After leaving Hong Kong, the first stop on my first trip to Southeast Asia, I headed to Indonesia, a complicated and beautiful nation of over 19,000 islands. The first stop was Jakarta, the capital, and a notoriously stressful, traffic-clogged megapolis, and my goal was to try and find its design scene, if it had one, and hopefully some architectural and design beauty inside what I'd discover to be an extraordinary and terribly frustrating city.
After a week exploring Jakarta, which is on Indonesia's largest and most populated island, Java, we flew to Bali, only a few hour flight, but worlds away in its architectural appearance. The people of Indonesia practice many religions, but the Balinese practice their own form of Hinduism that is only found on Bali and in Balinese communities elsewhere in the country. Faced with extreme tourism, the Balinese hold strong to their religious and cultural beliefs and lead beautiful and fascinating lives. Our first stop was the lively town of Seminyak, filled with shops and great beaches, but also with tourists. We quickly rented moto-bikes so we could get around and out of town. This proved to be the best decision of the trip and allowed us to find places we never would have seen in a car or on foot. Our second stop was Ubud, a mountain village known as the cultural center of Bali. There too we took our moto-bikes and found that outside the touristic town the real beauty of Bali was waiting to greet us.