After a marathon ride from Sumatra, we entered Java on the auspicious day of Eid ul Adha, that was a public holiday. I was welcomed at the harbour by my friend Bhushan. Owing to his knowledge of the roads and the fact that it was a Holiday, we managed to cover the whole 140 kms to Jakarta in 4 hours. A feat that took my good friends Aldo & Fred nearly double the time on a normal working day. A word of caution to those visiting Jakarta, riding here is the last thing one should attempt to do. It’s a city of chaos riddled with insane traffic! But once you are out of here the scenario changes with the landscape, roads and even traffic easing out.
Although Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim majority nation, the influences of other religions and cultures can be seen in Java. In fact, all of Indonesia’s cultural properties on the World Heritage List are found on Java. With a chain of volcanic mountains jutting into the skyline, Java’s natural surrounding is another enticing reason to explore its villages.
The route we took was Jakarta – Bandung – Pangandaran – Yogyakarta -Pasuruan, later entering Bali from Banyuwangi
Located West of Java at an elevation of 768 metres above sea level surrounded by tea plantations, it is a vibrant city that has a certain character to itself. The biggest attraction is the Tangkuban Perahu Volcano, and it is the only crater in Indonesia that one can drive up to its very peak. It has a distinctive shape, and looks like an ‘overturned boat’. The entry charge for international visitors is USD 30 per head. Another interesting factor are the several sulphur pools of varying temperatures, from warm mud baths to hot pools, which are known to have therapeutic results for eczema and other skin conditions. A dip to good health never did harm anyone, did it?
A quiet coastal town on the western coast of Java island, it is a tranquil place to enjoy walks along the beach or through the forest. We were looking forward to take a break, as we had been riding continuously through Sumatra, and riding through the traffic in Jakarta had completely drained us out. We took a break for 2 days and unwound enjoying the waves. Fishing is the key activity here. It is a regular sight to see the fishermen pulling the heavy fishing nets during the early hours of the morning. Next to the beach is a forested hill which is a natural reserve, we were told was worth trekking. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it as we were too lazy to walk it up. Although the most memorable experience for us was the spectacular view of the sunset. Lastly, there are good options for hotels and the price range begins from 10 USD per night.
Yogyakarta or Jogja tops the list of must see places in Java, considering it is immersed in rich tradition and history. It’s a cultural centre housing two prominent temples Borobudur and Prambanan dating back to the 8th & 9th century respectively. The entry charges for the former is USD 30 and latter is USD 18.
Prambanan is the largest temple compound dedicated to Lord Shiva in Indonesia. The construction style has a lot of Indian influences, and the three temples of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana. The temple also has three concentric structures dedicated to the animals that served as their respective vehicles. The Ramayana Ballet at the Prambanan is a very colourful act and a great experience. You surely don’t want to miss it.
The city is very young and vibrant with a confluence of thinkers and artists from different backgrounds contributing to its charm and magnificence. It is also the centre of Javanese Art forms, which have varied depictions, from court dances to modern art. The Kraton is the palace complex located in the heart of the city, and it is the main seat for the Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family. The Malioboro road is the shopping centre and is bustling with life throughout the day and night. One can find some great deals compared to other cities. Added to this, the locals are a friendly and hospitable lot.
Although it was a memorable experience, it was a short stay as we had to rush to Bali, even opting out of visiting Mount Bromo and The Ijen Caldera (Kawah Ijen in Indonesia). Then again, there is always a next time.
My second sojourn into Malaysia was riding in from Sadao Border (Thailand). The change in scenario was evident as soon as I crossed over, the first thing being the ease
Warrier's Trail is a crazy dream of a simple guy that was inspired by a desire to travel, meeting people, see places and live life full of uncertainty.
The dream is to travel 40 countries, in over 500 odd days in 5 regions (S.E.Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe & Africa)
A journey of exploration!