Trip code: WOZ
‘Here there be dragons’ goes the old cartographer’s adage, and in Indonesia there are, with forked tongues, poisonous saliva and scaly bodies. Track the fearsome Komodo dragon around the archipelago of Komodo National Park and discover orang-utans in the primal jungles of Sumatra. Two of Indonesia’s most impressive wildlife experiences not enough for you? How about climbing an active volcano or snorkelling above coral reefs? Please note the description on this page relates to the 2016 itinerary. Please contact us for trip notes for the 2015 itinerary.
This is a small group guided holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
6 nights’ comfortable hotels, 5 nights’ standard hotels, all en suite and one night on board the boat in Komodo National Park. The Bukit Lawang Ecolodge only has cold water, given the heat in this part of Sumatra, however, this is no hardship.
In Komodo we generally use the Mastro Aldo, a fairly new (built in 2012) catamaran. The sleeping arrangements are quite varied, however, with a mixture of cabins with en suite bathrooms, cabins with shared bathrooms and mattresses on deck with shared bathrooms. We cannot reserve cabins in advance and sleeping arrangements will be allocated by the tour leader on a random basis. Sleeping on deck is generally a very enjoyable experience and adds to the romance of travelling by boat in Indonesia.
The accommodation is mostly two or three star.
Please note single supplement does not apply to the night on the boat in Komodo National Park.
Indonesia has an equatorial monsoon climate with the weather remaining similar throughout the year. It is hot and humid; temperatures range from 23-33degC during the day and rarely drop below 20 deg C at night. In the mountains temperatures are much cooler and on the coast sea breezes usually keep temperatures comfortable. In most parts of Indonesia the long rainy season falls between late October and early May, though rain occurs throughout the year. Rain tends to come in sudden tropical downpours.
|DEPOSIT||£150||SINGLE PERSON SUPPLEMENT||Available|
|GROUP SIZE MIN||4 people||GROUP SIZE MAX||16 people|
AVAILABLE TOUR DATES:
|14 /08/2016||30 /04/2017||01 /10/2017|
|02 /10/2016||13 /08/2017|
Those not flying with the group from London will meet the tour leader at the airport at 9:00am (subject to change – see Final Joining Instructions) and will then meet the rest of the group there (it is normally possible to meet the tour leader at our pre-tour hotel at 7:30am and go with them to the airport to meet the rest of the group – though this needs to be arranged beforehand). From the airport we drive to Bukit Lawang (approx. 5 hours) on the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park stopping for lunch on the way. The rest of the afternoon is free to simply relax after the flight and explore the village. Bukit Lawang is one of the most accessible places to spot Orang-utans, thanks to an Orang-utan conservation programme that has been operating on the eastern edge of the park since the 1970s. The Gunung Leuser National Park is one of the Orang-utan’s last remaining strongholds, with more than 5000 animals thought to be living in the wild. Sumatran elephants, Sumtran rhinos and Sumatran tigers are all also found in the park, though very rarely seen. The village is attractive, built along one side of the river; relaxing at the river side it is not uncommon to see wild Orang-utans come down to the water to drink. Time permitting there is an impressive bat cave that can be visited today (if time does not permit we’ll have the opportunity to visit it tomorrow), access involves a considerably amount of scrambling and closed shoes or trekking sandals are required. A torch is also needed, though some may be available locally.
This morning we will head into the Gunung Leuser National Park which is one of the two remaining habitats for Sumatran Orang-utans. This is one of the largest national parks in the world, containing over 800,000 hectares of virgin rainforest. We will spend time with our guide and have an opportunity to explore the trails, searching for Orang-utans and other wildlife. The hike itself is a leisurely couple hours and there is a good chance of seeing Thomas leaf monkeys and Long-tailed macaques as well as, hopefully one of the Orang-utans who inhabit the forest. Our hike ends at the feeding station. Whilst the Organ-utan rehabilitation centre no longer exists, semi-wild Orang-utans are still fed twice a day. Most days two or three Orang-utans come to the feeding station to enjoy the fruit offered them, giving us a near guarantee of seeing Orang-utans, even if we fail to see them in the forest. We have some more free time this afternoon. If we didn’t have the opportunity to visit the bat-cave yesterday we can visit it this afternoon.
This morning we return to the Orang-utan centre for feeding time. Those who want will then venture further from the park headquarters, discovering the flora and fauna of the park, and continuing our search for Orang-utans and other wildlife. The park is host to approximately 700 different species of animal, more than 175 mammals, 320 birds, 190 reptiles and amphibians including Thomas leaf monkeys, macaques and gibbons. Other mammals found include the Sumatran elephant and elusive Sumatran tiger and rhinoceros, although the last is unfortunately facing imminent extinction. We are unlikely to encounter these shy animals. This excursion will last approximately 6hrs, including time spent at the feeding station, and can be taxing given the steep, muddy terrain and hot and humid climate so requires reasonable fitness and is, therefore, completely optional. For anyone who chooses not to undertake the jungle-hike the rest of the day is at leisure.
Today is a travel day as we head out to the cool and picturesque hill town of Berastagi. Though we’re only travelling 180kms, the roads and traffic in Sumatra means that the journey can take approximately 6hrs including stops for coffee and lunch on the way. The town of Berastagi, situated at 1,400m, is dominated by its two volcanoes Sinabung and Sibayak. Although Sibayak last erupted more than a century ago, geothermal activity in the form of steam vents, billowing sulphur fumes, hot springs and steaming mud pools can be seen around the volcano. The town is known for its colourful fruit and vegetable market and famous for its passion fruit (known locally as marquisa), rambutan (a type of lychee) and the foul-smelling (but, to many, delicious) durian. We have the opportunity stroll around the market and sample some of these succulent, exotic fruits. We should also have time to visit St. Fransiscus Catholic Church with its unique Batak architecture.
Any visit to Indonesia, part of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ would be incomplete without visiting a volcano. Today we climb Mt Sibayak and, if we’re lucky, we may see the resident Siamang gibbons jumping from tree to tree as we ascend. If we don’t see them we will most probably hear them as they have large gular sacks (throat pouches) that can be inflated to the size of their head, allowing them to make loud resonating calls. Tropical pitcher plants or Monkey Cups are also found on the mountain, the name Monkey Cups refers to the fact that monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from these plants. The hike to the crater rim and back is not too strenuous though a good pair of hiking shoes or boots is recommended. There may be, depending on the weather conditions and ability of the group, the opportunity for those who want to go down a different route than the one we took up the volcano. This alternative route, however, is very strenuous as it is a series of steep, slippery steps, some very tall, going on for a couple hours. After an approx 3-4 hour walk to the crater rim and back there will be time to relax at a hot spring before the short driving back to our hotel after lunch. There should be the opportunity to visit a traditional Batak village, Lingga. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore Berastagi town.
Today is a long travelling day. We make our way by bus and plane, via Jakarta, to Bali. Arrival time in Sanur will depend on the flight schedule (which is changeable) but is likely to be in the early evening. Sanur is a popular, but more tranquil, beach resort with a white sand beach and numerous shops and restaurants. It is one of the first resorts to be developed in Bali and remains largely unchanged compared to many of Bali’s other beaches.
Today is a free day to enjoy what Sanur has to offer. There are numerous options both on land and water whether you’re feeling active, want to take in some culture or just relax on a nearby beach. Some of these options include a half-day temple tour; downhill biking tour; rafting; 4WD Bali interior tour; Bali village tour or take a cruise to a nearby Nusa Penida for the day.
Today we fly on to Labuan Bajo (approx 1½ hours) on the island of Flores. This is the point of entry for Komodo National Park. Depending on the flight schedule, there should be some free time and options include taking a boat to one of the nearby islands for some snorkelling or visiting nearby caves where stalactites and stalagmites are found.
Komodo National Park, established in 1980, is comprised of islands and the surrounding sea and includes mangrove forests, sea grass beds, and colourful coral reefs. The three main large islands are Komodo, Rinca and Padar although many smaller islands come within the park boundaries. Early this morning we will board our boat and sail to Rinca Island (approx 2 hours). We leave the boat and, after a short briefing on the life and habitat of the Komodo Dragons, travel on foot in search of these giant lizards. Rinca Island is smaller than Komodo and the frequency of sightings on Rinca is higher. We will walk for between two and three hours today. We later head towards the island of Padar where we enjoy snorkelling in the pristine waters. Later, walking up to the top of one of the hills we watch the sunset over Komodo National Park. Tonight is one of the most idyllic as we spend the night on board the boat. Whilst the exact spot where we anchor may vary it is usually just off of some mangroves. Sleeping on the boat means we can spend more time enjoying Rinca, Komodo and the rest of the national park and avoid having to return all the way back to Labuan Bajo only to sail out again the following morning. Accommodation on the boat is mixed with some people sleeping below deck and some on deck. You may also have to share a mattress, see accommodation section for more details.
We travel to the ranger station at Loh Liang on Komodo Island. Here we will be escorted by a local guide and trek one of the routes which takes us through dry forest, a dry river bed and over a hill, for about two hours. Vegetation on Komodo Island is different to that on Rinca being denser and with less grassy hills. We continue to Manta Point where Manta rays come to feed and with a bit of luck we get to snorkel with them. We later return to Labuan Bajo. The day-to-day schedule for these two days should be taken only as a general guide. A variety of factors, including currents and adverse weather conditions, can lead to changes. Snorkel equipment can be hired in Labuan Bajo before setting off at a per day rate.
We fly back to Denpasar (the flight times can vary) and drive (approx 2 hours) to Ubud, surrounded by rice fields and temples, our final destination. Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word ubad (medicine); the town was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants, but these days is known for its artistic community, awash with artists’ workshops and art galleries. Ubud’s history can be traced back to the eighth century, when a Buddhist priest came to Bali from Java, he meditated at the confluence of the two Wos rivers at Campuan, just west of the modern day town centre. A shrine was established and later expanded by Nirartha, a Javanese priest who is regarded as the founder of Bali’s religious practices and rituals as we know them today. When Ubud became a Dutch protectorate at its own request, the colonialists interfered little, allowing the traditional arts and culture of the area to remain relatively unchanged. From the 1930s onwards western artists and intellectuals arrived furthering the local art scene, amongst them Charlie Chaplin and H.G. Wells. Ubud is still a haven for literati, glitterati and art collectors.
A wide range of optional excursions are possible today depending upon peoples preferences. There are many temples and palaces to visit including Goa Gajah, popularly known as the Elephant Cave. Dating back to at least the 11th century, and originally a dwelling for Hindu priests, the main highlights of this temple is the short cave with a massive carved face of a demon at its entrance and the holy pools. Legend has it that the pools were considered to be a fountain of youth. The Mother Temple of Besakih, or Pura Besakih, in the village of Besakih is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Agama Hindu Dharma in Bali. The temple probably dates to the fourteenth century. It was built on the south slopes of Mount Agung, the principal volcano of Bali and is actually a complex made up of twenty-two temples that sit on parallel ridges. It has stepped terraces, and flights of stairs which ascend to a number of courtyards and brick gateways that lead up to the main structure. Gentle treks around Ubud’s rice fields or white water rafting are available for the more adventurous, while interesting dance performances in former palaces, or temple ceremonies depicting the eternal struggle between good and evil play out in Ubud’s mythical Barong and Kris dances. Your tour leader will be more than happy to advise you on how best to use your time.
We transfer to Denpanasar in time for the flight home.
Indonesia comprises 17,508 islands. With a population of around 238 million people, it is the world’s fourth most populous country. Across its many islands, Indonesia consists of distinct ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. The Javanese are the largest – and the politically dominant – ethnic group. This adventure holiday to Indonesia covers rainforests including orang-utans, many different cultures, volcanoes and some amazing beaches.