Tag Archives: Indonesia

Around Asia – Indonesia (Day 2: Borobodur, Prambanan)

Today marks the official start of our trip. At 4am, we met our tour operator Salim for the first time. Finally, there is a face to the person I have been e-mailing with for the past few days.

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From Yogyakarta, we drove for an 1 hour to reach Manohara Resort. As a tip, you can opt to stay here as the Borobudur Temple complex is right inside the resort grounds. They also have discounted rates if you are staying there.

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We were one of the first guests that arrived at the resort. While waiting, we had a chitchat with Salim and our driver Yahia (Sorry, but I am not sure how to spell your name). It was nice to know that we were in good company after we got to know them more.

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It was almost 6am when we started lining up to head to the entrance of the temple complex. We were each given a flashlight that you will only use for a few minutes to climb up the temple stairs.

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As we reached our vantage point, I did not expect the huge amount of tourists that visit the temple during sunrise. We had a difficult time finding a decent spot as there will be a blockade from a fellow traveler wherever you position yourself. This was definitely a turn off for me and it somewhat degraded the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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After sunrise is where it becomes better. Most tourists will be moving around the complex giving you more space. As time passes, there will be less and less people around as well. This gave me an opportunity to take a few decent shots of the stupas. Maybe next time, I can just stay behind the complex before sunrise. This way, I can take a clear shot of the complex from the back.

Borobudur sunrise 🌞 #Indonesia #unesco #borobudur #photography #sunrise #agameoftones

A post shared by Paolo Lee (@paolee87) on

Don’t get me wrong but going here should be in everyone’s travel bucket list. Definitely one of the best, if not the best, Buddhist temple I have seen. It’s sheer size, symmetry and design is  mind boggling. Just google some aerial shots of this place and you will be amazed!

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From Borobodur, we headed back to Yogyakarta to have our breakfast and checkout from our hotel. We then went for a quick stop to visit another UNESCO site – Parambanan Temple.

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Also another must-see temple to visit. Although, I prefer Borobudur a lot more than this other temple. Prambanan looks very similar to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. And just like the latter (when we visited back in 2012), it was also under construction during the time we visited.

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From here, we went back on the road to what will be the longest land travel of our Asia trip. Our next stop was to head towards the city of Probolinngo.

 

 

Around Asia – Indonesia (Day 1: Malioboro Street, Kopi Joss)

Last September, I went on a 12-day trip around some places that I have been wanting to go to around Asia with my sister. It was a long shot when I first thought about this trip. We only had less than 2 weeks to plan when we decided to push through – it was definitely worth it!

To summarize our trip, here is the breakdown of where we were each day:

Day 1: Manila (Philippines) – Singapore – Yogyakarta (Indonesia)
Day 2: Borobudur (Indonesia)
Day 3: Mt. Bromo (Indonesia)
Day 4: Mt. Ijen (Indonesia)
Day 5: Mt. Bromo (Indonesia) – Surabaya (Indonesia)
Day 6: Colombo/Negombo (Sri Lanka)
Day 7: Dambulla (Sri Lanka)
Day 8: Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)
Day 9: Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka)
Day 10: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – Malacca (Malaysia)
Day 11: Brunei
Day 12: Brunei – Manila (Philippines)

Our first day was technically our “rest day”. We flew with Singapore Airlines from Manila to Yogyakarta via Singapore. I would have wanted to leave the airport to get some chili crabs from Jumbo but decided to stay inside instead. From my last visit (which was last May 2015), I noticed that they already renovated the food court. You can even order from any of the stalls through a vending machine.

From our early morning flight, it was already 5pm when we arrived in Yogyakarta. It was almost 7pm when we finally headed out from the airport. The line exiting from the baggage counters to the immigration took awhile; something I definitely did not expect.

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We stayed at Inna Garuda for our first night. For one, this hotel was built in 1908 which definitely has some history behind it. It is also strategically located in Malioboro Street which is probably the most popular area to go to in Yogyakarta.

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Our visit was timely as they were celebrating Eid al-Adha so there was a lot of happening around the city. The first stop we went to was to try some Kopi Joss (Charcoal Coffee) from Angkringan Kopi Joss Pak Agus. This drink literally has a hot charcoal dunked in your coffee. It is said to have some health benefits from the activated carbon of the charcoal. We also tried some of their chicken satay which was our first meal in Yogyakarta.

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Keep in mind that most (if not all) establishments do not serve pork as with all other Muslim countries. I had to learn this the hard way as I kept forgetting about this and would sometimes ask if they had pork on the menu. Same thing happened when we visited A&W in Surabaya on Day 5. I was craving for some Coney Dog but of course… Definitely my bad!

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How to get here: go to the opposite direction of Malioboro Street and you will find a train track. Keep walking ahead and you will see this establishment to your right along with other stalls and street vendors.

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Afterwards, we headed back to Malioboro Street and walked around for a bit. There are a lot of side streets that you may also want to check as well. We ended up in one of those to try some more local food.

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My sister really enjoyed trying out new dishes but I was the complete opposite. I have a bad tolerance for spicy food which is why I even forgot about taking a photo of where we ate afterwards. I did enjoy some of the Indonesian dishes we tried in the latter part of the trip as long as it was not spicy. We ended up going to a mall close by so I can order some McDonald’s to go before we headed back to the hotel.

It was probably around 10pm at this point and our call time was at 4AM the next day. Little did I know that 4AM was already late compared to the time we had to wake up for the next few days. We asked for it!

Bali, Indonesia (Part VII: Ossotel, Boron Blue Driver)

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As mentioned in Part VI, our stay in Legian would not have been complete without Ossotel. Our stay here may have been short-lived but I’ll try my best to feature as much about this place.

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Located in the busy area of Legian, Ossotel is a fairly new establishment catered to the young crowd. Just like our stay in Brown Feather, this was an awesome find for us. We have read a lot of negative reviews about the Legian and Kuta area so we had to make sure that we stayed in a good place.

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From the moment you step foot, the place has a very hip but cozy feel to it. This can be seen all throughout the establishment.

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Apart from their suites, all rooms are streamlined with the only difference that the rooms located in the first floor provide direct access to their pool. Since it was already our last day, we decided to get this room type. Access is literally a few steps away.

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If you want to hit the beach, they have a direct access at the back. You have to walk through a small alley for around 5-10 minutes before reaching Legian Beach.

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Since we had to leave before sunrise the next morning, their staff was nice enough to pack our inclusive breakfast. They even called us during our wake-up time. These small touches really made us want to stay longer at this place.

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Before I forget, I would also like to give a shout out to our driver Boron who made our Bali trip awesome! He made our trip very convenient and would often go out of his way. The small chit chats were also a big bonus as we learned more about Indonesia and Bali from a local standpoint. Again, thank you and we hope to see you again in the future!

For those who would like to contact Boron, just search Boron Blue Driver on Facebook.

– The Tourist Pao

Bali, Indonesia (Part VI: Uluwatu, Jimbaran)

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Our 4th day is our last full day in Bali. This time, we are moving to another place again so we first checked-out from Brown Feather. Before heading to Legian, we grabbed some quick lunch at Wah Wah Burger. Their food is quite expensive but good.

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After our quick lunch, we headed down to check-in at our last place – Ossotel. More about this place in my last post about our Bali trip.

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Before heading out, we decided to check the Legian Beach area. The beach is similar to Seminyak Beach with the difference of having light-brown sand here. I prefer this beach better than the one in Seminyak. Beach bumming and water activities are more prevalent around this area.

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After, we headed straight to our last destination – Uluwatu Temple. It took us awhile to get to this area but it was worth it!

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Uluwatu Temple is situated along a cliff which required walking. There’s one area there without a concrete trail. It was nice to just relax and catch the sunset while you hear the waves crash along the cliffs.

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Since we were running out of time, we did not wait for the Kecak Fire Dance. Heard some good reviews about it so you may want wait for the show.

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For our last dinner (and sunset view), we headed to Jimbaran for a seafood feast. This area is well-known for their seafood restaurants. You can choose your own seafood and have it cooked the way you like. As the area suggests, it is a touristy spot so the prices can become expensive.

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Despite the deep hole in my pocket, the food was great and the view was really nice! We were also fortunate to get a table nearest to the shore so our sunset view was unobstructed.

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We then headed back to the Kuta/Legian area to do some last minute shopping. This was the only time we went to the more commercialized district. Probably something you can do as well (if you’re into shopping) when you visit Bali.

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I did not want to sleep when we returned back to Ossotel since it was our last day already. I even drank some of the Bintang I bought to busy and keep myself awake. But fatigue took over and I slept the last few hours before we departed.

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This caps off our wonderful Bali trip. Before we decided to go here, I knew Bali did not have the best temples. I also knew Bali did not have the best white-sand beaches. Neither did I surf nor trek mountains (yet). But everyone who has been here really enjoyed and loved this place. So we took their word for it…

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From Ubud to whatever it is beyond to the more hip scene along the Seminyak area; and finally, the wonderful beaches down south.  Bali has this magical vibe that we easily fell in-love with. One must experience Bali as a whole to fully understand this place. Whatever floats your boat, Bali will be ready for you!

Wait, there’s still Part VII for those who are interested to stay in Legian.

– The Tourist Pao

Bali, Indonesia (Part V: Potato Head, Ku De Ta, Pandawa Beach)

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Day 3 means a more relaxing day for us after two days of temple touring. Our first stop was Potato Head Beach Club. Contrary to what I thought it would be like, this place has a laid back vibe to it. People were casually lounging around pool beds. We were hoping to stay around that area but it was full when we arrived.

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Right at the back of Potato Head is Seminyak Beach. It is a long sandy beach connecting Legian,Seminyak and Kuta. Unlike other beach lines, you can only see a few resorts along the front. There were only a few tourists along the beach. The sand is more on the darkish-grey color and the water is bluish-green.

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Afterwards, we decided to go to a beach that our driver, Boron, has been mentioning about – Pandawa Beach. We headed to the southeastern-most part of the island to reach our next destination.

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Before you reach the beach, you will pass by a road that cuts straight through the mountain. I am not certain but this seems like a quarry before the beach was discovered. Looks like it!

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We stayed at the far end of the beach as there are less people here. The place is not yet that well-known to tourists as majority of the visitors are locals.

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The sand is soft and almost-white in color. Water is clearer compared to the one in Seminyak Beach. We keep seeing signs not to swim though. The beach gets rocky along the shore during low tide.

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Because this was more of a chill day for us. We decided to head back to Brown Feather after our beach excursion. For dinner, we went to a nearby place called Crab Bar. As their name suggests, they specialize in crabs cooked the way you want.

To cap off our night, we headed to Ku De Ta. Bali has really been great to us so far!

Head to Part VI for our last day in Bali.

– The Tourist Pao

Bali, Indonesia (Part IV: Brown Feather Bed & Breakfast)

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Brown Feather is probably my favorite out of the three places we stayed in at Bali. I found this place at the last minute which gave me a bit more breathing space in terms of our budget.

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Situated along Batu Belig, it is near the other places we wanted to see like Ku De Ta and Potato Head Beach Club.

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Since we got a good rate when we booked this place, we chose their largest room called the Suite Magena. This room features a copper bathtub in the bathroom. The overall design is rustic and has a very homey vibe to it.

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Our room is located in the ground floor at the far end of the establishment.

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If you’re planning to stay around the area (near Seminyak) but don’t want to blow your budget, I strongly recommend staying at this place.

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Go to Part V to see where we went during our third day in Bali.

– The Tourist Pao

Bali, Indonesia (Part III: Monkey Forest, Ulun Danu, Tanah Lot)

Our second day is again, temple day! The plan is to finish Ubud and the upper parts as we are moving south afterwards. We first headed to Monkey Forest since it was near the resort.

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As the name suggests, there were lots of monkeys around the area. For those who have not been warned, avoid bringing headgear and sunglasses. Tourists usually fall prey to monkeys grabbing those accessories.

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Since the area was long, it was always good to see fellow visitors walk-by. We sometimes get scared of the larger monkeys as they seem aggressive at times. We tried to stay on the main pathways.

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We wanted to walk around Ubud since it’s regarded as the “artsy” part of Bali. There were lots of small shops and boutique stores around the Monkey Forest area. Instead, we just headed straight to the Ubud Market since we did not have the time.

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Here, you can buy your typical souvenirs to bring home. Like any other market, don’t forget to bargain your hearts out to get a good deal! I was able to buy a few Bintang t-shirts, some shot glasses and an ashtray (that everyone in Bali seem to have with the same design). We also found a tourist shop that sells postcards. It has always been our thing to write postcards to each other when we travel. Something to look forward a few months after we return from our trips. (Unfortunately, we never received any of the postcards we sent)

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Our next stop took us up north to visit the Ulun Danu Temple along Beratan Lake. This temple is one of the must-sees according to a lot of travel reviews. There were lots of people taking pictures within the lake temple so it was hard to capture a good shot.

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Alas, I was lucky enough to take one last shot of the temple. There was no one around for a moment.

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As the sun was about set, we headed south for our last stop – Tanah Lot. I was really looking forward to seeing this place. We rushed towards the entrance as you had to go through several gift shops before reaching the temple.

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We made it just in time! The sunset was great!

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I have seen photos with a much better angle of Tanah Lot. We did not have the time to plan it so we just went straight to the far right of the temple. Maybe, we should go back again.

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At this point, we were already so exhausted from two days of temple touring. By sun down, the tide was already getting high so we decided to head to Batu Belig to check-in at our next place – Brown Feather!

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I was hoping that this place would look like the photos we saw when we were searching for places to stay near Seminyak. Very affordable and the location is near places like MetisPotato Head Beach Club andKu De Ta. This was indeed a hidden gem! More about this lovely bed and breakfast in my next post.

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It was already getting late but we still had to find a place for dinner. Luckily, there’s a nearby Naughty Nuri around the block. It took us around 15-20 minutes of walking down the main road to get there at night.

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Naughty Nuri is famous for their ribs. Since the place was jam-packed, we stayed in a large square table with other guests.

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Good food and some nice temples for Day 2! Head to Part IV: Brown Feather Bed & Breakfast.

– The Tourist Pao