Top 10 best things to do in Java 1

Top 10 best things to do in Java

The island of Java is still relatively unknown in terms of mass tourism and is a gem of cultural sites and treasures. Read about the best things to do in Java and make sure to add it to your must visit in Indonesia list!

Quick Index

                

where is Java?

Java is the most populated island of the Indonesian archipelago, which comprises over 1000 islands. Java is in South East Asia. Java is surrounded by the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean.

        

Interesting Java facts

Java is the economic heart of Indonesia. Just over half of Indonesia’s 250 million people live on Java. The island of Java is still relatively unknown in terms of mass tourism. In fact, when you do an internet search for Java, the computer language is the number one result! Most tourists will skip Java and head to the tropical island of Bali. In fact, if you ask  a lot of people, they will probably say Bali is Indonesia. 

        

Why go To Java?

Often overlooked and unknown, Java is definitely worth a visit. So, next time you think of heading over to Indonesia, head on over to Java! It’s more than a cup of coffee. Secondly, Java is the least visited of the inhabited islands. Hardly any Western tourists and relatively quiet compared to the island of Bali. Not known for its beaches, Java is the cultural centre of Indonesia, in terms of indigenous, religious and ex colonial architecture. The National Museum is located in Java and has a very impressive facade. The most upscale shopping malls and hotels are found on Java. In short, there are plenty of things to do in Java!

        

When to go to JAVA

Firstly, there’s no bad time to go to Java, although, you might want to avoid rainy season as dirt roads become impassable, storms make flying very scary and lots of boat services will not operate. Also, sitting for hours on end in your chauffeur driven car with the rain pelting down on you isn’t that exciting. Having said that, rainy season in Asia doesn’t mean it rains all day long. Often, the downpours are very tourist friendly and limit themselves to late evening and early morning! The dry season is blissfully  non busy, so anytime is really good to go to Java.

        

Getting Around JAVATraffic jams in Jakarta are constant things to do in Java

 

PLANE

Your arrival into Java will be through one of the main cities. There are plenty of international connections through the capital Jakarta. Regional connections are served through Yogyakarta, Bandung and Surabaya. 

TRAIN

There is an extensive train network on Java and it is very cheap. However, the trains are painfully slow and first class is not the standard you would expect in the west. We took a train from Yogyakarta to Bandung in First class and the journey was 8 hours for about 450kms. Also the toilets were the squat and drop type. This practice is difficult enough to manage on terra firma, can you imagine the fun on a moving train??!!

ROADS

The roads in the big cities are choked full of traffic from early morning to evening. There doesn’t seem to be a rush hour, it’s always full on the roads. You haven’t experienced a traffic jam, until you’ve been to Jakarta! Moreover, you are better off walking but the pollution, humidity and dust, doesn’t make it a very attractive option. In fact, locals tend to be either on a moped, in a public ‘bus’ or in a car. Overall, it is very rare to see locals on foot going about their everyday life.

        

Top 10 things to do in Java

Only1invillage brings you our guide of the top 10 things to do in Java!

10 Go shopping crazy Shopping Jakarta - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

 

Malls and more Malls

Coming in at number 10 for things to do in Java is shop until you drop -The big smog  of Jakarta is home to mega malls, monumental traffic jams and the national museum. Glam on an Asian scale. 

Grand Indonesia is without a doubt the newest and biggest mall. So big in fact, it has an East and West side. Prices are the same for luxury brands. No haggling. A great range of restaurants, cafes, fashion, jewellery, electronics, arts and crafts.The cinema here is first class with their ‘Gold Class’ equivalent product (fully reclining seats like on a business class flight and a blanket) for a fraction of the price you would pay in your home country. Click here for a map of Grand Indonesia Mall.

Bandung is the place to go for bargains especially clothing at local markets. Finally if you love batik (a special art of wax resistant dying in bold ,bright patterns on natural fabrics such as cotton) you must head to Yogyakarta.

 

9  Get wet at tumpak sewu waterfall Tumpaksewu_waterfall - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

 

Number 9 of things to do in Java is marvel at Tumpak Sewu waterfall – Spectacular cascading water reachable by a bit of a trek. Or, stay at the top, you’ll still get to see this magnificent natural wonder. Wear good non slip shoes and watch your footing as you hold on to rickety handrails. The whole staircase is made from bamboo and doesn’t feel that sturdy. It will never pass health and safety inspections in your home country!

The path down also means you have to clamber over rocks with water flowing over them. Consequently, it will be very slippery. Persist as the sight at the bottom is awesome. When in the Bromo area, a definite must see. Again many tours at competitive prices with or without a guide. Some say the most beautiful waterfall on Java. Judge for yourself.

 

8 Visit a traditional village Kampung Naga village - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

 

Kampung Naga– 3 to 4 hour drive from Bandung or Yogyakarta. Hilton booked. Same price as going via a tour agency. Only1invillage were the only 2 in the village! From the car park there are about 400 steps to walk down. Banana trees, rice fields and terraces, free ranging chickens and rice threshing. Apart from seeing Havaianas on the feet of villagers, it does feel like a quintessential traditional Javanese village. Contrary to claims, there is electricity here, in the form of batteries and the villagers have mobile phones.

Also, there are a few signs that some equipment has been left out deliberately for tourists. Overall, ignoring these factors, it does feel like you have stepped back in time, to peek in on traditional Javanese rural life. Erm, there’s no where to go to the toilet in the village. At the top of the car park you can pay 5000 rupiah to squat over a mosquito infested hole. Just thought to mention this!

 

7 Indulge in Beauty treatments facial beauty treatments Bandung - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

 

Be beautified by beauty treatments in Bandung – Get your hair cut, facial, slimming treatment, back massage, manicure and pedicure for the price of a pedicure in your home country. In Bandung, they take beauty seriously! Any of the 5 star hotels will have a spa attached. We like the Hilton Bandung where the atmosphere is just serene for massage and facials. https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/content/BDOHIHI/media/pdf/en_BDOHIHI_Jiwa_Spa_2011.pdf

For other services, like hair, manicure, slimming massage, pedicure and eyelash lifting, we recommend Anata Salon, which also has a little café attached to it. We manage to find one person who speaks English, but really, you know what you’re getting and you can point to make yourself understood. https://www.salonanata.com/

 

6 Hang upside down at Upside Down world  in bandung Upside Down World Bandung - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

Hang out in funny positions at Upside Down World Bandung – hang like a bat and get some hilarious snaps at the same time. There are 8 of these fun houses in SE Asia. Three are in Java, the one we went to in Bandung, one in Yogyakarta and another in the capital, Jakarta. You might need help from the friendly staff as posing upside down isn’t as straight forward as it seems. There are suggested poses for visual learners and if you’re a novice at this, like us, you’ll definitely need to consult these photographs.

Fun for all ages, big kids as well as small one of the funnest things to do in Java! Take a Grab or Uber from your Bandung hotel. Tip – wear clean socks or make sure your feet are presentable for bare foot posing. No shoes allowed inside. https://www.upsidedownworldgroup.com/our-location/

 

5 Get your cup of chai on a tea plantation tour Rancabali tea plantation - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

Coming in at number 5 for things to do in Java is a tea country tour – Rancabali tea plantation and green rolling hills just above from the Kawih Putih Lake.  Take a calming walk along tea fields and then have a meal in a huge ship themed restaurant. In fact, the whole area has become a glamping resort, complete with its own lake and mini farm consisting of cute rabbits and small deer for petting (extra charge). If you want to stay here, you cannot book online. You have to go through a third party tour operator.

 

4 Take in the unique surrounds of sulphorous Kawah Putih crater lake in Cidiwey Kawah Putih crater lake - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

Stare at sulphorous Kawah Putih crater lake in Cidiwey –  eerie landscapes and a smell you’ll never forget.  Public transport is possible, but, again, why bother? You’ll still be seeing the ‘real’ Indonesia. The misty scenery is fascinating and the colours of the water a lovely turquoise/cyan. It’s very beautiful and dramatic with rocks and trees coming out of the colourful water. If you’re lucky you’ll catch locals taking their wedding snaps here!

Contrary to popular reports you don’t need a face mask. If you really need to cover your nose and mouth a scarf will do just fine. If you have been lucky enough to go to Waiotapu, in South Island, New Zealand, like we have, this is sort of like it, but less colourful.

 

3 Climb Mount Bromo or Merapi Mount_Merapi - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

Climb Mount Bromo or Merapi  – These are day treks or tours. Merapi is closest to Yogyakarta and Bromo is closest to Surabaya. People trek the mountain for the fabulous sunrise and the sand dessert at the top. The scenery changes from lush green to barren, moon like landscapes as you ascend. Similarly, Mount Merapi is mostly grey with lack of vegetation. The recent eruption in May 2018 disrupted tours, but all is back to normal now.

When short on time, we opt for the tour for ease and less hassle from transport scams. Both are active volcanoes, so never book from your home country as you may not end up going and getting a refund will be very difficult. If you want to do it by yourself, this site is very useful www.danflyingsolo.com/mount-bromo-without-a-tour-sunrise/

Our other top tip is to wear warm clothes! It is freezing cold up there, it may be volcano, but it isn’t hot! Also, please don’t take a horse ride as the horses look miserable and malnourished.

Unesco World Heritage Sites

Java is often seen as the cultural capital of Indonesia. Here you will find the two biggest temple complexes that draw in international visitors. These two temples come in at number 1  and 2 on our top 10 list of things to do in Java. Naturally both temple complexes are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Both Borobodur and Prambanan are a testament to past peaceful religious cohabitation. They are breathtaking. It is easy to book a tour. You can do it by yourself but, honestly, an air conditioned car is the way to go! We recommend you visit on separate days due to the traffic! Early starts are common for the sunrise shots and your best chance of peace away from the Instagram posers and tour groups. Even so, you’ll never have theses temple complexes to yourself. Spectacular stupa and sculptures await. Plenty of steps to climb so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Don’t forget to take plenty of water and a shade umbrella/ sun hat.

 

2 Prambunan (Hindu) temple complex Prambunan (Hindu) temple complex - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

Prambunan (Hindu) temple complex is nearest to the city of Yogyakarta. It’s over a thousand years old and simply stunning, both architecturally and in sheer size. Dedicated to the Godess Shiva. Built around concentric squares, there are other temples dedicated to Vishnu and Brahma.

If you know your Ramayana ( an epic Indian poem which tells of the struggles of the divine Prince Rama to rescue his wife, Sita, from a demon king called Ravana), then you’ll be familiar with the reliefs that decorate some of the temples. For the less enlightened, you can Google it the night before, so you know what you’re gawping at! From an architectural point of view, you have to be amazed by the stone building technology. This beauty was built over a thousand years ago and still so beautiful.

 

1 Borobodur (Buddhist) temple complex Borobodur Budhist temple - only1invillage Top 10 things to do in Java

Be bowled over at Borobodur (Buddhist) temple complex. One of our favourite  things to do in Java is this ancient site has many steps and no shade from the relentless Indonesian sun. Marvel at the intricate sculptures and the detail in the carvings as you make your way up to the top. An absolute must see in Java and rightly deserving the number one spot in our humble opinion of things to do in Java.

When you get to the third tier, where the stupa are, the view is just mesmerising. Also, you have to congratulate yourself for making it up so high in the humidity. Look inside each stupa and you will find a statue of the buddha. Get there at 5 am if you want those sun rise shots with hardly any one else in it. Clearly, we are not those people!

 

        

Final Thoughts

There are many things to do in Java that make it a great destination to visit!  Whether you’re a culture vulture, naturist, shopaholic, hiker, budget or luxury traveller there is something for you! It’s pretty quiet on the tourist side so you will often feel like the only1invillage! If you have been, let us know what are your favourite things to do in Java?

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Day trip to Nusa Penida 5

Day trip to Nusa Penida

A day trip to Nusa Penida is a must when in the area! If you’re tired of Bali and want a bit of a change, book a day trip to this unique island. You can also book a day trip from Lembongan.  Nusa means island and hence Nusa Penida means Penida Island. Nusa Penida is one of the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia.

How to see Nusa Penida’s attractions

Penida is best seen on a day trip. It’s an early 8 am start from your resort on Lembongan. You are driven down to the shore by the Yellow Bridge and depending on how many of you there are, your boat will be waiting. Speed across the water and wave goodbye to your water boat ‘taxi’ man. He may, or may not be the same person who takes you back over. Seasoned travellers in SE Asia will be familiar with this scenario.

Once you arrive on Penida, your driver for the day will be waiting for you. Don’t be surprised if there is another local along for the ride. No matter how comfortable the car is, prepare yourself for the bumpiest ride of your life. The roads are shocking and so narrow in some places, there’s only enough room for one car. For those who like to be in the dusty open air and get UV damage, hire a moped! 

Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach

First stop is Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. Amazing crashing waves and a beautiful arch of stone caused by wave erosion. The water here is unbelievably clear with changing shades of aqua, azure and green. Mother Nature definitely makes her mark here. There are plenty of concrete steps to help you get close to the water’s edge. Once at the edge, the path becomes more rugged and natural. Watch your step! The billabong is a pool and varies in colour and depth, depending on rainfall. In our photo below, Angel’s billabong is reasonably full and is green.Angel's Billabong day trip to nusa penida - Only1inVillage

Angel’s Billabong – be careful climbing down and around it.Broken Beach day trip to nusa penida  - Only1inVillage

Broken BeachBreaking Waves near Angel's Billabong day trip to nusa penida - Only1inVillage

Breaking Waves near Angel’s Billabong

Kelingkling Beach

Second stop is THE ultimate place for every Instagram poser on the planet. Kelingkling Beach or KK is, we admit, is a breathtakingly beautiful spot. Warning, when you arrive, you are on the top of a hill where you look down onto KK beach. To actually get to the beach hundreds of metres below, requires a treacherous 1 hour walk. Only strong swimmers are advised to take a dip and there are  of course no life guards at this remote beach. Swimming is only possible at low tide. Most people just jostle for their picture at the top part, overlooking the stunning beach.Kelingkling Beach day trip to nusa penida - Only1inVillage

Crystal Bay

Third and last stop on our day trip to Nusa Penida is Crystal Bay. It may seem familiar to you, if you have already taken a snorkeling or diving day trip from Lembongan. The beach itself is reasonably sandy but looks a bit grey, even on a bright day and suffers from some oil stains due to the many boats. There is an awesome cliff top walk to the next bay if you’re game. Cystal Bay Snorkelling Nusa Penida  - Only1inVillage

There is some excellent snorkeling and colourful reef at Crystal Bay

Cystal Bay day trip to nusa penida   - Only1inVillage

The beach itself isn’t great being a bit grey and oil stained from all the boats that visit

In summary, it doesn’t seem like this would take a whole day, but due to the poor condition of the roads and the traffic from other day trippers, it really does!

Top tips! Take plenty of water and your own snacks. You can of course, stop off for lunch somewhere on your trip. All is negotiable. Bring small change for the toilets, which aren’t the best, but when you have to go, you have to go. Finally we hope you have a great day trip to Nusa Penida! 

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If you enjoyed this only1invillage review and are looking for more reviews by us check out our TripAdvisor page   TripAdvisor Reviews - only1invillage

Lombok Selong Belank beach Best Islands in Indonesia to visit

7 Best Islands in Indonesia to visit

Everyone has their own list of the best islands in Indonesia. Everything depends on your time and budget. Below we give you the lowdown on the 7 islands we visited in Indonesia. Ultimately, where you go depends on what type of holiday you want too. Since the devastating earthquake in  August 2018, which affected Lombok and the Gilis, our sources tell us it’s business as usual for most of the islands (Lombok and Gili T in particular). Do check individual hotels and resorts for the most up to date information.

 

Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan beach with clear waters Best Islands in Indonesia to visit
Gili Trawangan beach with clear waters great for turtle spotting

First up in our best islands in Indonesia is Gili T. Its main draw card is crystal clear, warm waters with abundant opportunities for turtle spotting! Beach activities such as snorkelling, swimming, sunbathing and fishing opportunities abound. Never a dull moment on the liveliest and biggest of the three Gili islands, just off the North Eastern coast of Lombok. Booming reggae bars and barbecued fresh fish jostle for your attention at night. Spend blissful evenings sitting outside waiting for the most colourful and spectacular sunsets. Get on your bike and discover empty beaches and those famous swings in the water!

Where we stayed

Read about 10 fun things to do and 1 not so fun activity in Gili T here

 

Gili Meno

Much quieter than Gili T for couples looking to relax without the partying
Gili Meno is popular for couples.

If less people and  weak wi-fi is what you seek, head on over to Gilli Meno! The second most popular of the Gili islands after Gili Trawangan is so close, you can see it.  Word of warning, it may look close, but, don’t try to swim over! Here you can stay in very basic or more up market accommodation. Beaches are pretty much the same as Gili T except wider. You’ll find areas of fine  white sand, but most is coarse and scattered coral abounds. The real magic is, of course, in the water. Teeming with turtles and colourful fish, this is a relaxed island to get your PADI license or go snorkelling.

 

Lombok

Watch the farmers take the buffalo home via the beach Lombok
Watch the farmers take the buffalo home via the beach.

Incredible powdery white sand bays and beaches, Lombok is still a sleepy island due to the poor infrastructure and the quality of the roads. Mountain trekking on Mount Rinjani and amazing sunsets jostle with picture perfect curved bays fringed by coconut trees. A beach destination whose chilled out vibe is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Bali. Therefore, if you’re looking for peace and quiet, once you get off the plane in Denpasar, get straight onto another one to Lombok!

Where we stayed

See the best beaches of Lombok here

 

Lembongan

Dream Beach Lembongan  - Only1inVillage
A small island an hour by ferry from Bali with lots to see and do

Firstly, Lembongan is incorrectly called Nusa Lembongan. Nusa simply means island in the Indonesian language. You can do a day trip here, but to really appreciate its charm spend at least two nights. Secret beaches, wild coastlines and spectacular sunsets coupled with snorkelling and diving trips make Lembongan one of the best islands in Indonesia to see. Seaweed farming and the jump off point for Penida. Food options are great here too, with some of the best coffee made with FRESH, yes, not UHT milk. Rapidly developing, catch it while it’s still relatively off the Instagram radar! 

Where we stayed

Check out our in depth review of Lembongan here

Penida

Penida Island kelingking beach Best Islands in Indonesia to visit
The island for beautiful nature shots and instagram posts

Often incorrectly called Nusa Penida or part of the Nusa Islands. Nusa is the Indonesian word for island. Sorry to be pedantic, but C is a linguist! Hence, Nusa Dua means two islands and Nusa Ceningan means the island named Ceningan. Home to the most famous spots for Instagram posers at KK Beach and Broken Beach, Penida is best done as a day trip. Be prepared for the narrowest and bumpiest ride of your life whether it be in a car or a moped! Of course there are a myriad of beach and snorkelling opportunities too.We have to admit though, the photos are worth it!

Planing a day trip to Penida? Check it out here 

Bali

Famous Bali has more to it than shopping and partying
Bali has more to it than shopping and partying

 

Mountains, rice terraces, natural springs and waterfalls. Wide beaches, surfers and colourful Hindu festivals and temples. The island of Bali is what you make of it. Yoga retreat, spa indulgence, malls and markets, Bali has it all. Despite negative media coverage of the plastic pollution and sometimes disrespectful Westerners,  Bali is still an easy introduction to SE Asia. Try to go in the low season. Avoid Kuta for the cheap package holiday tourists from Australia and get off your sunbed. Bali has so much more to offer than cheap beer and nasi goreng. Moreover, head off into the hills and villages and get a taste of times gone by. 

Where we stayed

 

Java

Java has many cultural treasures
Java has many cultural treasures

Ancient culture and modern capitalism collide on Indonesia’s most populated island. You haven’t experienced a traffic jam until you’ve been to Jakarta and Bandung. Have the best fun hanging upside down at Upside Down World , it’s not just for kids! Make your own cigars and absorb Indonesian history in the many museums. A few traditional villages remain where you climb down into lush green valleys full of banana trees and giggling children. Of course you’ll need a driver to take you there which ruins the atmosphere, but we don’t recommend public transport to off the beaten track places.

For culture vultures, you can’t miss the temples of Prambanan and Borobudur in the vicinity of Yogyakarta, both naturally UNESCO world heritage sites. Drink the civet poo coffee and delight in the cotton batik clothes which keep you cool on this humid island. Take an eerie journey to a sulphurous landscape and then drink tea from a huge pirate ship in the high country. Shop until you drop in the markets and malls. Marvel at the architecture of the different styles of mosques. 

Where we stayed (Jakarta)   Our Accomodation (Bandung) Where we stayed (Yogyakarta)

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Jungut-Batu-Beach Lembongan-Only1inVillage

Lembongan Island the Complete Travel Guide

Everything you need to know, what to do and where to eat on Lembongan Island, Indonesia. Read on, for the one and only Only1invillage guide!

So dive right in or skip to what you’re interested in…

                                                                              

Where is Lembongan?

Lembongan is a surprisingly unknown tropical island off the South Eastern coast of Bali, Indonesia. It is a 45 minute fast boat ride away.

Most tourists go either on a day trip, or stay one or two nights. However, we think there’s plenty to do for at least 4 nights. Especially true, if you want to visit Ceningan and Penida

                                                                          

when should I go to Lembongan?

Best time to visit is of course the dry season which runs from May to October. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the same as Thailand’s dry season, which, (generally) is from December to March for the tropical islands of Samui and the Phuket area. However, that said, wet season will be quieter and prices will come crashing down.

                                                                      

How to get to Nusa Lembongan

Rocky Ferry to Lembongan - Only1inVillage
Yes you are getting wet! All aboard to Lembongan!

We recommend a fast boat. Rocky Cruises provide a professional service with pick up to the port in Sanur and drop off to accommodation in Lembongan. They provide transport from many spots in Bali to and from Sanur as part of a round trip. You can of course, take a local boat, but, this is a hair raising and very wet experience. Even the fast boats do not guarantee a dry experience, unfortunately. Wear shorts or be prepared to lift that dress, because this is boarding your boat Indonesian style!

 

taxi to hotel included in Rocky Ferry ticket - Only1inVillage
The luxurious taxi convertible that takes you to your hotel. Included as part of your ferry ticket.

After arriving in Lembongan you will be assigned to a taxi group. Don’t forget to pick up your flip flops/thongs or sandals! After a short walk of about 100 metres, you will get to the taxi waiting point.  An open air taxi, for example in the picture below will take you to your accommodation. Likewise, they will pick you up for the return journey included in a round trip.

 

                                                                      

Getting Around Nusa Lembongan

It’s not a particularly large island and many attractions are in the southern half of the island. So, if you are up to the challenge of walking a few hours that is certainly possible. Taxis are around, if not the best value option. Push bikes can be hired, although  only a few people do this due to the heat. Hiring a moped is the most common option and only about 100,000 IDR a day or cheaper. As much of the island is unpaved there are spots cars just can’t go, i.e, the Yellow Bridge that connects Lembongan to Ceningan island and the mangroves in the north. Hiring a golf buggy is a another option with the same limitations as cars.

                                                                    

THINGS TO DO on Nusa lembongan

Mushroom Beach

One of the main beaches on Lembongan and a drop off point for the fast boats from Bali. It’s around 150 metres in length has soft sand, plus a nice crescent shape. In addition, the water is calm and warm. There are however many boats that make it impractical to swim on most of the beach. About a quarter of the beach has reef, so you can swim over it as long as it’s not low tide. Unfortunately, most of this reef is dead. It’s not all doom and gloom however, there is hope for snorkellers at the next beach! At low tide in the morning much of the beach is underwater.

Mushroom Beach Lembongan - Only1inVillage
Mushroom beach would be great if there weren’t so many boats! Still, the sand is soft and the curved bay is soothing to the eyes.

There are plenty of restaurants and bars over looking the beach which makes for a picturesque setting. Also, a main  street with lots of dining, bars, shopping, diving shops and accommodation options. A small town has grown around Mushroom Beach so it’s more than just a beach. 

 

Secret Beach

Secret Beach Lembongan - Only1inVillage
Semi Secret Beach. If you ask about it you will find it!

With only a handful of people present at any one time, Secret Beach can be accessed in one of two ways. Firstly, you can walk around the rocks at the far north end of Mushroom beach. The second way is through the village and a path near Nanuk’s bungalow. Uncrowded with nice sand and no boats. If you swim out from the north side of this beach you will find some decent coral and fish life. It’s best accessed at high tide, as the coral can be quite shallow otherwise. Note, this is a different Secret Beach  to the one on Nusa Ceningan. 

 

Dream Beach

The most beautiful of the beaches on Lembongan. It has wide and fine sand which makes for great photos. Getting to the beach can be a bit of a trek, although, there are signs and plenty of people headed that way. It is unpaved road most of the way, however. You can get there by motorbike, taxi or walking. There is a steep stairway down to the beach.

Dream Beach Lembongan  - Only1inVillage
A beautiful beach but not great for swimming. Dream Beach, Lembongan Island.

Swimming is treacherous due to tides and rocks, so, it’s more of a place for a dip and lying on the sand. If lazing on the sand isn’t your thing, there is an infinity pool and a restaurant which are part of a hotel on the cliff top. This is open for non hotel guests and visitors for a fee. That is to say, if you want to stay, you pay! Probably the most spectacular views over the beach from this viewpoint. 

 

 

Devil’s Tear

Devil's Tear Lembongan - Only1inVillage
There are no rails or fences, so be careful and don’t get too close!

Around the corner from Dream Beach and often done on the same day by the many day trippers and tourists is Devil’s Tear. Similar to a blowhole, water rushes in from the ocean and crashes spectacularly against the rocks, sending high jets of water into the air. Be careful where you stand and don’t risk your safety for a selfie as the area is not roped off. It’s good to visit just before sunset, as you can then meander towards Sunset Beach for great sunset shots. 

 

Spectacular sunset pics at sunset Beach

Sunset Beach Lembongan  - Only1inVillage
Sunset Beach has a few nice restaurants to dine at while watching the sun set.

About 200 metres further along past Devil’s Tear is a cliff top overlooking Sunset Beach from which you guessed it, you can get some great sunset shots! There is a pop up bar at the top of the cliff,  where you can enjoy a beer and then walk down to the beach itself. Sunset Beach  has a popular restaurant/bar called the Sandy Bay Beach Club if you’re after a more upmarket venue to watch the sunset from. 

Jungut Batu beach

Jungut Batu Beach - Only1inVillage
Upmarket dining options and accommodation can be found on the cliff path overlooking the water at Jungut Batu Beach.

This is the beach where most of the fast boats from Bali dock, including Rocky ferries. The water is crystal clear and as you approach the island, there are great views of a hillside with picturesque restaurants and accommodation overlooking the water. The beach itself isn’t really a beach to hang around, due to the many shells and boats. There are however pontoons further out where you can snorkel and swim. Around this area is  where you will find many restaurants that will pick you up for free when you dine with them. 

Yellow Bridge

Yellow Bridge Lembongan - Ceningan Island - Only1inVillage
Yellow and narrow the bridge only provides access to bikes and pedestrians – no cars allowed.

The bridge that connects the two islands of Lembongan and Ceningan are connected via a yellow bridge which can only take motorbikes and pedestrians. You can’t miss it, as it’s er, bright yellow! 

Snorkelling or diving TRIPS

Snorkelling Lembongan  - Only1inVillage
A good variety of sea life in these crystal waters of Nusa Lembongan.

The best way to appreciate the abundant underwater life is to get out on a day trip by boat. The island is famous for its  giant manta rays which you may be lucky enough to see on a dive or snorkelling trip. Colourful fish can be found in Crystal Bay, Penida, when you book a snorkelling trip. 

DAY TRIP to NUSA Penida

Nusa Penida day trip from Lembongan  - Only1inVillage
Don’t forget to smile at the camera!

Lembongan is the place to book tours to Penida or  Nusa Penida, which just means Penida Island. It’s the same place. Penida is rugged wild and beautiful. You can stay on Penida, but, options are much more limited than on Lembongan. 

                                                                    

Where to eat and drink on Lembongan Island Indonesia

A surprisingly vast number of establishments exist on Lembongan. You can get Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Italian and Modern European. There’s also really good coffee, made with fresh milk in some places too! You’re certainly spoiled for choice on Lembongan for dining options.

Hai Bar and Grill - Lembongan - Only1inVillage
The best dining option at Mushroom Beach. Look at the beer bottle for more clues!

Hai Bar and Grill is attached to Hai Tide Beach Resort, the high end establishment in Mushroom Bay. Always busy as a result of its beach views. Consequently book for dinner, especially if you want that view! They also have their own boat called Bali Hai which they use to transport guests from Bali and take out on day trips for snorkelling and lunch. The coffee here is great, definitely up to Italian standards. The food is fantastic.  A vast array of salads, steaks, seafood and Indonesian food. Something for everyone and prepared in clean conditions. Slightly pricier than other establishments. 

Restaurant at Dream Beach Lembongan - Only1inVillage
They do a great seared tuna salad at the restaurant here on Dream Beach.

Dream Beach snack bar on the beach. Not the one with the pool on top of the hill. Good salads and snacks. Cheap prices. 

Seaweed Seafood and Grill - Lembongan - Only1inVillage
Family run cheap and good quality food. Seaweed Seafood and Grill is out of town, but close by bike.

Seaweed Seafood and Grill. A little walk up from the Yellow Bridge and drop off point for Nusa Penida. This awesome place has great seafood and the fresh seaweed that is painstakingly farmed, in front of you from the restaurant terrace. 

L Good Bar and Grill - Lembongan - Only1inVillage
Decent live music most nights at L Good Bar and Grill.

LGood Bar and Grill in Mushroom Bay is good for the free music that is on every night. The description of the food doesn’t quite match what you get, but the ambiance is good. Also the chairs are very comfortable!

Mushroom Espresso - Lembongan - Only1inVillage
Really good road side coffee. Fresh milk is used which is quite rare in Asian countries.

Our favourite coffee joint is Mushroom Espresso in Mushroom Bay. An imported Italian coffee machine with fresh Greenfields milk, guarantees a tasty latte, espresso or capucciono. The baristas are super friendly too. 

                                                                    

Where to STAY on Lembongan ISLAND

Damara Hotel Lembongan - Only1inVillage
One of the best value 3 star places we stayed at in Indonesia. Outdoor bathrooms and a lovely pool.

We stayed at Damara Hotel which is a mid range hotel. It has a great pool, location, staff , nice rooms and a fantastic price. Breakfast can be improved however. The staff here can organise your Penida day trip tour.

Budget Accommodation  Pange Hostel

Luxury Accommodation Hai Tide Beach Resort              

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Bali Airport Taxi tips don’t get ripped off!

Here’s only1invillage’s guide on how to survive the taxi mafia at Bali International Airport. Our top tips for a ‘fare’ rate (pun intended) to start your holiday without a sour taste in your mouth. Getting a Bali Airport taxi is quite an experience. 

Grab and Uber can’t get into the terminal which is very frustrating. Taxi drivers and anyone who can drive love this fact!

It’s really hard to get your Uber, Grab or Go-Jek app to work. The drivers cannot enter the airport without paying a 10,000 rupiah parking charge, just for entering the airport grounds. There is great opposition in Bali towards ride sharing apps. There have been reports in the media of violence and aggression towards the internet based drivers.

Number one tip 

DO NOT USE The official taxi stand. It isn’t official at all! Particularly true if your flight lands in the evening. It’s a disgrace. It’s a scam in itself, never use it. As  frequent visitors to Asia, we recommend leaving the arrivals hall area.

So, you approach the Bali Airport taxi stand after saying “no thank you” to at least 10 drivers holding their id card out. You have done your research and believe that AN OFFICIAL TAXI operator inside an international airport will be official and honest.  Of course not! When you tell them the name of the hotel, they change the price accordingly. So, if you say “I am staying at the Hilton” they’ll say 200,000. Say you’re back packing or mid range, then a “good” price, (winking heavily) is 150,000 IDR which is about AUD20 or US14 or eleven GBP. Walk away.

Number two tip 

On your way out you will see that the price drops the further you walk. So a 200,000 rupiah fare can become 100,000 rupiah in a couple of minutes. Your Grab application tells you the fare is only supposed to be 10,000 rupiah for a 5 minute drive. You’re a ‘rich’  tourist in a developing country, it’s only one way and these guys don’t make that much money.

Number three tip –

Book a transfer with your accommodation. It is really expensive but if you want to avoid the aggressive haggling, pay the money! You’re tired, it’s dark, you’ve arrived with children, so pay! We don’t book a transfer because we love the hassle of haggling! Know that 100,000 is a ‘good price’ including taxes, fees and the heavy traffic. We know we are being overcharged for the short 2km drive, but it’s a one off.

When we leave the next morning, the price back to the airport (a 2km journey) has miraculously dropped to 50,000. Of course the Grab we book is only 12,000 and of course they’re illegal. Our happy driver gleefully points to some dubious looking signs outside the hotel. We get in to the 50,000 car, as the Grab driver’s time to arrive has increased and we are running late. Needless to say, our Grab driver arrives later ( not so illegal after all) we aren’t there, but he gets paid anyway.

number four tip 

Run up to the departures level with your luggage and get into a Bluebird taxi that has just dropped someone off. If the driver doesn’t switch on the meter, set a price. It’s still really annoying that Bali Airport taxi drivers with a meter won’t use it. But grin and bear it, getting out of the airport is the most annoying taxi ride you’ll have in Bali.

number five tip

As a last resort, wave around cash (the amount you’re willing to spend) and see who comes!

summary of Bali airport taxi 

The moral of the tale is, if you dislike haggling and we mean aggressive haggling, book transfers through your hotel. Know the prices, download some ride sharing apps and NEVER USE the “official”  Bali Airport taxi stand at Ngurah Rai Bali International or domestic.

For reference, the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport offers a free shuttle service to and from the airport. It is essential you book in advance so they know how many cars to send. Do not turn up and call. Email ahead.

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Selong Beach one the 5 Best Beaches on Lombok

5 best beaches on lombok 

Firstly, how to get to Lombok? Where is Lombok? Lombok is one of the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia. It is sandwiched between the better known island of Bali and the almost undiscovered West Nusa Tenggara. Land in Bali and then get straight onto another plane to Lombok! Believe us, this is the easiest and most hassle free way to get to the best beaches on Lombok. Secondly, if you’re after a beach vacation only, then Lombok really has the best of the best. In other words, if you’re looking for that picture perfect beach, then Lombok will deliver.

Lombok has so many beautiful beaches. Some are easy to get to,  but, others are a bit of a day trip. Much emptier than Bali’s beaches, Lombok is probably like what Bali was 30 years ago! Our best beaches on Lombok guide is in no particular order. But you must see them to believe them!

Quick Index Best Beaches on Lombok

            

What makes a good beach is different for each person

As half our time is spent in Australia, we have become a bit spoiled as to what constitutes a good beach. For us, it’s clean water and better if it’s warm and doesn’t contain plastic pollution. Fine sand, of any colour with the absence of coral, stones or vegetation debris. You should be able to lie down with just your towel. Flat waves or surf, you pick your beach depending on your activities for the day. The absence of flying and biting insects also makes it into our consideration for our list of best beaches in Lombok. 

            

Selong Belanak Beach

Selong Beach Lombok one the 5 Best Beaches on Lombok
Selong Belanak Beach is a great place to learn to surf or chill out

Is this the best beach on Lombok? Read on and decide for yourself.

This beach, in our humble opinion is the quintessential definition of great! White powdery sand in a crescent shaped bay, fringed by coconut palms. The water whilst not crystal clear on some days is clean, warm, free of debris and has decent surf. As with many Lombok beaches, there is no natural shade in the good sandy spots.  Looking across the horizon you have little hills which frame the sunset perfectly.

Twice a day, local farmers walk their herd of buffalo along the perfect white sand and this makes for a great spot of people watching. Every single first timer quickly gets up, runs for their camera or phone and snaps these magnificent animals, sometimes getting a little too close!  Not too many beach vendors here which is another bonus. There are wide food choices and in general, you get what you pay for. The cheaper seafood dishes like fresh calamari are sold in tiny portions and deep fried. Also not the best quality and prepared in dubious conditions. We’re talking hygiene conditions. However, we are still alive, so it can’t be that bad!

            

Taanjung Aan Beach Lombok

Taanjung Aan Beach Lombok
Taanjung Aan Beach Lombok has great sand calm waters just a few minutes drive from Kuta

Curved bay, white sand, clear water. It sounds a bit like Selong Belanak. Moreover, it looks a bit like it too although with whiter sand! Beach chairs for hire and trinkets to buy. Flatter waves. The vendors here are a bit more persistent and use children and women to turn on the guilt factor. Depending on the tides and time of year, plastic pollution may rear its ugly head. There are plenty of those wooden swings that you find on Gili Trawangan. Another spot for spectacular sunset shots.

            

Mawun Beach Lombok

Mawun Beach one the 5 Best Beaches on Lombok
Mawun Beach Lombok is a quiet and picturesque curved beach

Much less developed in terms of places to eat and sun loungers to rent. Good if you don’t like being pestered. Another crescent shaped beach with fine yellow and white sand. Hills frame the water perfectly on either side of the bay. Small waves. Clean water and that indispensable hash tag sunsets on Instagram!

            

Mandalika aka Kuta 

Mandalika aka Kuta 
Mandalika aka Kuta Beach is right in the town of Kuta

An easy to get to beach from the town of Kuta. Not to be confused with Kuta in Bali! Not that pretty as the Mandalika resort are still building their megolith directly on the beach. The sand is more coarse here and definitely yellow in colour. There are however green hills in the distance as you gaze onto the water.

    

Sengiggi Beach Lombok

Sengiggi Beach one the 5 Best Beaches on Lombok
Sengiggi Beach Lombok has a lot of 5 star hotels

Yellow  or sometimes grey looking coarse sand and busy. This is either a curse or a blessing. A blessing because there are lots of food options and water sports, but a curse, if you’re seeking peace and quiet. Great for sunset views. Some parts of the beach have lots of dead coral. The big plus is the range of accommodation in the immediate vicinity. Decent surf to be had on most days. If working on your tan is more your thing than water activities, you’ll be easily satisfied.

            

Most Over Rated Beach on Lombok is Pink Beach

pink beach 5 Best Beaches on Lombok  - Only1inVillage
Pink Beach Lombok

We don’t like to write negative things, but, sadly the prize goes to Pink Beach. Difficult to get to on horrendous ‘roads’ and not very pink at all! Plenty of dead coral and in the low season somewhat deserted. Great marketing done by the Indonesian Tourist Board, but we’re not impressed.

We hope you liked our list of the best beaches on Lombok. Do you agree? Have you been to these beaches? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!

While on Lombok we stayed at and highly recommend Bukit Indah Boutique Accommodation

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Gili-T-only1invillage-10-fun-things-to-do-in-Gili-t-and-1-dont

10 fun things to do in Gili Trawangan and 1 don’t.

 

warning – The first 3 fun things to do in Gili Trawangan will get you wet!

Turtle Spotting Gilli T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
SO many turtle to see on Gili T. These magnificent reptiles eat the nasty jelly fish, so give them some love!

Go turtle spotting

Our favourite activity and particularly rewarding here in Gili T. Head north from the port about 600 metres so you are in the north east part of the island. From here take a dip into the clear waters. You will almost certainly see turtles every time you go out! If you can’t make it into the sea, Gili T has its own little hatchery (free of charge) to look at these cutest of reptiles. Beware of the coral getting in to the water. Fortunately the water is very clear, so you can see where you’re going.

     

Snorkelling Gili T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
The water is crystal clear with good fish life. It’s warm too.

Swim and snorkel

in the incredible warm and clear waters – Swimming is good at high tide, otherwise you’ll be wading out over lots of coral to cool down. Watch the salt dry on your skin and give incredible volume to your hair when dry! Hiring snorkeling equipment is easy, but if you’re a bit squeamish about germs and where the mouthpiece has been, bring your own! Snorkeling is a must for both experienced and first timers. It’s rewarding and high on our list of fun things to do in Gili Trawangan.

  

Day Trip Gili T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't underwater statues
Who put these there? Underwater statues are part of a day trip from Gili T.

Day trips

to amazing underwater features and the other Gili islands – Day trips from Gili T take you to unique underwater statue sites and giant slides. You also get a pretty good view of the amazing waves, crashing against the rocks as you speed past. Practise your free diving and get your GoPro charged because you don’t want to miss these unique sculptures. This definitely rates highly as one of the fun things to do in Gili Trawangan.

   

Breakfast with a view Gili T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
Is it still a holiday if you don’t lounge around?

Sunbathe

on comfortable foam loungers and over sized bean bags – all you have to do is buy a drink at the many establishments on the beach and you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Relax, after all it’s a holiday isn’t it and if you don’t deserve it then who does?

   

Sunset Gili T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
The best sunsets on Gili T can be seen on the ‘sunset’ side of the island. Head on over at around 5pm. You won’t be disappointed!

Catch breathtaking sunsets 

The island is split into two sides – sunrise and sun set. No prizes for which side has the best views for the more lazy of us, who can’t wake up for Mother Nature’s daily 5.00 a.m show! The most popular spot for sunset is actually the south of the island near Pink Coco about 1.25 kms from the port (most people ride a bike there). A couple of places serve drinks and food, plus offer chairs and cushions to watch the sunset.

 

You’re half way through our list of 10 fun things to do in gili trawangan and 1 don’t ………….keeep going!

 

Bike Riding Gilli T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
Do cycle around the island. It’s fun and only takes a couple hours.

Get on your bike

 With daily rental starting from 80000 IDR it’s a much easier way to see the whole island than by foot.  NO cars are allowed on Gili T. Sound like bliss? There are a few parts where you will have to wheel your bike across narrow paths and sand. Most of the island has decent enough path. Beware there are hardly any street lights at night. Bring your phone and think of ingenious ways to attach it for lighting your way after 7pm. Riding on two wheels is always a fun thing to do on holiday in our opinion!

   

Outdoor Cinema Gili T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
Free movies if you buy a drink or some food.

Laze at the outdoor cinemas 

Nightly screenings of classic films at various locations. For food and a film try Pink Coco on the sunset side of the island. Get there before sunset and settle in on one of the comfy lounges. Films usually begin at 8pm and are free. You can also see movies closer to the port at a different venue although these are paid about 100000 IDR.

   

Turkish Shisha by the beach - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
Gili T is the party island. There are plenty of options for sleep deprivation!

Channel your inner Bob Marley

The Reggae Bar is the place to hang if you’re serious about reggae. Even if you’re not, you’ll hear it! Great bass and powerful speakers ensure the rasta in you will be mellow amongst your fellow holidaymakers. Or, if relaxing is more your style, try a turkish shisha by the ocean.

   

Romantic Dinners Gili T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
Romantic Beach side dinners!

Romantic dinners on the beach

Most restaurants and even cafes on Gili T have an outside section. Dine nightly on freshly caught seafood with the sound of the waves lapping gently on the shore. Be prepared to hiss at the many cats which try to get in on the fish action. Most venues also have live music, which can be an added bonus, depending on your mood!

 

Breakfast with a view Gili T - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't
What a view while you enjoy breakfast. Gili T has some amazing smoothie bowls and a lot of places have fresh milk! That’s quite rare in Asian countries. Greenfields milk is imported from Java.

Energise over long healthy breakfasts with a beach view of course

Smoothie bowls and great lattes are de rigeur on Gili T. Yes, even quinoa and chia seeds have shown their faces. Most cafes also offer delicious salads and vegetarian options. If you still crave more health kicks there are yoga classes operating in the northern end of the island from a raised studio with ocean views.

   

Onto our last thing that is not fun to do. Downright dangerous even.

Don’t ever drink cocktails

on GIli T and in Indonesia in general. Stick to beer or wine as there is very little chance these have been tampered with. Better still, use this holiday to go tee total and de -tox! Even though Indonesia is a cheap country for tourists, the price of a cocktail is so cheap, it is too good to be true.

The reason is simple. The alcohol in your cocktail isn’t a blend of the famous brand bottles you see on display. The alcohol in your cocktail is a lethal local brew containing a toxic chemical called methanol. Disguised with syrups and juices, you won’t be able to tell your cocktail is potentially poisonous. You could go blind, or worst case scenario, you could die. (check for yourself, google methanol and Gili T)

That wraps up our list of 10 fun things to do in Gili Trawangan and 1 don’t. We would love to hear your views too. Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment below! Poison is it in your drink? - only1invillage 10 fun things to do in Gili t and 1 don't

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