I’ve been chastised by my friends for choosing overseas destinations to travel. In my defense, however, I find many Indonesian destinations hard or too expensive to access and with improper infrastructure. Any thought on this?
I feel you. Roads in Indonesia are bad, public transportation is unreliable and has dodgy safety reputation. And then there are monopolies, inflated prices the local travel industry charges, and not to mention reverse discrimination where locals are treated badly by other locals (I'm looking at you, Bali).
Our government sure has plenty of work to be done if they want to boost tourism, and it's sad that every time there's talk about more tourists, they almost exclusively mean foreign tourists. With a growing middle class with itchy feet and money to spend, it's crazy that the government has not taken this seriously. After all, what is going to ultimately safe the economy is not cheap exports, but domestic consumption. But I digress.
Whenever holiday time approaches and I have to make a decision, obviously the first two primary considerations are budget and time. After those two, the game changer is the objective. Personally I don't want to have the same holiday over and over again, albeit in different geographical coordinates. This is going to get me banned in Miss Jinjing's circle of big-haired clients, but shopping is shopping, whether it's in Bangkok or Paris (unless, of course, it's Didier Ludot). So I mix it up a little. If I want nature, than some places in Indonesia are worth the investment. For city breaks, not so much.
For example: although, let's say, a 4-day trip to Singapore is comparable in price or even slightly cheaper to a 4-day trek in Jambi, I would choose the Jambi trek any day...if I want nature, animals, and so on and so forth. But if I want bright lights hedonism, Bangkok is more appealing than Jakarta.
And sometimes you do have to pay more for a more rugged, "authentic" (I hate this word) experience. Trekking in Kinabalu is pleasant and relatively cheaper but the experience is too sanitized. Having your local guide make a path with his machete as we go along, crawling on fallen trees and wading through swamps, is worth the more expensive price tag if you want the jungle experience.
At the end of the day, it's your holiday and what you want to get out of it, and not what others want you to have.
*Photo by WahyuS
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