I was there for close to 50 days in Indonesia across Java (Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Malang, Banyuwangi and Surabaya), Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Tanjung Benoa and Ubud) and Sulawesi (Makassar and Tana Toraja). During this time, I met a variety of people, got to understand a lot of the Indonesian lifestyle and came across many interesting things about Indonesian life. I have noted all of these below to make an interesting read.
1) Most of the development in Indonesia has taken place in the Java island. The rest of the island is relatively backward.
2) The bulk of Indonesia consists of Muslim people, but if you go to Bali, you will see Hindus and if you go far east, you will find a lot of Christians.
3) A liter of gasoline costs less than half a dollar in Indonesia.
4) It takes 6 hours or more to fly from the western to the eastern end of Indonesia.
5) Everyone in Indonesia loves Shahrukh Khan and watches Bollywood movies.
6) Death is celebrated more than life in Sulawesi’s Tana Toraja.
7) Bahasa Indonesia, the national language has many words from Hindi, Sanskrit and Tamil.
8) Bahasa Indonesia is the national language and most of the people speak it. However, every island or area has its own language that is used frequently too.
9) The volcanoes in Indonesia might outnumber the mountains.
10) Downtown Kuta in Bali feels more like an American city with its American brands.
11) The peaks of the volcanoes in equatorial Indonesia drop close to freezing in the early morning hours.
12) Jakarta is a huge metropolis with huge traffic snarls, but still has an easy going charm associated to it.
13) Air Asia Indonesia’s domestic flights are more expensive than Air Asia’s international flights.
14) Bankrupt airlines whose planes crash often still end up flying.
15) Indonesian waters are some of the best in the world for surfing.
16) Houses in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi resemble inverted boats.
17) Indonesia is slightly more expensive than the rest of South East Asia (with the exception of Singapore).
18) Only Java in Indonesia has a train system for public transport.
19) There are mountains of gold in Papua.
20) Java island is very rich in Oil and natural gases.
21) There is a substantial departure tax while flying from all Indonesian airports. The international departure tax is a bit more.
22) Train tickets in Java can be booked at your nearest super marts.
23) College students do drag races on their motorbikes every night at Jogja.
24) Indonesian girls love to get their pictures taken with a foreigner.
25) Indonesia has a lot of delicious food options for the vegetarian.
26) A non-Indonesian cannot apply for a Malaysian tourist visa from Indonesia.
27) Alcohol is very expensive in Indonesia.
28) Even though Indonesia is mostly Islam, beer can be found easily in its super markets as Indonesians believe that beer is not against Islam.
29) Indonesian men love to smoke cigarettes. It will be hard to see a man who doesn’t smoke.
30) Gudag Garam, the clove and cinnamon cigarettes are very popular in Indonesia.
31) The Hindu temples of Bali look like multi-tiered umbrellas.
32) The street names in Bali sound straight out of Mahabharata and Ramayana, the two popular epics of India.
33) The world’s most acidic lake is in Indonesia.
34) Indonesia is synonymous with Batiks. Every city and island has its own batik designs. It is one of Indonesia’s main culture icons.
35) Indonesian people who are not from Java have animosity towards the government for directing all development only to Java.
36) Sometimes the flight tickets in Java are cheaper than the train tickets to the same destination.
37) Bahasa Indonesia is one of the simplest languages to learn.
38) In Sulawesi’s Tana Toraja, people keep their dead for many years in their house and treat them as one would treat sick people.
39) The Hindus of Bali are not the same as those from India. They follow Hinduism with some animism and traditions, which makes it unique and that is why it is called Balinese Hinduism.
40) There are many places in Indonesia that see all 4 seasons in a single day.