Destinations: Indonesia

By Keoki Saguibo

When in Indonesia…

No matter how many times I go back to Indonesia, I always find good waves and great times. Sure, the ever-growing country seems to change its look with constant development, but the waves have stayed the same and you can still bank on getting the flawless lines and empty line-ups Indonesia provides.

As you travel farther from Bali’s surfing epicenter, (Uluwatu, Kuta, Canggu, Desert Point) and venture out to more remote locations, you’ll find better waves, a better crowd, and a better time in between it all, adding to your own travel story. Indonesia has a way of rewarding those who research a particular wave and commit to the mission of getting there. The payoff will keep you coming back for more.

Some advice for those traveling to the “Land of Lefts”: Do not overstay the 30-day visa; only drink bottled water; exchange your money at legit looking money changers; don’t be afraid to eat like a local.

If you stay longer than the 30-day tourist visa, you’ll be hit with a hefty fine when you decide to head back home. One way around this is to head out of the country for the day to neighboring Malaysia or Singapore. There you can get a new 30-day tourist visa, saving you money and sometimes time itself.

Drinking bottled water is a must as it tends to get very humid and drinking from the tap is not an option. There are chemicals in the water to make it safe for other uses (showering, doing dishes, hand washing) but drinking is not one of them. Still going all-natural with an environmentally friendly, electrolyte-filled coconut whenever possible is your best bet and costs the same as bottled water.

When it comes to changing your US dollars to Indonesian Rupiah, be sure to do so in places where rates don’t differ too much from surrounding money exchangers. If the rates offered seem too good to be true and are more favorable than the average, it’s a clear sign the business is trying to take advantage of under-informed travelers. Also, don’t forget to recount the money before you leave the shop!

And last but definitely not least, don’t be afraid to eat at the local warungs or small, beachside eateries. If you see a crowd of locals or tourists eating at a spot, that’s usually a good indicator that the food there will be good, cheap, and safe. “Bali belly” does exist, but I have found it to be more problematic in food from high-end restaurants rather than the locally-owned joints. Don’t be afraid to try the local foods, but still use your instincts as much as possible!


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