Indonesia – The Basics

The Country

Indonesia is massive and its just got so muuuuuuch to offer, the latitudes of which blows my mind, want nature ? How about endemic species like the Javan Rhinos, Orangutans, Sumatran tigers.

Explore historical sites, go car-bicycling at Alun Alun Kidul, indulge in the swimming pools of the Sultans and go get a bargain at the local marts in Malioboro. They’ve also got caves that stream sun-light between 10:30 and 12:00pm (how cool is that?), the stunning Padar viewpoint and yoga vibes of Bali.

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Ramayana tales at the UBUD Museum (Bali)

Wanna trek past the largest venomous and dinosaurian looking dragons and swim with sea turtles and Manta rays they’ve got that too.

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Howdy there traveller, I’m only a Vegan

As the locals would proudly say, the country consists of 17,000 islands, the prominent ones being Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Bali.

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The story of Gautama Buddha (@Borobudur)

In short, its got something for everyone. I personally took around 3 weeks to explore a bit of Java, Bali and beyond.

Immigration

Indonesia offers visa free exempt for upto 30 days to most nationalities. here is a link to the immigration website.

http://www.imigrasi.go.id/index.php/en/layanan-publik/bebas-visa

Have a return journey confirmed and you should be fine.

Expect super-long queues at the Bali arrival hall, my parents whisked through Jogja in 5 minutes.

The People

People are super-nice with a friendly smile, the major religion is Islam with the exception of Bali which is predominantly Hinduism. I see a lot of hard-working women and men, in the rice fields, in the shops and at tourist destinations.

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Smiley Smiley – A local firewood collector (@Jamblong Cave)

Unlike other SE Asian countries, hawkers leave you alone, if you don’t purchase their goods or services (with only one burly women in the Bali UBUD market ;))

The Epidemic

There are somethings in Indonesia that have reached an Epidemic one of them seems to be smoking, this is largely uncontrolled with 3.5 out of 4 men being smokers, I say 3 and a half, because I’ve seen under 18s taking a puff. This is literally everywhere, shopkeepers, hawkers, drivers and even security guards and ticket collectors (:x)

Something needs to be done and worst off it encourages tourists to smoke in restaurants and coffee shops as they have an excuse all the more annoying other patrons.

http://theconversation.com/disneyland-for-big-tobacco-how-indonesias-lax-smoking-laws-are-helping-next-generation-to-get-hooked-97489

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Puffing Away. Danumurthi MahendraCC BY-2.0

This needs to be addressed asap by the govt as the campaign ads seem to be ineffective.

Trash; another major issue that needs to be addressed, I see a lot of dumping of plastics in the pristine waters around Labuan Bajo, near the Komodo islands, Pink Beach and near Padar, this is a shame as these are major tourist draws and a huge natural resource not to mention the biodiversity significance of this region.

The Currency

The official currency is Indonesian Rupiah and at the time of writing this, 1 NZD = 10,000 RP or 1 USD about 14,000 RP. Some places also accept USD, though I would refrain from doing that as you tend to pay a bit more.

Feel like a millionaire in SE Asia 😉

Most places have an ATM with the exception of the islands of Komodo, Pink Beach etc, if your doing one of the day trips or a few nights make sure you have change in hand.

Taxis

Grab and GoJek are the equivalent of UBER in the rest of the world, apparently UBER Indonesia was absorbed by Grab. Grab being a car / minivan service and GoJek a scooter / motorbike service. We all know how useful these services are, unfortunately its a bit truncated in Indonesia.

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An Idea …… Maybe sprout some wings… Go Angel (@Bali Swing)

I’ve only managed to get Grab in Jogja. I haven’t had much luck in other cities (though haven’t been to Jakarta yet). Further on in my travels I discovered signs that prohibit app based taxi services (presumably by the local taxi drivers). This in my opinion is a step back as it now allows the taxi drivers to fix up ridiculous prices (something that stopped me from doing a day-trip in Labuan Bajo).

Another option is Bluebird cabs, they have been a bit more penetrative than Grab but their full potential being stopped by the locals.

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Arty in Bali market 

Getting Around & Expenditure

Once you manage to get a cab, expect huge delays on the road, the traffic in most places are choc-a-block and the roads are narrow and mostly single carriageway.

Indonesian isn’t the cheapest in the SE Asia region and sits between super-cheap Cambodia / Laos and Singapore.

End Credits

A beautiful country clogged in traffic. In the land of mythical dragons, get ready to be blown away by the culture, art, food and the favourite pastime of men (puffing away ;))

So get your cap, suncream, mosquito repellent (those bloody bloodsuckers) and get your ass down here to this magical mystical place.

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Cap & Me – Ready for an adventure (Sis’s cute gift :))

 

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