Dates: From 24/11/2016 to 16/12/2016
It was the time to change the country, the continent and the hemisphere. I must remember that although many people associate Indonesia with Asia, it belongs to Oceania.
I was almost four weeks in Indonesia touring the main places, but I still have to much to explore because Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands. It is always good to leave places to see to have an excuse to return.
Again, as happened with Manila in the Philippines, the capital of the country was not highly recommended in any blog. I still spent two nights to explore it a little bit and to see that Jakarta was just chaos and disorder, but not attractive to visit. Even though, I do not regret it, because it was a good opportunity to meet many other travellers with whom organize my trip and whom I will meet in different places along my journey in Indonesia.
Aside from its streets, the most outstanding thing I visited was the national monument, which is in the middle of the city. It is possible to go to the top of it to observe Jakarta from the sky. Normally the queues are long because they only have one elevator, which is quite slow. At the exit of the park there are several food stalls, where I first tried the most famous dish of Indonesia, the Nasi Goreng, which is basically fried rice with vegetables and chicken. Cheap and delicious.
“Yogya” for the locals, it was not in my plan, but after talking to several backpackers in the Jakarta hostel I decided to put on my itinerary. Yogyakarta is, like Jakarta, on the island of Java.
One of its main attractions are its temples, Borubudur and Prambanan are the most famous. The first is Buddhist while the second is Hindu. I visited Borubudur as it is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. I left at five in the morning from the hostel to be able to get there very early and see the sunrise from inside the temple. It is also possible to see the sunrise from a hill located on one side of the temple. The day started with fog, so the sunrise was not as spectacular as it should have been.
Other attraction of the city is the visit the Sultan’s Palace, which is in the center of the city.
Finally I arrived to the famous island of Bali, internationally known for its beaches and landscapes.
I arrived with a lot of desire for the beach, so I just left the backpack in the hostel I went to the beach straight away and …. Zas!!! Is this Bali? Are these beaches so famous? What a disappointment! I’m sorry to say but Kuta Bali’s beach is possibly one of the ugliest one I’ve ever seen. Later I learned that it’s the area less recommended for its beache, which is known for its parties though. With that impression, I decided to go back to the hostel and enjoy the pool at the same time I was meeting other backpackers.
As I said, Kuta does not stand out for its beaches but for being a totally exploited place for tourism with the parties as main attraction. One of the most famous places is the Sky Garden, restaurant-disco where they offer unlimited food and drink from five in the afternoon to nine at night for something less than 10 euros, which is very good price and I recommend to visit it to have a good time.
With some other guys that I met in Kuta, we went by taxi (uber) to Ubud, which is located in the center of the island of Bali, and it’s known for its temples, waterfalls and landscapes. We were discovering the town together. The first thing was to go to the famous Monkey Forest, which its name accurately describes, a forest with many monkeys waiting for the tourists to give bananas to them or they will throw themselves to catch them. After that, it was time to have lunch for later, and taking advantage of it was raining, jump to the massage center that was just in front of the local restaurant to enjoy a Balinese massage. What a pleasure!
The next day we rented some scooters to explore a bit more in depth Ubud. We approached different waterfalls in the area to get a bath. In the afternoon we went to a coffee plantation, where we tasted different types of teas and coffees, being the Kopi Luwak the most striking and traditional as it’s obtained from the shit (yes, you read it correctly!) of the civet. This animal eats the coffee beans, then expels them once passed through its stomach system. Once the coffee beans are recovered from the animal’s shit, it is milled and prepared to obtain the coffee. I tried it, but not my favourite coffee though
Gili Trawagan (Lombok)
In the northwest of Lombok are the 3 gili islands: Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawagan. The last one, better known as Gili T, is characterized to be more packpacker and young style meanwhile the other two are quieter. There are not cars or motorcycles in any of the gilis, only horses carriages and bicycles. Gili T is the biggest, and it still does not take more than two hours to walk it around. These islands are in a spectacular enclave but I could see that they are being destroyed little by little by the human impact, as it’s easy to find plastic and rubbish wherever you walk through. What a pity!
What is really worth it is to do diving or snorkeling, because its waters are incredible with plenty of different marine species among which it is not difficult to find turtles. I found one meanwhile I was diving and I can describe that moment as incredible.
Finally! Finally I arrived to a place where the beaches had the “woaw” effect. Lombok is less famous and therefore lest visited than its neighbour Bali, but for me, its beaches are much better without any doubt. Finally white sand beaches with turquoise waters where swimming there was wonderful. Less exploited than the rest and cleaner. Kuta Lombok is a popular tourist destination for surfers, but there are also beaches with calm waters where to chill.
The best way to discover Kuta Lombok in depth and with total freedom is to rent a scooter and travel through it to discover hidden beaches and not so visited. Among the most famous beaches are Pantai Selong Belanak, Mawun Beach or Tanjung Aan Beach.
From Lombok airport, it was time to move to a new country. Malaysia was the next one, starting with Kuala Lumpur.