After a week in the heart of the innovative Singapore, we fly to Indonesia and its capital: Jakarta. Everyone warned us, Jakarta, is certainly the capital, but it is mostly a big city with traffic jams and pollution, not necessarily very interesting … As a matter of fact, we don’t know what to expect. The arrival in the city center, completely clogged and crowded, would give right to all these testimonials. But what does it really mean?
3 days in Jakarta
Let’s say it, it is not necessary to stay longer in the capital city, because you will the main attractions very quickly. But this is still a city that we enjoy and in which it is nice to walk. Our hostel, the Wonderloft hostel, is super nice and the staff adorable. It is not in the city center, but you can easily find food next door. We spend a great time with the residents. Monsieur is happy to celebrate his birthday here.
A little bit of history at the Monas
Let’s start with the Monas, aka the Monumen Nasional. It is a large tower of more than 100 meters high, located in the center of the square Merdaka, the second largest public square in the world (the first being the place of the Star Sea in China #culturetime). The MONAS is the symbol of independence for all Indonesian people. No wonder why they all gather at the gates of the monument, like us. There is almost a crowd movement with the people at the back pushing those in front. It is a little stuffy. I have to admit that I did not really like the 30 minutes waiting in a basement hallway with a single fan. We sweated a lot before entering the museum! 😉
You are highly recommended to go around the museum on the ground floor, as you will learn a little more about the history of the country, its colonization and its struggle for its independence in 1961. Start on the left and follow the walls in a clockwise direction, otherwise you will go through the story upside down …
It is also possible to climb to the top of the tower, but there is too much waiting during our passage, so we do the impasse on a breathtaking view of the city.
Cultures and religions
What is interesting here is that, as in Malaysia, cultures and religions coexist without problems and respect the beliefs of others. The typical example? We take the path to the Masjid Istiqlal Mosque, the Great Mosque of the city. No displaced glances or visitation bans in the walls of this sublime edifice. We then cross the street and there we fall on the cathedral of the city, another religious edifice, just as interesting as the first. It’s a beautiful lesson of respect … 😉
Discovery of Yogyakarta, the little sister of Jakarta
After these very pleasant first days in Indonesia, we take the train, direction YogYakarta, “Yogya” for the intimate (or lazy), which is apparently much more touristic. A gentleman sitting next to me on the train gives us his phone number and offers us to contact him if we have any problems in the city. He gives me some advice on things to see, to do in the neighborhood. Very nice!
We walk a little to go to our guesthouse Omah Guyub, slightly eccentric downtown, but what a surprise on arrival! The owners Helmi and Andy, two brothers, built the houses themselves. Wooden huts, sculptures, showers in the middle of the plants, the place makes dreaming. We are fortunate to have a room upstairs of a wooden hut, with an opening that lets us just see the stars at night. Beautiful!
We spend a very good stay here thanks to our hosts who really look after us. One day they take us to have breakfast in a small street restaurant, in order to test the local breakfast. Another day, they invite us to celebrate the end of Ramadan. These moments remain great and engraved in our memories so these people are nice and welcoming.
Sunset on the temples of Prambanam
A true must-see on the region, we take a scooter from the guesthouse to visit the temples of Prambanan, reminiscent of the temples of Angkor, in a little less spectacular, it must be recognized. The route to go there is quite epic and the traffic very dense. We’re afraid of dying at every crossroads, but everything’s going well. We’ll just have to make the same journey back at night … 🙂
Entitled as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the temples date back to the 9th century. There were apparently more than 200 temples at the time, dedicated to Shiva and other Hindu deities. But there is not much left today except the central temples. The visit is very interesting and we arrive just in time to see the sun illuminate the temples before hiding behind the clouds.
Sunrise on the Buddhist complex of Borobudur
After the beautiful sunset on Prambanan, we must make the sunrise on the set of Borobudur, also classified to UNESCO World heritage. So we take back our little scooter at 4.30 to get to the gate for 6 a.m and be one of the first to enjoy these “golden hours”, where the sun gives a really special atmosphere on the premises.
We arrive in time and are amazed at the complex in front of us. This sanctuary created in the 8th and 9th centuries, dedicated to Buddha, is truly magnificent. The Buddhas are hidden in stupas, aligned in circles, on several terraces. It almost makes you think of a mandala motif. It’s really beautiful. The spectacle of sunrise, though touristy, is hyper interesting. You can see the mist rising on the plain at the foot of the temple as the sun rises in the sky. Monsieur is enjoying himself in pictures! We stay there for a few hours to stroll between the statues, more or less well preserved before going back to the guesthouse.
These first steps in Indonesia are very promising. We have just booked a 3-day trek to climb to the top of the Bromo and Ijen volcanoes. It is the day of departure that we discover that we have been hacked our credit card. The bus ride is therefore not the most enjoyable, because we do not know yet whether we will be able to be refund what we have lost and how this will work with 26. But all this, you can read it in the dedicated article on the blog. We give you rendezvous for our next adventures on the volcanoes of
Auvergne of Java! 😉