51 hours, 5 cities.
Indonesia capped off my international adventures for 2014. Some friends and I flew to Jakarta then to Yogyakarta. We only had the weekend and thus had to maximise our time and chose to prioritize Dieng in Central Java, Indonesia.
I was gastronomically happier in this particular trip compared to the last two countries I’ve visited which I guess is because Indonesian food is closer to home. Either that or I’m more aware and informed of what certain food names mean like Kropuk Putih is basically Kropek and Sate is essentially barbecue. And as this is the third country I’ve been to in the Indianized countries of Southeast Asia, I also now know how to handle the levels of spiciness.
Our first stop was Jalan Malioboro–the famous shopping street in Indonesia. It has a lot of things that might be of interest to any traveler–from trinkets to batik, shoes to clothes, keychains to antics. It is a wonderful place to even just stroll in.
After Marlioboro we were off to the world’s largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur. Though it didn’t give me the overwhelming feeling of the gradeur of Angkor Wat, Borobodur still is amazing. The intricacies of the walls, the details put in the relief panels, the geometric stupas (which I didn’t know usually had something inside them) will make you curious and wonder of the history it contains.
In Dieng, we stayed at a homestay near the base of Mt. Prau and started our ascent at around 3:30 in the morning. I was out of breath most of the climb as I haven’t trekked for years. Plus, I have been physically dormant months prior to this. I was probably the weakest climber in the group. Nonetheless, I was able to reach the peak and take this photo of the sunrise. Made me think of that moment I raced to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to chase after the sunrise. So far, I’ve chased two.
In our descent, we took a wrong turn and got somewhat lost. Honestly, I felt panic.Then again my super cool experienced, traveler friends were all calm and were enjoying the view so I did too eventually. It was breathtaking. Walking along these terraces made me forget my anxiety in getting lost. Fortunately, we ended up in a small town on the other side of the mountain, opposite where we began our ascent. From there, The last stop we visited was the Dieng Temple Complex where 8 temples are located (locals say there used to be 400 of these small temples). It is nice to walk from one temple to another in this complex. And since the average temeprature in Deinge ranges from 12-15 degrees celsius, the sun won’t feel scorching when you walk. Also, since Dieng is a place visited more often than Indonesians rather than foreigners, the place isn’t quite as saturated with people compared to other places I’ve been to in other countries.
So there goes three countries for 2014. I never knew travelling would be this life-changing. It taught me so much of life. It exposes to discomfort and making comfortable in it (talk about almost missing the connecting flight from Jakarta to Manila because of a late plane, thanks Lion Air). Traveling also teaches you to talk to people while keeping in mind their culture and practices, your being a foreigner, while standing your ground or compromising when needed (talk about haggling a 800,000- Baht trip to the airport from Dieng). Respect, simply put.
There is so much I have yet to learn about life and traveling has been a great teacher this past year. I can’t wait to go to my next stop–this time solo!