Indonesia: Bandung and Jakarta

Bandung

From Yogyakarta we went to Bandung which was an 8hr night train. This time we paid the much more expensive 350,000 IDR pp executive tickets as we couldn’t face the economy over night. This was definately the right choice as the seats reclined and had lots of leg room, however they kept bright clinical lights on all night so make sure to take an eye mask!

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Bandung is meant to be really good for cheap shopping however we didn’t really find this the case and only bought Danielle one t-shirt!

Bandung was a bustling city from sunrise to set.  It had some type of stall lining every street, they are most famous for their tshirts. It was challenging for us to shop as their super cheap stalls were mainly local clothing and the huge malls were incredibly expensive, think Westfield type of shops and tags.

We did take advantage of the western culture of Bandung.  We had a Dunkin Doughnuts breakfast,  KFC lunch and Pizza Hut dinner. Very naughty but after a month of fried rice for every course a change was needed.

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Jakarta

From here we went on to Jakarta by train in economy again as it was only 3 hours.  This time it was great. The seats were in twos and were individual rather than a bench. There was a charging station and tray for every seat. Sounds like a normal train right! We don’t even have chargers in the UK sometimes.

From the train we tried to get an Uber but they cancelled twice as the traffic around the station was awful. We ended up getting in a bemo type taxi (a scooter with two seats and a little cover).  It was a fun ride as we could skip loads of traffic but he got lost about three times and in the end kicked us out as he couldn’t cross the main road. We walked the rest of the way.

We had 24 hours here so not much time to do anything and I (Danielle) had to get yet another PhD application in.  We did however find an amazing restaurant. The food was Indonesian but in a funky style and they did these amazing milkshakes.

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Our hotel was nice for the price but people were allowed to smoke inside and in the eating area which means it smelt disgusting as well as giving you sore lungs.

Then next day we managed to get a grab taxi to the airport. The traffic was so manic it took about 30 minutes just to get onto the main road. Just as we were starting to get a good flow we were being bibbed at and harassed by a taxi behind us, he even drove between the two lanes to get by the side of us.  We had no clue as to what was going on. In the next breath we were pulled in by the police.

It appeared that the grab car was driving in the taxi lane, he ended up with a ticket and a fine. In all this time Lara and I were panicking about getting to the airport on time as it had already taken so long to get to that point. The taxi man gave us the international money sign and said toll road.  After agreeing as we needed to get there he stopped at a toll card vendor and said 50,000IDR.  We realised he didn’t have his own card so instead of just us paying the tolls he wanted us to buy his card and weeks worth of tolls for him! Needless to say we were pretty ready to be leaving Indonesia…we had had some great experiences here but also a lot of stresses, we would just say be careful if you are a female travelling alone. It is still a very masculine dominated environment.

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Toll roads are usually about 10,000IDR per car per road and are a good idea if you want to get anywhere quickly. If you have loads of time you can go the long slow route.

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Indonesia – Java 

Banyuangi

We stayed at a great hostel in Banyuangi called Panorama homestay. It was a 10,000 IDR pp local taxi ride away from the ferry port. The rooms were nice and clean and there was a lovely pool with a great view :). That night we didn’t get to enjoy the hostel too much as we set off for our Mount Ijen trek. The hostel helped us organise this through a contact they have. For the whole trip we payed 275,000 each. We were picked up from our hostel at 1130 and then taken to the base of Mt Ijen where a guide met us and lead us on the trek. We commenced around 2am and got back to the base about 8am. This was by far the best thing we did in Indonesia. The views were stunning, well worth climbing vertical through the night. The locals nick name it blue fire mountain because the heat from the sulphur creates a blue fire which you can see at night.

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After the trek, we were driven to a waterfall which is included in the trip. This was lovely but I think we were all a Little to tired to enjoy it properly!

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When we arrived to the hostel we jumped straight in the pool and then for a nap. The hostel owner let us stay in the room until after check out so we could sleep which was much appreciated.

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At midday we had booked a cab to Banyuangi train station to get to Probolingo, where we were planning to climb mount Bromo. Sadly there were no train tickets 😦 so after a (small) stress from Lara we booked a ticket for the next day to Yogyakarta which meant we couldn’t do Mt Bromo but we have heard really good things about it so we would recommend to try and do it if you can!

So we stayed in a Homestay close to the train station, it was not anything great but was in walking distance to the station which was great as our train to Yogyakarta was at 0630 the next morning! We bought economy class tickets for 90,000 each. The journey was 13hrs which was an interesting experience! The seats were bench style, rows of three facing each other so pretty cosy, especially when Indonesian style is to spread out, take up as much space as possible, make lots of noise and make a 5 course meal at their seats. Luckily we had downloaded a load of things from Netflix so this kept us occupied most of the journey, if you havn’t got it people it’s a must! So after surviving the journey we reached Yogyakarta at about 1930 and walked to our hostel about 10 mins away. We stayed at ‘Laura’s Backpackers’ which was fine but the bathrooms were pretty dirty and they kept loads of animals in tiny cages and didn’t seem to be looking after them very well. The staff were all really nice but I think just a bit lazy.

Yogyakarta

So things we did were; muin temple, chicken church and prambaran temple. I don’t want to have too much of a rant here but we were getting a little sick of Indonesia by now and the temples just exacerbated this. For ‘locals’ and they would accept anyone who vaguely looked Indonesian for this, the price was 30,000 IDR pp and for anyone else it was 260,000 IDR pp so for Bodora we put our foot down and did not go in but we decided to pay for Prambaran as it was a bit cheaper at 230,000 IDR pp. We understand that locals may be allowed to have a cheaper entry fee but the difference was extortionate and after being ripped off since day 1 we were bored of it.

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