A smartphone vacation in Indonesia30 Jul 2013
I wrapped a two week vacation to Indonesia. I took a factory reset Nexus S along with me as my internet lifeline. It’s been a few years since I last vacationed internationally and the entire experience was radically different this time, thanks substantially to massive penetration of high speed internet and smartphones. A few notes and observations on using both from my trip:
- I purchased an Indosat SIM card with 6GB of 3G data for the equivalent of $7.50 USD (it also included a few SMS and minutes for coordinating with drivers, the original purpose)
- Free wifi blanketed us everywhere we went, airports, train stations, every hotel/hostel, and most restaurants. I have 19 wifi networks remembered.
- Dropbox – Used favorites feature to cache itineraries, tickets, and receipts offline
- Rdio – Offline caching worked great
- FlightAware – Not as good as FlightTracker Pro on iOS but helpful for our Eva Air flights
- Indonesia Flights – Really great flight aggregator for a lot of the domestic Indonesian airlines
- foursquare – Surprisingly popular in Indonesia (Jarkarta airport was “swarming” when I landed). Great for finding restaurants
- TripAdvisor – Good content but app is just a website wrapper and sucks
- Tap & Say – Helpful phrase book, but despite what the description says, still requires an internet connection. Wouldn’t buy again.
- Google Sky – Cool toy when spending evenings outside civilization
- Skype WiFi – Useless. Need to research a better wifi SIP app
Used 4.3 on a relatively old phone (picked it because it had a traditional SIM slot). Experience was slow and rapidly slowed with more apps, battery life was short, many apps performed poorly in low connectivity conditions.
Technology in Indonesia
- BlackBerry and candy bar phones still popular
- Tons of tablet use among tourists
- Nearly every restaurant had its own Facebook, Twitter, and email address (Yahoo popular, occasionally Gmail)
- WhatsApp, Line, and other messaging apps heavily advertised/bundled with telco packages