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Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

Phuket Town...
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Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

I put this in this branch since it covers several places plus I didn't know where it fits and I am solo traveling

Has anyone been to all of these places? Or someone who can comment on Africa and Indonesia ....who can share experiences

The financial differences I know.

other Comparisons? Pros and Cons on each?

2 African countries vs.2 island regions of Indonesia

still deciding on this

England, United...
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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1. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

Dave, the best way you can do this is to research each destination to see if it has what you want from a trip and how the financial considerations fit in.

Why have you chosen these destinations? What are your interests?

There is also the consideration of when you are going and the weather, and if this bothers you.

With pots of money and time you could do them all. What is it that you are wanting to decide? To only choose 2?

Phuket Town...
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2. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

The saying that you can't capture lightning in a bottle twice applies to my frustration in deciding my next trip.

I went to Flores and Komodo National Park and every day was not wasted. I liked everything I did. Flores was so pristine especially, once you got away from tourists in Labuanbajo. No logging, traditional villages, breathtaking lush forest and volcano scenery. But it had a lot to do with my guide and his knowledge of the place since he was from Bajawa, a village in Flores. Snorkeling was fantastic too. I got way away from the main overland route and went to places off the tourist trail.

Looking at my trip I want to get that good guide and just me and his vehicle and my cash and get the hell away from everyone and then trek or go down on an unknown river and see some wild life. It made a huge difference to sit at the bottom of a hard- to -reach waterfall by myself and my guide. Knowing that it had not been seen by many was a great far off thing and exotic to me. If I saw locals in the village that didn't bother me at all.

I suppose I could handle a guy adventurer who is paving his own way and share some time. After my time in Flores I had to spend one day in Bali in route to going back home. some of the scnery was good, but I disliked the crowds and the modernization of it. There wasn't any of this in Flores.

I traveled around the world before and I found it was more work. It is better for me to hit one or two areas and see a lot of them then to see pieces of many places. Also an island ususally is quite bigger than you think and it takes time to do things even with loads of cash because of island time and just stuff happens.....the unpredictabilities and timings and weather etc.

But it is the place or an area of a country that has fewer or no regulations and less or no commericialization that appeals to me. I love the scenes in New Zealand, the place looks amazing but it seems to well known and regulated and full of tourists that it just turns me off. Come on ......don't you like walking in a village or a town and you are the only westerner guy there? Being anonymous in a world of strangers. Kinda cool to me, as opposed to being somewhere and you see westerners everywhere or worse yet, the package tourists playing golf or swimming at the Sheraton when there is a cystal clear water and beach just outside its bounds......boggles my mind.

I travel alone for a reason .....TO BE ALONE...... I even like to snorkel alone and trek alone and shop alone and sit alone and smoke my cigar alone. But I welcome nature at any time. birds, lizards, whatever.

So I did some thinking .....alone..... I am going to stick with indonesia (not Africa) because the chances of getting to that far off place are greater in Indonesia...more spead out and it is less regulated and few tourists once you get away from the main regions and head into farther away regions....Alor, Sumba, Sumbawa, Banda Islands, Halmahera, Seram, Kei islands, and the rest of Maluku, and Papua outside of Baliem valley.

For someone who wants to be alone you may wonder why I would want to converse with other travelers on this forum. Well itis good to get perspective and it is all anonynomous. I did say I could relate to another traveler but that guy has that same sort of concept I have towards traveling, so it works.......for a time.

Plus to be honest I don't meet that many, if at all,... solo travelers. I don't follow a backpacker trail of the familiar jaunts, nor do I do package groupy stuff with a company who caters everything on a pre-fixed schedule, nor do I want to go work as volunteer and hang with the locals to "understand" culture, nor do I stay at the 5 star resort and play tennis, ...........nope.........I shop for the guide who I can trust, pay him well or reasonably in a trustworthy agreement and he is my chauffer and will lead me into some culture of course but I see it at my own pace and if I want to get out, then I tell him and we go elsewhere. I learn from him and he from me, and we build this kind of bond in a way. But at times it is just me in the woods or me only at the waterfall and he is around to go to whatever is next. I will gladly pay for this opportunity to have things myself be it extra for the hired driver or the guide in my trek.It is good to get a driver who is also your guide. It is gold to me. Your time spent is just as important as the money you spend for it.

So this is what I prefer. I mean this is the solo traveler branch right. Well I hope I got down to it in terms of the solo part. And as a solo man I want to shed some light on something further. It seems to me that in the travel world online and in forums etc and what is advertised or marketed is geared towards; package tourism, resorts, the budget" it's ok if you don't mind the dirt for the backpackers range" (who follow the same trail....and my biggest thrill isn't to go and get drunk with my friends while I am traveling. I can get drunk in my own town and I don't want to even do that.) , OR to the luxury sheraton golf tennis and pool people or dive resorts who want 2500USD$ for a 4-5 days added up in lodging cost because you want to snorkel their housereef and not dive.

But it never seems to gear itself to the "middle" ground or mid-range finance ....I am not rich but I'm not scounging it either. Where is the place for the middle of the road traveler cost? Not there. Closest thing I have seen are some eco lodges and even they have put themselves into the luxury arena. You can find these ....yes....for sure when you are out there but they are not discussed much online. I know this can be a relative thing but say 350USD$ a nite for the resort versus 25USD$ dollar budget crap place ........ This is not set in stone of course there are always exceptions to the rule and it depends on country and area, region ,yes I get that but still not much online to the middle road traveler.....the market seems nonexistent .... .I guess you do have to break this down by regions in the world to be fair on this issue because budget in one place is not in another. I just wished that there was more talk on forums to the middle range.

Lastly, While online searching is useful, it is also useless.... because you can run into the same verbiage of a place and it is hard to get to the finer things that matter. Like for example .....someone writes and says that a particular place has very pushy touts and describes that in detail and then it is confirmed by several other reports .....well that is useful to me. People are also way too politically correct about their subjective views on places and so things become generic in tone and you get hesitant to ask or share. Like here ,someone no doubt will chime in or hit against me but hey that's the risk I take but I am what I am as a traveler. So money really is not my prior concern as is other nuances that you have to dig for days to find. Wouldn't be useful to get the knowledge that the reef you thought would be magical to dive or snorkel is found to have been dead and unhealthy before you decided to book a lodge on its' water, or that it is overwhelmed by overpriced tours. Yes i know nothing is perfect and you should just go but if I am going to use the internet I would want to know some things that a company or a region would never tell you. Well maybe then it is better to just not research and wing it in the blind and I am sure people do this. But I can't say that I am this way ....the way,or the journey that counts kind of thing....isn't my prime reason to travel, maybe it becomes this in afterthought when your done.

Ok all you solo travelers bring on the criticism and advice and agreement if I get any. Just to say also here that I have been living overseas for 17 years and traveled by myself a fair share. Not a fresh off the boat guy here. and I am 51 yrs old so that may matter in things too. I am married but my wife doesn't go everywhere with me nor do I with her.

If you are going to criticize please read through my post and don't smear with one liners. I am open to your criticisms but be civil and intelligent and be relative to the post. Share your experiences as a story will say a lot. Or don't ......whatever. thanx

So yeah all these things factor in when I decide where I am going. The problem with some countries is that you have to set up or book the lodge and pay in advaance. Don't like doing this. So the next best thing is to find a place to stay and book without money down and that is possible with less regulated countries like Indonesia. Plus if you set things up to much unless you know for certain you want to stay at X lodge ....then you box yourself in.Better for me to set up one plan or lodge no money down , go there and then figure things out from there. At least it gives me a holdover until my next move and I can most likely get good info from the lodge or a place nearby.

Phuket Town...
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3. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

Sorry to confuse things on my larest post meant to put the last paragraph in the middle not at the end.

Also I think I will copy this and post it on the main branch as a new subject on the Solo traveler branch instead of just this inside reply to a specific question about two places. As it is in the tone of more of a philosophy of travel rather than a practical outlook.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

I would recommend for you to go Tanzania for Safari and holiday, great weather, fun and very solo friendly destination. you can book a private safari/ join group(I traveled with Happy World Safaris, they go through East Africa destination too) Take and spend time in the bush by visiting the Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit recommended parks being Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire or Even Southern Safari Circuit to Mikumi, Ruaha and Selous>>after fly to another destination or back home. If you have enough time you can do 7Nights on Safari and extended the other nights in Zanzibar Island or Mafia Island for beach relaxation still part of Tanzania. I don't have actual experience as a Solo Traveler but I was there for my honeymoon, a life time trip

Jakarta, Indonesia
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5. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

Hi Dave..

I have never been to Africa, so i dont know (but i always want to go there though :D)

So, I recommend to go to Indonesia. Many places u can visit here, from the beach, visiting local villages, snorkelling, enjoy the scenery and etc.

Many places u can visit in Sumatra, Lake Toba maybe one of them, or maybe enjoy the local culture. Besides that, u can also try a local food,because each area in Indonesia has its own traditional food. Some foods you can try in other areas, but the taste maybe somewhat different from the original area. When you visit Sumatra, come to Belitung island near Sumatra. There are beaches and beautiful scenery, quiet, far away from the tourists.

I've never been to Papua, but my friends who ever been there told me that the views are amazing. You can also go to Raja Ampat (maybe it's more to the diving spot but the views are breathtaking).

Because you like to snorkel, maybe you would like to go to some islands in Indonesia, where are unspoiled by many tourists, as there are islands near Kalimantan (I forgot the name of the islands), my friends went there and the views are amazing, clean beaches and the water is crystal clear, and quiet, far away from tourist..

Near Sulawesi, probably the famous is Bunaken for snorkeling spot, but in Sulawesi area there are many islands, unspoiled with tourist crowds, and the views are breathtaking because its still pure.. the island hasnt developed into a tourist spot, so you can stay in the hostel which is very cheap and can get around the island to enjoy its beauty, snorkeling, go to local village, etc.

Yeah, Bali is crowded because its internationally known.. I prefer to go to Lombok though, because the foods are great, the views are beautiful, u can snorkeling at 3 gilis (and its very cheap!! haha :p), u can also stay at Gili Air if u want to far away from tourist (because Gili Trawangan so many tourist)

London, England
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6. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

In light of your preference for places with the fewest visitors, West Papua would probably be your best bet. Sumatra is more popular, but still without the numbers of Ethiopia and Uganda.

Tanzania is a major tourist destination and I can only assume that Ken M has not read your post number 2 although I have been to Zanzibar and Mafia Island. Both were fantastic, especially Mafia Island, but neither is the unvisited place you are looking for.

Going out to a destination out of season can reduce the number of other visitors you meet on a trip, but sometimes there is a reason for certain seasons having fewer visitors....

I doubt that anyone here is going to criticise your travel style as the USP of solo travel is being able to travel as you wish to travel, not after negotiation with someone else.

You might also want to ask some of your questions on the destination forums as recent visitors and residents may have some good ideas about places within the destination that would meet your requirements.

There may be other destinations that would suit you. For example, while some places on Madagascar are fairly well visited, there are other areas where a western face would rarely be seen. Madagascar has both amazing animals and the "edge" that you seem to like.

Phuket Town...
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7. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

Thanx for all the advice all who replied to my last post

Just reading the comments about the diversity and far off atmosphere of places further confirms my choice to stay with Indonesia. And yes Sumatra is another place I should head to.

I have been looking at the forums of destinations in Indonesia and I searched for West Papua and got mainly the Baliem Valley area which is popular and Raja Ampat. i know about Raja Ampat and I have already searched what homestay I want to lodge in and have corresponded with people at Maria's Ibu and Lumba Lumba guesthouse. But there are quite a few to choose from. So that place (Raja) is a definite on my Papua visit. I would alsolike to see birds of paradise and the Arfak mountains has these and I have contacted a guy Charles Roring who has a blog and offers birding and snorkeling tours. But when he is away then I have to contact another local guide but he is good I hear as well. I would fly to Manokwari and then hopefully find someone. I do have a contact number for both Charles and a backup but the trouble is they usually take 4-6 or so people ......hence the problem with being the solo traveler. And more expensive.

I have looked at Sumba, Sumbawa, and Alor also as non-touristy getaways and Timor and even East Timor. All have what I am looking for.

Now I am overwhelmed with the choices in Indonesia.

I have thought about doing the crossover between Indonesia and PNG at the border and then move on to Wewak and the Sepik river.

Well at least my plan now is narrowed to one country. I am going to take 60 days instead of 30 also.

I will move on now and check the Indonesia posts as recommeneded.

i am new to this site and I really appreciate the maturity and genuine posts and the very useful tips on here. It is not the same as another popular forum at all.

thanx for your patience

Jakarta, Indonesia
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8. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

Hello Dave,

Yeah, u can go from Manokwari or u can fly to Sorong and take a boat to Raja Ampat (just alternative). The price in Raja Ampat is more expensive so if u need to buy anything u can buy it before u're going to Raja Ampat.

Since u're going to Indonesia and will stay here for 60 days.. If you're interested, u can check out about Derawan Island and Maratua Island near Kalimantan. Its beautiful and still far away from tourist :)

9. Re: Uganda and Ethiopia or Sumatra and West Papua?

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