Country number 12, Indonesia, come on down !!!

Indonesia's flag
Asia » Indonesia » Java » Bandung
June 21st 2013
Published: June 22nd 2013
Edit Blog Post

Day 266 (Fri 31stMay) Jakarta

So I awoke at around 10am after about 7 hours sleep in possibly the comfiest bed I’ve had yet. It was so soft it was lush. I had a look at the map and online to figure out what to do. I read a lot about Jakarta being a love/hate city and a lot of people say to get out soon as you can. I am in no rush anywhere so figured I’d at least spend a day and decide on a plan after that. After breakfast of toast and fruit I headed towards the National Monument and the Istiqlal Mosque which are pretty much next to each other.

It took around 30 mins to get there from my hostel and I first checked out the mosque. I wandered around and looked at the entrance but felt a little uncomfortable about going in. I’ve never had an issue with a church or temple but I felt out of place here so left it and went over to the national monument, basically a huge concrete tower in a garden in the middle of town. After a strange entrance method whereby you have to walk away from the monument and go underground, walking about 50 metres and then back above ground literally the other side of a fence I could get to above ground originally. It makes no sense and I don’t understand it at all. I paid a minimal fee £1 to go in and up to the top via lift. It was very hot but the view from the top was good. The weather wasn’t too bad so the view wasn’t too obscured by Jakarta’s heavy pollution. The gardens and the monument itself are very impressive and definitely worth a viewing if in Jakarta although it’s hard work walking around town with the pollution.

I did wander around town for another couple of hours. I headed towards the station for no apparent reason, not realising how far it was away from the monument, it took an age to get there but I did and then hopped on a train and went back to the hostel. I did some research and decided Jakarta wasn’t a place to stay and I’d leave the following morning. It’s also very humid which I hate. Heat is fine, humidity is rank. I complain a lot about this.

Day 267- 268 (Sat 1st – Sun 2nd June) Bandung

In the morning I got my breakfast at the hostel and jumped on a train to Bogor. Bogor lies about an hour away by a stuffy, hot and busy train. I got there and headed towards the botanical gardens which is the focal point of the town. I say town, it has around 3 million people and is now a suburb of Jakarta, a mere 50 kilometres away. Amazing how big that city is. After a quick stop in the tourist office I wandered with all my gear maybe 15 mins to the gardens. I paid, dropped my bag off and headed in, sweating like hell after the walk with my gear.

The gardens were not quite what I was expecting. I was thinking lots of flowers and colours and nice looking things. It turned out the gardens are basically trees from differing nations, but they all seemed the same to me. The place is quite nice and its laid out over a huge area but I was expecting a more garden centre sort of thing full of colourful flowers, but it wasn’t to be. I lasted about an hour and left, walked 10 mins and headed to the bus stop.

I got a bus within 2 minutes to Bandung, 3 hours away. After 2 hours the bus started to climb through some mountains while getting closer to Bandung, I started to enjoy the view out of the window as mountains are always impressive, something Indonesia has a lot of.

I arrived and got to a hostel I found online while having a lemon iced tea. I met up with the others who were staying in the hostel and we had a couple beers on the roof. Was a good end to a tiring day.

Sunday I’d planned on going up a volcano crater but I didn’t wake until late morning and by then with travel time I’d not make it there and back so I just wandered around town for a couple hours after grabbing some lunch. In the evening I got dinner with a couple Danish lads, we chatted about football which was nice, that sort of thing hasn’t happened all that much as it goes. I avoided drinking as I wanted to head up the volcano.

Days 269 – 270 (Mon 3rd –Tues 4th June) Bandung

I woke with a clear head around 8am and asked Michael, my hostel owner about a scooter. He said there was an alternative option for travel there, being a bus to drop me at the bottom of the mountain. This sounded good to me and cheaper so went for it. He didn’t know the times of the buses so I just sat at the end of the road and waited, for about 30 mins. The bus arrived, I hopped on and about 90 minutes later was at the bottom of the Tangkuban Perahu National Park. I paid to get in and wandered up. I’d been told it was a 90 min walk but turns out it’s only 4.5km so took me about 45 minutes. It’s a pretty steep incline and I had loads of offers for lifts to the top, albeit with a price no doubt. I wanted the walk anyways so carried on.

I got to the top to be greeted by a huge crater, Kawah Upas. I was immediately asked for a photo by a local so figured I’d take one also. I’ve now started to take pictures of the locals that asked me for pictures, seems only fair. The crater being my first volcanic one was very impressive. There was a bit of a lake at the bottom of it and one area of it was constantly spewing out some smoke.

At the top of the volcano there is plenty of people. Unfortunately there is a road all the way up it so plenty of tourists. It is however still quite a nice spot, and its full of local tourists not foreign ones. There are lots of houses/huts/shops/cafes all the way around it, but they don’t look out of place. I walked a couple hundred metres around the top where the crowds thinned out and I was alone. I got nearer the second crater and was met with a ‘Closed’ sign. I obviously worked my way around the gate and went in anyways. I’d paid for the entire park so was going to see it. I was the only person in there as locals don’t seem to explore much, always hang around the entrance and easiest place to view. It’s only ever foreign tourists that explore it a bit more. The second crater was Kawah Ratu, however this wasn’t as impressive, there was no smoke rising and no lake within it. Nice to be the only one in it though.

The smell was pretty bad, very much like rotten or boiled eggs from the sulphurous deposits in the smoke clouds, but it wasn’t getting to the stage I needed a face mask. I stopped in a local cafe for some chicken satay and egg fried rice (Nasi Goreng, Sate Ayam) one of the main things here. It was spot on and my view of the surrounding mountains with clouds floating around was possibly the nicest view I’ve ever had whilst eating a meal. It was cheap too so a bonus. I went to the train station to buy my onward ticket on the way back.

On Tuesday I went with 4 other people from the hostel (Ingrid and Nikkie, Netherlands, Wee and Jay, Singapore) and a driver to another volcanic crater, Kawah Putih. It took a mere 3 hours to get there in amongst the Bandung traffic, off which Indonesia has plenty, every city is rammed with vehicles. We got there, paid and got to the crater to be met with a thick mist. We literally couldn’t see more than 10 metres, which was a shame because Kawah Putih is one of the most impressive sights in Java. We hung around getting wet for 15 minutes or so and decided to head back. We had some lunch and then went to some hot springs.

We stopped to take some pictures of some tea plantations in the side of the hills on the way, this wasn’t too far away. We had to walk 1km to them from the road as the car couldn’t get there. The river and little pools were all bubbling and very hot to touch. Most of the water was just warm which was nice, nearer the geysers it was red hot, I was stupid enough to touch it. It’s not something I’d seen before and was quite impressive seeing hot water come naturally out of the ground. Locals were taking baths in it and showers from where they have funnelled it through a wooden pipe, quite clever. The people living near it really have nothing but seem happy. In one tarpaulin tent I saw there must have been 7 or 8 asleep, many of them kids, just in the middle of the day. They have nothing to do. Some guys were trying to fix a bridge it seemed. They need to fix one more also as Wee had a little accident and went through a bit of it. They certainly weren’t solid structures. I nearly got stuck on the waterfall as I couldn’t get back down. Nice spot though. The trip back took forever in the afternoon traffic, the last 12km took an hour, wasn’t much fun as the roads have many many potholes.

In the evening we all got dinner in a outside food court up the road from the hostel which I’d used every night. Cheap food, set in an alps like village in my mind, it was a nice place in a rather ugly city. Overall the volcanic crater was disappointing due to the weather but the day out was nice with the group.

Additional photos below
Photos: 52, Displayed: 29


Tot: 2.599s; Tpl: 0.07s; cc: 13; qc: 60; dbt: 0.0699s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.4mb