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From beaches to mountains, from villages to megacities. This is the diverse face of Indonesia, where thinks look a little like what Earth should look like, and where sometimes you just feel like you’re on Mars (or at Shangri-La). It begs exploration, as it always ends up overlooked for destinations like Bali. So get off the beaten path and go west through Java; you won’t be disappointed. 

 

FOOD

 

Bali Buddha – Jl Jembawan 1; Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Although the ambience and menu are truly inspired at this vegan-friendly restaurant, the real deal falls flat: Awful tasting yogurt, drinks that although looked good on paper, tasted like watered down minute-maid juice, and some of orders never came. Skip this.

  

 

Warun Ibu Oka – Jalan Suweta; Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The suckling pig. I dream of suckling pig (ok, suckling is not a verb here). It almost melted in my mouth and it bursted with flavor. If I could make this description any less suggestive, then it wouldn’t do the food justice.

  

Ku De Ta – Jalan Laksmana; Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia

If David Burke was the executive chef, I wouldn’t be surprised. This is high-end dining in Bali at its finest. Our meal was $70 a person for 3 courses and 2 drinks each, so don’t expect prices to go down here simply because you’re not in America anymore.

 

Jl Malioboro Street Market; Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Simple and delicious, but what struck me was how they cooked the chicken in a nutty, almond flavor. Go check it out if you’re ever around.

 

 

HEALTH

Health Rating of Indonesia after 9 days…

  • # of bug bites: 1
  • # of Immodium used: 0
  • # of Pepto used: 0
  • # of Advil used: 0
  • # of antibiotics used: 0
  • # of total medication used: 0
  • Creams used: Sunscreen

Quality of healthcare: It is known that the healthcare quality of Indonesia is not yet up to international standards; foreign doctors are not yet allowed to work here so you’re left with local doctors, many of whom have to balance both working in a public running a clinic and a private practice.  Serious cases are usually rushed to Singapore or Australia, so pray that you don’t fall ill here.

Sanitary Conditions: Constant rains and flooding leaves stagnant pools of murky water on the streets everywhere, with kids running about barefoot and not caring about what they’re stepping into. A lot of bathrooms and public facilities leave a lot to be desired, so take care when you’re milling about. It’s definitely not the cleanest country on the planet.

 

 

MONEY

I got destroyed here: $500 USD in 9 days, which approximates to $65 USD/day. The goal was to spend no more than $40 USD/day.

Breakdown for 9 days: $300 spending + $120 lodging + $80 transportation

Goal: $40 USD/day

Spent: $65 USD/day

Result: TOTAL FAIL

 

LODGING

The Harmony Seminyak – Jl. Drupadi 234; Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia

Clean, new, and modernly designed, this is the ideal place you’d want to stay for cheap in Bali.

Price: $22 USD/night per person

Internet: Free internet cafe, slow connection

Other Amenities: Spacious lobby cafe, friendly staff, clean rooms.

 

Seminyak Paradiso – Jl. Abimanyu; Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia

We got moved here since The Harmony did not have room for us. What a letdown for the same price; the rooms were dirty (although big), bathrooms was gross, and the indoor spa was primitive at best.

Price: $22 USD/night per person

Internet: None

Other Amenities: Indoor Spa (not free)

 

Hotel Equator – 47 Jalan Pakis Arjosari; Surabaya, Indonesia

Don’t let the website or the price fool you…this is a gated compound with a bar in the middle of a swimming pool and suites that scream “4 star luxury hotel.” My first thought when I rolled in here: “WHY IS IT SO CHEAP?!” and “WHY AM I ONLY STAYING HERE FOR ONE NIGHT?”

Price: $18 USD/night per person

Internet: Free wi-fi, business center at $2.50 USD an hour, decent connection

Other Amenities: Free shoeshine, cheap arranged transportation to Gunung Bromo, swimming pool with bar, 2 restaurants

 

Forget it. You’ll never stay here.

The Palace – Yogyakarta, Indonesia

 

Forget it, don’t bother since I got to stay here because one of my high school friends, Naomi, used to live here.

Price: More than you can imagine

Internet: Free wi-fi

Other Amenities: Probably the best place you’ll ever stay in.

 

Bangka B&B – Jl. Bangka XI A no. 26; Jakarta, Indonesia

It’s pretty much a big nice house in the Jakarta suburbs that rents out its entire 2nd floor as a guesthouse to travelers. The staff are extremely friendly and the whole place is charming and homey. The only downside is that the location is at least an hour away from the city center, and given that Jakarta has the worst traffic jams on the planet, that might not be what you need.

Price: $15 USD/night per person

Internet: Free internet access…but slower than molasses.

Other Amenities: Friendly staff, free coffee & tea