In the middle of the semester at the NUS is the so-called Recess Week (=vorlesungsfreie Woche). The majority of the locals use this week to study and review the first half of the semester. But for the most exchange students means this week that it is time to travel. And South East Asia offers many beautiful destinations. I saw in the facebook group of the exchange students, that a few people are going to Indonesia during this week. I asked Haraman if we wanna join them and so we did. I didn't know these people but as it turned out it was a very good decision to join them.
I wanna quickly introduce our group. We were 8 students from 8 different countries spread over 4 different continents (England, Italy, Finland, Germany, India, USA, Brazil and Switzerland). We study 7 individual subjects (2x Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, International Relationships, Physics, Business, Industrial Engineering & Management and Health Sciences & Technology). On the first picture from the left to right, there are: Rickey, Riccardo, Arushi, Thomas, Haraman, Olli and I. Patrick reached us later in Bali.
Our trip started on the island Java in Indonesia. It took some time to fix our plan when we arrived, however finally it began. We had a minibus with personal driver for the next 3 days. Matter of expense per person was around 600'000 IDR (Indonesian rupiah). Very funny currency! Converted to Singapore Dollars, it is 60 SGD (=43 CHF). That is a lot of money for Indonesia proportions.
The first 3 days were packed with adventure! We drove approximately 9 hours on bumpy streets to the foot of Ijen. There we had a short time (2 hours) to rest and sleep in the minibus before hiking up to Ijen. We organised a guide and gas masks. After a long discussion with our driver and the guide about the price for the guide, we paid 250'000 IDR for the entire group. First, they wanted to charge us 150'000 IDR per person, what is way too much. It is very common in Indonesia to cheat tourists, so be careful if you'll ever go there. And honestly, in the end, the guide wasn't really necessary. But he took pictures and helped a bit during the hike.
After 2 hours of steep hiking up and down during the night, we finally arrived to the natural blue fire. There exist only 2 in the world! We gazed with our gas masks on the natural phenomenon. It was definitely impressive and the most unique spectacle I've ever seen. In the end, it was the entire adventure which was worthwhile and not only the blue fire. Afterwards, we stayed on the top of the crater to see the sunrise and then hiked all the way back down. The text now arrived at picture #25, the group picture with the sign.
After the "Ijen-Adventure" we entered the bus and striked off to Cemoro Lawang. It was long overdue to sleep and so we did in the minibus. Cemoro Lawang is a very tiny village next to the volcano Mount Bromo. I liked this place! We spent our time with taking a shower, relaxing, eating and playing cards. Especially playing cards was very funny. And I teached Riccardo and Haraman some classic Ballermann german songs. Haha! After a few hours of sleeping, we got up at 3 a.m. and started the next hike to viewpoint #2. I can recommend viewpoint #2 because of no entry for cars there are a lot less tourists than at viewpoint #1. It tooks us around 1 hour to go there. We enjoyed the sunrise again, but this time with a lovely view over Mount Bromo and Batok. Later on we went with the red Jeep closer to the crater of the active volcano. The last part though, we had to walk. Only 30 minutes + 250 stairs at the top and finally we had the view from picture #49. I've never been to a volcano before and found it very nice.
Because we have been there very early in the morning, it wasn't crowded at all and we could look and listen calmly to the volcano. Back in Cemoro Lawang we had breakfast at a very lovely place (picture #54).
It was time to say goodbye to java and we saddled for going to the airport. Because not all of us booked the same flight, we had some exta time at the airport. I like airports. Why? I link to be at the airport with having no stress, just do something chill such as playing cards, reading, having some food or whatever and after that, you take off to another place (usually having holidays :) ). And it feels so international and timeless at the airport. Every passenger has his own circadian rhythm.
We played cards and 2 hours before departure, we realised that we are at the wrong terminal and my words with "having no stress at the airport" were gone. But of course All went well and we embarked the airplane. Next stop: Bali!
I didn't take many pictures in Bali. But as much more I enjoyed these days in Canggu and Kuta. Our Hostel in Canggu was very beautiful! We stayed in a nice small
wooden house with 8 beds and the hostel had a small pool. Bali is more touristic than Java, that means higher prices but also higher standard for example regarding to bathroom installations or
We spent our days mostly at the beach. I guess all of us were glad to rest after the exhausting
days on java. First day at Canggu Beach. I tried to surf for the first time. It was very cool! In the night we went to this place with the skatepark.
It seemed like there were many australian people. Afterwards we had a good night drink at the beach. Second day was similar, but this time we went to Kuta Beach. In the afternoon we decided to go
to the Uluwatu temple in the south of Bali. Therefor we ordered 2 Ubers to go there. Sadly our Uber drove very reluctant and we arrived too late for visiting the temple. Very disappointing! In
return, the taxi drive back to the hostel was much fun and we all were in a good mood for the last evening in Bali.
After diner, we visited a bar next to the beach for dancing, chilling and drinking a beer. It was a nice completion for our trip.
The next day is where we part company. 6 went to the Komodo Islands, Haraman to the Gili Islands and I back to Singapore, because I had to do a lab report till monday. I am very happy that I've been part of this international group for this amazing trip. It exceeded all my expectations :). It was one of the most interesting and amusing weeks in my life.