Why I’m going to Indonesia

My three days on top of the Pyrenees at Can Rigall
October 6, 2012
14 Hours in Bordeaux
October 21, 2012

Why I’m going to Indonesia

My Europe Trip is being put on temporary hold—and for good reason. I’ve been invited to join a group of international travel bloggers for a two-week trip sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. In my previous trips to Southeast Asia, I visited much of Indochina, Thailand, and Malaysia—but never made it as far south as Indonesia.

The itinerary includes five destinations:

Tanjung Putting—This National Park is located on the southern side of Borneo, which the Indonesians call Kalimantan. The park was created to protect the forest and its wildlife, including the most famous—the orangutan. We’ll be boating up a river and jungle trekking to three orangutan camps.

Borobudur & Yogyakarta –Borobudur Temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument. It was built in the 9th century and was rediscovered in 1815 buried under volcanic ash. Yogyakarta is the cradle of civilization on Java and a center of culture.

Bromo—Mt. Bromo is known for its magnificent views and spectacular landscape. It isn’t the tallest mountain in Indonesia, but its setting is dramatic and an opportunity to peer into an active volcano is priceless. A sunrise from Bromo is unforgettable.

Komodo Island—These gigantic lizards are two to three meters in length and are an endangered species found only on the three islands of Komodo National Park. They are the famous Komodo Dragons. Their habitat is one of savannas, rain forests, white beaches, and beautiful corals. The surrounding sea is one of the world’s best diving sites.

Bali –This island was world-famous long before the Eat-Pray-Love period. Beaches, surfing, unique Hindi culture, and an incredibly lush landscape make this the most popular tourist destination. It’s not typically Indonesian, but no trip to Indonesia is complete without a stop in Bali.

Indonesia—the Basics to Know

Indonesia is an archipelago nation made up of over 17,000 islands. The main islands are Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi, and Papua. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country on earth and the 4th most populous of all (after China, India, and the United States). 65% of Indonesians live on Java—making it one of the most densely populated places in the world (think 135 million living in a space the size of Greece).

Indonesia is the new sleeping giant of Asia. China and India are now world industrial and military powers. Brazil’s booming economy has been all over the international news. But watch out for Indonesia. It’s a resource-rich country, 215 million strong. Most of the world is not paying attention.

Getting the Stories

I don’t typically travel in groups or on trips with fixed itineraries. Many times the best travel stories come from the adventures of traveling independently and from the result of uncontrollable circumstances.

I recently visited a friend in Switzerland who had traveled in Indonesia the previous year. He spent a few weeks on Sulawesi, a remote and large island east of Borneo. He told stories of being held up by the impassible roads caused by the downpours of the rainy season. This led him to remain put in isolated villages for extended periods of time.

Bad weather, mistakes, failures, unforeseen conditions, and risk make up the basic ingredients of a good travel story. For this trip, I will unlikely see these conditions. But I still hope to bring to you the culture, people, food, wildlife and landscape of Wonderful Indonesia.

Follow the International Bloggers Trip

If you are not following me on Facebook, do “like” my page in order to get micro-updates and interesting snippets from this trip as well as my continued travels. On Twitter, I’m @BohemianTrav and we’ll be updating with the #travel2indonesia hashtag. Indonesia tourism will also be running a giveaway later in the month.

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine GoMadNomad.com. He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. Noel says:

    Hope you are having a great time in Indonesia. Although it’s just across the border but I’ve yet to go there. Am looking forward to getting there in the near future 🙂

  2. Ayngelina says:

    I have never been to Indonesia, interested to hear what you think of it.

  3. Carol Reiley says:

    Hi Steve:

    So happy to hear you are going to enjoy the
    wonderful and diverse country of Indonesia.
    Having lived there for over a year, I still
    miss it and keep current with happenings there.

    In Bali you will find a most warm and welconing
    people who are extremely talented in the arts.
    Painters, carvers, silversmiths, dancers, name it
    and Bali provides them all. Be certain to visit
    Ubud, the city that is the center for Art in Bali.
    Classes in Indonesian cooking might be an enjoyable
    “to do” for you. I took classes in Ubud and as the
    only American, thoroughly emjoyed the other participants
    from 10 different nations.
    Whatever you do, have fun!

  4. Pernilla says:

    I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Indonesia and I’m very interested in hearing your stories. I’ve only made it to Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan so far, but absolutely fell in love, and I’m longing to explore more of of the many islands.

  5. I am very glad you took the time to visit Indonesia tourism.

    I hope this is not the last visit. Since there are many attractions such as Raja Ampat and uniqueness yogyakarta

    successful greetings

  6. Hi stephen, glad you had chance visiting my home country, I was googling for travel blogger who visited Indonesia and your blog was appeared.
    You have excellent travel blog here, do you mind if I request a link back of my blog : The Traveling Cows at your Travel Links page?.
    thank you so much

  7. eko wiyono says:

    wow,,, iam ussually going to bromo mountain, but not brong cameras or computer because iam more happy if picnic just picnic. Am blogger too but at home 🙂
    happy blogging guys

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