In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #30: Indonesia. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #30: Indonesia
Blog post on Indonesia
- Complete Jeju Island, Beijing, Taiwan, and Indonesia Spending Breakdown
- A Complete Guide to Doing the One Day Komodo Dragon Island Tour (21+ Pictures)
My trip to Indonesia began when I landed at Bali Airport. And, the line-up at this airport is insane! Every tourist and their mom must go to Bali for a vacation.
I go outside and withdrew some money from the ATMs and to my surprise, many of the machines ran out of money. I had to walk around the different ATMs until I found one that finally gave me some money.
Then, I tried bargaining with taxis to take me to my hostel and they’re all trying to price gouge me. One thing is for certain, regardless of which country you visit, taxi drivers are always trying to scam you. This is why I don’t feel bad that Uber is taking their job away.
Eventually, I find one that would take my price and he drove me to my hostel. The taxi driver was an angry fellow and kept screaming at other drivers. I was happy when I got off the ride and got myself situated in my hostel.
I stayed in a hostel called “Low-Cost Bed & Breakfast”. Usually, when I stay at hostels, I’m in for an unpleasant surprise. But, this hostel in Bali, it’s a rare pleasant surprise. The freaking room looks like a hotel room and I got the whole place to myself!
I just finished my trip to South Korea, and China at this point, and all my laundry was filthy. While I do have a scrubba bag that I can use to do my own laundry, I just didn’t feel like scrubbing my clothes on that day. So, I decided to venture into the streets and find food and a place that can wash my laundry and have it dry by the next morning.
After checking a few shops, I found one place that said they’ll do their best to have my clothes done before I fly to Labuan Bajo. And they kept their promise! The next day, my clothes were basically dry (some were a little damp) and I had fresh new clothes to wear to continue my journey to Labuan Bajo.
Flight to Labuan Bajo
My hostel offered a great price to drive me back to the airport. I really loved that hostel. Before long, I was in the Bali airport again and this time, I will be flying on Nam Air which I paid about $65 CAD for one way.
The plane ride itself was fine and we even got a piece of bread to snack on. However, the guy beside me was weird as hell. He kept gripping on the seat armrest so tight and shaking. I think he was frightened of flying.
When we landed, I was trying to figure out the best way to get a taxi. A Canadian girl was also looking for someone to take her to her hostel which happened to be the same as mine. We decided to team up to split the cost of the taxi ride.
We stayed in a hostel called Bajo Nature Backpackers which is a really good hostel. I highly recommend it.
Negotiating for Komodo Dragon tour
Karly (the Canadian backpacker) and I decided to team up and find a tour company we can go with to visit Komodo Dragon Island. After talking to several companies who were all offering different prices, we finally settled with the one that charged us 400,000 IDR ($43 CAD) for an all-day tour. I heard prices have gone up quite a bit since I last went.
After we secured our Komodo Dragon Island trip, Karly and I met another backpacker who travelled with us to explore Labuan Bajo. We explored some areas that were under construction and just watched the sunset. We ended the evening by eating some grilled fish street food together which was very good.
Bright and early the next day, we boarded the boat and began our trip. Karly, myself, and a wealthy Chinese Indonesian boarded the boat to start our tour. Apparently, the wealthy Chinese Indonesian paid 1,500,000 IDR for this trip ($145 CAD) which is more than triple what we paid. There are definitely a lot of scams here in Indonesia.
The boat trip was incredibly scenic. I couldn’t believe how beautiful Indonesia is and all these islands.
The crew members were really friendly as well. But, one bad habit I noticed when you travel to Muslim countries is that they all love smoking. That part I hated because they kept smoking during the entire duration of the trip.
Our first stop is Padar Island. Basically, it’s this super picturesque island where tourists go hiking. There was a bunch of Russian tourists here when we arrived and they acted very obnoxiously like those reality tv show people.
The hike itself was pretty brutal because of the sun’s heat. My skin felt like burning and my eyes were hurting on the way up. But, I have no regrets because the view is just so spectacular. I love this place.
Komodo Dragon Island
After Padar Island, our next destination is Komodo Dragon Island. Unfortunately, the scams continued on as we were forced to pay 330,000 IDR ($35 CAD) when the website price says it’s 150,000 IDR ($14.50 CAD). Frustrating enough, we knew we were getting scammed but they wouldn’t budge. There was no way they would let us in the park if we didn’t cough up the money so we reluctantly did.
Damn corrupt assholes, I hate them.
Regardless, Komodo Dragon Island did not disappoint. It’s one of the best places I’ve been to in the world. I would even argue it’s my number one favourite of all Seven Wonders of Nature.
We got really lucky because we saw two Komodo Dragons right when our hike started.
As we trekked through the island jungle, we saw more Komodo dragons walking on the trail.
And upon returning to the beach, many huge Komodo Dragons frequented the houses nearby. These lizards are freaking huge. It’s amazing to see them. My only wish was to see them eat their prey but I think they were taking an afternoon relaxation break during that time period.
After the amazing adventure in Komodo Dragon Island, we went to the pink beach next to see…you guessed it, the pink beach. The locals were annoyed that tourists were stealing the pink sands in the beach but they didn’t seem to enforce preventing the tourists from taking them.
I was scared to snorkel in the deepwater so I asked them to take me to the beach directly to go snorkeling. But, I didn’t snorkel long because the weather started to look bad really quickly. Immediately, I asked the canoe person to take me back to our boat and as we arrived, a heavy rain downed on us.
While we were hiding in our boat while it was pouring hard, we took the time to eat our meal that was included in the tour. The food was cooked by then and it wasn’t appetizing anymore but what can you do.
When the rain subsided, we went to our final destination which is Manta point to see the manta rays. I love sea creatures and were excited to them swim around. I was scared to jump in the deep water so I stayed on the boat and watched the manta rays from above. For some reason, I have this fear of swimming in deep water even though I’m decent at swimming. This is a fear I need to get over eventually.
Scary boat ride back
The boat ride back to Labuan Bajo was pretty scary. Strong waves started hitting us and the water became rough. We saw many boats that looked like they were about to topple over. And, the boat operator started chain-smoking like crazy to deal with the stress of navigating us back to shore.
The rich Indo-Chinese guy was shivering in fear the entire time as I looked on the horizon. Strangely, I felt calm during the entire time and so did Karly. I’m one of those weird people that feel calm during chaotic times and feel anxious when things are calm.
By the time we made it back to shore, I had enough adventures for the day. I got some more yummy street food and rested in the hostel.
The next day, Karly and I flew out of Labuan Bajo and back to Bali. Karly was having a lot of bad luck on this day. First, she booked her trip on a wrong day so they had to quickly amend it to see if they had a seat on the plane for her.
By the time we arrived in Bali, the ATM machine decided not to give her any money when she took money out. Karly freaked out and called her bank in Canada and they told her that no money was taken out.
I said goodbye to her at this point as we went our separate ways and off I went to my hotel and Karly to her next destination.
Indonesia was such an amazing adventure travel destination. I will definitely go back one day to explore more places. I normally don’t go back to places I’ve been to before but Indonesia is an exception. One day, I want to visit East Java and hike the volcanoes and I want to visit Western Papua as well.
And I won’t rule out returning to Labuan Bajo one day to further explore the other islands nearby.
Indonesia is an awesome country with lots of corruption. But, if you come mentally prepared that some asshat is going to come scam you, then you can enjoy travelling Indonesia and see their amazing landscapes and nature.