Since being in Indonesia, it has been an interesting challenge to call home.
The first set of challenges, I actually encountered at the Hyatt. Unlike Japan, there are phone booths, but no place for coins and no information on how to make an international call. Instead, I had to go to the communication center, which cost me $7.50 for a 3 minute phone call.
Once I arrived in the next city, it got even more interesting. There was no way I could call family unless I walked down the street at the "phone booth," or purchased a phone. It was too late to purchase a phone, so I walked down the street with my new friend who helped me find my way around town.
There's no way in the world I could have accomplished this alone. We walked into a neighborhood and asked a man to use the "pay phone," at his store. There was a booth with no phone. All of a sudden, he grabs a phone from his drawer and walks over to the phone booth to plug it in. I still didn't know how to use it because there's a special code you have to use prior to your international phone call. But after figuring it out, it was so nice to hear a familiar voice and to let my family know that I made it to Indonesia safely.
Here's the phone booth:
It can get expensive to constantly call back home through the phone booth. It's much cheaper to buy a phone instead However, once again, I wouldn't have been able to do it alone! My Indonesian friend had to help me purchase a phone and add minutes. It was too confusing.
The phone I bought was the cheapest on the market for a mere $24.00 ...Then, I paid for pulsa minutes. They register your phone number and put a card inside of the phone for it to begin working. My phone wouldn't work though and it took me all night to figure it out. A friend said to try "011" and it worked. I could finally call home. But within 5 minutes, my "pulsa" ran out and I could not call my family once again. Fortunately, I have a video phone at home, which is the only phone that works because it does not eat my minutes.
I am happy to say now, after the interesting challenges that I've encountered, that I can communicate with family and have a way to get in touch with friends here too. My phone works and I now know where to go if I need to make a phone call.
For those of you visiting Indonesia, you can use a phone booth or purchase a phone, depending on your stay here. I would recommend purchasing a cheap cell phone. You can sell it afterward and it costs less in the end to use as a means of communication. It may just take a while to figure out! Good luck.