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Travel Guide > Asia > Indonesia

Indonesia Nightlife & Entertainment

  
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Tap water is generally not potable in Indonesia. Water or ice served to you in restaurants may have been purified and/or boiled (air minum or air putih), but do ask. Bottled water, usually known as Aqua after the best-known brand, is cheap and available everywhere, but check that the seal is intact.

Most hotels provide free drinking water because tap water is rarely potable. Do not use tap water for brushing your teeth. Also beware of ice which may not have been prepared with potable water or kept in hygienic conditions.
Quite a few Indonesians believe that cold drinks are unhealthy, so specify dingin when ordering if you prefer your water, bottled tea or beer cold, rather than at room temperature.

Juices

Fruit juices — jus for plain juice or es if served with ice — are popular with Indonesians and visitors alike, although the hygiene of the water used to make them can be dubious. In addition to the usual suspects, try jus alpokat, a surprisingly tasty drink made from avocados, often with some chocolate syrup poured in!

Coffee and tea

Indonesians drink both coffee (kopi) and tea (teh), at least as long as they have had vast quantities of sugar added in. An authentic cup of Java, known as kopi tubruk, is strong and sweet, but let the grounds settle to the bottom of the cup before you drink it. Last and least, no travel guide would be complete without mentioning the infamous kopi luwak, coffee made from beans which have been eaten, partially digested and excreted by the palm civet (luwak), but even in Indonesia this is an exotic delicacy costing upwards of Rp.200,000 (US$20) for a small pot of brew.
Tea (teh) is also quite popular, and the Coke-like glass bottles of the Tehbotol brand of sweet bottled jasmine tea are ubiquitous.

Jamu

The label jamu covers a vast range of local medicinal drinks for various diseases. Jamu are available in ready-to-drink form as well as in powder satchets or capsules. Most of them are bitter and drunk for the supposed effect, not the taste. Famous brands of jamu include Iboe, Sido Muncul, Jago, and Meneer; avoid buying jamu from the street as the water quality is dubious. Some well-known jamu include:

  • galian singset — weight reduction
  • beras kencur (from rice, sand ginger and brown sugar) — cough, fatigue
  • temulawak (from curcuma) — for liver disease
  • gula asem (from tamarind and brown sugar) — rich in vitamin C
  • kunyit asam (from tamarind, turmeric) — for skin care, canker sores

Traditional drinks

  • Wedang Serbat - made from star anise, cardamon, tamarind, ginger, and sugar. Wedang means "hot water".
  • Ronde - made from ginger, powdered glutinous rice, peanut, salt, sugar, food coloring additives.
  • Wedang Sekoteng - made from ginger, green pea, peanut, pomegranate, milk, sugar, salt and mixed with ronde (see above).
  • Bajigur - made from coffee, salt, brown sugar, cocount milk, sugar palm fruit, vanillin.
  • Bandrek - made from brown sugar, ginger, pandanus leaf, coconut meat, clove bud, salt, cinnamon, coffee.
  • Cinna-Ale - made from cinnamon, ginger, tamarind, sand ginger and 13 other spices.
  • Cendol/Dawet - made from rice flour, sago palm flour, pandanus leaf, salt, food coloring additives.
  • Talua Tea/Teh Telur (West Sumatra) - made from tea powder, raw egg, sugar and limau nipis.
  • Lidah Buaya Ice (West Kalimantan) - made from aloe vera, french basil, javanese black jelly, coconut milk, palm sugar, pandanus leaf, sugar.

Alcohol

Islam is the religion of the majority of Indonesians, but alcohol is widely available in most areas, especially in upscale restaurants and bars. Public displays of drunkenness, however, are strongly frowned upon and in the larger cities are likely to make you a victim of crime or get you arrested by police. Do not drive if you are drunk. The legal drinking age is 18.
In staunchly Islamic areas such as Aceh alcohol is banned and those caught with alcohol can be caned.
Indonesia's most popular tipple is Bintang beer (bir), a standard-issue lager available more or less everywhere, although the locals like theirs lukewarm. Other popular beers include Bali Hai and Anker. A can costs upward of Rp 5,000 in a supermarket and as much as Rp 50,000 in a fancy bar.

Wine is expensive and only available in expensive restaurants and bars in large hotels. Almost all of it is imported, but there are a few local vintners of varying quality on Bali.

Various traditional alcoholic drinks are also available:

  • Tuak: sugar palm wine (15% alcohol)
  • Brem: Balinese style sweet glutinous rice wine
  • Arak: the distilled version of tuak, up to 40%

Exercise some caution in choosing what and where to buy — homemade moonshine may contain all sorts of nasty impurities. In May 2009, 23 people, including four tourists, were killed by dodgy arak in Bali and Lombok.

Smoke

Many Indonesians smoke like chimneys and the concepts of "no smoking" and "second-hand smoke" have yet to make much headway in most of the country. Western-style cigarettes are known as rokok putih ("white smokes") but the cigarette of choice with a 92% market share is the ubiquitous kretek, a clove-laced cigarette that has become something of a national symbol and whose scent you will likely first encounter the moment you step out of the plane into the airport. Popular brands of kretek include Djarum, Gudang Garam, Bentoel and Sampoerna (Dji Sam Soe, 234). A pack of decent kretek will cost you on the order of Rp 9000. Note that the cheapest brands don't have filters!

Kretek are lower in nicotine but higher in tar than normal cigarettes; an unfiltered Dji Sam Soe has 39 mg tar and 2.3 mg nicotine. Most studies indicate that the overall health effects are roughly the same as for traditional western-style cigarettes.

Recently a ban on smoking has been instituted for public places in Jakarta. Anyone violating this ban can be fined up to US$ 5000. If you want to smoke check with the locals by asking: "Boleh merokok?".

Places to Go Out in Indonesia

Bar Piggys Bar
A smaller version of bagus pub but with live bands and open 24 hours a dayDirections80 metres west from legian st
 1 Fans, in Kuta
Bar Ku De Ta
Super-stylish bar-restaurant complex with two bars, restaurant seating indoors and beachside divans to laze on while the DJ spins an eclectic mix of music, new and old. Soft drinks from Rp 20,000, cocktails from Rp 70,000,... more
 1 Fans, in Seminyak
 
Café Bhineka Jaya Kopi Bali
An absolute must for coffee lovers. Indonesia produces some of the best coffee in the world and here you can order your favourite brew as well as buy the beans. Products include coffee from Central Java, Toraja from Sulawesi, Mandailing from Sumatra and of cours... more
in Denpasar
Bar The Bounty
Looks from the inside like a torn ship with several different areas including pool tables. The party starts everyday from 10PM but really gets going at midnight. Go here to get 'Fish Bowls'. Rough and ready and it gets very messy.Directions100 metres sou... more
in Kuta
 
Bar Eikon
Lounge bar which frequently has a decent cover band playing R&B fare.
in Kuta
Disco/Club The Engine Room
Small lounge bar and dance club. A little more sophisticated than some of the options on this street.Directionsopposite the Bounty
in Kuta
 
Disco/Club Mbargo
Large air-conditioned bar on two floors. Models are on tap to serve you drinks. Hosts regular fashion shows. A favourite with teenage Australian party kids of both sexes. Security is especially tight here.Directionsadjacent to the bomb memorial
in Kuta
Bar Vi Ai Pi
Lounge style bar and restaurant with nice breezy open upper level.Directionsopposite corner of Poppies II
in Kuta
 
Bar Alleycats
The busiest pre-club bar. Go here for their "Double Doubles"Directions80 metres west from legian st, behind twice bar
in Kuta
Bar Bagus Pub
Favourite drinking den of the dedicated aussie all day drinker. Great place to watch the world go by.Directions20 metres west from legian st
in Kuta
 
These are just 10 of 102 Places to Go Out in Indonesia. Show more.




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