Archive for the ‘Indonesia’ Category

Labuanbajo in Flores, and Denpasar Airport

Indonesia > Flores Island > Labuanbajo

September 2014

Labuanbajo is a small town located at the western tip of Flores island at the centre of the huge Indonesian archipelago. Its claim to fame is being the gateway to the islands of Komodo and Rinca, where the famous Komodo National Park is located, home of the Komodo Dragons. Anyway, the area around Labuanbajo also boasts of pristine islands and beaches, plus spectacular snorkeling and diving sites.

Labuanbajo was once a small fishing village, settled by the seafaring Bajau and Bugis people from the north. In fact the name ‘Labuanbajo’ stands for ‘Pelabuhan Bajau’, which means ‘Port of the Bajau’. Indeed it has a picturesque sheltered harbour which is the starting point for visiting the Komodo Dragons.

I think it’s a matter of time before mainstream tourist hordes would arrive and crowd this beautiful place. Prime seaside properties in the area have already been snapped up by businessmen from Jakarta, ready to exploit the tourism dollar. At the moment the only people here are backpackers and hardcore eco-travellers, such as us. The Labuanbajo airport has even attached the word ‘Komodo’ to its name in order to exploit the commercial value of the Dragons — its new terminal (which carries the lizard theme too) was opened just a few months ago.

The slideshow below also shows the spanking new domestic terminals of Bali Denpasar DPS airport, and it’s slightly older international terminal. Both structures are most welcome as Bali becomes busier as a tourist destination, over-expoited in my humble opinion.

(September 2014)


Please view in HD.



The Home of the Komodo Dragons

Indonesia > Komodo National Park

September 2014

We finally make it to the home of the awesome Komodo Dragons. We fly from Denpasar DPS to Labuanbajo LBJ, located at the western tip of Flores island in central Indonesia. The 90-min flight from Bali is memorable with the sights of menacing, but enchanting, active volcanoes along the way.

From the airport we go straight to Labuanbajo harbour where our boat is ready to take us on a spectacular 2.5 hour ride to Komodo National Park, located on Rinca Island. Excellent weather coupled with calm sea make it a truly enjoyable boat-ride with freshly-cooked lunch served onboard. The scenery along the way is simply fantastic.

On Rinca, the Dragons themselves do not disappoint us. Being so close to one of the most fascinating and fearsome creatures on earth is a very memorable experience. The island of Rinca itself is paradise for nature-lovers.

Definitely a very worthy journey to Komodo Dragon country!


Please view in HD.

(For the trip to Komodo National Park, we used the services of Mr Ignas Suradin,,



Bali, Island of the Gods

Indonesia > Bali

September 2014

We do a quick one-day tour of northern Bali, while en route to Komodo National Park (500km to the east, near Flores island). Renting a car, we make quick stops at the icons of Bali — Pura Besakih or Mother Temple of Besakih, Kintamani with its picturesque (but dangerous) volcano Batur and lake, and finally sunset at the ever-romantic Pura Tanah Lot.

Pura Besakih is Bali’s largest and holiest temple complex, said to be constructed as early as the 8th century. The epicentre of Balinese Hinduism, it’s a must for visitors. Set 1000m up the slope of active volcano Agung, which last erupted 1963 (killing 17,000 people), it is a very culturally pleasant place to visit. The only drawback is the existence of a horde of dodgey ‘guides’. You can engage them — some are nice and very knowledgeable, but after haggling for a reasonable price. The 1963 eruption of Agung almost destroyed the complex, but the lava flowed away from the temples at the last minute, thus enhancing the holiness of the site.

Kintamani is a very touristy spot, where people normally stop for overpriced lunches, but it has a splendid vista of the majestic Batur, another active volcano which last erupted in 2000, and its beautiful lake. The black solidified lava of this eruption can be seen from the Kintamani eateries. The whole area is actually inside a huge caldera of a much larger eruption which took place a long, long time ago.

The Pura at Tanah Lot is truly magical, but you need to be there at high tide in order to experience the illusion of a ‘floating temple’. In any case, sunset is also a much sought-after event at Tanah Lot.


Please watch in HD.




Travels of 2011

I have put together a slideshow of our travels in 2011.


Our Travels of 2011 — locations in video above are, in sequence: Canada (Nova Scotia), Kelantan (PCB), Indonesia (Anak Krakatau), Malaysia (our Setia Alam house), Indonesia (Prambanan, Mt Merapi, Jogjakarta, Borobudur, Dieng Plateau), Malaysia (SMS Faris Petra, Tg Tuan, Port Dickson, Kuala Selangor), Myanmar (Bagan, Irrawaddy, Mandalay, Yangon), Malaysia (Ketereh), India (Darjeeling, Kolkata), Malaysia (Kg Penarik, K. Terengganu), Australia (Great Ocean Road, Ballarat, Bright, Mt Hotham), Malaysia (Kenny G @ KLCC), Canada (Niagara, Ottawa, Quebec, Gaspe, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Hamilton, Toronto), Malaysia (Pangkor Island, Pantai Batu Buruk, MAS B747, KLIA), Indonesia (Bromo, Surabaya), Norway (Fjords, Bergen, Tromso, Aurora, Oslo), Japan (Nikko, Hakodate, Sapporo, Otaru, Kushiro, Nagano), HongKong.
Soundtrack: Medwyn Goodall’s Timeless.
Looking forward to more adventures in 2012. ๐Ÿ˜€

Tengger Caldera and Mt Bromo

Indonesia > Java > Mt Bromo

Tengger Caldera, 16 September 2011

Late afternoon arrival in Bromo from Surabaya. The next morning, pre-dawn jeep ride and trek up Mt Penanjakan (2800m) for a splendid sunrise view from the Tengger Caldera rim. Then a ride down into the huge sandy caldera itself to climb Mt Bromo (2300m) — standing precariously on its narrow crater’s rim for an unforgettable experience. Here’s the video (best watched in HD 720p).


Bewitching Bali

Indonesia > Bali


With the current euphoria over rock-bottom plane tix prices, Bali has always been a very popular destination. So here’s the collection of tales of our 2007 trip. Read them before heading for Bewitching Bali!


Kuta Walkabout

Kertha Gosa in Klungkung

Besakih Pura Agung

Kintamani Highland

Tanahlot Island Pura

Nusa Dua

Uluwatu Cliff Pura

Other Scenes






On the Black Slope of Mt Merapi

Indonesia > Java > Mt Merapi

Kaliedam & Kinahrejo, 05 February 2011

In late October and early November, 2010, Mt Merapi erupted, sending extremely hot pyroclastic flows racing down the southern slope of the 2968-metre volcano, decimating everything in their paths.

This is my video of what was once the fertile, green villages of Kinahrejo and Kaliadem, shot on 05/02/2011, 3 months after the tragedy. It was indeed a surreal and humbling experience standing on the soil blackened with fine black sand ejected from the bowels of the earth by the forceful volcano. What a very horrifying event it must have been that 26/10/2010 afternoon when the first super-hot pyroclastic flow hit.

To get to the place, we travelled northwards from Jogjakarta towards Mt Merapi, through a web of narrow roads, past countless villages, fertile ricefields and farms. We went all the way to within 4.5km of the volcano’s summit, at the spot marked with the red ‘x’ below. It’s in the village of Kinahrejo.

This Google Earth image of the area before the disaster shows how lush the place was. The small river to the left is now a huge gorge in the video above, carved out by the pyroclastics.

Of course, the Big Picture has a memorable collection of pictures too.

Some of my snapshots.

What's left of the villages of Kinahrejo & Kaliedam.

Remnants of Kaliedam.


Anak Krakatau, the Island-Volcano

Indonesia > Sunda Strait

Krakatau Archipelago, 20 January 2011
Anak Krakatau, said to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, has increased activities in the last few months. This is my collection of videos taken during our visit on 20.01.2011.


I: Eruption at 10.40am on 20.01.11. The first one as we enter the Krakatau archipelago after a harrowing 2.5hr boat ride in rough 1.5m swells, from Carita in Banten province, west coast of Java. I am a bit anxious for a moment here, because we are less than 1km from the island-volcano, but going at full speed past its western shore. ๐Ÿ™‚

II. Close-up of the above eruption.

III. From the safety of Pulau Sertung, just 2km away, I observe my second eruption since we arrived. Spectacular, yet disturbing.

IV. On the black beach of Pulau Sertung, just 2km away from Anak Krakatau, we do lunch while the volcano puts up a great show.

V. After almost 3hrs on beautiful monitor-lizard-infested Pulau Sertung, we decide to leave, taking our boat around the eastern side of Anak Krakatau.

VI. Anak Krakatau gives a huge final blast as we leave for nearby Rakata Island (remnant of 1883 eruption) for a spot of snorkeling in pristine water. Luckily the boat ride back to Carita takes us only 1.5hr in much calmer water, compared to 2.5hr in the morning choppy sea.

VII. Finally a slideshow of the whole memorable journey.


Want to visit Anak Krakatau? We used the great folks at ๐Ÿ™‚


Climbing an Active Volcano

The current global interest in volcanoes has prompted me to repost our very own volcano hike. Please find below all three tales of our 2008 climb of Mt Marapi, an active 2891 m (9485 ft) volcano in Sumatra Barat.


09-13 March 2008 > Indonesia > Sumatra Barat

Climbing Mt Marapi

Atop a Volcano

The Smoking Crater


Awesome Archives

Past Places


Please click HERE for a full list of stories from 2004. Pleasant viewing, thanks!