In my last post I promised that I would continue the story with Jakarta..

So after arriving from Bali by plane to Jakarta I hopped on a bus to the centre and on the bus I met this very nice man in his 60s called Julianus.

He is from Papua working in Bangkok so only spent a night in Jakarta to catch his onwards flight next day. He was very interested in my trip and I think he had a quite good grasp on the fact that travellers don’t have a luxurious life, so he offered me to stay in his hotel..I was a bit worried first …staying in the hotel room of a slightly older Indonesian man but then i thought..why not. So this is how I ended up in a 4 star hotel  in Jakarta. He took me for dinner..and didn’t let me pay for anything.. He said: ‘You are in my country I would like you to leave with a good impression about it.’

Next day early he left, and I stayed a bit longer to enjoy the luxury:) In this hotel I met another man ..hyperactive, super nice, so he helped me with my half day sightseeing plans giving me directions in Jakarta.. It was so funny he took me to his family’s room, woke them up saying, hey there is Hungarian girl, talk to her..lol..I bet all they wanted at 9am to chat with a foreigner…haha!

So this is what you can see on Facebook me being in a hotel room with a few Indonesians:)

Jakarta is nice but it’s just a city. I saw very little from it, but little was enough. In the afternoon I took the bus to Merak, where I decided to take the ferry to Sumatra (I think I didn’t know that you could cross overland but never mind) This ferry trip was memorable for sure. I was the only tourist..and people were staring at me. I got into a different world than I was in the commercial Bali and Gilis…I got into the real Indonesia. One brave woman half way on the 2 hour ferry ride came to me and spoke to me in Indonesian…unfortunately spending a half month in the country hasn’t been enough to pick up the language so I answered in Hungarian to her. We were both smiling so it was a pleasant conversation. Then an Indo band started to play live music, so i got taken to the middle of the outdoor area and asked to dance ..Indonesian dance is a bit different to the latin but there is one common move..the hip..so they enjoyed it very much, cameras phones were filming the scene, babies were taken to me for pictures so I was the local celeb. I normally like attention as some of you might know, but this time I was dead tired and all I wanted was to be left alone..however it was quite a unique experience.

So then I took a minibus to Kalianda (the starting point of the Krakatao volcano tour) I found a ‘hostel’ called ‘Hotel Beringin’. Now this was the second place where i was a bit shocked..squatting toilets.. I have never been in a ‘hotel’ before where you have squatting toilets..But I am so used to it by now that a western toilet would be weird.

Since I wanted to do this volcano without tour I needed time to figure out how..but when I realised that i won’t be able to do it independently I already missed the next day’s trip. In my day off I got taken by a local guy staying in the hotel to nice beaches around (not even close to the Gili view, but still nice beach) so I spent a day with him, we went out for dinner and the next day I did the tour. Now this volcano trekking was a lazy one. We took a fishing motor boat (2 hours more or less) and then we got to the volcan..black volcanic sand..and a tiny (400m ) volcan..You wouldn’t believe that this little f…..er would have done such a big damage in 1883 that the boom was heard as far as in Perth resulting a 30m high tsunami…

It’s still active today. On the way back we went snorkelling and then back to Kalianda. This tour was pretty lame but considering that not as many tourists are in this area as other parts of Indonesia or even Sumatra I saw what I needed to see nothing more, nothing less.

In the afternoon I took a night bus from Bandarlampung to Bukittinggi. Now this was a 36 hour bus ride. ( Lonely planet says 22) I was suffering..but still met the best local people ever..they took care of me so much as the only foreigner on the bus..

Finally I arrived to Bukittinggi at 6am, then I met someone who offered me to show me around in the city, so I left my big backpack at the station and did a 2 hour sightseeing tour. Bukittinggi is a rather insignificant city..with a zoo, a monument, some mosques, but the starting point of Lake Maninjau where I made my way after the sightseeing. The guy took me there by motorbike. 1.5 hour..with a 22 kg backpack..not fun on the bike.

I stayed in Muaro Beach Bungalows, where I met a Colombian boy Andy, with his German girlfriend Angelica. They were very nice, I was extremely happy to see a Colombian person..I guess i am still missing Latin America…

I spent 3 days, 2 nights here just chilling, visiting the famous rafflesia flower (75cm)

This flower is blooming for 7 days, so I was lucky enough to catch it on the 4th day..very impressive flower.

After the visit I went around the lake with scooter..it was fun!

I already knew that I wouldn’t be able to make the 26th October flight which I had to buy at the airport in Melbourne in a rush in order to be able to enter Indonesia, so I bought a new flight from Banda Aceh (west Sumatra) as I read about this stunning island of Pualu Weh..excellent for diving.

So after leaving Lake Maninjau I decided not to go to Lake Toba which is another amazing place with the difference of the religion of the locals. Maninjau is a muslim place and Toba is Christian. I went straight to Medan (21 hour bus ride), where I took a minibus to Bukit Lawang. Bukit Lawang is in the jungle where you can do one or multiple days of trekking.

I arrived there in the evening and stayed in the hostel called ‘On the rocks’. Wifi was essential for me and this was one of the few places that had wifi..Once I occupied my amazing jungle room:

…I got to know some ‘excellent’ news from Colombia..I won’t go into it but I kind of put a dot on another love chapter of my life..

I arranged a 2 day trekking tour starting next day. There was a German couple in my group and an English ex couple. I love trekking with couples lol:)

The last time I was in the jungle was in Colombia, the Lost City so this environment brought up pretty much all the memories..natural pools, monkeys jumping around, monitor lizard, peacocks, orangutans..awesome! I would have wanted to walk more but it started raining so we made our way to our ‘Jungle Hilton’ (shelter made of bamboo and plastic bag roof)..we had a fun afternoon with the guys and our guide playing silly card games, tricks, etc).

The second day I went walking in the morning with another guide because my group decided not to do any walking in the rain..but then after we met by the river where we went back to the village rafting.

After Bukit Lawang I took the bus to Banda Ace which is West of Sumatra. This is where the ferry leaves to Pulau Weh island. This island is the 3rd best place to dive in Indonesia, so I planned to do my Advanced course here. Unfortunately my Colombian diving school forgot to send off my papers to PADI, so even though I did the Open Water, I couldn’t start my master until it’s proved..so after 2 days of skyping with the other side of the world I, I managed to get into the system, but I only had 2 days left to do the course (5 dives). I dived before in Bali and Gilis without having needed to show a proof of my previous experience, but it’s down to every dive school how strict they are. I heard a lot about Sergi (Spanish dive instructor) that he was amazing so i asked him if i could do my course with him and he was happy to take me on. We did one dive but only Bouyancy..and unfortuantely my ears couldn’t take it…I tried the night dive anyway the same day but it was incredibly painful so I came up after 5 mins. Maybe I’ll finish it up in Malaysia..or who knows.

Pulau Weh is a muslim area…you cannot hang out in a bikini which is a shame, cause the beach is amazing..crystal clear water..I stayed in Erick’s Green House on Iboih beach..Very chilled place with very few tourists. It was a nice group of people here already so I hung out with them..it’s incredible how different everything in Asia than in South America..the way of people travelling..they spend 3-4 months in a place..I couldn’t do it..I mean I did stay in Colombia for 2 months but I was working..it was slightly different..

Few pics on Pulau Weh:

This my last day in Indonesia and I am spending it in Banda Aceh..oh I am going to miss this country..I got taken about 200 pictures..I received so much love and care in this country…so many smiles…
I saw extreme poverty..I got used to living in rough circumstances…i learnt sleeping with geckos around me..I heard so many times laughing children saying:
‘Hello Mister!!!’ Some of them know that a girl is a ‘Miss’ though..I had the most delicious food from the simplest ingredients…I had the tastiest Papaya, Salak, Mango, Watermelon…I understood a lot about their culture, the versatility of their religions, the history of the 2004 earthquake/tsunami catastrophe which killed 380.000 people in South East Asia..

I am happy that Indonesia could surprise me..make me laugh, make me cry, make me care, make me feel…
One tip for those who are planning to visit the country with its 17.000 islands:

Comments
  1. Elena says:

    Hi Aliz,

    You’ve made Indonesia sound amazing. If I ever decide to do some more travelling that might be the next destination. Getting to know the culture and the people is what makes it memorable and worth all the difficult times.

    Keep the posts coming. It’s great reading about your experiences.

    Elena

    • Thank you Elena!
      I truly recommend it..however I only saw a fregment of it..so much more to see..But hey I felt the same with every country lol.
      3.5 month left..next destination Malaysia..will keep the posts coming. I hope you are doing well..when do you plan your next trip? would be nice to catch up..
      xxx

      • Elena says:

        It’s amazing that you’ve been travelling for so long.
        I’m not planning any trips in the near future. I’m 4-months pregnant now so it will have to wait a while. 🙂 Maybe you should add Cyprus to the end of your itinerary. 🙂 You’re welcome any time.

    • Chacha says:

      Please come n enjoy Indonesia 🙂

  2. Franciska says:

    Szia Aliz !! Olyan csodalatos , mesebeli helyeken jarsz,hogy ez Egyszeruen GYONYORU !! Hany fele kulturat megismertel ! Erezd jol magad,puszika !

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