So you want to ‘see’ Indonesia. That’s a big, broad desire. Where to start? Stretching 5,100 km, comprising 17,000 islands, this is the world’s largest archipelagic state. With 280 million people, it’s the planet’s 4th largest country and the largest Muslim-majority nation on Earth. Sweet surf, dense jungles with primates, dragons here and there, steaming volcanos, mega-cities, and 700 languages being spoken by 1,300 different ethnic groups, how do you approach this trip? Today, we’re going to do just that, with an Indonesian expert; journalist, travel writer, and explorer, Mark Eveleigh.

On the terrace that is known as the Sea of Immortality – the summit of Borobudur – there are 72 lattice-like stupas, each containing a life-sized statue of Buddha. Courtesy of


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In a remote section of Kei Kecil forest a local hunter sets out with his bow and arrows to hunt wild pigs and the mongoose-like cuscus. Courtesy of

Scott: ‘Selamat Malam’ Trevor. Good Evening in Bahasa Indonesian. When did you first become aware of Indonesia as a travel spot? What were the first places you went in Indonesia and when? 

Trevor: Always knew about Bali, G-land, and Nais as a little grommet surfer kid. These were dream destinations. So when I first came to Asia, Bali was my first stop. I made it to Sumatra but didn’t get all the way to Nais, because it was back in the day and it was quite hard to get to, even without a surf board.

Our guest: Mark Eveleigh. Courtesy of

Our guest, Mark Eveleigh, has been a travel journalist for more than 25-years and truly has done it all. He’s authored 12 books, more than 850 full-length travel features for 120-plus publications, including Esquire, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic, among others, covering travel in more than 70 countries around the world. He joins us online from South Africa.

Rays of light cut through the cathedral like canopy on the forested slope of Gunung Tujuh. Courtesy of

Listen to episode 158 to hear Mark’s answers to the following questions:

  • We always like to start at the beginning, so… where are you originally from and what was your life before living and working around the world?
  • What led you to start ‘living’ in Asia and when did Indonesia formally come into the picture?
  • Most of our listeners have likely heard of Bali, Lombok, Jakarta and a few other Indonesian mainstays for travelers, but today we’re deliberately going to focus on other spots, many of which you feature in your very enjoyable book, Kopi Dulu. 
  • Give us a quick, broad overview of Indonesia and what it has to offer travelers.
  • We appreciate there are tons of ‘people’ in Indonesia, but can you sum them up as a collective group and how will visitors experience them on a trip?
  • What’s Indonesian food like?
  • What are the various types of trips you need to decide that you want to take? Eg, you can’t do it all so it’s islands/beaches, jungles, and volcanoes?
  • The first part of your book Kopi Dulu starts in the NW island of Sumatra. There are some spots I’m intrigued about that you mention and I’d love to learn a bit more about them.
  • With 3 weeks at one’s disposal and a moderate budget, where does Mark recommend they go?
  • What will most surprise visitors about Indonesia?
  • You seem to have seen it all in Indonesia but I’m guessing there are still a few spots you really want to get to. What are they?
  • As we wrap up, tell us about your book Kopi Dulu and why listeners should consider giving it a read.
In the little village of Kambira, Dena stands beside her grandfather Johannes Lantong, who died almost 2 months before, and her grandmother Alfreda who has been dead already for five years. Courtesy of


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Theme Music by Jamie Ruben

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