Saturday, January 24, 2015

My First Time Not Enjoying a New Country: Indonesia

Before this last trip I'd at least liked, if not loved, every new country I'd visited.
Then I went to Indonesia. I hate to say it, but I hated Indonesia. Well, at least I hated Jakarta. Bandung was okay, and Kawah Putih was stunning, but the sulfur lake was the only thing I liked about the country.

I hate having to say I hated somewhere. But goodness, I hated Indonesia.

I found it hard to like a place that was all either fancy malls, or areas like this with trash everywhere.

YC's family lives in Jakarta, so we spent 90% of our time in the city. I swear, the only thing in Jakarta is malls. It was great for getting presents for everyone back home, but man I hate shopping.
I do suggest hitting up the Batik stores if you're in Indonesia. The clothing is so pretty, especially the scarves. I got presents for almost everyone while in Indonesia.

The only thing I truly enjoyed in Jakarta was the movie theatre. We went to see the last Hobbit movie, which was awesome in and off itself. The movie theatres in Indonesia are so much fun. For around 7USD you can sit in the premier seating. It makes you feel like such a rich person. The seats are super fluffy and recline, they give you a blanket, and you can order food and drinks to be delivered to your seat. Best movie going experience ever. I definitely suggest hitting up a movie if you're in Indonesia, it is fun getting to feel like the super rich.

Eating hot pot with YC's family.

Food in Indonesia is super cheap, be prepared to eat tons of it. Nothing we ate in Indonesia blew me away, but it was all good. It is so inexpensive you can order an obscene amount of it for what seems like nothing. If you're in to eating, Indonesia will fill you up.

One place we ate at near Bandung had an amazing atmosphere. All the tables are in little individual huts outside. The place was adorable, but not really worth eating at. I'd suggest checking it out to see what it looks like, but that's it. The food was probably the least impressive of anything I ate on the trip. There are also stray cats all around, which the waiters will kick if they get in the way. I cannot condone a place that lets their staff soccer kick cats.

YC says the name of the place is Kampong Daun.

Cute bungalows, not so cute cat-kicking. If I'd seen the kicking before we ate I would have demanded we leave.

By far the coolest thing, really the only awesome thing, was our side trip to Bandung and the sulfur lake at Kawah Putih. Bandung itself was not super impressive, but our hotel, the Padma Hotel, had a pretty great view.

The view from the hotel. Not too shabby.

The walls in the hotel were very thin though, you could hear everything in the hallway. The little restaurant in the hotel is quite good as well, they have a large selection of food. 

My favorite part of Indonesia was Kawak Putih. I thought I was going to die of carsickness of the way up, the roads are ridiculously convoluted, but it was worth it.

Being at the sulfur lake feels like you've stepped into a scifi or fantasy movie. The air is mostly hazy, obscuring your view after a couple of feet, except when the wind suddenly blows and you can see the whole lake and the mountains. The water is an unreal blue, with yellowish-green sulfur reside along the shore. The whole lake looks eerie and alien.

A rare moment when you could see across the lake. Also, check out all those visitors.

It is difficult to breathe at the lake, making staying there long unrealistic. Between the haze, the sulfur, and the altitude, most people either wear masks or cough the whole time. I'm a champ so I just manned it. (Read: I wanted to look good in pictures)

Most of my pictures in Indonesia are of this lake, because I loved it. Anything that makes me feel like I've been transported into a novel is fantastic. I definitely suggest visiting Kawah Putih if you're in Indonesia. Or you could visit a sulfur lake somewhere else, I am sure there are cool ones other places too.

Artsy feet shot with the sulfur reside along the shore.

Check that sexy mask out :P

Goofing off in the mist.

Doesn't this look like a picture from a fantasy movie?

Staring out over the lake.

I spent multiple days in Indonesia sick with the flu, so I missed out on visiting more places. Perhaps if I'd seen more of Indonesia I wouldn't have hated it quite so much. The sulfur lake definitely redeemed the country for me a bit, so perhaps the addition of some beaches would have won me over.

Maybe in the future I'll check out the famous Bali and change my mind about Indonesia, but for now I'm not keen to go back.

Plus immigration tried to steal my visa. I'll write a full post later on the trip to Indonesia from hell. It includes the joys of being sick on a plane and the sketchiest immigration ever, you've been warned.

For now: If you go to Indonesia, always check your passport to ensure everything is in order and that they've given your visa back.

Have you ever been to Indonesia? Were you unimpressed like I was? Or did you love it? Did you have any issues with immigration? How is Bali?


  1. There is also an active volcano, "Tangkuban Peharu" which was closed when we went there but definitely worth checking out. The outdoor themed restaurant we went to is called Kampong Daun, and our hotel was the Padma Hotel. :)

  2. Thanks for the additional info love! I really should stop relying on you to know the names of everywhere :P