Monday, 27 July 2015

Road trip

So the other weekend I went with the brother in law and some of his friends for a trip to the west coast of Java and to the area know as Tanjung Lesung, which according to Google maps is around 180km from my house and would take about 5.5 hours. As we were all riding, there was the talk of staying over for the night and then returning the next day because the trip was a long one.

After being told to be ready at 3.15am, I was and so we headed to meet the friends and spent 20 minutes sat about outside a 711 and then we moved on again through the city to a petrol filling station where we sat about waining for an hour for the other riders to appear because they overslept. so by 5ish we were on our way. It being the week of Idul Fitry we did not anticipate too much traffic on the way or the way back but never discussed what it would be like at the coast.

Map of trip down to Tanjung Lesung.

We rode out of Jakarta, into Tangerang and kept going as the sun came up and headed into Serang which is around halfway to Merak, the port for ferries to Sumatra and then headed south. We came to a railway crossing and sat there eating Indomie and drinking coffee for a while until it was time to move off again. This was around 7.30.

From there we went through hills and valleys and just kept going stopping for fuel once until we could see the sea. Happily I thought we were heading straight to the main beaches of Tanjung Lesung and so I never noticed when everyone turned left and headed up a hill. It took my brother in law 20 minutes to catch up with me and turn around. He was going to see a friend up in the mountains somewhere. This took about 30 minutes or 20km going up and it got hotter and hotter. Once we were in no where, we sat outside someones house and drank some water. I was entertained by fighting off the ants that seemed happy enough to crawl on me and then bite me. Having sat there for about 45 minutes, we left. His friend was not there. So back down the mountain we went. By now everyone except me wanted to go Carita because the beaches are better. So I never saw Tanjung Lesung or the sea. We stopped at a restaurant for overpriced BBQ chicken and rice and then headed off again. 

Then we met traffic. Jakarta style in the rain at 6pm Friday night traffic. Everything had ground to a stop. We inched forward for about an hour getting no where fast until we stopped to decide what to do. It was decided to find somewhere to stay (there was me thinking that was sorted already) and so we ended up at some dodgy hotel where they wanted 480,000 for a single room with AC and 280 for a single room with fan, so 3 rooms for a million, which no one really wanted to pay as that was expensive. 
So again, everyone agreed that we should keep looking. It was 3pm by now. We had stopped to bitten by ants and to eat once. No time on the beach, nothing. I said we should give up and go home. This seemed to be met with approval and so we stopped for more fuel and headed towards Anyer to get the bigger roads home. 

However, this was met with even more traffic and after one hour we really were not any further on. Then to our delight (!) the police had shut the road and sent us up a tsunami escape route, which was a narrow broken road chock a block with cars and again at a complete standstill. Someone, I presume to be a local rode his bike around a house, to which every bike waiting did the same and this little path took us to a 60cm drop where we had to lift down the bikes to get back to another broken road. Carrying on up into the hills, we then met by more traffic snarl ups and so the bikes were directed through a load of banana trees for a while until we hit a T junction.

Slightly longer with more twists and turns on the way home

From there it was  a matter of riding over a few mountains, and keeping up with the brother in law who deemed it necessary to go a little quicker through the s bends and pot holed road. Happily by 5.45pm we were in Serang, drinking water and eating. That was one hell of a journey from the sea.

The next part of the trip home involved riding in the dark one a 2 way hole filled road being shaken and shook by the sheer bumpiness of it all until we reached a good road near somewhere called Balaraja where you could see the airplanes coming to land at Jakarta airport, however, we were still another 2 hours from home and it was 7pm by now.  The last part of the journey was far nicer because we reached streetlamps and big and in comparison well maintained roads going into Jakarta. Being more familiar with these we sped up and by 9pm, covered in soot, dirt, sweat and very hungry I arrived home. 

It was a long day. It was a long trip. It was a trip to the coast that never allowed me to see the sea, sit by it or even take a photo. It was a road trip. I spent at least 12 hours riding through the day. The bike seemed to cope OK and only used 9 litres of fuel for the 400km or so trip we did and only now does it need a service as it is making some noises. Friday will sort that out. 

Would I do it again? Yes but with somewhere booked first so that I could relax and explore while there and take it easier on the way home. But as bike trips go, it was great. 

Please feel free to comment and I will reply as soon as I can. Thank you

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Bali Airport

I have been to Bali Airport (Ngurah Rai International Airport) many times. Never through International but domestic and since 2007 it has change completely and is still doing so and for the better.

I have just come back from a holiday in Bali with the family and here are some photos of the Airport.


There are 6 gates to leave from. Gate 1 is Garuda, 4 is Air Asia, 5 and 6 Lion. The other gates I don't know. 

Getting to departures you can have the taxi or car drop you outside and its a short walk into the terminal. The Major Airlines have their own set of counters, Air Asia being 37-43 or something similar and there are plenty of ATMs around. Then you need to go upstairs and through the security checks, taking off belts and watches and anything metal before going through into the lounge area. Unlike the old terminal this one is now light and bright with many modern shops and big seating area restaurants. There are several coffee shops, 2 or 3 WH Smiths and other places to shop for highly expensive last minute gifts.

It is now a bigger terminal and I would say apart from the lack of seats considering the size and the AC fighting against the heat of the sun through amount of glass it is rather a nice place to fly from. Its far nicer than it used to be anyway. 


Having just returned from another holiday on the island of Bali, I am ready for another holiday on another island in Indonesia. Whilst its not the last time I will return, there is a need to go and explore elsewhere. However it was fun while it lasted and it lasted a little bit longer than expected thanks to the Volcano Mount Raung which erupted and closed Bali Airport for a while.

This was the second time we have taken Jeremy on a plane and he went to Bali last year and being 1 was a handful on the plane. This time being 2 he was a little more sedate but, still a handful however he was more settled. We went to Bali because my wifes sister was attending a wedding and so we thought it would be fun that we joined and had a family holiday what with the Mother in law as well going, so all in all there were 6 of us.

We took a Golden Bird taxi to the Airport which was cheaper than 2 taxis and worked out at 50,000 rupiah each and now Jeremy can recognise different things we were treated to 'look car, taxi, bus, crane, plane etc' all the way to the airport.  We flew Air Asia and so we had already Wed Checked in which left us to dump the luggage with them and go and eat.

Flying with Air Asia is nice in Jakarta because you go from Terminal 3 which is never very crowded and its new and spacious which meant Jeremy could run about, and he did. They also had a Nursery Room in the departure lounge which was helpful. Air Asia was on time and the flight was not full. We took the bus to the Plane which made Jeremy even more happy because it was his first bus trip anywhere.

Jeremy was well behaved taking off and enjoyed playing with a toy and also watching offline videos on my tab through the flight. The flight itself was as normal pretty routine. We did however see a smoking volcano which later proved to be the one causing all the disruption.

Our Hotel was the Holiday Inn Resort in Tuban, Kuta. Tuban is next to the Airport and far enough away from Kuta to be pleasant and near enough to Kuta to be able to walk to the shops. The Holiday Inn was lovely. The rooms whist not so big had a sea view and it was quiet and the AC worked far too well. There was enough space for Jeremy to play and a balcony to sit on and get bitten by Mosquitoes.

The resort had 2 swimming pools, large gardens to wander around in, bars and  a small coffee shop. The small store sold cheap beer which helped hugely.

The best thing about the place was the breakfast which was probably the best I have had in Bali. The range and amount of food was far too much, but when you saw the size of the Australians staying there you could see why there was so much food. The hotel was also next to the one in which we were married and so we went back to look at the grounds and the place we said our vows. Its still the same and still beautiful.

If you walked from the gardens to the beach you could see the airport and it was a 15 minute walk to Discovery Mall and a 15 minute walk to Lippo Mall Kuta, so again useful when you needed to shop for nappies and things for Jeremy.

Jeremy has developed a fear of sand. Wed discovered this in Nusa Dua when went to a great beach. He refused to walk on it and would not allow anyone holding him to put him down or go near the sea. And considering we planned to visit beaches and go swimming we had to change all our plans, so we went to Bali bird Park instead.

We had hired a car and driver for the day, the same one we used last year and will probably continue to use and for 500k for 12 hours, it was very useful.  The bird park was a way from the Hotel, probably no more than an hour but it felt longer. I never went in the park because I refused to pay 400k for me when everyone else who was Indonesian paid 120k. I don't mind dual pricing but that was extreme. So I waited while everyone went around and chatted to the driver.

Once back in Kuta and eaten, I took Jeremy for a long walk to the Discovery Mall from Kuta Beach Walk while everyone else went shopping. It was fun for Jeremy because along the way we saw dogs, some monkeys, horses, turtles and birds and he enjoyed that.

On Saturday there was an announcement that the Airport was closed due to Mount Ruang erupting and so it was not safe to fly. This stopped all flights in and out of the island and has had a huge impact on tourist numbers as  well as the amount of Australians unable to travel home due to no flights.   Yovita and her sister went to the airport to find out what was happening on the Sunday as was told to check in as normal and go from there and if the flights were cancelled we could rebook.

Sunday arrived and so we checked out of the room and went to the new and improved Bali International Airport, dropped the luggage and went to departures to wait. 40 minutes later the airport was closed due to more eruptions. We were given the choice of waiting until 4pm at the airport and then maybe we could fly or rebook for the next day and go to a hotel. We chose to rebook.  A few hours later we checked into a small room at Holiday Inn again, unpacked, went to the pool and forgot about Jakarta for another day. We had flights for Monday and so there was no worries.

Saturday and most of Sunday was spent in the hotel either swimming and playing with Jeremy or watching TV and doing very little. Thats a new thing for me because I do like to wander but a 2 year old gets bored easily and he is heavy to carry and pushing him around in a stroller is fun but not for long.

Monday came and so we went back to the airport and it seemed like business as usual, and it was. Our flight was on time, not full and by mid afternoon we were back home enjoying the hot Jakarta air.

All in all another fun time and a new experience. A great hotel and times with Jeremy and the family. Now to find somewhere for Christmas.