Rachel and Matt’s World Tour
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Category — Indonesia

From Indonesia to Malaysia

Hello everyone.

Just a quick one to keep you up to date on what we have been doing for the last few weeks. We spent a few days lazing around in Lovina, Bali where we had a great bungalow on the beach and a massive pool, often all to ourselves.

From Lovina we took an overnight bus to Probolinggo in Java. Luckily Rach was paying attention to the road signs at 2am as the driver did not tell us when our stop was and nearly drove straight on through to Yogyakarta! From here we went to visit Mount Bromo. As per our usual luck the weather meant getting up at 4am for the sunrise was a waste of time; lots of cloud obscured the view. It was much colder up there and for the first time since the US the wooly hats came out! We took a 4×4 up to the viewpoint which was pretty cool even though we had the grumpiest driver in the world. I would be grumpy too if I had to get up at 3.30am every morning.

We took a 10 hr minibus journey to Yogyakarta, where we feared for our lives as the driver was in the habit of overtaking 3 abreast close to oncoming traffic. We stayed in Yogyakarta for 5 days. The city was a bit of a disappointment with not many sights to see but we did take a trip to Borobudur and Prambanan – 2 ancient temples that are world heritage listed sites. They were very impressive, and we enjoyed the stories of the guide we hired at Borobudur. Sadly Prambanan was much damaged in a 2006 earthquake and had yet to be fully repaired, hence the scaffolding and large piles of stones. Take a look at the pics.

We have now flown to Kuala Lumpur which could not be more of a contrast from Indonesia. It’s very modern and comparatively wealthy with huge shopping malls and monorails etc. The massive mall that we visited had a theme park and water park inside the complex!! After we spent all day swimming then (window) shopping we went to the cinema, which was only £1.50 a ticket!! By the way the new Star Trek movie is excellent, even Rach agrees. We are enjoying our stay in China Town with the night markets right outside the front door. Lots of fake gear.

Highlights of Indonesia:
Good, cheap food and drinks
Beautiful beaches and scenery everywhere
Fantastic snorkelling on the north coast of Bali

‘Transport mister?’ every 10 seconds
Litter problems from the tourists

3 days til Rach parents arrive so she’s very excited and it’s my birthday today, so we’re off out to Little India for a decent curry and to The Reggae Bar for lots of beers!


May 14, 2009   10 Comments

Bali & Lombok

Hello – hope everyone had a great Easter and gorged on chocolate.

We have now been mooching around Bali and Lombok for nearly 3 weeks and after a few more days in Bali we are heading to Java.

Our first stop in Bali was Sanur. The lonely planet describes it as ‘snore’ as it is much quieter than Kuta, but having then gone on to experience Kuta we much preferred it! It has gorgeous bars on the beach for enjoying the evenings Bintangs (local beer).

Kuta was our next stop – the beach is great and full of surf bods but the sea is raging so no good for swimming. We stayed in Poppies Gang I, the main backpacker strip – small alleyways full of the usual stalls and shops. Lots of annoying touts and hawkers ‘transport mister?’ ‘you want massage?’ ‘looking, looking, we have good sunglassses/ sarong/ t-shirt/ necklace/ etc/ etc’. We had an awesome day at WaterBom park which had great slides, but unfortunately too many hairy, eastern europeans in skimps. Think Borat Mankini!

Next stop Seminyak, supposedly the posh end of Kuta. It was certainly more expensive but the beach was not half as nice and there was little choice of bars and restaurants as it is mostly just big resorts there.

We then moved on to Ubud which we both loved. We stayed in Sania’s House where we had a very pretty room overlooking a lush, flower filled courtyard and pool, in the middle of the village. We went and saw a traditional dance performance. It was very impressive but slightly freaky in parts – lots of big, wide staring eyes and double jointed fingers?! Matt being the cultured one describes the music as a bunch of 2 yr olds banging on bin lids.

We also took a day trip to Gunang Kawi, which has 11th century carvings in the cliff sides. It was pretty impressive as were the beautiful rice paddy views on the way down into the valley. The sweltering walk back up the 350 steps was hampered by ‘you look hot mister, we have nice cold drink’ every 10 seconds as the steps are lined with stalls. Very lovely sarongs here are 3 for 10,000 rupiah (60p)! We also visited the holy spring temple amongst others and to a viewpoint of Mount Batur. Please look at the pics, there are some goodies. One stop was at a coffee plantation, where we both tried Kopi Luwak. This is made from coffee beans that have been ‘processed’ by a mongoose i.e. eaten and pooed, then the beans collected and roasted!! Apparently it is a very expensive delicacy and Peter Jones (Dragons Den) sells it for 50 quid a cup in his London cafe!! I just think it’s gross.

From Ubud we took the bus and a very slow boat to an island just off the Lombok coast called Gili Trawangan, aka “party island”. We walked all the way around the coast in an afternoon, it was stunning. Snorkelling was very good, we saw lots of colourful fishies. We watched movies in huts on the beach, ate some very good food, and Matt drank some more Bintangs. And Mum I promise I said ‘no’ to numerous offers of pot and magic mushrooms – one restaurant puts them on the pizzas, another blitzes them in milkshakes. I got ill, so wasted a couple of days in bed. We then moved on to the Lombok mainland, staying in Sengiggi.

The beach here was excellent. It’s really steep so each wave really pulls you around on the shoreline. Great fun for swimming in. The highlight was going snorkelling off the beach and seeing a huge turtle!! Bloody brilliant, although he made a very swift escape when approached. On our last day there, the beach was packed as all local families gather on the beach on Sundays. Lots of kiddies playing in the water, around all the fishing boats, and flying kites. Matt had his hair cut, which included an unexpected and thorough head, neck, and back massage by a very lovely tranny!

We travelled by ferry back to Bali, which was an experience. First hounded by locals selling what looked like home made pork scratchings, we passed the 4 hrs by watching a very violent samurai movie, followed by ‘Death Race’, and then some low budget, blood and gore zombie film. The toddlers sat around us didnt seem too affected.

We are leaving Tulamben today, where more excellent snorkelling included swimming around the USA ship ‘Liberty’ that was torpedoed during WWII and sunk just off shore. We hired a camera so there are some pics for you to look at.

We will probably post next from Malaysia, when my Mum and Dad will be with us!! I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see them!!

Laters x

April 29, 2009   9 Comments