Behind the Scenes

English writer and photographer Melanie Wood moved to Indonesia because she liked the shape of it on the map. "The tropics," she mulled, picking up a Graham Greene novel.

Gangs of Indonesia started in 2010 and gives Melanie a great excuse to eavesdrop and observe.

Get in touch:
Comments on Gangs are very welcome. For potential collaborations on writing and photography projects, please send me an email.

Melanie is currently in Vietnam...but is looking forward to getting more Indonesia stories down soon!


  1. What a nice blog. You have created some very interesting photo essays. I wonder how you manage to find such interesting subjects all the time. I spend most of my time in shopping malls (having meetings, dinner, etc.) and don't see too much of what you have shown. Keep up the good work. I've linked your blog to my facebook page.
    May I suggest that you add a chatroom to your blog. I'm sure some people would like to say Hi directly.

  2. Very great Blog... :)
    there so many interesting things that i don't know in my own country... :p

    Best Regards

    Dhika Eliazar

  3. Great Blog ... I Love Indonesia too :D

  4. Great blog! It's rare to see foreigner get up gather the some guts to go up close and personal with the locals.
    Oh, how I miss Glodok (with all the pirated DVD, tee hee hee) and eating mie ayam bakso in Benhil!
    When you have a second, go and visit Muara Karang, near Pluit; it's where the Hokkien Chinese immigrants are! Kinda like a mini Glodok when the sun's gone it's a food paradise like no other! ;)
    Ah~ Suddenly I felt so homesick, maybe it's time to take some time off and head home...

  5. Thanks Anonymous!

    I've been up to the fish market in Muara Angke (, but missed the Hokkien Chinese food paradise: great reason to re-visit: thank you for the tip!

    Happy travels! And if you can't get back soon, I'll eat a bowl of mie ayam bakso for you and post the picture! ;-)

  6. Hi Melanie!

    Found your blog by accident and now a fan! Keep writing and taking awesome pictures of Indonesia.

    I have a blog too. It's in bahasa. A collaboration sounds like a good idea, no?



  7. I'm a new fan. It's such a breath of fresh air to finally see a non-local see the positive and the humor in this complicated country :D. I love your banner! It's brilliant
    We ( would love to collaborate with you in the future. We would even like to just tag along and pick your brain, and anyone else's for that matter. Padang food is good #distracted.
    Please contact us if you plan to hunt for pictures and such. We're really interested!

  8. Hi Mumun,
    Thank you very much for the feedback!

    Let's tag along together and go get some good photos!
    Switching over to email..

  9. Hi Melanie,
    What a great blog you have here. It is fresh and show many faces on how Indonesians live their life. Though not too many right now, these photo essays reveal many sides on Indonesia.
    Great work, and I hope we can do stuffs to make this project even bigger! I'll email you soon ya.

    1. Hi Jaka Setia,
      Thanks for your comments. I will be adding lots of new posts from July onwards! I'd love to hear your ideas and look forward to your email!

  10. I love your blog! So interesting. Well done :)


  11. blog nya keren bgt Mbak Melanie...very nice blog...I saw Indonesia here..

  12. Great stuff. But such a pity there are no more updates :(


  13. Hi Melanie.

    In doing a replacement of my Indonesian Links page I've discovered that the 'Gangs of Indonesia' page [I was] looking for in this blog does not exist.

    That's a shame. You know that I was, and still am, a 'fan' of your photos, and bearing in mind that so is Elizabeth Pisani, could you restore it so that your contribution to raising awareness of life here in Indonesia can continue to captivate visitors?



  14. hy mel
    how much your steps in Indonesia, this is miniartur world, the diversity of culture, ethnicity and skin color is here, this is a piece of heaven that fell to earth
    I hope you enjoy all that there is in this little paradise
    our warm greetings from the people of Indonesia