Diving in Indonesia

Indonesia is one of hotspots in diving. From Bali to Sumatra and even the depths of the ocean near Jakarta, the archipelago is at your disposal when you need to find a different change of air and environment (literally). Many tourists go to Indonesia just to dive.

Diving is one of the most sought-after sports nowadays and a lot of people are more and more attracted to it.

It is therefore important to check and review the basic fundamentals in diving. Here are some tips gathered by Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours for you to use:

  1. Fine a reputable operator

The most important on your checklist is to find a reputable operator. Surf the net patiently and read other people’s comments on each operator. A reliable travel guidebook usually provides some recommended ones. It is better to trust your safety to someone who knows his way underwater than some fraud “instructor”.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the dive sites

Research as much information as possible on the dive sites in the location you’re planning to visit, whether they are current-affected, their seascapes (sandy slope, wall, etc.) water temperatures, marine lives, best times to dive, and so on.

  1. Know more about the coral reefs

Most Indonesia’s reefs are very rich and colorful, but they are also very fragile. Educate yourself about coral reefs, especially about the fact that they are living, breathing, animals that can easily be damaged even with a minor touch of fingertips, let alone and incidental blow of your fins.

  1. Practice taking a picture

You’d think taking pictures underwater is easy enough. Obviously, the weight and the current are far different below the sea than on land. At the very least, you should already master your buoyancy control skill before even thinking of taking an underwater camera.

  1. Check your Depth Regularly

The best sites in Indonesia, particularly in the east, are blessed with amazing visibility and sunlight that penetrates deep into the ocean. It is easy to be enchanted, thinking that you’re still in shallow while in fact you could already be too deep. Check your depth regularly.

Scuba diving is a scary thing for beginners. When you think about it, because of the change of environment, your body may be surprised and may go into all the survival mode instinct it got. A sudden underwater claustrophobia and vertigo may suddenly shock you as well. It is better to check all your options to enjoy a worth-it dive in the beautiful underwater experience in Indonesia.

The Real Cost in Traveling to Indonesia

When asked, so many foreigners who visited Asian countries have a lot of versions regarding the cost of things in each nation. Indonesia, like Malaysia had a lot of varying reviews from fellow travelers when I asked about the prices. Tourists should understand that the cost of things in these nations differ depending on the demand of the product in the place. For instance, rice in Jakarta City is a lot more costly than that in Candirejo Village. One thing is easy to agree on though: Indonesia is a big country and it isn’t that easy to get around.Financial travelers as members of Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours have listed the following pointers to help you in your expenses in the archipelago.

Transportation

First thing’s first. Indonesia can be really cheap or can be quite expensive depending on the transportation. There is a huge discrepancy between private, tourist transport and local transport. A private car can cost $100 one-way while a public bus cost $1.50 traveling the same distance. It is best to ask some local first and learn the basics of fares when going around.

If you are traveling in public, don’t let a tout sell you a ticket. Pay the attendant on the bus directly. Even if you’re dropped off outside of what appear to be ticket windows, they take a cut. Climb onto the bus that is going where you want to go, and you’ll be approached once the bus gets going by an attendant who will quote a price. Don’t be afraid to say,“mahal” (expensive) if it sounds astronomical. In general, a public, non-air-conditioned bus should not be more than a few dollars. Also be aware that many people smoke in Indonesia, and even enclosed busses will sometimes have smokers on board even if a cigarette smoking is already punishable by law. If you see a warning sign near you, don’t hesitate to get the attention of the smoker and point to the signage. This will stop him from smoking.

Accommodation

There were far fewer dorms available in Indonesia as compared to countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Naturally, for a solo traveler, this forces the costs to go up. Accommodation in Sumatra is cheapest if you are going alone. In Java, you may need to pay up to $15 at a guesthouse.

Food and Drink

This is where Indonesia became fabulously cheap. You can already eat a full meal for only a dollar. The way to do this is to find a warung which cater more to locals and serve local foods. Indonesian food is delicious, so why not eat local? It helps to know what a few of the items on the menu are before ordering, as they may not be listed in English and it’s possible the cook will not speak English.

Packing

Have you gotten tired of reading some packing tips which doesn’t just seem to work for you? Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, one of the longest running and most trusted traveling consultant online, may help you in your baggage issues:

1. Security and Safety in Details

Scan your passport, passport photos and paper tickets. Store this in your web based email account. You can also store the details of your emergency ‘lost card’ telephone numbers in your web based email account so you know who to contact if your credit card or ATM card is lost or stolen. This way, even if you lose everything, you have immediate access to all of your important information. You can even email the details page of your passport to the embassy or consulate when applying for a new one.

2. Split up your valuables

Split up your bank cards, cash, travelers’ cheques and credit cards as much as possible in different pockets, your bags and wallet when packing. In case you do get robbed, at least you won’t be strapped for cash. Make sure you do this before strolling in busy streets of Jakarta, Indonesia or Bangkok, Thailand as there are many pick-pocketers and scammers in these areas.

3. Use Nalgene or Small Bottles

Use nalgene/small bottles to pack toiletries and other small items. There are several sturdy and waterproof ones, with clear/see through ones being preferable. You can also use small bottles to repack shampoo or lotions so that you don’t have to always carry a big bottle with you. This is especially useful if you normally take these items in your carry-on luggage.

4. When Using Backpacks

When you are packing things into a backpack, place the lighter items at the bottom and the heavier ones on top. Your bag will feel lighter this way as the pack rests on your lower back. It is also smart to place the things you use the most on top. Dirty clothes are perfect to pack at the bottom of a backpack.

5. Clothes

Pack only what you know you will use and if you are travelling for more than three weeks, plan to wash on the road. You can cut back on the number of clothes items by packing multi-purpose clothing, for example items that can both be worn during the day and as sleepwear.

6. Local Tourism Offices

The best source of information is usually local. Check out Tourism Offices to find unbiased feedback on the best accommodation to suit your needs. Exercise caution and make sure you know the warning signs in each country.

Traveling Jakarta

Traveling Jakarta

Being in Jakarta, you have to stay a week or two to fully understand and see the whole of the city. Despite it being one of the buzzing busy streets in Indonesia, there are also a lot of sights to visit to experience the culture of one of the archipelagos of the Asia.

Let Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours guide you in a visit to Jakarta.

Where to Go:

Ncol Dreamland / Dream Park (Taman Impian Jaya Ancol)

If you are looking for a break from the rough and tough, Ancol Dreamland could be your dream place. It is open for 24 hours with amusement park – Fantasy World (Dunia Fantasi (dufan)), Atlantis Water Adventure, Ocean Dream Samudra (pentas lumba) for animal shows, Seaworld, beaches (pantai), Art Market (pasar seni), golf range, bowling, Ocean Eco Park, gondola, Hailai club, art academy, paintball and wakeboarding.

National Museum

Being two centuries old, National Museum of Indonesia (musium nasional) is an icon that you must visit. You can review all your history and culture by visiting the museum. It is located at Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat in center of Jakarta city and it is an archeological, historical, ethnological, and geographical museum. Jakarta’s national museum is well known as Elephant Building (gedung gajah) because of the elephant statue there.

National Gallery

National Gallery is a combination of museum and art gallery in Jakarta, where you can enjoy culture, history and visual arts.

Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Theater)

Built during the Dutch colonial period, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta is a concert hall in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is situated close to the Istiqlal Mosque and the Jakarta Cathedral. 

What to Do:

Shopping In Jakarta

If shopping is your thing, Jakarta offers a lot from high end to budget shopping from malls to markets. Recommended Shopping malls or shopping centers or markets in Jakarta:

  • Plaza Indonesia of FX Mall – designer goods
  • Grand Indonesia
  • Mangga Dua – cheap yet quality imitation goods
  • Blok M – shoes, clothes, bags
  • Pasar Ikan – souvenirs and household items

Eat

Jakarta is not only rich in culture but also in food and delicious delicacies. You must try local Sundanese food in Pondok Laguna. This place is popular with the locals and also travelers alike, so you may find it really pack during peak hours like lunch and dinner. You might be encountering a thief or scammer along the way though, so you have to keep watch on your belongings while eating.

Nightlife

For nightlife you can go to the many clubs and bars in Jakarta. There are places like Kemang for the younger but dynamic crowds in Jakarta clubbing scene or cafes like Ecobar. It is one of the coolest place to party in Jakarta and the club are trendier yet affordable. Or you can go to the more famous traveler street Jalan Jaksa for some choices of bars, clubs and cafe, the better reason to party here is there are more food choices.

 

 

Couch Surfing in Jakarta

I have never tried couch surfing before but on the first time that I did, I immediately want to do it again but my finances are a little tight so I still have to wait a year. Wonder where I went? For my first travel, it was in Jakarta, Indonesia. The next one? Still, Jakarta, Indonesia.

I know that you are now scratching your head and asking yourself why in the world would I spend my hard-earned money to a place I have been before when there are a lot of possible places cheaper? I will tell you why.

I have first seen Jakarta in an article in Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours. After reading some blogs about it, I decided it would be worth a try to visit the country and experience for myself how it is. A friend of mine suggested trying couchsurfing.com to get a host to tour me around the city. A couple was kind enough to invite me to their place. So I pack my bags and made sure my savings for a personal vacation was secured in my pockets and booked a flight to Jakarta.

The humid air greeted me but it wasn’t really a bother since I am too excited and all I can see are beautiful and wonderful things ahead. My hosts even fetched me from the airport and drove me around the city. Melanie and Robert were so kind that I fell in love with them immediately. They have work the next day but offered to take a leave to tour me around but I was determined to know the city for myself and waived their hassle aside. After more convincing that I can make it on my own, they finally agreed but not without a warning of what I might experience in the city. I thanked them for their kind hearts and ate and slept in their warm and humble home (I even got a room with a nice veranda overlooking the city with the starry sky. No other luxury than that).

The next day, I was invited to a karaoke by my hosts’ neighbors and before I set off for my city adventure, I first sang some songs for them with my golden voice, of course. We were laughing so hard that I set off with a smile on my lips. I later learned that Karaoke is a part of every Asian culture.

I went to museums, religious and cultural lessons and mosque. I also participated in Muslim prayers while in the middle of the highway (FYI: Indonesia has the biggest number of Muslims around the world).

Batik Friday was another cultural highlight. Hitting up mall after mall, I have this instant mission to find the perfect batik dress as souvenir. I reviewed every stall that has it and brought three best batik dresses that I can find. To end my day, I also went to a famous spa in the city proper and while bathing, I swore to myself to come back again.