Indonesia stands as one of the world’s leading surf destinations, not just for its killer breaks, but also for its laid-back lifestyle. The region is a major destination for Western beach bums to catch some waves, chill seaside, and enjoy the picturesque tropical views. With the exception of the cost of a flight, vacationing in Indonesia is also way cheap, with the Indonesian Rupiah exchanging at a rate of less than 1 percent of the dollar. If you are thinking about venturing to this water sport friendly island chain, you may want to check out a few of the following spots while you’re there:
From Balangan to Uluwatu, Bali’s south shore boasts some of the world’s most beautiful reef breaks, but the tiny island also offers unique snorkeling opportunities with sea life richer than the Caribbean. Visitors can also check out the various temples and wildlife, like at the Ubud Monkey Forest. You may have to watch for sharp-toothed pickpockets that are hard to reason with. Climbers and spelunkers can also enjoy the island’s canyoning scene.
Sumbawa is great for waterfall enthusiasts, with a number of hiking trails for visitors that prefer to travel by foot in foreign lands. Plus, there are a ton of surrounding islands, and you can explore history’s most destructive volcano (that should help you sleep at night). You can get to Sumbawa via ferry from the Island of Lombok, which houses a local and international airport.
Situated between Bali and Sumbawa, Lombok stands as a major transportation hub in the island chain. It also offers prime reef action in Kuta and Banko, and Mount Rinjani provides an ideal spot for volcano hiking and climbing. The island also offers biking and snorkeling, but for the more relaxed traveler, the serene waterside views are a major draw.
Offering both beach and reef breaks, Java is packed with locals, boasting a rich cultural scene. But don’t worry, most people know English so it shouldn’t be hard to maneuver here. Thrill seekers can climb Java’s volcanoes, and in January and December, the paragliding scene is huge.
South of Malaysia, Sumatra offers a number of breaks that have been established by Westerners, with spots named after Jenny, Jimmy, and Richard, whoever they may be. When not catching the waves, surf bums can explore the music scene on Indonesia’s westernmost island, which primarily involves the rabab or danbut styles. Those feeling a bit riskier can also seek out the infamous Sumatran tiger or the world-class rafting on the Kuantan River.
Whether you’re surfing, rafting, climbing, or just hanging on the beach, Indonesia offers an array of possibilities on the cheap. From the rich culture and wildlife to the land and copious water activities, this tropical island chain is the perfect explorer’s getaway.