25 Oct Asia, the most interesting of continents
Sitting in my living room of our AirBnb in Seminyak, Bali I am mulling over what I have seen so far in just a few weeks. Having been to Asia a number of times already I had a good perspective on what each city might offer me to see but as usual, Asia surprises me again and again. Our first stop is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where the food is just amazing and the local staff for Remote Year are some of the best people we have encountered as hosts for a city. They knew where to eat and play and what to see and when. But like I have done the whole year I did some side trips, my first being to Penang off the coast of Malaysia then to Jakarta, Yogyakarta and then to Komodo National Park, all in Indonesia. I will only post here about my past few weeks and add on my trip here in Bali and the rest of the month in my next post. Let’s start with some photos from Kuala Lumpur.
This side trip to Indonesia started off with a strange twist. I planned to go with my friend Shane but he wasn’t allowed to enter the country because his passport expired in less than 6 months. This meant that most of the 2 1/2 week trip I would be going solo, no problem. First I flew to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. A typical large metropolitan Asian city with not many buildings that were inspiring to photograph or see but it did have some great malls. I spent two days there and the highlight was hiring a driver for the day to see some of the sights that I found doing my research. Be it that in Kuala Lumpur it is very difficult to see more of the poorer areas of the city, in Jakarta I was lucky enough to drive through many areas like that. The “poor” Asia is what excites me as a traveler and a photographer. From Jakarta I flew to Yogyakarta or Jogjakarta to see the Temples of Borobudur at sunrise and Prambanan for sunset. To me Borobudur was way nicer and even though the sun did not so to say rise that day it was truly a special morning. Prambanan is a nice temple site but not as impressive at Borobudur. The next day I did a day trip from Yogyakarta to see some caves. I was not expecting anything to blow me away but the two caves of Pindul Cave & Jomblang Cave were pretty great. Puindul was better.
The last place on the first half of this side trip was Komodo Island or Flores in Indonesia and I had my friend Ash meet me there again as we both did Penang together too. I went to see the Komodo Dragons but was more impressed with my scuba day trip. Most of the Komodo’s are on the two islands of Rinca and Komodo National Park. We went to Rinca because the water was too choppy that day. Rina has more dragons there, we did see about six to seven but they were so mellow it was unfortunately a bit underwhelming. So as far as my Scuba diving went, it was my first real dive which is called a “Discovery Dive” and I saw so many fish. The turtles were about six feet in size and the thing that blew me away was seeing Manta Rays only a few feet away. They are spectacular animals and were about 13-14 feet in size, we saw altogether about seven of them. I didn’t take too many photos that day as I concentrated on my diving lesson. I highly recommend using Flores Diving Center if you go. So we did a day trip to four islands the same day as the Komodo Dragons. Padar was by far the best of the islands as you climb to the top of a small mountain for breathtaking views. The city itself is growing so fast I would bet money that in 5-10 years it wont be recognizable to me.
As I mentioned I am in Bali now heading back in a few days to Kuala Lumpur to pack to head to Thailand for the month. Doing a lot of moving around as usual so I am sure I will have some great stuff to show on my next post.