Need a Fix? Get Local and Survive Indonesia!

Submitted by mumunmumun on 29 March 2011   •  Blog


Alright, so you’re far from home, you’re traveling, and you happen to be Indonesia. Welcome! It’s great to have you here! We hope you will enjoy your stay. We know most of the time it won’t be easy to survive Indonesia, this weird archipelago. Hey, we’re barely surviving it ourselves khehehe…! It is truly a country not for the faint hearted. But once you get to the core of it, and survived, you surely have had an experience of a lifetime!

Anyways, in order to help you survive traveling Indonesia a bit, here are some of our recommended items that can help you. These are local products that can help any of your international necessities. No, we were not paid by the companies that produced these items, we wish we were. We merely understand needs on the road that must be fulfilled. It’s hard to choose anything from the rack even if you are in an established supermarket, so we’ll try to help out a bit. And psstt…, they’re way cheaper than your own brand, which is considered imported here!

Travel Indonesia: Jakarta

You can get these items almost anywhere in the country being in nearest supermarket, store or warung. Rather than naming all, we chose our top 5, with extras. So shall we rundown this list of items, that could also help you get a taste of being a local?

1.     Autan, mosquito repellant! – Surviving our bugs  

This is the best pesticide, people! I think it is the first one to be applied on your skin. Kidding! It’s a bug repellant, and like any other repellant, you shouldn’t drink it. I’ve tested so many of thee products since mosquitoes always have the hots for me, and I tell you, Autan is the best. Although it’s intended for mosquitoes, its awesome powers clearly says it’s for all. It also helps repel sand flies (under a shorter time span), flies, and most tropical bugs. No guarantee for the land of Papua! And the liquid type is way much better than the lotion kind.

Travel Indonesia: Autan

2.     Kopi Kapal Api, local coffee! – Caffeine, dear God!

A cup of coffee doesn’t really cost much in Indonesia, but, sometimes it does taste funny. Usually Indonesians serve their coffee sweet. I mean really sweet, as in they would put in condense milk AND sugar to serve you a latte. Or sometimes it’s just to thin. So, why don’t you make your own? Kopi (coffee) Kapal Api is an old brand with a nice taste. A pack of it contains fine grinded coffee that you can mix according to your liking and just add hot water. Water from the dispenser would be fine. Now, this is called a kopi tubruk translating to colliding coffee, which means you might have to collide with the debris a bit. But after the first few sips, you’ll see that the coffee will settle on the bottom of your cup. Caffeine lovers, you will survive our country!

Travel Indonesia: Kopi Kapal Api

3.     Qtela, cassava chips! – Muchies

I could just recommend Pringles or Lays or Cheetos, and I’m sure you’ll be glad that we sell them here just to keep you company though the movie you’re watching for the night. But, what’s the fun in that? Let your taste buds have a joy at cassava chips. If you’ve never tried them, you should! There are 2 main brands of this chip. But I like Qtela better than the other, and this is merely just about taste. If you like a stronger rich taste, Qtela is for you. But if you like a more mild taste, then Kusuka is your choice! There’s not much to say about snacks, what is there to argue?!

Travel Indonesia: Qtela

4.     Indomie, instant noodles! – For the midnight hunger

I’ve mentioned about this in the snack blog (here), that people sell them everywhere even in the wee hours of the day. But if you happen to be in a hostel that has a kitchen, you’re hungry but you’re already in your pajamas, then you can pop yourself one of these babies! Indomie is my favorite instant noodle brand. They have a great taste which isn’t too strong. They come in so much tastes so you can’t really get bored with the one MSG taste of it khihihihihi… The best I think is the Indomie goreng (or fried noodle without having to fry it). Just follow the instructions on the pack, and you’ll never die hungry again!

Travel Indonesia: Indomie

5.     The Botol Sosro, bottled sweet tea! Dehydrated… must… have… liquid!

Now here is a local item that surely would make you Indonesian instantly, should you choose to love it. The Teh Botol Sosro is sweet tea in a bottle. Well, they have it in mini boxes now but it taste better from the bottle. It’s a good sugar shot while you’re on the road and happen to be hungry. It’s also a great drink on a hot day, if the bottle happened to cold. This drink used to be the beer of the sober. Everybody drank it! Until its competitors started to show and with various flavours, now people have a choice. But a lot of Indonesians are still faithful to this drink, and those abroad sometimes crave it. If you’re thirsty and want to know what we’re talking about, try one of these, and you’ll know what us locals like :D!

Travel Indonesia: Teh Botol Sosro

Now this last one, isn’t one of our favorites. Indohoy’s don’t smoke cigarettes and we don’t encourage it. But we get it if you need your nicotine. We really don’t get the taste, but we’ve been talking and seems like there’s something special about this one. So, we might as well suggest you this.

6.     A Mild Sampoerna, local cigarette! – For those nicotine junkies!

Sampoerna is one of Indonesia’s top cigarette brands. Why is it so special? Try to light it up, and in hale. Take notice that the cigarette crackles. Wonder? It’s clove! Indonesia cigarettes, especially those called kretek (from the sound it makes when you inhale), are known to add clove. It is said that it makes a unique taste, sound, thus experience. I know for sure Indonesians crave it when they’re abroad. When I visited a friend abroad, she threatened our friendship if I didn’t bring a huge pack with me. It really is a worse addiction than the usual nicotine buzz. But those that have tried this brand, will tell you, it sure is different from you’re usual smoke.

Travel Indonesia: Sampoerna, the kretek cigarrette

Pssttt… let me add to that, we have a brand called Dji Sam Soe, and it’s super heavy. People even think it’s weed (it’s not!). It takes about an hour to finish up, and your cheeks will be concave for a while. It’s so unique, some identify the smell of it as the smell of Indonesia :D.

So there you have it. Our top 5 items for your survival kit and an extra. If you need more recommendations, don’t hesitate to ask us. Anything for your enjoyable stay! (sheesh! I’m a constant commercial today huh?)

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