Tamara Susa | Active Volcanoes, Ancient Temples and Housewarming Parties | Xperience Indonesia
A photo story of backpacking Indonesian islands, hiking into craters of active volcanoes and meeting the loveliest local people.
indonesia travel
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Active Volcanoes, Ancient Temples and Housewarming Parties | Xperience Indonesia

I recently discovered Blurb Books (not a paid promotion) and started making all of my travel photos into photo books. Not only this is a great way to keep memories of travels, but it also had me go back through years of travel photos and it evoked so many emotions!


Indonesia has a very special place in my heart because it had so many firsts for me – it was my first backpacking trip, it was first time traveling without a plan and figuring things on the go, it was the first third world country I ever visited, and it was the first time Toby and I traveled together. I read somewhere that couples that travel together stay together, and 4 years and a few more continents later, we’re still not done planing our next adventure 🙂


A couple months ago I wrote about our adventures in Borneo, so here I leave you with my favorite photos of other places we visited on our month long travels through Indonesia.




We started our trip in Yogyakarta, a city on the island of Java. As expected, we rented a moped and started exploring from there.



Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia.



Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Evidence suggests Borobudur was constructed in the 9th century and abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Hindu kingdoms in Java and the Javanese conversion to Islam.



The villages close to Borobudur offered some amazing photo opportunities.



Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. Its name literally means “Ring Of Fire.”



Mount Bromo is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java. At 7,641 ft it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the most well known. The massif area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in East Java. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.



Ijen Volcano has a one-kilometer-wide turquoise-colored crater lake, which is recognized as the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world. The lake is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor.





From Ijen we took a ferry to Bali, and then we spent 4 hours on the scariest bus ride of our lives to get to Denpasar, which was such a bad experience that we decided to skip Bali overall and hop over to next island, Lombok.

Here, Bali’s Moung Agung is seen in the distance. This volcano is currently erupting and causing thousands of people to evacuate from their homes.



Lombok is an island in the West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia, separated from Bali by the Lombok Strait.

It is known as the “unspoiled Bali” and that’s quite what we experienced – beautiful beaches, surf spots, lovely people and none of the crowds!



The Sasak people of Lombok are culturally and linguistically closely related to the Balinese, but unlike the Hindu Balinese, the majority practice local Muslim faith and traditions. Before the arrival of Islam, Lombok experienced a long period of Hindu and Buddhist influence that reached the island through Java. To this day a minority Balinese Hindu culture remains strong in Lombok.





This is where the real adventure began. Indonesian side of Borneo has basically no tourism infrastructure, and barely anyone speaks English. We had to rely on my linguistic skills of quickly picking up a foreign language (that I didn’t even know I had) in order to get anywhere, and our main goal was to find Kutai National Park, one of the last places on Earth to see orangutans in nature. This is to date one of the craziest adventures we ever got into, and it deserves its entire blog post, HERE.


Samarinda is the capital of the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The city lies on the banks of the Mahakam River. It is the most populous city on the entire Borneo island.



Bontang Kuala is a village built on water. All the roads and houses are built out of wood, and cars cannot enter the village. It is a popular hangout spot for locals.



And to top off the month of traveling, we were invited to a housewarming party, where we got to enjoy some delicious homemade food while sitting on the floor.



Indonesia, you were lovely, and I hope to be back one day. Terima kasih!


If you want to read more about our Indonesian adventures check out


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