Indonesia is an archipelago of five major islands and over 17,000 more smaller ones. The most popular island for travelers and tourists alike is Bali. Most people aren’t aware that Bali is not it’s own country, rather one of Indo’s main five. Why is Bali so different? Long and difficult history short…when Islam was spreading across Asia, many of the Hindu priests and population escaped to the island of Bali for refuge. Today Hinduism is well and alive on the island and is part of the reason yogis flock to the island every year for over priced retreats. 

The rest of the Indonesian islands have a broad range of religion from Muslims to Christians. As these islands were along major trade routes, they went through waves of influence over the centuries. While Java is now mostly practicing Muslims, remains of Buddhism can be seen at the Borobudur Temple or the Eternal Blue Flame. Conversely,the call to prayer will be sure to wake you up for your morning surf sesh on the shores of Canggu, Bali. In the Aceh region of Sumatra you will find the Shia Muslims, yes still living under Sharia law (yikes.)


Smoking cigarettes is a major part of the Indo culture. Some of you may remember seeing the baby on the news who was addicted to cigarettes. It’s easy to see why when you’re riding through the poverty of the countryside with leaves of tobacco drying on every driveway, fence and rooftop. Tobacco is the staple keeping much of the economy going outside the cities. 

On a more happier note, Indo is imfamous in the surf world. It has been called the Disneyland of surfing. Surfers from all over the world flock to it’s shores to give it a go. Many tourist beaches in Bali have baby waves perfect for learning to ride.

They call Thailand the “Land of Smiles.” No. Java is the real land of smiles. Unlike places like Bali where the locals have become accustomed to tourists flocking in by the hundreds of thousands in the basic bitch rompers to send American amounts of dollars on food, this island has not seen tourism. Everywhere I went I was greeted with excitement and smiles. My white skin made me an instant celebrity and I was the star of many grinning happy excited Javanese of every age. The people are sweet, open and downright amazing. If there’s anywhere on this planet I would love to encourage people to go, it’s places like this beautiful island.  


Surf surf surf
Visit a temple
Tour a volcano
Scuba dive
Visit a coffee farm
See how tofu is made
Try local food
Tour the countryside via scooter

“spend time in the ocean”

“monks on holiday”


Accommodation – Indo accommodations are very affordable. You can find a hotel for under $15/night. Our air bnb in Borobudur, Java was under $15/night. It included wifi and the owner would shop the local market for us every morning and serve us the most amazing local breakfast made up of traditional foods of the region included in the price. In Bali I got a hotel hut for $11/night that included breakfast of homemade banana pancakes and fresh juice every morning. 

Food – In Bali you can find nice restaurants that cost as much as they do in the States. However, that’s not how I roll. In Bali I found a restaurant that I went to almost every day and spent about $5 on noodles and a fresh coconut. In Java I fell in love with the street food carts. It’s easy to eat cheap and goooooood in Indo.

Transportation – In my opinion, always go public. Not just to save a buck but to get the local experience. (Check out my post on riding the train in Java.) Renting a scooter cost us $7 for a 24 hour rental when we hiked Merbabu. There is Grab here as well. Bali is the only island Jordan got one of those taxi drivers that always loiter tourists as they get off the plane. (My accommodation sent a car to pick me up from the airport when I flew in.) His ride was more of a normal Uber price, but the driver and him became great friends and messaged each other on What’s App throughout the week we were there. 

Suggested daily budget – I’m no big spender, and it’s easy to live under $30/day in Bali and $20/day in Java. However there will be costs that get you, like my yoga membership in Bali added to my overall daily expenditure. 

must try food

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what to pack for your trip

Everything you need from practical to instaglam

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