A journey through Indonesia. Indonesia is a sprawling archipelago with over 13,000 islands and 10% of the world’s languages. It’s a land of immense diversity and cultures, making it an enchanting yet often overlooked destination for travelers. The book “Kopi Dulu: Caffeine-fueled Travels through Indonesia” chronicles a 15,000-kilometer journey across this wondrous nation by road, rail, boat, and foot.
Coffee First: A Way of Life
The title “Kopi Dulu” translates to “coffee first” in Bahasa Indonesia, symbolizing the unhurried hospitality found throughout the country. Indonesia’s rich culture revolves around the idea that not much happens without a preliminary “cup of Java.” The concept of “jam karet” or “rubber time” emphasizes slowing down, a stark contrast to the hyper-scheduled Western lifestyle.
Diverse Adventures in the Archipelago
The author’s Indonesian adventures have taken him to numerous iconic hotspots, such as Borobudur Temple, the Batak Highlands, and Komodo Island, along with lesser-known gems like Krakatoa, the Spice Islands, and Borneo. The country is a playground for exploring myth and reality, where encounters with “living dead” in Tana Toraja, trance-dancers in Bali, and dragon-besieged villagers in Komodo are common.
Exploring the Uncharted
To journey through Indonesia’s island nation, boats become an essential mode of transport. Indonesia’s traditional Sulawesi schooners, known as phinisi, take travelers through some of the remotest islands in the country. These ships bring the benefits of tourism to isolated communities without leaving a lasting impact, providing a unique way to explore paradise islands under full sail.
Adventures in Boats of All Kinds
From a luxurious 65-meter phinisi to traditional fishing boats and cargo vessels, the author explored Indonesia’s remote islands. Sailing the Komodo Islands and voyaging up the Kapuas River, the author’s travels were far from conventional. In the heart of Borneo, the Kapuas River represents Indonesia’s very own Amazon, offering jungle adventures and wildlife encounters.
Exploring Indonesia’s Biodiversity
Indonesia ranks as the world’s second most biodiverse country, with more mammal species than any other nation. The book narrates experiences from wildlife markets in North Sulawesi to Sumatra’s tiger reserves and Wakatobi’s marine preserves. It reminds us of the importance of conservation, with almost a quarter of Indonesia’s mammal species listed as “threatened.”
Warm Welcomes Across the Archipelago
Despite traveling the equivalent of a road trip from Seattle to Tierra del Fuego or from Paris to Bangkok, the author was met with warm welcomes in every community. Indonesia’s diverse culture and the spirit of “rubber time” make it a place where you’d happily embark on the journey all over again.