Located between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, Indonesia is an archipelago of thousands of islands, some of which boast the most coveted waves on the planet, making the archipelago a real life paradise for surfers or anybody with a passion for a maritime lifestyle.
Located in Southeast Asia, bordering Oceania, Indonesia can seem like a wave themed amusement park, with most surf spots characterised by abundant coral reefs. There are waves for all preferences and all skill levels. Diversity is key in this ocean soaked region.
Despite being one of the world’s largest countries, in terms of population, with 260 million inhabitants spread out over 34 regions, Indonesia still has much to offer the explorer and adventure lover. With 700 thousand islands, rest assured that there are still remote locations, and even waves, which have yet to be explored.
Indonesia has tropical and equatorial weather, which varies among the archipelagos due to the size of the country. Nevertheless, the weather is generally hot and humid, with average temperatures ranging between 25 and 35 degrees year round. There are two distinct seasons, a rainy monsoon, between November and March, and the dry season, between April and October, which tends to bring abundant swell.
The dry season (April to October) is the best for surfers due to the quantity and quality of the waves, but also because of the moderate to high water temperatures. This season generally sees at least one good swell a week on the Indian Ocean Islands. However, even though the swell is less frequent during the rainy season (November to March) there are also waves and the competition in the water is less fierce.
Swimsuit and t-shirt or lycra rash guard are the most common clothing in these parts, especially in the dry season, when the water is warmer. Be sure to take extra equipment, in case of unforeseen events. Extra leash and fins, chord, warm water wax, sunscreen and a sizeable quiver, with options for different types of waves – small, medium and very big.
Where to stay?
Most of the archipelagos have several resorts where you can stay. Lodging on a boat can also be a good choice, since it guarantees a spot closer to the best waves, with direct access to the peak and more time in the water. There are also a number of combined programs, which are ideal if you are looking for the best of both worlds, a few days in a resort and others on a boat.
Indonesia is a heavily Muslim country, but religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution. That means that there are not many restrictions for tourists. The province of Aceh, in Northern Sumatra, which has adopted Sharia law, is the exception. Despite the freedom available, it is important to respect local traditions and customs. Women are expected to dress discretely. Don’t forget to take mosquito repellent and if you get thirsty you’re never too far away from a bottle of the famous Bintang beer.