There are waves and good times awaiting wherever you decide to head. Land camps, boat trips or a bit of both there are enough options to keep you exploring for years. Below are a bunch of operators who’ll make your time in Indonesia that much more pleasurable.
Bali is internationally revered as the home of the perfect warm-water barrel. Distant storms in the Roaring Forties provide an almost non-stop supply of swell from April through to October, which quietly travel for thousands of miles before striking the pristine reefs around the coast of the island. These two elements, combined with consistent offshores during the dry season, produce some of the finest waves on the planet.
Bali has naturally become a popular destination for travelling surfers and at times it can get pretty hectic in the water, but with a little adventurous spirit, or early starts, uncrowded perfection is still very much attainable. Some of the better known breaks that advanced surfers will want to experience include Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin, Canguu, Nusa Dua and Keramas. For intermediate level surfers there are several more forgiving breaks, among them Balangan (on a small swell), Dreamland and Kuta Beach.
Bali is the gateway to Indonesia for scores of travelling surfers, as a result it’s become the surfing hub of this part of the world. Head east and you’ve got the smaller islands of Lombok, Sumbawa and Sumba. Travelling west you hit the endless potential of East Java, home to G-Land and plenty of other spots this is the start of a vast stretch of surfing real estate that’s off the radar. From there it’s on to Sumatra, the largest island in Indonesia, its vast elongated landmass stretching for over a 1,000 miles. The island is a zoologist’s paradise and its extensive rainforest is home to numerous endangered species including tigers, elephants, orang-utans and rhinos. Sumatra is a dream destination for geologists too, with no less than 35 active volcanoes. Oh, and it’s also one of the most wave-rich environments on Earth! With the Mentawai, Nias and Simeulue islands offshore offering world class reefs and heaps of spots on the mainland like Krui home to epic reefs and beaches. If you can’t have a good time in Indonesia and score the waves of your life then you’re doing something wrong. Get out there…
// Click Through to 15 Of The Best Indonesian Travel Options Below //
WHEN TO GO: All year can be good. Traditional dry season is April to October but can be pumping and quiet in the wet season.
AIRPORT: Denpasar (DPS) for Bali, for smaller airports hop on Air Asia or other budget carriers from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta to: Bandar Lampung (TKG) for South Sumatra, Padang (PDG) for Mentawai, Gunungsitoli (GNS) Nias. Medan (KNO) for Simeulue.
ACCOMMODATION: See our recommended guide over the next few pages
LANGUAGE: Indonesian, many local dialects and English spoken in main tourist centres.
CURRENCY: Indonesian Rupiah, dollars always a good back up.
WATCH OUT FOR: On land, beware when on the roads, it’s a lot more freestyle than you’re used to. Your horn is the most important part of the vehicle. In the water respect the reef and marquee spots can be busy peak season so it’s best to explore. BOARDS: You’ll need a minimum of three boards: a normal shortboard and a couple of pintails, say a 6’6’’ and a 6’8’’.
RUBBER: Boardshorts are all you’ll need … but don’t wear green ones. Seriously. Sun protection is essential.
AFTER DARK: Beers at the camp or talk to your guide for the best bars and restaurants in your area. Who knows you might end up having dinner at a local village.
ALTERNATIVE EXCITEMENT: Whitewater rafting, volcano hikes (assuming Agung isn’t going off), natural hot springs, jet skiing, parasailing, diving, wildlife, temples and culture. Indo is full of adventure
ESSENTIALS: Sun protection obvs. Sunnies, suncream, long sleeve wetty top, hat. Insect repellant. Tropical wax. Mask/snorkel. Good attitude.