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3 generation trip live trip report Indonesia

3 generation trip live trip report Indonesia

Jul 9th, 2018, 01:11 PM
  #1  
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3 generation trip live trip report Indonesia

Hello,

I have never done a trip report as it happens. I can try and see how it goes. We are to depart July 17th, so there is a little bit of time still to go.

A bit of background: My father, a retired history teacher, has also been a vegetarian and a Yoga teacher since his 40's. He had express the interest of visiting Bali with a focus on Hinduism. His nationality is French but he lives in the USA. Since he is turning 79 this year and is in good health, we decided that the time was right to do this trip instead of postponing.
My mother was easily convinced since she is always up for a bit of adventure. After all, she did learn how to downhill ski at 60. So she was happy with a trip halfway around the world even though she would have preferred to go back to Italy.

Since I love to travel with my daughters, 5 years old and 2 years old, they are coming also. "Combien de jours avant que l'on parte Maman?"
My husband was the most reluctant, his only request was to spend at least one night at the Marina Sands in Singapore.

Airfare...

was a logistic nightmare. I have a combination of airlines points, one ways, people flying out of different cities. Oh, and we are stopping in Andalucia, Spain for 6 days when we come back. My father has studied the Alhambra and the Mezquita of Cordoba but never had the chance to see these amazing treasures in person.

Thanks to airmiles points, all the long haul flights are in business class for my parents, including an experience in the Singapore Suites!
The volcanoes and possibilities of airport shutdowns have also influence the itinerary, since most tickets are not connected.

Immunizations:
Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis were done. Picaridin spray to prevent Dengue is bought.

Packing:
We will traveling with each our carry-ons (except the children, they get one carry-on together) a pockit stroller and an ergo carrier.

Final Itinerary:

Bali
7 nights in Ubud Bali
2 nights in Munduk
2 nights on the Bukit peninsula

Java
poor Java only gets one night in Borobudur -should have planned it better.

Singapore
1 night -essentially a repositioning city for long flight back-
my husband has 3 nights in Singapore before having to fly back to the USA for his work.

Spain
3 nights in Granada
2 nights in Cordoba

New York
One night, just myself and my daughters. My parents are able to fly all the way to Vermont after connecting in New York, but for us we arrive too late to catch a connecting flight home to Florida. I wanted to stay with them until the very end, hence the decision not to fly an earlier flight from Spain.

Amtrak:
Since I know I will be sick of planes, my daughters and I will be taking the 3pm train with a roomette, 3 meals from New York to Florida and see a bit of the USA.
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Jul 10th, 2018, 04:14 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Enjoy your trip!
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Jul 11th, 2018, 02:22 AM
  #3  
 
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Have a wonderful trip! sounds like a good sampler of experiences on Bali - I'm looking forward to following.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 12:48 AM
  #4  
 
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Look forward to hearing more! I'm headed to Bali next week. Can't wait!
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Aug 28th, 2018, 07:44 AM
  #5  
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OK this is obviously not a live trip report anymore... I had the best intentions. Partly, it is because I received some bad news from home on day 1, partly I was just too busy.
But I received help on this forum that made this trip incredible, so I feel compelled to write about our travels.

First and foremost I would like to give a huge shout out to kja who put me in contact with our driver Amik. This man is the most professional, gentle soul I have ever met. He was compassionate with my father who is 79 years old and he was incredibly fun with my children. My two years old took a strong liking to him and wanted to be in his arms all the time. He was reliable, full of knowledge and mastered English. Honestly he added so much to our trip that it was a sad goodbye on the last day in Bali.

I have been going over the pictures.

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Aug 28th, 2018 at 08:04 AM.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 07:57 AM
  #6  
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Ulun Danu Bratan
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Aug 28th, 2018, 08:02 AM
  #7  
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Tagalalang Rice Terrace Bali Swing (my five years old insisted!) She is sitting on my lap attached to me and the swing. She kept saying "higher! higher!".
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Aug 28th, 2018, 08:06 AM
  #8  
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Monkey Forest Ubud
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:08 AM
  #9  
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UBUD, BALI

The second flight from Atlanta to Seoul is long. It feels a bit like an intergalactic journey. My daughters are pretty good, sleeping when told to, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, watching the same movies over and over again. By the time we catch our third flight to Bali, I finally pass out. These final six hours pass quickly.

Border control is thankfully easy. There is no need for a visa. It is 1am. For our first night, I reserved a room at Ubud Tropical Garden, which is much cheaper than adding a night to our main hotel in Ubud, Como Uma. We spot our driver from Ubud Tropical Garden right away. There is no traffic from the airport to Ubud in the middle of the night. The children are awake and excited. After traveling for more than 20 hours, our sleep patterns are on no time zone.

I am grateful for the staff at Ubud Tropical Garden to welcome us at this time of night. The children dance close to a statue of Ganesha while I get the room key. In the morning, while at breakfast, I get a phone call from home in the United States that shatters my universe. There is no need for me to fly back, but only to deal with the pain of the news (and lots of paperwork). I tell my husband not to tell my parents when we see them in two days; I don't want them to worry. I try my best to compartmentalize.

We meet up with Amik at 10am. I soon as I met him, I know we made the right choice by hiring him. My girls laugh at his jokes. His car is spotless and there is a baby seat for the younger one. We drive to Goa Gajah, and admire the beautiful grounds, old trees with multiple roots showing outside of the earth, a river and of course the cave with its offerings. There is chanting going on and it lifts my spirit tremendously.

There are a some hesitation regarding the safety of the Monkey forest. And I was ready to forgo it. But Amik assures it is fine as long as we practice common sense. We leave all our belongings in the car with him, including water bottles, hat and glasses. Only my two years old keeps her pink glasses (she needs them to see). But then again if a large Monkey comes close, I pick her up immediately. It is so cute to see the baby monkeys clutching their mothers' belly. And the forest is full of interesting statues, vines and bridges. I am so glad we did not miss it!

Lunch is at cafe Wayan, that belongs to Amik’s Aunt. There is a pleasant contrast between the noise and pollution of the street and the tranquility and beautiful Balinese esthetic. We eat good food. The children feed the first of many koi fish. We then transfer to Como Uma for four nights.

We settle in Ubud. It is a chaotic place with mopeds speeding along the narrow streets. Here the modern and the traditional coexist seamlessly. Offerings are done every morning while WhatsApp messages are being exchanged. The rice terraces are never far from the busy streets. Rice is eaten at every meal and is of prime importance in the Balinese diet.

At Como Uma, we have a private villa and swimming pool. It is spacious and airy. My parents (who are arriving later that day) stay at the Como Shambhala, a luxurious wellness center. By the time we leave four nights later, my father already misses it and my eldest daughter cry herself to sleep not wanting to leave.

Between strong Balinese massages, swimming and fun new foods, we managed to go to the Tirta Empul Temple for a purification ceremony. Once again Amik is a perfect guide, explaining what we have to do. From the Tirta Empul Temple we drive to the Tegalalang rice terraces. But the family is tired by the long day and we cut our visit short.

The next day, my parents decide to stay at the Como Shambhala and rest. My husband, I and our two girls get an early start and go back to the Tegalalang rice terraces. We trek them as far as we can go. My daughter and I go on the Bali swing together and fly over the terraces.

Later during the week we move to Masia Villa, on a rice field. From our villa we can see the Bali volcanoes. No cars can get to our new home, only mopeds; it so quiet at night even though we are less than five minutes from Ubud. It is fun to see my parents on the back of mopeds even if it is for only five minutes. The lack of traffic (and having a driver) makes it somewhat safe.

Through the rice fields we walk to Sari Organic, getting lost once, but Google map coming to the rescue. Views of another world or more appropriately another time, awaits us as we trek the narrow dirt road. A man is cutting the rice; a woman carries wood on her head; ducks weave through the rice fields. The volcanoes loom not far, quiet for now.

In the evening my husband and I go and see the Ramayana ballet and a Legong at the Ubud Palace while my parents watches the girls. The dances are short enough to keep my attention and despite the mosquitoes (ignoring my mosquito repellent), I enjoy the masks, the subtle gestures of Sita, and Hanuman, the white monkey is a delight to watch.

One day, my mother and I trek the Campuhan ridge, an easy hike. The hike is nice but getting there (the beginning is at the Warwick hotel) is tough as you walk on broken sidewalks next to the moped fumes.

We say goodbye to Ubud. Amik and Isa (his business partner and close friend) are driving us up into the mountains, towards Munduk. I have chosen for our end destination the Munduk Moding Plantation, a hotel amongst the cloves and the coffee.

What I liked the most about Ubud:
  • the beautiful gardens, the exquisite attention to detail with the flowers, plants, water and statues
  • The rice terraces
  • The traditional rituals: the offering, the incense, the dances.
  • The friendliness of the people going beyond in every occasion to help and anticipate our needs
  • The Balinese massage
What I liked the least:

-The traffic, the pollution, the poverty, the burning of trash

Next: Munduk
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:16 AM
  #10  
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I forgot to mention that we felt honored to be invited into Amik's compound (his house). There we learned how a traditional Balinese family lives and how every compound has a temple. I loved how multi generations live together...

Last edited by ToujoursVoyager; Aug 28th, 2018 at 09:24 AM.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:31 AM
  #11  
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View from Masia Villa, 10 min on foot from the Saraswati Temple in Ubud. I loved the little dirt paths through the rice fields, interspersed with little warungs.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:34 AM
  #12  
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Drone view of Jatiluwih terraces, a UNESCO heritage site
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:37 AM
  #13  
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My children love seeing the baby monkeys
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Aug 28th, 2018, 09:41 AM
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Aug 28th, 2018, 11:11 AM
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MUNDUK, BALI

As we drove up towards the mountains, the air got fresher and the rice terraces were replaced by vegetable fields, coffee and cloves. Along the way we saw:

-Pura Taman Ayun
-Pura Luhur Batukaru (Children with baby teeth cannot go in to my eldest's surprise. "Mommy, how do they know I have baby teeth?" The children stayed with Amik and Isa)
-Jalutiwih Rice Terraces
-Ulun Danu Bratan


The Moding Plantation hotel is located on a coffee and clove plantation in the mountains near Munduk. The air is colder and the views are amazing. The sunset from the infinity pool is breathtaking. Pictures of people on the edge of the pool have the illusion of floating in the clouds. We all enjoyed our stay in Munduk tremendously. My father still preferred Como Shambhala, while my mother gave the slight edge to the Moding Plantation. The nights get very cold, and I ended borrowing a heater from the reception.

I am happy up in the mountains. Which makes me wonder do I like the mountains or the ocean more? I think a mountain on a lake wins but then again a location like the Amalfi Coast never looses its splendor.

Today is a lazy day. We do a short horseback ridding tour with the children. The horses seems a little skittish. The staff leads them through the blue hydrangeas trail. Then we do a coffee plantation tour before swimming and lunch. The kids play on the hotel grounds.

The next day my husband and I went canyoneering with Adventure and Spirit tour. I have never done it before. It was exciting, fun and at times scary. As I stare down the waterfall, I know it is my turn to jump. But I am very afraid. It is 5 meters down and our guide told us to bend our legs when we hit water, as the natural pool is not quite deep enough. By the time I have to jump the 7 meters waterfall, I am almost a pro. I jump without hesitation. The water is refreshing and I give the thumbs up to our guide, a huge smile on my face. The guide is full of contagious energy.

We only do the shorter route, the Kalimudah because we have to meet up with Amik at 2pm. Seeing the lack of commitment from the canyoneering company to bring us in a timely fashion back to the Moding Plantation, I say a white lie “we have a plane to catch.” It works. Soon we are reunited with our children, my parents, and our dear driver Amik.

We stop and visit Tanah Lot ( a Vishnu temple). It is quite dramatic with the huge waves crashing nearby. We continue to drive to our next hotel for two nights, the Temple Lodge, south of Denpasar on the cliffs of Bingin Beach.

BINGIN BEACH, BALI

That evening, the family is exhausted. We have been in the dreaded Bali traffic for more than 2 hours between Ubud and Denpasar. Plus the Temple lodge is stressing me out by just letting me know that check in is between 1pm-5pm. There is no way we can make it on time, and I have visions of my whole family homeless outside the doors of the hotel. Finally, I reach the reception (after multiple attempts and emails) and all is good, they will wait for us. After the traffic jams, we roll in by 8:30pm. The place is very beautiful with all the flowers, outside places, up on the cliff. The Temple lodge has a commanding view of the ocean. The waves are fierce.

The hotel is yoga rustic meets surfer vibe, and I think that, with aging, it is not what my parents are looking for anymore. My mom is afraid of the monkeys stealing her stuff (she does not sleep very well) and my father likes the amenities of a resort. On the other hand my husband and I really enjoy it and love the concept of indoor/outdoor living without set boundaries.

« Everything is better with coffee » says my mom, the next day. It is true that in the light of the morning we can all appreciate the seaside location. After a yoga class, my father, my five years old and I go down the cliff. My mother swims and read a book.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 03:36 PM
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I'm glad to hear that you had a wonderful stay in Bali. So sorry you trip was marred by bad news from home.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 04:10 PM
  #17  
kja
 
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Isn’t Amik delightful? I’m so glad you hired him and found him as wonderful as I did.

I’m sorry to learn that you received bad news while on your trip. Kudos for compartmentalizing and finding a way to enjoy your trip nonetheless. You have my sincere wishes that the pieces of your universe are beginning to come together again.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 05:44 PM
  #18  
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Thank you Kathie and Kja. Both your advice has been invaluable (and marmot and progol and crellston and tons of others..) I had just finished a long entry to have it swallowed by the internet Gods. They say the rewrite is better than the original; I am not sure it is true when it is someone's second language. I should have known better.
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Aug 28th, 2018, 07:08 PM
  #19  
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When thinking about dividing our time in Bali, the idea of a beach location came up. But the truth is we are not beach people. I live in Florida and we go at most once every two years. My parents travel to the Bahamas once a year, to a yoga resort. We decided to spend our time in Bali focusing on the culture and the history. However we still enjoy dramatic coast lines, the smell of salt water in the air, the sounds of the waves crashing at night and the cooler breeze during the day. Above Bingin Beach, the hotel fits the bill pretty well.

We also had the advantage of being less than ten minutes by car from the Uluwatu Temple. Despite Amik telling us we should experience the Kecak at sunset at the Uluwatu temple, we are just not in the mood to face crowds that day. My parents and I visit the Uluwatu temple in the afternoon. My husband and daughters stay and swim at the hotel pool. They are fearless in the water. My eldest is becoming quite a strong swimmer. It helps that she thinks she has Selkie blood.

The evening is lovely. High above the ocean, I read a book I found in Munduk, the God of Small Things, with a glass of wine. My parents get a Balinese massage. The food is excellent. Life is good. Tomorrow we leave for Java, Yogyakarta to be more precise, at 4 am.

JAVA

The number one reason for going to Java was to see the Borobudur temple. Of course the more I read about Java, the more I realize how much we were going to miss. But I could not ask for more days off and I was not willing to cut time out of our week in Bali. Three weeks before the departure date, I took a night from Java and gave us a night in Singapore. In Singapore we had a repositioning flight that we just could not miss. Plus the family had expressed an interest in seeing Singapore even if it was for one day and change.

We left for Yogyakarta from Denpasar at 7:10am, the first Garuda (means Vishnu's Eagle) flight of the day. There was no traffic that early in the morning and security was a breeze. Thank you Fodorites for telling me which airline is reliable in Indonesia. That morning, unaware of it, there was a earthquake in Lombok. A second earthquake was to follow with tsunami warnings. By then, luckily, we were far away.

Our driver Fian is waiting for us in Yogyakarta. He brings us to our first stop, the Prambanan Temple. On the spot, we hire a guide, who turns out to be excellent. What a delight! The main temple complex has three main ones: Shiva (his vehicle is a Bull), Vishnu (Eagle) and Brahman (Swan). It is an extraordinary sight! It completely surpass my expectations! When I think we almost missed it because I was worried about the energy level of the group... Let's just say it was definitively one of the highlights of our trip. Learning that Buddha was the tenth incarnation of Vishnu solidified for me the link between Hinduism and Buddhism.

My eldest daughter's least favorite memory is from Java. " She tricked me mommy!" she would day to me in French. " She asked for my picture, and I said "no". She said "Say hi!" and I wanted to be polite, so I said "Hi!" and she took my picture!!!" To my daughters's credit, the photographs of her were relentless. My parents on the other hand, loved it; especially when they could have a discussion with the locals.

My first impression of Java is that I miss the every day intricate exquisite details of the Balinese architecture. The streets seem suddenly plain to me. However, I am grateful to be able to see some of Java's architectural marvels and the Prambanan exceeds all expectations.

Java is predominantly a Muslim island, and Bali is Hindu. A lot of woman, but not all, wear the chador. I also see them working in the rice fields and weaving with skill and assurance on their mopeds, showing a little leg. I am surprise to see Muslim parents dressing their baby girl with the chador. I though until puberty, girls were safe from such restrictions. I look at my two daughters, sweating in their light dresses and how tough it would be on them to have such a garment. It is hot outside. I have two female cousins living in Tunisia (and who are Muslim and who do not wear the chador) and I discuss my observations with them.

Two months ago, the Manohara hotel canceled my reservations to my great chagrin, since the Manohara is ON the grounds on the Borobudur. They were undergoing construction. They were however, still running their sunrise and sunset tours. I looked at the map, and saw the Saraswati Borobudur Hotel was the closest and booked two rooms. We brave the traffic for 2.5 hours from the Prambanan and finally arrive to the Saraswati Borobudur. I had no expectations of the place and the price was below budget. But I am pleasantly surprise with the huge reception hall, the high chandeliers, and our room is huge and comfortable. The staff is very welcoming. We are famished and order a lot of food. I drink more coffee. Finally we get to shower and feel human again.

Next: How we are going to miss our tour of Borobudur (our raison d'ętre on Java)....
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Aug 28th, 2018, 07:22 PM
  #20  
kja
 
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"To my daughters's credit, the photographs of her were relentless."

I'm sure your daughter is charming, but trust me, simply being Caucasian in Java means that one will be surrounded by people who want to take one's picture. Or at least, that was my experience!
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