A Travellerspoint blog

Indonesia

Beautiful Bali.

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There were a lot of places I visited before I joined VT and started doing travel pages. I made travel pages for some of these from memory and by scanning old photos. One of the places I always meant to do a page for but never got round to was - Bali. Now that travellers point is my new home, I'll make one for here.

We've only been to Bali once. We went during our Easter holiday in 1997. We've always meant to go back and maybe some day we'll get round to that. Obviously this blog will not have very up to date information in it.

We flew to Denpasar and were picked up by a prearranged transfer that took us to our hotel in Sanur. I don't remember what our hotel was called. It was away from the beach down a dusty side street. The accommodation was in individual little huts and the resort had several small pools, each with their own traditional Balinese statue. Each morning offerings of flower garlands and fruit were placed in front of the statues of deities dispersed all around the grounds. The hotel had an arrangement with one of the large hotels on the beachfront and we were allowed to use their pool free of charge. We liked our accommodation. It was quiet, peaceful and an easy walk away from the centre.

Our accommodation.

Our accommodation.

Our accommodation.

Our accommodation.

Inside our accommodation.

Inside our accommodation.

Our pool.

Our pool.

Back in the days when I was slim enough to wear a bikini.

Back in the days when I was slim enough to wear a bikini.

Many people don't like Bali and most of the people I've heard criticizing it stayed in the Kuta or Legian area. This is the area with clubs, pubs, noise. It's also got a reputation for being very hassley and annoying. Sanur, on the other hand, is quite quiet and fairly peaceful. It is largely a beach resort.

Sanur has a long stretch of beautiful white sand, warm shallow water and lots of colourful boats bobbing around. We took a walk along the beach during our stay. We also enjoyed excellent food and drink in some of Sanur's very pleasant restaurants. On our last day we went souvenir shopping in some of Sanur's many shops. We bought some T-shirts. Oh and of course we went to the larger hotel on the beach that we were allowed to use and swam in their big pool.

I liked the traditional Balinese fishing boats known as "jukung". These are very colourful and normally have eyes painted on them presumably to ward off danger.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

Sanur Beach.

The big pool.

The big pool.

The big pool.

The big pool.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Statues everywhere.

Satays and bali hai beer.

Satays and bali hai beer.

Satays and bali hai beer.

Satays and bali hai beer.

My favourite place in Bali was Ubud. This is the amazing cultural heart of Bali with well-established temples, villages, rice paddies, a monkey forest and more. We came here one evening to watch a Balinese musical performance and later we spent the day here. We saw some rice paddies and typical buildings. There was a Balinese funeral about to take place, but we did not take part in that. We also ate here and our restaurant overlooked the street. There seemed to be a constant procession of people in traditional clothes or playing customary Balinese instruments. It was fascinating.

A Balinese funeral is a strange event. Many tourists pay to join in in one. The body is carried through the street and twisted and turned around in circles. This is to confuse the dead person's ghost and stop it haunting its previous home. I'm sure the ceremony is fascinating, but it felt sort of voyeuristic to join one. We decided to give it a miss anyway.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Ubud.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Traditional Clothes.

Souvenir Shop.

Souvenir Shop.

Funeral Procession.

Funeral Procession.

Rice paddies.

Rice paddies.

Souvenir Shop, Ubud.

Souvenir Shop, Ubud.

We also took a bus to one of Bali's active volcanoes. I think it was Mount Agung. This is the highest point on Bali. We just went there for the view, had a drink in the cafe at the viewpoint and came back.

Looking towards Mount Agung.

Looking towards Mount Agung.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Cafe at the viewpoint.

Another lovely day trip we did was to the Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Complex - the temples in the lake. These were built in the seventeenth century. They are dedicated to the Hindu Gods Brajma, Vishnu and Shiva and the goddess of the lake, Dewi Danu. The temples are made up of different layers. The tallest temple is made up of eleven tiers and is dedicated to Vishnu. The second tallest has seven tiers and is devoted to Brahma. The shortest temple has just three tiers and is dedicated to Shiva. All the temples are surrounded by the waters of Lake Bratan, the second largest lake in Bali.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

At the temples.

Near the temple complex is Bali's botanical gardens. We went for a walk there after our temple visit.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

Posted by irenevt 07:30 Archived in Indonesia Comments (4)

Yogyakarta - Indonesia

A Chaotic Wonderland.

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Becaks on Maliboro.

Yogyakarta is chaos. It is well worth visiting, but it is total madness. We were there near Indonesian New Year, which probably just added to the mayhem. The main street Malioboro Street was wall to wall motorbikes, horse drawn carts and cars. Quite frequently as you walked along this street you would find yourself pushed into a horse drawn cart in front of you and with a horse pulling a second cart directly behind you. Again I have to say - madness.

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On Maliboro.

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Street vendor, Yogyakarta.

On Maliboro.

On Maliboro.

On Maliboro.

On Maliboro.

Street Vendor.

Street Vendor.

Our hotel in Yogyakarta was lovely, but I think when we stayed there we did not fully appreciate it as we had been spoilt by the Majapahit, Surabaya.

In our hotel.

In our hotel.

In our hotel.

In our hotel.

In our hotel.

In our hotel.

In our hotel.

In our hotel.

The other thing about Yogyakarta is that everyone talks to you and every conversation ends in an attempt to drag you off to an art exhibition. Although these are surely attempts to exploit you in some way, they were not really annoying for two reasons. One, I got several of these people to take me across the road (not an easy feat in Indonesia) mid conversation and two you could get information about where you really wanted to go in the midst of art exhibition talk. We managed not to visit a single art exhibition so it was not as hard sell as some places.

Looking over the river.

Looking over the river.

Looking over the river.

Looking over the river.

Sights in Yogjakarta

In addition to Malioboro Street there is a large Kraton or palace, an old Dutch fort (now a museum), a bird market, a water castle and lots and lots of street activity.

Old Fort.

Old Fort.

Good things about Yogyakarta are there are lots of goings on; there is lots to look at and there are several interesting sights nearby.

The Kraton or palace lies at the end of Malioboro Street. Admission is around 7,500 Rp and it is open from 8am to 2pm on Saturday and ­Thursday and 8am to 1pm on Fridays.

The current Sultan of Yogyakarta still lives in the palace. Obviously you cannot enter his residence, but you can visit some of the outer buildings and pavilions. We visited during a torrential downpour and watched rainwater stream off the palace roofs from our sheltered spot.

Sultan's Palace.

Sultan's Palace.

Sultan's Palace.

Sultan's Palace.

The Water Castle ­ or Taman Sari is open from 8am to ­ 2pm and costs around 7000Rp. We arrived too late to go in, but this was not a problem as there are extensive remains of the Water Castle which are free entry and open at all times. As well as exploring the ruins themselves, there are also lovely views from the roof. A large and interesting underground cistern is located close by.

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The Water Castle.

The Water Castle.

The Water Castle.

The Water Castle.

The Water Castle.

We also visited the Pasar Beringharjo or Bird Market. The bird market is open from 8am to 6pm and is located near the Water Castle. As well as a selling a variety of different birds, the market sells bird cages and bird food. It's quite an interesting place to wander around.

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The Bird Market.

The Bird Market.

The Bird Market.

Day Trips from Yogyakarta.

We went on two day trips from Yogyakarta. The first was to Prambanan. Prambanan lies about 17KM north east of Yogyakarta and makes a wonderful day trip. The site consists of several well-­preserved Hindu temples which have wonderful stone carvings and statues. The temples date back to around the 8th century. The whole complex is beautifully located within a deer park. We paid 10 US dollars to enter the site. You can pay the equivalent in Indonesian money if you prefer. The temple complex is open from 6am to 6pm. We got here by asking our hotel to arrange a car and driver for us for this trip.

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Prambanan.

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Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

Prambanan.

The second day trip was to Borobudur. We visited Borobudur on Indonesian New Year's Day together, I believe, with the rest of the country. Although the site was beautiful, it was incredibly busy with people covering every available surface. Entrance fee was 10 US dollars and opening hours were 6am to 5pm.

Borobudur is a massive Buddhist complex set on several levels. The walls of Borobudur are covered with wonderful stone carvings and the site is protected by hundreds of stone Buddhas. Borobudur was damaged in a terrorist bomb attack in 1991 but has subsequently been repaired.

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Borobudur.

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Borobudur.

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Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Borobudur.

Posted by irenevt 22:56 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Going Solo

Indonesia 2008

sunny

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Children dancing in Solo.

Solo is quieter than nearby Yogyakarta, so is like a bit of sanity either before or after your visit there. It does not have huge numbers of sights. It has: two palaces, some markets, a couple of Chinese temples and mosques. We were fortunate enough to see a local celebration in which children in traditional clothes were dancing.

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Dancers in Solo.

Dancers in Solo.

Dancers in Solo.

Dancers in Solo.

Dancers in Solo.

Dancers in Solo.

Dancers in Solo.

Musicians in Solo.

Musicians in Solo.

Solo is a very good location for visiting the nearby erotic temples: Candi Ceto and Candi Sukuh. They are called erotic temples as they contain some erotic statues. The highlight of a visit to them is the view from them as they are located on a mountain overlooking fields of rice, tea, coffee and other crops ­ all slightly different shades of green. The view is­ breathtakingly beautiful.

Good things about Solo are it is quiet, fairly peaceful and a good location for visiting the nearby temples. We stayed in a lovely hotel which had apparently also been a palace at one time.

Musicians in our hotel.

Musicians in our hotel.

Solo Bus Station.

Solo Bus Station.

Solo has two palaces. We just visited one of them - Puri Mangkunegaran. It is the smaller one, but it is supposedly better kept. You have to go round on a tour which I don't normally like doing, but our guide was really interesting and funny and told us lots about the objects in the palace which we would never have known without him.

The royal family still live in part of this palace and I'm pretty sure we saw a princess or two wandering around. It's possible to book dinner with the royal family apparently though we did not try this. Buy your entrance ticket at the main palace entrance and take the tour. It is open Monday ­ on Saturdays from 8.30am to ­ 2pm and on Sundays from 8.30am to ­1pm.

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Puri Mangkunegaran.

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Puri Mangkunegaran.

For our full day in Solo we booked a car and a driver through our hotel to go to the erotic temples - Candi Ceto and Candi Sukuh. This was considerably cheaper than the price we had been quoted by a travel agency earlier. The erotic temples of Candi Ceto and Candi Sukuh are fairly near each other and with transport can easily be visited on the same day. There is a waterfall nearby, too, though we did not go to see it.

Candi Sukuh is open from 9am to 5pm and costs around 10,000 Rp to visit. The main temple building is like a pyramid with the point cut off. You can climb up to the flat roof for a view over the complex and surrounding area. The temple is called an erotic temple due to housing several statues with rather large penises. In my opinion they are more funny than erotic. The highlight of the temple is the stunning view over the surrounding countryside. There are tea plantations, rice paddies, coffee plantations all in contrasting shades of green. It is stunning.

Candi Ceto also has stunning views. It is open from 9am to ­5pm and costs around 10,000Rp to enter. This temple is set out over several different terraces and also contains erotic statues. Both temples and their surrounding areas were the highlight of our trip to Solo.

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The Erotic Temples.

The Erotic Temples.

The Erotic Temples.

The Erotic Temples.

The Erotic Temples.

The Erotic Temples.

The Erotic Temples.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Scenery.

Posted by irenevt 22:17 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Journey across Java.

Indonesia Surabaya 2008

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A not so typical calm street.

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A much more typical crowded street.

Surabaya was a destination I visited after getting my digital camera (I was one of those people who had to have their film camera dragged off them and smashed in front of them before I would stop using it). As all my photos are now stored on computer and don't need scanned, this should be relatively easy to do.

We flew into Surabaya from Kuala Lumpur. We decided to spend two nights in Surabaya before travelling across to Solo and Yogyakarta. Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia, but it is not much of a tourist destination and does not have a lot of sights. To Indonesians Surabaya is Kota Pahlawan (city of heroes) as it saw some of the fiercest fighting in Indonesia's struggle against the Dutch for independence. It is an interesting city but is not overloaded with sights.

Surabaya had certain good points and bad points. One of the reasons we choose to fly into Surabaya rather than Jakarta was we wanted to stay in the Majapahit Hotel and that turned out to be the best part of Surabaya by far and well worth coming for. Also the people were friendly and tourists were few and far between so people wanted to talk to us and kept asking us to take their photos. The lady we spoke to in the tourist office who helped us arrange onward bus travel to Solo has to be one of the most helpful people I have ever met. Although it is a big city, Surabaya has a lot that is traditionally Indonesian such as becaks (bicycle rickshaws for getting around).

The biggest downside of Surabaya was the traffic. You took your life in your hands every time you crossed a street. We found we could not walk to where we wanted to go as some roads were just totally uncrossable. In the end we took a car with a driver as the only means of getting around.

Our Favourite Part of Surabaya

The Majapahit was built in 1910 by the Sarkie brothers who designed the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore. We've come across lots of their hotels on our travels such as The Eastern and Oriental Hotel, Penang, the Strand, Yangon. We had never actually stayed in one until this trip and stayed in the Majapahit at a really good price. They offer lots of deals as Surabaya does not have too many tourists.

The hotel is just so tranquil and calming. Its rooms are built around courtyards filled with brightly coloured flowers and gurgling fountains. The staff are lovely and very friendly. Outside the front door of the hotel is traffic congested chaos; inside is birdsong and trickling water. The hotel has an interesting history. It was originally the Oranje Hotel. In 1945, as unrest was mounting and cries for independence were being heard all over Indonesia, someone made the error of raising the red, white and blue striped Dutch flag on the hotel's flag pole. The hotel was stormed , the flag was lowered and the bottom blue strip torn off turning it into a red and white Indonesian flag. Rioting ensued and the event helped earn Surabaya its nickname of City of Heroes. There is a small plaque in the hotel commemorating this event. The hotel has beautiful old colonial style rooms, a Chinese restaurant, a lovely outdoor swimming pool and a spa.

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The Hotel Majapahit.

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The Hotel Majapahit.

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The Hotel Majapahit.

On our full day in Surabaya we hired a car and a driver to get around. We saw several sights.

Kalimas Harbour is a very busy working harbour with lots of lorries coming and going. It is very good for taking pictures of ships being loaded or unloaded. A lot of the ships are quite and interesting.

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Kalimas Harbour.

Kalimas Harbour.

Kalimas Harbour.

Kalimas Harbour.

Kalimas Harbour.

The Red Bridge, Jembatan Merah, was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the struggle for independence. When we were there, it was the site of constant toing and froing of becaks (bicycle rickshaws). A gate marking the entrance to Chinatown stands to the east of the bridge.

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The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

The Red Bridge and Chinatown.

This Russian submarine, Pasopati , is well worth a look. You can wander around inside after paying around 5000Rp admission fee. It is open from 9am to ­ 9pm. It is quite interesting inside and takes a good photograph.

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The Russian Submarine, Pasopati.

The Russian Submarine, Pasopati.

The Russian Submarine, Pasopati.

The beautiful Cheng Hoo Mosque is built in Chinese style; I have never seen another mosque like it. We bumped into a group of kindergarten students and their very friendly teachers outside the building and they happily posed for photographs for us. They were very sweet.

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School children outside the Cheng Hoo Mosque.

School children outside the Cheng Hoo Mosque.

School children outside the Cheng Hoo Mosque.

The Cheng Hoo Mosque.

The Cheng Hoo Mosque.

The Cheng Hoo Mosque.

The Cheng Hoo Mosque.

We also visited an old Dutch cemetery - Jalan Peneleh Graveyard. This was in quite a bad state of repair with many damaged graves and farm animals everywhere.

Old Dutch cemetery.

Old Dutch cemetery.

Old Dutch cemetery.

Old Dutch cemetery.

Old Dutch cemetery.

Old Dutch cemetery.

Old Dutch cemetery.

Old Dutch cemetery.

One final place we visited was The House of Sampoerna a cigarette factory and museum.

The House of Sampoerna.

The House of Sampoerna.

The House of Sampoerna.

The House of Sampoerna.

A city where everyone wants photographed

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Take a picture. Take a picture.

Surabaya was a city where everyone wanted to be photographed. Sometimes I ask people if I can photograph them. Sometimes I just discretely try to take a picture of them. In Surabaya as soon as people saw my camera they called out to me, started posing and begged me to take a shot. If only such enthusiasm would catch on round the world.

Posted by irenevt 22:13 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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