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Recommended Resources

Culture & Travel   v  Food  v  Language  v  More Resources

Most recommendations are available through - Just click on the image or the book title for purchase details.

Culture & Travel

coverLonely Planet Indonesia (Lonely Planet Indonesia, 7th Ed)  published November 2003.   The most comprehensive guide to Indonesia on the market! It is comparable to an encyclopedia, covering everything you might ever want to know about this fascinating country, whether you plan to travel there or not. It has detailed information about each of the major islands, along with a myriad of maps and a fair amount of color photos too. This volume is highly recommended for those with a rapt interest in learning as much as possible about Indonesia.


Insight Guide Bali (Bail, 17th Ed) published February 2002.  As with most Insight Guides, this one is packed with high quality, full-color photos that capture the spirit of the last remaining Hindu island of Indonesia, featuring both the most commonly seen, as well as lesser known attractions. This is a solid guide for those planning a trip, as well as those who will travel to Bali only in their mind.


Going Places: Bali published 1999. This fast-moving, up-beat video was one in a series of PBS travel shows called Going Places. It is a well-rounded taste of the typical tourist attractions in Bali. Recommended for those who are wondering what it would be like to visit Indonesia's most popular international tourist destination.


A Little Bit One O'clock  A touching yet amusing true story of William and Jean Ingram and the Balinese family they grew to call their own. This delightful book certainly offers western readers valuable insight into Balinese life and culture. A must-read for a visitor or even an armchair traveler interested in the non-tourist side of Bali.

The author and his wife still live in Ubud, Bali and run a small non-profit organization known as Threads of Life, which is contributing to the preservation of textile weavers and dyers in Indonesia. Their warm affection toward the people of Indonesia lives on in their work.


Culture Shock: Indonesia  Though it is not the newest book around, it is chock full of excellent cultural information that is difficult to find elsewhere. Though it is intended for expatriates who are planning to move to, or are already be living in Indonesia, it is an excellent source of "inside" information seldom seen by by tourists.

If you are considering a move to Indonesia or wonder what it would be like to live there, be sure to also check out the Living in Indonesia website which is designed especially for expatriates, based in Jakarta.

 cover The Packing Book: Secrets of the Carry-On Traveler 3rd edition.  This excellent guide shows you how to pack what you need for any trip, and not what you don't. It also clearly illustrates an innovative way to "fold" your clothes so that you can pack more and wrinkle less, no matter what kind of luggage you have. This book is complete with suggested packing lists and blank forms for you to customize. It is written for both the minimalist and those who usually attempt to travel with their entire closet.

 coverGoing Abroad  This is a must for every first-time world traveler! Most guidebooks lamely make a passing remark about bathroom conditions for the westerner who may encounter their first squat toilet in their travels. But the reality is that no one is there to help you when you've "got to go" and you are faced with a hole in the floor, nothing to sit on and no paper! This book will not only teach you how to handle the situation with grace and confidence, but give you plenty of laughs along the way. Highly recommended for everyone who ventures outside of the USA on their travels.

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 coverLonely Planet World Food: Indonesia  A compact, yet comprehensive guide to everything concerning food in Indonesia, from historical as well as cultural influences on how Indonesians eat. There are sections covering culinary  staples, those strange multi-colored, chewy fruited drinks, regional specialties, as well as healthy tips, and even a language guide and glossary. Indonesian food is certainly as vibrant as its people.

cover Eat Smart in Indonesia: How to Decipher the Menu Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure   Everything you should know about eating in Indonesia before you travel there, as well as many authentic recipes you can make yourself at home. There is a helpful resource listing of sellers of hard-to-find Indonesian foods in the USA, as well as travel agents and other organizations specializing in Indonesia. There are also helpful phrases, a menu guide, and foods and flavor guide for use on the spot when traveling. A small section includes color photos of typical foods and marketplaces.

 Indonesian Street Food Secrets  Far more than simply a cookbook, this is a virtual journey into Indonesia! Enthusiastically recommended for an authentic experience. This hardcover volume contains 230 glossy color photos Just one of the reasons to love this book is because the recipes are presented with the American kitchen in mind, including ingredients that can be obtained locally. Delicious traditional Indonesian street food favorites can now be enjoyed with ease here in the West, thanks to this book, which brings to life the everyday culinary and cultural experiences of Indonesia. This is one FUN book!


The Food of Indonesia: Authentic Recipes from the Spice Islands  This hardcover cookbook, as well as the next book, The Food of Bali, are excellent cookbooks in themselves with many authentic recipes and accompanying glossy photographs. But these volumes contain so much more. They are packed with behind-the-scenes cultural information and a travelogue of sorts from the authors. Both books have sections on authentic techniques and utensils, as well as a helpful illustrated glossary of ingredients. These books are far from sterile; they not only give you the flavors of Indonesia, but an open-hearted appreciation of the people and their cultures as well.

cover The Food of Bali: Authentic Recipes from the Island of the Gods  The author of this cookbook, as well as the one preceding this, owns and operates a restaurant and cooking school in Bali. Von Holzen's Bumbu Bali in Nusa Dua  is devoted solely to authentic native Balinese cooking. If you are not planning to go to Bali and take an intensive half-day cooking class at his school or enjoy an authentic meal at the restaurant, a true taste of Bali can still be had in your own kitchen with the help of this cookbook.

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Language Learning


Tuttle's Concise Indonesian Dictionary: English-Indonesian Indonesian-English   There are many two-way dictionaries available, but this one is recommended because it is, as the title says, concise. It tells you what you want to know lickity-split, including examples of usage, without any extra technical information that you won't need in a hurry. It is also a small size, so it is easy to take along with you on the road.

cover Periplus Pocket Indonesian Dictionary   This handy dandy little dictionary in an economical up-to-date dictionary with the most common words used in everyday conversation. Useful to both beginning language students who like to learn-as-they-talk, as well as travelers.

  Indonesian in a Flash (Tuttle Flash Cards) The hotest new way to increase your vocabulary even if you have no time to study. Just take along a few cards in your pocket so that while you're waiting in traffic, commuting on public transportation, or waiting for a slow web sites to load, you can learn new words and all their different derivatives in only a few minutes a day!


Instant Indonesian: How to Express 1,000 Different Ideas With Just 100 Key Words and Phrases This neat little pocket-sized book will give you just what you need to hit the ground running. It delivers what it promises: One hundred of the most commonly used words in everyday Indonesian conversation that can be juggled in different ways to express 1,000 different ways in real-life situations. One of the fastest ways to start learning bahasa Indonesia!

coverLonely Planet Indonesian Phrasebook (Indonesian Phrasebook, 4th Ed)  Our absolute favorite phrasebook and so much more. Usually a phrasebook is for quick reference, but this one is highly recommended in its entirety. There are entertaining cultural tidbits, as well as invaluable tips sprinkled throughout this pocket-sized book. The grammar section is also a great foundation for your continued study.

Indonesian: Start Speaking Today (Language 30)  This is an economical cassette learning course that includes two cassettes and a phrase dictionary/ study guide booklet. This is good to use while on the go as a supplement to a more comprehensive method of learning, or if you only want to learn some useful phrases and increase your basic vocabulary.

cover Talk Now! Indonesian CD-ROM  The advantage of this economical computer-based way of learning Indonesian is it uses games and quizzes as a basis for making the learning process fun and relaxing instead of the usual boring grammar exercises and vocabulary drills. The element of fun will hold your attention and help you easily absorb new words and phrases without realizing you are actually learning to speak a new language!


Teach Yourself Indonesian Complete Course This self-teaching book and audio CDs has lots of dialogue practices and quizzes using practical vocabulary. There are regular and irregular verb tables that come in handy when learning to recognize root words and grammar. Especially useful are the website suggestions to help with continued language studies.

cover Colloquial Indonesian (Book & Tapes) Probably still one of the best courses on the market at a reasonable price. The teaching style is not as effective as Pimsleur's method, but it is not run-of-the-mill dry either. Highly recommended for those eager to learn how to converse in Indonesian with native speakers, rather than simply mimic common travel phrases.   

 cover Pimsleur Indonesian (Compact) [CD] The well-known Pimsleur method relies on interactive spoken training, so no book is needed with this program, which makes it good if you want to learn bahasa Indonesia while doing other activities. The language taught on this program is quite basic and geared toward travel to Jakarta, but serves as a useful start for new students because what you learn you will learn extremely well due to the teaching techniques used. The program consists of 10 lessons. It is also available on audio cassettes.

Star Interactive also offers an inexpensive ($6.99 with shipping) CD-ROM program that is interactive and good for beginners. To find it on their web site click here and type "Indonesian" in the Search box on the top, left of the screen.

cover How to Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own  The author offers many great learning strategies, even though this book is due for an update to include suggestions for using interactive software. However, the author's own enthusiasm and experiences with language learning are a great inspiration to anyone embarking on the study of a new tongue. He is fluent in over 18 languages! Included in this book are his experiences on learning the Indonesian language, of which he says, "If I had never been drawn to foreign languages earlier, that moment [when he first heard Indonesian spoken] would have done it." He continues, "Let me hasten to point out that Indonesian is the easiest language in the world--no hedging, no 'almost,' no 'among the easiest.' In my experience, Indonesian is the easiest."

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Looking for More Indonesian Resources?

Click on the following links to run the appropriate search for what interests you most:

Current listing of available videos about Indonesia

Current listing of available Indonesian music CDs

The Indonesian Music Shop is also a good source of traditional and modern Indonesian music CDs in the USA

Current listing of available language learning software

Current listing of available Indonesian cookbooks

Some books, videos, CDs and software programs can be found in city libraries, but these are few and far between, since sadly, Indonesia is not yet well known (or appreciated) here in the States.  If you are looking for something in general or specifically, drop us a line and we'll search all of our Indonesia-specific sources to see if what you want can be found.

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