Thirty days in Indonesia

We’re going to try not to say this at the end of each country, but we could have spent more time in Indonesia… Only because it’s so much bigger than we really appreciated and we imagine it has a lot to offer in it’s most far flung parts. As a place to cycle through, it was tough going, the terrain in places was super steep, it was dirty, mosquitoey, incredibly hot and in your face. On reflection, we’re glad we stuck to our 30 day Visa, as with the time in East Timor it was more than enough to get feel fully immersed, maybe too much so on occasions! 

It was undoubtedly much cheaper than Australia and New Zealand which was a relief, especially if you eat and stay where the locals stay. Before Lombok and Bali, we didn’t have much other choice anyway! Conversely, by the time you do hit the more westernised Islands, the relief is short lived and we were frustrated by the bloated cost of anything aimed at tourists - cue Luke’s aghast ‘we’re travellers not tourists monologue’!

We’d expected to struggle more with the food, but it was mostly delicious, spicy and veggie friendly. There was one occasion after a particularly tiring day when Flora was served a sizeable portion of chicken amongst her rice. Having negotiated the poultry she then discovered a large beetle (cooked) and burst into tears. We always ate the street food and didn’t get ill. We didn’t use our water purifier once, just bought bottled water. Un-food related, Luke did manage to get some antibiotics for a infection in particularly personal area, which had made for a hard few days riding.

Each island had it’s own personality and Flores especially was stunning. On the whole the people were very likeable - their constant desire to get your attention was endearing, but it could also be trying. We can’t be surprised though as we were often the only white people around, and we quite liked that. Being able to afford hotel rooms instead of camping was a new element to the tour, even if we did stay in some shockers. The littering was astonishing. We’d sum what we saw of Indonesia up as both fascinating and frustrating in equal measure. We’ll miss the black coffee, the bemo’s with their Jesus/Christiano Ronaldo/Britney Spears decals and the roadside nasi goreng stalls. We won’t miss the mosquitos, the 35º 9am heat or the mandi toilet odour, but suspect there is more of each of those to come!

Best food - gorengan (especially the fried tofu with noodles in) nasi goreng, pisang pancakes, road side corn on the cob.

No of insect bites - infinite

Unusable toilets - at least 3

Punctures - None, still only 4 for the trip!

Distance ridden - 1375km (7705km total)

Days ridden - 21 of 30

Cheapest room - IDR 80,000 (£3.92)

Most expensive room - IDR 275,000 (£13.49)

No of islands ridden across - 5 (of 18,307!)