Not all that many years ago, most people thought doing something out of the ordinary like climbing a volcano or sleeping in a traditional round house in a remote village was something that only the truly daring and really intrepid did. We sat glued to BBC documentaries and it never occurred to us that ordinary people like ourselves could visit the places and see the things they brought to life on our TV scenes. These days we’re a far more connected world. Through sites like this, bloggers and various other media, travellers around the world are sharing information, sharing experiences and finding out just how easy it is to have their very own adventure holiday.
People are shaking off standard fare package holidays and looking for something a little bit different. Being stuck on the same beach in a nameless resort simply doesn't offer them the excitement and fun that they’re after from a vacation. Instead, they want to inject a little adventure into their lives. They want to truly experience a foreign culture. They want to see for themselves what it is like to trek through a jungle or swim with manta rays. They want to experience something new and create memories that last a lifetime.
Due to its sheer beauty and endless variety, there is no better country in the world for adventure travel than Indonesia. It’s safe and welcoming and relatively cheap. It’s a country that lets you explore your limits and challenge your comfort zone, but only if you want to.
Away from the main centres like Bali and Lombok, rickety local buses, basic homestay accommodation, local style food and non-English speaking locals are the norm rather than the exception. But with a bit of planning, a little flexibility, a phrase book and a few words of Bahasa Indonesia, most people find they can travel around quite independently. For others, an organised adventure tour where all the hard stuff is taken care of for them is a better option. Alternatively, consider engaging your very own guide who not only knows his way around, will arrange transport, accommodation, activities and be your translator.
Age is no barrier to adventure travel either. Many retirees head to Indonesia in order to tick items off their bucket list. Who doesn't want to see orangutans in the wild or visit an island where the famous Komodo dragons roam? At the other end of the spectrum, Indonesia is a great place for family adventure travel. What a great family experience sleeping in a longhouse in a traditional village. Imagine your child’s joy when they find a starfish in the shallows. Indonesians love children and feel proud that parents want to bring their children to experience their country. I’ve lost count of the amount of times our children have been asked to pose for photos with delighted locals.
The most important thing is to work out what you want to get out of your holiday to Indonesia and plan accordingly. Bali is a great introduction to Indonesia and the main gateway to the rest of the island archipelago but most tourists make the mistake of never travelling further afield. If you’re after a meaningful cultural experience, then two weeks in Bali is not the thing to do! Spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere and the local Hindu culture then head to Kalimantan (Borneo) and spend some time with the Dayak people or witness for yourself the strange hanging coffins of the Toraja people of Sulawesi.
If adrenaline activities are more your style, try white water rafting in Sumatra, climb a volcano in Flores or go caving in Java. In some remote area simply getting from A to B can be an adventure in itself. You could easily find yourself sharing a bus with smiling locals and the odd chicken!
Life is a great adventure. Enjoy it!