I really loved Indonesia. I was able to visit three islands in two weeks: Java, Bali, and Nusa Lembongan. Even though I didn’t love the vibe in Kuta or the tedium of Padangbai, there is something special about Bali. Although it has its pros and cons, it is undeniably beautiful and there are good reasons why it’s so popular. I want to go back and visit Ubud, Amed, and other towns along the coast. I had a wonderful time in Java; there was so much to see and do. Nusa Lembongan was a perfect island paradise.
I LOVED Indonesian cuisine. Did you know that tempeh is from Indonesia? It is! It can be found anywhere and it’s way better than any tempeh I’ve ever had in the States. Fried tempe and tahu (tofu) is actually a very common street food. Then there’s the sambal, a spicy chill sauce that I put on everything I ate there. So good. One of the national dishes is called gado gado, which is tempeh, sautéed spinach, sprouts, and cucumber in a peanut sauce. It’s awesome and you can get it anywhere. Indo food is very veg friendly.
Finally, there’s the Indonesian people, who are so friendly and open. I previously mentioned Oscar, our hostel owner in Yogyakarta, who was the BEST hostel owner ever and just a really great guy (the hostel is called Ostic House, in case you’re wondering). The owners of Segara Beach Inn in Nusa Lembongan were also fabulous people: kind, warm, and helpful. And then there were the Kuta boys, who invited me into their circle and let me get a glimpse of the local life.
Indonesia is a fascinating country with so much to offer. Here are some fun facts about it:
- It is the world’s largest archipelago, with nearly 18,000 islands. More than half of them remain unnamed and 6000 are uninhabited by people. The country spans three time zones.
- It has the largest Muslim population in the world (85% of the population is Muslim). Muslim women in Indonesia do not need to cover their faces. They can also move freely, conduct business, and hold public posts.
- The island of Bali, however, is 84% Hindu.
- It is the 4th most populous country in the world (population: 250 million).
- There are 300 ethnic groups and 580 languages/dialects spoken across the country, although Bahasa (“Indonesian”) is the official language and is supposedly very easy to learn.
- There are approximately 400 active volcanoes, more than in any other country in the world.
- It has the world’s largest Buddhist temple (Borobudur – I went there! See my post “Off to Indonesia” for photos)
- Komodo Island is home to hundreds of komodo dragons.
- It is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world.
I really, really want to go back to Indo and explore the other islands.