Confession: I really disliked travelling in Indonesia.
Why? I have put it down to a number of factors.
1. I was travelling solo.
Indonesia (I can only speak for Bali and Lombok) is not a good place to travel solo. EVERYONE is travelling in a group, or as a couple. EVERYONE. The people who traveled solo (and liked it) – the ones I met anyway – were kinda weird.
Before I left Malaysia, I met a backpacker who had just come back from Sumatra. She said she had a great time, but only because she had been ‘adopted’ by some expats living there and shown around. Indonesia as a whole is just not very solo traveller friendly (as opposed to Thailand and Malaysia).
2. The constant harassment and scams.
It seemed like every Indonesian you saw was trying to sell you something, and would try to rip you off at the same time. About the only thing I didn’t need to haggle for was water and a meal at a restaurant. Still, they don’t put the full price of the meal/beverage on the menu – just write in tiny writing at the bottom of the menu “prices are subject to a 21% tax and service charge”. For crying out loud, can’t anyone just come out and be honest for a change?
3. Culture Shock?
I’d just come from Malaysia, where I’d had such a great time, all the people were so lovely and not trying to rip you off all the time. There weren’t people every five meters trying to offer you transport, and you can’t help wanting to scream at them ‘NO – EXACTLY WHAT I TOLD THE LAST 50 PEOPLE. IF I WANT A TAXI, I’LL ASK FOR ONE’. Except, you know, with more swearing involved. My mum reads these though, so you’ll just have imagine it.
4. False Expectations.
Surprisingly this probably annoyed me most in Ubud – probably because I’d had this whole ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ thing going on. Let me tell you – soooo far from the truth!