Breathtaking natural beauty, dormant volcanoes, stunning beaches and friendly people are the ingredients for this fantastic tour to the islands of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo and Flores. Visit traditional tribes, watch the Kelimutu volcano with its three coloured lakes, search for dragons on Komodo Island and relax on the beaches of Gili Air and Sumbawa Besar. Then you’ll realise why they call this region the Emerald of the Equator!
It is your own responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents for your trip. You should have a minimum of 6 months validity on your passport beyond your return travel date.
For a number of nationalities, it is possible to gain a free 30-day tourism visa (depending on point of entry). For those not qualifying for the free visa, it is possible to organise the visa upon arrival at a cost of US$35 per person (11/14). If you need to organise your visa in advance of travel then you should do so either through your closest Indonesian embassy or through an agency such as CIBT
Please check visa information in good time before your trip commences as this information is always subject to change. You can check this information through a site such as this one
Accommodation and transport
The transportation used during this trip is very diverse. Throughout most of the trip you will have your own bus available. Do not however expect luxury tourist buses! On Sumbawa and Flores we hire local buses. The buses have no air conditioning and the legroom sometimes is not what we may be used to, but that's part of the charm of travelling in this part of Indonesia. We use the local public ferry for the trip from Lombok to Sumbawa Besar and fast boats for the crossing to the Gili Islands. In Sape a private boat will take us to Flores in two days.
You fly from Flores to Bali. This domestic flight between Ende and Denpasar has a maximum weight of 15 kilos of luggage (for each additional kilo you will pay a fee on the spot).
Departure tax: Please note that you must pay a departure tax at the airport in Indonesia. We do not list any amounts for this as they are often changing.
During our travels through Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores we stay alternately in reasonably comfortable mid-range hotels and simple guesthouses. You have a room for 2, usually with shower or mandi (Indonesian style way of washing whereby you scoop water from a tub and pour it over yourself). Hot water is not available everywhere and the toilet will not always be in the room. However, please note that on the island of Flores accommodation is limited and therefore we have no choice but to use a simple hotel where the plumbing does not always cooperate. In contrast, the staff are always willing to help to resolve the problem. When selecting the hotels we pay particular attention to the location, cleanliness and atmosphere. The hotels or guesthouses are generally and if possible situated in the center of the place where we stay.
Some of the planned hotels have a swimming pool, very refreshing! This applies to the lodgings in Ubud, Sumbawa Besar, Ende and Sanur. In exceptional cases it may happen that we stay in different hotels, without pools. In this case, we try and find alternatives for you (pools).
During this trip we sleep on a boat for one night. A single room is not possible here.
Travellers who book alone share a room with one or two fellow travellers. We of course keep in mind that you should be paired with someone of the same sex.
If you would like a single room for the whole trip, please indicate this when booking. There will be a single supplement to be paid. There are no single rooms on board the boat (near Rinca). Regarding triples in the Sunda Islands: in most hotels it is possible to place an extra bed in the room but sometimes this is just an extra mattress. At the hotel in Bima, the rooms are too small to place an extra mattress/bed inside.
Our tours are led by trained, local English speaking tour leaders. We know that our travellers appreciate being accompanied by these local tour leaders who, compared to their counterparts (living outside of the destination) have more detailed knowledge of their country. He/she knows the area well, can provide background information and ensure that the trip goes smoothly. He/she knows what to do if something were to go wrong, but is not a "walking encyclopedia". Therefore we would like to refer you to study a good travel guide (book) in advance of travel.
Your tour leader understandably expects a tip at the end, if she/he has completed the job well. Shoestring pay the tour guides a wage which is higher than that of most adventurous travel companies. Our guideline for tipping is between € 1, - and € 2, - per passenger per day (the equivalent thereof).
This tour is classified as Category B.
The difficulty of our travels varies greatly. Added to this is the fact that difficulty is a very personal perception. To give an impression of the difficulty of a particular holiday we have developed a classification system.
Category A: Light travel for everyone to do. Short distances, good hotels, travel at a slow pace.
Category B: For everyone to do as well. Sometimes long distances. Good hotels and camping facilities, sometimes an adventurous overnight experience, travel at a normal pace.
Category C: Good to do for anyone who prepares themself well and is flexible. There are tougher parts of the journey, such as longer distances or walking tours. Several nights can be spent in basic accommodation.
Category D: A relatively difficult journey, travelling long distances, often primitive accommodation or tents, and challenging walking tours.
The trip to the Lesser Sunda Islands is a Category B holiday. It can be made by any reasonably healthy individual. In the summer the trip is considerably more difficult than during the rest of the year. Although in the cities we stay in simple medium-priced hotels, remember that you are travelling in a developing country with much lower living standards than you are used to at home. Also, roads may be temporarily blocked because of the weather or owing to their state of repair, in which case a detour is unavoidable. A flexible and positive attitude is just as important as a good physical condition.
Nature of the trip
Breathtaking natural beauty, slumbering volcanoes, stunning beaches, green rice fields and a friendly population await you in this tour of the islands of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo and Flores. We will visit traditional tribes such as the Dou Donggo, the Ngada and the Sasak and will watch the sunrise from the Kelimutu volcano with her three multi-coloured lakes. We shall search for the nerve-jangling Komodo dragons and relax on the Gili Air and Maumere beaches. In short, a trip packed with highlights through some of the most divine islands in the world.
We know that travelling to remote corners of this planet has its effects. At Shoestring we really try to make an effort to keep our impact to a minimum. We try to avoid the use of plastic water bottles on our treks through Nepal and we do not dump our litter during our trips through Africa. All of our staff have been trained to take special care to ensure we make as little impact on the environment as possible.
Furthermore we support a lot of local projects which are mostly related to clean drinking water or making sure that children get vaccinated against illnesses such as tuberculosis. On most tours you will be able to visit some of the projects we support through our local agents. Find out more about the different projects Shoestring are involved with, how you can make a difference and our environmental policies here
Travel insurance, including medical repatriation insurance, is mandatory. It is not included with our packages and it is your responsibility to purchase suitable travel insurance. Make sure that it covers all the activities that you are likely to undertake, such as rafting and trekking. Many ‘free’ insurances that come with banking packages, credit cards etc, are quite often inadequate to cover you on our tours, so make sure you check the policy before you travel. You should enter your travel insurance details via your my.shoestring account and you are required to give a copy of your insurance policy to your tour leader upon arrival. Without proper insurance like this, you will not be allowed to join the tour as we will not be able to respond adequately in case of an emergency if you do not have the right insurance.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about Indonesia