Advice for an extended Indo trip

Zacpro's picture
Zacpro started the topic in Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 at 1:10am

Hi, so I'm heading to indo in febuary for 4-5 months with a budget of between 7-10k aus dollars to surf as much and as many waves as possible. It's my first time so have a limited idea of where to head to and where's good for the different seasons, I'm aware that I'll be going during two seasons. Was thinking of flying to Bali/Lombok, depending on the ash cloud. I'm an intermediate surfer, gooffy footed so prefer my lefts but also enjoy rights, only ever really surfed beach breaks, a couple of points. I really would liked to get barrelled at some point. As it's my first time going for reef breaks I would like to start easyish, although I like to push my ability as far as I can, biggest is best! (8ft-10ft faces is largest I've surfed mind you, but would like to surf bigger if I'm able to). I've read a lot about the mentawai islands, would love to go there but everything I've researched points to it being very expensive or inaccessible, but I've emailed a
Camp for prices, around April May time to hit the good season. My local beach is a crowded one so am used to crowds but would love some less crowded breaks. I ride a short board, was planning on taking two boards, a 5''10" and possibly a 6'4" for larger days. Would love some advice, itineraries, must visits, and date planning for maximum consistency of waves. I don't need much comfort, have been living out of a backpack for over two years, so cheap ad cheerful is Perfect for me :D Thanks in advance!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 at 6:03am

Wow. Where to start? Good on ya for giving yourself a decent length of time though, it's a great way to get immersed into the local culture. And you'll get much more into rhythm with the surf as well.

There are much more seasoned Indo travellers than me who can recommend a a plan of attack so I'll leave it up to them to offer some advice.. but I can't wait to hear how you get on.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 at 7:01am

Board choice sounds just about perfect. Being there that long you will have the opportunity to mess around with a few boards if you decide you want something different, but I tend to take my normal shortboat and a 6'6" to Indo. When it's too big for the 6'6" to handle it's well beyond my limits.

I could give you thousands of bits of advice, but my top three would be this:
1. Learn Indonesian: it's very approachable, grammatically very straightforward, and enriches your trip so much. The little Lonely Planet phrasebooks are actually great. Make an effort, you won't regret it. You see guys going to Indonesia who never seem to acknowledge the people around them and are only interested in the foreign surfers and the expatriate camp owner. Don't be that guy!
2. Leave the board behind at times and go travel, even for a few days. There is so much fascinating and fantastic stuff in Indonesia away from the waves. And sometimes you just want a change of scenery. Heading into the mountains from time to time is a great way to recharge the surf batteries.
3. Many will disagree, but I say do not start in Bali or Lombok. So many people do this and get home after 5 months having not left Bali and not surfed half as much as they would have liked. Bali is super comfortable. You can get flat whites in take away cups and buy Frankie magazine in the corner store and you see surfers who planned to be out in the islands getting waves sitting in cafes eating overpriced Mexican food playing with their phone. My advice to anyone visiting Indonesia for the first time (surfer or not) is to visit somewhere else first. If you spend a month or two in Java or Sumatra before getting to Bali, you'll touch down on the island of the Gods and see through all that commercialism, be less inclined to stick to the safety of Canggu, and also have a better eye for appreciate the local (and fascinating) culture.

Have fun - and if you find some quiet waves... don't tell us!

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Wednesday, 25 Nov 2015 at 8:50am

Great advice Dan!
Going on that advice a good place to start would be west java, either palabaan ratu (mostly fun rights and a few dry season lefts, some spots good year round)
or Turtles- genteng west java area for a bit but the reefs here you might want to visit later on when you're really surf fit and charging a bit.
Krui area in mainland south Sumatra has a lot of waves that suit intermediate surfers. youll love krui lefts for getting used to reef breaks, a lot of people call it barrel school but i think it gets crowded nowadays.
there are other waves in the area like ujung bocor (leaky point) thats fairly consistant swell wise, really long and suits int surfers getting used to reefs. if you get bored of that place theres a lot of heavy waves around if you look around. Krui is a good place to learn indonesian too as you will mix with a lot of locals that dont speak english that well, some do really well but most dont.
Krui is better in dry season but can be surfed wet, its just the winds howl from the west most arvos.

If you visit those places you will most likely meet other surfers and learn of waves around to visit or cheap ways to hang out in the mentawais etc. 10 grand is plenty for a trip or 5 months you could do it with 5 grand or even 3 but its best to have some money and not be too stingey.
Genteng might get a bit boring for a long trip i reckon no longer than a month or you might get really bored even if its pumping.
Jakarta is a crazy place to party between your trips, lots of friendly locals, tourists and musicians etc you will likely meet. Jalan jaksa is jakartas street with all the cheap hotels and tourists. Good place to go for a week or so between trips.Some might try to get you to go to place like stadium nightclub, that is one hell of a big nightclub but lots of gurning pill heads and there could be cops so be careful.Places like that will chew your money as well.

Make sure you get a social visa, with a bali agent extending it for you while you're away. if not you will have to go to KL after your visas up. All that might have changed though with the new rules on visas, im not sure if you need social visas any more for longstays.
Longstays in kos apartments are cheaper than hotels or surf camps. a kos apartment will cost around $50 a month in most areas, if they are available. However you will have to stay there for a few months to get the cheap price.
Thats one of the negatives of doing a really cheap trip is you have to stay in one area for such a long time, where as with some extra dollers you can move on easily. 7-10 grand is plenty to stay in most areas and be able to move around to new places if you feel like it.
Have fun.

PS buy lonely planet and a few surf guide books like stormriders guide indonesia, well worth it.

Zacpro's picture
Zacpro's picture
Zacpro Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 at 12:22pm

Cheers for all the advice, helps a lot, will start to learn a little bit of Indonesian before I go

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 at 7:33pm
Zacpro wrote:

Cheers for all the advice, helps a lot, will start to learn a little bit of Indonesian before I go

Good idea. Enjoy yourself doing it otherwise you will give up. The Lonely Planet phrasebooks are a good place to start. The text we use to teach it at university is called "The Indonesian Way" by George Quinn and is fantastic. You can get some of it online for free I think.

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 at 6:31am

Also you might want to read the Roti/Timor thread, there are a lot of waves there you might like.