An Indonesian Review

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Indonesia. I climbed a volcano, surfed some waves, learned to dive and met a lot of friendly people. It’s been a great start to my journey.

Katherine helped make it so. We looked out for each other. I always had some company — no eating alone. We had a wonderful holiday. My highlight was probably that magical night we watched the sunset on Gili T. She is certainly missed but the show must go on.

Here is my take on the beautiful country of Indonesia.

The People

The people are a big part of what makes Indonesia so amazing. They are always quick to smile, say hello and are happy to help. I felt safe throughout my time here. Despite not having much it seems to me they live happier more relaxed lives over here.

The sense of community spirit is obvious and strong in Indonesian society. Sharing. Family. Looking out for each other.

For example, I learnt that a village will publicly own rice fields that all inhabitants share. They work together to harvest and plant the fields. This brings the whole village together under a common goal. This, for me, shines a harsh light on the individualism that England and indeed the West, in general, has disintegrated into. It’s a shame. I think a strong community goes a long way towards explaining the happiness of Indonesians.

They certainly don’t follow the greedy capitalist way of the west. If they did those rice fields would have been bought by some rich entrepreneur a long time ago. Paying the villagers pennies to work the land whilst keeping the profits for themselves.

It has been interesting to see how other cultures live. It leaves me questioning the Western way of life more than ever. What happened to our communities?

Anyway enough ranting.

The Scenery

I also love the scenery around Indonesia. It is wild and varied. Towering volcanoes, gorgeous white sand beaches, gushing waterfalls, rugged jungles and amazing sunsets. It has it all.

I particularly enjoy the volcanoes that float gracefully on the horizon. They always have an interesting cloud formation swirling around their peaks and this adds to the already spectacular sunsets of Indonesia.

Nice

I’m sure Indonesia has a lot more to offer, a lot more to explore. Hopefully one day I will come back and do just that. I’d love to climb Mt Bromo, travel Sumantra and visit Komodo Island. You could spend 6 months in Indonesia alone. Easily.

Boozing

Food is cheap. Accommodation is cheap. Most things are really cheap. The only thing that I found to be not that cheap was the alcohol. This meant I could only afford a beer or two usually. To be fair, it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t getting pissed all the time. But the social aspect of being able to go for a few beers without worrying about the price was missed.

It was around 1.50 for a small Bintang. Not loads but enough to dent the wallet when you’re on a budget. Spirits were more and I heard often fake. For cheap drinking you need to get your hands on some Arak, just make sure it’s legit.

You know that wizard is legit!

Still, I had a few good nights out. The Gili’s are lively and the happy hours cheap so if you want all out party head here. Also, Canggu has a pretty mad party scene at the moment.

Just try not to party too hard

I think with Indonesia being mostly a Muslim country they don’t have the all out party culture of the other SE Asian countries. Even if this culture is just catering for westerners. To be fair I’m not sure it is really for me anyway but I do love a few beers in the evening.

The Food

Food is so cheap if you go to the right place. Street stalls where you can select from a range of different Indonesian dishes. I just went for a bit of everything and it never disappointed. Or people selling a banana leaf cone of rice and other bits and pieces. This can get you a meal for as little as 80p.

I really enjoyed the tempe which is basically a better more interesting version of tofu. Not sure why it isn’t more available in the UK. Definitley a gap in the market, tofu is just a bit too bland and spongey.

Bali also has a thriving health, vegetarian and vegan market. Especially in Ubud. The vegetarian options on most menus are not just an afterthought like in England. There are organic whole food shops and cafes. Raw vegan cafes. Health smoothies with all sorts of strange ingredients. I had a surprisingly good raw vegan lasagne at Sayuri healing foods in Ubud.

Bali

My only regret about my visit to Indonesia is that I went to Bali, or at least that I spent so long there. Bali is nice but it isn’t representative of Indonesia. The whole island revolves around tourism. Meaning you don’t get the same friendly response from locals. You are a walking money tree for them. And here money has become more important than the community values that are so present elsewhere. At least that’s what it felt like to me. Everyone is just trying to cash in on the tourism gold mine while blindly developing their beautiful island to death.

My hat

Finally, I’ll just say a few words about my hat which I, unfortunately, had to leave behind. Sad times. For 2.50 it was a beauty and served me well for over a month. My portable shade. I’m sure there will be others.

It did look better on Kathy anyway…

See

Go to Indonesia, it’s awesome!

With more than 17000 islands speaking over 300 different languages, it’s a big shame everyone migrates to Bali. Don’t be a sheep, be an explorer!