Tag Archives: Indonesia

Bali – the last paradise on Earth

…was the sign that greeted us a few days back in Denpasar airport. And based on our couple of days here mostly it seems to be true, with a small “but”.

Bali is quite big. We are staying at Jimbaran area and so far we’ve been able to explore only a very small fracture of this island paradise. On the first day we just walked around in our area but yesterday we rented a scooter for 30.000 rupiah a day (~1,8€!) from our hostel and started looking around on a bigger scale. The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that most of the streets in Bali are really narrow and the smaller ones can be in quite bad shape. So at some point you’ll probably find yourself off-roading with your small scooter :). But walking and driving around in Bali is like being in a Tomb-Rider game. There are just hundreds and hundreds of temples, shrines and similar everywhere! In fact I’d say that every 3rd building in smaller residential areas is like a small temple with it’s stone walls,carvings and beautiful statues everywhere. Add to that all the greenery, when at some places plants are already eating up the road itself, you’ll get quite a scenery! And the beaches and the cliffs… I have no other word than just breathtaking! I’m already eager to see what majestic places we’ll find during our nearly 1,5 month stay on this island. Here are some pictures (unfortunately taken with my low-quality cell-phone camera, there will be better ones I promise!) of the places we’ve been so far.

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But unfortunately it’s not all that glorious. Indonesia is the second biggest maritime plastic polluter in the world after China. And when there are bigger downpours all this garbage is washed with the floods into the sea. Then in turn waves bring it all to the shores. And you can clearly see the effect here in Bali. Many of the beaches, especially in the west side of the island, are turned into mountains of garbage. Mostly it’s driftwood and all sorts of plastic and rubber waste. In some places the sight can be quite devastating. Although it’s now been declared a garbage emergency in Bali (you can read more about in here and here) and the beaches are being cleaned daily more and more rubbish just washes on the shores. There is also quite significant amount of waste found on the streets and everywhere else.

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So as usual everything has two sides. Let’s hope that the wider audience notices what’s going around us before it’s too late but everything starts with you and me!

Either way I will be keeping you up to date about our adventures in Bali and there is a lot to come!

Wish you all the best!

Lauri

A must visit place in Jakarta – Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Yesterday we visited the whole of Indonesia. Well, almost. In the eastern part of Jakarta there’s a place called Mini Indonesia and it’s one of the things you definitely should visit while in Jakarta. Basically it’s a combination of exhibitions, regional pavilions from all over the country, numerous parks, museums, different activity centers and much more. This place is huge and you could literally spend days there. Be warned that although the park itself is opened until 10 PM a lot of museums and pavilions will close at 4-5 PM. We spent about 6-7 hours there and during this time we managed to visit maybe only less then half of the places and walk around in about 3/4 of the area.

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Entrance fee to the park is 15000 ringgit per person and most of the places are free to visit although for some museums and activity centers (like waterpark, skyworld, theatres and so on) there are separate admittance fees. All in all it’s still inexpensive compared to the value and sheer number of different things to see that you’ll get in return. Although in some areas you can clearly understand that the park has seen better days there’s probably no better place to get an overview of different cultures that form this huge country called Indonesia. Add to that all the museums and activities and you will easily have an enjoyable time there. In case you’ll get hungry or thirsty there are countless places to refresh yourself so no worries about that.

I made several video clips of this place so soon you’ll be able to get a glimpse of it through the lens of my GoPro also :).

I briefly already wrote about this in the previous post but honestly – if you’d like to know how it feels to be famous, come to Jakarta! Hundreds and hundreds of people during our time in here have said hello to us with a big smile on their faces. Quite often they are seconded with “Hi mister”/”Hi miss” or “Hi sir”. By the way most of the time they don’t get it quite right and address Anna as mister or vice versa but all in all it’s not important :). For countless times we’ve been asked if a photo or even a selfie could be taken with us and most of the time we’ve said yes – only at the end of the day we’ve politely declined since although it’s great that people are so friendly it’s also quite tiring :). And dozens and dozens of times we’ve been asked where we’re from. Once again, all this is being done in an extremely friendly way but just be advised that this can happen to you here in Jakarta :)!

Different emotions from Jakarta

Jakarta is huge. I mean really really huge. The city metropolitan area is second only to Tokyo and about 31 million people live here! As far as the eye can see there are endless rows of buildings with only Java sea ending them at one side. Our accommodation is located on 30th floor so the view from our window is pretty good.

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The room otherwise is also really nice with a huge bed, nice small living room area and a proper bathroom. We are staying in a huge 39 floor building right near the center of the city with a decent pool and also a gym. The only thing is that the building at some places is still under construction :). As I searched the internet it seems that it was officially finished in 2014 but the reality is that in several places construction works are still being done 4 years later. Supposedly there was going to be a mall, several dining places and much more in this complex but I think that something went wrong at one point and at the moment none of these places are really working. Well, it’s actually rather good for us since it’s really quiet in here and not so many people moving around.

Speaking about moving around – walking in Jakarta is a quite an interesting experience. Compared to all the cities we’ve been and are going Jakarta is not at all touristy. So far during the 2 days here we’ve only seen about 15-20 people who you could also classify as tourists. That being said you get a lot of attention everywhere :). All the people smile to you, say hello and want to get a second of your attention. It’s all being done definitely with a positive energy but it’s still quite an interesting feeling since we’ve never been in such a situation before. On several occasions people have even asked us if they could make a photo with us :). Actually this is one of the reasons why we chose Jakarta to one of our destinations – to see how the life works in one of the biggest cities in Asia without any touristy glamour. I think you could somewhat compare Jakarta with Bangkok but the latter is in most of the places really tourist-orientated. And the honest answer to how the life is in here is it’s quite diverse and contrasty. There are some high end malls, business buildings and so on but mainly it’s still endless fields of older buildings and streets, a true concrete jungle. There’s not much greenery besides the huge 1 square kilometer park in the middle. And the poverty also shows out with garbage on the streets, homeless people and low quality infrastructure. Compared to Singapore it’s like being on a different planet. But nevertheless all this has it’s own appeal and Jakarta definitely holds many secrets to be discovered during our stay in this huge metropolis.

Currency, local Indonesian Rupiah, is a quite interesting thing on it’s own. Since the exchange rate compared to Euro is huge it definitely takes time to get used to. For example 1 EUR is about 16000 rupiah meaning a small meal can cost tens of thousands and you can easily spend half a million during one day. There are also coins that are made from plastic since metal would be just too expensive. The downside to all this is that your wallet is constantly cramped with a huge package of notes from 2000 up to 100.000 but from the upside at least here we are millionaires :)!

Lauri