Indonesia is an amazing country, it’s one of my favorite countries that I visited to date. I had a lot of fun in the two weeks that I spent there despite our mishaps. Here’s some of my notes about Indo. It’s not a definitive guide about the country obviously but just random notes that might be helpful to others who is planning to visit Indonesia too.
- Indonesia is largely a Muslim country. Ramadan or Eid Al Fitr is a national holiday observed all over Indonesia. Make sure to have enough cash when visiting around this time because prices of all transportation hikes up and almost all banks and most establishments are close in observance of the holiday.Ramadan is celebrated around June-July
- Indonesians don’s speak a lot of English outside of Bali which can get a little bit frustrating sometimes, they’re also still a bit conservative and it is common to see people wearing hijabs and kufi and small prayer nooks in local establishments.
- Central Bali is 30 minutes away from Denspasar Airport, this is where the strip of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak is. Its a major tourist spot and there’s a lot of hotels there to stay in. It’s also where the parties are. You can get there by riding a bluebird taxi from the airport. I specifically mentioned blue bird because it’s a trusted taxi service in Bali.
- Yogyakarta is 12 hours away from Bali by Bus and an Hour by plane.
We stayed at the Manohara Hotel when we visited Borobudur. It’s a good hotel to stay in when visiting Borobudur because it’s the only hotel that’s in the same ground as the temple. You don’t have to pay for entrance fee too if you are checked in with them and you can go in and out of Borobudur anytime. The hotel doesn’t have much to offer other than that.
There are plenty of hotels to stay at in Bali. We were able to stay and check out Terrace Hotel at Legian which is actually in the middle of Kuta and will give you easy access to roam around Seminyak and Legian. It wasn’t bad it was 20 bucks a night. It’s a 10 minute walk from the main beach, but it was ok because we were barely at the hotel and hanged around the beach anyway. We also stayed at Pop Hotel which is a small backpacker hotel. Its not so bad if you’re on a budget, its one of the more popular budget hotels in Bali so don’t expect much from it, you get what you paid for.
- Food is cheap in Indo you can eat well for as low as 4 bucks.
- Bintang is like their national beer there.
- I recommend to anyone visiting Bali to try the grilled corn cobs sold on the street. It’s amazingly good with butter and spices that perfectly captures the taste of Indonesia. Its’ a great snack after a surf session.
- Shrimp crackers is a local side dish! They even serve it as a side dish for breakfast.
Random Notes and Observations
- It is not uncommon to see posters of wanted terrorist posted at bus stations and other public places.
- Men smoke everywhere, I mean everywhere!
- Lemon grass scent is everywhere, from the airport to the food. I think a good souvenir to get from Indonesia is a good lemon grass soap or candle or oil that you can keep and smell whenever you feel nostalgic about your trip in Indonesia.
- Surfing is King in Indo. You can start your right of passage in Indo surfing in Bali and then out of Bali for a better surf spot to avoid the crowd. Almost every town in Indonesia has one.
- Drug trafficking is one of the major issues in Indonesia. Tourist gets a bit paranoid about this, because serious jailtime awaits those who try to smuggle in drugs in the country. Also there have been a lot of cases in Indonesia where tourists unknowingly becomes a drug mule. It’s not uncommon to see luggage wrapping stations( 10 bucks per luggage) at the airport for extra precaution for tourist leaving the country.