Marie & Emma

Travelling Fraggles

Marie & Emma

This is our travel journal that anyone is welcome to read.
It doesn't get edited on the road and we travel technology free so have to use whatever computers and keyboards we find both good and bad. Typos, missing words and bad English are par for the course

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Denpasar July 6th 2019

Short on time and with no public transport infrastructure and no desire to attempt to load to both of us and 2 rucksacks onto a scooter We’d organised a car and driver through our hostel. Our first stop was Besakih Temple. Often referred to as Bali’s Mother Temple it is the most important, largest and holiest temple in Bali. It is also the only temple open to devotees from any caste, due to its role in ceremonial activities. Each year over 70 festivals are held there. Sitting 1,000m up on the slopes of Mount Agung it is said that its high location gives it an almost mythical quality. It’s stairs lead up the mountain to its complex of 23 separate but related temples, that cover a range of types, status, and functions. The largest temple, Pura ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Bali » Amed July 4th 2019

The hotel said they’d give us a free transfer to the train station. We’d double confirmed with them it would be there at 5am. The station was a good 10 minutes away and we had to swap our booking confirmation for a ticket. The train was at 5:25am. There was us and a security guard who couldn’t speak English in a dark lobby as the clock ticked and it became apparently our ride wasn’t showing. We hadn’t waited until much past 5am to start trying to engage him. We had not got up at that time in the morning to miss a comfortable train ride, to spend double the time on an uncomfortable bus. It became clear that he didn’t know what to do and was just hoping it was going to show. By ten past ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Mount Bromo July 3rd 2019

They say train is the way to travel on Java. The 8 hour train journey through Central Java and east to Probolinggo was bliss compared to the buses. It consistently moved, it was comfortable, we had aircon, even the toilet was usable. The best part of the journey though was looking out of the window across rice paddies to smoking volcanoes. Pretty incredible and so typically Indonesia. We were headed to Probolinggo as it’s the staging post for visiting Mount Bromo. One of Indonesia’s top natural attractions it is another iconic Indonesian sight that is often said to be one of the most magnificent landscapes you will ever set eyes on. Mount Bromo is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. With its top blown off, it is more crater than mountain but the smoke ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Solo July 2nd 2019

With sleep severely lacking Marie had to have a power nap before she could consider shipping out. Having splashed out on nice accommodation Emma decided to make the most of it and instead have a swim in the pool and gaze over the rice paddies. We’d decided to take the cheaper option of catching the bus back to the city. Our accommodation dropped us off for free at the bus station. It was deserted except for half a dozen people hanging around, however they assured us we were in the right place and a bus would be along in the next half hour. Sure enough it was, and we boarded with a handful of other passengers. After a 2 hour uneventful journey and we were in Yogyakarta (also known as Jogja). It is said that if ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Yogyakarta June 30th 2019

Borobudur temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is one of the one of the most important Buddhist sites in the world and one of the finest temples in South East Asia. Together with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Myanmar/Burma Lonely Planet considers it one of the great cultural icons of South East Asia. Borobudur is different from Angkor Wat and Bagan by being a single (huge) temple, whereas they are both temple complexes. Having now experienced all 3 we can say that they are each very different. Not much is known about Borobudur temple’s origins, as there are no records of its construction. But it is widely considered to have been built in the 8th or 9th centuries. Buddhism was growing in Java at this ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Yogyakarta June 29th 2019

Indonesia has been on the wish list for literally years. We’d gazed at it wistfully from Timor-Leste in 2012 when islands were so close it felt like we could almost reach out and touch them. But since 2016 it has been high up the wishlist, when through some work focused on Indonesia Marie discovered the existence of Borobudur Temple. Despite it being NZ’s closest Asian neighbour, earlier attempts to get there hadn’t quite worked out. Then an opportunity presented itself in the form of work giving time back to the one who struggles to build up their annual leave balance. This gift needed to be taken timely i.e. quickly. With a bigger trip planned for a little later in the year this would be unplanned expense that we couldn’t really afford. But after having the thought ... read more

Asia » Macau January 7th 2019

What makes a country? Hong Kong and Macau are designated as special administrative regions of China, under the ‘One China, Two Systems’ policy. Yet both require your passport to be checked and stamped when you enter. This applies to Hong Kongese and Macanese just as it does to foreigners. So if you have your own immigration policy does that make you a country? Or maybe a territory? What’s the difference anyway? What if we also consider that they both have their own: Flags Currencies Governments and political parties. Customs, rules, and regulations (like police and school systems) and languages. If we count Macau as a country then it will be the 60th country we’ve been to. We prefer milestone numbers to be exotic and exciting… Country number 50 was Iran. If this is to be number ... read more

Asia » Taiwan » Kaohsiung January 5th 2019

There was no queue for foreign passport holders at Kaohsiung immigration, instead we spend quite some time waiting for our bags. Then we got MTR passes and given we were staying in the old part of the city to the north, spent quite some time on that. The airport and MTR had hardly been busy but when we got out of the station it was deserted. It was 10:30pm. Luckily our guest house had told us which exit to take and given us the address in Chinese to show a taxi. The driver, an old guy, didn’t know where it was but wasn’t at all phased. He asked the driver behind and with a rough idea put it into goggle maps. We knew we were down an alley off a street, when we reached the rough ... read more

Asia » Hong Kong January 2nd 2019

The atmosphere of big cities can’t be beaten at new year, and in Hong Kong they do the whole big fireworks and light show thing so we’d deliberately planned to be there to see in 2019. Our flight was on time and unlike on our way out to Manila there was hardly any queue for immigration. We got our bags and having picked up tourist tickets for the MTR on our way out we were quickly heading into the city. The MTR app told us the fastest way to our accommodation so at the first stop we joined the regular line and left our comfy seats on the airport line behind. Mirador Mansion, the building our guesthouse was in, was easy to find. Getting to the 5th floor was easy. Then we wandered round in circles ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Cebu December 30th 2018

The fast ferry (passengers only, no vehicles) to Dumaguete on the island of Negros, was a smaller more beaten up craft than the one to Siquijor. Open class (the cheap seats) weren’t on top this time, but were at the back with the luggage. Everything was dirty looking. Once again it was a perfectly flat sea, albeit not glassy like the first. We were grateful for this given there was a tropical low (downgraded typhoon) not all that far away. A shorter journey we were there in less than an hour. This was the leg of the trip we were freewheeling. With our flight back to Hong Kong leaving from Cebu City halfway up Cebu island and it being a long and narrow island, we had debated the night before whether to take the left coast ... read more

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