By Zachary Moses
I recently hosted the inaugural launch of our Gay Indonesia Island Hop Tour with HE Travel,
and it was an incredible journey. We jet-set between islands and boated through some of the most picturesque and exciting destinations in the country.
Because this was a new tour, I arrived a couple of days early in order to adjust as well as prepare for any last minute changes to the itinerary.
The tour began on the island of Java,
Where we met Azhar, our local guide on the island. We gave each group member a quick orientation, then everyone headed straight to bed. We had a ridiculously early departure for our first flight, which had been changed due to pandemic-related pilot shortages.
In the morning, we caught our early flight to Borneo,
We arrived just after sunrise, and met our local guide Sam, who joined us everywhere we went. His regional knowledge was excellent, and if he didn’t have your answer, he would find it.
We then transferred to a boat, where we rode several hours up the river into the island’s jungle interior. After several hours, we arrived at Rimba Lodge, our hotel for the next two nights. In the morning we ventured by boat even further into the island, right to Camp Leaky where Jane Goodall did her work with the Orangutans.
We saw LOTS of Orangutans at all our stops. They’re incredible. After seeing them, they’re just people to me. They seemed so human.
By the way, everyone who didn’t come in a day or two early, had a difficult time adjusting to the jet lag they were experiencing. I highly recommend arriving early, if you can.
We returned to the island of Java,
Where we explored the ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, while staying at beautiful resorts along the way.
As a history buff, I was completely blown away by the impressive architecture and deep cultural significance of these temples.
Next, we traveled to the island of Bali,
Where we met Budha, our local guide. We explored the local village and saw the delicately carved wooden sculptures. We toured the farms and visited the makers. Furthermore, we saw the production of many common food products and textiles.
Next, we attempted to visit Kintamani to see Lake Batur, and Bali’s highest Volcanic crater. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and foggy and we couldn’t see it.
My favorite activity on Bali was being able to participate in the rituals in the Sacred bathing pools of Tritra Empul. Absolutely amazing. I’ll carry that deep spiritual experience for the rest of my life. Plus, the waters are said to have curative powers, so…maybe I’m immortal now?
We finished the day at a coffee and spice plantation, where we learned about cat-poop-coffee. Apparently, there are these cats called Civets, that love to eat coffee berries. The locals collect the beans from Civet feces, which is why it’s soooo expensive. The cats partially digest the beans, leaving you with a remarkably smooth, low acid cup of coffee or a latte, as I had during my own personal cat-poop-cup-of-coffee. I kind of shudder when I think about it, but it was pretty damn good tasting.
The next day was on our own.
Everyone had the day off today to do their own explorations. The definite winners were Jerome and David, who went on an elephant safari. That’s got to be an option for next year.
The group reconvened for the opportunity to witness a stunning Balinese dance performance, which was a true highlight of the trip.
Flight to Labuan Bajo,
Where we caught a transfer boat to Sereya Island. A delightful castaway kind of place. The beach is perfect, the beach bungalows make it even better. This was my personal most enjoyable hotel.
The next day we met our guide Franco, and we went via speedboat to Padar Island, where everyone takes the famous 3 beaches shot. Here’s mine:
On the way to the top, I bought a dark blue and pink pearl necklace and bracelet from a vendor. It was about $20 USD.
Our next stop was Pink Beach, a famous beach with crystal-clear waters and like its name has pink sandy beaches. As a lover of marine life, I was thrilled to go snorkeling to explore this rich underwater world.
From there, we visited the lesser-known island of Rinca, where we experienced the world-famous iconic Komodo Dragons up close. Hiking through the park and taking in the incredible views of the surrounding landscape was an experience I’ll never forget. Those things could do some damage if you ran into one.
The next day was on our own,
And I really enjoyed it. I spent the day having mimosas at the bar, and socialized with everyone as they came through.
Finally, the tour concluded back on Bali again,
Where we enjoyed free time at a beachfront hotel, followed the next evening by our Farewell Dinner at Ku De Ta.
Throughout the tour,
I had the opportunity to connect with other like-minded travelers and enjoy the company of knowledgeable guides who provided insight into the local culture and history of each destination.
In addition to the cultural and historical attractions, the tour also offered plenty of opportunities for adventure. Whether it was hiking through the Komodo National Park, snorkeling in crystal clear waters around the Islands, or simply exploring the local markets and villages, there was something for everyone on this tour.
Overall, the Gay Indonesia Island Hop Tour with HE Travel was an unforgettable journey that allowed me to experience and learn about some of the most beautiful and exciting destinations in Indonesia.
The focus on cultural immersion and adventure made it a unique and meaningful trip that I will always cherish.
I hope to see you on tour!
Click here to read more of Zachary’s adventures.