February 2012 - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sightseeing in Bali: Daytrip to Ubud & Don Antonio Blanco's Museum

10:23:00 PM
Typical Balinese style entrance
After some nice days in Yogyakarta it was time to leave for a new destination again, and this time we were heading towards the famous tourist-island Bali. We had decided to go there by bus, and left Yogyakarta the same afternoon as we had gone sightseeing to Borobudur and Prambanan temple. The trip was rather long though: it took us over 20 hours until we could finally leave the bus in Denpasar, Bali. And from there we took the taxi for about half an hour to get to Kuta beach, where we had decided to stay while in Bali.
The day we arrived we didn't do that much, I tried to surf for the first time and beside that we just relaxed and checked out the area we lived in. We did however meet an Australian/English couple who had rented a car for 400.000 Rp for the following day, and they asked us if we wanted to join them, split the bill and go to Ubud in the morning. We decided to come along, and the following day we got up early and left for Ubud with our new friends. They are both retired, and had been to Bali on holiday many times already. John, who was Australian, wanted to visit the museum of a painter he had got to know in Bali many years ago. The painter, Don Antonio Blanco, is probably the most famous artist that has ever lived in Bali. Although Blanco lived in Bali most of his grown-up life he was actually born in the Philippines, and his parents were both Spanish. In the end he settled down in Campuan in Ubud, and he lived there with his wife, a famous Balinese dancer. Their home has been made into a museum by their son Mario, and we went there to take a look at his gallery and paintings.
A Shiva-statue in the garden
A group picture with John's wife, our driver, me and Yuma.
 Blanco's property also had a big garden where we spent some time. Seems Blanco must have really liked birds, because there are still a lot of birds being kept in cages here, along with some parrots who are tamed. We got to hold them too, they were soo cute:)

Nice parrots!
Yuma + parrots
After a trip around the garden we went to see the main museum where Blanco's paintings were. The entrance to the museum had a very special gate: a big statue of Blanco's logo, which he apparently made based upon his own autograph.
The entrance to Blanco's art gallery
A dragon statue at the entrance to the gallery
 Unfortunately it's not alowed to take any photos inside the main gallery, but for those interested in Blanco's paintings I suggest that you check out the homepage of the gallery.
A statue on the roof of the main gallery
A painting surrounded by tools in one of the rooms in the galleri

Blanco's family shrine
In addition to the garden and the art galleries the Blanco family also had their own shrine. We stopped by and left the flowers we got when we entered there. 
We left the flowers we had gotten in the family shrine
 After the visit to the museum we went to see Ubud's characteristic rice paddies. The view there was very pretty, with the houses clinging to the hills. Even though this place is popular among tourists it still feels somewhat like being in an authentic Balinese village.
Ubud's famous rice paddies
They sell beautiful items made of wood here too.
Ubud is known as a place for original and beautiful art, and you can also find cheap handicrafts here. The locals will probably be all over you trying to sell you stuff, and they try to catch your attention by telling you that the price on their items is as low as one dollar. However, if you show your interest you will soon discover that they do not intend to let you get the items that cheap.. In the rice fields you can also see workers in action, and if you give them some money you can take photos with them or with their rice baskets.

Tourists almost gets run over by locals who are trying to sell their products. 
Yuma & me, local style^^
Souvenirs and rice fields
The trip to Ubud was a good one, and we went back to Kuta with both a lot of nice photos and good memories too. The only part that didn't turn out as planned, was that originally we had planned to try out yoga in Ubud too, but unfortunately we missed our chance this time. Oh well, just another reason to come back in the future;)

Related blogposts

Recommended Hotels in Bali

Bisma Eight Ubud
Bisma Eight 
Dedari Kriyamaha Villas
Dedari Kriyamaha Villas
Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Spa by L'Occitane
Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Spa
Komaneka at Bisma Ubud
Komaneka at Bisma Ubud

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sightseeing in Indonesia: Borobudur and Prambanan Temple

9:23:00 PM

The main things Yuma and I wanted to see while in Yogyakarta, the former capital of Indonesia, was the two ancient temples Borobudur and Prambanan. Both are located not too far from the city, and our hostel arranged a day trip to both of them which we decided to go on before leaving for Bali. The trip started early in the morning, and with it we hoped to see the sunrise over Borobudur temple, our first destination.
Borobudur: Ready to climb the temple. Note the skirts; these are mandatory, and they'll lend you one when you enter the area.
But getting there by car took quite a long time; the temple was far from the city center and we also had to pick up some other tourists on the way. When we finally arrived the sun was already up. I have to say though, that although we didn't arrive in time to see the sunrise we wouldn't have been able to see any anyway since it was a bit cloudy in the morning.. 
We had a couple of hours at both the temple complexes, and although some people prefer to use a day at each of the temples we had no problems going through both Borobudur and Prambanan in just a day.
Below I have written a short summary about each of the temples, and added some of my own photos as well.

Students: If you are planning to visit Borobudur and Prambanan do not forget to bring your student ID. You'll get a nice discount on the entrance fee.

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur is a Buddhistic temple which is believed to date back to the beginning of the 8th century. It was abandoned some time during the 14th-century, but although nobody knew exactly where it was there were folk stories about the temple which were passed on for generations. Borobudur lay hidden in the jungle for centuries until it was rediscovered in 1814. The restoration of the temple also took many years. For example, when the temple was found it was covered in layers of volcanic ash, and overgrown by trees. Throughout the years after its discovery the temple was also the subject of various thieves and souvenir hunters, and the monument's unstable condition almost led to it being entirely dissembled by the government, who suggested that its reliefs should be placed in a museum instead. However, various restoration projects were undertaken to restore Borobudur to its former glory, and in 1973 the Indonesian government and UNESCO agreed on a plan. The restoration took place from 1975 to 1982, and had the neat price of 6,901,243 US Dollars. As a result of the restoration Borobudur finally made it to the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1991.
Looking up at Borobudur 
Borobudur seen from the side 
Yuma and a stone guardian.
One of the arches of Borobudur temple
...And don't worry if your phone runs out of battery; in Borobudur they even provide free electricity!(?)
If you look closely you'll see that in almost all of the stupas there are sculptures of Buddhas like this one. The main stupa is however apparently empty.. 
Enjoying the view from Borobudur temple
Some stone reliefs in Borobudur
Borobudur seen from the garden

Prambanan temple

Candi Prambanan, or Prambanan temple, is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. Just like Borobudur the temple is quite old; it dates back to the 9th century. and just like Borobudur this temple was also abandoned for centuries before it was rediscovered during the years of British rule. By then the temple complex was already heavily damaged, particularly by an earthquake in the 16th century, and additionally much of the stonework from the temples has been stolen after the discovery of the complex. Originally there were 240 temples in the Prambanan complex, but as a result of among others these thefts most of the smaller temples remains unrestored. Prambanan was also heavily damaged by the 2006 earthquake, but thanks to restoration efforts the temple complex remains an impressive sight, and this popular tourist attraction is also included in Unesco's World Heritage List.

Prambanan temple
Entrance to one of the temples

The temples in Prambanan is characteristically tall and pointed

A statue in one of the temples

The staircase to the temples are steep!

A relief in one of the Prambanan temples
Holy cow!
Candi Prambanan

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sightseeing in Yogyakarta: The Taman Sari Water Castle

9:56:00 PM
From this window the Sultan had a good view of the main pools, along with his concubines.
On our second day in Yogyakarta we went to see the Taman Sari water castle which dates back to the mid 18th century. The word Taman can mean garden or park, and Sari has the meaning of beautiful or flower. Most famous is the royal family's bathing complex, the Umbul Pasiraman, which also is the only part of Taman Sari which is well preserved. In this bathing complex the Sultan himself used to sit and watch his beautiful concubines bathe from the central tower. Below are some of my pictures from our visit:
Entering Taman Sari
One of the statues in the castle
The main pool of Taman Sari
In front of the main pool
As a final note: If you are planning to visit Indonesia in the future, then Yogyakarta is perhaps the place we visited that I would recommend the most so far on our trip. We had a really good time here, and besides our day trip around the city we also enjoyed visiting the famous temples Prambanan and Borobudur just outside the city too.

Related blogposts

Recommended Hotels in Yogyakarta

Melia Purosani Hotel Yogyakarta
Melia Purosani Hotel Yogyakarta
Nibenia Homestay
Nibenia Homestay Yogyakarta
Hotel Tentrem Yogyakarta
Hotel Tentrem
Eastparc Hotel Yogyakarta
Eastparc Hotel Yogyakarta

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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