Category Archives: Indonesia

Bali and the Gilis

Arriving in Bali, instantly you can feel a laid back island vibe,  much more so than Java.   Ubud is known as the cultural center of Bali, and it’s a great place to spend a few days.   It has a lot of yoga, total well-being type places, vegetarian and all-natural food galore, a lot of western influence in its shops and restaurants, but still brimming with Balinese culture.   We were lucky enough to be there for the end of one of their bi-annual festival, tied to the predominantly Hindi religion (vs. Java, which is mostly Muslim).

From Ubud we headed to Legian, which is on the same stretch of 15km sand between Kuta (BIG party scene, overrun with young Australians) and Seminyak (quiet, expensive resort filled).   We cashed-in Marriott points to stay at a really nice hotel and could celebrate Jen’s birthday in style.   Thanks to her special day, we were upgraded to a private “plunge pool” suite.

Our lost stop in Indonesia was a five-night stay in the Gili islands, a set of three islands off the coast of Lombok.   As you can see by the pictures, we were obsessed with the crystal clear, warm, turquoise water.   It was gorgeous.   We snorkeled every day.   Reefs were really cool, lots of fish, starfish, corral, two SEA SNAKES and a dozen or so turtles, a few of which we swam with for up to 10 minutes!   Beautiful undersea wildlife and sunsets made this one of our favorite spots of the trip.

 

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Java and Borneo

We flew to Jakarta and used some hotel points at the Marriott.  We were confused to arrive to metal detectors and bomb dogs at the hotel.  Apparently the Marriott in Jakarta was a victim of terrorist bombing in 2009.  Jon visited a few sites in town while Jen relaxed.

We flew to Borneo (Indonesian Island of Kalimintan) via Tragana Airlines – known for being late and at times taking off early!  We were a few hours late, but we made it into the jungle in Tanjung Puting National Park in our klotok, a boat that glides through the jungle in Indonesia.  We had the boat to ourselves, as well as a captain, assistant, cook, and guide!  We visited orangutans at a rehabilitation center in the jungle.  At one point, a mama orangutan grabbed our guide’s arm, hoping for food!  We also saw proboscis monkeys and a gibbon!  It was truly awe inspiring to see the giant mammals move about the trees and feed.

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We headed to Yogjakarta to visit two ancient temples:  Prambanan, Southeast Asia’s largest Hindu temple, and Bodobudur, a huge Buddhist temple, both built in the 9th century.

We had planned to visit a Volcano, but fate struck, with a nasty case of conjunctivitis.  (We believe picked up from a fellow traveler in Myanmar.)  We named it EYE-bola, and we had to visit an Indonesian eye doctor and cancel the trip.  We opted to fly to BALI instead!