Indonesia – Heaven on Earth
With a mission to visit as many countries as possible before we kick the bucket, Summer 2016 was all about exploring the natural beauty of Indonesia.
Packed with excitement we embarked on a 3 week trip to the world’s largest country comprised solely of islands (17,508 islands to be exact, and out of which 6,000+ are inhabited). The trip from Dubai, UAE to Jakarta, Indonesia was roughly about 8 hours but that’s not bad if you happen to be on a night flight and sleep through it :p
We landed in the early hours on August 1st 2016 and the first thing we noticed was the humidity! The weather was bordering on hot, but nothing compared to the scorching heat of Dubai summer.
Our first stop was Puncak – A popular hotspot among tourists and Indonesians alike. If clean air, stunning scenery and some alone time away from the rest of the world is what you are looking for then Puncak is the place to be. However, try to not loose your patience when moving around in Puncak. The traffic is and will always be horrible! With only 1 main road (1 lane per direction), you can easily spend an hour or two on the road for what should be a 15 minute journey.
There is no denial that Puncak has stunning scenery. We spent 6 days going up and down the Puncak pass – a mountain pass in West Java, Indonesia; and let me tell you, you will never ever get tired of God’s creation. My eyes have never seen so much greenery and overall natural beauty. It really is a peace of heaven on earth. The higher up the mountain you go, the cleaner the air and the better the view.
Accommodation wise, the first 2 nights were the worst! Our tour guide cheated us and after hours on the road searching for a place to sleep, we found a dodgy hotel with horrible plumbing and food to rest. After continuously searching for a decent place, we were lucky enough to stay at Royal Safari Garden for a couple of nights and I would advise anyone planning on visiting Puncak to book a room there. Why? Simply because you will get the best service and experience at their hotel. Whether you are traveling alone, with your spouse or even with your entire extended family. They have accommodations that will suit every need. from private villas, to individual rooms, everything they offered was top notch and at an affordable price too! It’s more than just a hotel. Everywhere you turn is an adventure. We ate breakfast as leopards roamed around ( behind glass ofc! ), Elephants passed by as they gave little kids rides round the block, kittens would occasionally come and eat with us too 😀 As for the breakfast selection, Royal Safari Garden has done an amazing job. This is the only resort I’ve ever been to that had me waiting for breakfast.
As I mentioned earlier Royal Safari Garden is more than just a hotel. I would advise going during weekends as that’s when all the fun activities happen. But in case you miss out that’s ok! There is loads to explore anyway. If you want to spend your time enjoying activities then there is plenty to do including: bumper cars, bumper boats, paintball, mini golf, mini train, and even a games center!
If you want to spend time with animals, then you can enjoy riding on Elephants, Ponies and Camels. You can explore their aquarium and spot the various kinds of fish, you may also get to play with frogs and other animals that pop up and surprise you from time to time. If you are the adventurous type, then Royal Safari Garden has got your back too with activities like: flying fox, war game simulation, and various outbound games.
[ Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Royal Safari Garden in any way, shape or form. My family and I really enjoyed our time and felt so welcomed and comfortable. The staff were super kind and caring for our wellbeing. We made so many beautiful memories that we will forever cherish, and we wish you the same ]
Activities wise, there is a lot to do in Puncak. The images below were taken at some of the tourist hotspots we visited.
Taman Bunga Nusantara (Flower Garden) – I’d recommend allocating a minimum of 3-4 hours to enjoy everything that Taman Bunga Nusantara has to offer. A popular tourist spot that will without a doubt turn any frown upside down. Surrounded by beautiful botanics everywhere you turn. Every turn takes you to another beautiful corner filled with more instagrammable surprises.
Cibodas Botanical Garden – Ask your tour guide to take you all the way to the waterfalls! That’s were you will get to see mother nature’s true beauty. I recommend wearing good sports shoes for this one as it’s a long hike up the mountain to where the waterfall is. The hike up the mountain is by far the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done. Surrounded by nothing but greenery and blue skies. Every step you take, you’d feel more and more connected to Earth and you’d soon start to forget all the things that have been troubling you. After about 45 min to 1 hour, you would have reached the waterfall, and trust me, your jaw would drop from the beauty of it all. If there is one place that anyone has to visit in Puncak, hands down, the Cibodas Botanical Garden will be it! A perfect place to escape, recuperate and reconnect with oneself.
Rafting in Cisadane River – Plan ahead & dress appropriately, 100% chance of being soaked from head to toe! Wish someone told me beforehand that we would end up there & was honest enough to tell me that I will end up wet. We were misinformed by the tour guide and all the employees working for Al Nassr Rafting. And I hold my grudge against them all till this day! I clearly remember how I ruined my brand new Nikes that I contemplated on buying for months, and I clearly remember the distress I was in the whole time. I hate water. I hate anything to do with being exposed to a large bodies of water; the depth of seas scares me, and to make matters worse, I don’t even know how to float ( LOL ). Nonetheless, It was a fun experience now that I look back and edit out all the times I cried internally, panicked and made my last wishes. Adrenaline junkies would love this one, however, do NOT expect me to be doing this again anytime soon. PS – there are no pictures for this as they packed all our phones and cameras to prevent them from getting soaked.
That wraps up our first week in Indonesia. Fun filled, action packed and memories to cherish for life. Indonesia is truly a piece of heaven on earth ( yes, I know I mentioned it before). We had a rough patch at the start with accommodation, but by God’s will, it all worked out well and we got to explore Puncak to it’s fullest.
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