This year we went all the way to Indonesia for our holiday! My boyfriend james has been working out there this year so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go. The great thing about Asia is that you get so much more for your money, especially with food, so we were able to sample lots of delicious dishes for half the price for what you’d pay in the UK. I didn’t take as many food pictures as I should have really, but hopefully you’ll get the idea!
We started our trip from Jakarta, then on to Yogyakarta, Lombok and Gili Islands and then finished off in Pangkalan bun, Kilimantan (Borneo).
Being honest, there is a little to see in Jakarta, it’s just one massive city full of sky scrapers. We only used it as a base really and flew in and out of the airport A LOT. However the hotel we stayed at was really relaxing and served really good food, mind you, quite a lot of the dishes were westernised. One thing I did notice about Indonesia is that like the UK, they seem to have lots of dishes on the menu with other countries’ influences, primarily American and Italian but I guess that is to appeal to tourism. We had a good night out at ‘Skye Bar’ where I ate a delicious flat noodle dish with soft shell crab, hoisin pork, egg, kalian and baby corn- which was like a pad thai in style. It was probably one of my favourite dishes of the whole trip. I also had a very refreshing dessert called ‘garden in a glass’ which was floral themed with blackcurrant sorbet, cheesecake, raspberries and pistachio ‘soil’. This was all washed down with a few cheeky cocktails. James’ favourite was a royal mojito- a mojito made with Champagne! I also managed to have a route round the supermarkets in Jakarta which I always find fascinating. There’s a famous fruit called Durian which I came across and is absolutely foul smelling, so much so that it’s banned from some public places and transport!
We went to Yogyakarta to see the famous Borobodur Buddhist temple and we were not disappointed. Our accommodation (Manohara Resort) was rather basic, the breakfast offering was quite dire, I survived on long life, fatty margarine tasting croissants as I didn’t dare try the rice and unfortunately our bathroom smelt like drains for our entire stay. But the best thing about the resort is that it is the only one within the grounds of Borobodur so you get free passes to visit it whenever you like and you can just walk to it. It also means that you get first dibs on the sunrise viewing at the temple which is a must do. It was a magical and sorreal experience climbing up a huge temple in the dark with torches, Islamic prayers echoing all around you. Only a handful of people can buy the tickets too so it’s more of an intimate affair. Be patient as the light turns up before the sunrises, and it is well worth the wait to watch your surroundings transform. Because of our free passes as well, we also went to compare the sunset. But by that time, the temple is swamped with tourists so the magical feel didn’t quite have the same effect.
The food offering for lunch and in the evening was very basic but tasty. We ate lots of nasi goreng- an Indonesian staple and literally means ‘fried rice’ and is usually accompanied by vegetables, egg and chicken, and noodle dishes with a spectacular view of the Borobodur.
Lombok and Gili Islands
I loved Lombok, it was so relaxing and where we stayed was idyllic. We could hear the sea from our room which lulled you into a perfect sleep. The sea was so warm and a great for snorkelling. Even better are the Gili Islands where we went on a day trip and whilst snorkelling I saw two sea turtles! Magic. We also went on a day tour to see waterfalls on the islands, but also stopped off to see the indigenous monkeys on the way. We were also taken to a large local food market which was fascinating to see all the whole spices and local food, though health and safety would have had a fit. Our resort put on some great Indonesian buffet and live music evenings with lots of Lombok salads, curries, marinated BBQ fish and meat, all eaten by candlelight by the sea. Whilst in Lombok we also tried Malaysian curries, seafood pastas and lots of fresh fish. I had a lovely breakfast of red rice in coconut milk, very Deliciously Ella I thought! It was a bit like rice pudding made with coconut milk really, something I want to try and re-create my own recipe version for.
Very sadly and annoyingly, this part of our journey has bad memories for me as I became very ill with sinusitis, fever and sickness the day we left for our jungle adventure, and this was the part I was most looking forward to. Typical. We ventured into the Tanjung Puting national park on a boat or klotok to seek out Orang-utans! From travelling down the river in the jungle, we were taken into the jungle on a small trek to a feeding station where semi-wild and wild Orang-utans come and eat. It was amazing, it was so nice to see them in a natural habitat, swinging from the trees. We watched them for well over an hour. There was the alpha male, males and lots of female Orag-utans with their babies. We also saw lots of monkeys in the canopy too and even a very small crocodile in the river. If you ever get the opportunity to go, then you must!
But as I said, my illness got the better of me and James and I endured a night of hardly any sleep because I became so poorly. I won’t gross you out with the details but sadly we had to leave the jungle a day earlier than we planned to get back to Jakarta. It wasn’t any easy decision and I’m so grateful I got to see what we did, but I just couldn’t have done another day. Even more frustratingly, I had no appetite really and the food looked fabulous as it was all made by our on board cook and was truly authentic Indonesian cuisine. James tells me it was very nice! There was sweet and sour, whole fried fish, noodles and rice dishes, marinated tofu, vegetables and usually for dessert, it was fresh cut melon. As snacks they also gave us banana fritters.
We had a fantastic trip and made lots of great memories. Hope you have had as much fun on your travels this year as we have 🙂