Archive for Featured

Driving trains in Indonesia

Unfortunately I couldn't really capture how packed the train was

Unfortunately I couldn't really capture how packed the train was

Well, I didn’t get to drive the train, but it was as close as I was ever going to get to driving a train. Coming back to Medan after a four day holiday in Indonesia, the buses and trains were packed. Now I have been to Japan and China so I thought that I would be fine traveling on a packed train, but Indonesians take it to a new level.

When the train pulled into the station, people ran to the doors that were already full. The people already on the train weren’t going to let anyone else on. We decided to wait for the next train in two hours time. A few minutes later after asking about the next train, a train driver who was driving just the engine back to Medan, asked if we wanted to ride with him, as long as we bought him and his staff some cigarettes.


It was better than waiting around for another two hours for a train that was more than likely going to be full too. I love trains, so it was a lot of fun riding with the driver and a couple of other passengers. Unfortunately there was only other seat, so we either had to stand for the three hour trip or sit on bits of cardboard.

The views of the countryside were much better than what you see when you go by bus. Some kids played “chicken” with the train jumping off the tracks at the last minute. My heart raced everytime as they only had to trip and it would be “bye-bye” as there is no way that locomotive would have been able to stop in time. There are also so many little crossings along the way that don’t have gates. The driver had his hand on the whistle most of the way. Fortunately, we didn’t hit anyone, but it was amazing to see how many people would try and beat the train rather than wait for a minute for the train to pass.




Comments (5)

Indonesia blog carnival

indonesia-blog-carnivalThe Indonesian blog community seems fairly small in comparison with some other countries. At the moment I am going through some of the great blogs written by expats living in Indonesia. Jakartass has some good links as well as the top 100 blog ranking by Indonesia Matters.

In an effort to build more of a community of Indonesian blogs I had started an Indonesian blog carnival, simply titled “Indonesia“.

Wikipedia describes as blog carnival as “a type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks to other blog articles on the particular topic.”

I am thinking of holding it monthly for now and would be happy for other people to host it on their blogs in coming months.

You can submit any blog post to the carnival, as long as it is related to Indonesia. Choose and article that you think will be most interesting. Submit it using this form.

Comments (2)

Lets trade links

link-exchangeIf you have an Indonesian related blog or website, lets trade links. Use the contact form to send us your details.

Leave a Comment

Write for us

indonesia-bloggerAre you interested in Indonesia and have something you would like to blog about? Please contact us if you are interested.

Comments (2)

Finding cheap accommodation in Indonesia

I have just moved to Indonesia and spent a bit of time looking for a place to live. I am staying in Medan, which is the third largest cities in Indonesia. Medan doesn’t have any large skyscrapers or apartment blocks, so I was wondering where I could find a decent place to live.

Having lived in Tokyo for many years, I am used to living in small apartments. My only requirements were a hot shower, western toilet, AC and some kind of internet access.

There are some big, beautiful homes here, but they are expensive and you would probably need to have a small staff to maintain the place. Fortunately wages are low here, so it wouldn’t be unusual for a wealthy family to have maids, a cook, driver, gardener…

There don’t seem to be any western style apartments here in Medan like other major cities. Then I found “kosts”, which I suppose translates as boarding house in English. I only looked at a couple of places which I found advertised in a local newspaper. I did spend some time searching on the internet, but could only find a place which was out of my budget.

The first place I looked at was a room in a large house, which was in a secure compound. The area was pretty nice with lots of greeenery and big western style houses. The room was 1.5 million rupiah a month (US$126). The room was furnished, but a little bit scruffy and didn’t have internet. The next place I looked at was a little more expensive at 2.2 million rupiah (US$185)indonesian-apartment a month, but included internet and cable television.

The 2.2 million includes all bills and they even have staff to do your laundry. It is just a single room, with attached bathroom, but it has been newly renovated. It also has hot water and air conditioning. I had a friend help me contact the owner, but it turns out he speaks fluent English and has relatives in Australia.

I really wonder if there is anywhere else in the world that you could rent such a room so cheaply.

Unfortunately, this picture is not my room, but somewhere I would like to live one day!

Comments (6)