Indonesia: Bali – Ubud

Ubud

That eve we booked another uber *successful* to our hostel in Ubud. This cost us 100,000 IDR. The hostel was lovely ‘Dormy Inn’ but a little bit out of the way so we rented a scooter the whole time which was great for us as Danielle is a confident driver but if your not so keen maybe stay somewhere closer or ask about taxi hire. Our friends hired a car for 400,000 IDR (2 people) for the day to take them round to all the attractions they wanted to see.

In Ubud we went to the monkey forest, 40,000 IDR, which we really liked. It’s a nice little walk as well as just being to see the monkeys. I was really scared about being attacked but didn’t need to be; if you don’t provoke them or have any food they won’t come near you.

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In the afternoon we went to the trawangan waterfall. It was a fantastic scenic drive to the waterfall passing through jungle, rice paddies, hidden streets and dodging all the dogs! This was the best bit of the trip as the waterfall itself wasn’t really anything too special (this may be us in spoilt traveller mode as we have seen so many stunning things now, hopefully not!). The water was pretty murky so we opted out of the swim and it was just so busy.

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After this we drove in convoy (at the waterfall we had met up with Katie, Charlotte and Daryl) to a silversmith. This was very cool as we got to see the ladies making the jewellery and then went into the shop for the finished products. Obviously they tried to sell us stuff but they let us walk around and have a good look and let us leave with no problems even though no one had bought anything. We then drove onto a local market where there was lots of clothes/local food. Whatever you do in Indonesia make sure you barter for everything, even if you think you’re taking the piss with the price, your not and try it anyway.

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Next day we got the hostel shuttle (60,000 IDR pp) back to Denpasar airport and flew to Lombok. We had heard the weather was really bad for the boats going across to the islands so thought we would try this instead. It was only a 30min flight but travelling took most of the day with the faffing and the journey from our accommodation on both sides.

Off to Lombok!

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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.

Malaysia – The Perhentians

The Perhentians…

We then made our way to Penang airport, a nice 0430 start to the day! We boarded the tiny little propellor plane ✈️ …both slightly nervous! But got to Kota Baru in no time. It then took us an hour drive in a Grab taxi to the Kuala besut ferry terminal. This cost 65 MYR. The ferry ticket to the perhentian kecil island is 70 MYR return, there are also some extra costs; island entrance fee: 30 MYR and another little taxi from the speed boat to the beach: 2 MYR. From the boat we trudged along the beach, now in the swealtering sun, and found a little shady area to dump our bags whilst we wondered around looking for accommodation and dive schools. We eventually ended up going to ‘Oh lala’ dive centre and chalet. After a boiling swim in the 30deg water and our classic vegetable fried rice lunch, we passed out for the rest of the day after having only a couple hours sleep the night before. 😴

The next day we started out PADI open water course. We were really lucky as it was only Dani and I in the group, our instructor was a lovely girl called Lucy who was from Buckinghamshire. She was really great and calmed us (me) down a lot….Danielle will probably remember my sobbing the night before about getting a PE or having to go into a decompression chamber. But I’m still here to tell the tale! and have definitely caught the diving bug. We did all our skills tests not far from kecil island and then we got to do a few bigger dives; lots of reef, and an artificial wreck (three sunken police boats).

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On our last day we got to explore the island a bit more which we hadnt had time to do yet so busy with the course. We walked across to the other side of the island…after getting lost and passing through what seemed to be the islands dumping ground! One big lesson we have learnt this trip is things are not always how you imagine,, and when your looking at peoples instagram getting jealous the photo will not always represent whats going on.

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Anyway we eventually did manage to cross the island and reach the beach and much more expensive resorts and found a lovely little cove to have a swimbo.

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The day then came when we had to leave the lovely perhentians, say goodbye to Lucy and everyone at ‘oh lala’, the tasty ‘no name’ we had had everyday for lunch and elly a lady who worked at one of the front restaurants who was always looking after us!

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Someone obviously didn’t want us to leave as the heavens suddenly opened, the storm was so rough the boats were about to be cancelled…but in true asian style they thought they’d give it a go. So we all crammed onto one of the speed boats, buckled up a life jacket and clung onto each other making man over board plans, but credit to our driver, who had been on the phone most of the journey he got us there in one piece! That night we stayed in a lovely little guest house run by a malaysian couple who gave us lunch and took us to a local restaurant for dinner. In the morning we got a flight from Kota Baru to Kinabalu, Borneo. Now this part of our trip was a bit if a surprise addition so we hadn’t planned it quite yet!

Next to Borneo…