Bali, Java, Gili – Indonesian islands

Malvina Dunder Bali Indonesia Tegallalang Rice Terraces Ubud

If you travel from Europe to Indonesia, be prepared to take very long connected flights. I think I arrived to my final destination after 36 hours and was informed in a hotel that I booked a room for yesterday… I’m more careful with converting time zones since then 🤓

I arrived at night in Jakarta feeling exhausted, there was no taxies on the level where I was, and instead of going one floor down, I saw a bus and decided spontaneously to join it as I was traveling with my boyfriend and I felt safer with him. 

We couldn’t understand anything and realised that it was not a good choice because at some point we drove under the bridge and stopped. Everyone left and I said that I’m not going out because it is in the middle of nowhere, it is dark and scary, but the driver was showing me to leave, so I finally did. Then we had to ran after the locals who knew the way out, of course not knowing where they were going. After an hour of walk, when we found our hotel, I could finally take a breath.

My Indonesian adventure started immediately after arriving 😉

One of the most important destinations for me were Prambanan and Borobudur ancient temples near Yogyakarta.

Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple and one of a kind structure in the world. Pyramid shape, square on the base and round on the top. Looks like mandala from the higher perspective. There’s not much we know about the origin, archeologists only say that it was built between 8th – 9th century, but there’s no any written information form the past about it, which make it even more mysterious. Really interesting and amazing place! 

Prambanan Hindu temple compound from 9th century is another unique place that looks especially spectacular in the firs beam of the sun and covered with a morning mist.

I stayed there in a great hostel that felt like home, met many interesting people and tried Kopi Luwak for the first time, which is basically cat’s poop coffee and also the most expensive coffee in the world (the price for a cup of coffee runs between 35 – 80 USD). Interesting huh? 

The coffee beans are partially digested by civets (type of a wild cats) then picked and processed. It makes the taste less bitter. Kopi Luwak I decided to buy was from the environmental-friendly place (small island where civets live in wilderness) and trustworthy person. She explained to me what created the black PR about this coffee. Long story short, when Kopi Luwak started to be popular, some locals caught civets and placed them in cages, started feeding them only with coffee grains so they would produce more of it. In nature civets eat not only coffee beans so their diet is destabilised. So if you would like to try this coffee, I encourage you to find a mindful person or business, and do not support people caging wild animals and harming them.

Bali is a small and unique island and I wish it would be closer to Europe 😉 I fell in love from the first sight of the ocean, colourful flowers, smell of incenses in the air, temples, beautiful nature, mantra chants, and unique culture. I heard many bad opinions about this island as well, but it didn’t discouraged me. I’ve found everything I needed in Bali: remote and amazing places in nature, beaches, temples, crowdy markets with colourful dresses, shops with mermaid’s garment, cute fairies, huge dream catchers, feather crowns, paintings, unique home & garden decors. 

Close to Bali and Lombok, there are three tiny paradise islands, called Gili: Trawangan, Meno, Air. There’s no cars, no motorbikes, no addresses, and you have to find your hotel on the map or sign on the tree 🙂 Near beaches are hotels and restaurants where you can sit in the Indonesian style “houses” and chill in the shadow, I forgot the name of it. If you know, please write in the comment as it is a distinctive part of Indonesia. 

Carita Beach is a few hours from Jakarta in the west Java, and it feels like the end of the world. I got there with a private driver (I don’t know if there’s any other way). If you decide to go there for some reason, you might be the only tourist in the hotel and in the town. When you will go to restaurant or shop, people will know when you showed up in town, where you are staying and so on 😉 Cute kids were also calling to me “Hi mister!” 😊 I also ordered there a salad called “papaya” so I thought it is a salad with a sweet fruit papaya, but it turned out that it was some green leafs salad so hot that I almost died because of it. I took a bite and when the hot flavour hit me, I couldn’t breath and my body felt like having a hart attack, my face got red and crying. Then I realised that they have no tourists at all, because only locals can eat it😅

Just so you know, between Carita shore (Java) and Sumatra there is small volcano island that is highly active Anak Krakatau. I don’t know if that’s something to worry about because there are many volcanos in Indonesia causing troubles from time to time. Once, my flight was delayed because Bali got covered in the volcano ash. This issue sounds stressful to me, but locals seem to keep it calm 😉

My last stop was Jakarta and it was the most tiring place I’ve ever been to… I’ve red to avoid it but I have’t realised how seriously I should take this advice about this huge city (population over 10 million people!)

Indonesian dishes: 
mie goreng (noodles with veggies and other ingredients), nasi goreng (fried rice), roti (delicious sweet buns, I hope remember this name correctly), tempeh, jack fruit. 
If you are vegan or vegetarian, you may add “tanpa daging” which means without meat.

This is very impressive, mysterious and interesting place… There is the biggest Buddhist temple in the world that looks like a mandala from above. We don’t really know much about when and who built it. In 1814 local people informed Thomas Raffles (founder of the port city  of Singapore) about its location in the jungle and soon after the archeological work stared. 

The pyramid has 9 consignations, the basis is a square shape 123 meters, 36 m high. The highest three floors are round and there are 72 stupas (look like huge bells). The stones were perfectly carved and put together  without any cement or mortar. The structure is like a set of massive interlocking Lego blocks held together without any glue. 

Official sources says that it was built in the 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. This is concluded by comparing the inscriptions on the walls to the similar ones from the Syailendra’s reign.

But what if only the carved walls were added during this reign?

There is a possibility that thestructure was built first, and then later the buddhist elements were added. 

We don’t know who build it, how long it took, when it happened. There’s also another question, why the temple was abandoned soon after if was finished. But one thing is certain, this is truly unique pyramid.

On the same island Java, there’s another interesting place Gunung Padang megalithic site where could be the oldest pyramid in the history (that we know for now). Of course history is organic and changes constantly as we discover it.

Malvina Dunder with love to planet Earth. Travel adventures & conscoius living. Blog podróżniczy, świadome życie, z miłości do planety Ziemi
Books e-books, Malvina Dunder, książki, ebook

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