Indonesia – motorbike GS Dakar RTW overland adventure traveller

I loved my time in Indonesia. I love Indonesia.

Laying along the equator for over 5,000 km Indonesia is an archipelago comprising over 17,000 islands of which over 6,000 are inhabited, add a population of 252 million (4th most populated country in the world) of which 85% are Muslim with over 300 languages and you find one of the most interesting places in the world to explore.

Indonesia’s sits where the Pacific, Eurasian, and Australian tectonic plates converge which means there are about 150 active volcanoes, the volcanic ash and tropical climate are major contributors to the high agricultural fertility that has historically sustained the high population densities of Java and Bali, Java is the world’s most populous island.

Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism, Indonesia secured its independence after World War 2.

Bali is unlike the rest of Indonesia, 85% of the population is Hindu whereas it’s less than 2% in the rest of Indonesia and it also attracts over 1/3 rd of all Indonesia’s tourists. Parts of Bali are so commercial with McDonald’s everywhere it’s hard to know which country you are in! That said head away from the crowds and it’s beautiful.

I have no idea how travellers without a motorbike get to see and experience countries like Indonesia as only with the complete freedom a motorbike gives you to explore and see the ‘off the beaten track’ places can you see the real Indonesia. There are buses of course but they don’t go everywhere I’ve been for sure. I didn’t see any westerners in Sumatra, only a few in one place by the sea in Java, Bali of course is the exception.

I travelled 3,700 miles (6,000km) with my motorbike across 9 islands. I couldn’t start to guess how many volcanos & mountains I rode over, lakes I circumnavigated, jungles I passed through and beaches I stopped at by the bluest sea. How I loved my time in Indonesia. The people smiled wherever I went, where there wasn’t anywhere to get food and drink I was given it by wonderful smiling people.

Indonesia is so fertile with padi fields and crops being grown everywhere from the apron of the beaches to the terraces on the volcanoes and mountains.

On the heavily populated island of Java though riding a motorbike and crossing the road is dangerous and the air extremely polluted. Motorbike riders haven’t got a clue about road safety, I saw a few accidents which could have been avoided, be careful if you venture out there. So the busy roads on the main islands are a negative as are the cities, not one city on any island endeared itself to me. The nature, countryside, small towns and villages on the other hand are delightful and beautiful.

I love the Indonesian people but as 85% of the population are Muslim beer isn’t always available which doesn’t suit a beer drinking man like me. Mosques, yes mosques, they are everywhere and whilst very beautiful are always located next to the budget hotels I frequented which means I am always woken at about 5.30am!

I loved Indonesia so much, I’ve been saying for the last 9 months Pakistan was the most interesting place I’ve been to but now I’m not sure, Indonesia is completely different but equally interesting.

I loved my time in Indonesia. I love Indonesia. It’s all about the people.