2019 Holiday in Indonesia

Three years after our last trip to Indonesia for one leg of our honeymoon, Kev and I returned to spend Christmas 2019 and bring in the New Year. Normally we like traveling to different places, but since we wanted to go scuba diving again and Wakatobi’s Pelagian has been the best dive yacht we’ve ever stayed on with the most abundant and diverse small, colorful critters to see, we were both down to go back. We felt like we were back home in a sense because most of the same crew were there as well as our dive masters!

We were on the yacht for a week and we did 22 dives over a week, being underwater cumulatively for about 25 hours. We did 3-4 dives every day. Our days consisted of waking up around 5:30am, having coffee, going diving, having breakfast, doing some light yoga on the top deck, doing a second dive, having lunch and a light nap, doing a third dive, having a snack, doing a night dive, and then having dinner.

Eat, Nap, Dive, Repeat

We saw so many amazing critters including: sponge crab, decorated crab, scorpion fish, squid, octopuses, frog fish, sea horse, hairy lobster, shrimp, box fish, cuttlefish, many species of nudibranchs, flounder, spotted sting ray, clownfish, horned fish, mandarin fish, and of course my favorite orbicular burrfish.

Here’s a note in my journal that gave me a chuckle re-reading. Maybe I was slightly delirious or I was still in awe of everything I saw that day being underwater for over 4.5 hours – “I keep thinking how underrated fish are. When I see them underwater they are all unique and special in their shapes and colors, so that I think they’re all beautiful. However, when you take a fish out of water, they look dull and they all look the same.”

Wakatobi does not disappoint, we had amazing dives and great muck diving. Magic Pier is probably our favorite dive site ever to see the mating madarin fish which we recognize is rare and very special to see so many congregated in one area. The dive is almost overwhelming because there is so much to see including cuttlefish, crabs, eels in addition to trying to capture the madarin fish mating and making sure not to get pricked by a sea urchin. That’s my idea of an adventure!

After scuba diving for a week, I was looking forward to spending some time on land. Last time we stayed in Bali, we stayed at the Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali which was a beautiful resort, but we were there for such a short time that we never left. This time around we wanted to actually explore more of Bali. Kevin did his research and put us up in the most amazing luxury resort, Amandari, part of the Aman resort group.

Not only was the resort beautiful with amazing service, what I liked even more were the activities that were included with our itinerary. The first morning we were there we woke up at 2am (no joke) and climbed Mt. Abang. It was an hour drive to get to the base and then we hiked for 5 hours total to see the sunrise. We took the General Manager of the resort’s dog with us on the climb which was a lot of fun. She was a big, well behaved dog and she made me feel safe.

We were too tired to stay up for the New Years celebration that night but we got up early the next morning for another activity and I got to learn more about Balinese culture. We went to a family temple which I had never seen before. In America, many people have backyards with trees, bushes, or flowers but the Balinese people are very spiritual and have their own customs so their “backyards” are family temples filled with statues to pay respect to their Gods.

We went to an art school for children and bought some very pretty art to being back home. They paint everything free-hand and the proceeds of the art sales goes to the respective child who created it (hopefully). After we went to Kumulilir that had luwak coffee which is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries that have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. We were walked through the coffee making process and then got to try a tasty sampler of various flavored coffees and teas in addition to the luwak coffee. Our last stop that day was at a community temple which was very beautiful.

The next day was our last day before flying back home. We started the morning with a walk around the Amandari property and surrounding properties, through local neighborhoods, and through some rice fields. We made a spontaneous decision to check out the Ubud Monkey Forest before grabbing our stuff and heading to the airport. I’m really happy we squeezed it in because it was pretty cool. It was definitely a tourist trap but there were so many monkeys everywhere, it was awesome. They can get kind of aggressive so visitors are advised not to get too close, but you can still get pretty close to them since they’re used to people always being close by. They’re practically domesticated because there are large crates full of food so it’s like an all-you-can-eat 24/7 buffet for them. I got some great shots with my camera.

The flight to and from Indonesia was the worst, but it was SO worth the lost 2 days of travel to have the adventure we did. I love it there and can’t wait to go back and explore other parts.

Here is a link to view all of our Wakatobi pics.
Here is a link to view all of our Bali/Amandari pics.
(Though Kev would like to take credit for all of the good ones, these galleries are the compilation of photos that both Kevin and I took throughout the trip.)