Many times, the best travel are the ones unplanned. All you need is a plane ticket, accommodation, and great travel buddies who are just as chill as you.
Indonesia hasn’t been the top travel destinations amongst other countries in Southeast Asia, but it truly is a gem underestimated by most. It consists of 17,000 islands, an archipelago extending 5,271 km from east to west. One can only imagine how diverse the culture is and how much undiscovered land to be explored (for a traveler).
In the short six days of our travel, we pretty much covered a broad range of lifestyles and culture. Starting out with The Urban life in the busy Jakarta, to The Islander life on Pulau Pari, to The Heritage beauty in Yogyakarta.
Jakarta, home to 9.6 million people, is a city like no other. It’s hectic, yet at the same time in an orderly fashion, the perfect balance of chaos and order. You don’t just live in this metropolis, you learn to survive here.
In a country where 87% of the population are Muslims, you’d be surprise to see a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city. And what makes it even more intriguing is that the Jakarta Cathedral is located right across the street from Jakarta’s largest mosque, Istiqlal Mosque. But I think it’s a great symbol for the coexistence of religions. Faith should be a safe haven for each, not reason of war and conflict.
Java Jazz 2016, one of our main highlights of traveling Jakarta, had been a fun night full of good music and vibes. Here’s also where we fell in love with Teza Sumendra‘s sexy choice. If you don’t know this Indonesian Soul & RnB singer, you can thank me later when you check out his songs. (Heads up: his lyrics are a bit too explicit, but hey, it’s got the groove!)
Just on an interesting note: Jakarta is probably the only city where you would see an “ATM truck" parked just outside of the venue. Credit card penetration in Indonesia is approximately 1%, of course they’d have to prepare mobile ATM at an event that’s hosting 120,000 jazz lovers!
Next stop: Pulau Pari. This has been an out-of-this-world experience of us, taking a 1-hour boat ride to one of the Thousand Islands. Mind you, none of us have done our research on this island with just 1200 inhabitants. So we had no idea what to expect. In a way, it’s good we kept our minds open, because anything could happen (and will happen).
Let’s just put it this way: the Islander life is one that’s most primitive, raw, minimalist, authentic. We stayed at a guesthouse, basically a spacious room with just a bed mattress, television, a squatting toilet and ‘shower’ room with a huge bucket of water. It is as basic as it gets! My only thoughts were, “there’s no better time to experience this than now".
What you lack in convenience and comfort is what you gain in the natural beauty Pulau Pari has to offer. And that’s a good change to the busy, hectic life in the cities. In the 2 short days of our stay there, we cycled around the island, hopped from one beach to another, went snorkeling, befriended a local, napped in our guesthouse while it poured outside.
We found peace in the simple Islander life on Pulau Pari. Once in a lifetime, now or never.
After we got back to Java island from Pulau Pari, we headed east to Yogyakarta (or Jogja for short). It is home to one of UNESCO World Heritage, Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple. There’s so much to learn and appreciate from these beautifully crafted Buddhist and Hindu temples.
One of the entertaining experiences is that we became local celebrities being asked to take selfies for all the school kids we encountered at this historical site. And trust me, it ain’t easy smiling and posing all day!
Besides visiting the must-see tourist destinations, we found ourselves indulging in the extravagance at one of the most exclusive, low-profile getaway at Amanjiwo. It’s the grandest, yet most homely resorts I’ve been to. It costs around US$800-1200 per night at one of their beautiful suites, perfect for honeymooners. Time to save up for my next visit there!
Having seen all that, you could say Indonesia accommodates travellers of all sorts and of all needs. You can find the metropolitan discoveries in the big city, the primitive adventures on an island, or a walk down ‘history lane’ in Central Java. Consider Indonesia if you’re up for some adventures next time you’re planning a trip.
I travel to be more conscious of the fleeting life, to be mindful, to be inspired. And at EZTABLE, you’re encouraged to go out and see the world, just because it’s one of the best ways we learn. When’s the last time you’ve traveled? Perhaps it’s time to get on the move again.
Until next time!