Travel Blog: Surfing in Indonesia

Professional surfer and Animal Ambassador Sam Hearn takes us with him to Indonesia


After two years of covid restrictions it looked like me and my family could finally make it to Indo! The planning stages were risky for us, as things were changing almost daily whilst we were organising the trip. My mum sorted out Business Visas and we were well prepared to have to quarantine for four days, which was both exciting and nerve-racking. There is no quick way to get to Indonesia, so we were fully ready for the 24 hours of travelling too.

We had to travel via Jakarta and then on to Bali. Negative PCR tests were needed which meant hours of nail-biting waiting in the airport praying the result was negative! Luckily… they were! Whilst we were travelling, some of the restrictions had changed again, but this time in our favour – meaning we only had to quarantine for one night and were then free to start our amazing adventure. It had been five years since I had been in Bali, but not much had changed. The heat, the smells and the traffic madness were all just as I remembered as a 13 year old grom.

We spent the first part of our journey in Nusa Dua in Bali, also visiting the beautiful Uluwatu while we were relatively nearby. We then flew to Sumbawa and Sumatra, which is one for another day as it would take me a whole new blog to give you a full insight on these places! With this in mind, I am going to share my main highlights and hints and tips should you decide to travel there yourselves.

Exchange rate

£1 - 17,987 Indonesian Rupia
£10 - 179,987 IDR

The biggest note they have is 100,000 which is £5.55 so you always have a big wad of notes to carry around and it makes you feel rich!!

Food & Drink

An average meal cost you roughly 40/50,000 IDR which is about £2.22 / £2.77! Soft drinks are about 30,000 IDR about £1.66. Food and non-alcoholic drinks are really cheap so your budget goes a long way. You can eat even cheaper and more traditionally from the food carts but eat at your own risk! I’m sure its fine but we did stick to the restaurants and cafes because I didn’t want anything to affect my training.

The food is amazing. “Nasi Goreng” is my favourite which is a savoury fried rice with either chicken, prawns or just veg with a fried egg on the top. This was usually only £1.66! The main dishes include rice, noodles, soups, fish and veg. You can get western food but it’s normally more expensive. I also think that it’s nice to eat the same as the locals whilst abroad.

Things to do

When there are no waves to surf there are so many things you can do to keep you busy. Some of these include: snorkelling, fishing Trips, waterfall hikes, forest walks, jet ski tours, off road buggy tours, skateparks, waterparks and temples to visit. Or, as I often opted for, simply just riding around on a moped enjoying the amazing landscape and coastline.

Transport cost

To hire a car it is about £6 per day for an MPV and to hire a moped is only £3 per day! We did a bit of both. The driving is crazy and there is the mentality of every man for himself, but this just adds to the adventure. The cost of fuel there is only 32 pence a litre!

What are the waves like?

This varies so much depending on which month and season you visit the country in. The best time to go is from May to September - this is when you get the big swells with perfect winds. The waves also depend mostly on the way the reef is shaped, how shallow, and how far out to sea! The shallower the reef the heavier and more dangerous the wave. Indonesia has some of the best waves in the world when they work perfectly it is also known as the most consistent place on the planet for surf.

Why we chose Indonesia

Even out of season the waves can be epic! It is great place for me to continue surf training in all sorts of waves. I was surfing for 6 hours a day and having online sessions with my fitness coach. The people are super friendly and everything about the Islands amazing. We went at the end of rainy season but didn’t have many days of rain. The tropical storms were mainly in the night.

My three best wave choice

My favourite wave of the holiday is called ‘Honey Smacks’ in Sumatra. It’s a left-hand barrel ride with a big air section on the end, I wasn’t lucky enough to surf it much but one day I got it good… it was insane! My second best was ‘Mandiri’ in Sumatra. This is a beach break that gets world class. On one day I had some of my best barrels ever there. Lastly, my third favourite was probably in Uluwatu in Bali, One of the most well-known waves in Indonesia.

In conclusion

If you are prepared to travel a long way and obtain visas, Indonesia is a magical place to visit. The waves are suitable for all levels of surfer, the sea is warm, the wild life is cool with Iguana’s and monkeys in the wild and the weather is humid and tropical. What’s more, the beaches are beautiful and the trees and plants around are huge and colourful. The locals totally love the tourists and chat to you all the time. The food is cheap and really tasty and accommodation is cheap. You can travel easily from Island to Island with many of them to explore, all offering something different. For me it ticks all the boxes and I am already planning a trip next year with my friends.

If you want to see some of the waves I surfed here are the links to three short video edits from the