I took a plane from Malaysia to Java on 1st April 2014 and spent a month exploring the world’s most populated island. Java has somewhere around 147 million people living on it, and I’m pretty sure I met most of them while I was there…
After spending a week in Jakarta (most people hate it and spend as little time as possible) staying at the most amazing hostel, Six Degrees, I met an Australian who we named Sydney. We decided to get out the city so we took a bus west to Coron.
It was off season in Coron and the entire town was deserted. This made it quite a weird sight to see an entire empty beach with small hut bars and restaurants all closed, and locals looking at us like we were mad for coming at this time of year. It did have its benefits though, as we were able to get the price we paid for a boat to Krakatoa right down. The currency in Java is rupea, and it is about 20,000 to £1. And we ended up spending £45 each to hire a twin engine boat and crew for the day. The boat was VERY fast, and the crew were hilarious and really knew their stuff. After organising the trip with a man on the beach for the next day, Sydney and I went to get some food. The food was great, I had Mie Goreng, but I couldn’t help be a little put off by the little girl throwing a tiny kitten up in the air and failing to catch it each time… So we rescued the kitten and headed back to the hotel.
We were in the boat at 06:00 and hurtling towards Krakatoa. It took us about 2 hours to get there, even with this fast boat, and when the captain finally slowed to tell us we would soon be able to see it, the sound of the waves hitting the side of the boat echoed round my head with the ringing of the engine. Still, can’t fault paradise…
In 1883, Krakatoa erupted and got its place in the history books as the loudest sound ever recorded. The explosion was heard in Perth in Australia! That’s nearly 2000 miles away…36,500 people died as the volcano shot hot ash 50 miles into the air. If you would like to learn a bit more, click here.
After returning to Jakarta for a couple of days, I took a night train to Yogyakarter, the cultural hub of Java. I stayed in a very peaceful hostel called Venezia Homestay, which is really beautiful and has its own pool. Met some great people here and had a go on a moped for the first time. I then didn’t get off the moped for at least 4 days. I highly recommend renting one wherever you can as they allow you absolute freedom to explore a place at your own speed, without relying on taxis and buses. Plus, they cost around £5 a day and the fuel is next to nothing. I drove mine for miles and miles everyday and spent less than £5 all week. Met a couple of English teachers working in Bangkok, John and Oli, and went to see Prambanan and Borobudor.
After Prambanan we went to see Borobudur. Borobudur is a Buddhist temple built by hand by monks, who placed 3 million stones around the hill in the 9th century. The top platform is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each covered in a stone dome, or stupa. It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
On the way out of the temple I spotted these little guys. Yes, they are real.
After leaving Yogyakarter, I went and spent 5 days on the island of Karimun Jawa with my friend Scott. This is a crazily beautiful island and really quiet. Had some beach parties and ate some epic fresh BBQ fish. Everyone congregates on the main field in the middle as the sun goes down, and you choose your dinner from the catch of the night before, then they cook it in front of you. Served with tea and rice, it is the meal of kings. Its also ridiculously cheap. We never spent more than £3 and we always struggled to finish it (We ALWAYS finished it.) Then we would spend all day lying on a deserted beach, in the ocean talking about everything under the shade of a palm tree… pretty perfect. One day a man came to the beach with a bucket and everyone there got to release baby turtles into the ocean! I was so happy because I didn’t manage to see a turtle while I was scuba diving. Great end to my time in Java.