IndoNeville – a trip through Java, Indonesia

A month ago I’d not have imagined I’d be typing up a blog entry from Indonesia amongst travels with one of my best friends.


Whilst on the “Dude, Where’s my jakkayarn?” tour from Bangkok to Singapore ride I was lucky to catch Liam on iChat and after a few minutes managed to convince him to come on an adventure to somewhere in Asia. It turned out that NIN were going to playing in Singapore around the same time I was going to be there, so it didn’t take much to get Liam over!

View Indoneville in a larger map


Our brainstorming ended us up with an idea to go to the island of Java, Indonesia. So after a few days with the flu in Singapore we managed to get a ticket with Air Asia to Bandung – the fourth largest city in Java (or was it Indonesia?). Cool temperature, lots of smiles, lots of motorcycles, and I think Bandung is surrounded by mountains but can’t make them out for all the smoggy air.

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There are so many rice fields.

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A big reason for coming here to Java is to try to see some active volcanoes, ideally some lava. It looks like Gunung Bromo will be one stop, and maybe Gunung Semuru.

“Garut! Garut! Garut!”

We left Bandung the next day one a little bus to a place called Garut and then to a nearby place callled Cipanas. The bus ride was amazing. Impressive mountains and rice fields all the way.
It took 2-3 hours to cover the 60km or so to Garut and Cipanas.


Cipanas is known for it’s hot springs and nearby volcanic sites like Gunung Telagabodas. We decided it was going to be a days effort to go check out the crater and it seems like there will be more possibly cooler volcanoes along the way. So we bused it last night from Garut to Tasik Malaya – an over packed night time rollercoaster ride!


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We’ve been really lucky so far to get from place to place. It’s very affordable and everyone we’ve met so far has been very friendly and some have been curious about if we are scared of the bombings. I just tell them Liam is a terrorist and we all seem to laugh, except Liam.

Yogyakarta is cool. There are lots of places to check out in the city and within 50-100km. And if you are into it there is a lot of Batik art.

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We were fortunate to meet some folks from Sumatra who showed us the sites of Gunung Merapi and the ancient Hindu temples at/of Prambanan.

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The next day Neville and I headed out to Borobudur.


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Staying at the Loseman Anda – 40,000RP / night close to the Tugu train station.

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Yogya to Malang – train 1.30am, RP150,000. Was late. Good seats, blankets, pillows.

Malang to Cemorro Lawang via Probolinggo – blue microlet from train station to Arjosari bus station – RP2500pp.
Arjosyro to Probolinggo (Bayuangga) – RP23000pp.
Probolinggo 2 Cemorro Lawang -RP50000pp but normally RP25000pp.
Jeep to lookout RP350,000 4people.

Then we  Gunung Bromo – what an amazing place to see. A neighbourhood of volcanoes living in one massive crater. A pricey place to stay – The Lava View hotel – 400,000RP/night but it was highly recommended and stares straight out to Bromo.

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We then took a killer over night bus from Probolinggo (paid an extra 25,000RP to get on the comfortable bus but we didnt end up on it) to Denpasar Bali. Poor Nevs and I were squashed up the baack of the bus in between the toilet, luggage and some guys on their way home for Ramadan. It was pretty uncomfortable so we ended up getting on another bus mid ferry ride across to Bali – the bus we were meant to be on!

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The rest of the week we went to Aussie invested Kuta beach, then up to Ubud.



Some prices of the fares we took from Yogya(karta) to Denpasar Bali:
Yogya to Malang – train 1.30am, RP150,000. Was late. Good seats, blankets, pillows.
Malang to Cemorro Lawang via Probolinggo – blue microlet from train station to Arjosari bus station – RP2500pp.
Arjosyro to Probolinggo (Bayuangga) – RP23000pp.
Probolinggo 2 Cemorro Lawang -RP50000pp but normally RP25000pp.
Jeep to lookout RP350,000 4people.
Cemorro Lawang to Probolinggo minivan – RP25000pp
Probolinggo (Bayuangga) to Denpasar AC bus overnight – RP125,000pp

Iran: Exit

I am jumping the gun a little here with my posts on Iran but I really wanted to get these photos up.

Here are some portraits of the guys that I shared the cabin with on the Train from Tabriz (Iran) to Van (Turkey). These guys were very friendly but unfortunately none of us could speak each others languages. I wish i had made more of an effort to learn some Farsi!

As far as I could tell a few of these guys had bought a lot of cigarettes in Iran and were bringing them into Turkey to make some bucks 🙂

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blog from the Trans-Asya Expressi


5pm, 12th February, 2009

I made it. Well at least onto the Trans-Asya Expressi train that is. From here, Kayseri (Turkey), it’s a 49+ hour journey to Tehran. Today turned out to be pretty cool. I managed to wakeup as planned @ 6.30 this morning, the bus from Goreme was only 30 mins behind schedule. When I got to Kayseri I a shuttle bus from the otogar took me to the wrong side of town. 3 kms walk later I made it to the train station, got a ticket (82 Turkish lira or thereabouts), met a french dude, Joel, who is also going to Tehran. For the remainder of the wait I was fortunate enough to be befriended by a bunch of Iranian emmigrants who were saying goodbye to their parents – they said the current regime in Iran isn’t too fond of the folks who are of Baha’i faith).

Should be an interesting trip.

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4pm, 13th February, 2009

Last night I was lucky enough to meet Farbod, a funny guy from Tehran who just finished a trip with his wife to Istanbul, He tried to educate me on a little of Farsi and explain the difference between Shi’ah and Sunni Islam. He said that he likes to drink beer and that Iranian girls are far prettier than Turkish. 🙂

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I woke up today and looked out the window to see snow that covered the ground to the horizon. Wow!

10 cups of tea later here we are in Tatvan. At some point here I think we and our train get onto a ferry that will take us across Lake Van to Van.

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My cabin mate, Ali, seems like a really nice guy. From what I could understand he is involved in IT and has something to do with networks between Turkey-Iran-Azherbaijan.

Watched 2 excellent movies – “Zack & Miri make a porno” & “the curious case of benjamin button” – if u haven’t seen them make sure you do!


3am, 14th February, 2009

We arrived in Van and got onto the Iranian train. A bit of a difference. The trains are dressed with some nice Iranian upholstery and the staff seem to speak more English than the guys working on the Turkish train.
Today was cool. Met so many lovely folks. Pretty much everyone has been very friendly – asking about where I’m from, am i married, what did i study, what do i think of Iran and Iranian people, why am i visiting Iran, etc… I am really hoping this will carry on into Iran. Will see!
From what i have heard/read this seems to be the case.

Beware! Forget about all the xenophobic, anti-Iranian propaganda dominating the media. What they say about terrorism and your life being in danger in Iran is absolute hogwash (I have no idea what that word means, but I like the sound of it: hogwash…). If anything, all that Iranians can be accused of is excessive hospitality. So, when traveling to Iran, beware of innocent looking situations which could turn into the experience of your life. Kind of like walking into The Twilight Zone.


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Passport control – entering Iran was a far quicker than exiting Turkey. Smooth.

6.30pm, 14th February, 2009
Apparently 5-10mins from Tehran!
This has been an excellent adventure – recommend it to everyone!
Amazing countryside to see!

How I discovered this train? The man in seat 61 –


Now to see what Tehran has got in store…

Check your Turkey

Haha that is hilarious…
I handed over my 110 lira for a Istanbul to Athens fare, only to cross the border and be told “this ticket is for simple train only, today no simple train. You must pay €26 for intercity train to Athens.”
Yeah as I said, hilarious.
So here we are getting a train to Alexanderopopopoplous to get some euro and get the intercity train. The alternative was to pay €6.50 to Thessaloniki and cough up €17+ for a nights accomodation.
Also a funny moment – Dan took a photo of the Greek border crossing as we passed in the train. When we got to the Greek passport control Dab was asked if he’d taken a photo of the border. He was politely asked the delete the photo after the border army had phoned trough to the Pythion trainstation and reported it!
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