Backpack Through Indonesia in Under 5 Minutes

Re-blog from National Geographic:

Backpack Through Indonesia in Under 5 Minutes (click link to play the video)

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 20.33.56

Follow these backpackers on an epic journey across Indonesia. Filmmaker Marco Santi shares highlights of his 16-day adventure in Backpackers Memahami Indonesia. Roughly translated from Indonesian, memahami means “to understand or comprehend.” Travel from the top of Gunung Bromo, an active volcano, to the depths of the Indian Ocean in this stunning short.

Source: National Geographic


2015 Egypt Trip: Visa

The trip to Egypt was a deferred travel plan since 2011, owing to security issues there.  A mission to tick this box in my places to visit, however, still remains valid. It’s now or never and April 2015 was the time, we decided.

But first, the visa.

Egyptian Visa
Egyptian Visa

For Indonesians residing in Qatar, no visa on arrival facility is available from Egypt. I had to secure a pre-arranged visa from the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Doha. Here is how:

1. Locate the embassy. It’s located in Onaiza, on a fenced and gated compound, close to the former Arch roundabout, sharing the area with British Embassy, Turkish Embassy and Lebanese Embassy among others. It has also a tight security protocol.

Coordinate: 25°20’49.0″N 51°31’02.2″E (click to open Wikimapia – Egyptian Embassy)

2. Know that  you have to deal directly with the embassy (no agents involved) but you can’t drive your car into the compound. What you have to do are to park your car on mosque  parking lots (Mosque of Maryam) located just 200 meters north of the compound entrance, take one of the provided shuttle buses, and disembark right at the embassy entrance. Take the same bus to go back. Google Maps – click to understand Shuttle Bus Location/Mosque of Maryam.


  • Bus starts taking passenger at around 8:30am. No bus service in the afternoon (in this case you can walk in to the compound)
  • Bring your Qatari ID. The security will take a picture of your ID and screen your bag.
  • Embassy of Egypt is the first stop, as of now. Listen to “Misr” (not Egypt) as the bus driver shouts to warn the passenger.

    Shuttle Bus used to ferry applicants to Embassy compound in Onaiza. Seen here is Mosque of Maryam)
    Shuttle Bus used to ferry applicants to Embassy compound in Onaiza. Seen here is Mosque of Maryam)

3. Know its timing. According to its Facebook page it is open from

Mon – Thu:
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Please be warned that though it starts taking services from 9am, ticket queue may start as early as 8:30am. By the time I arrive at around 8:40am for example, I normally get number #6 to number 8. There are 5 booths (A to E) and Visa booth is D.

4. Know the process. Unlike other nationalities, Indonesian has to go through a screening process or background check. This is done by sending a copy of passport and company letter to Cairo.

  • Fill in Application Form for screening purposes (see attached; can be obtained from the visa staff); one form for each person. Furnish it with: a black-and-white (BW) copy of passport identification page, a BW copy of Qatar RP page, a BW copy of Qatar ID, and an original company letter (in Arabic) (which normally states no objection to travel, confirmation of employment and salary data). There is a copying service in the waiting area with minimal fee, just in case. No photograph and original passport are to be submitted at this stage nor payment to be made. You will be given a slip. Take another Visa application form home (see #3 below) so that you can save your time later.

    Egypt Visa Application (for screening)
    Egypt Visa Application (for screening)
  • Wait for 15 days, or I shall say 15 working days (three weeks calendar). (Take this into consideration when planning your departure date)
  • Return to the embassy by bringing the slip. The staff will check against a list of approved visa application. Once you get the approval, you can now submit the completed visa application form. Furnish it with one attached photograph to the form and one other piece and original passport (no clear rule on photograph size and color. I used one for umrah (white background) and it was accepted)(No other documents such as flight/hotel bookings, or insurance or bank account are needed). Make payment: QR140 per passport (I am not so sure if payment by card is possible so have your cash ready). You will be given another slip.

    Egypt Visa Application Form
    Egypt Visa Application Form
  • Two working days later you can collect your passport and pasted visa. This 30-day duration visa is valid for 30 days. Congratulation!