Jakarta, Bogor and Yogyakarta

Trip Start May 05, 2008
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Trip End May 05, 2013


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, Special District of Yogyakarta,
Thursday, May 10, 2012

About a week ago a smooth Tiger Air flight brought us from Singapore to Jakarta.

Immigration at the airport wasn't very welcoming and requested with dead-pan faces to see our onward bound flight itinerary. We obtained our 2 month Indonesian visa already at the embassy in Wellington but that didn't seem of interest to them.

However, we got through and took the local bus to Gambir station which is very central and near to where we wanted to stay. The backpacker area seemed very rundown, dark and dingy with not many tourists. Our guesthouse was a dark hole with Asian toilets. But it was cleanish on the plus site. We had no desire to stay longer than one night, so we got some sleep and got out of Jakarta the next morning.

Our original plan ( we didn't have much of a plan) was to head towards the west and then over to Sumatra. It involved multiple transfers and a lot of hassle to get there. We both were tired and decided not to bother and travel to Bogor in the south instead. It was a one hour train journey and promised nice scenery and a more relaxed city than the 12 million metropole of Jakarta.

Well, the truth is that Bogor is just as polluted and dirty and there were not many points of interest for us there. Except the botanical garden which gave us a great escape from the chaos of the city. Crossing the street was a big challenge but we learned to just walk into the mad traffic and use hand signals to stop the cars and motorbikes. When traffic gets really congested, or "IF" cars stop at a traffic light, we observed that local guitar players walk up to the cars and serenaded the drivers for some small money.

A tourist information guy helped us to find some cheap accommodation and also offered us a quite expensive 3 day volcano and trekking tour. After some consideration we decided against it as it was only the 2 of us and it was too expensive. Besides this, an airplane just crashed into the side of the mountain we would trek to. ( Gunung Selak ) Again, our accommodation was very rustic to say it in a nice way, with a big,dirty ,black rat running around the place. We couldn't wait to get out of there and took the next train to Yogyakarta. It was a 15 hour journey towards the east of Java. We travelled "Bisness" class as they call it.

There are 3 different categories to travel with.
"Executive" which is very nice with aircon, a soft cushion and huge leg space.
"Bisness" which is not bad, with a fan only and you can hire a cushion if you feel like it.
"Economy" is the lowest class and fine for short trips. I don't think we will use it for longer journeys as there is often no seat at all. In fairness, the trains as well as the train stations seem to be reasonable clean and well organised.

Yogyakarta, or short just Jogja, is a bustling place with over 700000 people calling it their home. It is refreshingly nice and friendly and its little alleyways give it some charm. There is plenty to see and explore here and around town. We decided to base ourselves here for a while and recover from the long traveling day and the madness of Jakarta and Bogor. We ended up staying 5 nights.

Mt. Merapi is overlooking the city and is one of Indonesia's most active volcanos. It last erupted in 2010 and destroyed several villages and took over 250 lives. For over 300 days a year you can see smoke coming out.Unfortunately the mountain is often covered in cloud and you need to climb it if you want to get a good view. It is quite pricey to book a guide and climb up at night time to reach the summit for sunrise.We decided to save the money for Mt. Bromo further east and rent motorbikes instead and ride to the last village in the slopes of the volcano.

The people here predict that the volcano erupts every 4 years and they are prepared to live there and rebuilt every couple of years. I asked them if they are scared living so close to the mountain but they just laughed and ensured that they know Merapi and the signs he gives. Mad!!

We spent 2 days with a Malaysian traveller called Ooi. He was very nice and it was great as he could speak the language and could communicate with the locals. We also visited the local beach which has a very different culture to the beaches we know. Thousands of people covered the dark sand and people go into the water with all there clothes on. Most of Indonesia, especially the island if Java is islamic but not so strict. Dave and me were celebrities and pretty much the only white people there.Lots of school kids took photos with us, recorded conversations with us on their mobile phones or asked for an autograph.It was very funny. We really enjoyed Yogyakarta with its friendly people, bustling markets and it's traditional ways. People still use traditional ways of transport such as becak ( rikscha) and the horse and cart.

We will leave tomorrow for Mt. Bromo in east Java. It will be another long traveling day.

We'll catch you there...

Dave & Angie
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Comments

Krissi on

Yeah,your 80. entry!
Nice to hear from you and everything is fine.
Really beautiful pics, I see you use your camera very extensive,
Way to go!

Kiki on

just amazing ! Keep it up - we wanna hear and see mooooooore !!!!! :o)
safe travels

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