Bandung (Java) -> Sanur (Bali)
We happened to end up in Indonesia by coincidence. Due to a busy period at work, we didn't get the time to plan a trip, so a week before the start of the school holidays we really did not know where to go ... after searching the internet for a while we saw a 'last minute' deal to Indonesia, everything at half the price ... Booked quickly and a few days later we were on the plane :).
We flew from Amsterdam to Bandung with a stop in Singapore. Bandung has a very small airport, so no long queues or annoying questions at customs. A smooth start of our holiday!
Bandung is a relatively large city, but is much more pleasant than the big cities such as Jakarta, because of the atmosphere that the Dutch left behind here many years ago. Around Jalan Braga you will find the largest concentration of art-deco buildings in the world. Definitely worth hanging out in this city.
While we stayed Bandung we visited the Tangkuban Perahu National Park, the only volcano crater in Java that you can reach by road. Handy because we suffered from a major jetlag, and not walking was a nice bonus! There is a beautiful hiking path around the crater.
On our way back we passed a tea plantation (Malabar Tea Estate), kids played some hide and seek, wherever you are, they will play te same games :). On the plantation you see people working and the tea leaves are picked, in the factory you can see how the tea is made and you can immediately taste something.
Bandung -> Yogyakarta: by train! A good way to relax and enjoy the marvelous landscape
The city you can't skip while being in Indonesia. This city is the center of Javanese culture. You will not get bored easily here!
We mainly explored this wonderful city by a becak (a kind of bicycle taxi, fun for the kids!!). What we certainly found is worth a visit is the former palace of the sultan, the Kraton of Yogya, strolling along the batik workshops, the silversmiths, the wajang doll workshops, the tanneries, the shopping street Jalon Malioboro, ...
In the evening we went to a Ramayana ballet play.
The political heart of Yogyakarta is the Kraton, the palace of the sultan. Yogyakarta has a long tradition as a sultanate and the palace is still in use by Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. As a tourist, you can take a look inside the palace walls, which are largely decorated as a museum. You can admire old photos and utensils, but also pay attention to the architecture that has Dutch influences here and there. The Kraton is also used for cultural performances.
Not to forget: Yogyakarta is the perfect base to visit the famous Borobudur temple. This is about an hour and a half's drive from the city. Dating back to the 9th century, this is the largest Buddhist shrine in the world and is made up of several terraces, with no less than 1500 different reliefs and 600 open-worked stupas, depicting the way to nirvana. If you manage to touch one of the Buddha statues hidden in the bell-shaped stupas, you can make a wish!
Take your time here, this place is really stunning... when the weather is good this place is a dream if you like making pictures!
Just a little less known than the Borobudur temple, but just as impressive is the Hindu temple complex Prambanan. This complex consists of several structures and temples, the three main temples are the most impressive. The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and the second-largest in Southeast Asia.The richly decorated structures are dedicated to the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, and the handsome details tell the story of love epic Ramayana. The Prambanan is fairly close to the city and is therefore easy to combine with a nice bike ride through the green rice fields and small villages in the area. Also nice: in the evening the story of the Prambanan comes alive during the Ramayana ballet. The kids loved this, even if they didn't understand one word of it, it's a memory they will nog forget!
Arguably the heartland of Javanese identity and tradition, Solo has a distinct character determined by the city’s long and distinguished past. As a seat of the great Mataram empire, it competes with, Yogyakarta, as the hub of Javanese culture. In contrast with Yogyakarta, however, conservative Solo is less interested in courting foreign tourists, resulting in a more authentic urban experience. This felt like the 'real' Indonesia for us, we only stayed here for one night so there wasn't much time to explore the area.
Near our hotel, with the ice ice cold pool we found a restaurant for our evening diner. We went there with another Belgian family. This was a restaurant for locals, so the menu was not understandable to us, we then ordered just about everything, we were with 9 persons anyway and assumed we would finish everything. That was a good bet, we ate everything, although it was not only chicken and rice with peanut sause... it also turned out to be satay with rabbit innards. Even greater was our surprise when we got the bill, dinner and drinks for 9 persons: 13 euros in total ...
The town of Batu is only fifteen kilometers from Malang, at the foot of Mount Arunja. In the middle of the mountains and surrounded by a sea of flowers and beautiful fruit orchards. We had a few days here, so we took our time to explore the surroudings!
Not far from the city, a visit to the Air Terjun Cubanrondo waterfall is definitely worth it. The waterfall is about 60m high and is quite spectacular! Bart could also experience what it is like when the locals want to take a picture with you, normally our children are regularly approached for this because of their blonde hair :)!
A short walk between the flowers and the fruit orchards is not really a must, but a nice trip if you have enough time!
We mainly went to the center of Batu to find an ATM. In the main square we saw a Ferris wheel, the children were immediately very enthusiastic and just wanted to make a round in the wheel and saying 'no' was not an option ... even all the rusted bolts did not scare them off (I was not comfortable with it !!) they loved it!
The most spectacular thing we visited in Batu for me was a small tofu factory. I really could not understand that this was possible, one man was smoking above the tofu, we saw the ashes of his cigarette fall in the tofu, there was absolutely no hygiene, in the place where the tofu was baked everything was burned and dirty ... and at the end of the tour we were told that this tofu went to all the hotels nearby ... I don't think I've eaten tofu since!!
But the main reason we stayed in Batu is because it is a good base to visit the Bromo volcano.
Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo), is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. With a height of 2,329 meters it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the best known. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god.
The mornings at the Bromo volcano, on the Indonesian island of Java, are among the most beautiful in the world. The combination of the spectacular moonscape, the rising fog and the golden rays of the sun make the sunrise at Bromo one of the most special experiences of a trip over Java. At least that was what we were promised ... After breakfast at 3 am we left the hotel, an hour later, however, the car failed ... our driver was busy calling and started tinkering with the engine himself. In the meantime it slowly became light and it was clear to us that we would miss the spectacular sunrise. After a while another car was brought and we could continue our journey. And even in daylight, the environment was breathtaking! It was quite a tough ride before we reached the volcano's caldera, which are actually three volcanoes together.
We have visited the volcano with a guide, this was already included in our trip, but you can also easily organize this yourself. From the village of Cemoro Lawang, where you can choose between many guesthouses to stay, you can climb the volcano yourself. It is very touristic, so check whether everything is fair.
You can climb the inner crater. The path here is quite steep, for tourists there is also an opportunity to do this part by horse. This also turned out to be included in our trip, and for the children this was a fantastic experience! The last part to the crater is a staircase consisting of 253 steps. The view from the top of the crater rim is breathtaking! You can see the sulfur fumes rising from the crater and the smell is terrible ... The volcano is still very active and it is regularly closed to visitors since two tourists died in an eruption in 2004.