About This Site

About East-Indonesia.info

                                                            

                                                             HOW (AND WHY) IT ALL STARTED

I first started answering travel questions about Indonesia on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum.
I quickly realized that many questions were quite repetitive: people asking where to go, how much to budget, what they can see in a certain amount of time, and of course that eternal favourite "Is it safe?".
Back in 2000-2002 the latter question was particularly commonly asked about Maluku and Papua.
My two favourite regions of the country were experiencing more than their share of the political upheavals that accompanied Indonesia's transition to democracy after the fall of president Soeharto, to the extent that most western governments used to advise against travelling there, and very few tourists actually visited these beautiful, if then somewhat troubles areas. Yet most parts of Maluku and Papua remained safe to visit right through those years and I thought the struggling local tourism industry still deserved getting at least a fraction of its former visitor numbers back.
So after a while, rather than answering the same questions again and again, I decided to compile some "tips" on where to go, what to see, how to get around and the like, accompanied by some photos and posted them on VirtualTourist.com. I could then simply refer people to look up the information they wanted there - if they could be bothered. Over the following years, I kept expanding the coverage of more remote areas in particular, and many people have commented on how useful they found these. Yet I have always felt that VT's own, predetermined way of spreading out "tips" on individual destinations on separate pages, and sprinkling them with lots of standardized stuff and of course the inevitable commercials, made my pages there rather cumbersome to navigate. Some less industrious readers often failed to actually find the pieces of information they were looking for, even if it was already there - somewhere.
So I had long been thinking of setting up my own, ad-free site in a manner that would make it easier to navigate, but my busy travelling or working-life meant I just never found the time to do so. That finally changed in the summer of 2009, when the current website was launched, containing most of the info already posted on VT, with hopefully useful extras such as the FAQ pages added.
As I keep travelling in the region, I will  keep adding new information and updating old stuff (including replacing old photos), so it should always be considered to be "under construction"!



                                                                      THE PURPOSE OF THIS SITE

The main purposes of this site remain the same as always: to provide independant travellers information about what Indonesia in general, and East Indonesia in particular have to offer.
Maluku and Papua have always been among the least-visited parts of Indonesia, and consequently have tended to receive relatively brief coverage in existing guidebooks.
I have tried to give both a fair overview of the more popular regions here, perhaps emphasizing their less-known aspects and attractions, but also to give at least some info on islands and regions which are very little-visited and about which correspondingly very little information exists elsewhere on the web.



                                                                           AND THE LIMITATIONS

There are some things this site is NOT intended to be:

~ An alternative to guidebooks

Authors of guidebooks, of which the choice for this country is currently practically limited to Lonely Planet's Indonesia guide, do have the means and motivations to collect and present you practical details I would never bother with.
These include things like phone numbers, actual rates for rooms and fares on transport, phone numbers and the like.
Apart from the fact that such info is hellishly boring to collect, these details keep changing all the time, and even if I added them once, they would quickly become outdated anyway.
I also found it unnecessary to give long lists of hotels and guesthouses, let alone restaurants for major towns and cities where there are plenty of options to choose from. You will find them once there yourself!
Eventually, I decided to provide some pictures and brief descriptions of accommodation options for some more popular places like Saparua or Kei, or of the only option(s) existing in a few remoter places like Galela or Nusalaut.
But if you really want the sort of info mentioned above, I warmly recommend investing the required amount to buy a guidebook - it will be money well spent. Note that you can even buy individual chapters of the LP Indonesia guide in downloadable PF format for pretty low prices these days.

~ A "Bible"

The info presented here is neither complete nor the absolute, indisputable truth!
In fact, it is only too natural that people's tastes and opinions differ. You may easily find that some places listed as "Main Attractions" were nothing special to you, while you may have loved some places or experiences I called "Tourist Traps".
And of course there remains plenty of scope for exploring off the beaten track and finding your own favourite spots.
That is, in my view, how travel should be!

~ A "Photographic Journey"

I am not a photography-freak, and in any case, visited many of the places covered before switching to digital photography.
You will no doubt recognize those photos that were scanned from older slides in a not-too-careful manner, and which should eventually be mostly replaced by better ones.
The emphasis of this site is meant to be providing information, so I actually consider pictures secondary to that!