Since the start of the Darmasiswa 2014/2015 is near, we’ve figured to add some ideas to packing and about the lifestyle here, concerning girls especially 🙂 since 90% of Indonesia is Muslim, some things are quite different. But life in bigger cities is not as strict, yet for smaller cities, some things must be taken into consideration. For Malang we can give some solutions too, as for other cities, locals or former students can help.
While at school or any institution, public or religious building, proper clothes are a must. Yet, in your free time you can wear what you like, but bear in mind the politeness towards the new culture. Nobody will do or say anything about your style, but don’t feel harassed when you get stares. You will be under public attention all the time, don’t let clothes make it worse. Also, as an advice, traveling by angkot (the mini public bus) or by motorcycle short pants, short skirts, short tshirts are uncomfortable for you, for the other passengers and might burn your skin… A wavy blouse, baggy pants, comfy shoes, sunglasses and a sun hat will give you the liberty to move around much better. Our highly recommended purchase as you come here is a “sarung”, a local scarf, soft and big enough for all occasions, either at the beach, as night wear, to cover your head from the sun, etc
1.a Swimming suit
Most public pools require decent clothing for ladies. Indonesian girls usually bathe with their short pants and tshirt, but it is so uncomfortable. Pack a whole body suit extra for these situations. For the beaches or more modern pools, 2 pieces swim suits are not a problem. But be aware that you will be under attention all the time, and will be asked for photos a lot, and many photos without your approval will be taken anyway, the Western way of going to the beach it is still strange here.
For the girls with more curvy hips, you must know that most underwear is not available in your size, except for the international, expensive brands. But local bargain stores don’t have them in stock, ever, although XL or XXL might be written on them. Sometimes you might get lucky, but it is not easy. With pants and jeans, that hasn’t been a problem, but maybe a certain style you like might is not available.
Bath & beauty products. A lot of the local products, even international brands like Garnier have whitening properties, as it is in high demand here. You have to check all the time if they are for this purpose or not. There are some, local brands, very good. And scrubbing is very popular here, so you can find extremely affordable such creams. A very close attention you should give to shampoos. Most girls in Indonesia experience hair fall, lack of shine and less smoothness. A reason for this is the low quality of tap water. It is highly treated with chemicals (absolutely not drink it) but it also affects the skin and hair. Going to the SPA and buying professional products helps.
Here is SPA heaven! Every 5m there is another SPA with facial treatment, body massage, body scrub, hair masks, anything you can imagine, so many types, very good quality, very affordable price! On this aspect, there is nothing to be worried about, you will be happy and feel like a queen.
This Western beauty technique is NOT available here. In Malang, there is one place, but only does legs length for almost $20. If you love this technique, it will be tricky. Yet, our girls found an Indonesian local that makes home made wax with honey and sugar, reusable and provides the strips too, also good for facial purposes. Having an electric depilatory machine would be a good idea.
On the local market, there is just 1 SPV cream, maximum 30 SPV. As you would imagine, this product is not on profit here. This particular cream from the brand Vaseline is quite good, but if you have more sensitive skin confider bringing your own bottles, or when traveling to Bali you can refill your stock. Maybe stronger SPV protection creams can be found in branded shops, but no need to pay the extra taxes when you can pack it in advance 😉
3. That special time of the month…
This subject is on the list, to make it clear that for those who prefer internal tampons, these are not accessible. There are many brands of normal pads, night pads, day pads, etc, but they are considerably more thick than European ones for example. You can bring your own supply of tampons for the whole period, or travel to Bali or Jakarta in search for them.