My Trip to Indonesia

If you feel that it’s getting too cold here in Seoul and Korea in general and you think that you deserve a nice tropical week off from all the responsibilities and hard student life, then you should keep reading as I am going to tell you more about my recent trip to one of the best places in South East Asia. Indonesia is known to be a tropical paradise amongst many foreigners and people long to go there just to experience this exotic but at the same time friendly and welcoming culture. It takes about seven hours to get to the country’s capital city Jakarta, however the long journey is definitely worth it. Especially, if you are from Europe and you think that you are not going to visit Asia anytime soon after your exchange here in Korea.

There are plenty of travel opportunities when going to South East Asia. There are three flight companies that offer a direct flight from Incheon Airport to Jakarta – Asiana Airlines, Korean Air and Garuda Indonesia. I personally chose to fly with Asiana Airlines because they had the cheapest price (I paid about 480,000 KRW) but at the same time people recommend this airline saying that it is one of the best to choose when travelling in Asia because of the high standards of service and comfortable seats which is especially rewarding if you are tall like me.

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Firstly, many people tend to say that you must visit Bali which is probably the most famous tourist attraction site in Indonesia which is known for its magical beaches and a place to just sit back and relax. However, I decided that I want to see places that are not normally visited by most of the tourists. I decided that I want to stay in Jakarta and explore places near the capital city instead of going somewhere that has been designed and made for the convenience of the foreigners.

About three hours going by car from Jakarta there is a place called Anyer which is mostly known only by the Indonesians, more precisely Jakartians, themselves. Locals tend to go there to enjoy their holidays. Anyer is a really traditional place with various street food stalls and people selling fruits and vegetables just at the side of the main road. There are also plenty of traditional restaurants that offer mostly a wide variety of seafood and drinks. However, the reason why I wanted to visit Anyer is because it is one of the few places close to Jakarta that also has a beach that everyone is longing to see. The hotel I stayed in was called Sol Elite Marbella which is considered to be relatively cheap, but it had a great view to the beach and also the huge swimming pool just besides the hotel. You could also watch the fireworks and the fire show right from your balcony. Additionally, Indonesia’s oldest lighthouse is located close to this hotel.

Moreover, as already mentioned, Anyer was mostly visited by the local people, so do not hope that everyone will be able to speak English. However, at the restaurants they also offered and English menu. What I found interesting that people did not go swimming and enjoying the tropical water that much. People were more likely to sit by the beach or take a walk along it. As a European I was surprised especially after feeling how warm and relaxing the water was.

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I stayed in Anyer for two days. After that I decided to go back to Jakarta to do some sightseeing and observe the daily life of the Jakartians. The must see places are definitely the National Monument that symbolises fighting for freedom and on top of this monument is an artificial flame that is made from real gold. However, check the opening times as it’s not always open for the general public. While going to the National Monument, take a stroll through the city and look at the president’s palace that is definitely worth seeing if you are interested in foreign politics or if you just like seeing nice architecture. But make sure that you have transport available due to the fact that Jakarta is known for its lack of pavements and traffic that is not that sophisticatedly managed. Also the main Jakarta’s business district is located near the monument and the palace, so if you really want to see some astonishing skyscrapers then you should go and check the place out.

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Another place that you should visit while being in Jakarta is the Istiqlal Mosque. It is the biggest mosque in Jakarta and also the most prominent one. It is famous not only nationally but also internationally and many foreign guests visit this place on daily basis. Moreover, also the Indonesian president tends to do his Friday prayers in exactly this place. Of course due to this reason the security on Fridays is quite tight so you might want to find a different day to go there.

Indonesia also offers a wide range of shopping options and luckily most of them are cheap. If you want to buy some traditional clothing, Muslim clothing or nice, loose clothes in general, then it is worth visiting Thamrin City which is a huge shopping centre that sells traditional garments and jewellery. You can buy trousers there for only 7000KRW or the traditional batik clothes for not more than 20,000KRW. Because of the popularity of scarves in the country, they only cost about 2000KRW, so don’t miss a chance to broaden your wardrobe. Moreover, don’t be afraid to negotiate as many of the sellers have a good grasp of English.

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However, if you prefer more conventional shopping, then don’t worry, Jakarta has plenty of shopping malls that also offer western style clothing and stores that everyone is familiar with. Of course the prices are cheaper than in most places of the Western world. You should definitely visit the AEON Mall which is actually a Japanese brand. It does not only offer clothing but also has a good food court, cinema and other places to relax and spend some quality time. They also have Lotte Mall which of course is known to everyone who has been to Korea.

To my mind one of the best things about Indonesia is definitely the food. According to CNN the tastiest food in the world comes exactly from Indonesia, more specifically Padang. While you are visiting, don’t miss a chance to try rendang which at first will remind you of Indian curry but after eating it for a while you will understand why it has received this high nomination. I also recommend you to try the Indonesian barbeque – satay that can be made from either chicken or lamb. It’s cooked in their traditional sweet soy sauce – kecap that gives the food flavour that at first will seem unusual but after coming back to Korea you will be trying to find this flavour everywhere as it is unique in the best possible way. Moreover, let’s not forget about the most popular and well-known Indonesian foods – nasi goreng (fried rice) and mie goreng (fried noodles) which are by far my favourite dishes. They are also made using the sweet soy sauce and will only cost you pennies. Moreover, when talking about drinks, you should have a taste of cendol which is popular amongst Indonesians and also coconut juice sipped straight from the coconut itself. 

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Indonesia is definitely worth visiting not just because of the unusual nature, culture and surroundings but also because of the warm and friendly atmosphere. People might just start talking to you and asking questions. Don’t be afraid, it’s mostly their way of saying that you are welcome to visit their country and experience the unique and unforgettable culture.

 

Article by Zanda from the U.K.

 

Comments

  1. Actually, I’d be surprised if I ever meet any foreigner at Anyer.. Anw, this is a nicely written article.

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