For me planning a trip is an amazing part itself. It starts giving you a virtual feeling of what to expect, how to behave and above all, it generate a sense of respect for another nation.
Indonesia is one amazing country that I visited in 2016. Though I have to admit my tour was still a short one to literally enjoy even the most important part of it.
I was visiting Indonesia for just 25 odd days, which made me to restrict my travel plan to three of the most visited regions in Indonesia viz. Java, Flores and Bali.
Java, possibly, is one of the easiest and cheapest destination to explore in Indonesia. Various major destinations are well-connected with trains or otherwise with AC buses which are quite comfortable. Road network of Java is quite good.
- I will suggest to enter Java from either of the extremes from Eastern Java (which is Banyuwangi Province) or from Western Java (Capital of Indonesia – Jakarta).
- If planning to visit Bali after your Java tour, start from Jakarta.
- If planning to visit Sumatra after your Java tour, start from Banyuwangi.
Public/ Intercity Transportation in Java:
- Train was my preferred transportation in Java – a whole detailed train schedule, how to book and other relevant details of train are given in seat61.com. Also, this serves as the most comfortable as well as the cheapest mode of transportation. Indomaret stores in Java have terminals installed which can also be used to book tickets(reserved seats).
- As roads are quite good, bus services are equally popular in Java. Best part of buses is their availability and usually they are in plenty, which make them suitable for last moment plans.
- Bemo is another public transportation specific to Java. Bemos are mini buses which can accommodate 12-15 person. They are usually private transportation service running between short distance intercity transports in Java.
- Visiting Cemaro Lawang (Mt Bromo volcano) from Probolinggo is usually accessed by Bemo.
Intra-city Travel in Java :
- Major cities like Jakarta, Yogyakarta have their own city buses, such as Trans Jakarta in Jakarta,Trans Jogja in Yogyakarta.
- Angkot (Minibuses), are available in most of the cities in Java, they are private transport service and available on sharing basis between various points.
- My preferred mode of transportation was “hiring a motorbike”, available in most of the cities and quite cheap as well. I will recommend this option over all other, especially if you are a travel buff and believe in exploring almost all major parts of the city and nearby.
- Uber/Grab are two (android app based) cab hailing services in Java, though not available in all the cities and limited to big cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung. GoOjek, also an android app based motorcycle hailing service allows to ride a motorcycle, really cheap, and readily available.
- Ojeks are the sharing motorbike available in all over Java and in fact in most part of Indonesia.
Public transport in Bali:
Bali is a relatively smaller island, and almost all the most visited places such as Ubud, Kuta, Seminayak, Nusa Dua are well-connected. Though there is no proper public transport system in place in Bali. That doesn’t mean it is very difficult to roam around on this beautiful island.
- Ojek’s as explained above are available in plenty here as well. GoOjek,like in Java, is also quite active here and can be a real good choice for any tourist out in Bali.
- Uber/Grab is quite reliable in Bali, and can always be used to traverse through all major points.
- Bemo’s used to be a major transport option in Bali, but with the arrival of UBER/GRAB, their usage has been restricted to terminal transfer based service. Bali has terminals in almost all major sub regions in the Island. Bemo’s can be used to traverse through these terminals, which will be a cheaper option for long distance travel in Bali.
- KURA-KURA Bus – Latest addition to the Bali’s public transport system. Air conditioned, free WiFi, set fares, quite good frequency make them one of the preferred choice among travellers in Bali. They have few set routes covering almost all major points in Bali. Their fares as well are one of the cheapest and most importantly fixed; so no need for any negotiation. Visit their website(kura2bus.com) for more details.
- Hiring MotorBike/Car for self-driving– one of the most preferred option in Bali. Also undoubtedly best and cheapest option available. Few of the cautions one should keep in mind while hiring Motorbike in Bali are:
- Traffic in Bali is chaotic, anyone can come and hit you from any random direction. Though, it isn’t that bad as it might sound, the only requirement is “caution”!!
- Traffic police is always looking for targets to earn some money out from you. Follow traffic rules, wear helmet, don’t jump traffic lights and if possible carry “International driving permit”. If you are not holding one, and your stay is long, get the one from KUTA police station.
- Hiring chartered car – For group travellers, there are multiple tourist agencies in Bali, which can provide chartered tour vehicles on requirement basis. From a car to big bus are available to rent for half day toa full day.
- Tourist bus – There are few companies which connect touristic and major points of the island. One of them is – “Perama”(http://peramatour.com/index.php). They are cheap and convenient way to get to major points, but they don’t really venture far from touristic trails.
Food in Indonesia
A country of more than 300 ethnic groups offers a wide variety of dishes. Indonesia is quite popular with world’s cuisine specialist for varied options and taste it offers. A lot can be found about special food available here from Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_cuisine) on Indonesian Food itself. Here, I will just try to focus on some of the special dishes which are ubiquitous as far as Indonesia is concerned.
- Nasi-Goreng– “Fried Rice” is what this actually mean. This was my saviour in Indonesia. Vegetarian option which I chose to take freely without any second thought. They are available almost everywhere and can be asked to be made under low, medium or really spicy.
- Gado-Gado– Another option for vegetarians, Indonesian Salad (sometimes contains egg, which can be asked not to be added), of slightly boiled/steamed vegetables, fried tofu, and Lontong (rice wrapped in banana leaf) served with peanut sauce.
- Satay/sate– is basically grilled meat. But, the authentic way of doing it over a wood or charcoal fire make it really special. These are usually served with various spicy seasoning.
- Soto– Indonesian soup, composition depends on what you want. There are numerous varieties of Soto available for both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. They are usually served with steamed rice and hence make a full meal.
There are numerous other options available for a food lover to explore in Indonesia for both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. Though one can find above four options everywhere in Indonesia and guarantee to satiate their hunger.
Hope, I covered two major points, which could come to mind at the very first moment while visiting any place “Food and travel”. “Shelter” is another important point, but Indonesia is a home of welcoming countrymen. Lot of options fitting every kind of budget are available out here and hence I thought of skipping it for this post.
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Thanks for stopping by and happy traveling.