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Varieties in Indonesia

While we are writing our journal in Indonesia, we've got an email from our Indonesian friend, Mr. Tendy who always has been giving us great support and encouragement. He had looked each photos gallery of Indonesia in our webpage and feels so proud of the beautiful nature and variety places in his country. He thanks us for showing Indonesia to the eyes of people around the world and mention that the pictures are really good for telling the story. He wishes us a safe journey and successfully in all of our missions.

Jan 15, 2002 Penang, Malaysia

We bike to Penang Port to take a ferry to Belawan Port (Sumatra) , Indonesia early in the morning. There are many passengers (Indonesian, Malaysian and few tourists) in the ferry, taking 5 1/2 hours (300 KM). Our first time taking a ferry across country, we are very exciting. The ferry pass Penang Bridge, the first longest bridge in Asia and the third longest bridge in the world. We were riding on the ocean, it was hot and then rain. The ferry fare is quite cheap at RM 96 /person. We arrive Belawan Port at 3.00 p.m. Our fist step in Indonesia, everything change, a lot different from Malaysia.

We went to the process of immigration and got our passports stamped. Our plan is to bike from Jakarta to Bali. We got an advice from the officers of Indonesian Embassy that they do not recommend to bike in Sumatra because there is not many people who live there and not safe at all. We decided to skip Sumatra.

We left the port and were biking to find the ticket office to look for a ship to Jakarta. When we were biking, one motorbike guy who offer us some help. He guide us to one ticket office where is 1 km from the port. We thank you him. Later, we would like to guide us to other places, hotel, exchange, and restaurant wherever we would like to go. We find that he wants money and give him RM 15 but he wants much more. He keeps following us. We tell him that we are going to Police Station. We tried to be away from him and bike to Medan. We have our first meal in a small shop and the price is cheaper than Malaysia. We ask the direction to one guy who is also customer and he gives us good advice. When he finished his meal, he would like to take us to Medan and want money. More people ask us for money, clothes, sun-glasses and would like to barter shoes.

We bike to city of Medan. The road is bad, lots of holes, no shoulder and very busy road. The city of Medan is dirty. When we hire a transport, the driver often ask for more money.

We see about 90% of people smoker in Medan. We see heavily advertisement on Billboard, T.V. , calendar and many places. Many people smoke in department store, restaurant and office.




Jan 20, 2002

We arrive the port at 8:00 p.m. as suggested. There were about 5,000 passengers in the ship. The departure time is at 10:00 a.m. but the ship leaves late at 12.30 p.m. It takes 2 nights (3 days) to arrive Jakarta.

Most passengers are Indonesian, only 3 foreigners including us. Many people were looking at us, we feel like we are strangers in the ship. We bought Economy Class ticket providing bed sharing with other people. We feel like we are in the prison. People stand in a long line to get a tray of food for 3 meals/day. If they finish the meal they put the trays under the bed. It is very dirty and many people smoke in the ship. We put our panniers of the top shelf and tight our bikes close to the bed. We went to eat and walk up to see the view. We came back to our bed, there was a couple sleeping on our beds. The officers and the security guards couldn't do anything. The bed number is fixed and shown in the ticket. Therefore, we had to make tent under the stairway where many people walk up and down. Many Indonesian feel bad for us. The ship is getting close to Jakarta. Wan is very sick and feels very cold. Mou is wondering if Wan could bike from the port to Jakarta city. We arrive Tanjung Priok Port on Jan 22, 02 late evening. We bike in the dark on the bad road, lot of dust, many big trucks going to town and it was rainning. It is 10 KM from the port to the big city of Jakarta. Wan could make it! , Mou admire her.

We are getting ready to bike from east to west ending at Bali. Mou is very sick. We both take medicine and rest for few days.





Jan 27, 2002

We have not recover yet but would like to continue our trip, a long way to go. It is rainy season now in Indonesia. We haven't seen sunshine for many days, always rain. Someday, we couldn't see the road because lots of fog. We plan to bike to Bandung, 100 KM from Jakarta. We bike on the steep road and climbing up to Bogor (2,000 Metre above sea level), rolling a long way and raining.

We see beautiful tea-plantation and flowers blooming both sides of the road. We push our bike climbing up and rolling down to many mountains to Bandung. It is surprised to see the traffic jam for more than 20 km, many trucks and car using this main road to the big city of Bandung.

Indonesian Food is quite similar to southern Thai food, spicy with the mix of curry. Padang Food is truly wellknown as Indonesian food. They serve you many dishes with different kinds of food for your selections and charge you only what you eat. The fruits you could find in many shops are mango, rambutan, avocado (cheap), jackfruit, durian and many others that is same kinds in Thailand.





Feb 2, 2002

We slowly bike to Bandung and stay in small hotel. We spent few nights in the Police Station, the policeman are so kind giving us permission to sleep in the office. Bandung is an important city of West Java, known as "Paris of Java". Many big trees both sides of the road. The weather is nice, the average temperature is 20 degree C. The beautiful view around Bandung is tea plantation, volcano, national park and waterfalls.

We had a contact person of Pikiran Rakyat Newspaper, Mr. Tendy who interview us. He went to Thailand for reporting of important sport events few times. We had a nice conversation. Mr. Tendy called Mr. Bambang who is a professional cyclist and had great experiences of cycling in many countries. Mr. Bambang had bicycled crossing the Nullarbor from Perth to Sydney in the last 10 years and also made a great trip of biking in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam for a year. He gives us good advice for our trip.

We stay one week in Bandung and taste different kinds of Indonesian food. Bambang show us around Bandung by bike. We bike to Dago Waterfall and found the footprint of our King Chulalongkorn, his signature on stone is kept in a good place We are very happy and feel honor to be here, knowing of his visit in the past 100 years. Few days later, Bambang contact his friends to bike with us around town. There are lots of hill in Bandung with a fun ride.





Feb 8, 2002

Bambang ride motorbike to show us the road to leave Bandung and gives us few addresses of his friends in Yogyakarta, Bali including his mother in Malang. We thank him for his warm hospitality and give us great support. We leave Bandung at 50 KM rolling down. We had received greeting from many people on the road as they know us from the news and ask if we are a couple of Thai cyclist. We stay another night with police and also they know us from the paper.

In the morning, we bike to Malang Bong, Tasikmalaya, Ciamis, Ma Jennang, Sumpiuh, Purworejo and take rest in a small hotel. We see ricefield, famers and many villagers riding bicycle. We often see hundreds of student cycling back home at noon. We arrive Borobudur and plan to see the temple on the next day.






We visit Borobudur Temple which is the most imposingones and the symbol of biggest Buddhist temple in the world. ( This temple was first built in the dynasty of Sailendra at the time of 300 years before Ankor Wat. It is located at 42 KM of Yogyakarta city at 1,000 M above sea level.

We bike to Yogyakarta and meet Mr. M, Budi and Harry at Tugu at 3.00 p.m. They are all friends of Bambang and take us to find a cheap place to stay.





Jan 15, 2002

Our friends meet us at 6.00 a.m. We cycled to 20 KM out of town and meet another group of cyclists. We meet Mr. DWI who is a cyclist , 64 years old, he took us to the cemetery of Yogyakarta and Solo Dynasty. On the way back home we see the handcraft "Wayang" which was played in Ramayana Story.

Jan 16, 2002
We look around Yogyakarta and see many Horses transport, feeling that we are in an anciet time.

Jan 17, 2002
Forty Yogyakarta Cyclists bike with us 20 KM to Prambanan, a very big Hindu Temple and still in good condition. This temple was built at 100 years after Borobudur Temple. Mr. DWI show us of the temple and explain about the history including the Ramayana story around the temple.

Mr. Budi gives Mou a hug and say good-bye, his face is much alike Mou. He called Mou "brother" and gave his painting to us. We are very happy for the great friendship with Indonesian cyclist. Thank you very much to all of them from our deep hearts.

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