Join Naturalist Journeys on this bird-filled and enlightening adventure to Indonesia, where we seek out the endemic species of the region including many of the most colourful and jewel-like birds with our trusted Southeast Asia expert, Nick Upton. This year, we've added two extra days to slow down and savor the birds.

Visit Way Kambas National Park for specialities like Malayan Banded Pitta and Rufous-collared Kingfisher as well as some of the best night birding in Asia. Look for endangered Milky Stork and Christmas Island Frigatebird as well as many other waterbirds in the urban environment of Jakarta Bay. Visit the mountains of Gunung Gede and the volcanic crater of Kawah Putih in West Java for rare endemic species including Javan Trogon, Javan Hawk Eagle and Chestnut-bellied Partridge. Spend a morning around Cibodas Botanical Gardens in search of Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot. Visit Baluranm Gunung Ijen and Alas Purwo National Parks in East Java where birds such as Green Peafowl, Lesser Adjutant and Asian Woolly-necked Stork can be seen in savanna-like habitat and gems including White-faced Partridge and Javan Banded Pitta can be seen at close-quarters from a hide. Finally, travel to the famous island of Bali where the stunning Bali Myna is making a remarkable recovery in one of the region’s most heartening conservation stories.

Stay on in Indonesia for Komodo Dragons and endemic birds, including Ornate Pitta, with the post-tour extension to the islands of Flores and Komodo.

  • “Our leader, Nick Upton, did an excellent job overall. His skill at getting the telescope onto a bird and letting us get at good look at the bird was amazing. Birding at Alas Purwo National Park was great. The Green Peafowl in the field with several mammals and other birds made me think of the plains in Africa. This was easy birding at its best.” — Robert Leonhardt, 2023 Traveler
  • “A great adventure! Obviously some challenges, but well worth the effort. Top highlight: The birds!! Observing and learning about the many fantastic bird species of Sumatra, Java and Bali.” — David Ward, 2023 Traveler

Tour Highlights

  • Explore Way Kambas National Park for Malayan Banded Pitta, broadbills, exceptional night birds and a myriad of woodpeckers
  • Cruise Jakarta Bay for Milky Stork and Christmas Island Frigatebird in a unique urban-birding experience
  • Visit Cibodas Botanical Gardens with lovely views of the volcanic peaks that form Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park and the chance to see Sunda Thrush among many other birds
  • Look for the super cute Pygmy Cupwing and a wide variety of Javan endemics including Chestnut-bellied Partridge and Rufous-tailed Fantail
  • Visit Alas Purwo National Park where views over savanna-like habitat provide superb views of Green Peafowl, gem-like Javan Kingfisher and the prehistoric Lesser Adjutant
  • The jewel-like Javan Banded Pitta could just be bird of the trip here. Mammals such as Banteng and Sunda Sambar are common too
  • Search the slopes of Gunung Ijen for the stunning Pink-headed Fruit Dove and enjoy a wonderful performance from endemic White-faced Partridges
  • Enjoy a late afternoon and early morning at Baluran National Park where Green Junglefowl, Black-winged Myna and Asian Woolly-necked Stork come to drink and feed at waterholes
  • Take in Bali Barat National Park where the unique Bali Myna is now expanding from
  • Add fearsome Komodo Dragons and a new selection of Indonesian endemics with the post-trip extension to the two islands of Flores and Komodo

Trip Itinerary

Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.

Wed., Sept 11      Arrivals

Welcome to Indonesia! Please plan to arrive no later than midday today. We get together for dinner tonight at 6.30pm in the hotel restaurant. We have a pre-trip briefing, get to know each other and our guide, and prepare for the grand trip to come.
Accommodation at Orchardz Hotel Jakarta Airport (D)

Thurs., Sept 12          Bandar Lampung, Sumatra | Satwa Lodge Way Kambas National Park

After an early breakfast at our hotel we take a quick 50-minute flight from Jakarta to the city of Bandar Lampung in southern Sumatra where we are met by our drivers and local guide for the next five days. The two-hour drive to Satwa Lodge takes us through the outskirts of Bandar Lampung then through rice fields and villages before we arrive in time to check in and have lunch at our lodge.

After settling in we head out for a late afternoon birding session where we try to find some of the star birds for a big start to our trip; Malayan Banded Pitta and White-winged Duck are both birds that we have a good chance of finding on our first day. This evening we stay out for some night birding; Way Kambas is one of the best locations for this activity in Southeast Asia. The incredible Large Frogmouth and Bonaparte’s Nightjar are both species that we can expect to find.
Accommodation at Satwa Lodge, Way Kambas (B,L,D)

Fri., Sept. 13 & Sat. Sept. 14        Exploring Way Kambas National Park

We have two full days to enjoy some of the best lowland birding that Southeast Asia has to offer. As the previous evening should have demonstrated, for anyone who enjoys night birding this is a must-visit location and we have the time to make a couple of evening excursions to look for birds such as Sunda Frogmouth, Malaysian Eared Nightjar, Brown Boobook, Reddish Scops Owl, Sunda Scops Owl, Gould’s Frogmouth, and Large-tailed Nightjar with the crowning glory being Oriental Bay Owl. A high level of success is usually enjoyed with these birds but patience and a little persistence is always needed; at least one of these birds has the knack of making life a bit hard on each trip.

The quality forest here is home to a wide range of species that are rare in much of their range but here the ground-dwelling Crested Fireback is fairly abundant and if we are lucky we have a chance of locating parties of amazing Crested Partridge or even Great Argus. Malayan Banded Pitta is a jewel of the forest floor and we have time to make every effort to ensure everyone gets a good view of this stunner. Woodpeckers are well-represented at Way Kambas and we are likely to see many species including Olive-backed Woodpecker, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Orange-backed Woodpecker, White-bellied Woodpecker, Banded Woodpecker, and Buff-necked Woodpecker as well as the tiny, hammer-headed Buff-rumped Woodpecker and Grey-and-buff Woodpecker. Believe it or not this is not an exhaustive list of the woodpeckers we are likely to see here!

Colorful birds like Banded Broadbill, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Diard’s Trogon, Banded Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Raffles’s Malkoha, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Dark-throated Oriole, Cerulean Kingfisher, and Red-naped Trogon are exactly the sort of species that visiting birders want to see and we have a good chance of finding all of these. Nobody forgets the incredible Green Broadbill once they have seen it!

Of course it is not all about these colorful birds and we do find a wide range of less showy but no less intriguing birds such as Ferruginous Babbler, endemic Sumatran Babbler, Grey-chested Jungle-flycatcher, Chestnut-rumped Babbler, and the strangely-named Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler which can put on an amazing show when proclaiming their territory.

This is also a good location for spotting Siamang, the largest member of the gibbon family and other mammals often include Black Giant Squirrel and if we are very lucky the colorful Prevost’s Squirrel. Way Kambas is a superb place and the length of time we have here means we can enjoy a lot of great birding at a nice pace, with lunch and afternoon breaks at our pleasant lodge each day.
Accommodations at Satwa Lodge, Way Kambas (B,L,D)

 Sun., Sept. 15       Way Kambas National Park | Jakarta

 We have enough time this morning for another visit to Way Kambas National Park to look for any species we have not previously seen. Many species do not give themselves up easily so there are always more possibilities such as Black Magpie, Bushy-crested Hornbill, Red-billed Malkoha, Dusky Broadbill, Black-throated Babbler … the list of possibilities is very long.

After lunch at our accommodation, we drive to Bandar Lampung airport for our short flight back to Jakarta, on the island of Java, where we make the short transfer back to our comfortable airport hotel.
Accommodations at Orchardz Airport Hotel (B,L,D)

Mon., Sept 16      Jakarta Bay

We plan to have breakfast early at our hotel before ensuring that we are at nearby mangroves shortly after first light to board our boat for the morning’s trip. This fragment of habitat in north Jakarta is set among the rapidly expanding city and provides a refuge to one of the region’s endangered endemics: Sunda (Javan) Coucal, although it can be a question of luck whether we see it or not. This bird used to be accessible via a boardwalk that collapsed some years ago but the good news is that the alternative is to go birding along the channel by boat, always a pleasant way to find birds and although this area is not going to win any prizes for its scenic value (this most certainly is urban birding at its most urban) it provides us with an excellent introduction to birding in Java.

Some of the region’s more common water birds are in evidence from the start with Great Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Javan Pond Heron, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, and Eastern Cattle Egret perched alongside the channel while tiny Linchi Swiftlet fly, bat-like, overhead. Our goal is to see the Sunda Coucal but along the way we can expect to see groups of Javan Myna, a few Black-backed Swamphen, and White-breasted Waterhen in waterside vegetation as well as Oriental Darter and Little Black Cormorant flying back and forth.

As we float along towards the sea we also scan the riverside trees for colorful Pink-necked Green Pigeon and perhaps Red-breasted Parakeet. Dense riverside vegetation should provide us with views of Bar-winged Prinia and Clamorous Reed Warbler and as we near the river mouth we encounter Whiskered Tern fishing in the shallows or perhaps Javan Plover on any exposed mud. One of this region’s declining species is Sunda Teal but here we stand a good chance of seeing small numbers giving us a flyby or even perched on riverside posts and boats.

The boat trip continues out to sea a little, towards some islands scattered with old Dutch colonial buildings where we can take a quick “break” before re-boarding and heading to an area of fish traps where we expect to enjoy a truly magical moment watching groups of Christmas Island Frigatebirds loafing around, giving us point-blank views.

When we draw ourselves away from this scene we head back the way we came and by the time we reach the mangroves and creek mouth the tide should be at a level which makes seeing endangered Milky Storks easier than on the way out for a great finish to this boat trip.

Back at the boat yard we get back in the vehicles for what can be a long drive depending on the traffic, although our scheduling should mean that it is no more than 4 hours but we also stop for lunch along the way before reaching our guesthouse, set among tea plantations, strawberry farms, and cabbage fields on the cool slopes at Ciwedey, arriving by around 3-3:30pm. Having settled in this is a chance to kick back a little and enjoy the cool atmosphere although it is also possible to take a short walk around the local fields where birds like Freckle-breasted Woodpecker and Cinereous Tit can be found.

For those who are keen to do so we are able to make a 30 minute drive at dusk up into high altitude forest for night birding where Javan Frogmouth and Javan Scops Owl can both often be seen for those with a little patience before returning for dinner.
Accommodation at a Guesthouse in Ciwedey (B,L,D)

Tues., Sept. 17        Kawah Putih 

After breakfast we make the 30 minute uphill drive to where the forest meets tea plantations at the highest point of the mountain. As it gets light, Striated Grassbird often calls from exposed perches in the fields while Long-tailed Shrike surveys for prey from a prominent perch. However, the real attraction are the forest birds here with two standout species on our list to see; Javan Trogon and Javan Cochoa. Neither of these memorable birds give themselves up easily but the success rate is high and species along the way such as Eyebrowed Wren Babbler, White-flanked Sunbird, Blue Nuthatch, Sunda Minivet, and trilling Shrike-Babbler keep us busy while we search for these star species.

A visit to Kawah Putih volcanic crater is a memorable experience with its sulphurous deposits and emerald water and it is here that we hope to see the incredibly range-restricted Volcano Swiftlet, endemic to the craters of just a handful of volcanoes in Java. The shrub forest around here is a great place to look for Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch and get good views of small birds such as Sunda Bush Warbler, Little Pied Flycatcher, Warbling White-eye and Indigo Flycatchers among others.

We have time for an afternoon break and lunch before another session of birding in the late afternoon and another option to look for night birds if not previously seen.
Accommodation at a Guesthouse in Ciwedey (B,L,D)

Wed., Sept. 18        Kawah Putih | Cibodas Botanical Gardens

We have final morning birding on the forested slopes around Kawah Putih, searching for those key species that have eluded us so far. Arriving at first light at a key location gives us a good chance at seeing the skulking but intricately-marked Scaly (Horsfield’s) Thrush.

This morning gives us another excellent chance of finding Javan Trogon and Javan Cochoa before making the journey to Cibodas. By late afternoon we arrive at our accommodation set among the lovely Cibodas Botanical Gardens which is our base for the next few nights. The Botanical Gardens Guesthouse is perhaps a little tired in décor but the superb location makes it the perfect place for us to finish with a flourish just after dark at a regular spot for Salvadori’s Nightjar, which we anticipate seeing perched nearby.
Accommodation at Cibodas Botanical Gardens Guest House (B,L,D)

Thurs., Sept. 19       Gunung Gede

After breakfast at our accommodations we can often see the secretive Sunda Thrush foraging very close by before we make the very short drive to the start of the trail ascending Gunung Gede. While the early morning sun starts to shine, the forest’s ground-dwelling birds start to stir including the incredibly cute Pygmy Cupwing, which can often be remarkably confiding. Eye-browed Wren Babbler can often be seen too, as well as Sunda (Javan) Blue Robin and if we are lucky we can find Chestnut-bellied Partridge scratching around in the leaf litter.

As the morning proceeds, flocks of small arboreal birds become active and usually include Javan Heleia, Sunda Warbler in full song, colorful Mountain Tailorbird, the endemic Crescent-chested Babbler, Javan Fulvetta, and groups of lovely Sunda Minivet. The walk up Gunung Gede is constantly uphill but it is rarely very steep and at a slow birding speed it is not too tiring; we take plenty of coffee and snack breaks too as we search for the key species here. Brown-throated Barbet is usually easily heard but trickier to see while Rufous-tailed Fantail, flitting around in the shadows, can show up anywhere along the way, as can both Pied and Trilling Shrike-babblers.

By mid-morning we reach an open area from which we scan the skies for soaring raptors—it is here that we have one of our best chances of spotting Javan Hawk-Eagle while Crested Serpent-Eagle or Black Eagle are also quite likely too. In the undergrowth here it is often possible to tease out the furtive Javan Tesia.

Further along the trail Javan Whistlingthrush often hangs out in areas where hikers take their picnics, having become used to scavenging the leftovers and the stunning (Javan) Banded Broadbill lurks in the mid-storey of the forest. The walk continues on an easy uphill track, although the uneven nature of the flagstones make it seem further than it really is before we reach our lunch stop at around 3 kilometres from the start of the trail.

After lunch, another 800 metres along a flat trail takes us through riverside forest where the shy Sunda Forktail lurks, although it can be a real challenge to get good views of this delicate bird. By now we are in the zone for Fire-tufted Barbet a bird that will be remembered for a long time if we get the views that we normally manage here. At the end of our hike is a photogenic waterfall that we can enjoy before retracing our steps, perhaps adding a bird or two along the way, not to mention the fact that there is a good chance of mammals including Javan Gibbon and West Javan Ebony Langur.

Reaching the vehicles, waiting for us back at the start of the trail, we should be back for a well-earned rest by 4:00pm and an early finish to a rewarding day.
Accommodation at Cibodas Botanical Gardens Guest House (B,L,D)

Fri., Sept. 20       Cibodas Botanical Gardens | Jakarta

After breakfast at our accommodations we step out of the door and into the pleasant Cibodas Botanical Gardens. Set in the foothills of Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park we have the morning to search for key species as well as enjoy the best views of many others that we may struggle to see well in the forest. All of this is done while gaining good views of the volcanic summits of both of the mountains that form this national park.

In the early morning our goal is to see the endemic Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot, which usually visits fruiting and flowering trees in the gardens and while we are enjoying these little characters we expect more common birds like Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Ashy Drongo, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Javan Munia, and Rusty-breasted Cuckoo to perform for us. This is also an excellent place to look for the spectacular Javan Kingfisher, another endemic that is high on our list of must-see birds, although it is probably easier to see in East Java and Bali. The streams here hold Sunda Forktail, which we can usually see, with patience, feeding in the fast-flowing water.

Birding where the gardens meet the forest edge is usually rewarding, giving us a chance to get close to flocks of small birds including Blue Nuthatch, a really beautiful bird when seen well. Others in these flocks usually include Blood-breasted (Javan) Flowerpecker, Javan Fulvetta, Golden Babbler, cute little Sunda Warbler and White-bibbed Babbler. We also expect to see the world’s smallest member of the bushtits in the endemic Pygmy Bushtit that can turn up anywhere around the gardens along with Olive-backed (Javan) Tailorbird, which often aggressively patrols patches of flowering plants. Breaking for a mid-morning coffee and snack is a good opportunity to spot the colorful Flame-fronted Barbet feeding on fruiting trees or calling from an exposed perch.

We can spend the whole morning birding around the botanical gardens before having lunch and making the drive back to Jakarta, planning to arrive back at our hotel in the late afternoon in preparation for our transfer to East Java tomorrow morning.
Accommodation at Orchardz Airport Hotel, Jakarta (B,L,D)

Sat., Sept. 21       Jakarta | Banyuwangi | Alas Purwo National Park

Once again, we have breakfast in our hotel before our morning flight to the small town of Banyuwangi in East Java. On arrival it is obvious that the scenery and pace of life is different. Our journey from the airport to Alas Purwo National Park is only around 1.5 hours but we probably have lunch before starting. When we arrive it may be too early for us to check in to our rooms but there is some excellent wildlife-watching to be had very nearby. An area of open grassland is overlooked by a viewing area and we can spend time waiting here to see what we can spot. The gorgeous Green Peafowl should be obvious and present in good numbers roaming around next to Banteng and Sunda Sambar. Lesser Adjutant often flies overhead here or even feeds on the open area while other species can include Javan Kingfisher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Wreathed Hornbill, Blue-tailed Bee-eater and Orange-breasted Green Pigeon.

Fruiting trees near here often contain Ruby-throated Bulbul and Little Barbet although we may have to try a bit harder to see the colorful Black-banded Barbet.

A hide maintained by the park rangers here promises to give us point-blank views of Javan Black-capped Babbler, curiously strutting around on the forest floor but the star of the show could be Javan Banded-Pitta.

We stay right on site at Alas Purwo National Park Guesthouse, probably our simplest accommodation of the tour but its location and the quality of the birds here make one night here worth it.
Accommodation at Alas Purwo National Park Guesthouse (B,L,D)

Sun., Sept 22      Alas Purwo National Park | Gunung Ijen

After breakfast looking out into the forest we start early to give ourselves the best chance to find one of East Java’s endemic species: Javan Flameback. This woodpecker is unusual in its group due to its highly restricted range and the fact that the female has a yellow crown whereas black is more normal in Flameback woodpeckers. Other birds to look for in this forest include the impressive Violet Cuckoo, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater and (Javan) Banded Broadbill while in the lower to mid-storey we hunt for Javan Blue Flycatcher and Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter.

We can pay another visit to the viewpoint over the grassland area to see what other birds the morning brings us here, perhaps White-bellied Woodpecker, Oriental Pied Hornbill or Black-banded Barbet.

By late morning we pack our things and leave for the journey of around 1.5 hours to our accommodations in the foothills of Gunung Ijen with views of the volcanic peak where we have lunch.

After some time to kick back we make a late afternoon trip up the mountain, into the forest to look for some of the speciality species of this location; Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon often congregates at this time and we can try for the incredible Pink-headed Fruit Dove. White-bellied Fantail is another Javan endemic here as well as Javan Bush Warbler, an incredible skulker.
Accommodation at Grand Harvest Resort & Villas (B,L,D)

Mon., Sept. 23       Gunung Ijen

We have all day to spend birding at various points on the mountain, but priority is given to visiting a permanent hide overlooking a feeding area that regularly attracts some incredible birds and is one of the highlights of the trip. Here we hope for the East Javan endemic White-faced Partridge coming to feed in small groups with a supporting cast of flycatchers and babblers including the impressive White-bibbed Babbler.

Birding along the road gives us an excellent chance to see Pink-headed Fruit Dove as well as finding roving groups of small birds feeding together such as Blue Nuthatch, Sunda Minivet, and White-bellied Fantail. The mornings give us the best chance of seeing a shy endemic in Javan Scimitar Babbler as well as many other exciting species.

We return to our pleasant accommodations for a break and lunch and anyone who feels like taking an afternoon off can do so while others return to the forest in search of more birds.
Accommodation at Grand Harvest Resort & Villas (B,L,D)

Tues., Sept. 24      Gunung Ijen | Baluran National Park

With mornings being by far the best time for birding at this location we have time to revisit the forests of Gunung Ijen. Birds such as Javan Bush Warbler, Javan Scimitar Babbler and Checker-throated Woodpecker can require more time and there are always lots of other birds to enjoy along the way; Little Cuckoo Dove, Sunda Bulbul, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Horsfield’s Babbler, White-flanked Sunbird, and Blood-breasted Flowerpecker to mention a few.

After lunch at our accommodation we leave for our next destination: Baluran National Park. A journey of an hour and a half takes us to a fairly simple, yet clean local guesthouse, just minutes away from the national park. We plan to make a late afternoon until dusk, visit to an area of dry savanna-like habitat with volcanic peaks as a backdrop. Here we can take a seat and look out to some pools of water where many species come to drink, including big groups of Sunda Collared Dove, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Javan Myna, and Green Peafowl. On the way here we should see Green Junglefowl and these may too visit the water holes. We can enjoy a drink while we enjoy this scene and hopefully the endangered Black-winged Myna puts in an appearance.
Accommodation near Baluran National Park (B,L,D)

Wed., Sept. 25        Baluran National Park | Bali

We intend to return to the water holes visited on the previous afternoon to look for birds in the scattered trees that can include colorful Small Minivet, Freckle-breasted Woodpecker and White-winged Triller. Scanning exposed perches we might be able to spot cute Black-thighed Falconet or Sacred Kingfisher while as the day starts to warm up, thermals might encourage Asian Woolly-necked Stork to soar. Raptors often include Spotted Kestrel, Black-winged Kite, and Changeable Hawk Eagle.

The open nature of the habitat here makes it easy to spot birds in the very early morning as they become active and this session gives us another chance at Black-shouldered Myna. At this time of the year groups of Oriental Plover sometimes pass through and if we are lucky we may see Java Sparrow come for a drink.

Coastal forest is our last stop here for a chance at yet another Javan endemic in Grey-cheeked Tit Babbler. By mid-morning things have become quite hot so we use the opportunity to pack our things and move on, heading by ferry to the famous island of Bali. 

This crossing takes an hour or so and we can keep our eyes open for Great Crested Tern and Black-naped Tern. Once on Bali we spend some time in the late afternoon birding around coastal areas, boat yards, mangroves, and open areas and we should be able to end the day with a flourish with the incredible, critically endangered Bali Myna. These areas can be very “birdy” with species like Coppersmith Barbet, Brown Honeyeater, Barred Buttonquail, and highly-anticipated Sacred Kingfisher frequently seen.
Accommodation at Mimpi Resort on Bali’s north coast (B,L,D)

Thurs., Sept 26        Bali Barat National Park

In the early morning we head into the dry forests of nearby Bali Barat National Park where we have our breakfast in the field. Green Junglefowl is common in this type of forest so if we have not had good views of this Java/Bali endemic by now then we are sure to get them on this morning. Here we also expect to get more views of the lovely Bali Myna while we search for species such as Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Lineated Barbet, (Javan) Hair-crested Drongo, Freckle-breasted Woodpecker, and Javan Cuckooshrike. More common species that occur here also include the colorful Small Minivet, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker, Cinereous Tit, and White-shouldered Triller.

A visit to a hide should bring us superb views of two incredible species; Javan Banded Pitta and Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher. Both of these are exceptional birds and being able to enjoy them at close range is a highlight of the trip. Of course, in birding, nothing is guaranteed but we have an excellent chance of seeing these birds. Added to this, a search of nearby fruiting trees should turn up the beautiful Black-naped Fruit Dove, although it can be a tricky one to spot within the foliage of large trees.

We have time to take a break in our accommodations during the heat of the day but we also intend to schedule a visit to some muddy coastline to look for shorebirds such as Grey-tailed Tattler, Malaysian Plover, and Javan Plover along with a variety of more common Eurasian wader species. If we are really lucky we might even be able to find Beach Thick-knee.
Accommodation at Mimpi Resort on Bali’s north coast (B,L,D)

Fri., Sept. 27        Bali Barat National Park | Bedugul

We have another chance to visit Bali Barat National Park looking for birds such as Laced Woodpecker, Black-naped Fruit Dove, and coastal species including Beach Thick-knee and Pacific Reef Egret. By late morning we check out of our accommodations and make the drive to the interior of the island of Bali to our accommodations at the picturesque location of Bedugul, an area where the forests on the slopes of a volcano meet classic Balinese temples.

Access to the forest is made easy in the attractive botanical gardens here where our primary goal is to see Black-backed Fruit Dove. There is another chance to see the colorful Flame-fronted Barbet and Rusty-breasted Whistler. Visiting flowering trees iridescent Short-tailed Starling are another species that we hope to see here and this location provides a last opportunity to catch up with a number of species that we did not find in Java or would like better views of with Ruddy Cuckoo Dove a likely candidate. 
Accommodation at Handara Golf Resort, Bedugul (B,L,D)

Sat., Sept 28       Bedugul | Kuta Beach, Bali

We have a final morning of birding in Indonesia around the botanical gardens of Bedugul to look for any species that we may not yet have seen or simply to admire some of those that we have seen once more. We also have a final chance to see the majestic Javan Hawk-Eagle or find the elusive Javan Scimitar Babbler. This morning provides us with a last chance to enjoy a wide range of species that we have seen along the way and an opportunity to become more familiar with some that we may have had brief views of before.

After checking out of our accommodations we make the journey of a few hours to Bali’s main tourist hotspot of Kuta Beach, close to the airport, for the next day’s flights.
Accommodation at Ramayan Suites & Resort, Kuta (B,L,D)

Sun., Sept. 29       Departures | Extension

Flights home at leisure or on to Flores and the Komodo extension. (B)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Komodo Dragons & Endemic Birds Flores Island Post-Tour Extension

Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.

Stay on after the main tour to see bucket list Komodo Dragons and a bounty of endemic birds with this four-night extension based in Labuan Bajo, a quaint fishing village turned ecotourism hub on the Indonesian island of Flores. We travel to Komodo Island to see the world’s largest living lizards and thoroughly explore the island's many birding hotspots.

Sun., Sept. 29 : Fly Denpasar-Labuan Bajo


Take a morning flight from Bali to Komodo Airport, Labuan Bajo, on the island of Flores. We aim to arrive mid-morning giving us the remainder of the morning to spend birding in a variety of wetlands and open country close by. Fish ponds often contain waders such as Javan Plover and Whimbrel along with small groups of Sunda Teal. Surrounding vegetation should provide our first local specialities in the form of Flame-breasted Sunbird, Tenggara Swiftlet, and Black-fronted Flowerpecker, plus our first chance of finding a real gem in Ornate Pitta.

We adjourn for lunch at our very well-positioned hotel before we are able to check in and settle in to our rooms. Later in the afternoon we drive into the surrounding hills to look for some more Flores endemics including Flores Crow, Ornate Pitta, and White-rumped Kingfisher. More widespread species often include Green Imperial Pigeon, Red-cheeked Parrot, and Wallacean Drongo.

We are able to stay out late and look for Moluccan Scops Owl and Mee’s Nightjar, but at the end of a long day we can also retreat to our accommodations where we can probably find Mee’s Nightjar in the garden just before having dinner in the beachfront restaurant.
Accommodations in Labuan Bajo – Luwansa Beach Resort (B,L,D)

Mon., Sept. 30: Puarlolo or Mbeliling | Potowangka


After an early breakfast we drive a little further into the hills to look for a wide range of Flores’s endemic species. Be under no impression that this is easy but for those who are patient and ready to take the opportunities that arise, there are some great birds to see here including the smart Flores Monarch.

Roadside birds can include Black-naped Fruit Dove, Flame-breasted Sunbird, and Wallace’s Heleia (Yellow-spectacled White-eye) and Thick-billed Heliea (Flores White-eye) but we have to get into the forest proper to lure out the skulking Russet-capped Tesia. Birding along a narrow trail is challenging but it gives us another chance at both White-rumped Kingfisher and Ornate Pitta, two key species for this trip extension, as well as Dark-crowned White-eye and the fairy-like Arafura Fantail.

By late morning, bird activity has slowed dramatically so we return to our accommodation for a break and lunch at our leisure. Late afternoon gives us the opportunity to make another birding excursion in the lowlands where we may still be looking for Ornate Pitta and more common birds should include Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Cinereous Tit, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Sacred Kingfisher. A walk along the beach in the late afternoon can sometimes turn up Beach Thick-knee.
Accommodation in Labuan Bajo – Luwansa Beach Resort (B,L,D)

Tues., Oct. 1: Labuan Bajo-Komodo


From the harbour in Labuan Bajo we travel by speedboat to Komodo Island. The journey takes about 1.5 hours and takes us past many islands while also giving us the chance to spot a few seabirds such as Lesser Frigatebird and Great Crested Tern. We spend the morning on the island to see the famous Komodo Dragons and hope for some close encounters with these magnificent beasts. As we walk around the island trails with our local guide we also look for the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, a bird that is in severe trouble in much of its range but doing well around the highly-protected headquarters area. Green Junglefowl are very obvious here and they are joined on the forest floor by Orange-footed Megapode (Scrubfowl). The dry woodland allows things to warm up rather quickly but we also hope to see Helmeted Friarbird, Barred Dove, and Rainbow Bee-eater before stopping for some refreshments and a chance to buy some local handicrafts.

When things have become hot and bird activity has subsided we re-board our boat and go to an area that provides some great snorkeling and lunch is provided on the boat. Snorkeling equipment and towels are provided but remember to bring your swimsuit!

Then we head back to Labuan Bajo, stopping if we see species that can include a variety of terns, Lesser Frigatebird, and even Bulwer’s Petrel before taking a break back at our accommodations.

In the late afternoon we can make another birding excursion to look for any key species that we have not yet seen.
Accommodation in Labuan Bajo – Luwansa Beach Resort (B,L,D)

Wed, Oct. 2 : Labuan Bajo-Denpasar | Bali


Anyone wishing to search for Beach Thick-knee should be up for first light for another chance at this memorable bird, followed by breakfast before we check out and head to the airport for our flight back to Bali.

We check in to our hotel in Bali, and enjoy an afternoon at leisure before meeting for a final dinner together.
Accommodations at Kuta Beach, Bali (B,L,D)

Thurs., Oct. 3 : Departures


Depart at leisure today. We can help arrange transport for the very short journey to the airport at a time convenient to your flight time. (B)

Birding Highlights on Flores (Puarlolo, Potowangka, Mbeliling):
Flores Monarch, Flores Minivet, Flores Crow, Moluccan Scops Owl, Elegant Pitta, White-rumped Kingfisher, Flores Warbling-flycatcher, Black-fronted Flowerpecker, Golden-rumped Flowerpecker, Great-billed Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrots, Tenggara Swiftlet, Mees’s Nightjar, Helmeted Friarbird, Tenggara Whistler, Wallacean Cuckooshrike, Flores Spangled Drongo, Tenggara Paradise-flycatcher, Russet-capped Tesia, Tenggara Hill Myna, Chestnut-backed Thrush, Chestnut-capped Thrush, Flame-breasted Sunbird, Sunda Zebra Finch, Black-faced Munia, Five-coloured Munia, Thick-billed Heleia, Crested Heleia,

Birding Highlights on Komodo Island:
Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Helmeted Friarbird, Orange-footed Scrubfowls, Green Junglefowl, Wallace's Heleia, Lemon-bellied White-eye, Bared Dove, Sunda Collared Dove, Black-naped Tern and Beach Thick-knee

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    Red-bearded Bee-eater

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    Sunset over Way Kambas National Park

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    Cerulean Kingfisher

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    Orange-breasted Trogon

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    Bali Myna

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    Butterfly at Way Kambas National Park

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    Green Broadbill

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    Satwa Lodge

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    Banded Kingfisher

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    Purple Heron

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    Christmas Frigatebird

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    Pink Flowers at Way Kambas National Park

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    Green Peafowl

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    Baluran National Park

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    Pygmy Wren-blabber

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    Banded Broadbill

Cost of the Journey

The cost of this journey is per person, based on occupancy: $7290 DBL / $7850 SGL, from Jakarta, Indonesia. This tour price includes 18 nights’ accommodations; all meals as stated in the itinerary; group airport transfers; ground transportation; professional guide services; park, preserve, and other activity fees; and miscellaneous program expenses. This tour price does not include: roundtrip airfare to Jakarta or from Bali, or items of a personal nature like laundry, porterage, telephone charges, gratuities, or alcoholic beverages.

The cost of the Flores/Komodo is per person, based on occupancy: $2990 DBL / $3190 SGL. The cost includes your internal flight, all accommodations and meals as noted in the itinerary, park, program and entrance fees, speed boat ride, and guide fees. The cost does not include items of a personal nature like laundry, porterage, telephone charges, gratuities, or alcoholic beverages.

Travel Details

Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed.

Arrival Airport: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) in Jakarta

Arrival Details: Please plan flights to arrive September 11, 2024 in time for a 6:30 PM welcome dinner.

Departure Airport: Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Bali

Departure Details: Please plan flights to depart September 29, 2024 at your leisure.

Post-tour Extension Airport: Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Bali

Post-tour Extension Departure: Please plan flights to depart October 3, 2024, at your leisure.

Travel Tips: If you arrive early to rest up from your travels, you can book an early night at our first night tour hotel, the Orchadz Hotel Jakarta Airport. You can book online and send us the confirmation number, with the goal being you won’t have to switch rooms. There is a restaurant onsite. If you want to explore around Jakarta, it’s best to arrive a few days early and stay closer to the city as it’s very busy and large and difficult to casually explore in a day.

Entry Requirements: See "Essential Information" section under the "Know Before You Go" tab.

  • Peg Abbott

    Peg Abbott is the owner and lead guide of Naturalist Journeys, LLC. She has been designing, guiding, and organizing natural history tours for more than 25 years, working for the National Audubon Society and other organizations before launching Naturalist Journeys, LLC in 1998. Her work has taken her from Alaska to Africa and Argentina, as well as many other locations around the world. She has conducted research on several bird and mammal species and keeps a close interest in Yellowstone and Mexican wolf reintroduction projects. Her interests include all aspects of natural history and geology. After 20 years in and around the Yellowstone area, Peg relocated in 2003 to the birding mecca of Portal, AZ.

    Photo credit: Carol Simon

    Other trips with Peg Abbott

Map for Indonesia's Best Birding

Essential Information +

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have Read more

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!

Ahead of Your Tour

  • Make sure your passport is non-emergency and will be valid at least six months after the date of your scheduled return to the U.S., and has at least 2 empty stamp pages.
  • A visa is required for U.S. citizens for stays of this duration. See "Passports, Visas & Documentation" section below. If you are from another country, please contact the Embassy of Indonesia website for guidelines.
  • Please check current CDC recommendations for travel to Indonesia and consult with your doctor about general travel vaccinations you should have as precaution for travel. See the “General Health and Inoculations” section below.
  • Travel insurance in case of serious medical emergency is strongly recommended. Full health coverage and repatriation is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
  • Plan your flight reservations arriving into Soekarno-Hatta International (CGK) in Jakarta and departing from Ngurah Rai International (DPS) in Bali. Send a copy of your itinerary to the Naturalist Journeys office please.
  • Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.

Arrival into Soekarno-Hatta International (CGK)

Please note. If you are delayed in travel, please FIRST call the number of this tour's operator. As a backup, contact our office (both numbers are on your emergency contact list).

Please plan to arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International (CGK) in Jakarta in time for a 6:30 PM welcome dinner.

On tour start date we will coordinate your pick-ups close to your departure with operators and guides once we have all travelers completed travel information. Please make sure we have both your ARRIVAL and DEPARTURE information, so they can plan this. It is imperative that we have your correct TRAVEL information; we appreciate if you email us a copy of your flight reservation. They will check internet for your updated flight information.

Please check the Travel Details tab of this tour for additional information and updates.

Departures from Ngurah Rai International (DPS)

Please book departure flights at your leisure from Ngurah Rai International (DPS) in Bali.

Please check the Travel Details tab of this tour for additional information and updates.

Passports, Visas & Documents

Guidelines and regulations can change. It is always advisable to double-check the country’s documentation requirements 60-90 days ahead of traveling. Information for U.S. citizens can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Indonesia.html. If you are from another country, please contact the Indonesian embassy website for guidelines.

Passport: To enter Indonesia, your passport must have at least two blank pages and be valid for at least six months beyond the date you are scheduled to leave Indonesia. The blank pages need to say “Visas” at the top. Pages marked “Amendments and Endorsements” will not be accepted. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry into Indonesia. NOTE: The Government of Indonesia will not admit travelers holding the 12-page U.S. emergency passport, issued by U.S. embassies and consulates overseas. 

Visa: At the time of writing, a tourist visa is required for stays the length of this tour, as well as proof of a return ticket. You may choose to apply for Visa-On-Arrival or Electronic Visa-on-Arrival:

  • Visa-On-Arrival: If you meet the requirements, you can apply for a visa on arrival at the airport in Jakarta. To apply for the Visa-On-Arrival, you must have an ordinary (non-emergency) passport with at least 6-months of validity beyond the date you plan to leave Indonesia. There is a 500,000 Indonesian Rupiah fee (about $35). The visa-on-arrival is valid for up to 30 days.
  • Electronic Visa-On-Arrival: You may also apply for an Electronic Visa-On-Arrival (e-VOA) in advance of arrival. Check the e-VOA requirements from Indonesian Immigration before applying. To apply for an e-VOA see https://molina.imigrasi.go.id/.

We advise that you bring your eContact list of hotels for use at immigration.

As a precaution for lost or misplaced documents you carry on your person during travel, we highly recommend you keep hard and digital backup copies on your phone (either photo or PDF scan), as well as a hard copy left with your emergency contact at home. The recommended important documents to copy include, but are not limited to; your passport ID page, travel visa, the front and back of your credit card(s), the airline barcode on your luggage. This will greatly expedite getting new ones if necessary – we hope everyone will always keep travel documents close so that losing them will not be an issue.  

General Health & Inoculations Information – Be Prepared!

Health requirements for entry to any country can change. It is always advisable to double-check the country’s health requirements and recommendations 60-90 days ahead of traveling. A helpful website for planning is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for Indonesia or by phone (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636.

We will share your health information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important as we want to be best prepared in case of medical emergency. 

Mosquito and tick born illness: Although areas we visit on the main tour are not indicated to have a risk of transmission of malaria at the time of writing, the CDC does list the Komodo Islands (location of tour extension) as having a degree of risk for malarial transmission. Prevention is essential no matter what level of risk and we recommend you do not take any chances. At a minimum, the CDC recommends travelers should reduce their risk of contracting mosquito and/or tick born diseases (including yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever, zika, Japanese encephalitis, etc.) by protecting themselves from bites using protective clothing, insect repellant (containing DEET, Picaridin, OLE, etc.). It is possible to purchase field clothing permeated with insect repellent such as the Craghoppers Insect Shield collection. Another approach is to purchase Permethrin spray (online or from REI) to treat your field clothing and socks before your departure. 

In addition, while consulting with your doctor about travel vaccinations, be sure to ask about taking anti-malarial medication. If you do opt for preventative medication (see choosing a drug to prevent malaria), you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Consult with your doctor what is best for you. 

For more information, see the “CDC Yellow Book: Health Information for International Travel” website for Indonesia: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/preparing/yellow-fever-vaccine-malaria-prevention-by-country/indonesia#seldyfm1118.

Vaccinations: Bring copies of your up-to-date vaccination records with you. At the time of writing, there are no required vaccinations to enter Indonesia unless you are arriving from a country where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission, in which case you must present a YF vaccine certification (see link above). 

The CDC recommends that all travelers be up to date with routine and basic travel vaccines (such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid) before traveling to any destination. Please check with your doctor for recommendations at least 4-6 weeks before departing on your trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for Indonesia is a helpful resource, or reach them or by phone at (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636.

Prescriptions: It is a good idea to pack any meds you take regularly in your carry-on luggage.  Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses. Bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you use, a copy of the prescription and a list of generic names of your medicines as “back-up” in case it is necessary to purchase drugs while abroad. You’ll want to keep medications in their original, labeled containers. 

Allergies: To be prepared for environmental triggers to allergies or breathing difficulties, please bring your allergy and/or asthma medication(s).  If you have severe allergies talk to your doctor about carrying an EPI pen and notify your guides. It is also recommended to carry with you an up-to-date record of known allergies, chronic medical problems and Medic Alerts so that, if necessary, emergency treatment can be carried out without endangering your health.

Common Ailments: We recommend that you bring a travel-sized first aid kit and a supply of standard over-the-counter medications for prevention or treatment of common ailments (such as diarrhea, constipation, stomach upset, cough, congestion, head or body aches, insect bites and sunburn); as well as ointments, moisturizer, sunscreen, oral rehydration salts, band-aids, moleskin for blisters, cotton swabs, nail clippers, and tweezers, etc.

Altitude illness: According to the CDC's website, day trips to high-elevation destinations less than 8000 ft. with an evening return to a lower elevation are much less stressful on the body, depending on the time provided for your body to adjust. However, overnights at higher altitudes may have more adverse affects on your body and you should be informed about altitude illness and Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) (see https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/environmental-hazards-risks/high-elevation-travel-and-altitude-illness). The most general symptoms are headache and occasionally fatigue and dizziness. You’ll want to take it easy, particularly at first. The likelihood of these symptoms can be reduced by resting, drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol, taking aspirin and optimize acclimatization by adjusting itineraries to avoid going “too high too fast." If you have worries about the altitude, ask your physician about medications (such as Diamox) that may be right for you. 

Weather & Climate

In general, the weather during your stay will be hot and humid, average lows of 70°Fs and average highs of 80-90°Fs. You will likely encounter rain so please be prepared with raingear.

Annoyances & Hazards

Mosquitoes can occur in rural areas; therefore, a supply of insect repellent containing DEET is essential and use of long-sleeved shirts recommended.  Rabies is prevalent in animals and animal contact should be avoided. Do listen carefully to any advice given by your local guide. And remember the sun is strong and be prepared with proper protection.

Food & Drinks

Menus at lodges and restaurants are varied, sustainably based on the wonderful local ingredients available, and delightfully prepared in a sanitary environment. As with any case when traveling we urge you to consider what your body is used to before you eat something. Intestinal diseases are very common throughout Indonesia and food and water precautions are recommended.

Bottled water will be available for field trips and drinking water is provided for you to refill a bottle. Tap water is not considered safe to drink and ice is usually made from tap water.

Packing, Clothing & Laundry

Dress is very informal throughout your journey. While some people will change for dinner, it is usually just to a drier or cleaner version of what they wore during the day. Again, the climate is warm to hot, so you will be comfortable in lightweight clothing.

Some, but not all, of our lodges will have laundry services.

Please, pack light. We are serious about this – we move around a lot; you just do not need much to cope with tropical life! Please do not bring anything more than you must. Lay out your hopeful things to take and then do a serious paring down please! 

TRAVEL TIP: Imagine NOT getting your suitcase. Wear your most important shoes for the field and have one day’s clothing change (including a change of underwear!). And please do not pack any essential medications, or your vital optics, in your checked luggage!

Spending Money

The official currency in Indonesia is the rupiah (Rp). We advise you carry a mix of different types of payments, such as local and U.S. cash, an ATM card, and a credit card. For the current exchange rate, please refer to an online converter tool like www.xe.com or your bank. U.S. dollars in good condition (no rips or tears) may be taken as a form of payment but shopping for smaller handicrafts may necessitate using local currency, and give you greater value.

When using an ATM to withdrawal cash, keep in mind it might only accept cards from local banks or not allow cash advances on credit cards. Many U.S. banks charge a fee of $1 - $5 each time you use a foreign ATM. Others may charge you a percentage of the amount you withdraw. Check with your bank before departure, and advise them you will be traveling. You must become familiar with how to use your ATM card and PIN number ahead of the journey. If you plan to exchange cash in country, bring large U.S. bill ($50 or $100) in good condition that will give you the better rate when exchanging to local currency.

We suggest you have more than one card available, if possible. You may want to bring more than one brand of card (VISA and Mastercard are commonly accepted; American Express is less common). You can use credit cards at lodges to pay your bar and gift tabs. Not every shop will accept every card. Some smaller shops and restaurants, or taxis require cash, so it is always a good idea to ask before making a purchase. Also, we recommend that you advise your bank or credit card company that you will be traveling abroad to avoid questions, card freezes, or charges. If you have a choice of cards, bring one with no foreign exchange fees.

Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. They can be difficult to exchange. We do not advise you use them.

Gratuities

Tipping throughout the tour is at your discretion. Some guidelines follow. At larger (mostly city) hotels, tip maids and bar service as you would at home. At eco-lodges, there is typically a staff tip box in a public area; the going rate per person is $6-$10 a day, which is shared among staff for maid service, and general staff service at the lodges. Gratuities for group meals are already included. Your Naturalist Journeys host will take care of smaller tips such field trip services by boat drivers, night drive outings, single activities. Your additional tip is encouraged for birding tour guides and drivers who are with you for several days or the full trip; $10-$15 per day per guest is standard for guide service, and half that for a driver. If you have more than one local guide at a location, they will share the daily amount. We encourage tipping for the local teams hosting you; anything extra for your Naturalist Journeys host is at your discretion.

Cell Phones & Internet Service

You can make international calls from most of our hotels. The country code for the USA is 1.

International calls to the United States: Dial 00 + (1) + country code + area code + number.

Your guide is well connected and can help if any urgent communication need arises. However, it is highly recommended that you travel with a cell phone, if only as a precaution for the unfortunate occurrence of a medical emergency during an outing and needing swift accessibility to critical personal or medical contacts. 

Please check with your wireless provider to see if your phone and service will work in your destination country. Options include activating international roaming, purchasing a local SIM card at the airport (newer phones may not accept SIM cards), or simply turning off cellular service and relying on Wi-Fi to make calls and access the internet. If your phone can connect to Wi-Fi, you may be able to make voice and video calls free of charge. Another option if you have access to Wi-Fi is to use smartphone apps like Skype, WhatsApp, or Viber to send text messages, and make voice calls, or video calls. Many smartphones, tablets, or laptops come with one of these apps pre-installed or you can download for free.

Your hotels and most local restaurants provide Wi-Fi at least in their common areas. Although it is generally a reliable service, it can be affected by adverse weather conditions due to the remote location.

Make sure if you do NOT want to use your cell phone that you turn off your cellular data. You could incur huge charges if you are not on Wi-Fi. Putting your phone in airplane mode if you mainly use it for photos will save the battery as well. 

Please refrain from taking or making cell phone calls in the vehicles when traveling with other passengers, unless it appears to be an emergency. This disrupts other guests, plan on cell phone call use on your own time.

Electricity

The standard voltage in Indonesia is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Power plugs and sockets are of type C and F. You will need a power plug adapter and a voltage converter to use electric devices.  More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/indonesia/.

Time

Indonesia spreads across three time zones, with no daylight savings time.  Jakarta and the island of Java are on Western Indonesia Time (UTC +7) while Bali is on Central Indonesian Time (UTC +8). Check www.timeanddate.com before leaving home for your conversion.

Questions?

Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at clientservices@naturalistjourneys.com or telephone us toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey!

 

Pace & Protocols +

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of Read more

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect

You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of hotels (our eContact List) a few weeks before your departure. This will serve as an outline for each day and alert you to any recent changes made in the schedule or to our hotels, if needed.

Our journeys are set up to follow the rhythm of nature. Our focus is on birding and nature; we offer full, well-planned field days and often get up early for that magical time around dawn. We generally follow the published itinerary, but we stay flexible to the weather, wildlife opportunities and the interests of the group. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.

The pace of our Naturalist Journeys tours is moderate; to fully participate you should be able to get in and out of vehicles several times a day, and walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain. It is important to participate with a flexible attitude as adjustments may be made in our schedule to make the most of our time in the field or for other purposes at your guide's discretion. We are not a “listing” bird company that drills down on target species, but at times we do wait for those special species unique to the places we visit. During the day, we take time to stop for photos and for educational opportunities to learn about conservation projects, landscapes, and geology. We appreciate other taxa as well as birds, with mammals often the biggest draw but plants and butterflies are also very popular. Our clients often lend their own expertise to the mix.

We like to make meals a fun and memorable part of the experience, too. Breakfasts are often at hotels, and we carry snacks, fruit, and water in the vans each day. Lunches are a mix of picnics in the field (weather dependent) and a chance to dine with locals at small cafes and restaurants. For dinner, we pride ourselves in our homework to keep up with the best choices for dining, choosing restaurants with atmosphere that specialize in local foods. On occasion we keep dinner simple to go back out in the field for sunset wildlife viewing or night walks. In some remote locations, our choices are limited. If you are tired, room service for dinner may be an option you can choose.

Naturalist Journeys International Trips: Guide Role

Naturalist Journeys supports ecotourism and the development of excellent local guides. Once we know our international partners and guides well, we can send out small groups working directly with these trusted partners, adding a Naturalist Journeys guide to assist the local expert when we have a group of 6-7 or more. This helps us keep your costs down while retaining tour quality. The local guide is your main guide. You can expect your Naturalist Journeys guide to be well-researched and often they are experienced in the destination, but their role is not to be primary, it is to help to organize logistics, help you find birds, mammals, and interesting other species in the field, keep reports, help facilitate group interactions, and to keep the trip within Naturalist Journeys' style. Local guides live in the countries we travel to, know the destinations intimately, and are often the strongest force for conservation in their countries. They open many doors for us to have a rich experience.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Please respect all designated smoking areas at hotels and restaurants.

Transportation

As a courtesy to each other, we ask that all travelers please rotate seating. On international trips we may all be in one small bus, on some trips we are in vans, particularly the roomy Sprinter Vans when available. Some areas require us to be in smaller 4-wheel drive or safari vehicles. Rotation allows you to sit with different drivers and alternate front and back seating.

Photo Release & Sharing

We take many group photos and will share photos with the group. And after your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos. Please note that this is our policy and if you prefer to be excluded, we need to know ahead of your tour.

By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representatives’ permission to record on photography film and/or video, pictures of my participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochure, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.

Travel Insurance

You are traveling in remote areas. Naturalist Journeys strongly recommends you have full medical and evacuation insurance from a company such as Allianz, for all international travel. If you do not have medical coverage or evacuation coverage on your existing travel insurance policy or for some reason elected not to take that out, we advise getting an evacuation plan with Global RescueWorld Nomads, Medjet, Allianz (they can do evacuation only) or a similar company. These plans are typically $300-$400 for a year for multiple destinations. This coverage may be a part of a larger Travel Insurance policy but can also be purchased on its own.

Questions?

Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at clientservices@naturalistjourneys.com or telephone our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey.

 

Packing List +

Please pack light! Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid Read more

Please pack light!

Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage. Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle. It is our hope that you can pack in one checked suitcase that does not exceed 45 pounds. Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this is an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.

In general, the weather during your stay will be hot and humid, average lows of 70°Fs and average highs of 80-90°Fs. You will likely encounter rain so please be prepared with raingear.

Dress is informal throughout the trip. Dressing in layers is the best way to be comfortable, although you won’t need too many layers in the lowlands. That said, in the highlands, it can be quite cool, so you will want a sweater and  jacket. Lightweight long sleeve shirts and long pants make ideal field clothing for the lowlands, as they are more protective from sun and vegetation. Please do not wear shorts! Quickly drying fabrics are ideal. You will want a pair of waterproof shoes or light boots with good tread. We do not recommend that you wear sandals.

Note on clothing colors and insect repellent: We recommend muted colors of tan, brown, khaki, grey or green, as they are spotted less easily than white or bright colors, though camouflage clothing is not recommended, and in some countries, not legal to wear. It is possible to purchase field clothing permeated with insect repellent such as the Craghoppers Insect Shield collection. Another approach is to purchase Permethrin spray (online or from REI) to treat your field clothing and socks before your departure.

Clothing & Gear

  • Lightweight long pants, 2-3 pair
  • Light weight long sleeve shirts, 2-3 (loose fitting keeps you cool)
  • T-shirts or equivalent, note that these will get wet due to the humidity; this will keep you cool, but you will be, well, wet. You may wish to avoid cotton in favor of fabrics that wick.
  • Casual clothing for travel days and evenings
  • Personal underclothing and pajamas
  • Socks – lightweight and easy to wash and dry, long enough to tuck your pants into, and/or socks treated with insect repellent
  • Comfortable walking/hiking shoes such as tennis shoes and lightweight waterproof hiking boots. Please note that forest trails will be on uneven terrain and will likely be muddy – good tread and support are essential! Most of the lodges have rubber boots to borrow, but you may wish to bring your own.
  • Anti-leech socks (optional)
  • Shower thongs
  • Lightweight fleece jacket or sweater for highlands
  • Rainwear, such as a poncho or raincoat, and/or a pocket umbrella are essential
  • Mesh bug jacket with a hood (no face screen)
  • Hat with broad brim
  • Bug hat or mesh bug hood that can be worn over a cap
  • Bathing suit (optional)
  • Bandana (optional, ones with gel inserts are great for cooling off when you are hot and sweaty)

Equipment & Miscellaneous

  • Airline tickets or e-ticket verification
  • Passport, visa (if required), travel insurance info, money & credit cards.
  • A secure pouch to carry the items above on your person (such as a secure, under-clothing document pouch)
  • As a backup: copies of all the above (phone and/or paper) packed in a separate location than on your person, plus a set given to your emergency contact at home as a backup. For passport, copy of the  ID and entry stamp pages.
  • Small daypack for field gear while hiking and as carry-on bag (water-resistant recommended)
  • Umbrella (recommended) – not brightly colored
  • Small flashlight (headlamps may attract insects close to your face) with fresh batteries 
  • Alarm clock
  • Walking stick (optional, but recommended if you have one)
  • Sunscreen/lip balm with SPF
  • Sunglasses with neck strap
  • Insect repellent spray and/or wipes (both with and without DEET is advised)
  • Kleenex packs
  • Toiletry articles
  • Universal adapter/converter combo
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Binoculars (a hotel shower cap is great to cover these when it is raining…)
  • Camera and extra batteries, digital chips etc., lens cleaning supplies and instruction manual (Optional)
  • Adapter for UK-type outlets; Type G, which conversion to 240 volts; note that some lodges will have
  • U.S.-type outlets.
  • Rechargeable power bank (optional)
  • Spotting scope and tripod (optional)
  • Tablet or laptop for personal use and/or transferring photos, USB cord and charger (optional)
  • Water bottle (or plan to reuse one purchased on location)
  • Gallon-size zipper bags for keeping things dry
  • Laundry soap for hand washing
  • Travel sewing kit
  • Earplugs (if you are sensitive to noise at night – optional)
  • Notebook or journal and pen (optional)
  • Field guides (optional)
  • Padlock for luggage (optional)
  • Steri-Pen or other UV water treatment device. Tap water in Malaysia is general free from pathogens but it may be discolored or distasteful from the pipes. Therefore, you may wish to filter your water. Bottled water will be available at lodging sites.

 

WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!

Medical & First Aid Items

  • Heath insurance and vaccination information (kept in personal pouch with other travel documents)
  • Personal medication (with copy of vital prescriptions, including glasses) and any medical alerts
  • Motion sickness preventatives if likely to be needed on bus, van drives, etc. We will be driving some winding roads.
  • Personal first aid kit, including medications for general ailments, colds and stomach ailments (Imodium or Lomotil, antihistamine cream or tablets, eye drops, etc.) and antiseptic cream or wipes. It is possible, though unlikely, that you may contract digestive pathogens, so we recommend that you carry Cipro or similar medication.
  • Foot powder, lotions for dry skin, general “comfort” items
  • Hydrocortisone cream to ease itching from insect bites
  • Band-Aids (important if you catch a leech), and moleskin to protect against blisters
  • Epi-pen if needed for allergic reactions
  • Antibacterial hand soap, small vial, and cleansing wipes
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts, with plenty of wetting and cleaning solution

 

Suggested Reading List +

There are many wonderful birds about Indonesia. These are some of our favorites to get Read more

There are many wonderful birds about Indonesia. These are some of our favorites to get you started.

Field Guides

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia

Birds of Java, Sumatra and Bali

Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago: Greater Sundas and Wallacea

A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea: Sulawesi, The Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Snakes of Southeast Asia

History & Culture

A History of Modern Indonesia

A Brief History of Indonesia: Sultans, Spices, and Tsunamis

Indonesia – Culture Smart!

Indonesian Phrasebook & Dictionary

Your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials for participants to share. As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.

 

Useful Links +

Learn more about your destination at these external websites, carefully researched for you. Read more

General

Encyclopedic Overviews:

Jakarta

Bandar Lampung

Bali

Nature, Wildlife & Biology

Indonesia Avibase Checklist

FatBirder Overview of Birding in Indonesia

Endangered Milky Stork

Endangered Black-Winged Starling (Myna)

Endangered Java Sparrow

16 Common Birds of Indonesia

Indonesia Plant and Animal Life

Mammals of Indonesia

Orangutan Conservation

Bali’s Ecology and Environment

Conservation, Parks & Reserves

Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP!) – Conservation efforts for the endangered Bali Myna

Artists for Conservation - Endangered Grey-rumped Myna

Burung Indonesia – Avian Conservation

Way Kambas National Park

Cibodas Botanical Gardens

Gunung (Mount) Gede

Bogor Biological Gardens

Baluran National Park

Bali Barat National Park

Pulau Rambut Wildlife Reserve

Geology & Geography

Geology of Indonesia

“Culture and Geology of Bali’s Mountains and Lakes” – Article, Gaia Discovery

Geography of Indonesia

History & Culture

History of Indonesia

Indonesian Culture

Balinese Culture

Indonesian Cuisine

Useful Indonesian Phrases

Flores/Komodo Tour Extension

Labuan Bajo

Komodo Island

Komodo Biosphere Reserve & National Park (UNESCO)

Komodo Dragon – Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

Species of Komodo Island

Flores Island

Flores Endemic Birds

Species of Flores Island – iNaturalist

Puarlolo – eBird Hotspot

Helpful Travel Websites

Arrival:  Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), Jakarta

Departure:  Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), Bali

National Passport Information Center

Homeland Security Real ID Act

U.S. Department of State International Travel Information - Indonesia

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Indonesia

Canada Travel Advice and Advisories - Indonesia

Travel Health Pro (UK) - Indonesia

Foreign Exchange Rates

ATM Locator

Electricity and Plugs - Indonesia

Date, Time, and Holidays - Indonesia


Photo credits: Banners: Baluran (NJ Stock), Green Junglefowl (NJ Stock), Oriental Pied Hornbill (Matthew Schwartz, courtesy of UnSplash), Stork-billed Kingfisher (NJ Stock), Butterfly (NJ Stock) Thumbnails: Banded Broadbill (NJ Stock), Oriental Bay Owl (NJ Stock), Orange-breasted Trogon (NJ Stock), Green Broadbill (NJ Stock), Red-bearded Bee-eater (NJ Stock), Oriental Pied Hornbill (NJ Stock), Indigo Flycatcher (NJ Stock), Javan Banded Pitta (NJ Stock)

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