I think Indonesia is a country of adventures and opportunities. Just you need to open eyes and heart, have a will to see, taste, discover, try new things, get out from your comfort zone and be curious.
I found out that during my stay in Indonesia some of the things I did or some of them happened first time in my life. No matter what, but all of them gave me new colors in my daily life. So, here is my list of things “first time in life – in Indonesia”:
First of all – Indonesia is the first Asian country which I visited in my life
And being in Indonesia gives me more opportunities to travel in Asia. Other Asian countries now are much closer than if I would travel from Europe.
Even if mount Merapi defeated me but at least I tried. But the second time was more successful. I went to Mt. Batur in Bali for sunrise. And even if in the trek beginning I was thinking why I do it, in the end I was happy that reached the top.
I was a “model” for the Yogyakarta sketchers community members
They wanted to practice and not every time it’s easy to find people who would like to spend their time doing nothing, just pose for a while.
I “took a bathe” under the waterfall and was walking in volcano crater
It was in Dieng Plateau, Java island. Never before I saw waterfall and volcano crater in real. What to say about bathing under waterfall? It was powerful feeling.
I tried sandboarding in “grey” sand beach Parangtritis
Never before I try snowboarding, so experience with sandborading was amazing. Just sand in the mouth when you felt down doesn’t “taste” so nice as snow. I got this opportunity while I was shooting in a video.
I celebrated New Year in October with Javanese Royal family members
New year in the middle of autumn? Something new, especially when you are invited to do that with Javanese Royal family members and have an honor to walk in a parade through the city with traditional Javanese clothes.
I eat fruits which I never tried before
Even I didn’t know that such fruits exist: “salak”(“snake fuit”), “jambu” (“guava”), “buah naga” (“dragon fruit”), soursop (“sirsak”) and many others.
I try scuba diving first time ever
I really scare to be in deep water places so this experience was one of the biggest challenges for me but I faced my fairs in Bali.
I tried “Burger cobra”, “Sate cobra bakar”, ”Steak cobra saus cina” and drink “Ramuan empedu cobra” (traditional medicine from cobra gall and marrow). I was celebrating 6 months living in Indonesia anniversary.
I was bitten by bee
Never in my life before nowhere I was bitten. Probably it was Indonesian style of “farewell” before my trip to Vietnam.
I drink the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak
I got a first job offer – to be a guide in Vietnam
I never been a tour guide before, but probably my organizational skills can be used in any area. I liked it, that’s why till now I accompany people during their trips in Indonesia as well.
Some people, when they arrive to Indonesia, feel like millionaires. Here, everything is counted by thousands and millions. In Indonesia there are only 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 thousands banknote and 100, 200, 500, 1 000 coins. Paradox but more than 57% of all Indonesian inhibits earn till 1,78 EUR per day.
Money are using not only for shopping
Indonesians cure fever with metal coins. They scratch the back with coins for wind get out from the body. Indonesians believe that wind, makes them get fever and metal coins attracts bad spirits. This “procedure” (others say it “massage”) called “kerok”.
As well, like probably in many countries, money is given like presents.
In the end of Ramadhan, during Idul-Fitri, when relatives visiting relatives, if in the family there are any kids – guests brings colorful envelopment with money inside (usually 10 000 Rp – ~0,69 EUR) for kids. Even before this celebration banks specially is changing big amount of cash to smaller. Nobody surprised when kids, during Idul-Fitri, comes to guests and showing their wallets (asking money).
In the traditional Muslim weddings you rare will see guests with flowers or presents. Almost everyone brings envelopment with money. When you come, first of all you need to “register” in guest book and beside this book is always stands the box to put the money. There are not written rules how much you need to put, but it’s good gesture if one person brings at least 50 000 Rp (~3,43 EUR).
Before Christmas, Catholics in Indonesia are used to give money for kids like a present. The amount is ~20 000 Rp (1,37 EUR). It should be new banknote in beautiful envelopment. Some street sellers, especially for Christmas sells new banknote already packed. Of course for this “service” you need to pay extra ~2 000–5 000 Rp (0,14–0,34 EUR).
Different prices in different cities and for different people
For example, in Yogyakarta prices are ~1,5 times less than in Jakarta or Bali island.
As well different prices sellers gives for local people and for foreigners. Even if you already know how to barge in Indonesian language, still usually the final sum will be a bit bigger than for locals. Some Indonesians even don’t hide, that foreigners they see like walking ATM’s, so they try to take as much as possible cash from them :).
What can you do with 1 euro in Indonesia?
So what is possible to buy for 1 EUR in Yogyakarta city? Like EUR currency all the time changing let’s take average -1 EUR=14 500 Rp.
Eat food in local restaurant “Rumah makan” (where is menu from which you can choose).
1 portion simple rise (“nasi putih”), fried mushrooms (“jamur goreng”), sambal sause with guava natural juice – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR).
Have a dish in street restaurant “Warung makan” (food made and putted in the window, there are no menu, you take what is putted)
1 portion simple rice, vegetables (“sayur”), 2 balls of smash potatoes (“perkedel”), 1 chicken thigh in sweet suce (“ayam bakar”) and natural guava juice – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
Eat in street restaurant (where you see how food is preparing for you)
1 portion fried rise (“nasi goreng” – called national Indonesian dish) with chicken scrap, omelet, several vegetables and cold drink “es jeruk” – 11 000 Rp (0,76 EUR).
Take away food from street vendors “kaki-lima”.
1 portion rice cooked in coconut oil (“nasi uduk”), 2 peace “tempeh” and 2 peace of “tahu” – 7 000 Rp (0,48 EUR).
It’s really possible to find where to eat cheaper but I don’t go to places where I see that food is made and kept not in the best conditions :)
If you don’t have big requirements for food and don’t eat big portions, per day in Yogyakarta is possible to eat 3 times for 24 000 Rp (1,65 EUR): for breakfast instant coffee and 4 coffee cake; for lunch – rice, vegetables, chicken, simple drink; for dinner – rice, “tahu” and “tempeh”.
What possible to buy for 1 EUR in Surabaya city? (Thank you Abriani Ori Ratnasari for information)
1 EUR Abriani calculate like 15 000 Rp. Here is the list what you can do with 1 EUR:
Buy food in KFC “goceng package”. You can choose: ice cream, soup, love float, melon float, grape float, burger and others.
Buy food: rice, chicken and ice tea – 5 000 Rp (0,33 EUR)
Buy pensil case
Buy ticket for public transportation like “angkot” or bus – it’s only 5 000 Rp (0,33 EUR) one way, for 1 person
Buy 3 underwear units (for girls)
More things what can you do with 1 euro
Eat sandwich with cobra meat– 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR).
Order 2 natural juice in local restaurant – 10 000-14 000 Rp (0,69-0,96 EUR).
Try Robusta coffee from Flores island in local restaurant– 10 000 Rp (0,69 EUR).
In small shop buy 13 packages of instant coffee – 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR).
In small shop buy 10 packages of instant noodles (Indonesians just love this ”dish”)– ~14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
Buy ~ 1,2 kilo simple rice – ~14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
In big supermarket buy “Coca cola” 1,5 l – 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR). Or in small shop buy 3 small bottles (425 ml) – 12 000 Rp (0,82 EUR).
Buy 4 bottles of water in not touristic are (500 ml) – 12 000 Rp (0,82 EUR).
Buy 1 kilo tomatoes and cucumber in local market – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR) (locals can buy cheaper ;)).
Buy 1-2 kilo of seasonal fruits (banana, mango…) – 7 000-13 000 Rp (0,48-0,96 EUR).
In small shop buy food „package“ – 2 packages of instat coffee, pie, jam – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR) or 0,5 kilo of rice, small package of sauce and 2 pieces of “tahu” and “tempeh” – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR).
Put the fuel almost 2 l in petrol station – 14 800 Rp (1,02 EUR).
Buy bus ticket from Yogyakarta to Magelang city – 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR).
With “becak” go short distance (that takes no longer than 10 min.) – 10 000 Rp (0,69 EUR).
Pay for motorbike parking 7-14 times – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR). The price depends where you want to park – touristic places more expensive.
Go with taxi ~2-4 km – 12 000-14 400 Rp (0,82-0,99 EUR).
Buy local cigarettes 1-2 (with „kretek“) – 8 000-14 000 Rp (0,55-0,96 EUR).
Buy small souvenirs in Malioboro street, for example T-shirt– 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR)
Visit 1 person, 1 time Sultan palace “Kraton” – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR) or Water castle “Taman sari” – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
Buy cleaning stuff for home, for example in small shop liquid for cleaning the floor – 9 700 Rp (0,67 EUR).
Buy hygienic stuff (in small shop): tooth paste, soap, wet napkins – 13 700 Rp (0,94 EUR).
Take laundry service for ~5,5 kilos – 13 750 Rp (0,94 EUR).
Buy 1 pair of slippers – 12 000 Rp (0,82 EUR).
And some other things possible to do with 1 EUR ;).
Per day, if not spread out the money, possible to live for ~ 30 000 Rp (2,06 EUR). That’s why mostly people use banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 thousand. Those banknotes are mostly dirty and damage. Sometimes I see when locals get new banknote of 2 000 Rp, they are smiling while looking at them, because not many new banknotes you can see of such amount.
As well, sometimes it’s happens (especially in small shop) when they don’t have back change, they give back small candies (I really don’t like it). But when I tried once in the same shop pay with the same candies – I didn’t manage :D
In Indonesia you will find 4 main mobile operators (“Telkomsel”, “XL”, “Indosat”, “Smart”) with different prepaid cards – for example “Loop”, “IM3” and etc. One of them is more expensive but covers mostly all Indonesia and you will be reachable will be hiking in volcano or camping somewhere further from civilization. Others will be cheaper but sometimes with delay SMS delivery and etc.
Before choosing the mobile operator ask yourself what you need mostly – write SMS, use internet in mobile or something else? Ask local students; people which operator they are using, like most probably they are using the cheapest one and which has good connection in the exact (their) area.
Compare some mobile operator’s prices by your requirements and then choose which one suit you best. For example in Yogyakarta, you can find many mobile operators in one place – “Jogjatronic” mall.
In Darmasiswa scholarship opening ceremony, most probably, will be one mobile operator who will suggest their SIM cards for free and will give some extra benefits. Like speaking between Darmasiswa students for free and etc. It’s nice offer – BUT! Most probably it will be one of the most expensive mobile operators. My suggestion – take that free SIM card for couple of first months and then change to that one that suits your needs (believe you can save some money:)).
When you will choose mobile operator you will need to put money to prepaid cards (“pulsa”) each time when you will finish your limits. The “pulsa” amount depends on how much you want to put to prepaid cards. Usually its fixed amount – 5 000, 10 000, 15 000, 25 000, 50 000 or 100 000 Rp. Not in all places you can put bigger amount like 50 000 or 100 000 Rp. As well the “pulsa” validation depends on mobile operator – one suggest validation of 1 month, others – to use till you will finish it (no matter if it will be even couple of months).
Indonesia can’t proud with fastest and very good quality internet :) As well, internet not accessible everywhere. Not many houses have WI-FI, so USB internet modem can be your “best friend” during using internet.
Before choosing the internet provider, if you have possibility, borrow internet USB modem from someone (neighbors, other students) and check if it works in your place. Like different providers have different signal quality, some of them won’t work in your places, others – will be excellent quality.
You will need to put money to prepaid cards (“pulsa”) each time when you will finish your internet limits. The “pulsa” price depends which operator you will choose, how much monthly limit of GB you want to have.
You rare will find any free WI-FI spots in cities. But many cafes suggest free WI-FI access, to attract more customers (you will see that even in their sign outside first “reason” to convince you to go to their place will be written “FREE WI-FI” ;)). But main problem, that most cafes try to save money and make not proper access. If somebody will come first, he will get better quality connection and speed, than those who will come later. So you can imagine if many people at once are using WI-FI how “fast” it can be ;).
You can as well use internet in internet cafes (“warnet”). Usually 1 hour access cost 3 000-5 000 Rp. Some of the places works 24 hours, have all needed equipment like scanners, printers, headsets for “Skype” calls and etc. Some of Indonesian people go there to copy the movies from already downloaded movies folder (usually it’s English movies with Bahasa Indonesian subtitles). You can stay only 1 hour and copy more than 20 GB of newest movies :).
Mostly all universities have free WI-FI but you can log in only with students ID information.
If you plan to stay longer in Indonesia you can easily open your Indonesian bank account. It’s useful when you are traveling, so no need to take bigger cash amount with you. As well if you are a student, you can ask to transfer you scholarship amount to account (maybe not all universities will agree, but at least you can try to ask ;)).
In Indonesia you will find private, governmental or half governmental banks. Which one to choose you can ask couple of local people or students. Most probably they will be using that bank that gives the smallest amount of fees, don’t charge for cashing money in ATM’s. As well check which bank’s ATM is nearest your living, working or studying place. Some of supermarkets “Indomaret”, “Alfamart” have ATM’s too. But not all banks and not all this brand supermarkets gives opportunity to cash the money.
If you want to open your bank account you will need your ID card or passport, visa (KITAS or another one which allows you to stay in Indonesia longer than like a tourist) and if you are student – student card.
You must have international driving license if you plan to drive in Bali. If you don’t have – it’s matter of your negotiating skills when you will be stopped by policemen. In Bali policemen are most “hungry” to “hunting” foreigners and get some extra money.
In other places, the main thing policemen will check motorbikes technical passport (brown paper). So be sure that when you will rent motorbike to get this document and check if it’s still valid. And usually policemen don’t ask foreigners to show driving license. In worst case, just show any document (ID) from your country :).
If you want to buy motorbike you need to get as well blue bigger book – owners documents. My advice to buy motorbike in your city, in another case, you will need to go to another city to extend your documents all the time.
Like probably at home you won’t have washing machine, at least time to time you would like to use laundry service rather that washing all blankets by hands and etc. Different places can give you different prices. For example in some places you will pay for a kilos of laundry and if you want to wash blankets, bags and similar stuff they can ask for it separately money. Other places ask money not for kilos but for the stuff that you give – jeans, jackets and etc. and they will calculate separately each cloth.
Around your place you will see quite many laundry services, try to wash in different ones and see how quick which works, how pack washed things, working hours and then choose which one suit you best.
Important thing – sometimes you can lost your clothes in laundry or find something that not belongs for you. As well in laundry they don’t wash separately white and dark clothes – everything goes together. So after some time light close can change color. As well they use only cold water and sometimes your clothes can be damaged. Doesn’t matter which place you choose – it’s just happen time to time everywhere :).
Most of the bigger markets have morning and night working time.
In the morning best time to go there till 8:00 am. They will work till ~12:00-1:00 pm, but at such time you won’t find many options left, just couple sellers. In the morning they sell mostly food.
“Night market” in the same place usually working ~6:00-~10:00 pm. At this time you can find second hand clothes, things for motorbike and etc. They sell new things as well. Best time to come to “night market” on Saturdays, but at that time will come a lot of local people as well. Some “night markets” works separately from day market in some city areas, for example in Yogyakarta, in front of Beringharjo market is parking area (in the morning). In the evening in that parking area is “night market”.
Bathing water cleaning
Like you know (probably?) – in Indonesia mostly using cold water. Often it’s taken from borehole by automatic pump, in some places people as well use well. The water is low quality, it’s treated with chemicals (DON’T drink it from the tap).
After some time using such water with combination of sweat, dust, sun and etc. it can start irritate your skin (even influence your hair condition). Every person’s skin can react differently – can start acne, other skin problems (or maybe nothing at all ;)).
What you should try to prevent skin problems (what I do):
At least couple times per week, in the evening, put “Dettol” bottles 2 filler-cap to almost empty water trough. Let the water with the cleaning liquid stay over the night. In the morning let out all water away and clean all water trough. Then give a rinse couple of times and full fill the new water.
Every couple of days let out all water and brushes all water trough walls. Again give a rinse couple of times and full fill the new water.
At least once per week, clean plastic dipper with “Dettol” like water trough, just put dipper to a bucket, to clean not only inside but outside side as well.
After some time using dipper buy a new one, depends on dipper condition, decide when is better to change it.
As well I’m using “Asepso” soap, to prevent skin from acne.
If you got any skin problems and cleaning bathing water doesn’t help after sometime, I suggest to visit the doctor.
Protection from “pets”
In Indonesian houses sooner or later you will see couple of frequent visiting “pets”: ants, lizards, geckos, cockroach, and maybe mice.
From lizards and geckos, you won’t probably find protection – and no need :). They are not harmful. Just time to time, maybe, you will need to clean their shit, hear them and see falling from ceilings, running through walls in any places.
Cockroach not harmful but not everyone’s feel pleasure to see them running from corner to corner, flying over your head. If you really can’t stand them, try to spry on them couple of times with spry from mosquitoes. For a moment they will be still very alive, but then you will see how poison kills them (so don’t spry too much and expect that effect will be sudden ;)).
Most harmful are ants and mice. Both of them like your food that you may leave not carefully closed. As well ants like to live I wooden parts of doors or windows.
First of all keep your food in bigger plastic boxes (or other type boxes, bags) closed properly.
Clean the dishes that contain any sweet things (ants love sugar and you will see how quick they will “attack” your cup of coffee that is even already empty).
Don’t keep longer that for 2 days fresh vegetables or fruits that you already cut (if you don’t have a fridge).
Take out often trash bin with food remains from the house.
You can buy chalk from insects and draw around places that you don’t want ants to come. After some time you need to repeat this action. If it’s doesn’t work, put the salt on the place that you see ants are coming from.
If mice disturb you too much and make any harm – you can buy poisons. I tried several but only once helped. The main thing that when the mice eats this poison, after some time you even don’t feel any smell or know where mice disappeared. Just be careful taking the poison from the box, better do it with napkins or tissue, not straight with hands.
Hope this information will help you during your stay in Indonesia :).