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Central Java

Here you’ll find travel reports about Central Java. Discover travel destinations in Indonesia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • The middle of the contract! Another 70 days to go!
    The first glimpse of Indonesia? Omg, these people are really poor. Despite this, humans tend to be very friendly, and creative! When did u see a sewing machine mounted on a Motor - trycycle? Or a grocery store? Or somebody cleaning the street with a broom?

  • Ankunft im Paradies würde ich sagen...
    Feiner weißer Sand und glasklares Wasser, dazu eine tolle Unterwasserwelt und noch kaum Tourismus vorhanden. Was die an und ab Reise etwas erschwert, aber es lohnt sich :)
    Ich traf eine Holländerin 2 Indonesier aus Jakarta und 2 Belgier mit denen ich einen Schnorchel Trip unternahm... ich hab noch nie so viele (intakte) Korallen gesehen wie hier. Leider nahm mich eine Welle mit und ich schlug mit dem Fuß auf eine scharfkantige Koralle so das ich den Tag über nur noch humpeln konnte.
    Und ich glaub ich hab bei der Abreise der Insel die nächste Stufe der Gelassenheit erreicht, erst war es unklar ob überhaupt ein Boot fährt (was extrem wichtig war weil ich meinen Verhältnismässig extrem teuren Zug nach Jakarta schon gebucht hatte da die Züge auch meistens ausgebucht sind, um am Montag meinen Flug auf die Philippinen zu bekommen) ...ich hasse planen :D
    Ok das Boot fuhr, leider sind es bis zum Bahnhof 2 Stunden ... Aladin vom Hostel Organisierte ein Shuttle, das "gleich" bei Ankunft am Hafen fahren sollte (es waren nur 3 h Zeit bis der Zug Abfuhr)
    In aller Ruhe wartete der Fahrer noch auf weitere Reisende, er versprach mir aber den Zug zu bekommen und verstand garnicht warum ich so ungeduldig bin :D Gesagt getan ;)
    Nun Sitz ich im Zug und freu mich auf meinen Kochkurs morgen früh in Jakarta :)
    Ich bin aber schon etwas traurig das die 6 Wochen hier schon um sind, weil es noch so viel gibt was ich gerne sehen würde und das Land und die Menschen im gesamten auf jeden Fall jetzt zu meinen Favoriten zählen!

    Ps. So wie auf dem Bild wo ich auf dem Boden lieg reist man hier mit der Fähre wenn's mal wieder länger dauert.

    Und an dem Essenstand wird meine Lieblings nach Speise zubereitet, terang bulang. sieht aus wie eine Mischung aus Kuchen und Pfannkuchen, mit Nüssen Schokolade und Käse (ja ich weiß komisch aber schmeckt geil!)
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  • Nachdem wir auscheckten marschierten wir zum Reisebüro, von dem wir aus für die Tour zum Mekong-Delta abgeholt werden sollten.
    Wir wurden pünktlich von einer Vietnamesin abgeholt, mit der wir zu Fuß andere Leute abholten, die die Tour gebucht hatten. Nach einer knappen 3/4 Stunden gingen wir endlich zu der Sammelstellen, von der wir von einem großen Reisebus abgeholt wurden.
    Als wir uns in den vollen Bus die letzten Plätze gesucht hatten, hörten wir plötzlich unsere Namen. Die Rufe kamen von Pamela, der Argentinerin, mit der wir schon in Phong Nha und Hoi An waren 😀 sie hatte zufälligerweise dieselbe Tour gebucht 😊
    Die einstündige Fahrt quaschten wir mit ihr oder schliefen 😀
    Der erste Stopp war ein Tempel mit drei riesigen Buddha-Staturen. Nachdem wir Fotos gemacht hatten und uns einen typischen vietnamesischen Hut gekauft hatten für die darauffolgenden Fotos, fuhren wir nochmal knapp 10 Minuten zu dem Bootsanleger.
    Unser Tourguide war schrecklich 🙈 er quaschte in einer Tour Mist, das man auch noch schlecht verstehen konnte aufgrund seines vietnamesischen Akzentes 🙈
    Mit einem größeren Boot ging es dann auf die andere Uferseite des riesigen Mekongs. Dort besuchten wir eine Coconut-Candy-Factory. Die Süßigkeiten schmeckten leider nicht ganz so lecker und es war eher langweilig dort.
    Danach steuerten wir eine andere Insel an, auf der wir nicht so leckeres Lunch hatten. Außerdem schauten wir ubs eine Krokodil-Farm an, in der viel zu viele Krokodile in einem viel zu engen Gehege aufeinander lagen 😕
    Nach einer Stunden fuhrenn wir weiter zu einer anderen Inseln, auf der wir mit kleineren vietnamesischen Langbooten durch die grünbewachsenen engen Kanäle entlangfuhren 😊 gefahren wurden wir von einer niedlichen Vietnamesin, mit der wir auch Fotos machen durften 😍 das war das absolute Highlight der ansonsten langweiligen Tour 👌
    Danach gab es noch Obst zu vietnamesischen Volksmusik bevor wir mit dem Bus zurückfuhren.
    Laura und ich stiegen eine Station vorher aus, weil wir uns noch ein bisschen die Stadt angucken wollten.
    Wir schlenderten über einen Markt, auf dem Plastilsouvenirs, Früchte und Kaffee verkauft wurde. Danach schlenderten wir langsam zu unserem Hostel zurück 🙈 der laute Verkehr und die Hitze machten uns wieder einmal völlig ferig.
    Wir holten dann unser Gepäck im Hostel ab und gingen zur nächsten Busstation, von der aus wir mit einem Shuttle Bus zum Flughafen fuhren.
    Unser Flug ging um 21:10 Uhr nach Singapur. Unser Weiterflug ging erst um 7:45 Uhr, sodass wir die Nacht am Flughafen in Singapur verbringen sollten 😀
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  • February 14th.
    Today we visited the country of Java, specifically the Borobudur Temple, which is the largest Buddhist Temple in the world. It was built of lava rock in the 9th century and was designed to blend the Javanese architecture with the Buddhist concept of achieving Nirvana. There are 504 Buddha statues as part of the temple. There is evidence the temple was abandoned in the 14th century during the decline of Hindu kingdoms in Java and the conversion to Islam.
    There are a number of active volcanos on Java, and it is thought that the temple of covered in ash and was undiscovered until 1814 and was then restored between 1975 and 1982. By the way, there seem to be volcanoes erupting either right before we get somewhere or right after we leave. I hope our luck continues to hold out!
    In any case, the temple was an incredible sight if only in the sheer massiveness of the building. The over 2000 carved panels serve to tell/teach a story as one walks around the temple and up the levels.
    The drive to the temple through Java’s cities, villages and coutryside was quite hair-raising at times, but fascinating in the variety of sights along the way.
    It is getting quite steamy as we approach the Equator again – not a complaint, just an observation. The Java Sea remains extremely calm – it almost doesn’t even feel like we are on a ship.
    We have learned to eat an Indonesian hot sauce called samba olec. It is quite hot and we have enjoyed putting it on many things here on the ship. When we were out to lunch yesterday in Java, Jeff and I spied a bowl of samba olec and piled it on our plates. WOW! It was a lot hotter and took a lot of rice and water to put the fire in our mouths out!
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  • Yet another early start, as our alarms went off at 3:45! As I was waking up I could hear people in the corridor which seemed very strange, I'm so used to Australian and Western hotels being ultra quiet during the night (generally speaking at least). But I realised why when we got down to the lobby to meet our driver - the restaurant was packed, with more people than I'd ever seen in any of our hotel restaurants before! All the Muslim families were having their pre-fast meal, which is embarassingly obvious when you think about it.

    Our driver was waiting so we hopped straight in - we were the last pick-up so we headed immediately for Borobudur temple, about an hour north-west of Jogja. Not much to report other than the food carts were all out in the street with people eating before sunrise, and it was busier out than I expected. Other than that I just dozed so I don't remember much of the actual trip.

    Arrived at Borobudur by 5am and walked straight up to the top of the temple complex. Already plenty of people up there, but not too crowded thankfully. I think they only sell a limited number of tickets for the sunrise and it's much more expensive than the regular ticket, so it's probably out of reach for most Indonesians. Got a decent spot and settled in to watch the sunrise. It was probably a little underwhelming if I'm honest, as the horizon was a little hazy and the colours just weren't as vivid as they'd been at Bromo a few days earlier. I also had the shits a bit because I was trying to do a time-lapse video with the GoPro, but gormless idiots in flourescent outfits kept on standing in front of the camera! Overall it was a good experience and I'm glad we did it, but I wouldn't bother doing the sunrise again.

    Once the sun was fully up we set about exploring the temple and surrounds. This was probably the best part, as only a couple of additional tours arrive after sunrise until after breakfast, and the sunrise crowd was now spread out over the whole temple rather than clustered at the pinnacle.

    A bit of context - Borobudur is the world's largest Buddhist temple, and was constructed in the 8th century! That makes it a similar age to the Hagia Sofia, and significantly older than most of the famous sights in Europe outside of Rome. It fell into disuse around the 14th century when most of Java converted to Islam and was mostly buried in volcanic ash and jungle, and it wasn't until the British ruled Java briefly in the 17th century that it was excavated. Hard to imagine what they must have felt on uncovering it, real Indiana Jones type stuff!

    It's arranged into 9 levels, with the lower levels covered in inscriptions and bas-reliefs depicting various scenes from Buddha's life, along with examples of Buddhist laws and stories. We spent the better part of an hour wandering around the lower levels, marveling at the detail of the carvings and how well-preserved they were. We also returned to the top to look at the view in full daylight, and take a few photos of the bell-shaped stupas which Borobudur is most famous for.

    We had to be back at the nearby cafe by 8-8:30 for a quick breakfast that we'd already paid for, as straight afterwards we were going on a cycling tour of the local area! We ate (nothing spectacular), and then waited. And waited. And waited. Our driver and the cycling guide were both nearby, but apparently there was another couple of the cycling tour that weren't ready yet. By 9:30 I was about to start convincing the guides to just start without them, but they finally showed up! Apparently their ride from Jogja had arrived quite late and they'd had to rush around the temple a bit. A young couple from Ireland; once I'd gotten over my annoyance at their lack of punctuality I warmed up to them and they were actually quite nice.

    Cycling trip underway, we set off straight into traffic which was a little daunting! But despite the chaos, people are actually pretty reasonable - they don't give you much space but it's probably better than cycling in Sydney where bogans yell out the windows about how only faggots ride bikes and so on.

    First stop was a local market in the nearby town of Borobudur (yes the temple takes its name from the nearby town). According to our guide the market was normally fairly quiet and sleepy, but as today is the last day of Ramadan it was absolutely packed with people buying produce and supplies for their feasts tonight and tomorrow. Sort of like taking someone to Myer a couple of days before Christmas I guess! The market was full of fruits and vegetables, "fresh" meat (in the sense that its been freshly killed) and plenty of still-clucking chickens. Several stalls where people were selling farmed catfish - they kept them alive in tubs of water so they don't just sit out in the heat. At one point a catfish jumped out of a tub and started crawling across the market street!

    Very hot, very noisy, very crowded and very chaotic, but a great experience. Back on our bikes we turned down a few side streets and soon were in the rice fields that surround the temple. Fairly easy riding for the most part as it's on a flat plain, though there were a couple of small hills. Here we just around for a while, through little villages and along tiny streets, past the occasion shop and of course the always present rice fields. A few fields were growing other stuff too - tobacco, chillies, cabbages, papayas, bananas.

    Next stop was a local pottery workshop where a family just made bowls, stupas and other pottery items in their home. We all had a go at making a stupa which proved amusing - I was very awful at it as you'd expect!

    We stayed here for an hour or so chatting with the family and relaxing after our cycling exertions, but eventually got back on our bikes and headed back to Borobudur town to meet up again with the driver by around 2pm. We were all very tired by now but it had been a great ride. Hard to think of where all the time had gone, but we really enjoyed it!

    Passed the time on the ride back to Jogja by chatting with the Irish couple, they were in Indonesia for a couple of weeks for a holiday but were living and working for a year teaching English in Dubai. They both seemed reasonably well-travelled and were good to chat to.

    Back at the hotel we both showered and had a nap. We intended to go down to the Hotel Ibis rooftop bar on Malioboro Street to watch the sunset (and people launching end of Ramadan fireworks), but we woke up quite late and had to really hustle. Got a motorised pedalcab which was quite an experience since you sit in the front rather than behind the driver! Made it to the Ibis on Malioboro Street about 15 minutes before sunset, only to discover that the rooftop bar was actually in a different Hotel Ibis a couple of streets away! A very brisk walk and elevator ride, we made it to the other Hotel Ibis rooftop bar just in time to watch the sun set, though we needn't have bothered since it was hazy and the sun just sort of disappeared near the horizon.

    But it was still a nice stop, and we had a cocktail each while watching random fireworks shoot off around the city and listening to the muezzins do their thing (allahu ackbah x 12 officially marks the end of Ramadan and the commencement of Eid-al-Fitr or Idul Fitre as it's called here).

    Back out into the streets and the warm night air, neither of us were particularly hungry since we'd had a late room service lunch around 3pm. We contented ourselves with some satay sticks from a food cart (8 sticks for a dollar = bargain, though they aren't huge chunks of meat like you get in Australia) and then a pastry from a BreadTop imitation chain. Considered having an ice cream too, but the gelato place we'd seen a couple of days earlier was closed so we just walked back to the hotel, stopping briefly at a cafe for an iced tea/hot chocolate on the way.

    Spent a bit of time doing some planning in the evening since we'd gotten back to the hotel by 8pm. Today is the 5th and we have one more full day here in Jogja before a day of train travel to Jakarta on the 7th. Originally we were only planning on spending two days in Jakarta (it's apparently a polluted concrete jungle) before heading elsewhere, but our flight from Jakarta to Singapore isn't until the 15th. We were hoping to head for Raja Ampat in West Papua for a few days in between, but according to the internet July/August is the worst time of year to head there (heaviest rainfall and strongest wind), so not great conditions for snorkelling. Decided to put it off for another time.

    So we decided to just spend the full 7 nights in Jakarta, taking it easy. Although we've definitely done a lot of chilling out, Shandos has fallen well behind in her work and I've got enough footage for another two videos that I haven't had time to produce yet. So we booked a nice semi-fancy hotel in downtown Jakarta with good business facilities, and we'll just spend some time working and doing non-travelling things. I realise that taking a holiday from a holiday sounds ridiculous, but there aren't many things about this lifestyle that aren't ridiculous!
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  • Borobudur was the reason for this stop in Semarang Indonesia on the island of Java. The city was mainly just a large modern city but we were able to take a bus trip up into the mountains to a restored Buddist temple called Borobudur. It is huge and was built in the 700-800 AD but abandoned and found under volcanic ash and jungle in the 1800's. It was restored by essentially taking every one of the 1.6 million stones apart and putting them back together over a concrete foundation with good drainage. Each of the intricate bas relief panels tells a story of the search for Nirvana as you ascend the levels of the temple. It is quite remarkable and we were really glad we made the pilgrimage to see it.
    Java is not quite as populated as Bali, at least not in the rural areas but there are still a lot of people for the little island to support. There is a big push toward family planning and it seems to be making some headway but it does bump up against the more conservative Muslim elements of the society. The area is also poorer then Bali and the homes not as elaborate but they benefit from the relatively wonderful weather and a better road system. Most people on both of the islands we have seen drive motorcycles/mopeds. Even one delivering furniture with a chest loaded on the back of the bike and driving swerving in and out of traffic. It would not be good for a western driver to rent a car in either country and take off. We had to just shut our eyes on the bus at times as both lanes and the center line were used for traffic. :-)
    See the next footprint with pics of the temple itself.
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  • We just put this in to hold some of the pictures of the temple. There are hundreds of Buddhas around the temple. They have a different pose on each of the sides that face directly to the East, West, North and South. The bas relief carvings go around everyone of the 4 levels of the temple telling the story of one of the monks that achieved Nirvana and his journey to get there. The top levels have these cool bell looking structures seen on the last footprint that each have a Buddha sitting inside. You can see the restoration difficulties of matching each of those stones back in place after taking them out from the top. They supposedly did 1/4 of the temple at a time.Read more

  • Jepara is a small port town where you will stop only if you're on your way to Karimunjawa Island. This is why I was there. It's a very small place and if you stay on the beach like I did then food options are limited. I was ok for water with my life straw bottle but for the food I had to use the restaurant in my Jepara Marina Bungalows. It was actually really nice, just a bit expensive for Indonesia. But it's not a big deal, nobody stays there too long. And I could sunbathe on the pier and watch a beautiful sunset. And the hotel was very nice. I would definitely stay there again if I was going back to Karimunjawa.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Provinsi Jawa Tengah, Jawa Tengah, Central Java, جاوة الوسطى, Keski-Jaava, Java central, Midden-Java, Jawa Środkowa, Java Central, Provincia Java Centrală, Trung Java, 中爪哇省