This trip comprises two of the most spectacular in its pure wilderness and special culture experience areas of Indonesia – Sumba island, Komodo, Bali and Java. My absolute favourites to explore in Indonesia. And I am going to take you on a trip like no other. Unique, wild and wonderful. Let’s explore together.
Sumba! The wilderness pure gem. Dancing trees paradise. With its rugged rolling hilled savannahs together with fields of maize and cassava, the island of Sumba in the East Nusa Tenggara Province offers its own distinct splendours. Sprinkled throughout its countryside are hilltop villages with thatched traditional clan houses clustered around unique megalithic tombs where villagers still pay homage to their ancestors in the ancient belief of Marapu and have retained most of the indigenous culture and traditions for generations. The island is also known for the origin of the strong and agile Sumba Ponies or Sandalwood Horses. They can swim in the sea!
Located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in the East Nusa Tenggara province, nested the wonderful Komodo National Park. The Komodo National Park encompasses a total of 29 volcanic islands (including the 3 major islands Rinca, Padar and Komodo) and is home to approximately 2,500 Komodo Dragons and other terrestrial fauna such as various species of reptiles, birds, and mammals. Moreover it has impressive landscape – pink beaches, coral reefs and such beautiful mountains and cliffs. All of that we will explore in sea cruise dedicated specifically for photographers. You will stay on the boat, will be served amazing seafood and enjoying every day landings.
Bali. We will use this opportunity traveling with local experienced guides to show us the hidden culture of Bali in smaller and less known traditional villages. It is a perfect trip for those who wants to practice in multiple genres of photography: portrait, street, landscape and travel. I am sure you will bring back home not just warm memories of sacred Bali Island – island of Gods – but a whole portfolio worth a book about Balinese culture and landscape. We will have multiple stages with people dressed in rich traditional costumes, stages with Barong and Rejang dancers just for our group in perfectly situated locations of old temples, banyan trees and waterfalls.
Bromo volcano, the true highlight of entire trip. First sight of Bromo will be from our hotel located just on the rim overlooking Bromo volcanic caldera.
At 2,392 meters high, Mount Bromo is not amongst the tallest of Indonesia’s mountains but its stunning beauty lies in its incredible setting. Located some 4 hours drive from Surabaya, the capital city of East Java, Mount Bromo is part of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park that covers a huge area of 800 sq km.
Standing majestically inside the huge caldera of the once ancient Mount Tengger, Mount Bromo is surrounded by a vast stretching sea of volcanic sand that radiated a certain mystical beauty. Mount Bromo and the Tengger area is also the home of the Tengger sub-ethnic group who still preserve their age-old traditions and way of life. Here, you can observe the unique indigenous culture and traditions of the ‘Tenggerese’ including their rituals and ceremonies.
Day 1, 1 August
Arrival to Bali (no quarantine needed, visa on arrival is back for many countries). Qatar airways, Singapore airlines is the best choice, but you may arrive on any flight, we will organize a transfer for you to our luxury resort in Sidemen area, located in quiet tropical paradise, rural and cultural heart of Bali.
We start the day with first rays of light on Mount Agung exploring rice terraces of traditional Sidemen Village. We invite local people beautifully dressed to add a live atmosphere to already remarkable landscape, chasing Rays of Light. So you will have a choice to photograph landscape with people for the scale and a spice of tradition or close up/portraits with Mount Agung on the background.
Today’s “sunrise in the office” will be at one of my most favorite landscape spots – rice terraces very close to Mount Agung. Easily accessible viewpoint surrounded by flowers offering variety of foregrounds. In the afternoon we will visit one of the hidden villages in the east to see real Bali life!
Sunrise will start from a photo session at Tamblingan Lake. It is the lake in the North of Bali, often misty at sunrise. There’s a small temple at the shore often half flooded. With traditional boats in the lake we will get wonderful photographs from this misty morning. In the afternoon we visit Leke-leke Waterfall or one of the hidden waterfalls in the East Bali. You can shoot both amazing landscape and culture or just landscape.
In the afternoon we will have a concept photoshoot with Balinese Masks models at the ancient tree.
Day 5, 5 August
Departure on the recommended flight to Labuan Bajo. Just a short 1 h flight from Bali and we travel as one group with all transfers by bus/cars included! Upon arrival to the airport our group will be transferred to our wonderful newly built Phinisi boat! Our home and base for next 3 days exploring Komodo national park.
We will embark the boat, have lunch and head out to our first photography spots.
Today we start the early morning with departure to Padar Island. We walk to meet sunrise at Padar Island’s hilltop. Here we witness the most spectacular landscape around Komodo National park. Rugged mountains and bays all over the island!
After short hike, we go back to boat for breakfast and later on disembark to a wonderful Pink Beach to snorkel and relax. Later we navigate to Takka Makasar – the half moon island. Here you can swim with Manta-rays!
Today we continue our adventure to Komodo Island for an afternoon walk to find Komodo dragon! Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and stay overnight on Phinisi boat around Komodo Island. Nature and wildlife photography in the park with local rangers and guides who help us find dragons!
Day 7, 7 August
After sunrise at Kenawa island we arrive to port, 15 min drive to the airport at labuan Bajo and we’re flying to Sumba island!
Welcome to Waingapu airport! The starting point of our Sumba chapter, I will recommend a flight which everyone will take. Straight from the airport you check in to a newly build 4 star hotel at the beach, have lunch and relax after flights. We continue East for sunset (less than 1 h drive) to one of the main gems of the tour so long awaited – Walakiri beach! It is our first sunset here, and we spend at least 2 sessions here depends on the weather. I’ve chosen perfect dates for the trip because we will have low tide and mirror like paddles in which you can get reflections at exact sunset time. You will be able to make your own series of Sumba Dancing trees. Walakiri is perfect for sunset as the sun sets in the ocean behind the trees.
Sunrise spot – Puru Kambera savannah or Wairinding Hill. It is a prairie which will make you feel like you are in the midst of Africa’s grasslands. We will try to find Sumba horses roaming in the endless savannah. With first rays of light flaming on golden grass! Head back for breakfast and break to hotel.
Today we head to another Epic waterfall – Tanggedu. It is one of the most interesting photography spots in Sumba, and it is quite often referred as the “Grand Canyon” of East Sumba.
At sunset another chance to photograph Sumba Dancing trees! We plan second attempt to Walakiri beach as it offers amazing compositions, and you still have low tide at sunset that day. You have a chance to review photos from yesterday and do even better or different compositions exploring further corners of the beach with different dwarf mangrove trees.
Day 9, 9 August
We catch together an early morning flight to Surabaya, Java!
Upon arrival to Surabaya we travel 2-3 h to our resort hotel at Bromo crater rim! Shoot Bromo in the night if the sky is clear! We have time until 1 am until moonrise today to shoot at the temple near Bromo or at other amazing locations. Either at sunset or sunrise depends on the weather we will have a session with Bromo horses.
Day 10, 10 August
The ultimate attraction and the reason why photographers travel from far and wide to Mount Bromo is its spectacular sunrise. From a vantage point the sun rises magnificently and hot majestic Mount Bromo with first rays, while the surrounding mountain ranges create an almost surreal atmosphere. It takes about a little over an hour to drive to this vantage point. No hiking involved – we drive to the most spectacular viewpoint. The sun rises at about 5.30am
After sunrise we have photography session with horsemen at Bromo in the dust! And following this session – relaxed breakfast, packing and departure to Surabaya airport. You are welcome to take any flight today after 3:30 p.m. from Surabaya airport (direct flights to Jakarta, Bali, Singapore etc). Tour finishes at Surabaya international airport at 2 p.m.
Total price (twin shared cabin, twin shared hotel rooms): 6900 USD
Single supplement for rooms in Bali, Sumba and Java: +900 USD
Single cabin onboard phinisi in Komodo part: +750 USD
- Accommodation double/twin cabins sharing phinisi
- all meals and non-alchohol drinks,
- all transportation during the tour
- photography tuition,
- entrance fees to Komodo national park and all local taxes.
- All tickets and fees (except air tickets)
Not included in the price:
– Local flights not included (recommended list will be provided)
– Visas (if applicable)
– Single supplement to upgrade to a single room
– Tips to the phinisi crew
We stay and cruise on this or similar boat in Komodo:
What to bring
– DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release
– A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 17-40. Best lens for use in wide-angle scenes or architecture photography
– A middle-zoom lens such as a 24-70 mm
– A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 mm. Be sure to have additional tripod mount to this lens.
– Set of filters for seascape photography: ND 3, 6, 10 stop and CPL filters
Landscape and travel photographer based in Bali, Indonesia. Partner with Iceland photo tours, instagram @Danielkordan with 1.8 Million followers, Nikon and Gitzo ambassador.