Hear about travel to Indonesia as the Amateur Traveler talks to repeat guest Chris Willis about his trip to Indonesia.
The main objective of Chris’s trip was to photograph Komodo dragons in the wild. Komodo dragons live on 2-3 islands that are not near any airport, so getting there is half the experience. Chris flew into Bali and then sailed for 3-3.5 days to these islands.
On Bali, Chris went diving in Tulamben Bay in the shadow of a volcano after a beautiful drive along the coast. There is a wreck from WWII that you can dive in the bay, which can be done by divers with different skill levels. One of the dives was at night when he and his guide were 60-70 feet underwater in the cargo hold of the ship, surrounded by bioluminescent flashlight fish. On the south side of Bali is a well-known temple at Tanah Lot. Near the temple, 100,000s bats come streaming out of a cave at dusk. Chris also visited the monkey forest near the town of Ubud (made famous by Eat, Pray, Love). He does recommend against teasing the monkeys, as one tourist learned while Chris watched.
To see the Komodo dragons, Chris took a pre-packaged tour on Komodo Island. The boat he was on held 24 passengers. It was a motor yacht in the Indonesian style. The boat is also used as a liveaboard dive boat. They would stop at different islands twice a day as they worked their way to Komodo. They did snorkeling at least once a day at some of the best coral reefs that Chris has seen. “That was honestly one of the highlights of the trip. I have been snorkeling and diving in a lot of different places in the world, and as you head east from Bali and get into some of those islands, you have some of the most incredible reefs in the world in terms of the color and the density of the coral and the number of animals. You see some Pacific staples like banded sea snakes and lots of reef fish, but I had a really memorable first on one of those snorkeling exhibitions in that I saw my very first cuttlefish. The thing that makes them so fascinating is their ability to change the color and texture of their skin so quickly.”
Chris thinks that all the effort to get to see the Komodo Dragons was worth it. “It’s one of the rarest, most endangered animals in the world, with only a few hundred of them in the wild, and so if you want that experience of seeing them outside a zoo, there is no other place to go. Not only that but the trip there and back was worth it too because of the interesting villages and the great snorkeling.”
Chris Willis Indonesia Photos
Bali Travel Guide
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Finding the perfect Liveaboard in Komodo
Mike’s favorite question