Here it is! After postponing this trip last year, we are finally going to Indonesia and it will be epic. Our last huge adventure was Africa in 2012, and though we’ve been to some cool places since then (Turkey, Iceland, Spain, Japan and Brazil) none since then have pushed our limits.
To celebrate, we’re donning a new tagline. Our first was “Sampling noodles all over the planet” and the second was “Making Cancer fun since 2004.”. Our new tagline, authored by Amanda is “Going all of the places!” Indeed we are.
Indonesia is a 20 day journey – shorter than our longest trip but what promises to be our hardest adventure. Here it is…
Day 1 Travel to Hong Kong: I opted for a paid flight (less than $950 each) and saved our frequent flyer miles for future travel on routes that are more expensive. But it came with an overnight stay in Hong Kong both ways. The 16.5 hour flight from Dallas to Hong Kong will be our longest segment ever.
Day 2 Hong Kong overnight: A quick stop in a place worthy of more time. We’ll have just enough time to sample some food, see the city from the peak, and sleep horizontally before continuing our journey to Bali and finally Lombok, Indonesia.
Day 3 Ascend Mt. Rinjani: Beginning a sea level, we ascend Mt. Rinjani, the third highest peak in SE Asia, and one of the worlds most beautiful volcanos. Six hours of hike takes us from jungle to highland, finally to the rocky cold rim of the crater lake at 11,000 feet.
Day 4 Rinjani Peak: Hiking to the 13,000 foot peak takes 6 hours up and back, and is sandy most of the way. To make it by dawn, we’ll start at 3am. Most likely the kids will stay behind for this one, which is great for the record books, less so for the legs. Afterward, we hike down to the craterlake, and rest our legs in the hot springs.
Day 5 Descent and Gili Meno: Over the other side we return to Sembalun, a small town on the base on Mt. Rinjani. A 4×4 vehicle will take us across the island to the port, at which we will find or charter a boat to Gili Meno.
Day 6-8 Gili Islands: The Gili Islands are small islands off Lombok with pristine beaches and an abundence of laid-back charm. None are big enough to have roads. We might do some scuba diving here, but we might just spend the whole damn time on the beach resting our legs.
Day 9 Onward to Flores: The next big island to Lombok is Flores but we have to travel back to Bali first to get there. Our real destination isn’t the unremarkable port city of Labujan Bajo, but Komodo Island off Flores.
Day 10-13 Sailing and Scuba: Before we touchdown on komodo, we will spend 4 days scuba diving the reefs around Komodo and Rinca, one of the top dive areas on the planet. Our home? A large sailboat and crew devoted only to us. We’ll spend the entire time on the boat diving several times a day.
Day 14 Komodo hike: Our final day begins early on the closest thing to a real jurassic park: Komodo Island and it’s eponymous monitor lizards. We’ll grab a ranger (and spear) before hiking acros the island early on a Komodo safari. By nightfall we’ve flown back to Bali for a quick overnight.
Day 15 Ancient Java: From Bali to the Jogjakarta airport we fly and then go straight to the Jomblang cave, a deep mud-covered depression in which we each have to be lowered by rope. Mud-covered, we’ll arrive afterward at a Hyatt resort I got for $50/day.
Day 16 Borobudur: The third largest bhuddest temple complex in SE Asia (after Angkor Wat and Bagan) is here in Jogjakarta and we’ll meet it at sunrise, where the lifting mists make the place magical. At night we’ll see the Ramayana Ballet, a traditional dance reeacting the story of Rama and Shinta outdoors at ancient shiva temples.
Day 17-19 Ubud in Bali: Last, and perhaps least after the high impact travel, will be central Bali’s Ubud region for a few days of relative quiet. Ubid is a cultural and food center, with lots of ex-pat food places, rice paddies to explore and theater performances. On our last day we depart for Hong Kong.
Day 20 Overnight in Hong Kong: this one is shorter and may not involve any special activities. With the time change we are back the same day before midnight east coast time.