25 November 2012

Jakarta, Indonesia

So I made it all the way across Java, passing lots of rice fields on the train from Yogya. Only had a brief stay in the sprawling city of Jakarta, as there was not too much to see and well its a very busy place, with constant traffic gridlock. Shown below is the National Monument in the middle of Jakarta, then also some of the sky scrapers and shopping centres surrounded by traffic jams.

22 November 2012

Borobudur, Indonesia

So its very rare when I'm backpacking that I will get up at 5am, well rare any time really. This morning it was to visit the large buddhist temple of Borobudur, 40km or so from Yogya where i'm currently staying.
I have to say its huge, the temple is 9 layers upon each other up to the central dome on top. Surrounding it the layers leading up to the top are a total of over 500 buddha statues and 2000 decorated carved panels. It was built maybe 1300 years ago, but was abandoned for a period and became buried by ash, later to be rediscovered in the 1800s and unearthed and restored.
There was not perfect weather conditions as it pretty cloudy, but I'm glad i went early when it was still quiet and before it got too hot.

21 November 2012

Kraton (Palace), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

So staying in Yogya rest of this week. Have visited the Kraton yesterday, which is the palace of the city. Explored the complex seeing the lots of treasures, the golden pavilion which had a traditional javanese performance of music and ladies singing. You can't see all of the palace as it is still lived in by the Sultan of Yogya to this day.
Today I have spent wandering around the Taman Suri, which is the water gardens near the palace, they have been damaged by an earthquake in the past but the main pools have been restored. Around the area used to be a lake but nowadays is houses, little lanes and other broken buildings. Some locals did show me the underground mosque and tunnels that ran underneath the lake to the Sultan's private rooms!

18 November 2012

Solo (Surakarta), Indonesia

It might not have many sights to see but Solo; real name Surakarta; is alright, yesterday I had a look in the museum and library of artefacts, before today I visited the king of Surakarta's Kraton (like palace) had a authentic feel of a past era due to it being abit run down. It did house an interesting collection of carriages that kings would travel in style in.
Wandering around the flee market area of the city I stopped for Bakso Komplit Ayam, translated is complete chicken meatballs, soup that is, which turned out to be pretty filling.

17 November 2012

Surabaya, Indonesia

So 2 days ago I decided it was finally time to hit the road properly for the first time this trip, and leave the comfort and tourists of Bali behind me heading over to Indonesia's most populated island of Java.
After catching a scooter ride, then bus from Denpasar to hook up with the ferry to Java, I made it a port called Banyuwangi on Java.  Where I got there I purchased a late night train ticket to Surabaya, then its possible to change to head to Solo (real name Surakarta).
Arriving in Surabaya at 5 am I was obviously disappointed when there was no tickets left for the morning train and I would have to wait until 1 pm.  Thankfully this is where the art of being a practised zen buddha like backpacker came in, so a morning of lying around finishing my book ensued.  Then venturing around to find a mall and pretty decent chicken rice bowl for my lunch, meant it was finally time to catch my train.  Passing through the rice fields all afternoon, I got to Solo last night.
I have to be honest there is not a great deal to see, but plenty of local food and a big old guesthouse with a pool to stay in, il update when i get some pictures.

9 November 2012

Ubud, Indonesia

Still staying in Ubud, but have been out walking around the town, exploring the rice fields and country alleys to see what I can find.  The first major leg of my travels is coming up next week when i'll venture over to Java, and start doing abit more, but for now alittle bit more relaxing.  Here is some kind of waterlily plant, then views around Ubud and ricefields.

6 November 2012

Ubud, Indonesia

Been very much enjoying the quieter countryside of Bali in the small town of Ubud, staying in a traditional Balinese homestay.  Ubud is located in the hills surrounded by rice fields, more recently it was featured in the book/film 'eat, prey, love' (starring julia roberts) so we have spotted several thirty something yoga/health obsessed women floating about the area.
Our host in the homestay a Mr Aji has been good to talk teaching us about some of the local customs.  Sadly but interestingly he invited us to a neighbours funeral this afternoon, me and a friend adjourned  the local sarongs and headwear, then observed and paid our respects along with the rest of the community.  It included numerous blessings and offerings them a procession up the road to local temple.
Been getting back into my running to get fit whilst im away, after that ive just enjoyed a hot and spicy noodle veg soup.  The pictures are from my near the monkey temple, the others just a statue and warung (local eatery) at the end of the road.