Heading to Indonesia and you’d like to meet up with some girls, right? OK. I’m going to tell you where to do that, exactly, for good times and short times, PLUS, I’m going to introduce where you and how you can meet real girls for genuine love and relationships.
I can’t do any of that without first introducing a little culture and some background of the country first. So, let’s go.
Indonesia is basically an archipelago, a collection of islands, totaling somewhere between 13,000 and 18,307 depending on who you talk too. Some 8,800 of those islands have been officially named.
The major islands are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, Bali, and New Guinea (Papua). Of those islands, Java is the most populous being home to over half the country’s 261 million inhabitants. Java is also home to the nation’s capital, Jakarta.
Indonesia is also a very culturally diverse place with over 300 ethnicities, what binds the country is perhaps two key things being faith with almost 90% of the people being Muslim and the national language, Bahasa Indonesian, being the common language across the country.
It surprises many that Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation, by numbers, in the world. Mostly it is a fairly relaxed, perhaps you could say westernized or western compatible, version of Islam barring Aceh which is an autonomous region of the country that practices Shari’a Law.
The main ethnicities are Javanese (45%), the Sundanese (14%), the Madurese (7.5%), and Coastal Malays (7.5%). The rest are Acehnese, Minangkabau, Balinese, Iban, Dayaks, Indonesian Chinese, and a host of others.
For the traveler, Ramadan is an important festival to take note of, and as you could guess, it is the most important date on the Indonesian calendar.
During the 30 days of Ramadan, many devout Muslims will fast from Sunrise to Sunset while travelers and non-muslims are not expected to fast, it is polite to not eat or drink in public during those sunlit hours. You’ll even find many restaurants and cafes are closed from sunrise to sunset. Towards the end of Ramadan is Idul Fitri, or Lebaran, when most people will take a week or two off from work to go home and visit family, a traditional practice known as Mudik.
An important point to note that all forms of nightlife businesses including nightclubs, bars, and even massage parlors will close at midnight with some not even opening at all during Ramadan. In Bali though, bars, clubs, and restaurants continue as normal during Ramadan.
Other holidays include Idul Adha (the sacrifice day), Isra Mi’raj Muhammad SAW, Hijra (Islamic new year), Maulid Muhammad SAW, Christmas Day, Ascension Day, Good Friday, the Hindu New Year of Nyepi (March-April), Imlek (Chinese New Year), Waisak (Buddha’s birthday), New Year (1 Jan) and Independence Day (17 Aug).
Meeting Genuine Girls in Indonesia
If you are looking start a life with an Indonesian girl should you find the miss right then you could look in bars, but, I would suggest the best girls in Indonesia won’t be found there.
Of course, you can let chance play it’s part and hope to meet a girl during your travels, and that happens, it happens a lot, particularly for outgoing guys. In this day and age, it’s far more likely that you will have a better chance of meeting a girl and perhaps meeting many, via online sites such as Indonesian Cupid where you can peruse profiles and chat online.
I recommend this for several reasons. One, you can start to understand a little about local Indonesian girls, learn some culture, and about the country. All Indonesians will be eager to share such info, in fact, thrilled. It’s a great chance for you to get up to speed before heading to the country, plus, have a few pre-established friends that you can visit along the way. And who knows what might happen from there.
As with any relationship, it goes slowly with tender steps.
The stages of dating are not dissimilar in Indonesian culture to that of western culture where you will have a stage of seeing each other, then a stage of getting to know each other which is called PDKT (pendekatan), and then meeting the family. This stage may last 6 months or more.
During those early stages, perhaps even before PDKT, it’s really wise to get a grasp on your girls’ cultural identity, and as I mentioned earlier, Indonesia is very diverse.
Also, importantly, is to understand her family culture. While she may present herself as a liberal easy going slightly western thinking person, you may find the family is strictly Islamic and may place certain expectations on you, or not approve of you at all.
Hooking up with Girls in Indonesia
The most popular places for single guys to visit in Indonesia are Denpasar and Kuta (Bali), Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and to a lesser extent Surabaya, Semarang, and Lombok.
For the short term traveler, there are a number of options but it is mostly unlikely to ‘hook up’ with a genuine local girl during a short visit. Girls are quite traditional, have a strong sense of family, and take relationships very slowly and carefully.
There is a contradiction to that ‘traditional’ nature, in that it’s not unusual for an Indonesian girl to have several boyfriends. It really depends how beautiful or popular she is, she may have a two or many more active interests on the go. She will be assessing different guys to see who is the better gentleman and who tickles her fancy.
That aside, she is on long-term path navigating her way to marriage. She won’t have time and wouldn’t want to upset the family by having a ‘fling’ with a ‘bule’ (white foreigner) or any foreigner for that matter unless he was marriage material.
But don’t despair, short-term visitors have many options for meeting girls in major cities of Indonesia. Surprisingly, it’s not culturally condoned to go and find a girl for sex, and that may happen at massage parlors, karaoke, bars, and nightclubs. These are not just services set up for crazy white people, you’ll see more Indonesian guys than anybody else. But, do also understand that prostitution is not legalized everywhere.
Hooking up in Bali
Kuta is where all the nightlife action is located and with all the westerners traveling here, there is a good chance you can find a girl without too much trouble. Everyone is here to party. As for local Balinese girls, slim chance, as most think that foreigners are disgusting drunks after years of watching Aussies getting wasted on the beach.
But, there are lots of girls from Java who head to the clubs of Bali to let their hair down and you being an exotic foreigner could mean that you are in the right place at the right time. The trick, don’t be shy and don’t ‘hit’ on them, be a gentleman, Bond-style if you like, but be natural.
Popular clubs for picking up girls in Bali are Skygarden, Engine Room, and Jenja. You’ll probably run into a few freelancing girls here, easy to spot, if she is confident and approaches you, then more than likely she is a freelancing girl looking to make a few dollars.
Failing that option, you’re far from out yet, it’s time to hit the girly bars on Jalan Legian street. The bars along this street are packed with girls employed by the bar to lure you in and buy drinks, and to buy the girls drinks and the girls get a cut of that. Buy the girl a drink if you like her, chat and if you get along, and negotiate an incentive, around 1-1.5 million IDR, you’ll be on your way.
Unsatisfied with that option you could head to the Kuta massage parlors along Jalan Legian street for a 2-hour massage with a happy ending. You could also try strolling Jalan Kayu Aya street in Seminyak.
Hooking up Jakarta
Central and South Jakarta is the safest place to start out and the best clubs here to meet girls are Skye (lounge bar), Cloud (lounge bar), Dragonfly, Jenja, Blowfish, and Immigrant. You will also find freelancers here too.
There are some beer bars, similar to girly bars in Bangkok which can be found on Jl. Falatehan I with D’s Place Bar being the most popular.
If you didn’t have any luck there, try heading to a spa. Some of these entertainment/massage venues are a cross between a hotel/spa/nightclub/brothel. Some suggested places are Terminal 2, Alexis Hotel bathhouse, Malioboro, Kings Cross, Travel Hotel, Sun City Luxury Spa, Fortune Spa, Delta Spa, and Sumo Spa. The rates for full service, so to speak, begin around 1 million IDR.
Some cultural do’s and dont’s in Indonesia
Never argue in public – Indonesians, like other Asian cultures, rarely raise their voices in public or publicly object to something. To raise your voice is quite a big deal, and this ties back into the concept of ‘face’ and ‘saving face’ which is akin how a person appears in the eyes of others. Raising your voice works two ways, it makes you look uneducated and uncultured and unable to express yourself civilly, and it also makes the other person look bad for possibly having done some wrong. Most things are always settled with calm, rational discussion and with a little give and take.
Don’t point – it’s a biggy, always use your open hand
Remove your shoes – before entering peoples homes and in certain places of temples.
No smelly feet – Don’t sit with your feet up with people able to see the souls of your feet as it’s considered rude, and very disgusting by some.
A light touch – handshakes for men and women are ok, but its a very light and loose touching of the palms. Women may also prefer to simply smile with and give a slight nod.
Shirt up – when visiting temples wear a shirt that covers the shoulders and upper arms. Shorts shouldn’t be too short and for women dresses or pants should cover the knees.
No kissy kissy – affection is rarely shown in public. Save it until you get home.
Mind the head – it’s considered offensive and while at home giving a boy a pat on the head may be a warm gesture, it’s very not so in Indonesia and other parts of Asia.
Top 5 foods to try in Indonesia
OK, can chase girls all day! Don’t miss the food in Indonesia, it’s delicious. Here are 5 must try’s;
Nasi Goreng – the famous local version of fried rice
Rendang – dry curry, usually with beef but sometimes with other meats.
Soto Betawi – a soup made with beef and milk.
Ketoprak – Ketoprak is one of Indonesian traditional food. It is a mix of bean-sprout, deep-fried tofu, onion, eggs with special peanut sauce.
Soto Mie / Soto Mee – noodles in a chicken or beef broth made of chicken or beef for soup and served with noodles and sliced offal, spring rolls, and vegetables.
But, also, don’t get sick. If you have lived in a western environment you probably have a pretty weak stomach bacteria whereas locals are highly developed and can tolerate food problems with ease. There’s plenty of info on the web, do your research. My tip is to take some Grape Seed Extract with you, and at the first sign of something dodgy, drop a bit to help ease whats coming. Other tips include keeping hyper-hydrated.