Indonesia, Off the Grid

In this gracious country of temples and tides, islands and iguanas, it’s so easy to travel deeply that you may never resurface.

Mt Bromo, Area Gn. Bromo, Podokoyo, Tosari, Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia
Bright and early, just before the sun comes up over Mount Bromo, Mount Semeru and Mount Batok, with ample rolling fog and an epic eruption for good measure. We climbed Mount Penanjakan in our Toyota 4x4 pre-dawn in the headlights of some 1,200 other vehicles. Once at the viewpoint my travel partner and I decided against the same shooting vantage as everyone else - all 3,000 tourists, gah - and climbed down the hill for a better look (and a few square feet to dig in our tripods). As soon as the sun started to shine and illuminate the volcanoes in the distance, all the nuisance and discomfort of the day, all the pain and suffering associated with actually making the trip to Bromo, it vanished. We spent the next hour shooting one of the most incredible sunrises I have ever witnessed. Getting here is a bit of a package-tour nightmare, but so very much worth it in the end.
Pandawa Beach, Bali, Indonesia
Catching the sunrise at Pandawa Beach, also known as the “Secret Beach” in South Bali, was an adventure from beginning to end. After learning about it from Rob, the owner of Suara Ombak Cottages ( where we stayed during our SURF LIFE retreat, we woke up before the sun, hopped on our motorbikes and headed for the unknown paradise. Once there, we first stopped to admire the massive sculptures being carved out of the cliffs along the path to the beach. Then, down on the sand, as we waited and appreciated the natural beauty around us with only us three and some local fisherman, we witnessed the most magnificent sunrise that looked as if the sky was lit on fire. Riding our motorbikes to catch the sunrise at Pandawa Beach was spontaneous, powerful, unforgettable, and felt like our own treasured secret adventure.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks