Monthly Travel Journal – May 2019

After traveling for one month in the Philippines, we arrived back in Indonesia, the country where we spent the most time during our full-time travel journey. Until now, we’ve only explored Bali and Nusa Penida. It was time to discover another island, a place that is well known for its natural beauties and incredible temples – Java.

We landed in Jakarta and decided to slowly make our way back to Bali on land. Java took us by surprise. It’s so different compared to Bali and yet so fascinating. I will tell you more about it in the section below. 🙂

1. Travel

General thoughts

Unlike Bali where everyone speaks English, communicating with the locals in Java was a bit difficult. We’ve mostly asked for direction and food through signs and body language which made the entire journey a bit more challenging. Tourism in Java is on the rise and I am sure that in the near future things will change so don’t get discouraged if you’re planning to visit this beautiful island.

Another big difference comparing to Bali is religion. The main religion in Java is Islam while the people living in Bali are mostly Hindu. This means that the entire architecture and culture is different. It is truly amazing how two nearby islands, in the same country can be so different. It only makes me want to explore more and more of Indonesia.

Semarang

Our first stop after Jakarta was Semarang. We spent a few days here, exploring the city. What surprised me was that we only saw a few tourists in the city. Honestly, I love traveling to places where there aren’t that many tourists. I feel like the whole experience is more authentic.

My favorite part about the city was the colorful Campung Pelangi Village. This Semarang neighborhood is entirely painted in bright colors to attract tourists and help the local economy. There is another similar village in Malang too.

Semarang colorful city

Campung Pelangi Village

Another place that is definitely worth visiting in Semarang is the Central Java Great Mosque. We were the only tourists there and the entire place was almost empty (locals were praying inside the mosque).

Java Central Mosque

Central Java Great Mosque

Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta was hands-down my favorite destination in Java. I loved exploring the Borobudur Temple even though I had to wake up at 4 am to be on top of the temple at sunrise. I’ve been to many temples around Asia but Borobudur is truly unique.

Borobudur Temple

Its architecture is one of a kind and the views it offers during the sunrise are incredible. Mind me, I am not a morning person but I would get up at 4 am every day to see the sunrise at Borobudur if I had the chance.

Another famous temple in Yogyakarta is the Prambanan Temple. Visiting this temple felt like exploring Angkor Wat for the second time. The architecture is similar and even though Prambanan Temple is a lot smaller than Angkor Wat, it still has its charm.

Prambanan Temple

Prambanan Temple

After visiting the Prambanan Temple for a few hours, we decided to go to the Ramayana Ballet show. This incredible ballet performance, combining music, dance, and drama tells the story of the Ramayana saga. The show had tens of dancers and actors and the special effects were spectacular. I loved the show and I hope that sometime I will have the chance to see it again.

Apart from these two beautiful temples, we’ve also visited the heart of Yogyakarta, the old city center. Taman Sari or the Water Palace is one of the most beautiful and fascinating structures inside the city. It used to serve as a royal garden but today it can be visited by curious tourists.

Yogyakarta Mosque

Taman Sari Mosque

Malang

Our next stop was Malang. We spent four days here, exploring the city and the nearby surroundings. Probably the most popular attraction near Malang is the Tumpak Sewu Waterfall. We had to drive by motorbike no more than 160 kilometers to get there and back to Malang but it was definitely worth it!

Tumpak Sewu Waterfall

We spent the rest of the days exploring a few waterfalls, a beautiful tea plantation and the incredible colorful town on Kampung Warna Warni Jodipan.

Malang waterfall

Coban Putri Waterfall

Girl in hortenesia fields

Malang colorful village

Kampung Warna Warni Jodipan

While exploring the city, we’ve also came across a pet market where reptiles, dogs, cats and birds were sold. Although I don’t agree with keeping wild animals as pets, observing the market was an interesting experience.

Initially, the plan was to take a day trip to Mount Bromo too but the weather was pretty bad, with lots of clouds. We were afraid that we would get there and the whole volcano will be covered by fog and clouds so we decided to skip Bromo this time.

Bali

From Malang we headed to Banyuwangi where we spend one night and then took the ferry back to our beloved Bali. After traveling for one and a half months, we came back to Bali to try and catch up with all our content.

Travel plans

For the moment, we are planning to spend a few months in Bali and explore more of this island and nearby destinations. We’re thinking about going to Nusa Ceningan and Lembongan for a few days and maybe explore the northern part of Bali.

2. Blog & Instagram

After returning back to Bali, I’ve redesigned the homepage (with the help of my awesome boyfriend who is also a programmer). I want to create a homepage that aligns with my brand.

Also, I’ve created a new collection of presets, specially designed for beach photos. The Beach Vibes collection works wonders on any beach photos and with just one click, it completely transforms any photo.

I’ve also written a couple of articles about the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. I still have to catch up with a lot of my travels but I’m getting there slowly. Here are all the articles I wrote in May:

Daily Travel Pill is now close to 76,000 monthly page views and it is growing daily. I’m very proud to see how far my blog has come and I am super-motivated to reach my next milestone in the next few months – 100,000 monthly page views.

3. Others

Thanks to Instagram I’ve met some amazing people. A couple from Romania who are now based in Bali – Madalina and Dragos and a couple from the Netherlands – Ana and Tomer (they also have a travel blog, generationnomads.com).

After talking with Ana and finding out that we’ve actually attended the same university but in different years, I’ve also found out that we’ve actually seen each other a few years back when I had to present a university project at Philips – the company where she was working back then. It’s crazy how small this world is!

May the travel bug bite you!

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Monthly Travel Journal May 2019

 

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