First Impressions of Indonesia

When we arrive in a new country, those first few days are when we form our most vivid and extreme impressions. Sometimes those impressions are spot on, sometimes they are way off the mark, and sometimes they get completely changed through further exploration of the country.

First impressions of a country jump out at us in rapid succession before we’ve even been able to process the previous thought.

During my backpacking trip in Indonesia, these were a few of my first impressions. Some turned out to be a correct assessment of the country and some changed as time went on.

Stay tuned on the blog during this Destination of the Month: Indonesia to see which of my first impressions of Indonesia were spot on and which ones changed…

First impressions indonesia

  • Beer: The most common beer in Indonesia is Bintang. 4.7% alcohol. It is more available than I expected as all establishments serve it, even though I had read that it wouldn’t be served in many places due to Islamic regulations.
  • Street food: Amazing! Tasty, cheap, fresh. Love it so far.
  • Jakarta: Typical SE Asia capital. Like a cross between Bangkok and Hanoi: Organised chaos. Bangkok for good infrastructure, many motorbikes, state of the roads and tolls on main roads. Hanoi for street food style, people and ice served with beer. At least the beer is served cold to start with.
  • Entering Indonesia: All very smooth at CGK (Jakarta) airport. Visa papers and payment straightforward. Baggage collection, etc. no problem.
  • Money Exchange/ATM at CGK domestic terminal: Nightmare. Only one place to exchange foreign currency and that is at 1B and is outside. It is a bank and doesn’t open until 8am. ATM rarely works. I tried about six and didn’t manage to get any cash. The ATM only allows withdrawal of 2million IDR at a time – when it works.
  • Jakarta Airport (CGK): Domestic Terminal very nice. Walkways between gates are outside with balconies and gardens. Quite unusual for an airport. At CGK (and probably nationwide) can’t enter the airport without a flight ticket – just like in India. Here there is a waving gallery – so cute!
  • Mosquitoes: Many more mosquitoes in Jakarta than I imagined.
  • Airline food: Trigana Air gave us a little snack during the flight. It was a box with a carton of water, rice pancake and piece of sponge cake.
  • Cabin Crew: The cabin crew on domestic flights are all women. They wear extra-smart uniforms like they did in Europe twenty years ago.
  • Rainforest: Tanjung Puting National Park is clean and litter-free, including the river.

I know these are pretty random thoughts, but thoughts often are pretty random, aren’t they? Well, these are some of the things that I managed to jot down in just my first two days in the country. So when I say they are first impressions of Indonesia, I literally mean first impressions.

How did I do? Do you know Indonesia? What did I get right and what did I get wrong? And I did get some things wrong, because I can tell you right away that some of my impressions did change.

Did you ever have some odd first impressions of a country? Share them in the comments.

Click here for my first impression of Germany.

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

Filed Under: asiafeaturedIndonesiaJakartaJava

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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