With its more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia was not actually high on my travel list. Aside from Bali, Borobudur, Jakarta, and Raja Ampat, I knew nothing else about the archipelago. But when the opportunity came to know more about Indonesia, I jumped right in and said hell yes!
I was invited by the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia for the September leg of the Trip of Wonders along with 39 other Southeast Asian influencers. The trip started in Jakarta. And had us exploring Bandung, Yogyakarta, Lombok, and Labuan Bajo. With the trip ending with a farewell dinner in Bali.
Here’s an overview of our 12 days going around the 4 destinations while experiencing the beauty and diversity of Wonderful Indonesia.
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Day 1: Manila to Jakarta
After landing at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, we were whisked by bus to our hotel. It felt like being back home, with the busy streets of Jakarta reminding me of Manila. Mercure Sabang Hotel was our home for the night. A chic 4-star hotel with an ideal location in the heart of Jakarta.
Kickoff dinner was at Penang Bistro. It is also where we met the Indonesia team that will be going with us. As well as the participants from Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It was a night of introductions and awkward conversations as we tried to get to know each other. 🙂
Day 2: Jakarta to Bandung
Our official first day for the Trip of Wonders had us waking up early to catch the KA Argo Parahyangan train in Jakarta’s Gambir station. It took three hours and a half with beautiful window views to get to Bandung.
The lunch stop was at NuArt Sculpture Park’s restaurant. We also got the chance to go to the galleries and workshops as well as meet the artist himself, Mr. Nyoman Nuarta.
We stayed at Sheraton Bandung Hotel and Towers during our stay in Bandung.
Day 3: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
First stop for the day was at Armor Kopi where we got to experience their famous coffee and Indonesian snacks like Cireng and Pisang Goreng.
Day 4: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
Bandung is known as the shopping mecca of Indonesia. One cannot leave Bandung without at least window shopping in its famous malls like Rumah Mode and Paris van Java.
We chilled for a bit and had lunch at Vanilla Kitchen restaurant before taking our flight to Yogyakarta via Bandung’s Husein Sastranegara International Airport.
Day 5: Yogyakarta (Jogjakarta), Java, Indonesia
The early call time this day was all worth it because of the beautiful sunrise in Borobudur. Closely followed by breakfast at Stupa Restaurant by Plataran. Cycling (horse cart riding in my case) followed next. With batik and pottery making at Warung Kopi Borobodur capping off our morning.
Lunch at Pendopo Onthel Tingal, Desa Wanurejo treated us to a local menu with an interesting traditional dance.
Royal Hi-Tea ceremony and hotel tour at Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel took up most of our afternoon. Afterward, we rode to Ratu Boko for the sunset. Omah Dhuwur Restaurant had a delectable local menu prepared for us for dinner which we truly enjoyed.
Day 6: Yogyakarta to Lombok
To reach Lombok, we had to transit in Bali via I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. We flew via Garuda Indonesia for both flights, Yogyakarta to Bali and Bali to Lombok.
It was Moroccan cuisine for lunch at El Bazar, Kuta, Lombok. Before heading off to the fascinating Sasak Sade Village. We were welcomed with a musical performance and traditional dances before going around the village.
The open lobby of Golden Tulip Hotel in Mataram took us by surprise, where we stayed for our 2 days stay in Lombok.
Day 7: Gili Islands (Tiga Gili)
We spent the whole day exploring, swimming and snorkeling in Gili Trawangan and Gili Air, with lunch in Villa Ombak.
Day 8: Lombok to Labuan Bajo
Early call time again to catch our connecting flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo. This time, we flew via Garuda and Kalstar. Lunch at Treetop gave us our first taste of Labuan Bajo before checking in at La Prima Hotel.
Sunset at Paradise Bar turned out to be magical, where the influencers had a grand time taking photos and videos at the open area of the bar.
Day 9 – 10: Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
We spent two days island hopping in the Komodo archipelago. From watching the Komodo Dragons in Komodo Island and Rinca Island, swimming and snorkeling in Pink Beach, Kanawa Island, and Kelor Island, and hiking Padar Island for the picturesque view at the summit. It may be tiring, but we sure as hell enjoyed every minute of it.
Day 11: Labuan Bajo to Bali
We left Labuan Bajo for Bali with a heavy heart, promising to come back as soon as we can. Lunch at Warung Eropa in Seminyak introduced us to Crispy Duck before we checked in at the jaw-dropping Alila Seminyak.
The Trip of Wonders’ farewell dinner was also held in Alila Seminyak, where we also had the best pork ribs in town.
Day 12: Alila Seminyak, Bali
We spent our remaining hours in Alila Seminyak enjoying its facilities especially the breakfast buffet and its four swimming pools. All faces the sea, two of which are infinity pools.
12 days was surely not enough to cover a lot of what Indonesia has to offer. But those awesome 12 days was definitely enough to guarantee that I’ll be coming back to Indonesia in the near future!
Disclosure: I was invited by the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia for Wonderful Indonesia‘s Trip of Wonders 2016 but as always, all opinions are my own.
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