Getting to Bali off the beaten Path (1)
Indonesia is known for is it tropical island Bali. When it popped up in my south-east Asia itinerary, i looked forward to seeing this famous island with its paradise images . Being a wanderer I wanted to get there off the beaten path by traveling through Java, the locals way .
I flew in from Manila, Philippines to Jakarta, the bustling capital of Indonesia, which I intended to use as the starting point for my adventures through to Bali. After a two-hour exhaustive journey through the streets of Jakarta, I finally arrived at my pre-booked accommodation which could have taken less than thirty minutes to find but the language barrier between the rather impatient driver and myself, however, had led to a tiring detour.
I had initially thought it was only the driver I was ‘lost in translation' with but my three-day stay in Jakarta brought me face to face with people who were trying to understand what I was saying and me being smiley face and kept replying their Bahasa with ‘English please ‘. Google translator did come in handy most times but sometimes it just translates differently and I have to let out nervous smiles to the rather awkward situation of a language barrier.
Reading travel websites gave the implication that Jakarta had nothing to offer but my three days and two nights stay wouldn't be spent in my room because some websites say so. I managed to gain advise from locals on couch surfing who recommended some pretty amazing things I should see but only picked the ones I took an interest in.
The next day I spent most of my time trying to understand the little English some kind locals manage to get across. Asking for help to find a place from a local turned out to be the longest form of inquiry to my disappointment, but I couldn't blame them but just patiently wait for them to help. I was told the most convenient and cheapest way of travel was a motorcycle and coming from a stereotypical African home, where it was seen as a ride straight to death , I avoided it. Instead I headed for the taxis which I wish I hadn't as I was stuck in traffic in a very hot weather. I only sat rolling my eyes and blaming myself for not sucking up the fear and opting for the motorcycle.
Of the recommendations and the must see ,I visited the kota tua or old town bativa which is a historically significant part of Jakarta. It had cobbled central town square with many cafes around. Colonial buildings dating back to the Dutch era where you could sip on a coffee in one of the cafes and take in the immense historical surroundings or hire a bike for a ride through it. It felt like a town out of those colonial movies with its architecture.
I also went on to visit the Monas tower which is one of the most famous monument in Jakarta I didn't want to miss. It is the symbol of independence of Indonesia from Dutch colonial rule. Being a history enthusiastic I usually find such monuments fascinating. It stands tall and proud with history signifying the freedom of the Indonesian people.
On my last day in Jakarta I decided to see the taman mini Indonesia indah. This was the highlight of my stay in Jakarta as it was the most beautiful work of art I have ever seen. As Indonesia is made of its 17,000 islands split into 26 provinces it is nearly impossible to visit all of it .
The taman mini is a mini Indonesia in a form of art on a stretch of land highlighting all its islands and provinces.The park is arranged according to province with models of traditional homes where one can learn about the diverse culture and ways of life across the archipelago. Now isn't that something to see!
I then bought a train ticket at a convenience store heading to Yogyakarta another province of Indonesia. I was pretty much excited to see this side of the country as its known as the cultural part with much to see. I had planned on staying for two nights then continue my trip onward. I booked a hostel where I met up with backpackers who had same itineraries like me so it was much more fun and cost less than I anticipated.
Our first detour was to see the famous Borobudur temple which is a Buddhist temple dating back to the 9th century and the worlds largest temple. It was rumored to have the most beautiful sunset and sunrise views but due to the long trip in getting there we arrived at midday. Even seeing it at daytime had enough beauty to feed the eye that we didn't mind that we lost the sunrise.
One thing I will describe Yogyarkata with is that is a haven for temples. We headed over to see the Pramadan temple which is a Hindu temple and one of the biggest in southeast Asia. It has Hindu architecture and a UNESCO heritage center. My new friends and I who happen to have a thing for architecture were amazed by its beauty and the stretch of land it covers.
One my last day in Yogarkata where I was parting ways with lemfze my new-found photogenic friend we headed over to some not so popular places among the locals to take in the waves of the ocean and the night view of Yogyarkata.
My two night stay in Yogyarkata was over and I had to move on to my next location through another train ride…. the locals way. .
TO BE CONTINUED……