Right here the modern world is still clawing at the edges of a very traditional one, where lots of people buy food in supermarkets but others hunt it with bows and arrows. On this youngest part of Indonesia very little roads connect the dozen or so towns, and also to travel any distance you need to choose to use the air or the water. In several ways, Papua feels a different country - which is what most Papuans, who are ethnically distinct from other Indonesians. Exploring inside Papua’s interior now will amaze you only with all the charm of the peoples, the resilience of their cultures and the splendour of their landscapes. Nor is awesome every exaggeration for the islands and also beaches all-around Papua’s coasts and the marine life on their own coral reefs. The diversity of life around the Raja Ampat islands, specially, has biologists and scuba divers reaching for ever more original superlatives. Traveling in Papua will be challenging, and never one that comes cheap. But everything you do here is an adventure, and people who take on Papua’s challenge are guaranteed that combination of trepidation and pleasure that only the very best travels are made.

In (blank), (blank) drier months are from May to November, but all the parts of Papua have some rain year-round. December to April sees roughly twice as much rain monthly in every areas - that could be inconvenient and not comfortable but doesn’t make travel impossible. Sorong and the Raja Ampat islands at the tip of the Vogelkop are exceptions to the general pattern , getting their heaviest rain between April and September. The far south is the only area with a proper dry season: Merauke normally receives fewer than 50mm of rain monthly from June to October. Temperatures and humidity are high all year in the lowlands, but it’s cooler in the highlands, and highland nights could be positively cold.

Papua is known as a land of many cultures - those of the 200-plus local peoples and people of all the immigrants from other regions of Indonesia, who dominate inside the cities now composition over 40% of Papua’s population. Papuans are mostly Christian with traditional animism.
Most well-known ethnic groups of Papua:
Amungme, Asmat, Bauzi, Dani, Kamoro, Kombai, Korowai, Mee, Sentani, Yali, Yei

Get to Jakarta, Makassar, Denpasar, Manado or Ambon, and then take an onward domestic flight. Visitors going directly for the Baliem Valley must fly first to Jayapura, that will (blank) served by five airlines from Jakarta and Makassar, and by Garuda from Denpasar. For the Raja Ampat islands, fly to Sorong from Jakarta, Makassar, Ambon or Manado. You can also fly to Manokwari, Biak or Timika from Makassar or Jakarta, and to Fak-Fak from Ambon. Most flights to Papua from Jakarta are overnight, with a small-hours stop in Makassar. The cheapest Jakarta-Jayapura fares at research time, from around 1,500,000Rp one way, were with Batavia Air and Lion Air.

Airfast (
Batavia Air (
Expressair (
Garuda (
Lion Air (
Merpati (
Wings Air (

A few Pelni liners link Papuan ports with Maluku, Sulawesi and Java every two or four weeks. Almost all pass through Sorong, which has six inbound and six outbound sailings every two weeks. Jayapura has five arrivals and departures every two weeks. A few Perintis boats regularly link the north coast of Papua with Sulawesi and northern Maluku, and connect the south coast with southeast Maluku. 


Impossibly natural rice terraces, pulse-pounding surf, wonderful Hindu temple events, mesmerising dancing shows, wide lace of beaches, a truly lovely people: you will find as many images of Bali and there is flowers on the ubiquitous frangipani trees. The small island - it is easy to drive the whole coast in one day - looms large for every trip to Indonesia. No place is more visitor-friendly. Hotels vary from surfer dives and the exciting won't stops to sybaritic retreats in the lush hills. The shopping, from hackneyed baubles to designer duds will put ‘extra bag’ at the top of your list. You are able to have dinner with local foods bursting with flavors fresh from the marketplaces or let a world-class chef take yourself on some culinary journey around the world. From cold Bintang at sunset to an impressive night clubbing, the social whirl is limited only by your own fortitude. So when comes time to relax, you can find a low-cost beach massage or lose your self in the all-day spa.

And even small definitely doesn’t mean homogeneous. Manic Kuta segues into luxurious Seminyak. The artistic swirl of Ubud is a counterpoint to misty journeys among the volcanoes. Calm beach areas like Amed, Lovina and Pemuteran can be found right around the coast and merely offshore is the laid-back idyll of Nusa Lembongan. While you find the beautiful little religious offerings that appear to materialise everywhere like by magic, you’ll see that their little tapestry of colors and textures is a metaphor for Bali itself.

Bali’s culture strips the cliché in the word unique. The variation of Hinduism applied with great fervour is found no place else on this planet and has inspired fervent artistic expressions that charms visitors. People in Bali is actually all Indonesian; 95% are of Balinese Hindu descent and can be identified as ethnic Balinese. The residents are generally from other places of the nation, particularly Java.

You can’t escape from religion in Bali - there re temples in most village, shrines in most ield and offerings made at each corner. The Balinese already had strong religious beliefs and a dynamic cultural life, and the new influences ere simply overlaid on existing practices - hence the peculiar Balinese interpretation of Hinduism. The Balinese worship the same gods as the Hindus of India - the trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu - however they also have a supreme god, Sanghyang Widi. Unlike in India, the trinity is never seen - a vacant shrine or empty throne tells all. Nor is Sanghyang Widi often worshipped, though villagers may pray to him when they have settled new land and are about to build a new village. Other Hindu gods such as Ganesh, Shiva’s elephant-headed son, may occasionally appear, but a great many purely Balinese gods, spirits and entities have far more relevance in everyday life.

The word for temple is pura, which is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘a space surrounded by a wall’. As in so much of Balinese religion, the temples, though nominally Hindu, owe much to the pre-Majapahit era. Their kaja, kelod or kangin (alignment towards the mountains, the sea or the sunrise) is in deference to spirits that are more animist than Hindu.

  • Pura Luhur Ulu Watu ( p291 ), on the Bukit Peninsula, one of Bali’s nine directional temples, with a spectacular cliff-top location.
  • Pura Tirta Empul ( p323 ) at Tampaksaring, renowned for its beauty and nearby springs and bathing pools.
  • Pura Luhur Batukau ( p355 ) on the slopes of Gunung Batukau, with its cool, misty atmosphere.
  • Pura Kehen ( p326 ), state temple of the Bangli kingdom and miniature version of Pura Besakih.
  • Pura Maduwe Karang ( p358 ), near Kubutambahan, an elaborate seaside temple with some surprising carvings.

Many visitors are seduced by the haunting and melodic charms of a dance performance in Ubud, a quintessential Bali experience. Music, dance and drama are closely related in Bali. In fact, dance and drama are synonymous, though some ‘dances’ are more drama and less dance, and others more dance and less drama. Balinese dance tends to be precise, shifting and jerky, like the accompanying gamelan music, which has abrupt shifts of tempo and dramatic changes between silence and crashing noise. There’s virtually no physical contact in Balinese dancing – each dancer moves independently, but every movement of wrist, hand and finger is important. Even facial expressions are carefully choreographed to convey the character of the dance.

Getting There
Ngurah Rai Airport
(DPS) is just south of Kuta, however it is 
sometimes referred to internationally as 
Denpasar (which is 15km north) or on some 
internet flight booking sites as Bali.

International airlines flying to and from Bali:
  • Garuda Indonesia (GA; Map pp298-9 ; %0361-227824;; Jl Sugianyar 5, Denpasar) Serves Australia and major cities in Asia direct.
  • AirAsia (AK; %0361-760116;; ticket office outside international terminal) Serves Kota  Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching in Malaysia, connects to London.
  • Cathay Pacific Airways (CX; %0361-766931; Serves Hong Kong.
  • China Airlines (CI; %0361-754856; Serves Taipei.
  • Eva Air (BR; %0361-751011; Serves Taipei.
  • Japan Airlines (JL; %0361-757077; Serves Tokyo.
  • Jetstar/Qantas Airways (QF; Map p286 ; %0361288331;; Grand Bali Beach Hotel, Sanur) Serves Australia.
  • Korean Air (KE; %0361-768377; Serves Seoul.
  • Lion Air (JT; %0804-177 8899; Serves Singapore.
  • Malaysia Airlines (MH; %0361-764995; Serves Kuala Lumpur.
  • Pacific Blue (DJ; %+61 7 3295 2296; Offshoot of Australia’s Virgin Blue.
  • Singapore Airlines (SQ; Map p270 ; %0361-768388;; GOI Bldg, Airport Parking Lot) Several Singapore flights daily.
  • Thai Airways International ( TG; Map p286 ; %0361288141;; Grand Bali Beach Hotel, Sanur) Serves Bangkok.
Domestic flying to and from Bali:
  • AirAsia (AK; Fast-growing Malaysianbased budget carrier with a web of Indonesian domestic flights.
  • Batavia Air (7P; Serves numerous destinations; has the enigmatic slogan: ‘Trust us to fly’.
  • Garuda Indonesia (GA; The national carrier serves numerous cities.
  • Lion Air (JT; Fast-expanding budget carrier has a web of services across the archipelago; carried the most passengers in 2008.
  • Mandala Airlines (RI; Serves major routes.
  • Merpati Airlines (MZ; Serves many smaller Indonesian cities, in addition to the main ones.
Taxi to/from Airport
  • Denpasar 70,000-90,000Rp
  • Jimbaran 75,000-95,000Rp
  • Kuta Beach 45,000-50,000Rp
  • Legian 55,000-65,000Rp
  • Nusa Dua 95,000-105,000Rp
  • Sanur 95,000Rp
  • Seminyak 70,000-80,000Rp
  • Ubud 195,000-225,000Rp
Many visitors are using bikes around the towns and for day trips in Bali. Ask at your accommodation about where you can rent a good bike; hotels often have their own. Generally, prices range from 20,000Rp to 30,000Rp per day.

Car & Motorcycle
A small Suzuki or Toyota 4WD is the typical rental vehicle in Bali. Typical costs are 150,000Rp to 180,000Rp per day, including insurance and unlimited kilometres but not including fuel. Hiring a car with driver will cost around 350,000Rp to 600,000Rp for an eight- to 10-hour day.

Motorcycles are a popular way to get around Bali, Typically you can expect to pay from around 30,000 to 40,000Rp a day. This includes a flimsy helmet.

Krakatau Travel

Krakatau, one of the most popular of the world’s popular volcanoes, is a name most people knows - but several really know of it's location. Resting in relative peace several 50km from the West Java coast or 40km from Sumatra, the volcano is today a darkness of its former self - a little number of disconnected islands centred on Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau), a volcanic mass that's been on the boil since 1928. The spotlight regarding any trip to Krakatau is rounding Pulau Rakata and first glimpsing the menacing peak of Krakatau’s child.

Krakatau is only reachable by boat. It’s often possible to land about the eastern side of Anak Krakatau, however this is much depending on volcanic activity. If conditions are great, organised tours normally take visitors about 150m in the side of Anak Krakatau. Travelling to the side of the caldera is not advisable - humans have been killed by flying rocks. Always seek qualified advice before you make any trip to the volcano. After Krakatau, tours mostly move on to hike and snorkel on neighbouring islands.

Generally visitors to Krakatau arrive from Carita and the other beach resorts around the west coast of Java. However, Krakatau technically lies in Sumatra’s Lampung province, and will be slightly faster and cheaper to reach Krakatau from the little port of Kalianda, 30km north from the ferry terminal at Bakauheni.

Prices vary depending on expertise of the boat, but always charter a good boat you can pay for. In the rainy season (November to March) you'll find strong currents and bad seas, but even in the dry season strong southeast winds might make the swells and make a crossing inadvisable. Krakatau is usually 90minute trip via Carita using a fast boat if climate is fine. It’s a good oneday trip, but it’s absolutely worth the energy - if you're able to hire a safe boat.

Small fishing boats is probably low-cost, however so can be the tales of travellers who spent the night time, or longer, adrift in high swells. Reliable boats with radios and life jackets start from 1,800,000Rp for a small utility boat (maximum of six persons) and increase close to 3,300,000Rp for faster boats (eight to 10 persons). These can be organised via Carita agents or Marina Lippo in Carita.

Labuan PHKA office phone 801731; 8am-4pm Mon-Fri has information on the volcano..

Pulau Dua Banten

West Java expands in the remote islands from the Ujung Kulon National Park (last Javan home of the one-horned rhino) in the west towards sweeping beaches of Pangandaran in the east. In between, you can go to the infamous offshore volcano of Krakatau, relax in chilled coastal resorts, become familiar with Sundanese tradition in Cianjur and then stroll through Bogor’s lush botanical gardens.

Many visitors simply go straight from Jakarta to Merak on their way to (or from) Sumatra, simply because there’s not much in this region to attract your attention. Came from here you are able to head to the west coast, though, and the historic town of Banten.

Pulau Dua / Pulau Burung Bird Sanctuary
Off the north coast at Banten, Pulau Dua is one of Indonesia’s major bird sanctuaries. The island has a large resident population – mainly herons, storks and cormorants – but the peak time is between March and July, when great numbers of migratory birds flock here for the breeding season.

It’s a half-hour trip by chartered boat from the Karanghantu harbour in Banten, but you can walk across the fish ponds (via bridges) to the island. From Banten, take an angkot 5km east to Sawahluhur village. The trail to the island starts 100m or so before the village and then it’s a hot 1km walk, weaving between the fish ponds – just keep heading for the trees on the horizon. There is a PHKA post with a derelict hut that has bare wooden beds and not much else. If you are planning to stay, bring food and water.


Carita Beach

160 km fro Jakarta, take a bus to Labuan and then an angkot to Carita (5000Rp).To Anyer, an angkot costs 7000Rp. Carita offers a more traditional and laidback sense than Anyer and a certain scruffy charm. This beach is large, and there’s some terrific swimming and some relatively priced accommodation choices. Travels to Krakatau ( opposite ) and Ujung Kulon National Park are best organised here. The hotel Sunset View is the best place for information. Heading north from Labuan port, the usual access point, Carita proper starts around 8km further on

About 2km from Carita across the rice paddies you will see the village of Sindanglaut (End of the Sea), that's the location where the large tsunami of 1883 ended its destructive run. Hutan Wisata Carita is known as a forest reserve with walks over the hills and jungle. Curug Gendang waterfall is the three-hour return hike through the reserve.

Hutan Wisata Carita

Curug Gendal Waterfall

Krakatau diving

Black Rhino - Ujung Kulon

Travel agencies including Black Rhino, close to the Sunset View hotel, can schedule diving (just like Rakata Hotel); two-dive excursions start at 750,000Rp including equipment rental. The perfect diving is in Ujung Kulon National Park, but Krakatau and Pulau Sanghiang are also of interest

Mostly everyone in town will try to peddle you a Krakatau trip. Look at your tour boat first as waves can be rough, and be sure it provides a radio on board. Black Rhino ( above ) and Rakata Hotel receive great reports; after negotiating, day trips to Krakatau start from about 1,800,000Rp. Trips to Ujung Kulon cost from US$280 per person for four days and three nights; overnight trips to Badui villages start at US$150.

Sunset View (r 85,000Rp, with air-con 150,000Rp; a) The cheapest option on this stretch, though the small, poky rooms could do with a really good scrub.

Rakata Hotel (r 90,000Rp, with air-con & TV 175,000Rp; a) Another inexpensive option, the Rakata offers reasonably priced rooms, though tariffs jump on weekends. The restaurant serves up good seafood and tours can be set up here.

Carita Baka Baka (r from 160,000Rp, family bungalows from 450,000Rp; a) It’s looking a bit weary these days, and maintenance is not what it should be, but this midrange place has an idyllic spot right on the beach and is surrounded by palm trees. Rates double at weekends. 

Mutiara Carita (www.mutiara-carita .com; r from 450,000Rp, cottages from 800,000Rp; as) Stylish rooms and thatched cottages, some with beachfront aspects, in a large, leafy complex that has a tennis court, pool tables (and, unfortunately, karaoke). The kids’ facilities and activities are excellent here.

Krakatau Surf Carita (villas from 635,000Rp; as) This place has three classes of well-constructed, attractive detached bungalows (with either two or four bedrooms) right on the beach, with a view of the crashing surf. Prices rise by 30% on weekends. Add 21% tax to room rates.

Valentine Restaurant (meals from 30,000Rp) Carita has scores of inexpensive local places that specialise in fish and seafood, but for a smarter setting head to this elegant place, opposite the Krakatau Surf, which has a long menu of meat and fish dishes. 

Pulau Bidadari, Jakarta

A popular destination for locals and expats alike lies only kilometres from the polluted harbour of Jakarta. Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands), a string of islands in Teluk Jakarta (Jakarta Bay), is the perfect respite for those stuck in the capital too long.

No matter what the misleading name, you will find entirely 130 islands within the group, and also these, 37 are used for commercial purposes. Pulau Pramuka is the group’s district centre, most people live on Pulau Kelapa, which is certainly about 15km north of Jakarta. Close to Pulau Kelapa, Pulau Panjan is the only airstrip in the islands.

Many accessible islands are already developed into resorts with bungalows plus water sports. Most of these are pricey by Indonesian standards and cost high weekend supplements. The fact that said, they greatly have white-sand beaches and quiet, clear seas (aside from the islands close to the mainland).

This resorts now have offices in Jakarta or at the Ancol Marina (Taman Impian Jaya Ancol) for bookings. And also booking through their respective offices, you can take reservations from the Jakarta Visitor Information Office, allowing for better comparisons.

Getting There & Around
The resorts already have daily speedboats from Jakarta’s Ancol Marina for visitors and day tourists, mostly departing among 8am and 11am and coming back among 2pm and 5pm, with additional services on weekends. Some are just a 20-minute trip away, however the farthest islands take around two hours to reach. Return day-trip prices to the resorts with lunch include Pulau Bidadari (240,000Rp), Pulau Ayer (314,000Rp), Pulau Sepa (618,000Rp) and Pulau Kotok (850,000Rp). Gray Line has also day trips to the islands. Locals will ferry you from one island to another location (but this could be pricey). Most islands are small enough to simply explore by walking. 

Pulau Bidadari
Is nearest resort island and is popular with Jakarta residents for day trips. Its one of the least interesting resorts, but you can use it to go to other islands like Pulau Kahyangan, Pulau Kelor (which has the wrecks of the old Dutch fort), or Pulau Onrust (where the remains of the 18th-century shipyard can be explored). Boats could be hired for your short trip from Pulau Bidadari for 50,000Rp per hour.

The island’s resort (per person incl full board from 454,000Rp) includes a various simple cottages and sports facilities, and can be booked at Ancol Marina. 

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