I spent a month in Indonesia when I was travelling across Asia five years ago and I loved it. There is a real mix of true unchanged Indonesia and the areas that have been covered in Australian expats and tourists taking over.

Top lads!

I spent the majority of my time in Bali, though very little time in the tourist areas. I volunteered at the Bali Children’s Project in the centre of the island, where many had never seen a foreigner before. The stark contrast of just moving a few miles was shocking! I killed, cooked and ate a chicken, attended a Balinese funeral and enjoyed home cooked food with a local family while teaching kids in the nearby school. I loved the real Indonesia and hope to return to visit them one day.

KILLED IT

My favourite place so far in Indonesia has to be the Gili islands. They are three tiny islands just a short boat ride from Lombok, where there is no motorised transport and a very chilled atmosphere. Think bikes, horse and carts and lots of laid back travellers mixing seamlessly with the locals.

I spent a week on Gili Trewangan, the largest of the three islands (though you can still walk around it in less than an hour) and used the time to relax, drink cocktails with new friends and soak up the sun. There is some amazing snorkelling and diving to be done from Gili T too. It is a travellers dream and I can’t recommend it enough. Though I do wonder if it has changed in the last five years?

My brilliant group of tour guides

There are loads of parts I would like to visit but one near the top of my list is Palembang. Here is why:

  • The floating coffee shop – Palembang’s main feature is the river so you will find floating everything along the Musi river. I definitely fancy sipping a coffee in a floating cafe. Let’s hope I don’t get seasickness whilst aboard.
  • The floating market  – I love foreign markets and as Palembang doesn’t attract the same tourist crowds as parts of Bali do you are sure to pick up a bargain.
  • The Padi fields – what makes Indonesia, Indonesia is it’s many many padi fields. You don’t need to go far out of town to explore the fields or get some great shots from the sky when flying in.
  • The Kemaro Island Pagoda – the bright reds and elaborate colours make this a sight not to be missed.
  • Staying at the Fave Hotel Palembang. – I think I am passed my hostel and backpacker hut days and am more interested in a bit of luxury. This inner city hotel would be just the ticket. There are loads of great hotels in the city, just make sure you do your research to find the best deals!

A Balinese feast

Now please excuse me while I go and book a one way ticket back to Indonesia! Love this country and definitely need to return sooner rather than later!

Have you been to Indonesia? Got any recommendations?

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