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Thursday, 20 September 2012


Well the trip is finally wrapping up and I'm back in Bangkok hanging out for one last day before flying home. Here's what we got up to in Indonesia:


Going to Indo was a spur of the moment decision. It was either Indo or Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. After travelling around Myanmar for a month we were kind of tired and just wanted to chill in one spot for a while. It was dry season in Java and flights were cheap so we just went for it. Our plan was to go to Batu Karas, a small fishing village with a great point break for surfing, and basically stay there and get better at surfing. It didn't go quite as planned but we still had an amazing time.

We landed in Jakarta where we spent a couple days before heading down to the beach. Jakarta is kind of what you would expect for one of the world's most populous cities: really crowded. Cars, motorbikes, and people everywhere. 

Indonesia's National Monument

meeting the locals

Really cute girls in Jakarta. We were walking through a slum when we stumbled upon these three. The one on the left was apparently really surprised to see a white person

Sunda Kelapa Harbour, Jakarta

Random boat trip in Sunda Kelapa Harbour

Kota, Jakarta


festivities in Kota

It was a six or seven hour bus ride down to Batu Karas. I can't stress enough how amazing this place is. There were hardly any travelers there and the locals were so nice. Surf boards were cheap to rent and the surf was amazingly consistent. The only downside was that there were a million Portuguese Man-o-War Jellyfish. While not fatal, these little bastards do pack a bunch when they get you. Some days there were so many we couldn't surf. Apparently they migrate to Indo from Australia to escape the cold of the Australian winters. They only stay around Batu Karas for a few weeks but that happened to be right when we were there. Our original plan was to stay in Batu Karas for a bit over a month but we only ended up staying around two weeks. Basically because of jellyfish fear. Call me a pussy but these things were scary. You'd be surfing and all of a sudden you'd hear another surfer screaming like they were dying. We didn't get stung luckily but we were really paranoid.

Batu Karas
Indonesia is mostly a Muslim country and we happened to be there during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. For a whole month people fast during the day and only eat after dark. In Batu Karas we met a really cool Muslim family and had dinner with them every night when they broke their fast. We never knew what we were going to eat but there was always fish and it was always delicious.

The locals there were some of the coolest people I have met during the trip. One guy was an amazing artist that moved from the big city to stay by the beach to surf, play music, and paint. He had a great outlook on life and was really inspiring.

I miss it already


After about a week, I really started to get a better at surfing. It's damn addictive and I want to start doing it more at home.

shortcut to town

The countryside of Batu Karas
After a couple weeks we got on a train and went to the city of Yogyakarta (commonly referred to as Jogja). It was a pretty cool city but there were a million European tourists there which kind of detracted from the atmosphere. I had no idea when we left that it was high season in Indonesia and also didn't know how popular it was to go there for the French and Dutch. Me did meet a lot of cool people though so I guess that made it alright,


Soto Ayam! (chicken soup)
There was a super crazy "bird market" in Jogja that sold everything from bats to boa constrictors. It was a really weird place and you felt kind of sorry for all the caged animals but interesting nonetheless.

Boa for sale


Ayam Goreng

Beringharjo Market

We went to the nearby Hindu and Buddhist temples while we were there. They were beautiful places but overall I felt kind of ripped of because they charged so much money to get in. Both places costed around $20 to visit which is insane in Asia.

Prambanan Temple







Kiersten with our German friends Anka and Moritz

There were a lot of other tourists



After visiting the temples Kiersten and I rented a motor bike and drove out to Mt. Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Last time it erupted was in 2010: here's a video. Motor biking on Java is a little insane. If I hadn't had so much experience driving in Asia on this trip I would have been too intimidated. Something like 130 million people live on Java and I think most of them drive motorbikes. Needless to say it was pretty intense. We arrived alive (my motto when renting bikes in Asia) in a small village at the base of Merapi and started climbing the volcano very early the next morning so we could catch the sunrise. It was about four hours to the top and the views were amazing.

Selo Village and Mt. Merapi

When we arrived at the summit it was still dark and you could see lava spewing in the volcano.

Sunrise summit pics

Steam rising out of the volcano

Our awesome guide

Near the top it felt like you were on mars

More volcanoes in the distance

Selo's main agricultural crop was tobacco.

Drying tobacco leaves

A lovely little lady we met in Selo.

Lamb sate, yum!
After Merapi we headed down to Bromo National park. Basically more volcanoes set in one of the most beautiful environments you can imagine. A billion tourists there but it was still awesome.

Bromo sunrise

Bromo Crator

Don't fall in!
After Bromo it was off to Gili Air (one of the Gili Islands) where we spent two weeks chilling and scuba diving. We did our advanced scuba course and really got addicted to diving. We saw a million turtles, sharks, octopus, giant coral fans, you name it we saw it. 

We stayed at an awesome guesthouse run by a young couple, Jodi and his wife Suki. They cooked with us and made our time on the Gili Islands even better than it would have been. I am going to miss eating Suki Sate and tempe.

Anyways, I don't have much time to write before I leave for the airport to go home, so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Gili Air
Gili Air

Gili Air

Jodi's father's horse cart.  The only way to get around the Gili's is by horse or bicycle.
Gili Air

Farm land in the center of Gili Air

Anke and Brett

 We cooked a lot with Suki and Jodi.  Kiersten and Suki went to the market to buy all the ingredients and Suki showed us how to make delicious Lombok dishes.

Chopping chicken and tempe with Suki

Chicken sate, tempe and green beans, pelcing, peanut sauce, and sambal

Pelcing, one of Lombok's dishes.
Corn with basil and tempe with beef and mixed veg

Jodi's sate cooking contraption

Our last delicious feast with Suki, Jodi, Brett, and Jodi Jr.  Chicken curry, tempe/veg, and chicken sate

Our homestay


  1. Wow! I run, and was looking for a really good review of Indonesia to link to from our travel site, and without a doubt this is it! Fantastic photos, which really give a feel for Indonesia - the sunset clickies our outathisworld. I've linked to it from our Mumbai to Indonesia page. Please post more on your next trip!

  2. Hi Rohi, glad you liked our blog, thanks for linking us from your travel site. There is still more to come from Laos and Cambodia.
    Brett and Kiersten

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