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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South Thailand – Phuket

Onto Phuket…

Some really bad planning on our part meant that we were travelling on Songkran. This is Thai New Year, a national holiday and the day to engage in a massive water fight. No one is safe! So unfortunately the traffic was awful. Anyway we got to the bus station in Phuket not too late. However, we then had a 40 min journey and the only transport on offer was a 450B beemo….the sides are completely open. Needless to stay we and our stuff got completely soaked… as we couldn’t get our phones out the driver then dropped us at the wrong place and even though we asked him to wait, by the time the reception had told us this wasn’t our hostel, he had disappeared. Lara ran down the street but nothing… b*&^rd!!! So after a meltdown, and realising there were no taxis on duty as they were all in the water fight, we decided it was time to walk. We had been calling taxis for 3.5 hours by this point! The walk was only 30 mins but with all our stuff and water carnage going on things weren’t looking good. We stared walking and by the time we got to the end of the road a scooter stopped to ask if we needed a ride. In desperation we paid him the 250B and proceeded to balance myself, Danielle, x3 massive bags and a Thai man onto a small scooter. I wish someone had a picture! So we made our way through the soaked streets of Patong. As I said before no one is safe…the driver tried his best to tell people to not wet our bags, and a lot of people were respectful of this, but Songkran almost reminded me of reading lord of the flies and with that we got completely soaked.

So anyway sadly we missed getting involved in the new year celebrations and just got pissed off! Travelling lesson 1 million and 1: make sure you know dates of all festivals and public holidays!

The next couple of days we hired a moped and explored the beaches to the south of the island.  Firstly Karon beach where we sat for a lovely sunset. We’ve managed to see loads of stunning sunsets on the west side of Thailand.  Karon beach is really busy with loads of water sports, however it’s still a nice spot with great soft sand and blue seas for swimming.

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The next day we went a bit further south to Nai Harn beach and Karon view point. We managed to get lost and find a small deserted beach with just a few fishing boats and a great cheap place to have lunch.

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We also made sure to have a little explore of patong at night time….don’t worry we did not go to a ping pong show!

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From Phuket we got a ferry to Koh Phi Phi, this was 350B which included the transfer from our hostel to the Pier in Phuket.

 

 

South Thailand – Koh Phangan Full Moon Party

From Koh Samui we got the ferry, from Big Buddha Pier, to Koh Phangan (200B) each. Already the vibe had switched, everyone was drinking on the boat and getting in the full moon mood! Our hostel was called Fellinis, a 2 min walk from Haad Rin Pier, above a pizza restaurant. The hostel was really small but we met a few nice people :). As it was full moon accommodation was really expensive and hard to book, a lot of places had a 5 night min stay. So if your planning on going to a full moon book asap!

That night we went for some food and drinks with a couple of people from the hostel, a girl from Spain and a guy from Pakistan. We then headed to the beach for the pre full moon party, lots of music and fire throwing!

The next day we chilled out before getting ready for the full moon party. There were more people in the hostel we joined up with to paint ourselves in bright colours and head to the beach, a girl from Sweden and a boy from India. The full moon was awesome, the beach was manic, packed full of people. Dancing, swimming, skipping in fire. Only in Thailand! We were lucky and had no bad experiences but had been warned about thefts etc., so left most stuff in our room. We stayed up all night and climbed over the the rocks on the west side of the beach to watch the sun rise.

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Collapsing in bed, shortly after we woke up at check out and got a beemo straight to our next hotel where we were staying the night before going to Phuket. We didn’t fancy making the 8 hour journey today. The hostel, lime and soda, was in a great location just on the beach, however we again made the stupid error of booking a fan room (we are slowly learning now don’t worry!). So we relaxed for the day and then in the morning walked to Tonsai Pier which was about 15 mins away.

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The ferry was simple enough…but then came the start of the journey from hell. Onto Phuket.

 

 

South Thailand – Koh Samui 

We flew from Chiang Mai into Surat Thani, got on a bus from outside the airport and then on the ferry to Koh Samui. This was all pretty easy, we had booked our bus/boat combo to koh samui online but there were a few travel desks at the airport offering the same service for 400B. The airport is tiny and we got our bags and were out of customs all in about 20 mins.

At the ferry port in Koh Samui we then got a beemo (local bus) to our hotel near Big Buddha. We paid 100B each which was much cheaper than the 700B the taxis wanted. Just keep walking to the very end of the pier and you’ll see them. Koh Samui was a nice couple of chilled days mostly sat by the pool and a couple of walks along the beach. The hotel pool was lovely but thats about it, we were in a fan room which is a huge error in Thailand. Unless you are a great sleeper or completely broke don’t do it! Also a word of warning, Samui Mermaid where we stayed was right underneath the flight path so it felt like planes were landing in the bed.

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From Koh Samui we got the ferry, from Big Buddha Pier, to Koh Phangan (200B) each. Already the vibe had switched, everyone was drinking on the boat and getting in the full moon mood!

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Our hostel was called Fellinis, a 2 min walk from Haad Rin pier, above a pizza restaurant. The hostel was really small but we met a few nice people :). As it was full moon accommodation was really expensive and hard to book, a lot of places had a 5 night min. So if your planning on going to a full moon book asap!

 

Indonesia – Gili Trawangan (Gili T)

Our hostel was close to the harbour (about 10min walk) and we stayed there for 3 nights. The hostel was basic…but it was cheap so we didn’t expect much! We are not really sure how we feel about Gili T, some bits were nice, some bits not so much. The west side of the island is much better, but a bit more pricey as it’s where most of the more expensive resorts seemed to be. If you definitely want to go to Gili T, we would say two/three nights is plenty. We did do a really good day boat trip which was 80,000 IDR pp and went to a couple of snorkeling spots and then to Gili air. Seeing Gili air we think we should have stayed there, seemed much better!

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On our last day we met our friend Katie from Oz and cycled around the island and went to take the obligatory Gili T swing pics, bike ride around the island and swing pics are a must! Such a fun day :).

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As the weather had calmed down we took the fast boat back to Bali, to a small place called Amed. This boat cost 200,000 IDR pp. We went straight from Amed to Permuteran as we were starting to run out of days, this was our most expensive journey at 550,000 for both of us. That night we stayed in a cute little homestay, the owners were lovely.

In the morning we headed to the main road and got a local mini bus to Gilimanuk, this cost us 45,000 IDR which was a massive rip off, make sure you try and barter more! We just jumped in the first one and after we had paid then saw the locals paying 2,000 IDR each!

At Gilimanuk we got the public ferry across to Banyuangi/ Ketapang which took about an hour and cost 9,000 each. Luckily this was a fixed price so as tourists we didn’t get ripped off again.

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