Archive for the ‘Indonesia’ Category

Surfing in Bali

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

After the Perama boat trip (which was a major highlight of Indonesia as we saw so much, ate so well and met some cool people) we decided to dedicate our last week in Indo to our original reason for going there: surfing. We then did a lot of talking about where to go before deciding to head back to Bali, as its just so much easier to get around – it’s much more set up for tourism than most of the other Indonesian islands so everything is just less hassle. We landed on our feet as it turned out, because we got a pretty cushy number in a surfcamp on the Bukit peninsula, South Bali, near Padang Padang beach and the famous Uluwatu surf break.

Ulu Air

Its a very small world, as we discovered that Josh, the owner of the camp is a good friend of a friend of Eddie’s, and he sorted us out well.


Posted in Indonesia | No Comments »

Here be Dragons

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Before we left for Lombok, we provisionally booked a place on a boat trip to Flores and back – the big attraction was going to be a trip to Komodo Island to see the dragons, but we reckoned the journey itself would be a bit of craic and there were going to be thirty others on the boat so it would be a good opportunity to make some new friends.

Komodo Dragon, Indonesia


Posted in Indonesia | No Comments »

Gili Trawangan

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

So from Ubud we went on to Gili Trawangan, one of the Gili islands northwest of Lombok (the island next to Bali). We spent almost a week there and I spent the first four days doing an SSI Open Water Diving course. It was good; all theory and pool sessions for the first two days, then four dives over the last two days. I actually nearly bottled it on the morning of my first dive, I got a bad attack of the nerves about some of the tasks we had to do, but my instructor was very encouraging and calm and convinced me to at least get into the water and see how I felt.

The Parking Lot


Posted in Indonesia | 2 Comments »

The Last King of Ubud

Friday, June 27th, 2008

We’ve been and gone to Ubud since the last time we sat at a computer, crossed from Bali over to Lombok and are now on Gili Trawangan, a small island just a few kilometres off the north west coast of Lombok. Ubud was great, a very different place to Kuta – it’s the cultural part of Bali, and is the place to go if you want to see traditional Balinese dances or other performances. Altough it’s a popular tourist destination, you get the feeling that they’re really serious about their traditions there – all of the performances are done by local groups and all of the kids in the village seem to be out selling tickets – it reminded me off going to a play in the parochial hall in Ballyhaunis not so long ago! We went to two performances, both quite different. One was similar to something you would imagine seeing in China, and used two-man monster costumes, it was very well done and very realistic looking. The other performance involved a group of over 100 men doing a monkey dance – both were unusual but very enchanting!

Shadow Puppet Show The Gamelon

Dancing Children, Ubud


Posted in Indonesia | 4 Comments »

Bali bo

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

We’re in Bali at the moment (in Kuta, the main tourist area by the sea) and although we didn’t get a good first impression, we’ve quickly settled down to the routine of eating, sleeping, a bit of surfing and a lot of sweating :-) We’ve come to the conclusion that what you first think of any place is mostly down to expectations – we didn’t expect too much of Kuta as we heard it was supposed to be like the Canaries for Ozzies, but it’s not nearly as hectic as we thought it would be. It’s great to be relaxing for a few days and not having to catch buses and trains! We’re staying in a really relaxed place called the Secret Garden Inn, just off Poppies Gang I (this is where a lot of the cheaper accomodation is in Kuta). A really clean, large room with air-con and a fridge is costing 240,000 rupiahs per night which is about €17. That includes breakfast and a nice swimming pool. We thought that Kuta would be full of backpacker types, but there are lots of families with kids around (most people here are either Australian or Japanese). Bali is a big surfing destination, but most of the breaks are for advanced surfers – Kuta is one of the few places that’s suitable for folk like us, but even at that, it’s great compared to a lot of Irish beaches! We both had a good session today and we were easy to spot from the beach being the whitest people in the water! We’ll probably be moving inland to Ubud in the next few days, but don’t have any definite plans yet.

Posted in Indonesia | 2 Comments »

Week no. 1 – Hong Kong, Yogyakarta and Borobudur (Java)

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

So we are here a week today! Here being Hong Kong and Java, but it already feels like we left home ages ago – probably because we’ve travelled so much already. We’re already very grubby and although Eddie is a bit more used to it, I have never sweated quite so much! Its hot here, but not unbearable (until you’re walking around, a bit lost, with rucksacks on and there’s no shade). We were in Hong Kong for three days, which we loved, we’re definitely hoping to return sometime. Highlights were the Peak, the shops (even though I didn’t purchase much!), the escaltor up to Soho and the Man Mo temple, which was so peaceful we could have stayed for hours.

Scarves for Sale, Jogyakarta

So we’re in Java now, which is the biggest island in Indonesia and well known for its coffee. We’ve spent a lot of time here travelling on trains and buses, so we are wrecked already! The first part of the journey was on one of the better trains from Jakarta (Argo Dwipangga, 180,000 each) to Jogyakarta so it was just like getting the train to Dublin ten years ago, only maybe better because the lights didn’t go out at all and we were served breakfast and free tea! We stayed in Yogyakarta for a day or two and spent a lovely few hours wandering around the Kraton, a large elegant palace where the Sultan of Yogyakarta has resided since the 18th century. Yogyakarta was the first place we really saw in Indonesia (we just spent a night in Jakarta and didn’t see much) and it was really cool to get out and explore its hot and busy streets. We took our first ride in a local taxi – a bicycle with a seat attached for two which faces out in the traffic, so once you get in you can’t see the driver (cycler!); you are just thrust out head first into the bustling traffic, at which point you sit back and hope for the best!


Posted in Indonesia | 1 Comment »

The guilts in Jakarta

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

So after absolutely loving Hong kong and wishing we had more time there, we landed in Jakarta on Monday night and I got a bit fat dose of the Western guilts! We had read in the Loney Planet that we should go to our hotel with the reliable Blubird taxi company, so we had our eyes peeled for the ‘Bluebird’ signs as we left the airport, only to be greeted by countless non-Bluebird taxi men all offering their services. We started with the ‘”No, thank you’s” as we looked for, and found, the Bluebird queue – it was the line of white people headed by a smart looking man in a suit. I was wondering if they had all read the lonely planet too or what was the story. The Lonely Planet has a lot of power. It seemed really unfair that most of those taxi men were finding it hard to get customers, when probably 99.9% of them are decent self-employed men and not trying to kidnap you or anything. But once the seed of fear is planted, it feels too risky to take a chance. So we headed off in the fancy (by local standards) car owned by some big company in search of our hotel which had not actually held our room! Anyway, we didn’t spend long in Jakarta, just found another hotel and the next morning we boarded the train to Yogyakarta.

Posted in Indonesia | No Comments »