Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 12 December 2010 • Opinion
Just a few years back I started to have this itch to explore the interesting and beautiful places of Indonesia. So I took almost any chance I got to travel here and there, especially the areas I’d never been to. The desire to experience – not just see – the diverse lives of the nation grew bigger and bigger as I saw more and more.
As I – along with Mumun and our she-who-must-not-be-named programmer – have committed to maintain this website and tell the whole wide world about what Indonesia has to offer other than the probably-false scoops you see on the news, I’ve come to realize something: Indonesia is a stranger to me. I know so little about this country. Sure I was born here, I grew up here, I’ve spent most of my life here, and I put “Indonesian” under Nationality in travel documents, but it doesn’t guarantee that I know about it more than a Lonely Planet book does.
I was amazed to see how tall trees of East Kalimantan forests really were. I was astonished to find that more Europeans have hiked the mountains of Sulawesi than us natives. I was surprised to learn that even the farmers/drivers of the remote Bada Valley – an area that even most Indonesians aren’t aware of – could access the notorious celebrity porn videos through their cellphones! And when I surf the net, I often read comprehensive stories and reviews about Bukit Lawang, Tanjung Puting, Komodo Island, Raja Ampat, Weh Island, Mentawai, and so many more places from foreigners. And these are places that I knew almost nothing about.
Photo: courtesy of Reno
In my defense I probably can say that, hey, traveling is not really an Indonesian thing. Just like how a friend of mine Indra Febriansyah – also a travel addict – once tweeted, “Who needs a vacation when you live among lush green paddy fields in a village?” Or something like that, I forgot the exact words. Well,.. excuses, excuses. But the fact remains, that the more I travel within Indonesia, the more I realize how little I know of it. Hence the constant craving of visiting the parts that I’ve never been before. The whole writing about my Indonesia travels has actually given me more knowledge and experiences than ever before. So, while I’m telling it to you, I’m actually finding out new stuff for myself as well. And I’m loving that.