One of the reasons Australia’s continued love affair with Indonesia is that Indonesia offers Aussies a unique cultural experience without the 17 hours it takes to get to Europe for example. We Aussies sometimes see we have it hard holiday-wise. Sure, the country is an amazing mixture of tropical weather, architecture and culture. So, you can forgive non-Australians for not feeling too sorry for us! Still, stay-cationing only goes so far because families want to experience new things. But, unless you fly to New Zealand, again, it’s difficult to find a place worth visiting that isn’t 12+ hours away.
Step forward Indonesia, the jewel of Southeast Asia. For years, disgruntled Aussies have been setting up camp in the country with great success. Some of the locals even speak with an accent now! Still, you would imagine Australians would get bored holidaying in Indonesia every year. However, you would be wrong.
In 2016, Bali welcomed 4.6 million tourists to the island, an increase of 15%. Of the tourism in 2016, 23% of it was accounted for by Australian men, women and children. Only China comes a close second with 20%. It’s clear we do and never will stop loving Indonesia, but why?
Flight Time To Indonesia
Flying anywhere when you live on the east coast is hard work. And, Indonesia isn’t exactly a stone’s throw away from the airport. At 6 hours from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, a European could reach a different continent! However, we are not in Europe and 6 hours on a plane is a relatively short amount of time. To get anywhere as exotic as an east coaster, you would have to double the flight time to 12 hours. For a two-week holiday, half a day on a plane is pretty pointless. The lucky son’s of guns on the west have it even better. From Perth or Darwin, Bali is less than 4 hours away by plane. Just imagine flying four hours and leaving the country! Because of the duration of the flight, it’s hard to book a holiday anywhere else.
Not New Zealand
Okay, inhabitants of Sydney and Melbourne can fly to certain parts of New Zealand in a short space of time. Hopefully, our Kiwi brothers and sisters don’t take this to heart because it’s a wonderful, beautiful country. However, it can get samey for one simple reason: NZ and Australia are almost the same! It may be a different country, but the culture is a replica of the one most of us would find back home. Also, the cities have a similar format and vibe. Some places, such as Queenstown, have a perfect mixture of atmosphere and activities. Still, a skiing vacation is expensive and cold! Indonesia is a totally different country which resembles Southeast Asia and not Australia and Oceania.
Bali is akin to Benidorm in Spain. Because it’s close-by, Brits descend on the place looking for cheap beer and a good time. There is no argument that Bali isn’t the same. What with the footy and the Aussie Rules on the TVs at bars, it’s like being at home. Bali is just one island, though, in a whole host of them which have lots to offer. Java is home to Jakarta, the capital and a sprawling megalopolis. Sumatra is one of the biggest islands in the world and hosts jungles and all their inhabitants. Seriously, tigers are not uncommon in Sumatra and neither are chimpanzees. Last but by no means least, there is Kalimantan which is the Indonesian part of Borneo. They are three examples of the different activities without mentioning Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste. Australians are in a rut regarding Bali because it’s comfy and familiar. However, the people among us who are willing to take a risk will find an amazement of riches. And, it’s less than 10 hours away by plane.
Although some people hate the fact Bali is like home; others think it’s fantastic. They love going on holiday and watching the same sports, eating the same people, and talking to people with the same accents. Why? It’s because change scares people as it is unpredictable. At least when you land in Denpasar and Kuta is down the road, you know what to expect. In some ways, that is an excellent attribute as vacations should be cosy and relaxing. Walking around in the hustle and bustle of a major city is a buzz, but it’s tiring. Anyone who has been to New York will know bedtime is around 9pm at night! Seen as most people are looking for a getaway from the rigours of life, Bali is the perfect location. Just be careful not to stay too long or else the feature you love may turn into a nightmare.
Let’s face it – money makes the world spin. There is no shame in admitting that you want an exotic yet affordable holiday. As a family man or woman, the finances have to come first. After all, you still have to pay the bills when you land! Indonesia, then, is a favourite of Australians because the disparity between their costs and ours is massive. When you factor in the wages, the cost of living is pretty cheap. In fact, it’s dirt cheap and it’s the same everywhere you go. Bali has beachfront properties which you can rent for a couple of hundred dollars? Jakarta has the same according to https://rumahdijual.com/jakarta-selatan/apartemen-murah. Oh, Borneo has hotels in the heart of the jungle? So does Sumatra when you glance at the listings on https://www.booking.com/region/id/sumatra.en-gb.html. “We get it – accommodation is cheap, but what about everything else?” Well, restaurants charge on average $5 to $10 less per meal, which is a significant saving. And, you can cut costs even further by shopping at a supermarket and cooking. From public transport to taxis and the price of beer, there isn’t much which is pricey in Indonesia.
Foreigners look at Aussies and think we only visit Indonesia to drink and eat. Sure, they are two excellent reasons to hop on a plane, but we do have some culture people! In fact, of the 23% of Australian tourists who visit the country, more than half say they tend to see the sights. Sitting on the beach is fantastic yet it isn’t different to a Saturday on Coogee or Manly beach. Indonesia has a wide-range of attractions which are as appealing as they are breathtaking. To begin with, there are the nature reserves which are home to the continent’s endangered and exotic animals. Yep, it is possible to do a Jane Goodman and spend time in the wild with Great Apes. If nature isn’t your thing, Java has dozens of active and accessible volcanoes. Ijen, in particular, is an experience you won’t forget when the sulphur mixes with lava and creates a blue flame. Of course, the number one sight for the majority of visitors is a Komodo dragon. Komodo is a small island off the coast of Bali and is the only place on the planet where they exist.
Health And Well-Being
One stereotype Australians can live with is our penchant for sports. People around the world think we like to stay fit, and they are right. Come on, there is nothing better than a morning run or a frolic in the waves before starting the day. Sadly, not all countries in the world feel the same way, but Indonesia is an exception. For starters, it is home to some of the best surf spots in the world. Every year, surfing enthusiasts jet off to Padang on the Sumatran coast to tackle waves which are 7 to 8 feet tall. There are even places such as Krui that are not well known but perfect for a surfing vacation. Anyone who wants to avoid the man-eating sharks and stay fit can do with a spot of yoga. Ubud is a yoga hotspot which has dozens of retreats and programs and welcomes all tourists. Don’t worry if you have no idea what you are doing because there is a great guide on https://www.neverendingvoyage.com/yoga-ubud-bali. Oh, and don’t forget about the trekking and hiking trails!
The locals have every right to be angry. All year round, Aussies fly into the country and take over. Their once picture perfect home is now a tourist attraction which has sold its soul. However, the people are not bitter or angry whatsoever. In fact, they are happy to welcome tourists into their country as long as they play by the rules. Yes, some people ruin it for the others by being drunk and disorderly or dabbling with drugs. Still, the locals seem to accept it is only a select few who don’t represent the majority. As a result, there is never any tension for Australians or tourists from other countries. They are polite, funny, and always have a smile on their face. Sure, they get paid, but the locals could still put up barriers. The fact they don’t makes it appealing.
When you take a look at above, it’s easy to see Australia’s love affair with Indonesia will continue for decades.