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Blocked Websites in Indonesia and How to Unblock Them

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I often receive emails from readers complaining about the internet in Indonesia. In particular, they hate the censorship that makes thousands of websites unavailable.

Websites are blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in Indonesia, following orders from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies (Kementrian Komunikasi dan Informatika). The ban is part of the "Safe Internet" initiative whose idea is to protect Indonesian users from visiting websites that do not follow the "moral, ethics and spirit" of the nation.

As of 2017, there are a total of 769 814 blocked websites in Indonesia. Naturally, I cannot list all of them here, but I will give you the most famous.

How to Unblock Any Website in Indonesia?

Using a VPN
If you want to be able to surf on any website in Indonesia, my recommendation is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). It is a small and discreet software that you install on your phone and your computer, and then you just turn it on any time you visit sensitive websites (or you always leave it on).

You can also read my article Best VPNs for Indonesia for more detailed information.

The main benefit of a VPN (compared with a Proxy, an alternative to unblocking sites) is that you are guaranteed total anonymity. Your internet provider, the government, your boss, your landlord, or anybody who can have access to your connection information will have no way of knowing which websites you've visited, if you've gambled, if you've watched porn, or if you've downloaded movies. That's nice isn't it?

Free VPNs exist (for instance Hola.org) but they always have a limited bandwidth. It means that if you want to watch a movie, it will load very slowly, even if you have a high-speed connection.

I've used 5 VPN brands in the past 2 years. Most offer a free trial for 1 month (or up to 3 months for Golden Frog) so I like to change once in a while.

The one I currently use is ExpressVPN (I'm still on free trial period but if you subscribe, I'll get an extra 30 days free). I use internet maybe 5-6 hours a day and I never turn it off. Since 2 weeks, there hasn't been any website I couldn't open. I can watch videos, sometimes while downloading torrents, and I don't notice any differences in speed. I can also use it to watch Netflix US (for that you just need to connect to their American servers).

Actually, since Netflix started blocking some VPNs, I only use the ones that are compatible (that's why I switched from Hide My Ass to NordVPN (and now ExpressVPN).

Pricing ExpressVPN:
1 Month = 12.95$
6-Month Plan = 9.99$ per month
12-Month Plan = 8.32 per month

Pricing for NordVPN:
1 Month Plan: 12$/month
1 Year Plan: 6.58$/month
2 Year Plan: 4$ per month

See more options: Best VPNs for Indonesia.

List of Blocked Websites in Indonesia

Websites with Pornography:
766,633 "porn" sites are blocked by the Indonesian government as of February 2017. That's a huge number and it also includes sites with only mild nudity, erotic literature and sex-ed.

Generalist porn sites:
- XVideos
- YouPorn
- Porn Hub
- XHamster
- XNXX
- RedTube
- YouJizz
- Tube8
- Video-One
- TXXX
- VirginPornTube
- SpankBang
- XXXMomTube
- Watch8X
- AlohaTube
- Gandalfporn
- FUQ
- Xonline.tv
- Top1Porn

Hentai and Manga Websites (probably to protect younger people and teenagers):
- Mangafox (Actually not a porn site but some albums might be considered erotic)
- KissManga (Most mangas are normal but it has an adult section)
- DMM
- MyReadingManga
- E-Hentai
- Nhentai
- Fakku
- Pururin
- Donmai.us
- Hitomi.la
- HentaiHaven
- HentaiBox
- Hentai2read
- Javhihi
- Javcl

JAV (Japanese Adult Videos)
- Javfor.me
- Jav68.me
- JavGo.me
- JapanesePornTube
- Javlibrary.com
- Javhub.net
- JavPlay

Torrent, Sharing, P2P,  Download Sites
- KAT.cr, Kat.how and all Kickass Torrents mirror sites
- KumpulBagi
- thepiratebay.org
- Extratorrent
- Openload.co
- RarBG.to
- YTS.ag (YiFy Torrent movies)
- Isohunt

Video Streaming Site:
- Vimeo (Not a porn site but some videos have erotic content)
- Viki
- Dramafever
- Ganool
- Kshowonline (Korean streaming site - sometimes restricted)
- Netflix (blocked by Telkom only, probably because it competes with their own service, Iflix)
- 123movies
- CinemaIndo
- Bigo Live

Erotic Cams
- Chaturbate
- Bongacams
- SexCamly
- Camfor
- LiveJasmin

Sex Forums
- Internationalsexguide.com
- Semprot and Semprotku
- BintangMawar.net

Adult Content
- Uzone (Magazine that talks about sexuality in Indonesian)

Controversial social media sites
- Omegle (chat room to meet random foreigners)
- AdultFriendFinder

Gay Porn, Gay Dating, Gay Apps
- Grindr
- GROWLr
- JAck'd
- BoyAhoy
- Blued
- Hornet
- Adam4Adam
- Romeo
- GayPark
- VGL
- Scruff
- Guyz
- Gay Dating
- Surge
- Krave
- Gaydar
- Gay Times
- Maleforce
- Gay Cities

Drug-related and "Digital drugs" Websites
Many of the websites forbidden for drug-related content promote or offer i-doser applications. If you are not familiar with them, they are used to play sounds/music that are rumored to make their listeners high (you need a dedicated binaural headset for that).

Some of the blocked websites are:
- i-doser.com
- idosersoftware.com
- idoseraudio.com
- istoner.com

Radicalism, Hate Speech and Fake News Websites (Hoax)
There are almost 300 websites blocked in this category. Many are websites promoting Wahhabism, the Islamic state or conspiracy theories. There was a controversy as many of those sites were censored a few months before the 2017 Gubernatorial election. Some suspected that anti-Ahok sites were the main target.

Some of the most famous blocked sites in this category are:
- arrahmah.com
- eramuslim.com
- kiblat.net
- voa-islam.com
- islampos.com 
- suaranews.com 
- izzamedia.com 
- suara-islam.com
- smstauhiid.com (website of AA Gym)
- pos-metro.com
- nusanews (reformed as IDnusa to avoid censorship)

Fraudulent Investment and E-Commerce Websites
576 websites were blocked for fraud in 2017. Mostly, they feature fake products, investment scams, pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, etc.

The closure is sometimes followed by a police investigation and arrests. This was the case with the Dream for Freedom website (D4F, taken down since) and the fake Djakarta Warehouse Project website that I mentioned on my DWP guide (also shut down since).

Gambling, Lottery and Betting Sites
After porn, these represent the largest number of banned sites (2,120). Casinos are strictly illegal in Indonesia, yet many of its citizens love gambling. It isn't surprising that to avoid being fined, they've quickly switched to the online world.

Generalist sites:
- IBCBet.com
- Asia77.com
- SBC168.com
- MaxBet.com
- Comeon.com

Poker Sites:
- IonCasino Poker
- PartyPoker
- PokerStars

Casinos:
- Ion777.com

Lottery:
- Kungfu4d
- Istana Impian 1 and 2

Sport Bets:
- Sbobet.com

20 Best Luxury Yachts to Cruise Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago with over 17,000 islands, yet most tourists only visit the overcrowded and saturated island of Bali.

Until recently, it was still difficult to access some of the most remote parts of Indonesia. It required using local transports which, while adventurous, often turned out to be unsafe, uncomfortable, and inconvenient in terms of schedule. If you are on a budget, you can still travel this way and enjoy a truly unique experience.

A much nicer alternative is to book a luxury cruise, or even to charter an entire boat and its crew. There are now several ships operating in Indonesia offering liveaboard experiences, mostly in the eastern part of the country (Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, Papua and Sulawesi). The best are privately owned and managed by foreigners who are passionate about sailing, diving, and discovering the culture of the islands they visit.

Almost all the luxury boats mentioned below are Indonesian/Dutch schooner (also called phinisis), an iconic ship used to transport goods within Indonesia since the 17th century. They have either been renovated or built on purpose for tourism with modern amenities and equipment. Some are among the most luxurious in the world, catering to a crowd of jet-setters, rich businessmen and celebrities.

The season for sailing is typically from February to October, with the best months from June to August. 

The best luxury yacht cruises and charters to explore the Indonesian islands are the following:

The famous luxury resort chain Aman offers unforgettable experiences on one of their two traditional boats, the 52-meter long Amandira and the 32-meter long Amanikan.

Their Komodo expedition departs from the Amanwana Hotel on Mojo island. The cost for 7-days is USD$42,850 for a couple. They also offer a Raja Ampat expedition departing from Sorong in Papia for USD$45,750 per couple. Don't worry, there will be cheaper options below!

More information on their website: https://www.aman.com/resorts/amanwana/cruises

The luxurious Alila Purnama is a floating 5-star boutique hotel. It is a 46-meter phinisi boat built on 3 decks with 5 suites. The 16-member crew includes a chef, a PADI-certified dive instructor and a masseuse.

There are several cruises every season in destinations such as Komodo, Raja Ampat, Maumere and Ambon.

Prices are on the high side, starting US$7,250 for a 3-night trip to Komodo in a standard suite. To charter the boat, you'll need to spend at least US$12,500++ per day.

More information on their website: http://www.alilahotels.com/purnama

Silolona Sojourns is one of the most luxurious private cruise companies to operate in Indonesia. As of 2016, it sails with 17 crew members to 5 destinations : Sulawesi, Banda, Papua, Komodo and Savu Sea. Their trips include carefully-planned land excursions by the American owner, Ms. Patti Seery.

The ships boasts 5 wooden suites that are each decorated with unique Indonesian artifacts. Numerous activities are available from water skiing to kayaking and sport fishing. You can also get your PADI certification onboard.

Prices are available on request. You can expect to pay at least US$10,000 for a 7-day trip. They have a second smaller liveaboard boat called Si Datu Bua.

More information on their website: http://www.silolona.com/

Owned by Veronika Blomgren, a successful Russian designer behind the Oazia brand in Bali, this growing company is planning to operate 8 ultra-luxurious ships in Indonesia within the next few years.

For now, they first one is a splendid 31-meter long phinisi boat with just one spacious cabin that can only accommodate a couple. Ideal for honeymooners, the current routes may take you to Moyo island, Komodo or Raja Ampat. The price starts at US$3,895 per night.

More information on their website: http://www.alexaprivatecruises.com/

Owned by American businessman Mark Robba, this 52-meter phinisi yacht can be rented for expeditions in Komodo and Raja Ampat from February to October. 

The price for booking all of its 7 suites is around US$87,000 for a week.

More information on their website: https://duniabaruadventures.wordpress.com

The 65-meter yacht is the longest wooden sailing boat in the world. It was designed by the Argentinian Marcelo Penna and built in Sulawesi.

It is owned by Dominique Gerardin, a former yacht captain from France. The destination portfolio includes Raja Ampat, Alor, Komodo, Sumba and Flores. During the wet season, it travels to Thailand and Myanmar.

The boat can accommodate up to 14 guests in 1 double master cabin, 4 double cabins and 2 twin cabins. The price for charter is US$22,000++ per night (minimum 3 nights). It includes all drinks, all dives, all spa treatments, internet, gourmet meals and the use of the jet skis.

More information on their website: http://www.lamima.com/

The 40-meter luxury El Aleph ship is owned by a Frenchman and managed by an international crew. Built in Sulawesi, it features 5 cabins, including a 50m2 master suite with its own terrace.

It sails in the islands of eastern Indonesia from Bali up to Raja Ampat. The price for chartering El Aleph is approximately US$10,000 per day. It is popular with Russian clients.

More information on their website: http://www.elalephcruising.com/

Managed by expats, Plataran Private Cruises have 8 luxury boats, including 4 wooden phinisis and 4 yachts.

The yachts are 15 meters long and 4,7 meters wide, with an overnight capacity of 5 guests. There are 2 bathrooms and the 3 cabins all have air-conditioning.

The phinisis each have their own specifications. The largest can accommodate up to 12 sleeping guests. Operated by 8 crews, they are all with air-conditioning and private bathrooms.

Their most popular cruise is a 3 days/2 nights itinerary taking the passengers island-hopping to Rinca, Kalong, Pink Beach, Manta Point, Kanawa and Sabolon island. The price is a reasonable US$900 per person.

More information on their website: http://plataran.com/private-cruises

Under French management, this company operates two boats, Ambai and Calico Jack. It focuses on dive cruises in spots like Raja Ampat, Komodo, Alor, Flores, Banda and the lesser known "Forgotten Islands".

They offer more affordable rates than some of the competitors listed here, starting US$1,720 per person for 5 days.

More information on their website: http://www.wallacea-divecruise.com

This 34-meter long phinisi boat can welcome 12 passengers in 5 cabins, each with their own bathroom. It sails to Komodo, Maluku and Papua.

You can either book an individual cabin, or charter the whole boat for US$4,400 per day.

More information on their website: http://www.tigerblue.info/

Owned by Amanda, a retired Australian lady, this company only has one boat, the 37-meter Al Iikai (which means Queen of the Sea). It features 5 king-size luxury bedrooms with air-conditioning and private bathrooms. 

As it is a smaller company, the prices are rather affordable, starting US$1500 for a 7-day Island Explorer Cruise that will take you around Lombok. They also have cruises with special themes (Yoga, Cooking or Golf). You can charter the boat starting at US$3,100 per day.

More information on their website: http://www.indonesianislandsail.com/

The expats owners manage two amazing boats: The Katharina, a 40-meter long phinisi boat with 6 cabins and a 14-guest capacity, and the Ombak Putih, a 42-meter traditional Indonesian schooner renovated in 2015 that can accommodate up to 24 guests in 12 cabins.

They sail to some of the most beautiful spots in Indonesia, including Banda, Maluku, Wakatobi, Alor, Lembata, Tidore, Savu and Raja Ampat. Their scheduled cruises often have a special guest on-board, for instance a renowned writer, a scientist or an adventurer. The price starts at US$2,500 for a 7-day cruise. You can also charter the whole boat with the crew starting US$5,400/day.

More information on their website: http://seatrekbali.com/

The Adelaar is a Dutch schooner that offers diving trips departing from Bali. Most of the guests go to the Komodo national marine park, but there are longer excursions to Sumba and Moyo islands on Sumbawa.

Their popular 10-nights/11-days-trip to Komodo in a standard room with ensuite bathroom, air-conditioning and a 120 cm bed costs US$4,000 per person.

More information on their website: http://www.adelaar-cruises.com/

The Mantra is a medium-sized (30 meters) phinisi yacht built in 2015 with 3 cabins. The management organizes cruises in Alor, Raja Ampat and Komodo for prices starting at US$3,000 per night.

More information on their website: http://www.mantradiveandsail.com/

Headed by Dutch national Leo van Oostenbrugge, the Mutiara Laut (Pearl of the Sea) is a schooner inspired by both Western and Indonesian design. It is 46 meters in length and can carry up to 14 passengers plus 15 crew members.

It sails in various parts of Eastern Indonesia: Bali, Lombok, Papua, Banda and Maluku.

Promising the services and amenities of a 5-star, it is available for charter for over US$10,000 per day.

More information on their website: http://www.mutiaralaut.com/

Designed by the Frenchman Georges Carraz, the 31-meter Raja Laut boasts 6 cabins with ensuite bathrooms and air-conditioning.

The crew is made of 7 members from different nationalities and includes a dive instructor and a chef.

Its main destination is the Komodo National Park, but it also sails to Alor, Sulawesi, Papua and Maluku. Charter price approximately US$5,000 per day.

More information on their website: http://www.rajalaut.com/

This cruise ship can accommodate up to 20 passengers in luxurious cabins and its destinations include Raja Ampat, Bali, Komodo and Ambon.

You can book a room for a price starting at US$1,600 per cabin per night, or charter the whole boat for a price between US$10,000 and US$20,000 per day.

More information on their website: http://salila-indonesia.com/

The Samata is a 42-meter phinisi boat with 5 French-designed cabins that can fit up to 10 passengers. Its most frequent destinations are the Komodo marine park, Raja Ampat and the Banda islands. The team can also organize tailor-made trips depending on the customers wishes.

The price is approximately US$10,000 per day or US$60,000 per week.

More information on their website: http://samataliveaboard.com/

The elegant Zen phinisi is a 53-meter yacht belonging to a Polish national based in Hong Kong. With an emphasis on modern design, it boasts 6 bedrooms including a two-level suite master cabin.

It is available for private rent for US$85,000 per week.

More information on their website: http://www.globaladventure.com/

If you are planning a trip to Indonesia and you haven't considered buying travel insurance yet, please read my article: Travel Insurance for Indonesia.

3 Best Ways to Send Money to Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
There are many reasons people send money to Indonesia, but only a few ways that are cheap, easy and safe.

This article will be very useful to you if you are:
- A foreigner living abroad who supports his Indonesian girlfriend financially
- An Indonesian working abroad who needs to remit his salary in his Indonesian bank account
- An expat who wants to transfer funds to Indonesia to make a purchase (car, home) or an investment
- A traveler who lost his wallet and urgently needs money

I've written it based on my experience living in Indonesia for the past 12 years (first in Jakarta, then in Bali). I'm sure you have your own stories as well so please do not hesitate to leave a comment with your own tips.

TransferWiseCheapest and Easiest Way to Send Money to Indonesia
You can make your own transfer simulation in just one click here
Created in 2011 by one of Skype's founders, TransferWise is a fin-tech startup that was recently declared a unicorn (more than $1 billion valuation). It is a game changer when it comes to international money transfers.

Compared with traditional banks, TransferWise does not actually transfers any money. It maintains banks accounts in key currencies in various countries. When you make a transfer request, for instance from USD to IDR, they will debit your US bank account from their US bank account and credit your Indonesian bank account from their Indonesian bank account.

Using TransferWise, the cost of sending money from abroad to Indonesia is only 1,5% of the transferred amount (minimum charge IDR14,500).

If you transfer USD1,000, it means you will only pay USD15 (+ a credit card charge depending on your bank). There are no hidden fees and they use the official exchange rate. That's at least 8 times less than what you would pay with traditional banks.

Pros:
➝ Cheapest way to send money from abroad to Indonesia
➝ As simple as it can be, just like booking a hotel room or buying stuff from any e-commerce site
➝ Less than 10 minutes needed to make the request
➝ They do not take commission on currency exchange rate (they use the official rate)
➝ You can make an accurate simulation of the cost of the transfer in a few seconds on their website
➝ They will tell you in advance when the money will be transferred and you can follow your money in real time through their app
➝ 100% transparent: They let you know how much commission they took and the exchange rate they used

Cons:
➝ Available for transfer from USD to IDR but not yet from IDR to USD
➝ Limited number of currencies you can transfer from: EUR, USD, Pound, AUD, JPY, SGD. You can check here if your home currency is accepted.
➝ You need an Indonesian bank account to transfer the money (You must know your IBAN and your SWIFT/BIC number)
➝ The transfer is not automatic and it may take from 1 to 2 days to be completed (for an Indonesian transfer)

Western Union: Only for Urgent Money Transfer to Indonesia
Unlike TransferWise, Western Union charges a fee but also takes a commission on the exchange rate
Western Union is facing tough competition but it can still be a useful way to send money to Indonesia. In particular, if you are a traveler who lost his personal belongings and need fast money, there are no better alternatives (actually, there is also MoneyGram which is similar).

I was using Western Union a lot when I didn't have an Indonesian bank account. You can pick up the money sent in cash in any of their agents locations (for instance in post offices - there are thousands in Indonesia).

The problem with Western Union is that it is expensive. If you want to transfer 1,000USD to IDR (instant transfer from an agent to an agent), it will cost you over USD80 + an hidden exchange rate fee of around IDR500,000 (as a reminder, it costs only USD15 with TransferWise).

If you transfer the money to an Indonesian bank account, it is cheaper yet still over 40$ and it takes a few days.

Pros:
➝ You can send money to Indonesia within minutes
➝ Money can be sent even if both the sender and the receiver do not have a bank account
➝ Works for virtually every country
➝ You can pay directly on Western Union's website using your credit/debit card

Cons:
➝ Very pricey if you choose fast service and to send/receive money in agent's location
➝ Hidden commission on the currency exchange rate
➝ If you send money to an agent location, you can only use the service during operation hours (close on weekends)

Skrill iT: An Alternative to Western Union For Small Amounts
Skrill iT is a mix between Western Union and TransferWise
Skrill is a great way to make international money transfers. It is fast, yet much cheaper than Western Union (about 3% from total amount while Western Union takes up to 15%). The other advantage is that the person who receives the money does not need to have an Indonesian bank account. He can just take the money in any Alfamart in Indonesia. All he needs is an Indonesian phone number and a valid ID.

For a normal transfer of money, I don't recommend it over TransferWise as it is still more expensive and you can't send more than the equivalent of Rp5,000,000 at once.

As an alternative to Western Union (meaning for an urgent transfer or to send to someone who does not have a local bank account), it is perfect as long as you don't need to send too much money.

Pros:
➝ Instant money transfer, just like Western Union
➝ Fees and commission on exchange rate relatively low (around 3% of total amount)
➝ You can pay online on their website: https://www.skrill.com/skrillit/
➝ You only need an Indonesian phone number to receive the money
➝ It's very easy to find an Alfamart in Indonesia and they have long opening hours

Cons:
➝ Only works for small amounts under Rp5,000,000 (though you can make multiple transfers)
➝ Still more expensive than TransferWise
➝ The staff in some Alfamart may be confused as they are not trained properly to handle the cash disbursement (just be patient!)

Other Ways to Send Money To Indonesia
Some online currency exchange companies are starting to offer international money transfer now with competitive rates. They will always be more expensive than TransferWise though. They can be useful only if you intend to send a lot of money to Indonesia (over 10,000$). The most famous companies are TorFXHiFX or OFX. I would advise you to try the latter as it has an online simulation tool.

PayPal is cheap when you send money in the same currency to another PayPal accounts holder but for international transfer it is not worth it (when you add up the fee and the commission on exchange rate, it costs about 80$ for 1,000$ sent).

A transfer from a foreign bank to an Indonesian bank with SWIFT is out of the question. You shouldn't even consider it. I did it once to send 200$ and I paid 40$ in fees (that's a 20% commission!).

If you know a cheaper and more convenient way than TransferWise to send money to Indonesia, please leave me a comment below. I wouldn't mind saving even more on my transfers. I'm also interested if you have tips about how to send money from Indonesia to another country.

10 Best Gifts Ideas For Your Indonesian Girlfriend or Wife

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
If you have a local girlfriend or wife, you certainly know that Indonesian girls absolutely love receiving gifts. In fact, I would say that being generous is one of the surest ways to keep your relationship strong and happy (the only most important thing is to be committed and faithful).

At the very least, you should always offer a gift on your partner's birthday. A failure to do so is only excusable if you've just met or if you're trying to get rid of her. Depending on the girl you're seeing, you should probably buy something for Valentine's day and Christmas as well (yes, even if she is a Muslim).

Some relationships may require more frequent gifts, for instance if you are dating someone out of your league. If you are 50 years old and your girlfriend is 25-year old bombshell (like the girl on the picture above), it goes without saying that you'll need to have deep pockets. Similarly, if you are dating a girl that you don't intend to marry, a few gifts may keep her hooked for a little longer. I'm not saying that every Indonesian girl is materialistic, most are not, but they can sometimes be pragmatic.

The list below will give you 10 ideas of gifts that all Indonesian girls would love to receive. I've included links to trusted websites you can buy them from.

Flowers
Flowers are the most romantic gift you can make, for any type of girls and for any occasions. Red and white roses are the preferred choice, unless your girlfriend is a bit more sophisticated and requires originality. You can buy them at the cheapest price in flower markets (see my review Traditional Markets in Jakarta) or you can buy them online directly on Flower Advisor. A bouquet costs around 25$ and it will be delivered on the same day with a personalized note. I used it a lot when I had a long distance relationship and it was very practical.

→ Ideal to show that you care
→ Price range: From 10$ to 50$
→ Delivery in Indonesia: Flower Advisor

Perfume, Make Up and Beauty Products
A classic gift if you don't want to take any risks. You are always sure to make your woman happy with beauty products but always choose a famous brand.

If you are a frequent traveler, it is always easy to buy a fragrance bottle at the duty free shop before arriving in Jakarta. The prices are much cheaper than anywhere else and you get to choose the smell you like the most. In Indonesia, you can buy from Sephora Indonesia or from department stores like Sogo with prices a bit higher.

→ Perfect gift if you want to be 100% sure she'll like it
→ Price range: From 50$ to 130$
→ Delivery in Indonesia: Not recommended for perfume to avoid counterfeit products but you can buy safely from Sephora Indonesia for make up and other beauty products.

Chocolate, Candies, Cakes and Snacks
This is an inexpensive gift to make, especially if you buy them in your home country. Chocolate in Indonesia is 2 to 3 times more expensive than in Europe so it is considered a bit of a luxury here. I always bring as much as I can from France and then gives them around. It's a very easy way to make people smile!

Since Indonesian love eating sweet food, an alternative is to buy any kind of sweets that come with a nice packaging (for instance a heart-shaped box).

→ Ideal for Valentine's day
→ Price range: From 5$ to 20$
→ Delivery in Indonesia: Flower Advisor sells romantic chocolates and you can buy cakes/desserts on BoBoBoBo.com. You can also get standard chocolates delivered to your door on HappyFresh.com.

Photo Frame/Album or Video
A more unique way to show that you care if you are 18, penniless and deeply in love. It sounds a bit girly and cheesy, yet it will very certainly be a hit if your girlfriend is young.

If you really don't have any money, you can make a short video or slideshow online and send it to her as well.

→ Perfect gift for younger girls
→ Price range: 0$ for a video, 4$ for a frame, 20$ for an album, 0.50$ to print a photo
→ To buy online and get delivered in Jakarta: Photo Frames can be bought on Matahari Mall (Indonesian). You can print photos on Pictalogy or Snapy (Indonesian). You can make a free slideshow/video on Smilebox.

Romantic Trips
Photo: https://www.instagram.com/sukiminthio/
The perspective of going on a romantic trip is extremely exciting to every Indonesian girls. Not only because they have few opportunities to go anywhere alone, but more importantly because it will give them plenty of occasions to update their Instagram with new pictures.

Even if you don't have money, you can at least go to Bandung or Bogor. With a bigger budget, Bali, Belitung, the Thousand Islands and Lombok are great choices. Singapore and KL are also quite cheap and easy to reach from Jakarta.

A good way to find amazing prices is to visit Kiwi.com. This travel website allows you to find flights without entering the destination. The result will be a display of the cheapest flights available on a particular date, from Jakarta (Yes I know, Skyscanner does that also, but please try Kiwi and you'll see it has many more possibilities).
Is Kiwi.com better than Skyscanner? I think so.
→ Smart gift if you already have a wife
→ Price range: From 50$ (weekend in Bogor) to 5,000$ (weekend in Velaa Resort in Maldives)
→ Buying online: Keep an eye on the deals from Groupon Indonesia - Travel or Bobobobo - Hotels and Resorts.

Anything Cute and/or Cheesy
This is a bit vague but you probably understand what I mean. Asian girls love cute accessories or toys, especially if they are somewhat romantic. It can be dolls, teddy bears, cups, pillows, watches, sunglasses, t-shirts, pencils, cards, etc as long as there is a funny face or a heartbreaking sentence on it.

→ Easy gift if you're back from a business trip in Japan
→ Price range: From 5$ to 30$
→ Buying online: Check the gift section on FlowerAdvisor.com and Bobobobo.com, they have some cute teddy bears and other plush dolls.

Designer Clothes, Bags and Shoes
Why not give her designer lingerie?
Guys who buy designer clothes and accessories are either very rich, crazy in love or dating above their league. Whatever your reason, you can never go wrong as long as you buy genuine stuff either from abroad or from any of the luxury malls in Jakarta.

→ Perfect gift if you were caught cheating and need forgiveness
→ Price range: Starting from 200$ up to several thousand dollars
→ Delivery to Indonesia/Buying online: The best Indonesian-based website with a large choice of designer clothes, bags, shoes and accessories is certainly Bobobobo.com. You can check their brands directly here Woman Fashion.

Spa or Salon Treatment
Have you ever met a girl who didn't like going to the spa?
You can either buy a treatment that your wife or girlfriend will do alone or buy a couple's massage. Several venues allow it in Jakarta and I've listed them in my review: Best Luxury Hotel Spas in Jakarta. I also recommend you to try any of the Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa (check for deals on Groupon).

→ Perfect gift if you want to please her while still meeting your friends
→ Price range: 30$ to 80$
→ Where to purchase online: You can have a look at the Spa Deals on Groupon: Best Spa Deals in Indonesia

Phone, Laptop and Tablets
It is almost a tradition for the boyfriend to pay for his girlfriend's phone in Indonesia. This is why you'll see so many girls who earn less than 300$/month with the latest 800$ Iphone. Once the phone is taken care of, you may start to hear things like "I really need a laptop for my work" or "My teacher wants us to buy a laptop". This is the sign you're in for a little present.

→ Must-buy gift if you are dating a gold-digger
→ Price range: 400$-1500$
→ Buying online: If you can speak Indonesian, you can visit MatahariMall or Lazada. Both have a huge choice and they can deliver anywhere in Indonesia.

Sexy Stuff
Offering lingerie or sex toys is actually more a gift to yourself and that's why it is such a good idea. Lingerie can easily be found in any malls, for instance in La Senza or Victoria's Secret. It is much harder to buy sex toys in Indonesia so it is best to bring them from abroad.

→ Perfect gift to yourself
→ Price range: 30$ to 200$
→ Buying lingerie online: Websites like Bobobobo (Lingerie for woman) and Zalora have a limited choice. Matahari Mall and Lazada are better but they are in Indonesian. The best choice would be AliExpress, and especially its page Sexy Lingerie.
→ Buying sex toys online: Limited choice on Lazada - Sex Help. Much better if you import through Aliexpress - Sex Toys but the customs may not allow your stuff to enter the country.

Photo credit: The two awesome pictures with Indonesian beauties were taken by Mr. Ecko. You can see more of his portfolio on Instagram here @rockandrolla_photography.

Best VPNs in Indonesia- How to Access Blocked Websites

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In this review I will explain you how to bypass Internet censorship (mostly porn) in Indonesia by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. I will also give you tips on how to watch Hulu and Netflix in Indonesia.

Most porn and torrent websites are blocked in Indonesia. This includes all the most famous ones like XVideos, YouPorn, PornHub, XHamster, KickAss Torrents and The Pirate Bay. It is also not possible to visit some forums like Reddit or InternationalSexGuide. Same thing with the dating website Adult Friend Finder.

Some regular websites have also been banned like Vimeo. Tumblr was shut down during 24 hours earlier this year as well.

Another problem internet users are facing in Indonesia is the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Act. This vague set of laws can make you the target of a defamation suit for exposing your views online. You are not allowed, for instance, of suggesting that someone might be corrupt.

Because of this law, posting a comment on Facebook, Twitter or Path in Indonesia can land you in jail. This is what happened to Alexander Aan or Florence Sihombing.

Since about a year ago, I decided to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in Indonesia. This allows me to visit any websites I want on the internet without anyone knowing about it. It is 100% legal, secure and safe. Actually, according to this 2015 study, Indonesia is the country with the most VPN users in the world: 23% of its Internet users are bypassing censorship by using a VPN.

The cost is cheap (less than 10$ per month) and it works great. If you travel a lot in Asia, it is also very useful in heavily-censored countries like Vietnam or China.

Since VPN companies usually give you a free trial for a few days up to 1 month, I tested several of them to make sure I was choosing the best. There are so many different companies that you could probably get a free VPN for at least a year just by changing provider once in a while. The prices are really reasonable though so once you've found one that works well, it's really more simple to just pay.

Here are my top 3 recommendations for best VPNs in Indonesia (I used the 3 of them and they worked great):

Hide My Ass (HMA) - Best VPN in Indonesia
HideMyAss.com
Hide My Ass is often considered the best VPNs in the world here because they have a massive 700 servers in almost every countries on earth, including in Indonesia. This means your connection is fast and smooth anywhere you go. If you can afford the extra dollars to get full speed (compared to free VPNs), HMA is an excellent choice. Remember that in the end, it is still only 60$ per year.

Hide My Ass is the VPN recommended by the Wall Street Journal to access blocked websites in China and it was also selected as the best VPN by the Guardian, Bloomberg and Forbes.

You can now try Hide My Ass for FREE! Just open the following link Hide My Ass Free and click on "Free Trial". You need to give your credit card details so don't forget to cancel after one month to avoid being charged.

If you decide to keep the paid version, it is much more interesting to choose a full year:

Pricing:
4,99$ per month with 1 year plan
7,49$ per month with 6-month plan
9,99$ per month without plan

The set up is super easy even if you are not good on computers and they are really fast to answer your questions of you have any.

Golden Frog - Vypr VPN - Fastest VPN Indonesia

I found that Golden Frog's Vypr VPN was even faster compared to Hide My Ass. They also have a server in Jakarta and a strong presence in Asia. The support is excellent (ask any question and they will answer you within a few minutes). You can pay with Alipay or PayPal and you can use up to 5 devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV, etc).

NEW! You can do a free trial for 3 months by opening this link: Promo Deal for Ivacy VPN - Indonesia!!!

If you choose to keep it after the free trial period, you will pay the following:

Pricing of Basic Plan:
3.75$ per month (billed annually)
9.75$ per month (billed monthly)

Pricing of Premium Plan:
5$ per month (billed annually)
12.95$ per month (billed monthly)

Update 2017: Vypr has been unblocked by Netflix.

NordVPN - VPN for Watching Netflix
This is often considered the best VPN on the market as they have a great support team that will help you with any of your requests. If you are planning on using US Netflix, this is your an excellent choice too as they have not been banned yet. This means you can use NordVPN to watch Netflix if you position your IP in the US. Only problem for Indonesian web users, they don't have a server in Indonesia at the moment so the speed is slower than the VPNs listed above. It is still good enough for most people (you can still download from torrents, watch movies, etc).

To try their services for free, you can just visit the following link: Nord VPN - 30-Day Money Back Guaranteed.

Since you can cancel and get your money back any time within the first month, I advise you to choose the 1 year plan directly to save on the long term.

Pricing:
NEW: 2 Years Deal for 3.29$ per month - Click here to get the offer: 72% Off Nord VPN
4$ per month with 1 year plan
5$ per month with 6-month plan
8$ per month without plan

Express VPN: The VPN I'm Currently Using
Update February 2017: I saw a 1-month free trial by Express VPN and I decided to try it. One of the reasons I changed was that they had servers in Myanmar and Laos where I was traveling. Both countries censor internet heavily, particularly porn websites.

Express VPN advertise itself as the fastest VPN in the world, but since the speed of internet is very slow in Laos and Myanmar, I cannot really confirm.

That said, it worked great and I managed to open any websites I wanted in those two countries (using a server location in Singapore). They are also compatible with Netflix and you can use it to download torrents.

If you want to check their claim that they are the fastest, you can make a free trial by clicking on this link: 1-Month Free Express VPN.

Pricing:
1 Month = 12.95$
6-Month Plan = 9.99$ per month
12-Month Plan = 8.32 per month

How Do You Access Porn/Blocked Websites in Indonesia? Do You Use A VPN As Well?
There are a lot of new VPN providers entering the market every month. If you are using a different VPN in Indonesia or if you have another way to visit porn/blocked websites in Indonesia, please leave a comment below to share your experience!

Online Dating Sites & Apps In Indonesia (2017)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I once wrote a review about dating Indonesian girls and where to meet them. You can still read it here: Where to meet Indonesian girls? Most of the information on the review is still valid, but it certainly needs an update on the world of online dating through websites or social apps such as Badoo, Indonesian Cupid, Tinder, WeChat, Skout, Beetalk, etc.

If you are looking for a great girl in Jakarta, online dating is by far your best chance. 90% of the girls there are looking for a stable relationship. Another 9% is looking for money. And maybe less than 1 percent is looking for a one night stand (not the hottest girls usually). The fact that they are looking for a stable relationship does not mean they want to get married straight away. It means they want to feel a long term relationship is possible. For this reason, it may be more difficult for you to find a date if you are not staying in Indonesia and if you do not speak Indonesian.

Depending on which website or which app you use, you can pretty much chat with any type of women you could think of: Students, employees, executives, single mom, etc from any ethnicity or religion. There is such a diversity that it would be hard to generalize. To give you a better understanding, I will describe the specificities of each dating app or website below:

Tinder (Mobile app only)
When Tinder started in Indonesia, most of its users where either foreign or Western educated girls. Its base has now expanded, but it is still the most trendy app to use. For this reason, this is where you will meet the most girls who can speak English and who have well-paid jobs. This is also where the most girls are interested to meet foreigners.

Pros:
➝ Almost entirely free
➝ Easy to get several matches every day
➝ Thousands of Indonesian girls are using it, including many educated ones
➝ Not too many spam accounts or prostitutes or ladyboys

Cons:
➝ I find it difficult to manage once you have more than 100 matches
➝ You cannot see which girls are online
➝ You cannot chat with a girl if you haven't matched with her already
➝ You cannot like more than 50 girls per day (or you must pay)
➝ You must connect using your Facebook information and pics (your friends on Facebook who are using Tinder will know that you are also a user)
➝ You can only see girls around you (unless you pay). If you stay abroad, this means you cannot chat with any girl in Jakarta before you arrive.
➝ Generally speaking, girls on Tinder love to swipe but they aren't very good at sending or replying to messages

IndonesianCupid.com (website)

Indonesia Cupid is more traditional dating website which is part of a wider network: FilipinoCupid, Muslima (for dating Muslim girls), Thai Cupid, Vietnam Cupid, etc. It is an excellent site for those who are not in Indonesia but who are interested to chat with local girls.

Many Indonesian girls on IndonesianCupid are looking to meet foreigners and they won't turn you down if you say you are far away. The demographic of IndonesianCupid is more middle class compared with Tinder. Typically, you'll chat with employees, teachers, nurses, etc.

Since it is a website and not a mobile phone app, I find it much easier to write messages or browse profiles compared to Tinder. Even if you use it for a month or two, it is still easy to see which girls are online among those you've chatted with before.

You can register here: Sign-Up to Indonesian Cupid for Free. I recommend you to update to the premium version though (only 25$ per month) as it will allow you to send an unlimited number of messages. It will also give you the edge compared with the other guys in terms of visibility.

Pros:
➝ Between 500-1000 Indonesian girls online at any time, but thousands more who were active in the past week or month (you have filters to do that).
➝ Possibility to look for girls in other countries (Thailand, Philippines, etc)
➝ Good website interface, easy to use and fast.
➝ Fast chatting application
➝ Mostly serious girls who are interested in relationships
➝ Detailed profiles

Cons:
➝ The free version is too restricted (not a problem if you can afford 25$)
➝ No mobile app
➝ Many girls have limited English proficiency (especially outside Jakarta)

Badoo (Mobile app and website)
Badoo used to be the best dating website in Indonesia but it is clearly not as popular as it used to be. It still has a large number of users though: I checked on 15 December 2016 at 7pm and there were 522 women online in Jakarta (vs 537 on Indonesian Cupid). They also have a mobile app (called "Hot or Not"). 

Badoo attracts 99,9% of Indonesian girls, from all background. You can filter girls by age, location, status, body type, etc. More than half the girls can speak English and many are interested to meet foreigners. Online prostitution on Badoo is unfortunately a problem. Many "girls" on Badoo are in fact pimp looking for clients.

Pros:
➝ Lots of girls online
➝ Fun, colorful website interface with large photos (but also more slow to load)
➝ Both a website and an app with geo-localization
➝ You can send messages to 5 girls per day for free and you "like" as many as you want
➝ Cheaper than other websites

Cons:
➝ Privacy concern (they sent advertising emails to all my contact on my behalf saying I was inviting them to join Badoo)
➝ Many prostitutes
➝ Because it is cheaper, there are more guys on Badoo. This means it is harder to get girls' attention and your messages may be ignored. You can get seen/read before other guys but you need to pay extra money (even if you are already a premium user).

Instagram
Yes, Instagram can be considered a dating website in Indonesia. I know some guys who've met dozens of girls using it.

Of course, you need to create an Instagram account and to upload interesting pictures regularly. If you are an expat who visits nice restaurants and hotels, it shouldn't be too hard to add at least a great photo every two days.

You can then follow some Instagram accounts of girls you like and write comments on their pictures.

Pros:
➝ Free
➝ There are more girls on Instagram than on any other dating websites (especially in Indonesia)
➝ You can search for girls who have special interests using the location or tags (for instance, if you want to find a girl who went to the Djakarta Warehouse Festival, you can search the tag "DWP 2016").
➝ It is easy to find a topic to start a conversation (just comment a photo)

Cons:
➝ You need to create and maintain an interesting Instagram account
➝ Many girls are not single or not actively looking for a boyfriend
➝ Time consuming

WeChat (Mobile app only)
WeChat has a "look around" feature which allows you to add girls located within a few kilometers from you. If they accept your invitation, you can start chatting with them.

Many ladyboys and prostitutes use that feature so it can be quite annoying if this is not what you are looking for. You will also probably receive a lot of invitations from other guys. Girls using this feature do not always speak English very well. It is popular with the Chinese community but your chances of getting a reply is low unless you speak Chinese.

Pros:
➝ Free
➝ Location based

Cons:
➝ I don't think you can meet a normal girl using it.

Beetalk (Mobile app only)
Beetalk users are mostly Indonesian and young. It has a "look around" feature as well which is quite invasive as it tells you the exact position of the people around you. If you use it in popular malls like Grand Indonesia or Central Park, it will probably tell you a list of person within a very close range, sometimes a few meters only.

Few girls using Beetalk speak good English so it is more appropriate for those with a basic knowledge of Indonesian. It is a good app but not the most effective for foreigners.

Pros:
➝ Free
➝ Location based
➝ No competition from other Westerners

Cons:
➝ Very few girls who can speak English


➝ Not many replies from girls

Skout (Mobile app and dating site)
Skout is similar to Badoo but it does not have as many girls online. The ads are quite annoying so I didn't like using it. 

Tagged / Hi5 (Mobile app and website)
Tagged and Hi5 are the same service since they merged in 2011. It used to be one of the most popular social networks in Indonesia but it is struggling now. It is still a relatively interesting website to try as the number of Indonesian users is quite large. I would say that girls on Tagged are usually a bit older: They made their Hi5 account 10 years ago and they haven't closed it yet.

Adult Friend Finder
This is a paying hook-up website popular with swingers and those looking for one-night stands. I never used it but a friend of mine did and he met several open-minded couples. He also managed to meet a few single girls but it is more rare.

Note that the website is currently blocked by the government so you'll need to download a VPN to access it. I've written an article here Best VPN in Indonesia to help you with it.

Pros:
➝ If you are not looking for dating but for sex, this is the best website to use
➝ Number 1 hooking website in the World

Cons:
➝ 90% guys and 10% girls so you need to make a really neat profile to succeed. Being handsome would help.
➝ You won't get very far with the Free Version so you'll need to buy a premium membership


➝ Block in Indonesia: You must use a VPN to access it freely.

Conclusion
All these dating apps and websites are free but you have to pay if you want to get some VIP features. For instance, becoming a paid member will generally entitle you to send more messages, to see who clicked on your profile or to be seen first by girls.

There are probably some scammers too so you should naturally always make sure the person you are talking to is real. I would recommend asking for the girl's facebook or skype.

There are other services that I haven't tried but they might work well. If you have used one of the following to find a date in Jakarta, it would be nice if you could write a comment about it below:

OK Cupid: Popular dating website (same group with Match.com and Tinder) but I don't think it is available in Indonesia at this moment.

Zoosk: One of the most popular dating apps in the world but I read some negative reviews about their privacy policy so I did not want to try it.

Ask.fm: Very popular social media in Indonesia, mostly with the younger crowd. It is not a real dating website but it is used as such by many Indonesians to make friends or get a date.

Wavoo is an Indonesian dating app which just started. It does not have a very large database of users at the moment.

Setipe is an Indonesian dating website which could be promising but it is still new and I encountered some problems to register.

Photo Credit: The photos are from Kucluk Oye.