The flight to Surabaya was delayed about one and a half hours and when we arrived we were held on the plane for 20 minutes because of a violent electric storm immediately overhead. Eventually we were allowed off and got drenched in-between the airplane steps and the shuttle bus to the terminal. The ride to the terminal was enlivened by more people taking photos of Mark and coming to shake his hand. Outside the airport we were met by our new guide Faisal and his driver. Continue reading Surabaya to Mount Bromo
From Yogyakarta we drove four hours north to the coastal town of Semarang, it was interesting to watch the scenery change as we moved away from the city and up to the coast. On the way, we stopped at a roadside fruit stall to buy some jackfruit to try; a jackfruit is about twice the size of a rugby ball and the flesh is similar in look and texture to bulbs of garlic but with a distinctive sweet flavour, inside each segment is a large, very hard seed like a conker. It is always nice to try something different. We have also tried snake skin fruit which has an aftertaste which is hard to describe, I quite liked it, Mark wasn’t so sure. Continue reading Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan, Borneo
Our flight from Bali to Yogyakarta was uneventful and we were met at the airport by our local guide Kodar and his driver Anton who whisked us of to our hotel, The Phoenix a colonial, heritage oasis in a hectic city. We were served drinks and sweet cakes and pastries while we checked in and then shown to our room overlooking the pool. That evening we ate in the hotels courtyard restaurant which proved to be very good and very cheap! I’m sure if we had gone out to a local restaurant it would have been even cheaper but how could we resist 5* luxury and food at £5 for a main course? We decided to order a Phoenix Sling, their version of the gin sling, the house cocktail (£6), to our surprise the bar tender was despatched to our table where she set up a temporary bar to mix the drinks in front of us, so we got a floor show with the cocktail – bargain! The food was excellent and we rounded of the meal with a scoop of coffee ice cream (me) and a sample selection of seven deserts (Mark). Yogya was looking good. Continue reading Yogyakarta, Central Java
Next stop on out tour of Bali was Ubud inland from the capital Denpesar. Agung picked us up from the hotel in Sanur and provided a running commentary for the journey to Ubud he told us a lot about Balinese society and tradition which was very interesting. Ubud is described as the cultural centre of Bali and, although the town itself is very much focused on the tourist and back packer trade the villages around it are fascinating. Each village seems to have a speciality. We stopped at one which is famous for weaving and batik printing, we saw women creating intricately patterned fabrics on simple wooden looms and others applying wax to fabric prior to dying to create ‘printed’ patterns. Other villages we passed through specialised in woodcarving and stone masonry, all along the roads there were open workshops where we could see men at work and great stock piles of wooden sculptures and concrete and stone statues and architectural decorations. When we arrived in Ubud we checked into the Tepi Sawah hotel just outside the town, it was another small, locally owned hotel oozing with Balinese style. The rooms were located in fairly modern two story blocks situated in lush tropical gardens with paths winding through them to the restaurant, spa and two swimming pools. Our room was on the top floor with a large balcony over-looking the garden and, hidden within it, a rice field. We dropped of our bags and went for a swim, before we knew it it was time for complimentary afternoon tea served in the small restaurant by the pool – very civilised. We also had dinner in that restaurant before heading to bed to catch up after our late night on New Year’s Eve. Continue reading Ubud
Our evening flight to Bali was delayed so we didn’t arrive until late on Wednesday night. Our travel agent had arranged a VIP Meet and Greet service to guide us through immigration on arrival. Sure enough there was a woman waiting for us as we entered the airport, she took us to a pleasant waiting room and went off to collect our luggage then she steered us through customs and immigration with barely a pause for checks; we could still see other passengers from our plane waiting at the luggage carousel! Outside the airport it was mayhem, cars, buses, taxis and people everywhere but our woman knew exactly where our car was waiting and before we knew it we had been introduced to our Guide Agung, and his driver whose name we never caught, and we were on pour way to our hotel. Continue reading Bali
We were contacted at the weekend by Audley Travel to discuss our choice of airline for a direct flight from Darwin to Bali. There are only two airlines that offer a direct flight so we chose the one with the best departure time, we are flying with Air Asia.
We also heard from Princess Cruises to remind us that we will need both USA & Canadian Visas for our trip with them.
It’s all starting to feel real!