Hi all long time lurker and reader, first time with a question.
I've got long service leave coming up in November and December and the start of January and was initially going to do the from Brisbane down to Adelaide with a Camper trailer, the wife and two kids 6 and 4. Unfortunately, I can't time it with work at any other time and as a result, it's shitting me off having to book 1 week at a time in caravan parks due to Christmas holidays, particularly when I'd like to move on when the forecast is looking better further down the coast. Not to mention the costs are just stupid at this time of the year.
So, looking to get peoples thoughts on an offseason indo trip and taking 6-8 weeks through various islands off Indo. In terms of previous Indo travel, we've done Bali, Lombok and Gilli's when the kids were two and four and no issues with taking the kids somewhere a bit more remote now they are a bit older.
In terms of me, I'm a decent level surfer but no means an expert surfed regularly for 15 years.
I'm aware that things aren't going to be anywhere near as consistent as July- August but hopefully can work something out.
So a few questions in relation to this idea:
1. Where would people recommend, I know there are waves on the East coast of Bali so could spend some time there but looking to realistically get away from the crowds a bit more than this. Potentially somewhere like Aura in Northern Sumatra or Simeulue (however these add to costs pretty significantly!)
2. Anyone travelled to some of the other islands with the wife and kids whether they'd recommend?
3. How many places just shut down altogether over this time?
Look forward to getting your ideas.
Kid-friendly and minimal crowds without blowing the budget is probably a big ask.
I reckon you're best off spending the extra coin on one of the resorts for at least one or two weeks.
Bit further afield but not much....Try Taiwan, south east cost, quiet, great waves, uncrowded, great for the kids and wife in a cultural sense with plenty to see.
Other than that, if Indo is budget driven, try renting a small house around Sanur, Nusa Dua and settle in for a family adventure.....
I'm in Vietnam and you can be assured of a great family adventure, but waves a bit fickle for the next couple of months...
Would agree also on Taiwan. Easy to get around and safe. Crime practically non existent. Great place to kick back with the family. Awesome scenery and it does get good surf, in those months your going.
Agree with thermalben and megzee calls. There's resorts open at that time of year in Telo's and Ment's. I've done Taiwan in January and got great waves - you'll need a spring suit or short arm, mega amount of waves, lot's of cobble stone points and reefs where I was, easy driving, cheap food, fun sightseeing on the side, plenty of hotels and home stays.
Sounds like you are up for an adventure and happy to do it with wife and kids.
6 to 8 weeks is a good amount of time, shoukd be able to do a few of these.
1. Central and west java can be okay in the offseason, mix it up with some culture in central Java area Solo and Joja plenty of temples including brodbodur and prambanen(how ever they are spelt) huge water park in Solo too.
Cimaja area can be worth a trip if swell, area suits familys.
2.South Sumatra can be good in the offseason, plenty of quality beachies if small. Accommodation is getting better in quality but still affordable.
3. Offseason mentawais, imho only time worth going to playgrounds area now with in season crowds, even if you dont get a good swell you should get waves still at burger world, nipussie, beng bengs, pitstops. Nyang nyang again affordable and basic but getting more comfortable.
4. Simeulue like south sumatra not a bad off season option, not really a swimsuit friendly area though for missus, and bintang hard to get
5. Sumba also not a bad offseason option with plenty of unique culture.
6. KL or Singapore imho are always good trip enders for Sumatra trips for a few days or so, affordable high end hotels especially in KL quite a few attractions for kids theme parks zoos etc and good mix of food.
Great - thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated, particularly Indo-dreaming. All of those places in your reply which I was considering. I grew up traveling a lot and whilst didn't surf we did Central and West Java and Bali when I was a really similar age to my kids..... so close to 30 years ago. My distinct memories were climbing Mt Bromo at Sunrise and getting altitude sickness and coming back on a donkey, Kuta even then being out of control and getting ripped off regularly but was always only a couple of dollars. Even then we only travelled on local buses, ferries and stayed in some pretty out there place. I still think that trip along with China in the mid 90's shaped me as a kid and made me realise how good we've got it in Australia.
So with that background, it might help any further suggestions. I don't necessarily want to lock myself into an itinerary as if the forecast is looking good, we'll head there. Puts me in a bit of a rock and a hard place as when you're paying for 4 lots of flights plus board travel, each time you fly you add a fair bit in costs.
The other area was across to Flores to see the Komodo dragons etc and possibly Rote. Anyone with experiences there, particularly out of peak season? My guess is that Flores should be fine for accommodation as plenty of people are there for non-surfing reasons.
Any other suggestions, place you'd recommend to stay around any of the places that indo-dreaming has mentioned. I've also got a number in mind but would love to know what people would think from a budget point of view if you were to do a similar trip.
Also interesting to see the comments on Taiwan, pretty sure we'd do Indo this time but appreciate the suggestions. I've seen a few people posting pics up recently and surf looks super varied and is somewhere I've never been before. Would it be suitable for a trip of such a length, I wouldn't have thought so but I'm pretty ignorant to this as an overall location as it's not something I've looked into.
Can agree with Taiwan (East), Rote (rights), & that SA joint round that time of year. And a certain rivermouth in Indo up the road from where I just came back from?!
Hey chucky, went to Flores and the Komodo Islands about a year ago. Freaking amazing, one of the most beautiful places I've ever explored. It's a little under-developed by Indo standards which is quite nice, but a shit ton to do around there.
I had a week on Flores; waterfalls, stunning hikes, empty beaches, amazing scenery. Then 5 days on a live-aboard around the islands which is nuts. Snorkelling, swimming with manta rays, hiking volcanoes... a different world. You could easily spend longer and sail around to Sumba or Sumbawa also.
Accom is everywhere, though I would book in advance as it's the diving epicentre of the world.
Your visit to Komodo was well timed, the Indo govt has just closed it to visitors and moved 2,000 villagers off the island to help the Komodo Dragon population survive.
No way! Holy shit. Incredible to see those beats up close. Would hate to imagine being stuck on the island alone with them.
nice godsquad. travelled around there in 91 - Flores is still one of the most beautiful islands I've been to in all SE Asia, possibly the most beautiful. komodo was mind blowing
Really Stu - hadn't heard that, will look further into it. From limited info I can get it appears to be a temporary 1-year ban from January 2020 onwards. May be worth getting there on this trip then. Gods Quad, did you fly directly in or boat it yourself. Thoughts on traveling that area with relatively resilient kids?
FR - Been looking into this and tough to get a lot of details on. Anyway you can send through any additional info without being available to the masses?
to be honest Chucky I was just flying up the flagpole.
haven't been there for years, I'm sure others on here have.
my brother is going next month.
chucky - if you do take your kids to komodo keep them close by and keep a very close eye on them. those dragons roam everywhere and they are extremely deceptive. lope around and look docile but they are lightning fast and deadly when they decide something is food. two or three of them would make short work of a large man. one of them would take a kid no problem. and heaps of reef sharks patrolling the beaches when i was there too. but it's an amazing place
I flew into Labuan Bajo, the main town on Flores. Incredible scenery on that flight in itself, sailing over a string of beautiful islands. From there you can jump on one of the hundreds of boats leaving the harbour and sail around.
I was a single early thirties traveller then, so don't have much advice re: kids. Though I didn't notice many around while I was there. I think as long as they are comfortable being and sleeping on a boat and happy snorkelling the reefs in open water, they'll have a ball.
Jacko, the local officials on the islands are extremely strict with watching tourists while on Komodo and Rinca, there wasn't more than 10 sec you were left alone without a guide around you. Super safe. Though, definitely agree keeping children alert and close by. I saw what those Komodos did feeding on a full size buffalo and it was gnarly.
Top spot and hopefully doesn't get blown out to the masses anytime soon.
Isn’t it on the official governmental list of ten locations to be primed for tourism hubs ?
I’ve met a few land speculators casing the joint and a few business owners already in operation who also reckon it’s all happening.
What a shame. Such a lovely little joint with super friendly locals. There was only one resort being constructed while I was there. I couldn't help but feel it may have been on the cusp of exploding though.
There's been bursts of development in and around Komodo for a few decades now. There's a couple of derelict resorts on some islands in the park that are absolute classics. I'd love to chat to the owners about how it all went wrong.
The government has recently removed the subsidy on flights to Flores, and tourism has taken a bit of a hit. Mostly Italians have invested in Labuanbajo, but the bulk of the development there still centers of fishing and the port rather than tourism. It's still nearly impossible to get good staff, in the same way that it is on other nearby islands that all of us get anxious about, and so it'll still have the same country vibe of NTT for a few years to come I reckon.
Derelict resorts in Indo? I stayed at Mumma's, Genteng, a few times back in the 90s and there was a failed resort next door. While not palatial the owners had clearly aimed at a price point above what the average surf bum was prepared to pay. Few times we'd go in there and drink around the old cabanas, or walk along the corridoors peering into the luxe rooms that were slowing being reclaimed by the forest. I've still got a Bintang tumbler I pinched from in there.
Another place I went fairly recently was pegged as being a new Bali or Raja Ampat so the central government had turned on the cash tap. One day I followed signs to XXXX Resort, aiming my scooter through the low lying swamplands till I found it: a five star resort built over an estuary in a place rampant with malaria. Like a set from the Vice series 'Abandoned', the joint was eerily empty.