Bali and Yogyakarta - Nov 2012

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  1. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    It was the fruition of a long held desire to visit Bali and Yogyakarta that got us started for the roundabout trip to Indonesia. Our first two segments were in F on BA, to LHR and on to DEL. Few days of visiting with the family, an obligatory trip to see the Taj – once again, a pilgrimage to the nearby holy city of Vrindavan and we were off to the DEL airport for our flight to HKG on CX J. The DEL airport has two lounges, the premier one being tucked away in a corner, has lot fewer people in it and worth the effort to find it. Since the connecting flight from HKG to Bali was scheduled for the following morning, we had made reservations for the overnight stay at the HKG airport Marriott. The folks at the Marriott desk at the airport were nice enough to arrange for a limo transfer to the hotel which was about 10 minutes away. We were given a room with a view of the South China Sea. The hotel has a regularly scheduled free shuttle service to the Tung Chung MTR subway station and shopping mall, right next to the cable car station for the Po Lin monastery. We took that 20 minute shuttle ride to the Tung Chung station for a visit to the monastery to see the giant Buddha. For the cable cars, we had a choice to either take the regular one or the one with a glass bottom. Since it was late in the afternoon and the valleys below were a bit dark with the shadows, we decided on a regular one. The cable car seemed to go on for ever. Finally we reached the monastery cable car station and headed down the walkway towards the stairs to the hilltop. After a short walk to the end of the walkway past some food and trinket stores, and climbing some 200 steps, we were at the hilltop where the 34 meter high bronze Buddha is located. It is quite a majestic monument with a panoramic view of the valleys down below. Also located at the end of the walkway is an ornate monastery temple. By the time we came back to the cable car station, it was past 6 PM and the last cable car going down had already left. So we took the city bus to get back to the MTR subway station. Correct change is needed for the bus ride, else you make a donation of the left over change. A quick bite at the shopping mall, a shuttle ride back to Marriott and we called it a day.

    The Humayun's Tomb/Mausoleum in Delhi was completed in 1572 and is believed to have provided the blueprint for the Taj Mahal design/layout.
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    The real thing - completed in 1653
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    A stock picture of the plaque at the Humayun's Tomb
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    Giant Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery
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    Buddhist temple alter at the Po Lin Monastery
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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
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  2. Slow_Mustang
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    Bali...

    Next day we took a CX biz flight to Bali and arrived there around 3 PM. The ‘visa on arrival’ process took only about 10 minutes. On entering the baggage claim area, the ATM machines are behind you on the right side. Withdrawing a couple of million of the local currency gives you a feeling of being rich. Our hotel, Conrad Hilton in Nusa Dua, had arranged for a taxi pick up, which made the airport transfer easier than arranging for one from the official taxi service counter outside the baggage claim area. Also, we picked up a brochure at the airport which advertised car rentals (with a driver). That came in handy as the ones arranged by the hotel concierge were quite a bit more expensive.
    Next four days were spent lounging around at the beach, getting a message at the hotel Jiwa Spa, visiting the Kuta Beach and Ground Zero monument for the people killed in the Bali bomb blast, spending an evening at the Jimbaran Bay over dinner and taking in a private day tour of the terraced rice fields, the Monkey Park, Ubud area and Tanah Lot temple. Conrad Hilton is quite luxurious and the diamond status enabled us to get an upgraded room by the beach. It also provided us with access to the lounge which serves buffet breakfast (made to order omelettes), afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. The hotel has three nice restaurants. Alternately, one could eat at one of the restaurants on the main road outside the hotel, or take the free shuttle/taxi to Bali Collection, which is a nearby outdoor mall with many stores and restaurants. Along the beach on the back of the hotel, is a walking/jogging trail which hugs the back of many hotels in Nusa Dua. There are metered taxis in town, and then there are the mini-van type vehicles available at negotiated fares. Transportation arranged by the hotel is always lot more expensive. Some daring souls take ojeks, or motorcycle taxis for trips to the countryside.

    The Tanah Lot temple located on a rock on the beach
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    A memorial built as a remembrance for the people killed in the Bali bomb blast few years ago
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    Sunset at the Jimbaran Bay - a favorite place with the tourists to enjoy the sunset over some drinks and dinner
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    The Hindu warrior prince Arjuna at the traffic circle of a busy intersection in the city. The prince atop dragons instead of the traditional depiction of him being atop horses is due to the Chinese influence on the island culture.
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    Terraced rice fields - since it was after the harvest season, the fields are looking less than green.
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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
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  3. Slow_Mustang
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    Prambanan, Yogyakarta...


    It was time to visit Yogyakarta. We left our luggage at the Conrad and proceeded to the Bali airport domestic terminal. There is a IDR30,000 departure tax for domestic travel, which for us, was included in the Garuda airlines airfare. An hour’s morning flight brought us to Yogyakarta, or Jogja as it is known to the locals. We had requested the Sheraton Mustika for a complementary ride to the hotel and they were waiting for us. The hotel is located hardly 10 minutes from the airport. As it was a cloudy day, we requested our car rental co. that we had contracted with some days ago, to move our planned trip to Prambanan to start at noon time instead of at 2 P.M. We got back on the main road/highway going towards the airport, and in less than half an hour, we were at the gates of the Prambanan temple complex. Some tourists rent bikes to ride to this temple. The entrance fee can be paid either in the local currency IDRs or US dollars. It would be cheaper to buy one ticket for both Prambanan and Borobudur temples, but then both monuments will have to be visited on the same day.
    This is a very impressive ninth century Hindu temple complex dedicated to the Hindu holy trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. There is a tall temple in the middle dedicated to Lord Shiva and the two smaller ones, one on each side, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The Shiva temple has multiple chambers for Shiva, Ganesha and Goddess Durga, whereas the other two temples have one chamber each. Directly across from these temples to the deities are smaller temples dedicated to their vahanas, or the vehicles associated with each deity - Nandi the bull for Lord Shiva, Garuda the eagle for Lord Vishnu and a swan for Lord Brahma. Only Nandi has withstood the test of time, the other two vahana temple chambers are empty. There are bas-reliefs on the Shiva temple walls, which tell the story of the Hindu epic Ramayana. The temple grounds are clean and well kept. Many of the smaller temples in the complex have been reduced to piles of stone and the complex is still undergoing renovation from the damage caused by the seismic activity in 2010. After being awed by Parambaran, we visited a couple of other smaller temples in the area before returning back to the hotel.


    The Shiva temple in the middle and the Brahma and Vishnu temples peaking out from behind the trees on either side.
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    Hindu God Shiva in the Shiva temple
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    Goddess Durga in the Shiva temple
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    Hindu God Brahma in the Brahma temple
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    Hindu God Vishnu in the Vishnu temple
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  4. Slow_Mustang
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    Borobudur Temple, Yogyakarata.....


    Next morning we left for Borobudur at 6 AM to beat the mid-day heat and crowds. I expected to see some countryside, but it was one town after another along the highway with kids being transported to schools. Little over an hour later we reached the Borobudur parking lot and it being quite early, did not run into any trinket sellers. We entered through the foreigner entrance lobby where complimentary tea and bottled water are available to the guests. A long walk on the temple grounds brought us to the entrance to the majestic Buddhist temple built in the 800’s. It is a huge multi-storied structure with numerous Buddha statues adorning it. The main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupas. After Borobudur, we gave a drive by viewing to another two small temples/stupas. Driving back, I noticed a middle school along the road with students walking around in the courtyard, presumably on their lunch break. I could not resist stopping by and shaking hands with some and letting them try few words/sentences of English that they knew. Upon entering Yogyakarata, we requested the driver to drop us off at Malioboro street. On both sides of this street, there were numerous stores and sidewalk stalls selling batik – cloth, clothes, art. After having lunch, it was past 2 PM, the closing time for the Sultan’s Palace; so we took a taxi to get to the hotel for some much needed rest. Sheraton Mustika is an older property with a super friendly staff. A long access road (from the main raod/highway) ramps up to the hotel lobby located on the seventh floor. The muezzin at some nearby mosque starts his calls for morning prayers at about 5 AM over a PA system, and keeps going throughout the day. That can be annoying at times, as the balcony door is not sealed/soundproofed. I always keep my earplugs handy to counter such inconveniences. Because of Sheraton’s isolated location, we had our dinner at the hotel restaurant which did have reasonably good food.

    Borobudur Buddhist Temple
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    The main Dome as viewed from the stairs
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    One of the 72 perforated stupas
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    A perforated stupa with the top removed
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    One of the many Buddha statues adorning the temple
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  5. jbcarioca
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    Great photos and commentary. Sounds as though you had a wonderful trip. Thanks for posting this.
     
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  6. Slow_Mustang
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    Thanks. Yes, it was relaxing, entertaining and educational.
     
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  7. NEVERhome

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    This was a fantastic trip report, i enjoyed it so much, loved the photos, would love to see the Humayun tomb
     
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  8. Slow_Mustang
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    Time to get back home...


    After two days in Yogyakarta, Java, we headed back to Bali. Another couple of days of relaxing on the beach, some good food and we took leave to go to the Bali airport for our evening flight to HKG. There is a IDR150,000 departure tax to be paid for international departures and the agent places a sticker on your boarding pass. The lounge was a zoo with small tables placed right next to each other and almost all the available seats occupied. When we proceeded towards the boarding gates, we found out that there was going to be a verification of the departure tax paid and another security check with a long waiting line. One must allow at least 30 minutes for this. CX was flying a three class plane for that flight and we were seated in the first class cabin. At HKG, we took the airport train and the connecting shuttle bus to reach the Holiday Inn at Nathan Road. Next morning we walked around in the Golden Mile area and had some finger food before returning to the airport. The first class lounge was closed for renovation, so we had to contend with the business class one, where they had the regular fare for food and drinks. It was comforting to finally get on the plane and be seated in F. Some JW Blue Label, an evening meal and a movie later, I went to bed for few hours. I woke up to a breakfast, another movie and touchdown. Overall, the trip was enjoyable, but I could live without the tropical heat and humidity.
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  9. Slow_Mustang
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    Travel Tips and Observations

    The new highway from Delhi to Agra (site of the Taj Mahal) is a blessing as it shortens the travel time, but the designers forgot to make any overhead crossings for the villagers living on either side of the highway. This has resulted in the barbed wire on the fence being cut and the villagers crossing the highway at a number of places, making it unsafe at times.

    For clothes and souvenirs with the local flavor in Bali, I was told to visit the ‘Krishna Oleh Oleh’ store, near the Bali airport. This is where the locals shop and their prices are reasonable; cannot vouch for the variety or quality of their merchandise as I did not get a chance to check out this store.

    Ground Zero in bali is on Legian near Kuta Beach, and across from it is the rooftop Sky Garden Sundowner Bar and Restaurant (61 Legian) on the roof of a 4-5 story building (no elevator). Many tourists go there to take advantage of their IDR50,000 (US$5) all you can eat BBQ dinner and have a few beers.

    The Conrad Bali has a chapel for weddings on their premises, but out in the town, all I saw were some decaying old Hindu temples and brand new mosques.

    The Bali Airport has an official taxi service stand (fixed prices) outside the arrival area, but knowing the approximate fare, it is better to negotiate with the numerous taxi drivers present, as the line at the official taxi service stand can be long at times. They are not very aggressive or pushy as is the case in many other countries. Anything you negotiate comes out to be a bargain, as the price of everything is so low.

    Bali Car Rental
    Car rental companies have placed their brochures for private or public tours at the airport arrival area. The guides really don’t speak much English. So, it is better to read up on the points of interest beforehand.

    Yogyakarta Car Rentals
    http://www.yogyes.com/
    http://www.gudeg.net/en/directory/10...rta-Car-Rental

    One mistake of trying the Bali street food got me into lot of trouble. Take proper meds with you for stomach flu/virus. And lastly, the oppressive tropical heat and humidity of Indonesia can be overwhelming for some people.

    A trash can at the Yogyakarta airport - no cheap plastic cans here!
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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
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  10. LuizzeOliveira

    LuizzeOliveira Silver Member

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    Bali and Yogyakarta both are best tourist attraction points of Indonesia. Bali is popular for it's luxury resorts, large range of luxury villa and natural beauty. Yogyakarta is also very beautiful and capital of smallest province of Indonesia.
     
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  11. Hire Olacabs airport taxi Delhi in just Rs 399 drop only anywhere in the Delhi.
     
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