Our one week Indonesia itinerary
Indonesia really is a magical place, we only visited for a week but that was enough to make us want to go back there for a lot longer. If you’ve read the first part of our Bali one week itinerary post then you’ll know we crammed a lot into 7 days, visiting a whopping 5 places in that time. It was a hectic week, far from the relaxing beach holiday we had originally planned. If you’re looking for more inspiration for a trip to Indonesia, look no further, here’s the rest of what we got up to in the week!
We were hoping to have hundreds of amazing photos to share with you all but, regrettably, we left our hard drive on the plane and lost about 90% of our favourites. I’ll be writing up a heart breaking post about what to do if you’re ever in the same situation but for now, enjoy this post with a small selection of what we have left.
Day 3 continued – Nusa Penida/Lembongan
After an amazing Day at Nusa Penida, this whirlwind tour of Indonesia felt like a dream. Ticking more off our bucket list than we realised we were on a high and didn’t want to leave this tiny Island. We joined the locals again and caught the boat back to Nusa Lembongan (included in our booking), we still had the evening to explore what else this side of the Island had to offer and we weren’t going to waste it. After we watched the sunset again and took a lot of photos (yup…huge sad face here…) we headed back to where our taste buds tingle. There are so many bars and restaurants across the bridge on Nusa Ceningan that we were spoilt for choice, so we opted to bar hop, trying the different cocktails and juices from each.
Our time on the Nusa trio came to an end way too quickly. Next time we’re going to give ourselves a good few days, Nusa Penida especially as it has a lot more to offer besides Kelingking beach.
So our top tip for these Islands is to stay as long as you can. We didn’t even touch the other side of Nusa Lembongan but that’s just an excuse to come back; if we even need one.
Day 4 – Gili Air
We originally thought we would have to leave Nusa Lembongan, head back to mainland Bali and catch a boat to the Gili three from there. We realised that wasn’t the case while still in Ubud and booked a space on the Blue Water Express fast ferry…
DO NOT book with Blue Water Express;
Their processing is very different from your usual online booking and their customer service is poor. Here’s what happened to us. We completed our booking and were told we’d hear back within 48 hours, no money to be taken until after confirmation. Simple and easy, we continued our trip but once we reached Nusa Lembongan – 3 days later – we realised we still hadn’t had a confirmation. We tried contacting them and their offices were always closed no matter what time we called so we emailed them.
Luckily John, the Airbnb Manager at Poh Manis, was able to organise us another direct boat (cheaper) with a different company. We booked that and tried one last time to call Blue Water Express, still no answer. In the end, we resorted to emailing them to cancel and explained that they’d failed to confirm 24 hours prior to our booking so we expected no money to be taken. Low and behold, less than 12 hours before we were due to board money was taken from our account and our booking was confirmed. We THEN got an email saying that due to our late cancellation we wouldn’t be receiving our refund. Ok so long story short we did get our money back, but we had to argue it and want you to avoid nearly losing out on your money too…
Anyway – rant over. Chalk it to experience.
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So John had helped us organise a different company, who was actually cheaper, and even gave us a lift down to the harbour so we didn’t have to carry all our bags. We had to catch a little boat from the main ‘harbour’ by Yellow Bridge and then join a bigger ferry that was waiting for us just off the coast. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the company but they have an office right near the bridge. This company was so well organised, everyone was given a sticker and luggage tag saying where they were heading. These bigger slow boats go to several stops before reaching the Gili Islands so it was good to see some form of organisation. The boat was air conditioned inside, the offered cheap snacks throughout the journey and even played a film, it wasn’t the quickest option but I’m confident it was the most comfortable.
Arriving at Gili Air
Gili Air is such a small Island, it’s only a 15-minute walk across the Island so we opted to walk to our next Air B+B, despite him offering to organise us a horse and cart. That’s the only mode of transport available on Gili Air, besides push bikes.
From the moment we stepped off the boat this Island spoke to us, with no cars or scooters in sight it was a huge change from the previous Islands. It felt peaceful but busy, though that could be due to it being more than half the size.
We wound our way through the little streets, watching the horses trot past with their carts carrying locals and tourists. For the number of horses on Gili Air, there was very little horse poop in the streets too! I still find it funny that this was one of the first things we noticed haha.
It’s possible that our Gili Air accommodation was the cutest place we’ve stayed in for the whole trip, with its thatched roof and big open ceiling we felt very close to nature. Especially when we found the biggest Gecko we’ve ever seen in our room the following morning! How cool is that!
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Once we were settled in we took a stroll around the Island to get our bearings, it might not be a massive place but it’s always good to have a rough idea where you are. There are so many places to eat along the beach here that we had a hard time choosing! Almost every place looked busy and they all smelt amazing so we suggest trying somewhere new each night, you’ll never be short of options.
These were our guests for our stay. Every night the Gecko sang to us, and every morning the kitten greeted us for breakfast.
Day 5 – Boat trip around Gili 3
This was my all-time favourite day trip of the whole week. Yes, Nusa Penida was stunning and really was a highlight, but our 5th day in Indonesia was a personal triumph for me and one I’ll never forget.
We’d heard about how amazing the snorkelling/diving opportunities are around the Gili Trio and if you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll know I’m obsessed with wildlife spotting. What you don’t know, is I’m also terrified of the ocean. Just getting boats can be a nerve-wracking experience for me so snorkelling isn’t something that I think about lightly. I’ll be doing an in-depth, more personal post about the whole day but let’s just say I did it and I’m hella proud of myself!
One of the very few photos we managed to save – Fish and Sea Urchins resting on an old stone anchor.
When you walk around Gili Air, you’ll notice that every other shack is offering some sort of snorkelling tour or diving experience. Feel free to ‘shop about’ for a company you feel comfortable with but just know, you don’t need to worry about being ripped off here as every company charges the same, it also wouldn’t surprise me if all the ‘small’ companies are umbrella’d from one big company. We paid IRD$100,000 PP (That’s the equivalent to AUS$95, US£$70, £50) for the full day snorkelling, this included around 6 snorkelling spots and a stop on Gili Meno for lunch (this may vary for each company).
So what can you expect from your snorkelling stops?
You can almost guarantee to see Turtles at one or more drop off, the famous underwater statues as well as tonnes of brightly coloured fish. Unfortunately, the coral in this area is suffering from a similar bleaching spell to the Great Barrier Reef so a lot of it is white and void of its vibrant colouration but it’s still beautiful.
Declan swimming down to see the Turtles. We saw 4 on this trip.
Top tip: Be Careful in the shallower waters, there’s a lot of sea anemones and also stone fish; both of which you do not want to be standing on. Make use of the free flippers and watch where you’re putting your hands.
After an unforgettable day, we spent our final evening exploring further and taking photos around the Island. One of the bars on the seafront had a fire display so we stopped there for dinner. Deciding to celebrate our amazing trip almost coming to an end we stayed here for most of the evening drinking Blue Lagoons and soaking in this Islands magical atmosphere but as with all good things, it had to end.
Day 6 – Back to Bali, Ubud
We booked our boat back from Gili Air through our next, and final, Air B+B host. For IRD700,000 we got a boat from Gili Air to Padang Bay and a transfer from Padang Bay to Ubud. Now that was an experience and a half!
Up until this point we hadn’t experienced any sort of hassle from the taxi men or other street vendors. So what we were faced with getting off the boat at Pedang was truly overwhelming for me when really, it should have been expected.
You can find a full round up of how much Bali could cost you in this post.
As we approached the harbour we started to collect our belongings and make our way to the exit, when I saw outside the door my little heart dropped and I clutched Decs T-shirt as he approached the door.
What looked like hundreds of men, all crowded around the door, grabbing at tourists as they got off the boat, ‘helping’ them to land then waving fake tickets in their faces trying to convince people they were there to collect them. Shouting random hotel and place names in the hope that someone would be gullible enough to listen…
They’re persistent and clever so here are our tips on getting through the mad crowd without being scammed:
Grab your luggage as soon as you get off the boat, DO NOT let someone carry it for you.
Keep hold of your transfer ticket, DO NOT let anyone ‘have a closer look’. From experience, they’ll walk off with it so you have to follow them to their car.
Listen out for your name, your transfer will be calling you by your FULL NAME. That’s how you’ll know it’s the right one. They should also have a copy/the other half of your ticket
Know how long the journey should be and ask them to clarify BEFORE getting in the car/bus. One person told us our journey will take 3-4 HOURS! When it was actually only 1.5.
If in doubt, just keep walking. The boat offices are just passed the harbour and staff there will be able to help you, the transfer waited almost an hour to ensure it had everyone. Staff also helped ‘fight off’ some of the scammers.
We didn’t let this spoil what an amazing week in Indonesia we’d had though and by keeping our wits about us we made it to the coach relatively unscathed. 1.5 hours later we arrived at our next Air B+B to enjoy one final night, repack everything and finally relax before catching our flight early on day 7.
If you decide to stay in the area for longer, why not check out some of Balis beautiful waterfalls?
All in all our week in Indonesia was incredible, I really can’t say it enough. It was a holiday we’ll never forget and a destination that has rocketed to the top of our ‘to-do’ list after Australia. I never thought I’d be as surprised by a place like I was Indonesia. I can’t wait to indulge in their culture and beautiful scenery some more soon I hope!!
Don’t forget to check out part one of our Indonesia Itinerary!
Have you been to Indonesia? Where was your favourite place! We’d love to know about it!
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