What we loved…
Big Wildlife – Traveling Indonesia offers some truly unique animal encounters. It is literally the only place on earth where you can see Komodo dragons and Sumatran tigers. And it’s one of the only places to see orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Then there’s manta rays, gibbons, sea turtles, etc. Indonesia’s crystal blue waters and lush green jungles are a wildlife wonderland.
Diversity of activities – You simply cannot get bored in Indonesia. Scuba diving, visiting ancient ruins, hiking, relaxing, surfing, riding motorbikes around volcanoes and through rice terraces, partying, snorkeling, wildlife watching, sunbathing, island hopping, watching traditional dance shows, parasailing, yoga, cooking classes – you name it, you can do it.
Sambal – Sambal is Indonesia’s very own hot sauce! If you love spicy, you’ll love sambal! Everone has a slightly different recipe, but it’s all freshly made and always super delicious. It takes the already delicious food in Indonesia up a notch. Plus it’s always great fun having the locals watch you eat in anticipation, only to excitedly cheer when you not only handle the heat, but ask for more.
What we didn’t love…
Disrespectful tourists – Call me old fashioned, but I firmly believe you should respect the local wildlife, people and customs of any place you visit. You are a guest in their home, obey their rules. We happened to be traveling Indonesia during ramadan, so the inappropriate behavior was more obvious. It’s upsetting how many tourists simply don’t care. There are scantily clad travelers walking past signs asking them to cover up. They eat on public transportation, when everyone else on the bus is starving and not allowed to eat until sundown. It’s all too common to see tourists feeding monkeys, and not wearing proper attire in religious temples. I find it disrespectful of the religion, dress, and customs of the locals.
Getting Ripped Off – Maybe it’s the locals’ payback for the rude tourists I just spoke of, or maybe they’re just used to foreigners not knowing any better. So many people are trying to rip you off! From selling phony add ons to tours and counterfeit bus tickets to making false promises and starting negotiations off at absurd rates. I’ve been to a lot of impoverished countries with desperate people and had a lot of run-ins with feeling ripped off, but I’ve never felt more like a walking dollar sign than when traveling Indonesia.
Booking Flights – I suppose this has something to do with how Indonesia is a hotspot for electronic credit card fraud, but the local airlines accept foreign credit cards. This means no online or even phone booking without a cash transfer. Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands. You can’t just train or bus between locations. Thankfully, there is a good go around. Ticket Indonesia provides a service where they accept your credit card and book your flight for you. It’s far from perfect, but it works.