I took a flight from Lombok to Surabaya and continued the next day by train to Yogyakarta. With plenty of history to absorb in this cosmopolitan city I didn't get bored for a moment. I walked along the mainstreet (Jl Malioboro) to the kraton (a walled royal enclave) and Benteng Vredeburg. It was very special to me to see fortress Vredeburg since my grandfather stayed here for some time when on military duty almost 60 years before.
From Yogyakarta I took a tour to the Borobudur, one of Asia's biggest monuments. I climbed this Buddhist temple and made may pictures. In the evenings we had drinks among the locals in front of the supermarket. We were very surprised to see the local youth making tattoos on each other over there.
I made a long and tiring journey by busses and ferries to get back from Flores to Lombok. I chilled out for a day at the black-sand beach in Senggigi before taking a flight to Java.
Because I wanted to see the Komodo dragon (huge dangerous lizards with a prehistoric look), I took a boattrip from Lombok to Labuanbajo on Flores that stops in the Komodo National Park in between. It took us 4 days on the boat passing the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa. Sometimes we stopped for some snorkelling. On the last day we arrived in Komodo NP and we saw the Komodo dragons.
The Gili islands are paradise. Although they belong to Lombok there is no governmental presence (police) and the habitants take care of the security on the islands. I stayed at Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three islands. There is no motorized traffic here and the beaches are made of white (dead) coral and sand. Snorkelling here was amazing and the sunset views on Balinese Mt Angung were stunning. I met up with Andy (we stayed together in a room in Ubud) and drank some beers at the local reggae bar. It was hard to leave this paradise after a week.
Originally I planned to stay in Padingbai for just one night to take the ferry to the Gili islands the next day. But then the Bali-belly struck me and I stayed two more days in this beautiful bay before I could continu my travels.
Cultural Ubud lies in the centre of Bali. Together with Andy (a British backpacker) we rented some bikes to see the beautiful rice terraces and the local way of living. It is interesting to see the people offering to their Hinu-gods while the are wearing their traditional clothes. At one moment we saw a big crowd of men gathering at a place and we decided to have a look. We found the men were watching cock-fights and betting on it. Feeling sorry for the cocks, but impressed by this local game, we continued our bike-ride to have a walk through the Monkey Forest later that day.
The next day we did a biking descent from the top of the Mt Batur through the rice fields. We stopped at a place where the most expensive coffee in the world (Kopi Luwak) is produced. The coffee beans are used after they have been eaten by a luwak (cat-like animals).