I’ve just returned from a short trip to Indonesia… no pictures this time, although I did finally pick up a new D300 camera from KL on the way back..
My first trip to Indo was back in 2002, I was between jobs and had some time to spare so decided to drive from Jakarta across Java to Bali.. Unfortunately I was only equipped with a Kodak DC200 digital camera, which takes a very different quality of picture from my new Nikon!
Stepping out of Jakarta airport is literally like stepping into a different world. Indonesia is active on a level far above most western countries… every family runs some type of business, usually from the back of the house which serves as a shop front. The streets are alive with people selling food, either from stall carts or off the back of motorbikes… at every traffic intersection there are at least a dozen hawkers selling water, maps, single cigarettes and the local food.
The traffic on the roads are beyond insane… hundreds of mopeds with whole families onboard zag between the narrow gaps left as cars and minivans trying to share a single lane have to suddenly swerve to avoid a truck or bus. The size of the vehicle seems to determine right of way….
We toured Jakarta for a few days, briefly visiting a murky grey water beach that convinced me to move on pretty quickly… Across the tea leave fields of Pucak pass to Bandung, with some of the best value brand name shopping in the world (if you can sort from the fakes.) South from Bandung, we visited Taman Safari, where you can get up and close with the animals (as per picture below).
South of Taman we finally hit some real coast… Pelabuhan Ratu. (top picture). Although kind of hard to get to, this place has some great surf. After a few hours in the water a massive storm hit, drenching everyone outside in seconds as bucketloads of water fell from the sky.
From Pela it was back to Bandung, this time to visit a volcano and hot spring and eat some Martabak, then South to Pangandaran, an East/West cape around half way across Java. Good surfing here, as well as excellent seafood. The local fishermen form net chains into the water to catch fish… (below)
Another day’s drive and we arrived at Yogakarta, my favourite Indonesian city and home of the crazy Becek driver… Here we visited nearby Borobordur, a thousand year old Buddhist temple.
Three days in Yogja, then it was North to Surabaya, a hot and dusty city with great ice-cream (trust me you need it!), then to a small town on the East coast where you catch the ferry to Bali. On the way, a few hours out of Sura, I took the below picture of a mangrove swamp at sunset.
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The car ferry trip took around an hour or so, which landed us on the West coast of Bali… from there it was only another hours drive to Kuta Beach.. the main tourist town.
Bali is an amazing place, if you can ignore the tourist traps. It has a rich Hindu culture, great beaches and vibrant nightlife, all at bargain prices, though nowhere near as cheap as Java. Highlights include Kuta Beach (below), the monkey temple at Ubud, the Hindu Sea temple Tanah Lot and the surfing at Uluwatu.