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Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park

December 28th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (2 Comments)

A package tour from Yogykarta in Jave to Denpasar in Bali included a quick stopover at Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.

A pre-dawn trek (starting at 3:30am) to the viewpoint to see the fume-belching Gunung Semeru, Java’s largest mountain (3676m).  We waited about two hours in minus temperature for the sun to rise – which was absolutely beautiful – but it was too cloudy to get any postcard pictures.  The cone blew every 15mins and each time the damn clouds covered our view, we did manage to get one photo which we have included below.

Having warmed up with a few hot cups of coffee it was into the jeep and onto the smoking cone of Bromo. As we climbed up the steps the sulphur choked us and left us breathless at times, but having reached its perimeter we could see the steep walls plunging down to a vast flat sea of lava and sand, somewhat surreal.  The desolate landscape had a distinctly end-of-world feeling.

After a half hour on the top it was back to the hotel for a measly breakfast, a quick shower and pack for our tour bus to Denpasar, all a bit rushed but worth it!

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Borobudur

December 28th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia | UNESCO World Heritage Sites - (0 Comments)

Ranking with Bagan and Angkor Wat as one of the great Southeast Asian monuments, Borobudur is a stunning and poignant epitaph to Java’s Buddhist heyday (Lonely Planet).

Constructed in the early part of the 9th century, the temple consists of six square bases with some 1500 narrative relief panels illustrating Buddhist teachings and tales.  On the upper circular terraces there are latticed stupas which contain 72 more Buddha images.  Covered in volcanic ash by an eruption in 1006 and only rediscovered in 1814.

Billboards display photographs of its entire re-construction (not sure what year)from just a mound of ash to what we have today – a real credit to the team – and they are still restoring parts of the rear section.  We were unable to confirm whether there is an actual inner temple.  The monument is so large it is hard to believe that are no tunnels or an inner chamber.  We talked with many of the workers and stone masons but they all just seemed to ignore or shy away from the question.  Maybe there is but off limits to tourists.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #15

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Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (1 Comments)

Just a quick post to wish you all at home a merry Christmas.  We love and miss you all and will be thinking of you as you unwrap your presents and tuck into the turkey.  At times like this we do get a little homesick.

We arrived at Amed, a small sleepy village on the east cost of Bali, from Mount Bromo at 4am this morning.  As there were no guest houses open we had a comfortable sleep on the beach (pikey style).  We have since checked into a lovely hotel right on the beach (with swimming pool) where we will see out the Christmas.

There isn’t a hint of Christmas celebration here so we have booked ourselves 2 scuba dives for the morning and will hopefully meet up with some other guests for a meal and drinks in the afternoon. If not, I’m sure we will will make our own party.

We have no phone coverage in our hotel so we will find the nearest hill to climb in the hope that we can get a signal and phone our nearest and dearest.  The nearest internet shop is a half hour on a moped (which you have to rent), so updates will be non existent for the time being. 

You can try your best to contact us on our Indonesian mobile number which is:

0062 81280359686

The phone is fully charged with about 6hrs of talk time, so get calling .

Or, phone our hotel on:

 0062 36… (ask for room no.2)

We are 8hrs ahead so no drunken calls to reception at all hours in the morning.

Jakarta to Yogykarta

December 25th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (0 Comments)

Yet another travelling experience – what should have taken 12hrs between Jakarta to Yogykarta took 24.  We’ll spare you the nitty gritty and just give you a quick overview.

To avoid the (generally) overcrowded and smokey public buses, 5 of us hired a private mini bus for our journey.  We were an hour late leaving so to creep back some time the driver drove like a god damn looney, to the point where we had to threaten violence before he slowed down.

About 4 hrs in we got a puncture had a quick change and were back on the road.  Not for long.  At 1am we got another and of course had no spare. After two hours of sitting on the grass verge he loads us in and drives 25 mile (on the flat) to the nearest town.  A new tyre and rim and we were off again for a few more hours. 

At 9am he woke us to change buses.  It was nice and clean and we were delighted to be leaving the arsehole behind.  Fuck me pink, about 4 hours in, this (new) bus starts chugging and, eventually, comes to a halt. Several belts with a hammer and we were away again. This process happened about 10 times before the bus finally gave up (thankfully).  He had only gone and completely smashed the fan so the engine overheated to the point that the battery points had melted – we have no idea why he thought hitting the fan would solve what could have been as simple as dirty fuel. 

We waited 2hrs before we decided to cut our losses and jump on the next public bus.  Thankfully the mood was lightened when a local played us a few of tunes on his guitar. Finally we arrived at our destination – it’s a lesson learned public buses from now on!

Just a few photos of our experience.

Bus no.1

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Bus no.2

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Public bus.

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Jakarta

December 25th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (0 Comments)

Having re-charged the batteries in Lake Toba it was time to hit the high road for a long and gruelling overland from Medan in Sumatra to the capital Jakarta, Yogykarta and Mount Bromo in Java and finally across to Bali for Christmas.

Not a lot to say about Jakarta other than it appears to be (like most) very over crowded and polluted.  With Christmas looming it was an excuse for local hoteliers to charge extortionate rates for rooms so four of us ended up sharing two single beds, Sam and I in one and Zoe and Andy (a Scott we just met) in another, all very amusing.

We stayed a couple of nights and went shopping, visited two museums, freedom square, the fishing port and village and took a tuk tuk tour – nothing overly exciting.

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