several very different neighborhoods in Seminyak. The Batu Belig district is concentrated around the main axis of Jalan Batu Belig. It is now a must in Bali. Indeed, you will find many unmissable restaurants such as Strawberry Fields or Watercress, but you can also do a lot of shopping there, relax in a spa, or share a drink with friends in one of the many lively bars in this area. area. This district has also become a must for its perfect location: halfway between the center of Seminyak and Canggu, it is the ideal place if you want to stay close to these two lively areas of the island.

Batu Belig

This area is also located just a few minutes by scooter from Umalas, which will offer you proximity to schools and in particular to the Lycée Français de Bali. Around this area also offers you its beach and its many bars and beach clubs: we particularly recommend the Tropicola, this beach club will immerse you in a colorful and modern atmosphere, and you can enjoy the swimming pool during the day, and enjoy tasty dinners there.

Petitenget area

The Petitenget area is also a highly developed area of ​​Seminyak. Located just two or three minutes by scooter from other areas of Seminyak, you can also find many trendy restaurants like Clean Canteen, bars, and nightclubs if you like to go out. Petitenget Beach, quieter than Seminyak Beach, will offer you peace facing the Indian Ocean.

We particularly recommend the Mano, a much less known beach club, which will allow you to enjoy the beach in a heavenly setting. You can do many activities in Petitenget, if you like Balinese culture, the Petitenget temple will immerse you in the heart of Balinese authenticity.

Oberoi or Kayu Aya street is often described as the chic neighborhood of Seminyak

This area of ​​Bali offers many restaurants and high-end shops. You will find Vin + Seminyak, a restaurant where you can enjoy tasty dishes around quality wines.

You can also enjoy the beach in this area, the Ku De Ta is the perfect beach club to admire a magnificent sunset. Kayu Aya Street, the main axis of this area of ​​Bali, offers an impressive number of shops, restaurants, spas, and bars. If you like to go out, this is also the ideal place for you. You can spend an evening with friends at La Favela, a place that has become a must in Bali today for its heavenly decor.

Area near Sunset Road

Finally, area near Sunset Road. This area of ​​Seminyak is also extremely lively. Very close to Kuta, it is one of the most touristic places on the island. You will find plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, spas and gyms. On the beach of Double Six, you will find a lot of beach bars, with many colorful beanbags that create a unique atmosphere. To admire the sunset and share good tapas with friends, we recommend La Plancha. Also very close to Sunset Road, the main axis of South Bali, you will have quick and direct access to many other areas of Bali.

If you like entertainment, Seminyak is the city for you. By renting our villa for the year in this part of Bali, you can enjoy Balinese life in one of the most developed areas, and you will also stay close to other must-see places such as Berawa for example, only 15 minutes by scooter.

Best Restaurants In Seminyak, Bali

Seminyak, on the west coast of Bali, is the upscale cousin of the town of Kuta, further south. The area is home to most of the island’s expats, many of whom have set up shops, galleries and restaurants in the town. We list few of the best places to eat in the area. If only we could be hungry all the time while vacationing in Seminyak. It’s a foodie’s paradise! Here are some of our favorite places to eat in Seminyak. Good to know for restaurants in Seminyak, and mostly in Bali, for foods are not too expensive, but when you take your meal with wines, they are more expensive.

Balinese specialties

– Urab: delicious mixture of coconut, beans or other finely chopped vegetables flavored with spices and peppers. Mainly Balinese dish.

– Ayam betutu: grilled stuffed chicken, served with vegetables, tapioca and coconut. Bali specialty.

– Bebek betutu: a tasty Balinese duck speciality. Stuffed and stewed for a long time in a banana leaf, it is always ordered the day before.

– Babi guling: roasted suckling pig. Excellent when it is not too greasy. It is mostly found in Bali.

Best Restaurants In Seminyak you should try

In Indonesia, and particularly in Bali, we eat well. Rice is the staple, of course, and the national dish goes by the name of nasi goreng: fried rice with eggs, small pieces of meat and vegetables, or shrimp.
But Indonesian food is a reflection of the ethnic mosaic that the country represents: rich, surprising, varied and colorful.

Batik Restaurant, Southeast Asian, $$

Certainly one of the most beautiful decorations in Bali, Batik is a restaurant that is worth the detour as much for the content as for the form. The place is perfect for an “atas” coffee and fully experience the contradictions of expat life in Southeast Asia.

Zomato: Batik Restaurant

Ginger Moon, Asian Fusion, $$

Ginger Moon is a fabulous Asian fusion restaurant on Oberoi Street (Eat Street / Kayu aya Street). Really cool and stylish interiors, professional staff and delicious food, this is a must visit. The cocktails are also very good and the general atmosphere is great. Want to try a bit of everything? Ginger Moon has delicious sharing options. In fact, the menu, created by Executive Chef Dean Kedell, was created with sharing in mind. Website:

Zomato: Ginger Moon

The Corner House, International, $$

At the end of Jalan Kayu Aya to go to The Corner House. And the least we can say is that it was worth it. The location is fantastic and the coffee good.

Zomato: Corner House

Esquina, Asian Mediterranean $$

Asian Mediterranean foods with good flavors. Waiters and waitresses at the top. The service nothing to say. Always smile and come to you regularly to find out if everything is going well. That’s what we like in Bali. A bit pricey but justified given the quality of the dishes and the service, no waiting. Flawless!


Café Bali, $$

Very well located, this restaurant offers all types of food at reasonable prices. Nice decor. “Easy” cooking. A bit noisy in the evening. Cool service. Café Bali offers a very simple but varied menu. The service, very young, is really friendly and responsive! ULTRA ULTRA ULTRA fast service, very efficient staff 🙂

Sambal Shrimp, Seafood, $$

In a typical Balinese setting and a really nice place on the terrace. The products are of high quality and the service is very professional and friendly.

Zamato: Sambal Shrimp

Restaurant Bambu, Indonesian, $$$

If you’re looking for the perfect setting for a quiet evening, this is the place to dine. Crossing stones through a swimming pool to get to the dining room, a beautiful setting with a warm ambience. The food itself is a mix of international and Balinese cuisine, with local ingredients dominating the menu. Try the succulent duck betutu or the tangy tuna ceviche.

Zomato: Bambu

More Info Mon – Sun: 6:00 PM – 12:00 AM 198 Jalan Petitenget, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia +623618469797

Cosy, Exterior Restaurant La Lucciola, Indonesian, $$$

La Lucciola is something of a legend in Seminyak, with waterfront views and a location next to the Petitenget Temple. The restaurant is always busy, and is usually packed until late at night. During the day, the beach gives access to the restaurant, while in the evening, it is accessed from the parking lot of the temple, via a wooden bridge lit by lit torches. The menu changes constantly with every innovation the chefs undertake, but with an emphasis on traditional Balinese flavors.

More Info Mon – Sun: 9am – 11pm Pantai Petitenget Jalan Kayu Aya, Kerobokan, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia +62361730838

Zomato: La Lucciola

Cozy, Modern Bistro Mejekawi, Restaurant, Indonesian, $$$

Mejekawi is Ku De Ta’s haute cuisine restaurant, Seminyak’s nightlife beacon and the gathering point for Bali’s ‘happening’ crowd. Its beautiful beachside setting combined with its bistro-style decor make it an attractive environment in which to sample Mejekawi’s local and international cuisine. The restaurant serves two options; a set of seven or 11 dishes, each of which is prepared using precision cooking methods which can be seen through the open kitchen.

You can walk from our Villa Carissa to Kudeta, only 10 mn!

Zomato: Mejakawi / Kudeta

More Info Mon – Sun: 5:00 PM – 12:00 PM No. 9 Jalan Kayu Aya, Seminyak, 80361, Indonesia +62361736969 View Website

Casual Motel Mexicola Restaurant, Mexican, $$$

If you’re looking for a taste of Tijuana in Bali, this is the place to get it. “More Mexican than Mexicans” is a good way to describe this place, with its shrine at the entrance to Mother Mary and multicolored tiles covering the walls. Food is a close match as well; Try fish tacos with chili mayo, donuts, burritos and, of course, tequila cocktails.

You can walk from our Villa Carissa to Mexicola, only 10 mn!

More Info Mon-Sun: 11am – 1am Seminyak, 80361, Indonesia +62361736688 Visit Website

Mexican Motel and Cafe in Seminyak - Bali, Indonesia (14739430952)
Mexican Motel and Cafe in Seminyak. TuRbO_J from Adelaide, Australia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Restaurant Quirky Warung Eny, Bistro, Indonesian, $

One of the more low-key places you can go for authentic Balinese cuisine is Warung Eny. Its rustic and unremarkable appearance keeps the crowds away. If only they knew! The food is incredibly authentic, from grilled whole fish over coconuts to nasi goreng and even gato gato. Satay also tastes great, and if you have time, ask Eny for a cooking class.
More info Mon – Sun: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Seminyak, 11111, Indonesia +623614736892

Made’s Warung Seminyak $$

This Warung is a bit different from the ones shown above. Indeed, Warung Made is an emblematic culinary establishment of Indonesian cuisine. The dishes are delicious and you can expect to find a rather extensive menu ranging from Gado-Gado to grilled fish, not to mention the babi guling (suckling pig) and other spicy rice. The particularity of this warung and what makes, in part, its reputation, are the representations of the typical Balinese dances which one can attend while having dinner.

Zomato: Made’s Warung

Price: 90,000 – 200,000 IDR (€8 – 18)
Address: Jalan Raya Seminyak, Seminyak, Bali
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m

Have a drink while watching the sunset

Kudeta $$$

Incredible spot! Tailor-made service, excellent food quality, music at the top! Admittedly a little expensive but it is well worth the price given the quality!

La Plancha $$

A colorful bar with big beanbags to sit and sip a fresh juice (the banana juice is delicious) or a beer facing a breathtaking sunset. It was enough to seduce me! It must be said that the sunset over the sea is really breathtaking! Judge by yourself !

To watch the sunset, come relatively early to hope to have a table, because the place is very busy. But at worst, you can always fall back on another bar on the beach, the sunset will be the same!

Read also: Seminyak Beach | The ideal beach to see a wonderful sunset in Bali

Where to go out at night in Seminyak?

Red Carpet Champagne Bar $$

The red carpet is the theme of this champagne bar located on the busiest street in Seminyak with all the best restaurants, bars and shops in the area. Rather chic atmosphere and proper dress required. The prices are correct, the service efficient and you are right on rue de Oberoi so you can watch the excitement unfold before your eyes.
For a beer about IDR 50,000 rupees. For a glass of white wine around IDR 100,000.

Zomato: Red Carpet

Address and Contact
Red Carpet Champagne Bar
Jl. Kayu Aya, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
+62 361 737889

Partying in Seminyak

Where to go out in Seminyak Bali: party at Mexicola in Seminyak

La Favela $$$

Behind a sall, narrow entrance that does not look like much hides THE nightclub not to be missed in Seminyak. Anyway, it’s simple: everyone is there! Several rooms and dance floors await you. The decoration is surprising and eclectic as we like them! In the middle of the bar, the trees have made their way. We are far from classic nightclubs. You need to dressup to come here, no flip flops, no short pants for man.

Good to know: at dinner time (Western, Asian), the supercharged Favela turns into a restaurant where you can also have a drink.

Zomato: La Favela

Mexicola $$$

This restaurant turns into a dance bar as soon as the service ends. Once the plates are cleared, people dance on the tables and the atmosphere is completely charged until 1am. The “dance floor” is located under a large glass roof. Watch out, it’s going to be hot! Literally as figuratively ! An original place!

Zomato: Mexicola

Mirror $$$

It feels like a gothic cathedral with stunning stained glass windows and futuristic lasers piercing the dance floor. Welcome to the Mirror! In such an atmosphere, clubbers are completely immersed and often international sizes are programmed on the turntables. The music is very good and the place is not crowded (all things considered, we are still talking about a nightclub). Very friendly staff, which contributes to the good atmosphere of the establishment. Place not too crowded with locals and tourists.

Zomato: Mirror

Jenja $$$ Permanently CLOSED 🙁

Jenja is the trendy club for going out in Bali. It is a bar-club located in Seminyak on the street that goes towards the Double Six beach. The atmosphere and the music are there and we often invite well-known DJs who know how to set the mood in the evenings. Address: Seminyak Town Square Suites Jl. Nakula Seminyak, Bali. You need to dressup to come here, no flip flops, no short pants for man.
Hours: 8:00 p.m. – 4:00 a.m.
Contact: +62 361 8469077

Read also: Seminyak Beach Club | Chic, Glamorous and Flashy | Perfect For Both Day and Night

Sources: TripAdvisor, Zomato

Photo credit (main picture): mtommartin via Pixabay

Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar

This festival is held every year from mid-June to mid-July in the park of the Institute of Arts of Indonesia in Denpasar (Indonesian: Pesta Kesenian Bali) or PKB. It allows you to discover music, dances and plays from all the islands of Indonesia. And all this for free except for certain performances that take place inside the buildings for this Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar.

Indonesian culture is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant in the world. Dance, music and theater hold a special place in the hearts of the Balinese and form an integral part of their identity. The Bali Art Festival therefore offers the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the richness of this culture among the Balinese. Authenticity guaranteed!

Indonesian culture is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant in the world. Dance, music and theater hold a special place in the hearts of the Balinese and form an integral part of their identity. The Bali Arts Festival offers the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the richness of this culture among the Balinese. Authenticity guaranteed!

The aim of this festival

The aim of the Bali Arts Festival is to preserve and promote Balinese cultural values. The festival was founded in 1979, during the governorship of Ida Bagus Mantra, to promote and sustain Balinese culture. The festival is a must in Indonesia because it is a unique opportunity to discover the extent of the local culture. Indeed, during the festival tourists and Balinese will admire the richness of the performing arts of Bali through parades, musical performances and dance performances.

Where to see this festival?

Go to the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Center in Denpasar to find the main events there. Admire new performances every day that highlight sumptuous works of art but also traditional and contemporary dances. The festival presents more than 200 artistic performances. Discover traditional music with instruments such as “gamelan”. Enjoy the Wayang Kulit Badad puppet show based on themes such as justice, wisdom and courage all inspired by Badad stories. Enjoy Sendratari, a traditional theatrical show that mixes traditional dances and music. The city also organizes screenings of Balinese films which take place at the Ksirarnawa auditorium.

The parades

The beginning of the festival is marked by the famous opening parade which starts in front of the Bajra Sandhi in Denpasar. The parade brings together more than 1,000 artists who present different artistic performances. Indeed, the artists come from the all provinces of Bali but also from different countries such as China and India. The various artists present their works and their talents.

During the event, many art schools compete to offer the best artistic performances. Enjoy photo session with beautiful exotic backdrops and participate in painting and craft competitions. The big festival introduces Balinese art and preserves Bali as the main tourism destination in Indonesia. Aside from parade, various competitions will be held in this event, such as literature competition, handy craft, painting and other parades such as culinary, fashion, ngelawang, ramatari, gong kebyar, and traditional dance performances.

The festival usually ends with a ceremony which features a traditional ballet dance known as ‘Sendratari’ and takes place on the Ardha Candra stage.

Live an unforgettable experience by discovering one of the most vibrant cultures in the world during the Bali Arts Festival.

Art performances during Bali Art Festival

Here are some performances that you can see during Bali Art Festival

Gamelan Orchestra

When we arrive, the change of scenery is direct. We find ourselves in the middle of a crowd of locals animated by popular fervor. The first show we have the chance to attend is a Balinese orchestra called “Gamelan“. This traditional music is sometimes called “Gong” in Bali. The musicians dressed in colorful costumes and their eyes made up of black settle down in front of their instrument: xylophones, gongs, drums, etc. Their appearance is already impressive! When the first instruments come alive and the orchestra slowly comes to life, silence falls in the crowd. Then comes to our ears this music so characteristic of Indonesia.

Lestarikan budaya tari dan seni gamelan bali
Gamelan orchestra. This group consists of Balinese gamelan players and one female dancer in the center of the stage. Balinese Gamelan is one of the types of Gamelan in Indonesia. Andika Panendra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bewitching dance “Legong”

The repetitive rhythm of the music is already bewitching. But, when the dancers and dancers are added, it becomes magical. This dance called “Legong” is very different from what we are used to seeing in our Western societies. The dancers represent deities in colorful and golden costumes decorated with a headdress. The emotion transmitted is then almost hypnotic. The dance mobilizes the whole body from head to toe with eye games and finger movements. Everything may seem jerky and messy when in reality it is quite the opposite. This undoubtedly requires unfailing control and concentration.

Balinese dance Legong in Ubud, Ramayana performance, 20220823 1933 0502
Performance of a fragment of the Ramayana, with the accompanying Legong dance, by Bina Remaja Troupe group, Ubud. Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


It is easy to get carried away by the frenetic rhythm of the music and the dance. Besides, we are not the only ones, because some locals join the dance. It seems so strong to them that most of them pass out when they leave the stage. As if the music put them in a trance. They are caught each time by other people so as not to collapse on the ground. The last dancer finishes the dance in the same way accompanied by spasms. It’s super impressive!

A Kecak Chant In Ubud (167517755)
The Kecak is a traditional Balinese trance ritual accompanied by a male chorus. Its modern form, incorporating a dance portraying the Ramayana epic, was developed in the 1930s. Ilya Yakubovich, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Topeng: theatrical masked dance

After a short intermission which allowed us to visit the park and discover certain culinary specialties, we return to observe the next performance. It is a theatrical dance called Topeng. In this type of representation, the actors wear masks and in our case, they are only men. I don’t know if it’s a tradition for this type of show.
The show starts with the music of the gamelan orchestra accompanied by a flute. Then, the curtain at the back of the stage begins to move to gradually reveal the different members of a first character. Several characters thus make their appearance, before starting to discuss as in a play.

Tari Topeng Bali
Balinese mask dance (Tari Topeng Bali). Johannnindito Adisuryo (Yohanes Nindito Adisuryo), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Read also: Bali Heritage, Culture and Traditions

Sources: Bali Cultural Services (in Indonesian)

Photo credit: Gijsvanbilsen via Pixabay

From Bali to Banda | Complete Guide to Visit Banda Islands

Isolated in the middle of the Banda Sea, about 200km from the city of Ambon, the Banda Islands are renowned for their exceptional seabed: very preserved corals, great diversity of fish, excellent visibility under water,… in short, the snorkeling and diving paradise! There is no direct flight from Bali to Banda Islands. You will first have to land in Ambon, the main island of the Maluku. For example fly from Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Jakarta (CGK) > Ambon (AMQ) 8h 55mn.

The isolation of the archipelago requires having time in front of you

As you can imagine, the isolation of the archipelago requires having time in front of you, because it is accessed by PELNI ferries which make the connection Ambon – Banda Islands – Kei Islands, either in one direction or in the other. The crossing lasts between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. depending on the boat, and these do not circulate every day, you must consult the provisional timetable one month in advance on the official PELNI website

The main town is Banda Neira. It is a very small town nestled at the foot of a small volcano facing it. Banda Neira has a mini airport (but flights are very often cancelled) and it is here that many of the hotels in the archipelago are located.


Adventure in the middle of the jungle, diving and snorkeling in translucent water, or even climbing a volcano are just a sample of the surprises that await you during this stay in the Maluku archipelago. Let yourself be carried from island to island to discover an archipelago with paradisiacal charm and still preserved from mass tourism.

Where is Maluku?

These islands in the middle of nowhere are steeped in a rich history of wars, conquests, conflicts and trade. First annexed by the Portuguese, then the English, and finally the Dutch, they were the object of much covetousness. The reason? The nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and coconut plantations that abounded throughout the archipelago.

The Maluku is an archipelago of 632 islands out of the 13,466 in Indonesia. It is in the east of the country, namely just before Papua. In other words, there are quite a few small islands a little lost all over there. Everything there, because yes, the Moluccas are far away.

To close this mini historical summary, the Dutch began to colonize Indonesia at the beginning of the 17th century through these islands for their spices. These islands were then the only producer in the world of cloves and nutmeg, hence their nickname of Spice Islands.

Karta ID Maluku isl
Maluku islands. Hobe / Holger Behr, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Recommended length of stay in the Banda Islands: between 1 week and 10 days, taking into account a few days of travel that may be necessary, the next ferry is long overdue…

Beware in the Banda Islands there are 2 rainy seasons: the usual one which concerns all of Indonesia from December to March, but there is also another one, specific to the Moluccas Islands, from June to September, which means that the best time to visit the Banda Islands is from March to June and from September to November.

How to go from Bali to Banda Islands

Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Jakarta (CGK) > Ambon (AMQ) 8h 55mn.

How to get to Banda Islands?

It is very complicated to go to the Banda Islands!

Land in Ambon

You will first have to land in Ambon, the main island of the Maluku.
You have direct flights from the main cities of Indonesia (Jakarta, Bali, Makassar…)
Once in Ambon, 2 options: either by plane or by boat

Go to Banda Neira by boat from Ambon

The most reliable solution to go to the Banda Islands is the ferry (Express Bahari 2B fast ferry), 6h journey
2 departures per week from Ambon: Tuesday and Saturday at 9am
2 returns per week from Banda Neira: Wednesday and Sunday at 9am
You cannot book a ticket in advance, you must buy it on site
Eco price = IDR 715 000, this is what we did in 2018, and we can tell you that it was not the most comfortable! Take the VIP option at IDR 915000!

Go to Banda Neira by plane

You can also go to Banda Neira by plane, but this choice is not the most reliable.
They are small planes, they are sometimes canceled
Susi Air Ambon: +62 813 4412 3335 (

What to see and do in Banda Islands

Itinerary examples:

Your itinerary in the heart of the Moluccas begins in Ambon, the capital of the archipelago. Sleep above the turquoise water bordering the island of Seram then in the middle of its tropical jungle. Return to Ambon and discover its history and the warm welcome of its inhabitants.

Then take the direction of Banda Neira and enter the Banda archipelago where you explore the islands of Banda Besar, Pisang, the island of Ay, the island of Rhun and the atoll of Naikala. You end your stay with the discovery of the island of Gunung Api with its eponymous volcano then in the depths of the splendid seabed of Hatta Island.

1. Ambon

You arrive at Pattimura Ambon airport and are welcomed by your guide. Welcome to the Moluccas! This archipelago located in eastern Indonesia is very famous for its spices and has more than 600 islands. A paradise for diving and snorkeling, the Maluku islands are endowed with a very rich marine fauna and flora. Turquoise water, preserved coastline and pristine beaches is what awaits you here!

The city promises you beautiful escapades and encounters: stroll through the Mardika market, admire the statue of Pattimura, the local hero, and the modest vestige of the old colonial fort, without forgetting the huge gong, symbol of eternal peace. You instantly fall under the charm and kindness of the locals, always happy to welcome travelers. The island conceals a large number of interests and magnificent panoramas. Local villages, museums or hikes, the island of Ambon never ceases to surprise you.

Montase Ambon
Merdeka Square, Victoria Fort, World Peace Gong, Ambon Bay, Trikora. Kementerian Koordinator Bidang Pembangunan Manusia dan Kebudayaan Republik IndonesiaDinas Komunikasi, Informatika, dan Persandian Kota AmbonKPDE Kota AmbonPusat Penelitian Laut Dalam – LIPIKPDE Kota AmbonUser:Elbert Ziv Hitipeuw, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Seram

Experience in the middle of the jungle and night in a house in the trees.
You will board a small boat and begin to descend the river. The river strewn with pitfalls, your guide creates your own passage as you cross.

Pearl farm (Seram, Indonesia)
Pearl Farm on Seram, Indonesia. Mark Richards, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You are real adventurers in the middle of a thick jungle, the experience is hard to believe. You arrive at the camp in the middle of the jungle and settle into your cabin high up in the trees, which you reach harnessed to a pulley.

Pantai Ora (Maluku) dari Laut
A tourism destination. This place is called Ora Beach Resort in Seram island. Trifosa18, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can spend the night in a hammock in the heart of the jungle: an intensely unusual experience!

Pulau Seram
Seram Island is located in the Maluku Province. Yumenosora, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Manusela National Park

The park covers an elevation between sea level and 2490m (8170ft) and contains a wide variety of habitats. Seram has at least 15 strictly endemic bird species and shares a number of Moluccan specialties with the neighboring islands of Buru and Ambon, and the north and central Moluccan islands of Halmahera, Bacan and Obi.

The jungle of Manusela Nationalpark
The dense vegetation of the jungle of Manusela Nationalpark, Seram island. Fabian Lambeck, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Visit Central Islands: Banda Neira, Banda Besar and Banda Api

The three larger central islands are close together. There are also a few small side islands .

  • Banda Neira

Banda Neira is also a historic center and you can visit an old, very well preserved fort. Indeed the Moluccas Islands were at the heart of the lucrative spice trade and the Dutch colonizers had built many forts to defend themselves from possible attacks by invaders. Even today, in addition to harvesting coconuts and making copra, spices are present everywhere, and in front of almost every house you will find some drying in the sun.

Fort Belgica 01
Fort Belgica is a 17th century fort in the island of Banda Neira. It was used to defend the Banda Islands, which at the time was the only place in the world where nutmeg was produced. I, Anton Leddin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Within the huge Indonesian archipelago, the Banda archipelago is tiny and has only 10 islands, 7 of which are inhabited. The nutmeg being only native to the Banda, nutmeg has endured for centuries as the treasure of these islands. After a morning boat trip, you will arrive at your destination in the early afternoon and check into the hotel. You devote your afternoon to the discovery of Banda Neira: colonial houses, Fort Nassau and Fort Belgica, you enjoy a pleasant city tour, if you wish.

The town of Banda Neira viewed from Gunung Api in the Banda Islands, Maluku, Indonesia. I, Anton Leddin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Hatta’s Exile House at Banda Neira

Hatta’s Exile House at Banda Neira is where Mohammad Hatta served his sentence of exile as a political prisoner for 6 years (1936 – 1942).

Hatta’s Exile House at Banda Neira. Official Website of The Ministry of Education and Culture, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Here is the map from Banda neira airport to Hatta’s Exile House

  • Banda Besar (Big Banda Island) and Banda Pisang

Discovering the island of Banda Besar just 10 minutes by boat to visit old nutmeg plantations, an old Dutch cemetery and the traditional village of Lonthoir.

Banda Besar

Around the large island of Banda Besar, the dive sites offer beautiful coral formations; Napoleon wrasse are very common almost everywhere.

An Indonesian island of Banda Besar seen from Fort Belgica. Photo by Mark Richards, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Karnobol. Located in the east of the island, this site reveals an impressive underwater architecture. Huge boulders skim the surface. Gorgonians and sponges provide a colorful backdrop where napoleons and humphead parrots roam. Butterfly fish twirl around in search of food.

Lonthoir (48221795446)
Lonthoir is the main settlement on Banda Island, Central Maluku, Indonesia. Photo credit: David Stanley, source: David Stanley from Nanaimo, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Banda Pisang

After this cultural morning you join the island of Pisang called “the island of bananas” to snorkel and enjoy a small picnic on site. You are back at the hotel in the afternoon, this is an opportunity to relax and enjoy the end of the day freely. Night at the hotel.

Banda Pisang
Banda Pisang. WiDi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Banda Api

Discover the island sheltering the Gunung Api volcano. Here you can observe lava flows, go snorkeling and, if you wish, you can climb the Gunung Api volcano. In the afternoon you can see the very local Neira take-off runway, then join Malole beach for a beautiful sunset. You can buy fresh fish and squid at the local fish market before grilling them on the barbecue on your hotel beach. Try a delicious dinner in a most authentic and intimate setting.

A unique diving area in the world. Gunung Api is a volcano located on Pulau Api. It erupted in 1988, pouring large lava flows onto the reefs. Coral has relocated to these reefs. Now we observe superb tables of corals, of all colors and shapes. The fauna is extremely dense there, with napoleons, triggerfish, fusiliers. But the particularity of the island, it is these thousands of sea snakes, not very shy, which peacefully approach the divers.

Banda Api
Bandai Api island. The 640-m-high symmetrical volcano of Banda Api, the most active of a chain of volcanoes in Indonesia’s Banda Sea. Tom Casadevall, U.S. Geological Survey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Go to Western Islands: Ai Island, Rhun Island and Naikala Atoll

In the far west is the almost 4 km long and up to 1.3 km wide island of Run . 700 meters to the north is the small islet of Pulau Nailaka , almost 300 meters long .
About 8 kilometers to the east is Ai Island , which is similar in size to Run. The town of Ai is on the north coast. The distance to the central islands of Banda Api and Banda Besar is about 9 kilometers each.
30 kilometers north of Run is Manukang , also known as Suanggi , a circular island about 1 kilometer in diameter.

From Banda Neira, you can access the neighboring islands, either by public shuttles that connect certain islands, or by renting a boat for the day from hotels that sell diving and snorkeling packages.

Among the most famous islands of the archipelago, we will mention Pulau Ai. This very small island has very beautiful beaches, beautiful seascapes to explore, splendid sunrises and sunsets, and, another advantage, most of the inhabitants have transformed their house into a homestay to accommodate tourists. As there is no restaurant on the island, the stay is full board. The homestay in which I stayed in Pulau Ai is my best gastronomic memory in Indonesia!

Ai Island

40 minutes aboard a speed boat towards the famous island of Ay to discover a new nutmeg plantation and visit Fort Revenge. You then reach the island of Rhun, known to have been exchanged by the Dutch for Manhattan in 1660! Have lunch on the atoll of Nailaka which offers exceptional reefs and large quantities of fish. You then enjoy a superb snorkeling session on site before heading to your new hotel. End of the day in peace in front of a magnificent sunset.

Run and Nailaka (Banda Islands)
Run Island and Nailaka (Banda Islands). Hans Peter Grumpe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pulau Run (Rhun island)

Pulau Run, the westernmost island of the archipelago. This island receives relatively few foreign visitors, and yet Pulau Run is worth the trip, especially for its splendid fishing village, the traditional local life, and the quality of the offshore corals.

And then, beach lovers will be delighted by going for a walk on the neighboring island, Pulau Neilaka, located a few meters from Pulau Run (you can even walk there at low tide).

5. Eastern Islands: Hatta Island and its seabed

A paradise island located about 1 hour by boat from Banda Neira.

To the east, just under 10 kilometers east of Banda Besar is the island of Hatta (formerly Rozengain), which is similar in size to Run island.
4 kilometers to the southeast is a small island about 800 meters long.

Finally, Pulau Hatta is also an island not to be missed during your stay in the Banda Islands: superb beaches and beautiful seabed!

Explore the seabed of Hatta Island, named after independence hero Mohammad Hatta. This island is the easternmost of the Moluccas archipelago and is one of the most famous diving and snorkeling spots! Multitude of corals, reef fish, sea turtles or even barracudas and hammerhead sharks, you don’t know where to turn! You can then rest on a beautiful beach nearby if you wish, for example, before returning to your hotel in the afternoon and quietly enjoying the end of the day.

What to do in hatta island?


All around the island is a magnificent coral garden still intact (here no dynamite fishing) which extends for about 30 meters (98 ft) and then a magnificent drop-off. Go to the limit between the coral garden and the drop-off, the show is ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!! The visibility is super good, the water is really super clear and I have never seen such a quantity and diversity of fish: of absolutely all colors and all sizes, all around you, you no longer know where to give head! There are especially barracudas, lots of big fish, turtles etc etc.

DO NOT MISS !!!! It is honestly one of the most beautiful places I have seen while snorkeling. I stayed 3 hours in the water, it’s so incredible. From what I have read on the internet, it is worth super famous spots like in Raja Ampat.

6. Pulau Kai (Kei islands)

The 3 main islands are Kei Kecil, Dullah and Kei Besar.

The Kei Islands are an archipelago of many islands located southeast of the Moluccas (Maluku) archipelago in Indonesia. In the Kei Islands, you will find paradisiacal white sand beaches almost just for you, these islands being very little touristy. The Kei Islands is there (We were amazed at how close we were to Australia!):

Kei Kecil is connected by a bridge to Dullah. This bridge also connects the 2 main cities of the Kei Islands archipelago: Tual and Langgur. You will find ATMs in town.

Kei Kecil is where you will find the dream beaches:

Pasir Panjang

This is the “highlight” of the Kei Islands, the most beautiful of beaches, a long white sand beach that stretches for 3km. It is located 12km from Langgur. Paradise in its purest form: incredibly white and fine sand (it almost looks like snow, you sink in it when you walk) and turquoise water (incredibly warm, you feel to get into your bath 😉). A landscape worthy of the most beautiful postcards! And there is no one! 3km of beach just for you. There are 2 small villages: Ngur Bloat and Ohoililir, but don’t expect to find much there other than a few houses.

Pasir panjang (ngurbload), Maluku tenggara
Pasir panjang island – Ngurbloat Beach. Maluku13, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


A beach as beautiful (but still less beautiful than Pasir Pajang for our taste) and even less crowded than Pasir Pajang. The water is very shallow, which makes it only at low tide. You can come to Ohoidertawun by plane and land at Dumatubun Airport (LUV).

Kei Besar

Kei Besar is the largest of the islands, covered with mountains and forest where one goes mainly for hiking.

Pulau Bair

Pulau Bair is a small island north of Dullah. It is nicknamed the Raja Ampat of the Moluccas. From Dullah you can rent a boat to get there (500,000 IDR, 36 CHF per boat). Don’t forget to take your mask and snorkel with you, there is no possibility to rent one at the small port (or rent it at your hotel if they have one). The snorkeling is super beautiful, the corals are absolutely fabulous and still intact. However, it is still less beautiful than in the Banda Islands, there are fewer fish.

Do not miss a short excursion to Goa Hawang, a cave located in the village of Letvuan, on the west coast of Pasir Kecil. Small swim in (fresh) turquoise blue water, overhung by stalactites.

Tayandu island

The Tayandu Islands are an archipelago of Indonesia located in the Banda Sea, west of the Kai Islands.

The Tayandu or Tayando Islands are a group of low-lying islands just west of the larger Kai Islands of Maluku, Indonesia. The main group consists of Tayando, Walir, Heniar and several smaller isle-lets. Between Walir and Taam is Pulau Nusreen featuring a large sandy lagoon. Manggur is further west with Kur and Kaimeer islands north of it. Administratively they comprise a district within the city of Tual.

There is scheduled water transportation to Tayandu Island. Normally, it departs once a week and the main point is Tual or Kur. It is actually a ferry, so the cost maybe a little bit expensive. For an alternative, you can ride a small boat provided in some villages. Once you reach Tayando, you can explore the island either by walking or riding traditional vehicles. Also, it is possible to visit nearby islands using a Ketinting (a traditional boat) or a longboat.

Tayando Islands
View of the Tayando Islands as seen from the air while flying between the Kai Islands and Ambon. Tayando Island plus Yamru village is in the foreground, Walir Island plus smaller Heniar (with Yamtel village) in middle distance and Taam as the largest of the isles hazily visible at the top right in the far distance. Malikbek, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get to kei islands?

By ferries

If you come from the Bandas Islands (Banda Neira), there is a Pelni boat (the Tidar) which takes 10 hours from Banda Neira to Tual and costs IDR 175,000, around € 12 (only economy class). Before the Banda Islands, he comes from Ambon, so you can also imagine crossing from Ambon. But it would be a shame not to stop en route at the Bandas Islands, which are really worth it!

To know the departure of the next boat you have to go to the Pelni offices in Banda Neira, it is also there that you can buy your ticket. I advise you to look at the boat schedule as soon as you arrive on the Banda Islands since departures are very sporadic, you may have to wait 1 week for the next boat (you should not be in a hurry when you visit the Moluccas!).

This huge ferry is really not the most comfortable and overcrowded, but 10am is fine, it’s not too long. Especially since I met new friends at my hotel in Bandaneira who are on the same path as me. It is therefore with a Belgian couple and a Spaniard that I share this crossing and the days that follow in the Kei Islands. It’s still nice to have some company, especially after my bad experience crossing from Ambon to the Bandas Islands. We were the main attraction of this boat: barely started a game of UNO on deck, people started crowding around to watch us, it became a real crowd in a few minutes, dozens and dozens of people are passionate about the UNO, unknown in Indonesia. It was cheering every time one won or laughing every +2 or +4.

By plane

There are regular connections between Ambon (AMQ) and Langgur/Tual (LUV) (several flights per day). The view from the plane (which I took for the return trip to Ambon) is just WOOOW!! (Don’t forget to ask for your window seat 😉 ).

No flights between the Bandas Islands and the Kei Islands, you will necessarily have to go back to Ambon. So I recommend the ferry solution which is much more practical and economical.

Diving areas in Banda Islands

  • Banda Besar / Neira / Pisang / Gunung Api: the main area, about ten sites
  • Suanggi: a rock north of the main islands (3 hours by boat), the site having the famous school of hammerhead sharks!
  • Hatta island
  • AI island
  • Rhun island

Batu Kapal: the most famous site of the Banda Islands

  • A small rock in the north of the island of Pisang, which looks like a boat (hence its name, kapal = boat in Indonesia and batu = rock)
  • The whole island is covered with splendid corals
  • The main part is west of the rock, with 3 species of pinnacles filled with soft corals
  • Shoals of triggerfish and butterflyfish everywhere and large pelagics
  • Be careful, the current can be strong!

Suanggi: school of hammerhead sharks in the Banda Islands

  • For many years, a school of hammerhead sharks has taken up residence around Suanggi Island from September to November.
  • There can be more than 200 at a time!
  • Be careful, it is not as easy to see them as in the Galapagos, nothing is guaranteed, but normally on a day there, you should see them!
  • The corals are also beautiful in Suanggi

Mandarine slope: the Mandarin fish site of the Banda Islands

  • Just opposite the port of the island of Banda Neira is a site where the famous mandarin fish mate at sunset
  • The site is very well known and there are sometimes a lot of divers, but there is really a way to have room for everyone (unlike other sites that I have been able to do)


  • The dives around the island of Pisang are nice
  • Drifters along a wall covered with corals
  • Large pelagics, reef shark, solitary hammerhead shark possible

Karang Hatta

  • A submerged mountain
  • A drift along a wall, beautiful corals, large pelagics possible

Lava flow

  • The Gunung api volcano erupted a few years ago, creating a lava flow that spilled into the sea
    This event created a particular ecosystem and favored the development of corals, especially table corals.
  • On the other hand, few pelagics, and to be honest the site quickly becomes monotonous…

How to dive in Banda Islands

2 possibilities: either from Banda Neira with a diving club, or by diving cruise from Ambon.

With a diving club from Banda neira

You can dive with a Banda Neira diving club but:

  • Access to Banda Neira is very complicated (more info here)
  • There is only one club that holds water
  • You only have access to a maximum of ten sites from Banda Neira (it will depend on the number of divers with you to distribute the costs of the boat)
  • No access to Suanggi, which is nevertheless one of the best sites in the area with the possibility of seeing its school of hammerhead sharks

On a diving cruise from Ambon

The best way to appreciate the dives of the Banda Islands is to take a diving cruise:

  • The few divers and the great distances between the different Banda islands limit the diving clubs in their choice of sites: they cannot go very far from Banda neira
  • The cruise allows you to do all the islands: Banda Neira, Ai, Hatta and especially Suanggi!
  • In addition you will surely do 1 or 2 days in Ambon, with world class macro!
  • Some cruises are also part of the Ring of Fire, including Serua and its school of hammerhead sharks in season!

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark Sphyrna Lewini (226845659)
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark Sphyrna Lewini. Kris Mikael Krister, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Read also: From Bali To Raja Ampat (4 Kings) | Complete Guide to Visit West Papua

Sources: CleverlySmart, PinterPandai, Lonely Planet, Museum of Wander

Photo credit (main picture): Jordan siva (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Main photo description: Ora Beach is a beach located on Seram Island, North Seram sub-district, Central Maluku, Maluku, Indonesia. The beach, which is located at the western end of Sawai Bay, is next to Saleman Village and Sawai Village, on the edge of the Manusela National Park forest.

Lake Toba off the beaten track

Lake Toba, what to see? what to do ? How to go from Bali to Lake Toba? Lake Toba is a masterpiece of Mother Nature, as she does so well. She imagined everything like this: a dark volcano, a blue lake in it, with a fertile island on it. Isn’t that a masterpiece? It’s magnificent, relaxing, rejuvenating… In short, an essential stopover during a trip to Sumatra. The fastest flight from Bali to Lake Toba (DTB Silangit Airport) lasts 5 hours (3h 75m flight + 1h 20m transit). Or From Bali to Medan airport takes 2h 30m From Bali to Medan. Once in Medan airport, take a car / bus a round 6 hours. Lake Toba is a destination that has to be earned: it’s long, it’s expensive, it requires planning well in advance.

What can you imagine about Lake Toba?

Peaceful, a canoe floats on the mild waters of Lake Toba. The fisherman has a net in his hand and the surrounding hues are bluish or evening pink. He will bring fish for the market. Calm reigns at Lake Toba. On dry land, where the strange roofs of the houses point towards the setting sun, we sip our mango cocktail while waiting for the dish of large grilled crayfish with tasty flesh.

Lake Toba was formed by the explosion of a giant volcano 74,000 years ago. The explosion is the largest ever known, 10,000 times larger than that of mt St helens in 1980, considered one of the largest. The energy released is equivalent to 1 billion tons of TNT, or 67,000 times the Hiroshima bomb.
The lake is what remains of the collapsed crater. It is 100km long and 31km wide. It is the largest lake in Southeast Asia.
Samosir Island is one of the pieces of the caldera that collapsed 30,000 years ago. The lake is 450m (1476ft) deep.

Danau Toba dari Samosir
A view Danau Toba from Samosir Island. PL 05 SIGIT, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to go from Bali to Lake Toba?

By plane

1. The fastest flight from Bali to Lake Toba (DTB Silangit Airport) lasts 5h 50m hours (3.75h flight + 1h 20m transit)

    • Ngurah Rai (DPS) >via Jakarta (CGK) 1h 30
    • Transit in Jakarta: 2h 30
    • Jakarta (CGK) > Silangit (DTB)  2h30
Airlines from Bali to Lake Toba:

2. Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Medan (KNO) 3h 25m (direct flight), then 6 hours drive to Lake Toba.

Airlines from Bali (DPS) to Medan (KNO):

By car or bus

From Bali to Lake Toba it takes around 55 hours drive.

How to get to Lake Toba?

To visit Lake Toba and Samosir Island will require a little effort.

Most travelers used to pass through Medan on their way to Parapat. From the latter, it takes about four to six hours by car to reach Lake Toba.

However, since November 2017, a Silangit Airport (DTB) has been inaugurated and is located east of the lake and it now takes 30 minutes to get to Balige. Daily flights connect the city to Medan and Jakarta. Since June 2018, new destinations have been opened, notably for Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

There is no direct means of transport to get to the island of Samosir, located inside Lake Toba. You will first need to take a plane to Medan, a city in North Sumatra, then take a taxi to Parapat (the nearest town to Lake Toba) and from Parapat, take a boat or ferry to Tuk Tuk on the island of Samosir.

Step 1

Fly to Medan. You can take a look at this article for all the information to book a domestic flight in Indonesia. From Bali to Medan, the flight time lasts an average of 3.5 hours and the price fluctuates between €90 and €200 depending on the season and the company.

Or fly from Bali (DPS) to Silangit Airport (DTB) takes 6 hours (including the stopover in Jakarta)

  • Bali (DPS) > Jakarta (CGK): Travel time: 1 hr 50 min
  • 2 hours layover Jakarta (CGK)
  • Jakarta (CGK) > Silangit Airport (DTB): Travel time: 1 hr 55 min
  • Then from Silangit Airport (DTB) to Lake Toba, takes only 30 minutes drive.

Step 2

Take a taxi to Parapat (a small town on the shore of Lake Toba). The journey takes 4 to 6 hours. There are three ways to get to Parapat:

  • Shared taxi: IDR 80,000/person. The taxis there are mini-vans that have a maximum capacity of 7 passengers. The vehicle will only leave when it is full. You can book one directly from your hotel in Medan or at the Transportation Desk at the airport.
  • Private car: IDR 400,000
  • Public bus: IDR 35,000/person. If you take this means the public bus, you obviously will not have the same comfort as in a private car or a mini-van (you will be tight, the seats are very uncomfortable and smoking is allowed in the vehicle)

Step 3

Take the ferry from Parapat to Tutuk on Samosir Island. There is a regular ferry service that operates every hour from 8:30am to 7:00pm. You can buy your tickets in Parapat or directly on the boat for IDR 7,000. The ferry from Tuk Tuk to Parapat also operates every hour from 7am to 5pm.

Flight from Bali to Lake Toba via Medan Airport Kualanamu International Airport (KNO)

Direct flight from Bali Airport (DPS) to Medan takes 2h 30mn. Then you have to drive or take a bus and it takes around 6 hours drive.

Airlines from Bali to Medan:

  • Lion Air (nonstop flight available 3h 25m)
  • Air Asia (nonstop flight available 3h 25m)
  • Batik Air (no direct flight, you need to stopover in Jakarta)
  • Citilink (no direct flight, you need to stopover in Bandung or Jakarta)
  • Garuda Indonesia (no direct flight, you need to stopover in Jakarta)
  • Super Air Jet (no direct flight, you need to stopover in Jakarta)

How to go to from Medan to Parapat

Mostly, travelers come from Medan to go to Lake Toba. If this is your case, to get to Parapat on the shores of the lake facing Samosir, the easiest way is to take a tourist minibus from the Amplus Central bus station. It is a little more expensive than public transport, but it avoids bus changes and saves time. The price is around IDR 80,000 for a 4-5 hours drive.

By local bus there will be changes. Account 40,000RP (2.5 euros) and 5-6h drive (departures every hour).

The shared taxi offer is almost equivalent. It leaves when it is “full” (up to 7 places). Account 90,000 Rp per person (negotiable!), plus IDR 10,000 for the faster toll road.

A normal taxi, just for you: IDR 400,000 by negotiating well (about 25 euros)

How to go to from Parapat to Tuk-Tuk

Transport to Samosir Island (Lake Toba) from Parapat is by ferry. From the pier of Parapat, take the ferry to Tuk Tuk which is opposite on the island of Samosir. boats leave every hour from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Parapat has no real interest and we advise you to immediately go to Samosir. Know this says that it is quite possible to sleep in Parapat (in the case for example where you miss the last boat). Once in Tuk-tuk, you will find everything you need in guesthouse and restaurant. If you want to isolate yourself even more, you will still need time to leave Tuk-tuk for your accommodation (bus? or taxi? or boat? several options are possible, check with your guesthouse).

Read also: Bali Airport DPS | Important and Practical Tips to Improve your Experience at Ngurah Rai Airport

Direct flight from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to Medan only 1 hour

There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL airport) to Medan (KNO airport) with only 1hour flight time. Then you have to drive or take a bus and it takes around 6 hours drive.

Airlines from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Medan (KNO):

Direct flight from Singapore to Medan only 1h 30mn

There are direct flights from Singapore to Medan with only 1h 30 minutes flight time. Then you have to drive or take a bus and it takes around 6 hours drive.

Airlines from Singapore (SIN) to Medan (KNO):

Culture and people of Lake Toba

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, but the Batak country remains predominantly Christian Protestant. The Bataks were animists several centuries earlier.

Here is the Batak Toba clan. The island of Samosir is the cradle of this culture. Even today you can witness customs, cultural demonstrations and rituals. Oh ! it is perhaps less impressive than the offerings or sacrifices of the inhabitants of the Toraja country in Sulawesi, Indonesia. But it is always a moving moment to discover such special architecture and traditions. Open your eyes and ears for Batak songs, tribal paintings on the walls and wooden pillar houses with their boat-shaped roofs.

Activities to do and visits around Lake Toba

Surrounding Lake Toba are magnificent historical monuments, temples, traditional villages and breathtaking natural landscapes.

1. Samosir Island

Day cruise on Lake Toba to discover the white sand beaches and the traditional villages of Ambarita and Simanindo. Then, show of folk dances performed by the villagers. Continue to Tao Island for a swim in the calm waters of the lake. Discovery of the royal tombs of the Sidabutar King family in Tomok.

Tomok Village

You can do stopover in the village of Tomok for a unique cultural experience. Located at the edge of the Parapat pier, this small village is home to beautiful Batak houses and many historical sites.

Tomok, Toba Samosir (3)
The atmosphere in the Tomok, Toba Samosir regency, North Sumatra. Wagino 20100516, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The tomb of King Sidabutar, the stone statues, the sigale-gale dance performance and the nearby Batak Museum are some of the highlights of the stay. You will also find here many stalls selling typical Batak souvenirs.

Sarkofagus (4)
Sarcophagus is in a tourist area Tomok, Toba Samosir regency, North Sumatera. Wagino 20100516, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Binangalom Waterfall

Binangalom Waterfall is one of the most popular attractions on Samosir Island. The waterfall originates from the top of a hill and flows directly into the water of Lake Toba. During the summer season, you can swim in the natural pool of the lake, at the foot of the waterfall. Don’t forget your go-pro to take nice pictures! 🙂

Binangalom waterfall. The other side of Lake Toba, Binangalom Waterfall or commonly called Situmurun by local people. A unique waterfall that directly descends to Lake Toba. Gerry Wowiling, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hike Pusuk Buhit Volcano

Pusuk Buhit is a volcano located in North Sumatra. It is inactive and offers a magnificent view of the green hills of the village below. A legend of the Batak people says that the first Batak man (the king) was born on this volcano… Even today, many Batak seniors climb this volcano to obtain divine blessings. Depending on your physical condition, it will take you between 7 and 8 hours of hiking to reach the top of the volcano.

Pusuk Buhit
Pusuk Buhit, the small cone has formed on the southwestern margin of the caldera and lava domes. Johnnysiahaan, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Holbung Hill (Bukit Holbung)

Before driving an adventure to the hill it is better to visit the village. There are around 500 people living in Huta Holbung. It may be more than that, though. Due to the beauty of Holbung Hill, more tourists come here. It’s perfect for a trip. Approximately, you can reach the top in 10 – 15 minutes. No problem. There is a path. You can also see a lot of hill weed along the way. Once you reach the top, you will be speechless. The beauty in this hill is incomparable. This can be your next wonderful holiday.

The locals even call this location Teletubbies Hill. It is due to its similarity in both beauty and size. Not only does it provide breathtaking scenery, the hill offers refreshing atmosphere. From here you can even see majestic Pusuk Buhit and Lake Toba. All of these attractions make for a great portrait of nature. One thing you shouldn’t clutter up. As a visitor, you must keep the environment clean. Holbung Hill is a valuable tourist attraction in North Sumatra. Everyone should take good care of it.

How to reach the hill: you can use two different routes. First, he is from Medan at Tele. During the trip, you can pass through Kebanjahe. Another route is through Siantar, the Paracoup and Samosir. It depends on your starting point. If you choose the second route, you must use Port of Raja de Tiga to reach Tomok in Samosir Island. What about adaptations? There are several hotels in Samosir. Each of them has distinct facilities and cost. Make sure you bring enough cash.

Bukit Holbung
Bukit Holbung. Francis Hartanto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the local culture by visiting the Huta Bolon Simanindo Batak Museum

The museum is simple, but you can see beautiful Batak houses. There are also beautiful pieces of craftsmanship from the region on display in one of the houses. Batak Museum

Entrance fee: IDR 50,000 (including puppet show)
How to get there: The Batak Museum is located in Simanindo, 19km from Tuk Tuk.
Hours: daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Telephone: +62 813-9672-1133

Tari Sigale-gale Pulau Samosir
Tari Sigale-gale. Life-size puppets of Huta Bolon Simanindo Museum in Simanindo, Samosir Island, North Sumatra, Indonesia. (Puppetry is common in Indonesian culture). Dan Lundberg, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bathe in the natural hot springs: Aek Rangat

At the foot of the Pusuk Buhit volcano, very close to Pangururan are the Aek Rangat hot springs. Come and recharge your batteries after your volcano hike!

Aek Rangat Hot Springs

Entrance fee: IDR 2,000 to access the area, swimming pool entrance fee is IDR 10,000
Google Maps coordinates
Hours: daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Telephone: +62 813-9672-1133

Hills of Siogung-Ogung Hotspring 01
Hills of Siogung-Ogung hotspring. Christian Advs Sltg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Parapat

The Sunday market in Pekan Tigaraja
In the village of Pekan Tigaraja, a weekly market is held every Sunday where you can buy Batak handicrafts, traditional clothing and also local and fresh fruits and vegetables. How to get there: The market is located in the small town of Pekan Tigaraja, close to the ferry area.

Parapat-harbor 09N9196
Parapat harbor, Lake Toba, Sumatra. Nomo michael hoefner /, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Batu Gantung Rock in Parapat

The town of Parapat takes its name from this historic stone hanging from a rock. According to a local legend, this stone which has the shape of a female silhouette suspended from the wall of a cliff is the symbol of a young woman who found herself trapped in a mountain and who was never rescued. Before being buried alive in the mountain, the young woman would have repeated the word “Parapat”, thus giving this name to the eponymous city. How to get there: The visit of this cliff can be organized with tourist agencies or boat companies

"Batu Gantung - Rock Hanging" with historical laden story. - panoramio
Batu Gantung – Rock Hanging with historical laden story. tigoretagore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Merek

Take a hike to see the magnificent Sipiso-piso waterfall

Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted to climb this magnificent waterfall which is considered the highest in Indonesia! With a height of 120 meters, this waterfall offers a breathtaking landscape. It is barricaded by lush nature, which makes it an even more natural and extraordinarily beautiful landscape. Admittedly, the hike takes a good 7 hours of walking, but it is really worth it. If you are in good physical condition, I really advise you not to miss this beautiful waterfall.

Read also: From Bali To Raja Ampat (4 Kings) | Complete Guide to Visit West Papua

How to get there: Head by scooter to Simanindo, northeast of Samosir, 20 minutes by Tuk Tuk. Then take a boat to Tigaras. Then you have to take the scooter back to Merek (you will see beautiful landscapes on the road), and ask the locals where the junction is to get to the Sipiso-Piso waterfall (the signs indicate the road only when you come from the North of the island).

Sipiso-Piso Waterfall is located in Tongging Village, Brand District, Karo Regency, North Sumatra Province. NOVA BARUS, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Medan Region and Bukit Lawang

It is a volcanic island with tropical forests, mountains, volcanoes but also heavenly beaches and beautiful villages to visit in some isolated areas of Sumatra.

Medan region

Medan is a large port city located in the northern part of the island of Sumatra. It is also the capital of the northern province. It is the second most populous city in Indonesia behind Jakarta with over 4.5 million inhabitants.

It is a very charming city that welcomes many tourists who come to travel to Indonesia every year. There are many tourist sites and attractions.

The most famous and visited place is the Masjid Raya Al Mashun mosque. You can also visit the Maimun Palace which is a huge building. There are also beautiful beaches that are often crowded with tourists and locals.

Here are the places to visit in the Medan region of Sumatra:

  • The Maimun Palace
  • Tjong A Fie Mansion
  • Masjid Raya Al Mashun Mosque
  • Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni Temple

Medan old city hall
Medan’s Old City Hall. Rochelimit, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang is a small tourist and unmissable village located in North Sumatra. Tourists meet there to observe a rare species of monkey: orangutans.

It is also the gateway to Gunung Leuser National Park. Visiting Bukit Lawang will give you the opportunity to observe the last living wild orangutans on the planet.

Here, the forest is heavenly and you can go deep into the jungle by taking many hiking trails. Exploring the jungle will allow you to discover many other incredible species such as the Sumatran tiger or the rhinoceros.

The village is crossed by the Bahorok River on which many water activities can be offered.

Bukit Lawang is definitely one of the must-see places to visit in Sumatra and Indonesia!

Orang-utan bukit lawang 2006
Orang-Utan In Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra. Tbachner, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some ideas of places to visit in the Bukit Lawang area:

  • The trek in search of orangutans
  • Bukit Lawang Wisata Alam
  • Bukit Lawang Bat Cave
  • Selang Pangeran Beach
  • Orangutan in Bukit lawang

Kawasan Hutan Bukit Lawang
Bukit Lawang is one of the interesting tourist areas in Bahorok District, Langkat Regency, North Sumatra Province. Bukit Lawang is part of the Gunung Leuser National Park. Meanwhile, Gunung Leuser National Park and the surrounding area are known as the Leuser Ecosystem Area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has swift and rocky rivers, dense tropical forests and various protected wildlife. Andreiromario, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From Medan to Bukit Lawang

Sources:  CleverlySmart, PinterPandai, Wonderful Indonesia, Northabroad, TripCanvas

Photo credit (main picture): Yudhapohan (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo description: caldera Toba or better known as Lake Toba was designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark at the 209th Session of the UNESCO Executive Council in Paris, France, Tuesday, July 2, 2020.

From Bali to Tana Toraja | Discovery of a millennial animist culture!

Tana Toraja is an ethnic region and not a city. The Toraja people live in a mountainous region in South Sulawesi. The majority of the Torajas are of the Christian religion (Protestant then Catholic): the bell towers of the Protestants are distinguished by a rooster. There is no direct flight from From Bali to Tana Toraja. The fastest flight lasts 7h 30m and includes a stopover. Tana Toraja, a mountainous region where lives a people who knew how to preserve their ancestral traditions and an extraordinary culture.

The Torajas are known mainly for their rites and funerary sites as well as the architecture of their habitat. Between July and August, the small villages are a buzz of activity as it funeral season.

Death is not considered as a sad event but as a time to celebrate, with elaborate festivities. The squimish may want to pass as the celebration includes buffalo slaughter.

Boat-House Mausoleum, Kete Kesu Village, Tana Toraja 1376
Boat-House Mausoleum. Kete Kesu Village, Tana Toraja. A modern form of burial in Toraja is to inter the deceased in mausolea such as this. The burial chamber is cylindrical in form, but its cross-section resembles a leaf or a bud from nature. The end of this one is decorated with a sunburst motif, that resembles the Majapahit Sun on Java. The burial chamber is encased in a boat-shaped bier; the “boat house” architecture is ubiquitous in Toraja, unique to that place, and used both in the distant past and today for houses, granaries, and coffins. Traditional sun-and-moon roosters and other decorations are painted underneath the roof, and portrait photographs of the principal deceased couple (other family members may also share the burial chamber) are affixed below the pediment. Michael Gunther, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The Torajas are said to be former sailors from southern China or Burma. After having conquered the coasts of Sulawesi, they took refuge in the mountains before the invasion of the Bugis peoples and the arrival of Islam.

In Sulawesi, it is the originality of their culture and their impressive funeral ceremonies that have made the Toraja famous. The very particular architecture of their houses in the shape of a boat and the fantastic landscapes of rice fields will make you understand to what extent the Tana Toraja is a land of encounters, sacred rites and beauty…

So, isolated from the world and to meet their needs, they learned to use every plot of land, abandoning slash and burn cultivation for terraced rice fields. So many vestiges for you to discover!

Rumah Adat Tongkonan (Toraja) 01
Tongkonan, the traditional house of the Toraja tribe. The roof is curved like a boat, consisting of a bamboo structure (currently some tongkonan use zinc roof). The location of this Tongkonan is in the Ne’Gandeng Museum, Tagari, North Toraja. Ribkha Tandepadang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From Bali to Tana Toraja by Plane

This is the best travel itinerary from Bali to Tana Toraja by plane (at the moment):

  • Ngurah Rai Airport (DPS) to Sultan Hasanuddin Airport (UPG) flight time: 1 hr 20 min.
    Stopover in UPG.
  • Sultan Hasanuddin Airport (UPG) to Toraja Airport (TRT) flight time: 55 min.
  • And only around 1h 15mn drive from TRT airport to Rantepao (biggest city in Tana Toraja)

Example flights from Bali to Tana Toraja:

  • Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Makassar (UPG) > Toraja Airport (TRT)
    • Flight time: DPS to UPG 1h20mn and UPG to TRT 55 minutes. Total flight time: 2h 15m (excluding transit). With transit, sometime it takes 7 to 9 hours in total (flight time and transit time).
    • And only around 1h 15mn drive from TRT airport to Rantepao (biggest city in Tana Toraja)
  • Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Makassar (UPG) > Lagalio Palopo (LLO)
    • Flight time: Ngurah Rai (DPS) to Makassar (UPG) 1h 20m flight. STOPOVER. Makassar (UPG) to Lagalio Palopo (LLO) 1h flight. Total flight time: 2h 20mn (excluding transit).
    • And from (LLO) drive to Tana Toraja Regency takes around 4 hours drive by car.
  • Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Jakarta (CGK) > Makassar (UPG) > Toraja Airport (TRT)
    • Flight Time: DPS to CGK 1h 50m and CGK to UPG 2h 25m and UPG to TRT 55m. Total flight time: 4h 10mn (excluding transit).
    • And only around 1h 15mn drive from TRT airport to Rantepao (biggest city in Tana Toraja)
  • Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Makassar (UPG) > Mamuju (MJU)
    • Flight time: Ngurah Rai (DPS) to Makassar (UPG) it takes 1h 20m by flight. STOPOVER in Makassar Sultan Hasanuddin (UPG) to Mamuju (MJU) it takes 1h. Total flight time: 2h 20mn (excluding transit).
    • And from Mamuju (MJU) to Tana Toraja Regency takes 7 hours drive by car / bus.
  • Ngurah Rai (DPS) > Makassar (UPG)
    • Flight time: Ngurah Rai (DPS) to Makassar Sultan Hasanuddin (UPG) it takes 1h 20m by flight. Total flight time: 1h 20mn.
    • And from Makassar airport (UPG) to Tana Toraja Regency takes 9 hours drive by car / bus. But along the way you’ll pass the scenic rice terrace and Bugis traditional house.

Airlines from Bali to Raja Ampat:

How to get to Toraja by bus or car from Makassar, Ten Tena or Ampana?

The big city of the Toraja country is Rantepao. I fyou decide to fly from Bali to Makassar, you have to get to Toraja by private car or bus. The journey is long… very long, whether you come from North or South Sulawesi.

  • Makassar (south) > Rantepao: duration 9 hours – € 12 / IDR 200,000
  • TenTena (north) > Rantepao: duration 13 hours – € 11 / IDR 180,000
  • Ampana (north) > Rantepao: duration 17 hours – € 15 / IDR 250,000
  • Manado (north) > Rantepao: duration 26 hours – € 40 / IDR 600,000


  • For night journeys, remember to put on your pants + a sweet because like everywhere in Asia, the air conditioning is on full blast in the night buses and it is very cold!!
  • You can also privatize a mini van with driver for more comfort.  It won’t be much shorter but you won’t be with other people.  Personally, I find that night buses are more comfortable (seat almost bed) and safer. Minivans tend to drive a little fast and on this type of road, in the event of an accident it is always better to be the bigger one

The strong points in Tanatoraja

◊ Visit of traditional villages to discover the Toraja way of life
◊ Discovery of funerary caves and their impressive balconies with mortuary effigies
◊ Drive through sublime landscapes and cross Bugis villages
◊ Discovery of the animist beliefs preserved by the Toraja people with perhaps the chance to participate in a funeral ceremony if planned in the region during your stay

Things to do and see in Tana Toraja

1. Rantepao, capital of the Tana Toraja

The big city of the Toraja is Rantepao. This is the city that serves as a starting point for the discovery of the Toraja.

When you visit Rantepao and the Toraja, you quickly realize that the whole life of the islanders is organized around death and funerals.

Rantepao is both the tourist capital of the Toraja country and the base camp to discover the traditional Toraja villages and the incredible landscapes of the region. Indeed, it is an excellent starting point to meet the Toraja people known for their unusual funeral ceremonies and rites.

The city itself is not very big. It is discovered quite quickly through its 3 main arteries. However, in spite of its size, the guetshouses, the restaurants as well as the souvenir shops abound there.

Paddy Fields Rantepao Sulawesi (109318155)
Paddy Fields Rantepao Sulawesi. Ullasa Kodandaramaiah, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although it is the tourist capital of the Toraja country, there are not many things to do in Rantepao. The main attraction of the city remains its market housing a traditional market and a market for animals. The first takes place every day. You will find a succession of stalls rich in colors offering fresh products such as fruit and vegetables, fish, rice… The market for animals, meanwhile, takes place every Friday. It is renowned for its buffaloes, a sacred animal central to the beliefs of the Toraja people. If any buffalo costs between € 3,000 to 4,000, an albino buffalo, recognizable with its pink skin and blue eyes can be worth up to € 45,000.

From Rantepao, it is easy to discover the surrounding landscapes, made up of mountains and rice terraces. Make a few stops in traditional villages like Palawa where you will discover the atypical houses called Tongkonan.

When to go?

The city of Rantepao enjoys a humid tropical climate with two distinct seasons. A rainy season between November and April, and a dry season, between May to October. The best time to visit this region is between the months of June to October.

How to get there?

Most tourists who wish to travel to Rantepao by bus do so from Makassar in the south, and from Tentena in the north.

Bus to Rantepao from Makassar:

From Makassar, two main companies namely, Litha and Bintang Prima, travel to Rantepao. In addition, their buses are comfortable and allow you to rest during the 8 hours of road necessary to cross the 350 km which separate these two localities. The trip costs around 150,000 Rp/pers.

Bus to Rantepao from Tentena

From the town of Tentena, several bus companies offer trips to Rantepao.

Several bus companies offer trips from different towns north of Rantepao. The cost of the trip is around Rp 170,000 and the trip lasts between 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

2. KeTe Kesu (Tongkonan Village)

KeTe’Kesu is an old Toraja village on the edge of a pond where you can see Tongkonans (the famous Toraja houses) and a sanctuary cave where chiefs would be “deposited”. One can enter the Tongkonans if they are open.

These houses (the Tongkonans in general) have the particularity of not being able to be bought or sold. Only on family inheritance.

This village is indeed famous for its traditional Toraja cemetery where the bodies are placed on cliffs and caves behind this village. There are also several tombs that are considered modern, namely tombs that use buildings such as houses and have photos of family members who have been buried in them.

Keti Kesu, Tana Toraja 1373
KeteKesu, Tana Toraja. Kete Kesu is one of the villages that has been designated by the Indonesian government as a national heritage site and, more practically speaking, as a tourist destination. It is arranged in the traditional way, with granaries to the left and houses to the right. The buildings are of course modern, but the boat shape of their roofs is very old, and is thought to trace back to the seafaring origin of this Austronesian people. Michael Gunther, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Londa cliff

Londa, a small village located not far from the capital of the Toraja country has become an essential stopover thanks to its unusual rites and traditions. Indeed, in this village, the deceased are placed in a cave (about 1 km deep) located on the side of a cliff. At the entrance to this cave, there are also the famous Tau-tau, these small wooden figurines carved in the image of the deceased. If the sight of a few bones doesn’t scare you, visiting Londa Cave will give you a memorable experience during your stay in Indonesia.


The presence of the Tau-tau, some of which are several hundred years old, proves that the Londa cave served as a cemetery for the inhabitants of the region since very remote times. A legend also says that in the past, a couple whose relationship was forbidden found themselves in this cave to kill themselves. For some, they jumped off the cliff. For others, they hanged themselves. But no matter how they died, visiting the cave you will find the bones of a man and a woman placed side by side.

Tana Toraja, Londa outside
Rock tombs in Londa. Kondephy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Londa Cave

The village of Londa is located 6 km (3.7 miles) from Rantepao, the capital of the country Toraja, the most visited place in Indonesia after Bali and Java. Like all the villages that make up the Toraja country, Londa has its own funeral rite which has become a real tourist attraction over time. Indeed, the village is famous for its rather special tombs. Located on the side of a steep rock, two natural caves with a length of about 1 km (0.6 mile) serve as a vault for the deceased of the village.

With the company of a guide, you have the opportunity to visit these burial chambers. However, the course is not easy and requires good physical condition. Given the depth of the cave, you should also have a good source of lighting, or failing that, you can always rent oil lamps, better known as Petromax, at the entrance to the site. For the local guides on site, you should know that most of them are family with the deceased. Thus, they will not only be able to lead you through the cave, but also tell the story of this place and explain to you why certain deceased are placed in such a place.

Tau Tau figurines

But before visiting the cave itself, one of the things that will not fail to attract your attention are the many statuettes carved in the image of the deceased located just above the entrance to the cave. Known as Tau-tau, these wooden figurines indicate the presence of a person who belonged to a high social stratum. Of great artistic and cultural value, the Tau-tau, some of which are hundreds of years old, are prone to theft due to their high price.

Inside the cave, hundreds of skulls and thousands of bones are strewn all over the floor, while the coffins are hung high. But despite all this, the air is breathable and there is no unpleasant smell. If the first meters of the cave are easily accessible, the deeper you go inside, the more access becomes more and more difficult. You will even have to crawl to reach the last burial chamber.

Rotsgraven met tau-tau in Tana Toraja, KITLV 177770
Tana Toraja, Lemo, Tau Tau. Steijlen, Fridus., CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get to Londa?

The village of Londa is only 6 km (3.7 miles) from the town of Rantepao, in the direction of Makale. 15 minutes is enough to get there by car, and even less if you go there by scooter.

4. Visite funeral sites

There many funeral site, below are the most commons.

And yes, to attend a funeral ceremony in the Toraja Country, you will necessarily have to be accompanied by a local guide. Or at least the first time. Indeed, the guide has the authorization to introduce tourists during the ceremonies. Moreover, by going there with a guide, you will have all the explanations. And a funeral ceremony in the Toraja without explanations is of no interest. Plus, it will be exactly where to go and when.

Tana Toraja, Salu funeral (6823105668)
Tana Toraja, Salu funeral, a new group of people paying respect to the deceased enters the ‘house’ with the tau tau to receive food and drinks. Arian Zwegers, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Lemo

Lemo is the largest troglodyte cemetery in the Toraja Country.
There are only 2 or 3 people left who still know how to dig graves in the traditional way… that is to say, by hand!

GiorcesToraja 030
Lemo, Toraja, South Sulawesi. Giorces, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

From Rantepao to Lemo it takes around 20 minutes by car.

  • Bori Rante

The particular case of Bori Rante. When we visited, the ceremonial ground was in the middle of nature. Today, the only photos found online show a site of megaliths surrounded by tongkonans. It would seem that these tongkonans are houses for funerals, like in Sa’dan.

A site with huge megaliths and troglodyte tombs. At the time, the site hosted animal sacrifices.

Boro Parinding or Bori Rante, is a grave complex of stone burrows and rante or the place of the death ceremony of Rambu Solo which is located in Bori Village, Sesean District, North Toraja.

Leaving the site from the back, passing in front of the recent troglodyte tombs and going up in the direction of the “200 buffalo horns” we come across a Tongkonan with a lot of buffalo horns (is it the 200 buffalo horns?).

Kalimbuang Bori
Rante Kalimbuang or also known as Bori Parinding is an Indonesian cultural heritage site in Bori Village, Sesean, North Toraja. JelajahSuwanto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Lokomata

Only 5 km (3.1 miles) from Batutumonga, on the road to Pangalla, Lokomata is visited by a few tourists because of its large rock. This circular mastodon, a good 20 meters (65 ft) in diameter, is dug with graves. The village behind is, like many others in the region, denatured by corrugated iron.

  • Tampang Allo (The Chiefs Cemetery)

Open cave containing several “sarcophagi” of what would be former Toraja caste leaders. The burial cave is like a cemetery but of a particularly special kind. The one chosen by our guide is not touristic, it is small but representative of the customs of the Toraja country.

The coffins are wooden, and most of them are very damaged, the bones and skulls have fallen out. These were therefore replaced in a well-ordered manner in different places in the cave. You will also find “tau tau”, small symbolic wooden effigies. It was an opportunity to ask him a thousand questions about this culture so incredible and different from ours. In this cellar, the oldest coffins date back more than 400 years.

5. Do Trekking

  • In the middle of rice fields and mountains in the vicinity of Lemo. Being invited to share a delicious toraja coffee in the middle of the rice fields by the farmers.
  • From Makale: Suaya, Tampangallo, Kambira (babies in the trees).
  • The landscapes around Batutumonga (rice fields in water, funerary sites).
  • Batutumonga, Lempo, Deri, Palawa: landscapes, funerary sites, traditional villages.
    The landscapes around Mamasa, with many villages.

6. Visit Traditional villages

  • Kete Kesu: Tongkonan houses and burial site.
  • Palawa: tongkonan.
  • The villages around Mamasa, with a different Tongkonan architecture: less colorful, lots of geometric patterns and pointillism and no animal painting. And boat-shaped coffins – the Mandar come from the sea.
  • Ballapeu and its surroundings.

7. Visit Statue of Jesus Christ Blessing (Jesus Buntu Burake)

Jesus Christ Blessing is at Makale in Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi. It stands on the top of Buntu Burake hill at about 1 700 meters (5 577 ft) above sea level and offers a great panorama. With a total height of 40 meters (130 ft), it is one of the tallest statue of Jesus Christ in the world.

Patung Yesus Kristus Memberkati
Jesus Christ Blessing Statue (Jesus Buntu Burake / Patung Yesus Kristus Memberkati) ni Makale. Herryz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

8. Tilanga Natural Pool

This picturesque place with clear blue waters is located very close to Lemo or 10 km north of Makale. We weren’t going to go there at all, jump in another truck for Makale, but on the way the man told us about the lake, and we turned back.

From the main road in Tilanga, walk a few miles, but what a beautiful views on the sides.

Other Best South Sulawesi places to visit

Makassar, the main city of Sulawesi

Makassar (also known as Ujungpandang) is a city located in South Sulawesi. This beautiful city that mixes tradition and modernity is the capital of the province of South Sulawesi.

The city of Makassar is very pleasant to visit. There is a long walk to do on the coast. You will also be able to visit Fort Rotterdam and a floating mosque.

The atmosphere of Makassar is very warm and the location of the city is ideal for natural explorations in the region.

From Bali to Makassar

It takes 1h 20 minutes from Bali to Makassar airport.

Here are some ideas of places to visit in Makassar on the island of Sulawesi:

  • Fort Rotterdam
  • Losari Beach
  • Samalona Island
  • Akkarena Beach
  • Dome 99 Mosque

Makassar Montage
From top, left to right: Karebosi Skyline, Trans Studio Makassar. Floating Mosque Makassar, Traditional Macasssr houses Makassar-Gowa road, Statue. File:Makassar CBD Skyline.jpg: HumaidynursaidyFile:TransStudioStreet.JPG: SankoFile:Floating Mosque Sulawesi.jpg: IkhvanFile:Bugis houses Sulawesi.jpg: BanjuniFile:Fisher Statue.jpg: SergeyFile:FortRotterdam3.jpg: SankoFile:Losari Beach.jpg: Closariderivative work: Badpuccini, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Tempe and its floating homes

Tempe Lake is a large lake located in the South Sulawesi region. It is a magical place where you can find floating houses inhabited by Indonesians.
The houses move according to the wind and the currents. The inhabitants of this houses are mainly fishermen.

Visit Lake Tempe in a traditional canoe, admire the beauty and serenity of this lake, as well as the daily life of fishermen who live around it with their floating houses. Considered one of the greatest freshwater fish products in the world!. Then continue to visit Palopo with the boat port and fishing village, the road climbs with the magnificent landscape between the mountains, hills and the sea.

Floating houses on Lake Tempe
Floating houses on Lake Tempe. Francesc Genové, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You could try to stay with the locals in one of these floating houses in order to experience an extraordinary adventure! It’s quite easy to visit the floating village by chartering a longboat from the bustling market town of Sengkang. It generally takes about an hour to reach the floating village and you’ll need at least an hour to float among the homes and watch the fishermen pulling traps or casting nets.

Taka Bonerate National Park (Selayar Island)

The Taka Bonerate National Park is located on a collection of small islands in the Flores Sea in southernmost Sulawesi. It extends over 15 islands for a total area of 5 308 square meters (57 134 square feet). According to Wikipedia, it is the 3rd largest atoli in the world.

Keindahan Taman Nasional Takabonerate
Taka Bonerate National Park is a marine park which includes the Takabonerate atoll islands, located in the Flores Sea, south of Sulawesi island of Indonesia.
The area, which consists of the atoll islands and surrounding marine area was granted national park protection status in 1992. In 2015 the Taka Bone Rate National Park has been included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. RaiyaniM, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taka Bonerate National Park is renowned as a scuba diving destination. It is a nature reserve that protects many marine species but also many species of birds. There are some wonderful coral reefs here. So, do you want to go diving in one of the most beautiful marine places in the world?

How to go to Selayar island?

In fact, Selayar is very accessible, only 40 minutes by plane from Makassar, for 25 euros via wings air. To get the tickets, you can use Traveloka (the tickets are not more expensive there, and above all it solves the problems linked to the lion air / wing air site which does not work with all credit cards). The airport is located near the main town of Benteng, a small seaside town (taxi journey IDR 150,000) where you can ask the inhabitants for homestays. You can enjoy fresh fish on the port, sarraba (drink ginger coconut palm sugar, to die for).

The following destinations are served from H. Aroeppala Airport (KSR):

  • Airlines Destinations
  • Aviastar Mandiri: from Bone, Kendari, Labuan Bajo, Ruteng
  • Citilink: from Makassar
  • Susi Air: from Bima, Bone, Kendari
  • Wings Air: from Makassar

Or you can drive from Makassar Taka Bonerate National Park (Selayar island) by driving and then ferry
it takes around 5 hours 30 minutes.


In the surroundings, you can negotiate with a boatman to take you to the beach of Liang Kareta (count in IDR 300 000 for about half a day, you can also ask to take you snorkeling in the surroundings, in particular the site of ujung lola, in the northwest of the island opposite Benteng, pulau pasi, but people call it by the name of the villages, especially that of Gusung, go for a walk there too, there are mangroves). You can rent fins for IDR 20,000 a day from shops in Benteng.

In the vicinity of Beteng (15 minutes by scooter) there is also the village of Bitombang, known for its houses over 100 years old, built on huge stilts (7 to 12m), and the many centenarians who populate the city.

Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park

Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park is located in South Sulawesi, north of Makassar.

This is a huge park with an area of more than 43,000 square meters (462 848 square feet). The park is composed of 3 distinct types of ecosystems: a karst region, lowland forests and low mountain forests.
It is a region where rare species of butterflies, birds and insects are found. There is also the butterfly museum.

Bantimurung-Bulusauraung National Park
Bantimurung-Bulusauraung National Park, South Sulawesi – Indonesia. 22Kartika, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you visit the Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park, you should take a trip to the famous Bantimurung waterfall. It is a magnificent waterfall 15 meters (49 feet) high.

Bantimurung National Park waterfall
Waterfall at Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park. Benjuni, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are also many caves in the park and beautiful hikes to do in this beautiful park to visit in Sulawesi!

Mount Karst and lakes in Bantimurung - Bulusaraung National Park
Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park is a national park in South Sulawesi in Indonesia. The park contains the Rammang-Rammang karst area, the second-largest karst area known in the world after the one in South-Eastern China. The park is in Maros Regency, 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the north of Makassar (one hour drive) or just 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport (30 minutes drive). Most of the Karst formations are tall and steep at almost a 90-degree angle line along both sides of the road from Maros city to Bantimurung continuing on up to the Pangkajene and Islands Regency (Indonesian: Pangkajene dan Kepulauan, commonly abbreviated as Pangkep). Aalmarusy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sources: PinterPandai, CleverlySmart, Lonely PlanetDiscover Your IndonesiaWonderful Indonesia, UNESCO

Photo credit (main picture): Rudyasho (CC BY 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo description: funeral ritual Rambu Solo in Tana Toraja.

From Bali to Raja Ampat (4 Kings) in West Papua

As Raja Ampat is an unspoilt natural area, all visitors must purchase a Raja Ampat Marine Park Entry Permit at the cost of IDR 1,000,000 per person, valid for one year. To purchase this permit, you can go to the Sorong Tourist Information Center, Waisai Port Office Ticket Office or UPTD KKPD Office in Waisai. There is no direct flight from Bali to Raja Ampat (Bali Ngurah Rai Airport to Sorong Airport in West Papua). The fastest flight lasts 7h 30m and includes a stopover. Once in Sorong, take the ferry a round 2 hours. Raja Ampat is a destination that has to be earned: it’s long, it’s expensive, it requires planning well in advance.

Do you dream of going to Raja Ampat, the Archipelago of the Four Kings? To dive into its turquoise waters full of fish? We summarize below in many points the things to know before leaving, and the useful information to prepare your trip…

A trip to Raja Ampat requires you to behave as a responsible visitor. Tourism, which is booming in these Indonesian islands, is jeopardizing one of the most magnificent reservoirs of biodiversity on the planet.

Raja Ampat is one of the most magical scuba diving destinations imaginable! This archipelago is located in West Papua in Indonesia. Most of the islands are still unexplored and only a few liveaboards and dive centers offer scuba diving trips to Raja Ampat.

From Bali to Raja Ampat by plane

Know that no matter where you are, in Indonesia or elsewhere, you will have to go through Sorong. It is the airport of entry to the region. And that’s where you have to land. Most of the flights have a stopover in Makassar (Ujung Pandang airport) in Sulawesi.

Example flights from Bali to Raja Ampat:

  • Bali (DPS) >Jakarta (JKT) > Sorong (SOQ), then by ferry
  • Bali (DPS) > Makassar (UPG) > Sorong (SOQ), then by ferry

Airlines from Bali to Raja Ampat:

Alternatively, there are ferries available to you from Sorong and Waisai and vice versa. The ferry ride will take about 2 to three hours.
  • As the main hub to Raja Ampat, Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong (SOQ) serves flights to a number of major cities in Papua and Indonesia including Manokwari, Jayapura, Ambon, Makassar, Manado and Jakarta.
  • Garuda Indonesia operates daily flights between Jakarta-Sorong. As is the case with Sriwijaya Air and Nam Air, where Batik Air flies twice a day between Jakarta and Sorong.
  • So that the trip does not cost money, we should go in groups, at least 8 people. That way the cost of renting a boat will be cheaper. Here we don’t need a car rental, but a boat rental is quite expensive. This expensive motorized boat rental in Papua is due to the scarce supply of fuel prices and sometimes the price is always changing.
  • There are 2 types of boats used to get around the Raja Ampat islands, motorized fishing boats and speedboats. Rent a motorized fishing boat with a capacity of 2 to 3 people for IDR 1,300,000 to IDR 1,500,000 per day. Rates for speedboats with a capacity of 8 to 10 people are IDR 3,500,000 to IDR 4,000,000 per day (including fuel). The rate for this boat rental depends on the price of fuel at that time in Waisai.
The public ferry from Sorong to Waisai

For the transfer, we recommend our guests to use the public ferry, which is the most affordable and environmentally friendly option. Waisai is the capital of the Raja Ampat Regency.

– The ferry terminal (“Pelabuhan Rakyat” in Bahasa Indonesia) is located just 15 minutes by car from Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong.
– The fast ferry is operated by the company “Bahari Express” and departs for Waisai twice a day at 9am and 2pm (except public holidays).
– The trip takes about an hour and a half and the ferry offers VIP and economy cabins, equipped with air conditioning, television, toilets and a small cafeteria.
– The ferry from Waisai to Sorong departs simultaneously, twice a day at 9am and 2pm.

When to visit Raja Ampat?

The best time to visit Raja Ampat is during the dry season from October to May. Despite the dry season, due to the tropical climate, there can sometimes be unexpected showers, although these are much less frequent than during the rainy season. But in any case, the weather is good all year round on the Raja Ampat islands, so don’t worry too much about the sun!

Also, the period from October to May is ideal for diving enthusiasts. The swell will be less strong, which will make it easier to navigate the waters, and this is also the period when you will have the best chance of swimming with manta rays.

How to get around the Raja Ampat islands?

First, the easiest way to get to your accommodation from Waisai Airport (the capital of Raja Ampat) is to book a pick up with the hotel you have booked. Prices for a boat transfer vary depending on the distance between Waisai and your hotel.

Then you should know that it is quite difficult to move from island to island in the archipelago because, apart from the boat that makes Sorong-Waisai, there are no other regular connections provided by boats. The best is to book each trip by boat or fastboat with your hotel, or a dive center.

Things to do and see in the Raja Ampat Islands

There are many things to visit in Raja Ampat islands, here are the mos popular:

1. Swim with thousands of jellyfish in Lenmakana Lake (Misool Island)

At Lenmakana Lake, nature offers you the opportunity to swim with thousands of harmless jellyfish! Lenmakana Jellyfish Lake was reportedly discovered a few years ago.

As with many places in Raja Ampat, you will need to be in good physical shape and have some climbing experience to get here. The place is quite remote, so only locals can drive you there. It will indeed be necessary to climb the steep reef.

Our advice: the best time to visit the lake is around 1 p.m. when the water sparkles with its thousands of golden jellyfish floating near the surface. It is truly a unique experience that will amaze you!

2. The breathtaking view of Piaynemo and its 320 steps

If you’ve ever seen Indonesia’s new 100,000 IDR banknotes, the spectacular sight of Pianyemo must be familiar to you. And yes, it is the landscape of Pianyemo that you can see on this post!

Every landscape in Raja Ampat is amazing but Piaynemo is in my opinion one of the most spectacular. To really appreciate its beauty, you have to climb to a viewpoint to enjoy stunning views. You will have to climb the 320 steps to reach this famous point of view. But don’t worry, there are rest stations approximately every 100 steps 🙂

And once up there, the view is simply surreal, with varying shades of blue and turquoise, and breathtaking views of the myriad karst islands.

Remember to bring water and sunscreen!

Piaynemo’s point of view

This point of view is surely the most visited attraction in Raja Ampat, many homestays offer this outing!

It is surely a visit not to be missed because when we think of Raja Ampat then we think of these rock formations enthroned in the middle of turquoise blue water. The viewpoint is very well laid out, a large staircase and wooden platforms allow you to observe this beautiful panorama.

There are 2 viewpoints to admire Piaynemo (the towers usually only visit one) and a 3rd to observe a star-shaped lagoon (Bintang). So if you want to see everything on site, do not hesitate to ask your guide!

To get there you have several options:
  • Your homestay offers this activity and you want to be in a small group, count around IDR 5,000,000 by boat from Kri, Gam or Arborek.
  • Your homestay does not offer this outing or you want to join a group to pay less. You will then have to go to a larger homesaty or ask your accommodation to find you a place for a ride, you may be able to get away with it for IDR 1,000,000 or less per person depending on the number of people. on the boat.
  • You want to see the viewpoint and dive around, then you can do that with a dive center. The Yenkoranu on Kri offers this type of outing once or twice a week depending on the number of people interested. Then count IDR 1,500,000 per person (without the dives, you can decide how many you want to do during the day) for the day, the meal is included.
  • Once arrived at the Piaynemo viewpoint there is an entrance fee to pay (and yes the 1,000,000 of the entry permit does not cover everything) of IDR 300,000 per boat. Either this amount is already included in the price you pay per person, or you will have to pay it when you arrive. Remember to ask your guide about it before you leave.

And if not you can go to Piaynemo from Rufas homestay for IDR 400,000 the boat + 300,000 per boat entrance fee, at 4 the price is therefore much softer! Rufas homestay is located 5 minutes by boat from Piaynemo, hence the low price (which we think could be even lower given the short distance).

Entrance fee: IDR 500,000 by boat, IDR 300,000 by speedboat (including Telaga Bintang)
Address: Groot Fam, Saukabu, Raja Ampat Islands, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia

Diving at Piaynemo

Explore and see the most biodiverse waters in Piaynemo, filled with action and diving adventure.

Overall, the best season to dive in Raja Ampat is from October to May. It is during this period that you can dive to the North and South (Misool). You will also benefit from the best diving conditions and it is the season for manta rays.

Pulau Piaynemo, Raja Ampat
Coral reef off of Piaynemo, an island in Misool District. Rizalubun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. The starfish-shaped turquoise lagoon: Telaga Bintang

Located just 5 minutes by boat from Piaynemo, this iconic star-shaped lagoon is commonly referred to as Telaga Bintang (which literally translates to “starry lagoon”).

"Telaga Bintang" Raja Ampat
Telaga Bintang, Raja Ampat. The local people called it “Star Lagoon” because of it starred shaped looked from top of a hill. Heavy tourist activity on where this view was reached could damage the area without proper management. Caka komsary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To admire this spectacular landscape, you have to climb a coral hill about 30 meters high which is not bordered by stairs or paths, but only by steep rocks. So you have to be very careful when doing the hike. But no worries, with good shoes (no sandals or flip flops), anyone can do it!

Entrance fee: IDR 500,000 by boat, IDR 300,000 by speedboat (including Telaga Bintang)
Address: Groot Fam, Saukabu, Raja Ampat Islands, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia

4. Wayag Island and its breathtaking view

With breathtaking views, at every turn in Wayag you will find unspoiled beaches and those famous iconic karst islands scattered in the crystal blue ocean. The inhabited island of Wayag is a well-known icon of Raja Ampat.

Prepare proper hiking gear (shoes, thick hiking pants, gloves) as you will have to climb a hill of sharp corals. Don’t forget to bring enough water, food and a change of clothes.

If trekking and rock climbing aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters around the islands while snorkeling or diving!

Wayag Island
Wayag island is the most popular tourist destination in Raja Ampat. The view here is guaranteed to stun you. Rows of coral covered in green trees in the middle of the blue sea make this tourist location so beautiful. To get a view like this requires an extra struggle by climbing a fairly steep cliff. Rolandandika, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get there: Located northwest of Waigeo, Wayag will take you over 300km round trip from Waisai. There is no host family or accommodation at Wayag. So if you want to visit you will have to prepare for a long trip that will take you at least a day

Address: west Waigeo, Raja Ampat Islands, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia.

Wayag’s point of view

Wayag is an island located at the extreme north of Raja Ampat, it is the same type of rock formations as for Piaynemo but much larger and more impressive!

On the other hand, access is much more complicated, it takes about 4 hours to get there (from what we were told) so the prices are very high!

In any case, if you want to go there and you manage to join a group, it takes between IDR 10,000,000 and IDR 13,000,000 by boat from Kri, Gam or Arborek. The price is then divided according to the number of people in the boat, but beware some boats have small capacities.

We were also told of an entrance fee of IDR 1,000,000 per boat, which is either included in the overall price or payable on arrival. But we could not verify this information.

Just be aware that the viewpoint is not equipped with a beautiful staircase like Piaynemo, you have to climb the rocks a bit to admire the view but the site really seems to be worth it! You will therefore be very lucky if you can access it and enjoy this extraordinary view.

5. The village of Sawinggrai and its exotic culture

Sawinggrai is a village located on one of the 1,500 islands in Raja Ampat. He is not yet well known, although Prince Albert of Monaco fell under his spell a few years ago!

Boat used by locals in Sawinggrai Village's beach, Raja Ampat
Boat used by locals in Sawinggrai Village’s beach, Raja Ampat. This photo was taken in Sawinggrai, Raja Ampat. Where the whole sea in these area are protected and have a rich marine diversity and lots of endemic coral reefs. Brizinsky T Juneanto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here you meet the cutest kids in the world, who live an idyllic lifestyle on the water – and that’s what makes the village so special. When you visit this fishing village, you will feel the hospitality of the locals. They might even sing and dance for you!

Address: MeosMansar District, Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua, Indonesia

6. A desert in the middle of the ocean: Pasir Timbul Island

In the middle of nowhere is this isolated circular island: Pasir Timbul Island. Only a few hours a day, when the tide is low, this small island rises out of the ocean. That is why they call it Pasir Timbul or “rising sand”. The combination of smooth white sand and turquoise water is spectacular.

What is strange is that this small island of sand is not washed away by the daily tides. If you time it right, you can even take a photo as if you were floating or walking on water.

Address: Mansuar District, Waigeo, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia.
How to get there: The easiest way to get there is to book a boat from the village of Arborek or Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat. You can ask your resort or hostel to book it for you. Due to the water level, boats cannot get too close to the shores of the sand island. From the point where the boat stops, you have to swim or walk.

7. Local dishes to try in Raja Ampat

In Raja Ampat, it’s not just mie goreng (fried noodles) or nasi goreng (fried rice) to try. In most homestays or resorts you will find a distinct food tradition, drawn from the seabed and the variety of sea and land cultures of this rich natural region.

Mi Goreng GM
Mi Goreng (fried noodle). Gunawan Kartapranata, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The historical reliance on sago, cassava and taro roots as staples in Papua is still very strong, although rice introduced by the Javanese now predominates.

A Papuan woman extracts starch sago from the spongy center of the palm stems. (17821831174)
A Papuan woman extracts starch sago from the spongy center of the palm stems. Sago plant that produces the staple food for people in Eastern Indonesia. USAID Indonesia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Papeda, made from sago flour, is a very popular staple food in coastal villages. Preparing this unique food is relatively easy, just pour hot water into the sago flour, stirring it several times until it becomes thick and looks like glue. Leapeda is usually served with a sour and spicy fish soup with sambal (chilli) and squeezed lime to add flavor.

Papeda, Kuah Kuning, Ikan Tude Bakar 1
Papeda (sago congee), Kuah Kuning (yelow soup) and Ikan Tude Bakar (grilled fish) with Dabu-dabu and Rica sambal. The Eastern Indonesian meal; Papeda, the staple food of Eastern Indonesia have a glue-like consistency and texture. Gunawan Kartapranata, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although lobster is considered an expensive food in many parts of Indonesia, you can easily find it here at an affordable price.

Lobster and “ikan bakar” (grilled fish)

The ‘Ikan Bakar’ (grilled fish) may not be unique to Raja Ampat, but it’s freshly caught from the sea and grilled to perfection over coconut coals, so it’s especially good here.

Finally, coffee lovers must try the famous coffee from Papua, which has a very pronounced aroma and a delicious flavor.

8. Prehistoric paintings on the Sumbayo & Sumalelen cliff walls and on Pef Island

There was a time when people wrote down history in the form of hand-painted paintings on the limestone cliffs. Considered to be among the oldest paintings in the world (40,000 – 50,000 years old), the paintings of Raja Ampat are the first evidence that our prehistoric ancestors were already artists.

A tourist looks are rock art in West Papua, Bird's Head Seascape
A tourist looks are rock art in West Papua, Bird’s Head Seascape. Bird’s Head Seascape / Jones/Shimlock / Secret Sea Visions, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To this day, some of these amazing paintings are almost as intact as when they were painted. You can find them at three locations – Pef Island, Sumalelen, and Sumbayo Cliff.

These paintings are most often reddish in color and mainly depict handprints, fish and geometric symbols.

Pef Island

Address: Kabui Gulf, Meos Mansar District, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia.

Sumalelen & Sumbayo Cliff at Misool Island

Address: Misool Island, Raja Ampat, West Papua

9. Snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays

If you have never done snorkeling, Raja Ampat is the perfect place to try! You will understand why Raja Ampat is called the underwater paradise, with the colorful reefs of Yenbuba, Friwen Wall, and all its aquatic creatures that you can swim with in the clear waters.

Snorkeling is an opportunity to discover marine life, swim with manta rays, brightly colored fish, turtles and admire the rarest corals in the world.

10. Swing on the vines of Friwen Island and paradise beach

South of Waigeo Island is a small island called Friwen. The sandy bottom of the North side is ideal for dropping anchor. The tropical vegetation overlooks the crystal clear waters and a few ropes hanging from the trees above the water invite you to take a dip. Plastic pollution hasn’t quite taken up residence here yet and the seabed is phenomenal, especially along the coral wall of Friwen Bonda, Friwen’s little sister.

Village of Friwen
Iconic signboard to welcome guests in village of Friwen. Siharaditia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What more original and fun way to dive into the sea than by jumping from a vine? This swing made of a rope will allow you to make incredible photos for all those who have the courage to swing on it to jump into the sea! This rope swing is easy to handle and is very popular with local children and adults.

Corals near Pulau Friwen, Raja Ampat
Corals near Pulau Friwen, Raja Ampat. Fabian Lambeck, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Renowned as a diving spot, Friwen Island offers a magnificent view with coconut trees, a white sand beach, and several huge trees that provide shade on a hot sunny day.  It has a variety of fish and beautiful corals.

There are also warung (cheap restaurant) around the beach to taste good local dishes 🙂

Address: South Waigeo, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia.

Sources: PinterPandai, The Round the World Guys

Photo credit: Sfw_2503 (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

The Off the Beaten Track Adventure From Bali to Komodo Island

This itinerary from Bali to Komodo island is made of unforgettable adventures and discoveries: ideal for holidays with family or friends!

Between its pink sand beaches, its hikes on green hills and volcanoes, and its incredible diving spots, Komodo National Park is a real treasure for travelers in search of magnificent landscapes and unforgettable adventures. Not to mention the famous Komodo dragons, to see absolutely once in your life! Komodo National Park includes the three large islands of Komodo, Rinca and Radar as well as many other small islets that are full of breathtaking landscapes, stunning seabed and animals that you will not see anywhere else. Follow this guide to organize a successful stay in Komodo!

In 1991, the park was included in the list of World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO since 1977.

See Komodo, the world’s largest lizard, in their natural habitat with this tour from Bali. You’ll fly to Flores Island and cruise to Rinca Island, part of Komodo National Park, where you’ll have the chance to see the gargantuan creatures up close. This package includes two nights of accommodation, breakfast and lunch over two days, and the services of a local guide.

How to go from Bali to Komodo Island?

1. Go Labuan Bajo? (starting point for cruises to visit the Komodo Islands)

Labuan Bajo is the starting point for cruises to visit the Komodo Islands. There are two ways to get there: by plane, it’s fast, comfortable. Or by boat, but it is longer and the crossing can be dangerous.

By airplane

A) From Bali to Komodo Island by plane, then ferry

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes. Cost: fares start at IDR 469,000 (US$31.50)
From Bali Airport (DPS) to Labuan Bajo (LBJ) Airport, it takes 1h 10mn.
From Labuan Bajo ferry terminal to Komodo National Park it takes (2h 30min by ferry once a day).

What airline companies run services from Bali and Komodo Island?
  • Wings Air
  • NAM Air
  • Batik Air
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Citilink Indonesia
  • Air Asia

If you are boarding an international flight, the island is accessible via Jakarta on the island of Java, or via Denpasar in Bali (DPS airport). From these 2 cities, you can then take a domestic flight to Labuan Bajo in Flores, this is the airport and the departure city for tours to visit the Komodo Islands. A flight from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo will take about 2.5 hours while a flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo only takes an hour.

B) Flights from Lombok to Labuan Bajo

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cost: fares start at IDR 703,000 (US$47.50)
For some years there has also been a daily flight from Lombok to Labuan Bajo, operated by Lion Air/Wings Air.

C) Flights from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo

Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cost: fares start at IDR 1,200,000 ($81)
Direct flights from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo are operated by Lion Air and Citilink. The duration of the trip is around 2h15 and fares start from IDR 1,200,000 ($81).

D) Flights from Surabaya to Labuan Bajo

Duration: 1h30.
Cost: fares start at IDR 630,000 ($42.50).
The flight between Surabaya and Labuan Bajo only takes 1.5 hours. Batik Air operates a daily direct flight that departs at 11:10 am from Juanda de Surabaya airport.

By boat

Less comfortable, long but more economical option: you can also get to Labuan Bajo by boat from Bali or Lombok and then by bus. But this alternative is not recommended because of the very fluctuating schedules, the length of the journey (36 hours minimum) and above all the discomfort and insecurity of the ferry.

Another alternative if you have more time is to take a multi-day boat trip from Lombok, an island just east of Bali. But this cruise is long with uncomfortable boats. On this route the sea can be rough and accidents have been reported in the past.

2. How to get around in Flores?

You can choose to take a day trip which will allow you to visit the islands of Rinca and Padar in 1 day with a departure in the morning and a return in the late afternoon.

If you want to visit more, as well as other more remote islands then you will need to take a 2 to 4 day cruise depending on what you want to visit. You will therefore live aboard a boat for several days and sail from island to island, alternating visits to islands, beaches, snorkeling spots, hiking…

Komodo dragon at Komodo National Park
Komodo dragon at Komodo National Park. Adhi Rachdian from Indonesia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Is it dangerous to visit Komodo?

As for Komodo… that’s another story! There have been accidents before and they are potentially dangerous wild animals. Indeed, their saliva contains many bacterias and their bite can be fatal. In addition, they measure up to three meters long, weigh 150kg (330 lbs) and can run at more than 20 km/h (around 12 mp/h). Generally it does not make you want to rub it too much.

However, if you listen carefully to the instructions and don’t mess around, you should be fine. Listen to the rangers, stay in a group and in Indian thread, don’t make noise or sudden movements, stay away from the Komodo (5 meters or 16 feet seems appropriate) and everything will be fine. If you are bleeding or having your period, it seems that you should report it, because blood attracts Komodo dragons.

Activities and excursions in Komodo Island

Komodo National Park is largely a scuba diving destination without too much tourist infrastructure. The attraction is rather the incredible nature, so it is possible to do other activities during your stay, or for non-divers, such as:

  • Go hiking in the hills of the islands and around the Kelimutu volcano
  • Go visit the famous Komodo
  • Explore Flores Island sites (e.g. Python Cave)
  • Snorkeling on a day trip

There are several travel agencies in Labuan Bajo that can arrange all of these excursions.

1. See the Komodo dragons at Komodo island

The Komodo dragons are undoubtedly the main attraction of the island. Disturbing and fascinating at the same time, going to meet these mythical animals will make you live unforgettable moments. Other animals also invest these places, such as buffaloes, wild horses and deer.

Komodo Island is part of Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the Lesser Sunda island chain, Indonesia. It is famous for being home to the legendary Komodo dragon, the largest species of lizard on the planet.

It’s the only place in the world where you can see them in the wild, but Komodo has plenty more to offer. Komodo Island has amazing and varied landscapes – from white sand beaches to pink beaches, from tropical forests to grassy savannah hills.

It is also one of the best scuba diving destinations in Indonesia, with dozens of pristine reefs filled with colorful marine life. Along with over 1,000 species of fish, the waters around Komodo Island teem with whales, sea turtles, reef sharks and manta rays.

Sunrise on Komodo
Sunrise on Komodo Island, Indonesia. Jon Chia, source: FlickrSunrise on Komodo CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The many islands of Komodo National Park are scenic and varied and the magnificent dragons are found on four different islands: Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montong and Gili Dasami. In fact, Rinca Island is the best option for seeing dragons in the wild, as it is home to more Komodo dragons and is also closer to Labuan Bajo town, so easily accessible on an excursion. of a day with half a day of snorkeling on the reefs.

Planning to go to Komodo Island? It is quite easy to get there wherever you are in Indonesia. The first option is to fly to Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores and then take an organized boat tour to Komodo.

The second option is for more adventurous travellers: Take a 3-day, 2-night boat tour from the Gili Islands or Lombok to Flores with several stops (including Komodo) along the way. For many travelers, this is one of the best experiences of the whole trip to Indonesia!

Scuba dive to admire the underwater flora and fauna

Here is the list of the best dive sites on the island:

Manta Alley: this is the best place to observe the famous manta rays. This relatively shallow site, between 10 to 20 meters, allows you to maximize the time spent underwater and make the most of the aquatic spectacle.

  • Batu Balong: its coral gardens are teeming with fish. Strong currents and steep drop-offs attract big fish like Napoleon wrasse and sharks at greater depths. Photographers will be able to capture unforgettable photos.
  • Golden Passage: This is a popular drift dive site close to Gili Lawa Darat. You can see corals, reef sharks, and sometimes even dolphins and manta rays.
  • Manta Point: this site offers the chance to dive with manta rays that come to feed in the current. This drift dive with strong current allows you to see white tip reef sharks, nasons and small squills.
2. Go to Padar island

Padar Island is one of several islands scattered in the Komodo National Park area, this island has a shape with several bays, white and reddish beaches and several beautiful hilltops.

Padar Island is covered with savannah hills. Steep volcanic mountains covered with bushes and meadows lead to deep bays with beaches of different colors, popular with divers. Its three main turquoise bays have stunning beaches: one is white, another is charcoal black, and the other is soft pink. The black beach has a volcanic origin, while the pink consists of red coral mixed with white sand.

The best time is April-June and also the dry season; September-November. July and August are very crowded and December to March is too rainy. Padar is about 30 km (20 ml) from Labuan Bajo, a fishing town on the westernmost part of Flores. Take a 30 minute hike to the top of Padar to see the whole island.

Pulau Padar 1
Padar Island is the third largest island in the Komodo National Park area, after Komodo Island and Rinca Island. YUS JULIADI, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Visit Rinca island

If you are eager to meet the famous Komodo dragons during a hike, then do not hesitate to discover the island of Rinca. Indeed, this island is the closest to Labuan Bajo (on the western coast of the island of Flores), the starting point for excursions to Komodo National Park. Unlike Komodo Island, Rinca Island is smaller with an area of approximately 196.25 km². The chance of seeing giant monitor lizards in their natural environment is then greatly increased.

It is worth remembering that komodos are wild animals and that they can present a certain danger if their tranquility is not respected. It is mandatory to keep your distance from the animal and to follow all the recommendations of your guide and the local ranger who will accompany you on the excursion.

Rinca Island is the closest to Labuan Bajo and surprisingly the least visited. A 2-night boat cruise in the Komodos archipelago not only allows you to meet the dragons, but also to discover the richness of the underwater fauna and flora of the Komodos archipelago.

Panorama of Rinca Island
Rinca Island located in the Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara. Pambudiyoga, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Stop at Kawa island

Kanawa Island is also known as the gateway to Komodo Island because all ships heading to Komodo Island will definitely pass through this island.

The island which has an area of ​​about 32 hectares (80 acres) is approximately 15 km (9 miles) from Labuan Bajo (the capital of West Manggarai).

You can spend a day relaxing on the hammock, camping, playing beach volleyball, getting a massage on the beach, trekking to the hills, snorkeling, diving, or enjoying the view of the sky at night.

Kanawa Island from Above
Kanawa Island from above (in the Komodo National Park). SunDawn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5. Visit Pink beach (Pantai Merah Muda)

Is Pink Beach really pink?

Let’s be clear: if you’re expecting a flashy pink beach, you’re going to be disappointed. On the other hand, yes the sand of this page has a rather pink color, due to the presence of large fields of multicolored corals which are located offshore.

Apart from the giant lizards that give the park its name, Komodo National Park is also well known for its beautiful, undeveloped beaches. One of the most unique is Pink Beach (Pantai Merah), named for the pink sand that gets its color from weathered chunks of red coral from the nearby reef.

Clear, calm waters make the beach an excellent site for snorkeling, especially since the coral reefs just below the surface are home to hundreds of species of marine plants and animals. Located about 15 minutes by boat from Loh Liang pier, Pink Beach is a great place to relax in the sun or cool off in the water after a day of trekking in the national park.

Pink beach Komodo Island. Christopher L Edison, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are 2 pink beaches:

The pink beach on Padar definitely has more colorful sand, but the Komodo pink beach has a nicer background for photos, with lots of steep hills and trees.


Komodo National Park is located in Indonesia, in the Lesser Sunda Islands, bordering the provinces of the West Lesser Sunda Islands and the (East Lesser Sunda Islands).

The national park includes the three large islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as many other smaller ones. The total area of the park is 1,817 km² (701 miles²) with a land area of 603 km² (375 miles²).

The park also has many lesser islands (island group); Such as Gili Motang Island and Nusa Kode Island.

The national park was established in 1980, with the aim of protecting the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and cetaceans. The objective was later extended to protection of the flora and fauna of the region, including in the maritime areas.

The islands of the national park are of volcanic origin and 4,000 people live there. In 1991, the park was included in the list of World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO since 1977.

Health and security

If you plan to go on a trip to Komodo Island, I advise you to invest in a good travel insurance that also covers scuba diving. You never know what can happen and good insurance can get you out of tough situations. I recommend this travel insurance because they offer worldwide coverage and cover many risky sports like scuba diving.



Sources: CleverlySmart, PinterPandai, UNESCO, Wonderful Indonesia, Divezone

Main photo credit: Irdan nofriza nasution (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Main photo description: Padar, also known as Pada, is a small island located between Komodo and Rinca islands within Komodo archipelago, administrated under the West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. It is the third largest island part of Komodo National Park.

One of the natural charms of Indonesia in the province of East Nusa Tenggara is Padar Island, an exotic island with its natural marine beauty that offers a million natural charms.