Traditionally Ethos Travel’s top selling destination has been Indonesia. It’s a destination that has fascinated and enthralled us in equal measure! In the office we have a combined 50 visits, and over 600 hotel inspections (less than 100 have passed the Ethos Travel cut though!).
2015 was a tough year for the country – with confusion over the new visa rules (fortunately now clarified, and we’re excited to see completely free visa on arrival for tourists arriving into Bali or Jakarta), and a stream of volcanic eruptions causing our clients delays, re-routings, and last minute changes.
Yet – this is the way with Indonesia – it’s a rugged country that lacks infrastructure once you get off the beaten track (as we like to encourage you to), and of course, over 120 active volcanoes! This ‘Ring of Fire’ caused multiple issues in 2015 with eruptions from Mount Rinjani (Lombok), Mount Sinabung (Sumatra) and particularly Mount Raeng (Java) causing issues with flights who cannot pass through volcanic dust which is spewed out in eruptions. We always say that Indonesia is a country that requires flexibility, but a country that will reward you with utmost beauty and a wonderful people. This was reminded to us by last weeks Guardian’s Images from the Mentawai Islands off the West Coast of Sumatra. It’s also somewhere we’ve been, but not somewhere we will be launching tours to (it’s a destination so isolated that it can only support very small scale eco-tourism, and a handful of Australian surfers).
However, 2016 will be bringing our largest expansion to our Indonesia portfolio to date. In 2015 we travelled to Mount Bromo (the most photogenic place in Indonesia?), and Flores to see new island resorts (with world class snorkelling & diving 20 metres in front of the hotel) and of course the Komodo Dragons, with 20 inspections of the boats that will take you there (from the speedboats that will take you on day trips, to the uber-luxurious Tiger Blue. We’ve been working on new programs to Kalimantan (or, Indonesian Borneo to most of you), Sulawesi (let us know if you fancy trying mud-diving, we’ve got just the resort!), West Papua (trekking, jungles, tribes, adventure, and reasonable prices), Komodo & Flores and exclusively trips to Bukit Lawang in Sumatra to see Orang Utans – surrounded by a tiny fraction of the tourists that visit the Orang Utans in Malaysia – yet – it’s easier to reach! And this is just a small snippet of our new Indonesia tours!
So it’s exciting times for this wonderful country, and next week 5* airline Garuda Indonesia are expected to launch 5 x weekly flights from London Heathrow, so getting there will be quicker, easier, cheaper and more luxurious than ever! (If you think that’s an over-ambitious statement – we urge you to try their brand new long haul planes!).