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Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It is made up of more than 17,000 islands, of which the main ones are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi and Bali. The most visited for their exoticism are the Maluku Islands, Papua or Lombok.

If you are planning a trip to Bali and Indonesia, you are likely to find that flight tickets are much cheaper during the monsterous monsoon in Indonesia. If you don't mind the inconvenience of getting wet every now and then, and would like to explore this stunning country on a budget, traveling to Indonesia before and after the monsoon can be a good idea.

It is hard to determine when the rain arrives, due to the changes in the gulf streams strength and direction in the past few years. It is almost impossible to predict how heavy the rain will be. Still, if you choose to travel between January to April or October to November, you will have to be prepared for some travel disruption and inconvenience. Once you know the risks and have made all the precautions, you can plan your vacation accordingly.


1. Batam


If you are looking for a quick getaway from Singapore, Batam Island is the best option and both Indonesian and Singaporean people come here as there are many things you can do as a tourist here. It is currently a decent place to make a getaway with family or friends who want to have fun doing water sports, eating fresh seafood, going shopping or even enjoy a spa and a good massage.

Traditional Balinese massage is undoubtedly something that you should try. The options for water sports are banana boat, parasailing, windsurfing, kayaking and jet ski. You can also find activities on the Nongsa coast or, if you want an option where there are not so many people, the Melur Beach on the island of Galang. On Batam Island you can also do scuba diving and snorkeling.

Batam is known by connoisseurs in golf for having some of the best golf courses in the world and is a very popular activity on this island. Here you will find the Tering Bay International Golf course, designed by Greg Norman, one of the best golf course designers in the world. Batam is one of the best places to go with a mountain bike and where you can pedal through a dense green jungle and end up facing the sea.

To do this you must take the road on your own through the Duriankang Reserve and the Nongsa Coast. It will take you about 30 kilometers by bicycle to go from Turi Beach/Nongsa village, through Teluk Mata Ikan, down the coast to Batu Besar until you reach Tering Bay. Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya temple is famous for its laughing Buddha statues.

The Barelang Bridge itself is a piece of spectacular architecture, consisting of a total of seven bridges

One of the best places to shop in Batam Island is the Nagoya Hill Mall. You can find local food products like the popular Kueh Lapis (cake), Indomie (instant noodles) and tidbits. You can find a great selection of seafood such as prawns, crabs, mussels and much more. If you come from Singapore then you will find that, in comparison, beer and alcohol in general is much cheaper.

2. Ubud


After having lived an unforgettable New Year's Eve in Kuta, we headed towards Ubud with a lot of desire to flee from the chaos of Kuta and breathe a lot more zen air. If you plan to visit the wonderful Bali island, you cannot leave it without having seen its great pearl. And if it had crossed your mind to commit such a crime, today we will show you the places to visit in Ubud that you cannot miss during your travel in Indonesia.

Jalan Raya, Jalan Goutama, Jalan Dewi Sita streets are full of beautiful temples, charming corners, beautiful restaurants, craft shops, cafes with a lot of charm. Ubud market is located right in the center of the city. To the west of Ubud (you can do it walking) are the Campuhan rice fields. They are not as impressive as Tegalalang (7 km from Ubud), but they are also beautiful to see.

If you want to enjoy a good Balinese massage, in Ubud you will find many places. To the north, 1 hour from Ubud by motorbike is the famous Pura Ulun Danu Temple, a temple that rises above the waters of Lake Bratan (the second largest lake in Bali). In fact almost in all the photographs in Bali travel guides you will see its image.

Continuing north 1 more hour you will reach the Gitgit Waterfall. It was time to leave Bali and, with all the sorrow in the world because that island had stolen our hearts. It was time to go to Java to two of the most famous volcanoes in Indonesia, Ijen Volcano and Bromo Volcano.


3. Canggu


Enjoy the freshness of the morning for jogging or surfing and breakfast with your feet in the sand of the beach of Gado-Gado in Seminyak. It's a mix between Bali and the West. It is a city of manageable size but where the bustle of its shops, bars and restaurants can be overwhelming.

However, the seashore is very nice. There, beach warungs offer Indonesian specialties among Western dishes. At sunset, you can taste a local arak madu sitting under multicolored Balinese umbrellas. The night market is worth it, you can find a lot of bargains.

4. Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park


After a month touring Lombok, Gili and Bali it was time to say goodbye to the island of Gods and leave for Java. While we can say that Ubud is a little spot in the incredible Bali, we recommend you not to miss the opportunity to spend at least one day discovering this incredible town, the spiritual center of the island. We left Bali with the feeling of needing more time there. We would have liked to extend our stay in that magical island but we only had another month of visa in Indonesia and many things to do and see in Java.

If the visa extension procedure in Bali were easier surely we would have been longer in Indonesia. The bureaucratic procedures are so heavy that we were too lazy to go through the same thing that we already had when asking for the first extension. But well, papers aside, Java expected us full of adventures and anecdotes to remember. It's time to make our expedition to the Kawah Ijen, the blue lava volcano.

We left the Bali island by the extreme northwest of the island, by Gilimanuk to be more exact. From there ferries leave every hour towards Banyuwangi, already on the Java island. Our last stop in Bali was Sanur so from there we had to take a taxi to take us to Ubung which is where the buses to Gilimanuk leave from.

When you arrive at the Ubung station you will be offered all kinds of transport to Gilimanuk, much more expensive than what it really costs and they will try to buy you the bus ticket along with the ferry ticket. Do not get involved! It took us about 3.5 hours to get to Gilimanuk and once there it was very easy to take the ferry to Java. The bus leaves you in the same port.

The ferry trip (1 hour) was most entertaining. In that journey you start to see that you are already moving away from the tourism of Bali and you are entering a more authentic and deep Indonesia. People threw coins into the sea asking for wishes and many of them wanted to take pictures with us, it was very interesting.

Unlike Bali, the Java island is mostly a Muslim island and as you approach the ferry you will appreciate it. You start to hear the chants of the mosques and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by veiled women. Everything pointed out that Java was going to be more adventurous than Bali, and it was!

The ferry that comes from Gilimanuk, in Bali, leaves you in Banyuwangi, which is precisely the best place to stay if you want to visit the Kawah Ijen volcano. We stayed in the homestay that despite having very small rooms, has a pool and from the common area you have good views to watch the sunset. Through Airbnb you can also find very good offers.

Our intention at first was not to go see the Ijen volcano because we had decided that we wanted to see only the Bromo volcano. Once in the hostel they proposed the tour and we really thought we could not miss the opportunity to go and see a blue lava volcano (one of the most peculiar volcanoes in the world) having it so close.

In addition, the Bromo volcano at that time was in eruption so we were not sure if we were going to be able to visit it or not, so Ijen there we go! We hired the tour from the same hostel because besides that we found a reasonable price, other travelers had just arrived from doing it and recommended it to us.

Seldom in your life will you have the opportunity to visit a volcano that emits blue flames in the dark. This is the reason why you should visit at night. If you arrive too late to the inner part of the crater and it has already been done during the day you will not see the blue color of the volcano's flame! So do not get too busy on the climb or you'll be late.

We left the hostel at 12 noon and arrived around 2:30 at the base of the volcano. We start the walk! It's cold and a steep climb of something more than an hour's walk awaits us and then 40 more minutes of descent into the crater. The effort and fatigue are worth it! We got to the lowest part of the inside of the crater around 4:30 so it was still night and we could see the famous blue lava!

We do not want to spoil your fantasies but do not imagine the red lava of the volcano that you have always seen on television but of blue color! First of all it will cost you a bit to see the lava because smoke does not stop coming out of the volcano and secondly you will not see the lava move but rather you will see some blue flames and the surrounding rocks as if they were red hot but in this case the bright blue.

In spite of this, the Ijen volcano is something unique to see and of course we loved having lived it. Not only the power to see blue lava, but the whole experience of the walk in the middle of the night, the miners working with the sulfur, seeing the sunrise inside a volcano.

With conventional cameras (like ours) it is impossible to photograph the blue lava, only those from National Geographic can. So if you do not have a super reflex camera do not waste your time taking pictures in which then you will not see anything and enjoy the moment watching such a spectacle of nature to retain it in your memory.

Right next to where you will see the blue lava there is a turquoise lake of hot water! The gases that give off the volcano and the sulfur mine overwhelm a bit and sting the eyes. The sulfur extracted from the mine is basically used to make cosmetic products. In one side of the world people die so that in the other we have fine thin skin. Surely this happens with many other products that we use and we have no idea where they come from.

This situation reminded us a lot of the experience that we lived in the Potosi mine, in Bolivia. About 8 or 9 in the morning they will leave you again in the hostel and you will be able to rest because you have spent the whole night awake.


5. Lombok


Rinjani is an active volcano found on the Lombok island. At 3726 meters it is the second highest volcano in Indonesia after Kerinci, in Sumatra. Its crater, at 2000 meters above sea level, hides an immense turquoise lake, the Segara Anak, and another small volcanic cone, the Gunung Barú.

The main attractions are its spectacular landscapes, ranging from leafy forests with monkeys and waterfalls, to long fields in the purest Savannah style, the views of Bali, Gili Islands and the crater from the top, its thermal waters. It is very important to be warm. Although at the foot of the beach it is very hot, we must bear in mind that we will spend a night at 2670 meters high and temperatures go down a lot.

In addition, the strong icy winds during the climb to the top are a classic. It is also necessary to carry some money in cash, since in the camps there are small stalls where you can buy energy bars (much needed), cookies or a drink other than water. You can buy sachets of Extra Joss, a powder that when mixed with water turns into a Red Bull type, which can serve as an energy kick if your forces falter on the way to the top.

The 2-day route starts at the place where we hired the tour. They pick up and take to the small town of Sembalun, at 1100 meters high. There we prepare our backpack for trekking and leave everything unnecessary to go as light as possible. They give breakfast, which in our case was made of toast with cheese and jam. After breakfast, the route begins.

The first section consists of a gentle ascent along paths through infinite yellow fields. 3 breaks are made to eat and regain strength. All the meals were a combination of rice, noodles, vegetables and chicken, cooked in different ways, but the truth is that they filled a lot and were good enough to have been cooked in the middle of the bush.

About 3 hours later we arrived at the third hut, at 1700 meters high. There are 5 strong climbs with a small flat part between them. At the end we reach the edge of the crater, where we have spectacular views of it and the top. There, at 2670 meters, the porters set up camp. It is amazing how the temperatures fall as the sun sets. They serve dinner, a soup of noodles and vegetables very warm. It is best to go to bed soon because the next day we wake up at 2 in the morning to climb to the top.

At 2 they wake us up with breakfast, a hard-boiled egg and a toast with jam, and we prepare for the ascent. I had to use the flashlight of my cell phone across the cold wind and darkness. The first section is the one with the highest slope and the road is sheltered from the wind, which makes it quite affordable.

The second section is the most difficult with almost no places to shelter from the wind and worst of all, a sandy soil and volcanic ash. When we approach the top, the first rays of sun begin to appear. This is where the third section begins. The feeling when arriving at the top is indescribable. The effort is really worth it.

We can see the whole island of Lombok, especially the crater with the lake, the Gili Islands, and even the Agung volcano of Bali. The views of the sunrise are spectacular. The descent becomes much more distracted thanks to the views and some monkeys. It took us about 2 hours to return to the camp but it must be said that we take it easy and stop to take pictures and enjoy the views.

Once in the camp we prepare a banana pancakes for a second breakfast. Then we return to the town of Sembalun by the same road to end the trekking in the afternoon.

In case of the 3-day route, everything would be the same until the descent of the top. From there one goes down to the crater lake (2000 meters above sea level). Nearby you can find thermal baths where everyone bathes to relax and recover strength after the climb to the top. Then you have to go back to viewpoint at 2650 meters, where you can enjoy the views of the crater from another angle.

Next morning start the road to Senaru. On the way enjoy lush forests with monkeys and different types of birds and two beautiful waterfalls. For me it was the best experience of my trip to Indonesia along with diving in Komodo. Even if you do not reach the top it is totally recommendable since the views are impressive. At the top I got excited after the great effort made with 3 of my best friends.

6. Komodo


Komodo is a small island of Indonesia located in the smaller islands of the Sonda. Komodo National Park is famous for hosting the Komodo dragons, the largest living species of lizards in the world. The Komodo dragon of Indonesia is the largest reptile in the world and also one of the most effective killers of the animal kingdom.

A small abandoned island Pulau Kanawa will welcome you if you have finished your marine adventure of Lombok and Komodo. The island offers an endless experience of snorkeling and the great vacation. where your days will be enchanted by the magnificent views of the nearby islands, the white beaches, the tranquility, and the nature.

7. Bunaken


The Bunaken island, or Pulau Bunaken is located a few kilometers from Manado, the most important city in northern Sulawesi. Bunaken is located within the Bunaken Manado Tua National Marine Park. It hosts more than 300 types of coral and 3000 marine species.

We took a plane from Jakarta and had the opportunity to fly over the Borneo island, an opportunity that showed us the reality of a country, especially when seeing with our own eyes how large extensions of one of the lungs of the planet are devoured to palm plant.

From the plane it is possible to see perfect cuts in the landscape, endless lines where on one side you see jungle and on the other, desolation or dry land. After almost two hours of flight we arrived in Manado, where a boat from the hotel was waiting for us in the direction of the Bunaken island, where we had the first experience in feeling the sea water of the Celebes, since to access the ship we had to go a few meters wetting ourselves on a somewhat contaminated beach in Indonesia.

The first image we see of Bunaken is a volcano, one of the views that we will have during this small trip and a point of reference for many dives in the area. After half an hour we arrived at the resort, one of the few hotels in the area where we rent some cabins facing the sea, without luxuries but with charm. Neither it have windows, and the shower is with sea water.

Apart from that, something usual in these latitudes, it is an idyllic place, where the nights are lit by the thousands of noises inside. With the desire of a beginner, we dived, seeing seabeds full of life with dozens of clownfish, the fish known worldwide for the Nemo film and a great defender of its anemone.

Now it is so famous that it has become one of the star fish and still it is easy to see even doing snorkeling, an activity that by the way does not detract at all from diving, since the waters are quite transparent. Snorkeling in Bunaken is almost like doing a dive in a pool full of wildlife.

At the end of the day's dives we could seee the phenomenon of the tide in all its splendor. Just in front of our cabins the tide went down so much that left almost 100 meters of sea exposed, leaving the coral to the sun, starfish of all the colors, hundreds of ponds with fish of all kinds, like the puffer fish, a friend from the area that we had to rescue several times so that the sun would not dry the pond where it had been trapped.

We could even do a dive at night. Diving at night is an experience that a diver should not leave out. We walked in search of some beach, some practically impossible since almost the whole island is surrounded by a coral reef. Still venturing has its prize, as we discovered Pantai Pangalisang, a fishing village where children play on the street and they look surprised when a Canon reflex shoots at everything that moves.

Finally, one of the extra activities you can do in a place like this is see dolphins, but not one or two, hundreds, preamble to our departure to Makassar to see one of the tribes with more chilling customs of the world, the Tana Toraja.

Take Advantage of the Lower Prices


One of the main advantages of traveling to Indonesia during monsoon is that you get better prices on accommodation, tours, and plane tickets. This applies to long term apartment rentals, too. You can find plenty of great offers in Jakarta and find out how much money you can save by booking during the rainy months.

Likewise, as there are fewer tourists, you will get the ticket prices for regional flights and boat trips reduced. Therefore, if you would like to see more and stretch your budget, you can do that during the winter. From eating out to luxury hotels, you will get a discount on everything. Even your haggling skills will go further at the market.


Get a Stable and Comfortable Base


It is important that you have a set base where you start off on an adventure. It has to be in a big city, such as in Jakarta. So if the roads are flooded and you can't get out of the city, you can still fend for yourself and see some of the sights on foot. You can rent a room in the center or an apartment, and stay dry on the days when it is simply impossible to get out and explore. You might need heating in your apartment, as the temperatures drop when the heavy rain comes and the sun is covered by clouds.


Engage with a Local Tour Operator


If you would like to know what you can see and do during the monsoon in Indonesia, you will have to ask a local. International tour operators will try and sell you the most expensive tours and trips without considering the season. If you contact a local agency, however, you will not only get better prices and customer service, but can also customize your trip to the weather.

Some of the smaller local companies will include the price of private transfer from one place to the next, too. So you can avoid getting wet while waiting for a taxi or the train to get to where you want to be.


Get a Car or Private Transfer


It is much easier to get a private transfer company to be ready to pick you up whenever you need them than trying to figure out how locals get around. You can get the transfer cheap from a travel agent or contact a company directly, if you have already designed your itinerary and know where you want to go and when. Even private taxi to and from the airport can be cheap, but if it is prearranged, it is even more affordable. Don't forget to haggle, as companies will be in a fierce competition with each other when there are not many tourists around.


Pack Loads of Waterproofs


You should invest in waterproof kits and have a spare one in your backpack every time. Unfortunately, normal umbrellas will not do much during the monsoon alone. You will need waterproof overtrousers and jackets with a hood to protect your health. Pay attention to your shoes, as well. Most of the time you will have to face roads that have inches of water on the surface, and puddles that are simply too big to jump over.

A waterproof high ankle boot or Wellington boots will be necessary. Have an extra pair of socks and a poncho handy, just in case you are facing a torrential downfall. Remember that it is not very cold, only damp during the monsoon, so you only need light layers.


Don't Camp; Book Hotels


While most of the time it is best to explore the breathtaking islands of Indonesia on foot and camp under the stars, this is not recommended during the rainy season. The ground can become very muddy, and landslides are very common. Instead, you should ask your local travel agent in Bali or other islands to get your accommodation booked upon arrival.

Get the transfer arranged, and avoid the risk of a chest infection when traveling to Indonesia during the wet season. Take a portable hair dryer or a small heater with you, so you can dry your clothes when you arrive at your accommodation.


Improve Your Immune System


Before you set out on your journey to Indonesia, it is recommended that you start taking vitamin and mineral supplements to improve your immune system. Visit your clinic before you travel so you can get all the vaccinations to kick in before you arrive in Indonesia.

You might even get an immune boost supplement or injection, so you can prevent the weather and related illnesses from ruining your vacation. If you are not fit and healthy, it might also be a good time to step up your exercise routine, so you can walk the trails and deal with the challenging terrains.


Be Prepared for Migraines


All year round, the air in Indonesia is very humid, and this is true during the monsoon. If you suffer from headaches related to the weather, it is important that you take loads of painkillers and homeopathic supplements. Whatever works for your migraines at home will come handy, but you are likely to need a larger dose.

While you might find similar products in Indonesia, you will have no guarantee that they will work for you. Check with your travel company and airline to make sure you are not taking too much medication, though, or you can get into trouble at the airport.


Plan Indoor Programs


The monsoon season might be a good time to explore some of the museums and temples of Indonesia. While you might not be able to go on a hiking trip in the forest, you can still visit some of the zoos and animal sanctuaries. If you would like to take the opportunity to get closer to nature, you can also become a volunteer at a national reserve, and have your accommodation and food provided. This is a good way of seeing more of the country without having to go on wet hikes and walks. In the night you can enjoy the traditional dance of Indonesia.

Monsoon Travel Tips India Goa


Boat Trips


To take in the natural beauty of the islands and the rock formations, volcanoes, and green spaces, you can book yourself a boat trip around Indonesia. You will have your own dry cabin and only have to leave the boat when you feel like it. If you are generally not suffering from seasickness, this can be your idea way of exploring the different islands. Choose a boat trip that offers a covered deck, so you can sit outside staying dry and take in the scenery.


Be Aware of Regional Differences in Rainfall


The monsoon spread and strength will change when you move from one island to another. You have to ask locals and monitor the situation so you can avoid being stuck on an island or getting your trip plans canceled. Moreover, the monsoon changes from one year to the next. It is important that you listen to weather forecasts, as well as local people. Some of the lower regions of the islands are more likely to flood than others, but if you choose your accommodation on the hillside, you might face landslides and have to plan an escape route.


Keep Mosquitoes at Bay


One of the main health risks of traveling during the monsoon is getting mosquito bites. The humid air and the swollen waters will attract the animals and help them breed. If you are booking a hotel or private accommodation, you need to make sure that you have adequate repellents and mosquito nets on the windows.

It is also a good idea to take some repellent with you every time you venture out, as you don't want to end up with a new strain of Malaria that your current vaccination doesn't provide protection against. Cover your arms, hands, and ankles, as well as your neck, as those are the areas mosquitoes are most likely to attack.

It is possible to make the most out of your trip to Indonesia during the monsoon season. However, you need to arrive prepared and adjust your plans according to the predicted and past rainfall. If you don't mind getting wet and want to save money, you might start planning your perfect rainy season and avoid the crowds this winter.

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  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Kalyan Kalyan Author

20 comments:

  1. Indonesia is on my next future plan. I didn't know that camping is common there! I dont think I'll bring my tent until there, will sleep in hotel as your advice!

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  2. Useful tips especially if you don't want to risk always visiting the usual things and ending up in clichés but living a vacation full of true wonder!

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  3. I would love to visit Indonesia one day. I think monsoon season would be an amazing time to visit. I love the geography, and I can almost see the rain falling in sheets.

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  4. I'm so glad I read this. I'm planning a trip and desperately needed some advice. Thanks for the tips

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  5. I’ve been 2 times to Indonesia, but just Bali. I’d like to see more of the country!

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  6. I'm not sure I'll ever make it to Indonesia. I would love to see more pictures of it!

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  7. I would be a little hesitant to travel during the monsoon season. Is it really dangerous, or similar to traveling to Mexico during hurricane season?

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  8. Such great information and so much to do in Indonesia, I had no idea! Thank you for sharing!

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  9. My cousins recently went for their honeymoon to Bali, they couldnt stop praising the places they have been and how friendly the locals were and this post of yours again convinces me to plan a trip to Bali soon

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  10. i agree India is so much cheaper when it comes to buying things either for yourself or your home

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  11. That sounds like an amazing place to visit. I'd love to go someday when my kids are older.

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  12. Such a informative and detailed post - sounds like an amazing place to visit.

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing these practical and convenient tips if ever we will travel in Indonesia. I do agree on bringing anti-mosquito lotion and sanitizer always wherever you go.

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  14. I never really thought about going to Indonesia before, it looks beautiful though. May need to add it to my want to do list.

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  15. I have heard from two people that Indonesia is beautiful. Thanks for sharing this guide.

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  16. It is so important to me! i do plan trip to Indonesia later on this year. Right in time. Bookmarking

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  17. We've love to visit Ubud but definitely wouldn't want to camp in the rainy season and would prefer a hotel x

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  18. I would love to visit Indonesia one day - it is such a beautiful place. I really appreciate all of the great advice!

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  19. Actually, Indonesia is on my bucket lists! And I will definitely use your amazing tips. Thanks for sharing. I totally love it.

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  20. This sounds like it would be such an amazing trip. I love that you have laid out how to still enjoy during monsoon season.

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