Today we are traveling with Firsta from Discover Your Indonesia
My name is Firsta, and I am an Indonesian. My blog is about travelling around Indonesia. It is about practical tips, guide, lists and several stories of my journey around Indonesia.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
I am a flashpacker. I can travel backpacker style sometimes, but I am spending more money, and I don’t mind, in accommodation (I need to be in total comfort when it come to sleeping) and food. At the moment I am living, travelling and working from Bali. I spend my weekdays working as other people do and go for some little adventures or wander around on the weekend.
What’s inside your backpack? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry?
There are a lot of things in my backpack, such as my laptop, camera, clothes, etc, but I never forget to carry my sarong. It is a very useful item; you can use it as a scarf, a dress to put on after swimming or it can also be used as the base for the beach.
Why do you recommend us to go to Indonesia?
Why not? There is such diversity within the country. From the different cultures to the different environments, like the beaches and the mountains! The food is also delicious and the people are very kind (we do love to smile to a stranger!). What else do you need?
Which places more do you need to visit to complete the whole Indonesia?
You need to also remember that Indonesia is approximately 1/5 of Europe. The distance from the West part of Indonesia to the East part of Indonesia is even wider than the distance from the UK to Turkey.
I think I will never really be able to say that I am done exploring Indonesia. But yes, speaking of my own exploration, I have explored the East of Indonesia more than the West. I would love to visit Sumatra and Kalimantan in the future (I’ve been to both islands, but only a smart part).
Which one is your favorite dish? Which one you should recommend to someone who want to try local food?
So many tasty Indonesian dishes! I love Gudeg, it is a signature dish of Yogyakarta . The taste is so rich! Gudeg is made from young unripe jackfruit boiled for several hours with palm sugar, and coconut milk. Gudeg is usually served with steamed rice and chicken in coconut milk or telur pindang (boiled egg), with tofu (tahu) or tempe plus sambal goreng krecek (cow’s skin).
How many languages do you speak?
I grew up in Jakarta and we learned English and Bahasa Indonesia (our national language). I can understand and speak Javanese. I know several words in Sundanese, which is the language they speak around West Java for example Bandung, and I’m trying to learn a tiny bit of Balinese (it’s pretty similar to Javanese!).
Can you give me an itinerary? Which places can you recommend to me?
This is a difficult question! Every place has it own uniqueness. Ok, if I have to pick one itinerary for a month say here is my answer; I would suggest you start your journey from Jakarta (2-3 days, you can do a day trip to Bogor too!), continue to Yogyakarta (4 days), East Java (4 days), Bali, and then directly fly to Maumere, Flores, and do the road trip (overland) down from Maumere until Labuan Bajo.
The road trip will pass several interesting places. You can stop at Sikka (you can see woven fabric here with natural dye), Ende , Riung, Bajawa, Waerebo, and then on to Komodo island. The road trip should take around 8-12 days. After that you can go back to Bali and fly out via Bali.
In Bali you can stay in the South if you are up for partying and shopping. Stay in Ubud if you are looking for a place for yoga, it’s close to beautiful areas such as Batur and Jatiluwih. If you are looking for a calmer side of Bali, and up for diving or snorkeling, you can definitely stay in Candidasa or Amed. Or you can do it all (you’d have more than 7 days on the island)!
What’s the big reason why you are traveling?
I love to meet new people and explore places. I also like to travel and discover my own country (don’t get me wrong. I love to travel outside of Indonesia too). I like to listen to random stories from people that I just met during my travels. It fulfills and enriches me.
Can you tell us about your longest trip? How long was it and which places did you go to?
I never travel for a very long period of time. In 2014 I spent almost 2 months travelling and working remotely from Laos and Myanmar (I only spent like 13-14 days in Myanmar). No particular reason why I did that, I just had never been to Laos and Myanmar. I can’t remember about the budget though, I think I set up the budget max USD 50-75 per day.
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far? and why?
My trip to Bandaneira in May 2015 was definitely a highlight of this year. Why? Simply because the place is so lovely and the companions were just right… The islands of Bandaneira have been on my bucket list for a while and I am so happy that I finally ticked it off! The bonus was the food. It was just amazing! The grilled eggplant with Kenari-almond sauce, the nutmeg jam, the fresh grilled fish and much more!
What’s your favorite gastronomy/food cuisine that you had in your travels?
A friend of mine packed several portions of Nasi Kelapa for us on our trip from Ambon to Saparua Island, Indonesia. It is basically rice that is cooked with coconut milk. It is usually served with grilled fish and with shredded fried coconut. There is also a mixture of chili, garlic, red onion and also lemon (it has to be lemon cina). So if you have the chance to visit Ambon, don’t forget to try Nasi Kelapa at Tulehu port. So tasty!
Has there been any challenging and bad moments? Can you tell us about the experience?
Not really. The only annoying experience I had was when I gave my mobile number to an Ojek (motorbike taxi) driver in Buton Island, Indonesia. It was the easiest way to get in touch if I needed to get picked up or whenever I need transport, but after the trip finished he didn’t forget me easily. He sent several nasty text messages and tried to phone me up more than 10 times over several days. I blocked him in the end.
What has been you favorite destination on all the trips you’ve done? why?
The islands of Bandaneira were just the perfect. You can climb the volcano, you can go diving, snorkeling, explore old forts, observe the locals, eat a lot of tasty food (and fresh seafood), be lazy all day, visit several beaches, go for a spice tour and learn about the history.
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping?
Some friends and I went looking for lodging around Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta. There were not very many choices in the area that time and then we found this villa. The villa felt very strange, but we did not think too much about it. Then we found spiders, wasps, and also bats in the room. Even though we had checked in earlier we decided to leave.
What’s the best?
I am a big fan of Samabe Bali Suites and Villas. It is located in Nusa Dua, Bali. Not only was the setting amazing, but also the service was five star and the food delicious. This is one of the best places in Bali if you are planning a memorable holiday!
Are you planning for a new trip or do you already have a new trip in mind?
I have a best friend and we want to explore Nepal and India together in 2016. Fingers crossed!
Do you have any recommendations which blogger/traveller should I interview next?
I am not sure. What kind of blogger / traveller that you are interested in? 🙂
I personally like Samantha and Yeison blog: mytanfeet.com.
Great interview, thanks for your time Firsta!
Firsta’s been traveling around Indonesia for years. If you want to visit Indonesia follow her itinerary. You can find here a full guide to visit Indonesia. Places to visit, what to eat, where to sleep. The islands of Bandaneira sounds perfect place to visit in Indonesia. Don’t forget to try her favorite dishes when you visit Indonesia.
If you want to know more about Firsta from Discover Your Indonesia and her travels, check her website. If you are planning to go to Indonesia. You should take a look to her website. Feel free to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.