My visit to Indonesia this summer was also my first visit ever and after hearing so much about this country - or should I say so much about a tiny part of this country (read: Bali) I was super excited (holiday, surfing, yoga - hard not to be excited yup)!
The trip started out with a get-together on the remote Sumbawa - one of the bigger islands Indonesia is made up of (in total Indonesia is made up of some 13.500 islands, it's also the fourth most populous nation in the world (!) - little did I know before my visit this summer).
The Sumbawa get-together was organized by Kaj, Leon's old kiwi mate who now lives in Perth in West Australia with his beautiful Aussie girlfriend Tyne. Kaj turned 30 this summer and decided to celebrate by inviting his old friends on a stay at this cool surf resort/guesthouse on Sumbawa. I actually posted about this unique spot when it was confirmed that we were going on top of everything else happening this summer - see more here.
Actually, its not entirely true that my visit to Indo started on Sumbawa. As we all flew in from different destinations we met up in Kuta, Bali's party destination no 1. The idea was to gather as many from the crew as possible and together go to West Sumbawa. After a little night out in Kuta that was.
I arrived from another amazing holiday in Denmark at Bali's airport Denpasar around midnight, got picked up by a very happy Leon (with welcome drinks) and was taken straight out to the mad streets of Kuta. No better way to meet your bf's old friends and their girlfriends than over a few drinks and in regards to Kuta I felt I was back in the summer of 2006 in Lloret de mar in South of Spain ... Both the music, the vibe and the average age. Fun times and I hear they have lovely beaches here, should you ever visit and stay longer than we did.
The following day we flew from Bali to Lombok and from here we had a 2 hours car ride and a 1.5 hour ferry ride before we reached Maluk village in West Sumbawa. All in all another day of traveling but I was super excited to be reunited with Leon, to meet some of his old friends and to get to see some of this beautiful country which he is absolute in love with, so I didn't mind a bit of on-land travel and especially not a bit of on-water travel.
The surf resort and guesthouse Merdeka House we stayed at was opened by a young Australian surf couple earlier this year. Merdeka translates to something like free or freedom in Indonesian and that's exactly what you feel in this rural area of Indonesia: Free to enjoy the amazingness & the luxury of nature without mass-tourism and all the hassle it brings with it.
Merdeka house is super beautiful and offers a super chilled hostel-style-living with small cozy areas and hidden corners for reading and yoga as well as lounge areas for playing games, pool oh and drinking cold Bintangs which is the local everywhere indo beer! The house is located on the top of a little hill in the village Maluk and has the most breathtaking view of the ocean. Surroundings are super local, though you can easily find other guesthouses and hotels in the area for example Super Suck Hotel right on the beach at the famous surf break Super Suck.
Surfers & Yogis
West Sumbawa is famous for surfing and it's no coincidence that Kaj chose this spot for his Birthday-week: Him, Leon and the rest of the crew are serious surfers. This means that every day of this week of chilled holiday in paradise started at 5.30am. No time to waste: A quick coffee and straight on the bikes to start checking out the surf spots in the area.
Do you know how long time surfers spend staring at the water, watching the waves and observing the breaks? As I went with the guys almost every morning to do my morning yoga practice on the beach, after this week I have a rough idea: A lot of time. And if they are not satisfied with what they see out there it's off to the next spot to watch some more...
I'm a very patient girl but I'm happy that all yogis need for a good session is a calm & focused mind. Oh and being at the ocean, under an amazing blue sky of course made my practice so much better.
What I loved most about these early mornings was the nap I could look forward to after our surf-yoga missions and a big Indo breakfast. Napping in paradise is awesome, napping is in general just awesome, don't you think?
After 30-60 min nap it's like waking up to a new day and feeling even fresher than I did at sunrise.
Let's Get Together In INDONESIA
Like most holidays, this week of fun, chill, beach, bintangs, surf & yoga missions, awesome Indo food and celebrating Kaj's 30th went so fast. I completely forgot that I had famous Bali to look forward to - I just wanted to stay in this interesting rural paradise forever. Not least because of the people I was surrounded by. KIWIs and Aussies are so nice. Happy, kind, open & fun. I bet it's because they are surrounded by so much amazing nature in their little corner of the world and so much sunshine!
I'm so inspired by Kaj's initiative and already planning where I'll throw my 30th. Somewhere which is easy accessible for my friends from all corners of the world. This could be a challenge but Indonesia is a great option and a destination most people don't even consider unless they are off to Bali! Here's simply put why you should consider Indonesia:
Indonesia is so cheap! Cheapest place I've ever been
Indonesia has the nicest climate most of the year!
Indonesia has super yummy simple and healthy food
and not least:
Indonesians are super nice and helpful people!
As goes for most of Indonesia Sumbawa is a muslim island - another Indo fact I did not know of. As Bali is a Hindu island I had the idea this was the fact for all or most of Indonesia. I couldn't be more wrong: over 80% of Indonesia is muslim and just 2% is Hindu. This means that alcohol is quite difficult to get your hands on in most rural villages (though definitely not impossible), especially girls need to cover up a bit (just a bit) when out in public and the mosques with the daily prayers are quite characteristics for most villages.
We had more than 1 scooter issue on our touring around with surfboards and towels in the landscape and we were being met with such friendliness and helpfulness every time!
is thank you in Indonesian and first thing you should learn!
to Kaj for the invitation and to all the happy & beautiful people who made this trip so awesome!