Didem Doğan

Bali and Yogyakarta, an introduction

I had my doubts about Bali, was I going to travel all the way to visit a honeymoon destination and sit in a resort to get a massage? Until one day I traveled for a writers and readers festival in Ubud which gathers every year at the end of October various writers, readers, journalists from around the world. The most famous tourist destination in Indonesia the island of Bali is quite big; I would recommend you to divide your stay between the mountain village of Ubud and the sea side like Balangan, Nusa Dua, etc. to get to know both parts of the island. Contrary to the rest of Indonesia, the island population is mostly Hindu, you will not see any mosques or hear prayers like you do in Yogyakarta; actually Hinduism is widely practiced in Bali. During my first days my feet sticked to rice on every street I was stepping in, I then realised that in front of every house, restaurant, not necessarily temple, every space that has a door you can see this offering to Gods, a banana leaf with flower and rice. Temples are filled with people at nights, you can visit ones like Tanah Lot, Bedugul by renting a private car (the prices are not expensive) or other ones in Ubud centre on your own which are walking distance. You will also need a car to go to the Bird and Reptile Park and to rice terraces. The centre of Ubud is full of restaurants, cafés, yoga centres, shops… To see another face of Indonesia you may travel to the island of Java with its capital Yogyakarta, the cultural centre as well. The famous Borobudur temples, the biggest open air complex, are located there as well as the Hindu Temples of Prambanan. You can also visit the palaces from the period of Sultanate like Kraton, Taman Sari; moving along the streets of Yogyakarta with a tuktuk is quite a fun experience. Lastly the Indonesians are some of the most modest people on earth.