Java Bali Tour: Visit Indonesia

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 1 vote

If you’re inspired by reading about the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali but haven’t visited these amazing islands, this Java Bali tour could be just right for you.

Lynda Bransbury is offering very reasonably priced places on her Java Bali Heritage Tour in December 2012-January 2013. I met Lynda while I was studying Javanese gamelan music and she was studying puppetry in Solo, Central Java. You can read more about her tours in this interview or head straight to her own website.

MountainsHere are the juicy details:

JUST TWO PLACES LEFT ON OUR XMAS TOUR

27 December – 12 January 2012

17 nights in Java & Bali £770 single room; £612 if 2 people share

13 nights in Java £481 single room; £373 if 2 people share

7 night tour of Central Java £270;

Come and experience the wonders and beauty of Java and Bali for 17 nights. Vibrant tropical vegetation, lush rice fields, impressive volcanoes, sacred and ancient sites, dating back to Hindu Buddhist times.

BorobudurEach country has its own rich, cultural heritage. Traditional performing arts and rituals remain a vibrant and valued part of daily life. The 17 night study tour (13 nights in Java and 4 nights in Bali) combines visits to the major historical sites from the Hindu Buddhist past, including the World Heritage Site of Borobudur Temple, with opportunities to see traditional dance, ritual and performance. You can also take part in workshops led by internationally recognized Javanese artists in sound, movement, meditation, traditional dance or shadow puppets.

We visit Javanese mountain villages where the traditional way of life has hardly changed in generations, and stay overnight in village houses. You get to see traditions, performance and farming practices that tourists rarely see.

CONTACT

Lynda Bransbury at [email protected] or telephone (+44) 873 812 664 for more information or to book a place. See www.javabaliheritage.co.uk

Balinese dance

What I Ate in Surabaya: Soto Lamongan

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Soto Lamongan

Soto is the name for rice soup, found all over Java. Lamongan is a town not far from Surabaya and soto Lamongan is its speciality. This dish is available all over Surabaya, and I tried it at a streetside foodstall near my hotel.

 

The rice is in a turmeric yellow stock, with white noodle, chicken, egg and a squirt of lime juice. It tasted richer than the Central Javanese soto I am used to, but less curryish than the Jakartan soto I have tried. It was delicious, rich and filling but not too much so, and is well worth a try if you get the opportunity.

 

Soto Lamongan

@thome Surabaya Hotel Review: Good Value for Money in a Rundown Neighbourhood

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 1 vote

I found this new hotel on the internet, and chose it due to its low price and convenient location in the north of Surabaya. My room came with a TV, air conditioning and very comfortable twin beds. The shared bathroom had hot water, and a separate toilet was also available.

Comfortable bedsThe small hotel has nine rooms, of which three have windows (including mine). In fact I was given a choice of rooms, a nice touch. The owner and his wife who staff the hotel were polite throughout our email exchange and in person.  There is one bathroom and one toilet per three rooms, which means that if all the rooms were full there would be six people per toilet. Luckily I was the only person on my floor so I actually had the bathroom all to myself

The hotel was spotlessly clean; it only opened in December 2011 so everything is fairly new. All the facilities worked perfectly. If you are looking for value for money in the north of the city, a few minutes walk from ITC mall and Pasar Atom, @thome is a great option.

Reception @thome

@thome reception

However, there are a couple of reasons why I would not recommend this hotel for everyone. The immediate vicinity of the hotel is very rundown; it is essentially in a former shop, and the block is mainly closed down, derelict, used by wholesale sellers, or (relating to my other complaint) being renovated. The wall at the end of the street was covered in graffiti, rubbish littered the street and I saw several gigantic rats. Returning to the hotel at night down this narrow, dark and empty street would certainly unsettle some people. Secondly, the hotel is rarely staffed; most of the time there is no one in reception, so anyone could walk in, and I did have to wait when I wanted to ask something.

@thome is up this unwelcoming street

@thome is up this unwelcoming street

I stayed two nights at @thome and was woken at around 7.30am by really loud banging. I assumed the owner was fixing something in the hotel, but when I went outside I saw that the neighbour two doors down was having a wall knocked down. Since the buildings are adjoining the sound echoed throughout the entire hotel; I could feel the floor shaking if I stood in the wrong place.

If you want to stay in the north of Surabaya, and get air conditioning, a TV and hot water for only Rp. 90,000 (around US$9) per night, and you want to be up and out every morning and stay out until 5pm to avoid the noise, @thome is excellent value for money. The smart, modern rooms, overall cleanliness and friendly staff make the place what it is. If the area immediately outside the hotel was improved, I would be able to recommend @thome.

View from my windowIf @thome sounds like the kind of hotel you’re looking for, their website is here, and they’re also on Agoda.