How I Spent 3.5 Weeks in Indonesia

Disclaimer: this is not, in any way, a travel guide.

After spending the same amount of time coursing through Malaysian Borneo, it was time for my next country.

Indonesia.

I crossed the border from Kuching to Pontianak, my point of entry.

Fun fact: Indonesia has double the number of islands compared to the Philippines and the biggest Muslim country in the world. In Bali, however, Hinduism is the main religion.

To be honest, I didn’t have any expectations nor any plans. The only thing I had was a 2-week volunteering gig.

From Pontianak, I had a flight that would bring me to Yogyakarta. Since I will be arriving late, I decided to stay for a night in Yogyakarta before heading to Klaten, a small town located 45 mins away by train from Yogyakarta, where my volunteering assignment awaits.

When I arrived in Klaten, my host picked me up at the airport and headed to the school where I also met 3 other volunteers. Classes were still in session when I arrived and as soon as it was finished, our host and us volunteers had dinner together.

I stayed in Klaten for 2 weeks, and since it was a just a small town, there was nothing much to do. To give you an idea, here’s a list of things we did during those 2 weeks:
  • Visit the famous Borobodur and Prambanan temples
  • Other temples worth visiting: Sewu and Plaosan temples
  • Go to Umbol Ponggok and have an underwater photo session with a motorbike, a tent, or anything crazy you can think of
  • Wake up early and see the sunrise at Setumbu Hill overlooking Borobodur temple, Merapi volcano and the Chicken church
  • Buy as much fruits as you can because of the unbelievable prices. For just $2, I was able to buy 2 kilos of the sweetest dragon fruit I ever had
  • Spend a day exploring Malioboro street and Kraton palace in Yogyakarta
  • When you arrive before Nyepi day, there’s a Nyepi festival held inside Prambanan complex on the eve of the actual Nyepi day.

Amazing food you have to try in Klaten:

  • Gado-gado
  • Lotek
  • Nasi pecel
  • Nasi Uduk with Catfish
  • Martabak (with cheese and chocolate)
  • Mie goreng
  • Gudangan
  • Nasi Padang
  • Ca Kangkong Hot Plate
  • Dragon fruit and pink guava smoothie

After my volunteering gig, I flew to Bali and stayed there for 8 days.

Knowing that Bali is a tourist trap, I already expected prices to be high and tourists to be just about everywhere. But because I came from a non-touristy town, I felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable in Bali.

Taxi drivers were way too aggressive and once again, I was surrounded by young, wild, and loud tourists who only went to Bali to party hard, get drunk, and get laid.

For 8 days, I barely did anything touristy. I walked around town, tried a lot of restaurants, and worked nonstop. Surprisingly, I was able to do a lot of work and that was when I realized why Bali is the ideal destination for digital nomads.

With a sunshiny weather, a beach you can easily reach by foot, and with cafes and co-working spaces available almost everywhere, it’s a no-brainer now why digital nomads choose Bali.

To be honest, it is quite challenging to find the balance when you’re working whilst traveling. You need to have the discipline to stick to your personal schedule and accomplish something.

Personally, I have been struggling with that aspect ever since I started traveling. But when I arrived in Bali, it was easy for me to get to work and actually get things done.

Why? Because when you’re surrounded with like-minded people, you will also be motivated to do the same. When you go to a cafe and see people working, you’d be more inclined to start working more than procrastinate.

And because of that, I learned to love Bali. The food may not be as good or cheap as the ones I had in Klaten, or that annoying tourists were just about everywhere, but because I was productive, I consider my time in Bali a time well-spent.

My favorite place in Bali? Ubud and Canggu. Both are not as crowded as Kuta and with an artistic, old town feel to it.

For hostel recommendations, I stayed at Inn Between in Ubud and Bali Vibes Guesthouse in Canggu. Both have a swimming pool, which is perfect for a night swim after you’ve been out in the sun.

 

 

To get around, you can either rent a motorbike, which is the most practical way, or hire a taxi if you can’t handle the  motorbike and crazy traffic and motorists. [Note: Go-Jek or Grab is not available in Ubud, and in Canggu, only Go-Jek is available.]

As for the food, I didn’t like the food in Bali maybe because I was comparing it to Klaten, where I had amazing food at super cheap prices! Just imagine, in Klaten, we were paying for only a dollar per meal, and in Bali, we were paying 5x of that. Unbelievable!

Do you have any fun facts or interesting experiences in Bali? Share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you!

Sending you love from my side of the world. Thank you for stopping by!