Giuseppe Repetto Photography
Welcome in INDONONESIA
- INDONESIA - Introduction :The floating emerald islands of the Indonesian archipelago have, for centuries, been a magnet to a diverse range of people. Chinese and Indian traders, European colonisers, proselytising missionaries, wayward adventurers, mining companies, intrepid travellers and package tourists have all, at one time or another, been attracted by its sandalwood and spices breezes, its Bali Hai lifestyle and its magnificent beaches, mountains and volcanoes.
But another frequent visitor to Indonesia is the war correspondent covering the latest uprising, coup or riot. The myth of a paradisical country blessed with natural resources is often put to the test by deep racial divides, religious warring, high-handed autocracy, government corruption, economic mismanagment and natural disasters. The latest round of sectarian violence and military muscle-flexing has made Indonesia a problematic destination for most western travellers.
Visiting Indonesia is still a risky proposition. Although the situation in East Timor has stabilised, travel in the area is difficult - the infrastructure is creaky and unreliable and there are mounting health concerns. West Timor is slightly safer but westerners (particularly Australians) have been the target of strong criticism from Indonesian citizens.
The spot fires of rioting and civil unrest that followed the invasion of East Timor have been dampened, but considerable tension still exists. Fall out from Indonesia's second Year of Living Dangerously has resulted in an Indian arm wrestle between President Wahid and his own security forces, lending a certain tension to the air and the possibility of riot-inducing electricity and fuel price rises. Foreigners, particularly Australians who are hardly visitors du jour, should avoid demonstrations or anything that looks like it might turn ugly. Specifically, this holds true for Jakarta and parts of East Java.
Full country name: Republic of Indonesia
Area: 1,904,000 sq km
Population: 216 million (growth rate 1.5%)
Capital city: Jakarta (pop 9.3 million)
People: There are 365 ethnic and tribal groups. The principal ones are Acehnese, Bataks, Minangkabaus (Sumatra); Javanese, Sundanese (Java); Balinese (Bali); Sasaks (Lombok); and Dani (Irian Jaya)
Language: Bahasa Indonesia (plus 583 dialects), English
Religion: 87% Muslim, 9% Christian, 2% Hindu
Government: Military-ruled republic
GDP: US$67 billion
GDP per head: US$550
Major products/industries: Oil, gas, textiles, timber, coffee, rubber, coal, tin, copper, rice, pepper, palm oil
Major trading partners: Japan, USA, Singapore- Facts for the Traveler -
Visas: Citizens of most countries can stay 60 days without a visa.
Health risks: Dengue fever, giardiasis, hepatitis, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, paratyphoid, rabies, typhoid
Time: There are three time zones: Sumatra, Java and West & Central Kalimantan are seven hours ahead of UTC; Bali, Nusa Tenggara, South & East Kalimantan and Sulawesi are eight hours ahead of UTC; and Irian Jaya and Maluku are nine hours ahead of UTC
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Tourism: 4 million visitors per year- When to Go -
Though travel in the wet season is possible in most parts of Indonesia, it can be a deterrent to some activities and travel on mud-clogged roads in less developed areas is difficult. In general, the best time to visit is in the dry season between May and October.
The Christmas holiday period beings a wave of migratory Australians and there's an even bigger tourist wave during the European summer holidays. The main Indonesian holiday period is the end of Ramadan, when some resorts are packed to overflowing and prices skyrocket.
- Events -
With such a multiplicity of ethnic groups, Indonesia has, unsurprisingly, a surfeit of cultural events throughout the year. On Sumba, mock battles that hark back to the era of internecine warfare are held in February and March. The day before Balinese Caka New Year (March-April) temple icons are taken to the sea to be bathed and drummers drive evil spirits back to the spirit world. During the Balinese festival of Galungan (moving dates) even the gods descend to earth and join in the revelry. There's a dramatic Easter Parade on the island of Larantuka, whip duels in Ruteng, Flores in August and Torajan funereal feasts are held in central Sulawesi, mainly between August and October. As most Indonesians are Muslim, many festivals are affected by the lunar calendar; dates are subsequently pushed back 10 or 11 days each year.
- Money & Costs -
Currency: Rupiah (rp)Relative Costs:
The Asian economic meltdown has impacted badly on the rupiah; it's currently on a stockmarket rollercoaster ride. This means that any costs quoted here will only be a ballpark figure.
Meals · Budget: US$0.25-2 · Mid-range: US$2-5 · Top-end: US$5 and upwards
Lodging · Budget: US$2-5 · Mid-range: US$5-20 · Top-end: US$20 and upwardsTravellers cheques and cash (preferably US dollars) are the way to go in Indonesia. Credit cards are accepted by expensive hotels, restaurants and shops, but not for day-to-day expenses. In major centres, you can always find a bank that will advance cash on Visa or MasterCard. Credit card advances through ATMs are possible, but limited.
Tipping is not a normal practice in Indonesia but is often expected for special service. Someone who carries your bag or guides you around a tourist attraction will expect a tip. Jakarta taxi drivers expect you to round the fare up to the next 500 rp. Hotel porters expect a few hundred rupiah per bag.
Many everyday purchases normally require bargaining but in the current economic turmoil you'd do well to look to your conscience before applying this too stringently. Tourism has taken a severe downturn in most parts of the archipelago and, despite price hikes, hotel rooms are liable to be discounted.
- Attractions -
Bali is so picturesque that you could be fooled into thinking it was a painted backdrop: rice paddies trip down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soar through the clouds, the forests are lush and tropical, and the beaches are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. But the postcard paradise gloss has been manufactured and polished by the international tourist industry rather than by the Balinese themselves - who don't even have a word for paradise in their language - and it pays scant regard to the hard reality of life on Bali, which is currently suffering the fallout from Indonesia's economic crisis and collapsing currency.
Java is the political, geographic and economic centre of the Indonesian archipelago. It's a relatively small island, (approximately the same size as England) but has a population of 112 million, accounting for 55% of the country's total population. The island is long and narrow in shape, with a string of volcanic mountains punctuating its spine. It was on Java that the Hindu-Buddhist empires reached their zenith, producing architectural wonders such as Borobudur and Prambanan. When Islam came to the island in the 15th century, it absorbed rather than erased local cultures, leaving Java with a mish-mash of historic influences and religions. A strong conciousness of ancient religious and mystical thought carries over into present-day Java, providing a bulwark against wholesale modernisation.
Lombok is a place of uncrowded beaches and tranquil countryside, dominated by the spectacular volcano of Mt Rinjani. The people are mostly Muslim (the Sasaks), though there are isolated groups of Balinese Hindus. The Sasak culture is noteworthy for weaving, its brilliant and dramatic dances, and its ritualised pageantry and contests. Balinese culture still survives in Lombok - a remnant of the time when Balinese princes once controlled the island - and Lombok's tourist businesses are largely run by Balinese.
Sumatra has a wealth of natural resources and wildlife, massive rivers like muddy facsimiles of the Amazon, and some interesting architecture. It is almost four times the size of neighbouring Java, but supports less than a quarter of the population. During Dutch rule, it provided the world with large quantities of oil, rubber, pepper and coffee, and these seemingly inexhaustible resources continue to prop up the Indonesian economy today. Sumatra is home to a number of different races and peoples: the former head-hunters and cannibals of the Batak regions; the matrilineal Muslim Minangkabau and the primitive groups of the Mentawai Islands.
- Off the Beaten Track -
Komodo & Rinca
These two small islands sandwiched between Flores and Sumbawa in eastern Nusa Tenggara are famous for their four-legged inhabitants - the ponderous Komodo dragons. The lizards can be quite fierce, and range from 20g (0.7oz) pipsqueaks to 130kg (287lb) monsters. Non-squeamish visitors can watch organised feeding frenzies and join dragon-spotting treks on Komodo, but these can feel a bit stage-managed and gory. For a more do-it-yourself alternative, head for Rinca where there are no established feeding places so spotting monitor lizards is more a matter of luck. Komodo is a hilly desolate island, but Rinca's wildlife is fairly abundant - there are several monkey colonies, wild water buffalo, deer, bush turkeys and eagles. Ferries run to Komodo from Sape in Sumbawa and Labhuanbajo in Flores. To reach Rinca, you'll need to charter a boat.
The villages of Nggela, Wolojita and Jopu on the island of Flores are renowned for their beautiful ikat sarongs and shawls. The traditional whaling village of Lamalera on Lembata in the Solor and Alor archipelago east of Flores is a fascinating place to poke around the boatsheds and watch men making harpoons. The villagers are subsistence whalers and are therefore exempt from international whaling bans.
Keli Mutu's tri-coloured lakes are Nusa Tenggara's most fantastic attraction. The waters in the three volcanic craters have a curious habit of changing colour - most recently they were turquoise, olive and black, but a few years ago they were green-blue, maroon and black. No-one has managed to explain the cause of the colours or why they change, except to suppose that different minerals are dissolved in each lake. Local legend has it that the souls of the dead go to the lakes. Young people's souls supposedly go to the warmth of the green lake, old people to the milky turquoise one, and those of thieves and murderers to the black lake.
The only time to be sure of seeing the lakes from the 1600m (5248ft) high rim of the volcanic crater is at dawn before the clouds come down. Visitors negotiating the 13km (8mi) track from the nearby village of Moni can either walk, catch a ride on a truck or hire a jeep. If you're tempted by the horses for rent, check their health and make sure they come with saddles.
Most travellers head to the beautiful rugged hill country of Tanatoraja in central and southern Sulawesi, and the small town of Rantepao pulls in many of them. The rice-farming, pig-breeding, water-buffalo-loving Toraja who inhabit this region have become the focus of tourist attention thanks to their elaborate ceremonies, burial sites and traditional houses.
Of all the Torajan ceremonies, the most important are those concerned with sending a dead person to the afterworld. Without proper funeral rites, the spirit of the deceased will cause misfortune to its family. Funerals can be spread out over several days and involve hundreds of guests and the sacrifice of scores of buffalo. Feasting, dancing and singing may be supplemented by cock-fighting, sisemba (kick-fighting) and even buffalo fights in which the bulls, rightly agitated by the insertion of chilli up their behind, lock horns and strain against each other.
If you are invited to a ceremony, be sure to dress respectfully, bring gifts to hand around and don't sit in areas designated for guests or family members. Taking photographs is acceptable, but do it with restraint. The best time to visit Rantepao is between March and May, though most funeral ceremonies are held in the 'party season' lasting from July to September. July and August is the high season and hotel prices skyrocket.
The prosperous town of Manado, in northern Sulawesi, is renowned as the gateway to the stunning coral reefs off nearby Pulau Bunaken. There's plenty of comfortable but basic accommodation on Pulau Bunaken and a number of low-key dive operators run services, though all the high-profile dive resorts are on the Sulawesi mainland. Much of the coral that once grew in Bunaken's shallow water has tragically been decimated by careless boat traffic, but the nearest drop-offs are within swimming distance of shore and remain unscathed.
You can hire dugout canoes or small motor boats to reach more isolated reefs around the nearby islands of Manado Tua, Pulau Siladen and Pulau Mantehage. A daily ferry connects Manado with Pulau Bunaken. Thankfully all the excitement isn't offshore since Manado has a fascinating Indonesian-Philippines-Southern Californian hybrid culture, some very interesting local food (anyone for fried forest rat?) and spectacular volcanoes.
If you're expecting to see half-naked, heavily tatooed Dayaks striding down the streets of Balikpapan or Pontianak, you'll be disappointed, because your first impressions of Kalimantan, which occupies the southern two-thirds of the island of Borneo, are likely to be of oil refineries and timber mills. Timber and mining interests have penetrated deep into the jungles, bulldozing and chainsawing at an alarming rate, fouling rivers and leaving indigenous cultures reeling from the social and economic intrusions of the 20th century.
The popular images of Borneo stem from the exaggerated accounts of early European explorers, though the stories surrounding Kalimantan's inland Dayak villages are indeed the stuff of legend - tattooed head-hunters, 'lost' tribes and exotic wildlife. Samarinda is the best starting point for fascinating longboat river trips to villages such as Tanjung Isuy, Muara Muntai, Melak (with its 5000-acre orchid forest) and Long Iram. Unfortunately in some tourist precincts packs of visitors in search of an 'authentic' Dayak experience pay by the hour to see the 'primitive cultures'. Tanjung Puting National Park, in central Kalimantan, is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna, including crocodiles, bear cats, orang-utan, monkeys and dolphins.
The equatorial river city of Pontianak, in west Kalimantan, is best seen at sunset, when its backlit houseboats and sweeping river vistas make Balinese sunsets look pathetic. Make use of the canals to explore the city and soak up its Chinese-Indonesian atmosphere. In the evening, young men crowd the wobbly wooden boardwalks along the south bank of the river to fly huge paper kites. Highlights include the wooden Mesji Abdurrakham royal mosque and the Javanese and Sulawesi-style schooners in Pinisi Harbour. Pasir Panjang's pristine beaches are close by, and the city is a great starting point for boat trips up the Kapuas.
The thousand islands of Maluku (formerly the Moluccas) were the fabled spice islands of history, which attracted Indian, Chinese, Arab and later European traders, who came in search of the cloves, nutmeg and mace which grew here and nowhere else. Today these islands, sprawled across a vast area of ocean, offer tropical scenery with a Polynesian feel, exotic bird life, old forts, lovely villages and beaches, good snorkelling and diving, and no touts or pollution. Most visitors used to head for Ambon, the Bandas and Ternate, all stepping-off points for a swarm of tiny islands far from the tourist trail. But Ambon was rocked by communal violence in 1998 and 1999, tens of thousands of refugees have fled and it has fallen off the traveller's circuit. You'll need at least five weeks to explore the islands in any depth if you travel by boat; a minimum of three weeks if you intend to fly. It's really best not to come here at all unless you throw away your watch before arriving.
Irian Jaya is one of the world's last wilderness areas. Sharing its landmass with Papua New Guinea to the east, its people - the Papuans - are culturally and ethnically related to the Papua New Guineans and are similar to the Melanesians of the South Pacific. They live in some of the most rugged terrain on earth - from snowcapped mountains to mangrove swamps - in a region that offers fantastic jungle scenery, equatorial glaciers, abundant bird and animal life and great trekking opportunities. Highlights include the Baliem Valley with its unique culture and numerous treks; Sentani for boat trips around the magnificent Sentani Lake; and Kota Biak for access to dive sites. Don't underestimate the size of Irian Jaya and the amount of time and money it will take to get around; there are no roads between major towns and boats are slow and irregular, so flying is often the only option. Incorporation into Indonesia, transmigration, and insensitive logging and mining have inflamed indigenous Papuans: a guerrilla force has been fighting for a Free Papua for well nigh 30 years. Be aware that permits from local police stations are required for travel to many areas.
- Activities -
There is good diving and snorkelling off Bali (Nusa Dua, Sanur, Padangbai), between Komodo and Labuhanbajo in Flores, around the Banda Islands and off Pulau Biak off the north coast of Irian Jaya. The sea gardens of Sulawesi, particularly around Manado, are legendary. Renowned surf spots include Ulu Watu in Bali, Grajagan in Java and Nias off Sumatra, but there is surf along the southern coast of virtually all the islands in Nusa Tenggara. Windsurfing enthusiasts are well catered for in the southern resorts of Bali. Rafting is a new activity now offered on Bali's Ayung River.
Sumatra has good jungle treks, particularly in Gunung Leuser National Park. Berastagi and Bukit Lawang are also popular trekking centres in Sumatra. More adventurous jungle trekking opportunities are available in Kalimantan and Irian Jaya. For those who want to reach for the skies, Mt Bromo in Java and Agung in Bali are day climbs; Gunung Rinjani, the volcano that dominates Lombok, is a strenuous but worthwhile three-day jaunt.
- History -
It is generally believed that the earliest inhabitants of the Indonesian archipelago originated in India or Burma. In 1890, fossils of Java Man (homo erectus), some 500,000 years old, were found in east Java. Later migrants ('Malays') came from southern China and Indochina, and they began populating the archipelago around 3000 BC. Powerful groups such as the Buddhist Srivijaya empire and the Hindu Mataram kingdom appeared in Java and Sumatra towards the end of the 7th century. The last important kingdom to remain Hindu was the Majapahit, which was founded in the 13th century. The subsequent spread of Islam into the archipelago in the 14th century forced the Majapahits to retreat to Bali in the 15th century.
By this time, a strong Muslim empire had developed with its centre at Melaka (Malacca) on the Malay Peninsula. Its influence was shortlived and it fell to the Portuguese in 1511. The Dutch displaced the Portuguese and began making inroads into Indonesia. The Dutch East India Company based in Batavia (Jakarta) dominated the spice trade and took control of Java by the mid 18th century, when its power was already in decline. The Dutch took control in the early 19th century and by the early 20th century, the entire archipelago - including Aceh and Bali - was under their control.
Burgeoning nationalism combined with Japanese occupation of the archipelago during WWII served to weaken Dutch resolve, and it finally transferred sovereignty to the new Indonesian republic in 1949. Achmed Soekarno, the foremost proponent of self-rule since the early 1920s, became President. In 1957, after a rudderless period of parliamentary democracy, Soekarno overthrew the parliament, declared martial law, and initiated a more authoritarian style of government, which he euphemistically dubbed 'Guided Democracy'. Once in the driving seat, Soekarno, like many like-minded military strongmen, set about consolidating his power through monument-building and socialising the economy, a move that paradoxically opened up a huge divide between the haves and have-nots and left much of the population teetering on the edge of starvation. Rebellions broke out in Sumatra and Sulewesi, Malaysia and Indonesia came perilously close to an all-out confrontation and instability was the general order of the day. Things came to a head in 1965, the eponymous Year Of Living Dangerously, when an attempted coup (purportedly by a Communist group) threatened Soekarno's hold on power.
Soekarno won that particular battle but lost the war when the man responsible for putting the coup down, General Soeharto, wrested presidential power from him in 1966. Soeharto started off with a nice line in political reconstruction, but the promises of economic reform and greater government transparency quickly degenerated into much of the same-old same-old. Nepotism, cronyism and grandiose spending, coupled with the brutal massacre of East Timorese nationalists in Dilli in 1975, proved that much of the talk was mere rhetoric. By March 1998 Soeharto was out of touch with the people and, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, awarded himself only five more years in office. He never made his own benchmark and by the end of May that year he was out of office and the vice-president, Jusuf Habibie, was installed.
Habibie, never popular to begin with, mouthed the same promises of reform and even appeared willing to consider independence for East Timor, but it was all too little too late. The uncompromising stance by East Timor set off a chain reaction and sectarian violence, student protests and increased demands for independence spread like wild fire through Ambon, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya. Rogue militia groups, widely thought to be controlled and equipped by the Indonesian miltiary, rampaged through East Timor after it overwhelmingly voted for independence in 1999; local police forces and parts of the army were sent in to quash other rebellions; protesting students were killed in the streets and the whole country went to hell in a handbasket.
After much fiddle-faddle and talk of international protocol, the UN and Australia got involved in the melee: the UN sent in a token number of troops to express disapproval of Indonesia's methods, while Australia sent a sizable contingent of their army into East Timor. Indonesia was outraged at what they considered an act of aggression and unwanted meddling in their domestic affairs, and there were tense standoffs during many of the highlevel powwows between the big cheeses. Subtle threats and counter threats were made, but none eventuated. When the dust finally settled East Timor had been granted independent rule over the smoking ruins of its own country; Habibie was out; Mr Abdurrahman Wahid, the first democratically elected president was in; General Wiranto, head of the Indonesian army, had been dismissed; the rogue milita groups had melted back into the streets of Jakarta; the rupiah was still in critical condition; and relations between Indonesia and Australia were still snippety and tense, but marginally improved.
- Culture -
Social and religious duty has, over time, been refined to form a code of behaviour called adat or traditional law. Islam is the predominant religion of the archipelago but it's somewhat tempered by elements of Hindu-Buddhism, adat and animism. In Java, especially, there are hundreds of places where spiritual energy is thought to be concentrated and can be absorbed by followers. Despite a lengthy colonial period, missionaries were only successful in converting small pockets of the Indonesian population to Christianity - the Bataks of Sumatra, the Toraks of Sulawesi and 95% of the population of Flores being notable examples.
Over 300 languages are spoken in the archipelago and most belong to the Malay-Polynesian group. Within this group, many regional languages and dialects are spoken. The lingua franca of the archipelago is Bahasa Indonesia, which is almost identical to Malay. It uses a number of foreign words, indicating the long history of contact Indonesia has had with other cultures. In recent years, Bahasa Indonesia has been appropriated by teenagers into a new and trendy vernacular called Bahasa Prokem; it has proved mostly unintelligible to the older generation.
Batik, the art of applying wax to cloth and then tie-dying in colourful and dramatic designs, is produced throughout Indonesia, and the centre of this activity is Yogyakarta in Java. Other craft forms include: ikat, which is a type of weaving with tie-dyed threads; songket, a silk cloth with gold or silver threads woven into it; and kris, artwork often decorated with jewels. Javanese wayang (puppet) plays and gamelan (hypnotic music composed mostly of percussive instruments) are also popular artistic forms.
Many Indonesian dishes are Chinese-influenced, but some, such as Padang food from Sumatra, are distinctly home-grown. Wherever you travel in Indonesia you'll see vendors selling snacks such as potatoes, sweet nuts, biscuits or fruit. Rice is the basis of each meal, eaten as a soup or with an assortment of hot and spicy side dishes, salad and pickles. Nasi goreng (fried rice) is the most common dish, while sate (skewered meats with a spicy peanut sauce), gado-gado (bean sprouts and vegies in peanut sauce) and seafood are also popular. The variety of tropical fruits grown would make a greengrocer swoon. They include custard apples, durians, guavas, jackfruits, mangoes, papayas, starfruits and rambutans.
- Environment -
The Indonesian archipelago comprises more than 13,000 islands and shares borders with Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Stretching like a backbone down the western coast of Sumatra is a line of active and extinct volcanoes. These continue through Java, Bali, Nusa Tenggara and then loop through the Banda Islands of Maluku to north-eastern Sulawesi. Under 10 per cent of the total land area is suitable for farming, while two-thirds consists of woodland, forests and mangrove swamp (mostly found in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Irian Jaya).
Indonesia's rich natural environment encourages a diversity of flora and fauna. The archipelago is home to elephants, tigers, leopards and orang-utans. Sea turtles are found in the waters around Bali and the world's largest flowers - Rafflesia arnoldii - grow in Sumatra. The islands of Irian Jaya, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra have national parks, while other parks protect special areas such as Komodo, home to the Komodo dragon. Rainforests are disappearing at an alarming rate, especially in Kalimantan where the mighty dipterocarp forests are being logged ferociously for their durable tropical hardwoods.
Draped over the equator, Indonesia tends to have a fairly uniform climate - hot. It's hot and wet during the wet season (October to April) and hot and dry during the dry season (May to September). Temperatures climb to about 31°C(88°F) in coastal regions, dropping further inland. The best time to visit Indonesia is from April to October.
- Getting There & Away -
The principal gateways for entry to Indonesia are Jakarta and Bali. Jakarta is serviced by more airlines but, thanks to its huge tourist trade, Bali gets almost as much traffic. New Merpati flights from Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory to Ambon (Maluku), Ujung Pandang (Sulawesi) and Biak (Irian Jaya) have opened up eastern Indonesia to travellers departing Australia. Airport tax on international flights varies between airport. Departure tax from Jakarta and Denpasar is around US$6 and from other airports about US$3.
The only open land crossing is at Entikong, between Kalimantan and Sarawak. Visas are not required and a 60-day visa pass is issued on the spot. Most sea connections are on comfortable high-speed ferries running between Malaysia and Sumatra, though there is also a service between Manado in northern Sulawesi and Davao in the Philippines.
Most of the sea conections are between Malaysia and Sumatra and the vessel of choice is the comfortable high-speed ferry from Penang to Medan. The other main ferry connection is between Dumai (Sumatra) and Melaka (Malacca).
- Getting Around -
Domestic air services have been in a state of flux since the economic downturn in the late 1990s. A few airlines have folded and the remaining services have jacked up the price of domestic travel to compensate for soaring costs. For those with hard currency, though, air travel is still relatively cheap compared to the rest of the world. It is essential to reconfirm on domestic flights in Indonesia, otherwise you may be bumped from the list. Departure tax on domestic flights fluctuates between US$1-3.
Indonesia's main roads are generally excellently surfaced, with the mainstay of land travel being the ekonomi buses - cheap and cheerful fares that may democratically include chickens, pigs and anything in between. Next step up is the express bus which carries the same cargo but gets to the destination sooner, followed by luxury air-con buses with all the whistles and bells that a coach can have.
Rail travel is restricted solely to Java and Sumatra. Indonesia's trains are pretty much a mixed bag: slow, miserable and cheap or comfortable and expensive. It's advisable to buy train tickets a day in advance to assure a seat. Cars, motorbikes and bicycles can be rented in the main cities and tourist centres. There are regular ferries between the various islands. Kalimantan has an undeveloped road s
Indonesia Surf Trip, Bali
Surf Trip, Mentawaii Surf Trip, Wave Indonesia, Surf
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