Myles Harrington

A Tale of Two Cities (And a Town)

In Indonesia on August 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Bandung, The capital of West Java, was our next destination on the tour. With a population of 2 million is famous for factory outlets. Something that doesn’t remotely interest me or my overflowing backpack. We arrived by train, which was a very quick and easy way to travel in Indonesia. The views of the Puncak pass were incredible from the train window. Waterfalls, endless amounts of rice paddy fields and mountains were just a few of the highlights scattered on the landscape. The train was even on time! Bandung’s station was great too, a fancy new building and we managed to find a well priced room, with natural light for once, practically on the station’s front door.

The mountain massive

We didn’t do much in Bandung, we went to see yet another film – Inception, which was brilliant and only £1.20 – at the amazing Bandung Supermal. It is so super it even has a theme park inside it. We walked there because Lonely Planet said it was only 1km away. It took about two hours. Still, at least it’s good exercise to hopefully keep at bay the belly I’ve got whilst being away.

Tangkuban Prahu was on the list as a must see while in Bandung. It’s an active volcano just an hour bus ride away. When we first reached the top it was depressingly cloudy so we could not see anything. We sat and had an over priced Pop Mie (Indonesia’s answer to Pot Noodle) and the clouds parted for a short photo shoot. On the walk back down the mountain we stopped off at one of the craters half way up. I’m very glad we did because this was much better than the Queen crater at the top. This one had hot springs so you could bathe in the muddy waters. It was the first sensation of hot water I’ve had for weeks and my feet felt so soft after the natural mud scrub.

Bathing near the boiling rocks

We hadn’t been to a beach since Krui so our next stop was Pandangaran, a beach resort that I thought was going to be quite quaint and run down. It was completely the opposite, a luxurious newly developed massive tourist trap, that was mainly filled with Indonesian weekenders. Even though we were there for three days we didn’t once go into the sea. Perhaps my near drowning in Krui hit me mentally or the calling of the TV we managed to get in our room was too great?

The caves at the park at the south of Pandangaran. We did do something there

We had a nightmare journey to our next stop off; Yogjakarta (Just called Jogja to most) the final destination in the trio. Stupidly we didn’t check train times on the unpredictable and crappy Indonesian train site and just got the bus for two hours to the nearest train station, Banjar for 20,000 Rp (about £1.50). Once there we got to the train station and the official ticket man was trying to rip us off. Unbelievable. Apparently all of the economy tickets were conveniently sold out, so we’d have to buy a business class ticket for 120,000 Rp which was at least double what it should have been and the train wasn’t for another six hours. What a mess. So we decided we’d walk to the bus station. It couldn’t be too far right? Wrong. After walking for an hour or so in the midday heat and me throwing a little girl strop we managed to get in an oplet (kind of like a minibus/taxi/bus type thing) to the terminal about 5km away. Once on the next bus for five hours we then had to change again at the transit town of Purwokerto and once more suffer for another five hours. We arrived at 1am when we’d left Pandangaran at 10am. A 15 hour slog which could have taken six if we’d gone in an expensive minibus. At least we saved a fiver each!

Jogja for us was pretty much all about the food. My expanding waistline has been put to the back of my mind until January 2011. Pancakes filled with cheese and chocolate (together), Indian feasts that we trekked to the outskirts of town to find and copious amounts of alcopops guzzled – only because we’re bored of the bland taste of Bintang.

An Indonesian Speciality, chocolate and cheese pancake. Two of the greatest flavours and it actually works well. Try it at home

As beautiful as a rainbow

We could have gone to see a Hindu temple town from the 9th century for $15 but I’m on a tight budget and how could it possibly compare to the Ajanta caves or Khajuraho that I saw just over a month ago? We went to the Palace and saw the collection of unused sinks scattered throughout the grounds.

A fine specimen of porcelain circa 1930

One of the outdoor varieties, common in South East Asia

We did go to a traditional puppet show at a museum but we ducked out after half an hour claiming sickness. embarrassingly I accidentally walked in to the puppet workshop as I was trying to escape “Can I help you?” a man called out, “keluar” I replied, one of the many Indonesian words I’ve picked up during my time here, its meaning; exit. How bloody uncultured. In our defence, we couldn’t understand it and the puppets weren’t even moving that much. The music was very nice but the musicians were hidden behind the still silhouettes of the characters.

Traditional Javanese puppet performance

5k remaining: £2464.10

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  1. Brilliant, sounds good boy!
    Just went onto the train website you mentioned. It didnt even load!

    Have a good one lad.

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