Feet up in Jogja

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Flying over Mount Merapi

Our start of 2017 travels was from the Indonesian island of Java. More specifically, Yogjakarta. We had booked the 3.5 days trip for late Jan well in advance as everything gets full due to Chinese New Year. Our main draw to the place were all the adventure activities but when we flew there, I didn’t really feel upto it perhaps due to all the excitement on our annual trip home to India in Dec. All I wanted to do was ‘chillax’ with a few non strenuous activities entwined. And that’s what we ended up doing πŸ™‚

I’ll share the best things we experienced here …

1.The TemplesBorobudur for Sunrise and Prambanan for Sunset. While we are not temple people, we actually enjoyed these two. Borobudur’s unique feature is that it’s one giant lego. No mortar of any kind was used to bind the rocks together. They are just assembled on top of each other and locked in place. Besides, the sunrise from top of the temple with volcanic Mt. Merapi in the distance was quite refreshing for a night owl like me.

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Sunrise at Borobudur

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Sunrise at Borobudur

Prambanam was built in the 9th century AD Β and is one huge temple complex. I was amazed to see such an old hindu temple complex in this part of the world. I couldn’t help wonder about the hindu empire back in the day. Both these temples happen to be UNESCO World Heritage sites and rightfully so.

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Prambanam Temple

2.The Cafes – We were pleasantly surprised by the cozy and unpretentious cafes/restaurants esp. along and around Prawirotaman street. Co-incidentally, our hotel was right on the street and we discovered some amazing places to hang out while strolling around on foot. From a cafe like Milas serving organic vegetarian to Β ViaVia a great place for breakfast to Mediterranea for lunch and Move On cafe for a cup of Javanese coffee brew … and a couple more. We had our fair share of wonderful un-hurried breakfasts and lunches, followed by snoozes back at the hotel πŸ˜€

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Coffee at ViaVia Jogja

3.The Massage – Whenever you venture outside of Singapore anywhere in south east asia, a massage is a must. It makes so much economic sense! My favourite always is a back massage and so I surrendered myself to the trained kneads of the masseuse for an hour of foot and back massage. Pure bliss!

4. The Selfies – For some reason, the kids in Jogja are fascinated by the tourists and are often seen requesting for selfies. We found it to be very endearing and always agreed when approached. The kids will sort of hover, hestitating for a bit before one of them will step up and request for a picture with a bunch of their friends. To some extent, I can understand this behaviour as we see a lot of it in India as well when ‘foreigners’ visit. But the kids were just so happy and cheered and clapped when you agreed to have a photograph taken with them. I for one did not want to deprive them of such a simple pleasure πŸ˜€

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Selfie with the kids at Jogja

5. Trishaw Ride – It so happened that when we had to go back to the hotel one afternoon, the only mode of transport in sight was the Trishaw and we thought, ‘why not?’. I don’t even remember the last time I sat in one and it was just nice to hop-on one.

So that was Jogja for us. A couple of heritage sites, good food and loads of snoozing!

I hope this gives a few ideas to all the lazy bums. For the thrill seekers, you can read more about – Mt. Merapi trek, Goa Pindul Cave Tubing and Jomblang Cave Tour.

PS: I STILL have to post on my trip to Perth late last year … soon! Till then, bon voyage folks!

Fireworks, in the end

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Sydney Skyline

I’m back here to share more Sydney adventures from earlier this September.

On our third day in Sydney, we split into two groups – those who went Skydiving and those who went Hot Air Ballooning. I went with the latter but I should share a couple of things from the skydive group as well. One, the skydive at Wollongong is the best. It’s the only skydive site with beach views around Sydney and my friends were quite thrilled with the whole thing. Second, it was worth taking the photos+videos package. The insurance not so much but go for it if it gives you peace of mind.

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Hot Air Ballooning at Huckesbury

Now let’s talk about Hot Air Ballooning. We had to choose the Huckesbury site due to lack of enough time in Sydney. We still went ahead as we wanted to experience the same this being our first time ever on a balloon. Having done a skydive before I can tell you that ballooning is quite the contrast. It’s relaxed and mellow suitable for the non-adrenaline-junkies who’d still like to enjoy views from up above. We quite enjoyed it, no butterflies in the stomach, calming, peaceful and totally worth it. Of course it would have been better if the views are awesome. At Huckesbury they were pretty decent but not extraordinary.

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Farm view from the balloon, Huckesbury

The next adventure was the Whale Watching tour early the next day. I can tell you that the cruise itself was pretty amazing as the boat takes you awayyyy from the city till you can see no land. The water is deep blue as far as the eyes can see. On the matter of spotting whales, we weren’t so fortunate.Well we did technically but from quite a distance when it blew some water out and splashed its tail on the water surface. The tour operator did offer a free ride on the next cruise as stated in their T&Cs if whales were not spotted on a particular tour.

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As the boat sped away from Sydney city

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Di you spot the whale tail?

Next we headed to the weekend markets at The Rocks. It was pretty great! All kinds of stalls selling handmade unique souvenirs, jams and jellies, chocolates and things like that. Several live food counters were selling amazing grub as well. The most memorable for me were the japanese pancakes and boiled sweet corns seasoned with spices and lime.

The evening was at Darling Harbour. Some drinks and sheesha at a middle eastern restaurant overlooking the harbour followed by fireworks! The most befitting conclusion to a really wonderful trip.

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Fireworks at Darling Harbour

Did I mention the ‘best breakfast in my life’ we had at Bill’s? Well if you do get a chance, do yourself a favour and go eat there. Your taste buds will be so grateful πŸ™‚

PS: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year people ❀

And the map to help you with the planning. Also pinned are some vegetarian friendly eateries we can recommend πŸ™‚