The highlights of the islands part 1


Indonesia is the biggest archipelago on earth! That means over 17000 islands! It would be a dream to see them all, but for now we focus on the main ones and our recommendations as highlights for each of them.



We start off with Java, as being considered the center one, as Jakarta, the capital is on it’s West coast. There are many things to see in Java, apart from the touristic places around Malang presented in the city page.

Undoubtedly, the Borobudur and Prambanan temples are a must see. Located in the area of Yogyakarta, South of Java, these too temples talk of the Hindu heritage that influenced Indonesia for many years. As they are famous it is easy to visit them, and having KITAS will help too, reducing the price from 250. rp to 30.000 rp. While in Jogja, take the time to enjoy this city and it’s surroundings, like Pacitan beach.


Also interesting in East Java this time is, Kawan Ijen, a faimous mountain for it’s blue “lava”, which has it’s colour from the sulfur rocks.


If you like beaches and snorkelling, Karimun Jawa is a place to go – in the north part, close to Semarang City. A small archipelago with clear blue water and white sand. But there are many beautiful beaches everywhere!

If you like mountains, you can climb mount Semeru, the tallest active volcano, the view at the top will be worth the 4 days hiking.


Sumatra is the 6th biggest island in the world, so we will concentrate on the Sounthen part called: Lampung. Here is one of the 6 National Parks were they care for the Sumatran elephants. At Way Kambas you can spend a few nights, meet all 70 elephants, ride them, wash them, see them in the wild and learn about their life. The trainers are wonderful people! And they speak English 🙂


A MUST do in Lampung is eat Masakan Padang a type of cooking specific in the area, and from among the dishes the supreme one is Rendang – beef meat cooked with 11 different spices in 3h process, better served in the morning while it’s fresh (yes, eating beef in the morning it’s ok here :))

For surfers: the KRUI area and beaches are one of the best in the world for this sport. The weaves are great and there are no rocks! Plus accommodation and living expenses are very cheap.

As emotionally attached to Ranau lake, we would recommend visiting it also – go to Lombok Wisata town and stay at KEPITING homestay, where ibu (mom) and bapak (dad) will treat you as their own children, making your stay as confortable as possible. It’s a wonderful place, serene, untouched by modernism, where life moves slow but happy. It also offers hot springs directly in the lake, but only the locals can take you there!



Kalimantan is the name of the Indonesian part of the biggest island in the world – Borneo (the other part is Brunei and Malaysia). Kalimatan is famous for the orangutans, they can be seen in the wild in the forests in the center of the island. Many researchers from around the world work here to try to save this animals from extinction, as their life is in danger due to human activity and expansion of urban areas.

But in the South, in the city of Banjarmasin, it’s the only place in Indonesia where you can go to a floating market. As early as 4 a.m. people gather their products (fruits, vegetables, nasi, cookies, cakes) on boats and gather in a special place and exchange these goods with one another. You rent a boat and mingle with the others, do your shopping and have breakfast if you wish.



In Banjarmasin you can also eat crocodile, not at the floating market though 🙂

For those interested in the tribes culture, in Kalimantan there is the famous Dayak tribe which can be seen in the mountain area. They have a long history living here long before the colonization and the former empires.


The funny shaped island of Indonesia, Sulawesi is probably the most difficult island to travel because of it’s predominant mountain areas. But what makes Sulawesi special is the mixture of traditional believes with the influence of new ones. The best example is the Toraja region. Here people still embrace their ancestor beliefs about death, life after death and the ceremony needed to be held in order for their loved ones to get to heaven.


The ceremony itself and their traditions are very complex. But let’s try to summarize it. Basically, the soul of the dead is taken to the heavens by the souls of buffalos, so these animals must be sacrificed on the day of the funeral. Tradition says 24 is the minimum, but the richer the family the higher the number goes. And, since buffalos have 1 baby per year, that makes them VERY expensive. Their price depends of their age, the size of their horns and their breed. An albino, male, adult, 1.5 m long horn can go up to 100.000 EURO – the price of a luxury Mercedes. How do they afford you might think?


Well, a family usually has many children, up to 12 or 14. As soon as they are old enough they start working, most move to Papua or Jakarta because of the better salaries. All their money is saved to be able to pay off the funeral of their parents or grandparents. Once a member dies, all his relatives come back and start planning the funeral, which can take from 3 to 5 days and can thousands of guests.

During these days, the buffalos are sacrificed in the eyesight of everyone along with pigs (which are brought as gifts from the guests). For animal lovers, this experience will be socking. All the meat is then cooked and served to the ones present.


What happens if they don’t raise the money for a proper funeral?
Sometimes the families must borrow money and it might take them 2-3 years to pay back the debt. If borrowing is not an option, the family must keep the body in the house for as long as they need until they have the sum ready (special techniques are used to slow down the rottening process and cover the smell). It’s a great honor to be invited in the house while the body is dead, and all people must act as if the dead person is still alive.

Another special thing about this area is the architecture. Houses are built like the ones seen in the second photo, with a curved upward roof and only has 4 colors: black for the dead, white for purity, brown for earth and yellow for life. Also, 2 roosters are portrayed representing justice: as in former times when there was a conflict without a solution, each side would pick a rooster to fight the other and the winner would also win the argument.

In Sulawesi, you can have the best diving experiences – as in the South is the biggest coral area – Wakatobi – after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia – and in the very North a the great National Park Bunaken.

And just like Java has Karimun Jawa, Sulawesi has Togean Islands and the dreamy tropical holiday getaway. Much more difficult to get there than anyother, but SO worth it, plan your stay at least for 7 days!


Lombok is a well known place for it’s beaches and we are presenting the best. Before you actually get to Lombok itself, there are 3 little beautiful islands, a 1h speedboat away from Bali – the Gili islands.


Gili Trawangan is the PARTY island
It’s is called the second Kuta (party town in South Bali) where the music is pumped up all night long and you can have some of the best beach parties ever.

Gili Meno is the CHILLOUT island
A very quiet and relaxing island, with no motorized vehicles, a claming lake in the middle and nice bungalows buy the beach, it is the perfect destination for lovers and families.


Gili Air is the perfect combination between the other two
Although you can relax in the sun, find great snorkelling spots and have great food, at night you can have a bit more fun and the silence is broken by the visitors interaction by it’s shores.

If you have the time, go all the way to the main Lombok island, Kuta Lombok is a great place to be, with excellent fish dishes.


We kept Bali at the end because it’s full of touristic interesting spots. The absolutely must should be:


Bratan Temple or the Yellow Temple is the main monument found on all promotional material for Indonesia. Totally worth it!


The rice fields! Have a drink while facing this great view! Priceless!


Hindu temples and ceremonies. A great culture concentrated in this small island which gives it charm and a fantastic atmosphere.


Uluwatu temple located up on the high shores of South Bali it is an impressive construction along with a very entertaining open-air theater


PART 2 will focus on the Eastern islands from Flores to Papua 🙂




Press play for a better effect 🙂

Here is the list of the 8 students accepted for the Darmasiswa scholarship 🙂

Mr. Piotr Dziewianowski from Poland

Ms. Kim Yuna from South Korea

Ms. Chanthaphone Leuang from Laos

Ms. Thel Nu Wai from Myanmar

Ms. Cao Ho Hgoc Tram from Vietnam

Ms. Li Qian from China

Ms. Miora Joelle Ranosiharimandimby from Madagascar

Everyone 1 year program for Bahasa Indonesia 🙂

Batik Week


batik week

At VEDC Malang, in collaboration with a local high-school SMK5, the Darmasiswa students had a chance to create their own batik! Batik is the traditional Indonesian art of creating colorful fabric using wax. You can find examples of batik everywhere in Indonesia, every part of the country has it’s own special patterns and choice of colors, most designs depict nature items (both plants and animals) or just geometrical shapes, there is no limit to imagination. It was exciting to go through the process step by step and understand this unique tradition.


Find inspiration! You can find many ideas in design books, on the internet or just out of your head. When you do, draw it down on a piece of paper.


After you have exactly want you want on paper, draw over the pencil lines with a marker to make them visible under the fabric and copy with the pencil on the fabric – most of the times it will be white, all colors will be added later.



Carefully draw all the outlines with wax using a special tool called ‘canting’. In a heated bowl, the wax is almost liquid, one must take wax with the canting and slowly leave a wax trace on the lines. Must be very very careful not to spill or drip the wax, it will ruin the design, every wax spot will be visible at the end. One must not hurry either, the wax has to penetrate the fabric creating a thick line, important aspect for the next step.


Adding color. Let’s say you draw some flowers and leaves, and now you want to make them red, yellow and green. Well, first of all you must create the colors using chemicals. For this process we had help from the school, but once we got the main colors we mixed them on our own and created shades of red, green, orange and even made dark colors like black, brown and grey, which cannot be made directly. With a stick and a piece of wadding at the end, dip it in the color cup and then gently on the fabric to make sure the color doesn’t spread where it shouldn’t. If the lines are drawn thick enough, they will stop to colors within their limits.


Fixation of the color by covering all the colored area with a special gel that will solidify and penetrate the fabric as well. It takes a few hours for the gel to work, so it’s best left overnight.

Wash the fabric with cold water for the fixation gel to be removed. One can clearly see that the colors are brighter and sharper, so it’s a very important step in the process. Wait for the fabric to dry to go to the next step.



Cover all the colored areas with wax using paint brushes. This way, those parts are protected from the final step, making the background. This step is extremely important, the wax must be thoroughly done, making sure that the wax has penetrated enough to cover the other side as well. Also a lot of work for this one, then wait for it to be completely dry.


Preparing to color the background. As all colors are chemicals, mixtures of salts, they must be prepared according to a very precise measurement. With the help of weight, all chemical powders are set and them dipped in the big tubs with water.


The cool part is that the color is actually from a chemical reaction – dipping the fabric in 2 types of water with different powders, so first you can’t see any change and then the second time it’s like magic and it appears right before your eyes!

After it dries from washing, the fabric now with a beautiful color background still has all the wax on it so it is dipped in boiling water to remove it. After that, just hang it to let it dry and it is completed!

Be very very proud of your work! Making a batik 2m long and 80cm wide in 5 days is not an easy task 🙂 That’s why all the students got an award for their work!

Here they are with their final batiks:

Wan chose to draw a very cute panda on his batik, must admit it was one of the most photographed batiks, he deserves his prize!


Tojo wanted to promote his country Madagascar, and how to do it better than with the famous cartoon everyone loves? He drew Gloria, Melman, Alex, Marty and the penguins! It looks great and everyone was talking about his work 😉


Somchai managed to do a great job, finish on time, help others even though he missed one day of work. He amazed everybody with great artistic skills both in design and choice of colors. Well done Somchai!


Nia was the fastest among the students to finish all the steps from above and make friends with the high-school students, helping us translate sometimes, as she is fluent in bahasa Indonesia. A very cute and simple batik with her signature!


Markhabo unfortunately spilled a full glass of green color while on STEP 4. It wasn’t looking very good and she was very upset, but with a smart choice of background color she managed to solve the problem and have a great end result!


Mariam was the only one who didn’t use a paper to make her design, she drew everything from her imagination just letting the pencil run all over the fabric! The result is fantastic, a vertical batik is a first!


Amy had a little trouble handling the canting and had some unwanted drops here and there, but she skillfully made them butterflies or leaves and nobody can tell the difference! Well done 😉


Harue missed the first day of batik week, but she still managed to finish first! Her batik was hanging in the yard long before the others and it’s so well done 🙂


GG put the teachers into difficulty asking for a first time double color background batik that has never been made before, yet the experiment turned out well and she could have her grain field and sky batik as she wanted. Impressive!


Bobur chose to keep his background white, quite risky as its color can be used to cover some mistakes on the way. But there was no problem for him, he did a perfect job, no wax or color spills, quite fantastic for a guy 🙂


Hulkar is last but not least! She missed 2 days of batik week so she took a bit more time to finish hers, the result will be posted soon 🙂 Till then, it’s a mystery!

Congratulation to all the students!


Another great activity well done 🙂

What goes on in the classroom…


…is laughter, questions, eureka! moments, fun and knowledge 😉



How do you master a new language?
Start with the most common words 🙂
Here’s a list for Bahasa Indonesia:

hati-hati = take care
Very common – especially with the crazy traffic going on, a gentle reminder to stay safe and watch out for the road 🙂

bisa = able / can
Questions like can you speak indonesian? = bisa bahasa indonesia?
can you this can you that all start with “bisa” and the answer will be “bisa” well.

belum = not yet
Answering a direct “no” to some questions is not very common, more likely say “not yet” (not yet been to Bali, not yet married, not yet ..)

sudah = already
for the same reason, saying “yes” is nicer to say “already!”

tanpa gula dan susu = without sugar and milk
Because Indonesians love their sweets very sweet they add in anything, even in the delicious freshly sqeezed fruit juices! All greenies are fresh here and taste fantastic, no need for the extra stuff so make sure you mention it! … Hmm, maybe for the avocado chocolate juice we can keep the chocolate…

tidak pedas = not spicy otherwise you end up with a mounth on fire and some very unconfortable intestines. Little by little you will get accostumed to the spices

sedikit = a little
We you do start to like the spicy sauce or chillies in your food, be precatious first few time, baby steps !

sampai jumpa = see you later!
it’s never goodbye, we will meet again ! 🙂




Amy is one of the best students, she recommends listening to music and watching movies as a good practice 🙂 Happy holding the manual, and while we were nervous waiting our turn for the hotel reservation practice, she did a great job 🙂




Making a reservation at a hotel is just one of the many useful things we learned this semester 🙂 We can successfully manage also shopping at the market, asking for tickets or information, giving directions, order food, express our feelings and desires.

Quite a good set of skills! 🙂


And there are the occasional lunches together 🙂


Ok guys, get ready for a group photo….


…and here it is !


Advance Bahasa Indonesia


VEDC is not a university but a warm family to every student who studies Indonesian language here. Whether you don’t have any basic language knowledge welcome to the VEDC! If you have been studying the Indonesian language already, don’t worry! You can the same as me, ask for the superior class- study with the local student, the teacher and the classmates are very kind, they will always help you with patience.

Anyway, I really happy you have chosen VEDC and enjoy your study in VEDC.

Tang Lihua – China


uhmmm tasty!



Welcome to the wonderful world of flavors and tastes!

Half of the first semester we had cooking classes. We explored the Indonesian cuisine and it was a delight! For some it was the first time to see and try some of the ingredients!


Making coconut milk was one of the fun parts!

We cooked all the well-known Indonesian dishes, from deserts to main courses, to BBQ and salads.


One of the best things from Indonesian cuisine is the peanut sauce!


You can make it sweet or salty, eat it with veggies like Gado-Gado or with fruits like Rujak

Since Indonesia is surrounded by water, there are MANY dishes with fish.

Mariam took a special interest in this class as she loves cooking and wellness.


It is great practice to learn new vocabulary 🙂

We always liked cooking classes! It was a good time to bond and try something new 🙂


And to celebrate our last class together, we made a traditional BBQ called Sate Madura 🙂

Darmsiswa VEDC

Tojo’s yummy hobby


I am Tojo and I am from Madagascar, I started making yogurt in the VEDC’s kitchen, I had a dual purpose for that, the first was to show them a bit of my skill because I had already used to do it in my country. Then, I suggested it to the “darma Wanita (Association of VEDC’s employees’ wives) and they made me made 15 liters of milk at once, to turn into yogurt, TADA .. and that is, 75 pots of yogurt of 200 ml each, because I share 1 liter into 5 and that make 15 liters X 5 pots which gives 75 pots. Despite the fact  that milk product is not a common product in the Indonesian daily life, with different flavour like strawberry, durian, chocolate and vanilla, the 75 pots were sold to the “darma wanita” and to the internal employees themselves,of course the “ darma wanita” who organized it got the profits.


My second goal was to show and demonstrate all the advantages that may contain yoghurt, For this, I had to consult Mr Google which has provided me a very convincing info like “Maintains healthy bones, helps digestion, helps reduce high blood pressure, Contains a variety of vitamins, Boost immunity, Reduce the risk of fungal infection, Improve gut health … and many more again.

After this first experience, I made it again, and then again, I gave it tast to my friends Darmasiswa at VEDC, they said it is good.

Nowaday, I try to give my homemade yogurt to others Malang Darmasiswa but in other University, well, they love it too. Who knows, “inshallah” as the Indonesians used to say, I do not know if it has a future but, my 2 purposes worth to try it.

Tojo Mahenina