How much a month travelling in Indonesia cost, and where we could have saved money

man-pushing-a-pink-food-cart-blitar-java-indonesiaOur style of travel seems to be panning out as budget-luxe.  Sadly, ‘luxe’ with a lowercase  L, not upper!  We seem to mix it up quite a bit and our expenses (mainly food) vary wildly from one day to the next.

One day we spent 60p on two, yes TWO, delicious bowls of what I can only describe as a spaghetti Bolognese style soup (tasted much nicer than it sounds, honestly) yet other days we’d spend nearly £10 on coffee and cakes and then dinner on top.

Activities: By our standards we did a fair few activities in Indonesia – a cooking class, spa treatment, and a day out with our own driver in Bali. In Java we did sunrise over Mt. Bromo, and visited Prambanan and Borupudur. These came in at just over £200 between us. Continue reading

Sunrise over Mount Bromo and the Sea of Sand

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Our jeep.

We set off at midnight from Malang to watch the sun rise over Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java.  It sits in a ‘sea of sand’ and is part of a national park. The last eruption was in 2011.

There were four of us travelling in (what looked like) a vintage Toyota Jeep. It was good to have some additional company.  Since our overland trip ended, we’ve not socialised with other people – travellers or locals – as much as I hoped we would.  

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Beauty on the road: “This Sisley mask is for baggy, saggy skin. It’s suitable for you”

When you walk ‘air side’ at Bali airport you are suddenly surrounded by luxury products. It’s as if you’ve walked into a mini Selfridges beauty hall, with a handbag hall around the corner.   It’s a sea of luxury. With few staff in the beauty section.  Which is not a criticism.

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A sea of luxury, with barely a soul around. So not sure quite why I couldn’t take a decent photo of it.

In the UK you’d be hard pushed to get your mitts on many of these products without first having to jockey with a stern counter assistant.  Whose sole role is to make you feel that, only minutes before arriving at the counter, you crawled out of a KFC bucket in a gutter.  But here it was, for all to use. However, it came at a price for me.   Continue reading

Farewell colourful Blitar, you’ve been good for us

We leave Blitar tomorrow.  I’m very sad about this.  We have already started making plans to return.  Why?  Because it’s one of the most colourful, friendly, open and relaxing towns I’ve been to.  If not ever, then certainly for a long time. wooden-rocking-horses-blitar-java-indonesia

A quick google search of what to do in Blitar, particularly since Mt. Kelud is still out of bounds, doesn’t exactly paint an interesting picture. But I think it’s all the better for that. Continue reading

Willing workers of Blitar, Java, Indonesia

Whilst on our walks around Blitar, we came across many people plying their trade.  Becak drivers, metal workers, fruit sellers, street food vendors, mechanics, bakers, fryers…the list is endless.

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Men selling feather dusters. I wonder if they use the dusters themselves. . .

Each and every one of them were interesting and happy to take the time to show us what they were doing.  Fascinating.  Continue reading

Gorgeous faces of Blitar, Java, Indonesia

We’ve seen very few white faces here. We’re quite a novelty.  And are treated as such when we go out and about.   I doubt many visitors venture far from the Tugu Hotel, and I don’t blame them.  If I’d been staying a night or two – as it seems most other guests have – I too would have enjoyed the lovely hotel and then moved on.  But boy, are they missing a trick!

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Gorgeous boys!

The people of Blitar are so, so friendly and kind. We’ve been invited to people’s houses, had our hands shaken, and offered breakfast.  People were happy to have their photos taken and in return they took photos of us.  Continue reading

Blitar fashion: as colourful as the town.

There are a number of clothing shops in Blitar.  In keeping with the rest of the town the clothing is equally as colourful. Although, I can’t say I’ve seen many women wearing these dresses.  Perhaps they are ‘for best’.  The men wear quite colourful shirts, and they look good in them too.

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It’s searingly hot here (it’s November) and I just can’t picture a time when a knitted wooly hat and scarf would be required.  Perhaps I need to stay here longer in order to find out. Below is a gallery of some of the items available. I felt terribly dull dressed all in navy! Continue reading

Afternoon tea at Tugu Hotels, Java, Indonesia

Afternoon tea is served everyday at 4pm at the Tugu Malang and Tugu Blitar. Each day we’ve been at the hotel in Blitar we’ve had different delights.  Some savoury, some sweet.  You often don’t know for certain if it’s going to be sweet or savoury.  You can’t tell by sight alone.  It’s been a lovely treat, and the vanilla tea is delicious.

afternoon-tea-tutu-hotel-java-indonesiaAh…I shall miss this when we return to staying in backpacker joints. Below is a gallery of some of the delights; all of which were delicious.  Continue reading

Want to feel like A Famous? Head to Blitar, Indonesia.

We are staying in Blitar in east Java for a week. We chose Blitar purely and simply because there is a Tugu Hotel here that we could afford to stay in for more than one night. We loved our experience of the Tugu Hotel  in Malang so much that we wanted to it to last longer…but at a more affordable price. So we have decamped to its ‘poorer cousin’ in Blitar to enjoy the hotel, its afternoon teas and, as it turns out, its super-good internet.

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Entrance to the Tugu Hotel

Blitar isn’t on the tourist map as such, which makes you wonder why the hotel is here.  When we arrived, we doubled the number of guests staying here – although others arrived, and departed, over the coming days. Continue reading

Review: The Tugu Hotel, Malang. Quite possibly the best hotel I have ever stayed in…

When we were overlanding, we stayed in a variety of accommodation.  Homestays, hotels, tents, yurts, beach huts.  Most had windows, some did not.  Some were excellent, some historical, some nothing to write home about, some were lovely and homely, some faceless and some could well have been death traps. But when there’s limited choice, you can’t be fussy. toiletries-at-the-tugu-hotel-malang-java-indonesia

I stumbled across Tugu Hotels when I was searching for a cheapish place to stay for our trip to Malang.   Continue reading