Travelogue: Indonesia

After leaving Hong Kong, the first stop on my first trip to Southeast Asia, I headed to Indonesia, a complicated and beautiful nation of over 19,000 islands.  The first stop was Jakarta, the capital, and a notoriously stressful, traffic-clogged megapolis, and my goal was to try and find its design scene, if it had one, and hopefully some architectural and design beauty inside what I'd discover to be an extraordinary and terribly frustrating city.

One of the large roundabouts in Jakarta's center.

One of the large roundabouts in Jakarta's center.

The Intiland Tower, designed by Paul Rudolph in 1986, as seen from my taxi while sitting in grid-lock traffic.

The Intiland Tower, designed by Paul Rudolph in 1986, as seen from my taxi while sitting in grid-lock traffic.

Traffic in Jakarta at a standstill next to a construction site for the new train system that will go above and below ground and will be the first mass-transit available in Jakarta, besides some busses and a regional train.

Traffic in Jakarta at a standstill next to a construction site for the new train system that will go above and below ground and will be the first mass-transit available in Jakarta, besides some busses and a regional train.

Coffee at 115 Coffee in Jakarta

Coffee at 115 Coffee in Jakarta

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The entrance to Indoestri, a space offering classes and support to Jakarta's growing maker scene.

The entrance to Indoestri, a space offering classes and support to Jakarta's growing maker scene.

Plates, cake stands, and other wares by General Object, a Jakarta-based accessories studio.

Plates, cake stands, and other wares by General Object, a Jakarta-based accessories studio.

Indoestri

Indoestri

The town square in Old Batavia, the city built by the Dutch during their colonial rule, that is now a decaying neighborhood inside sprawling Jakarta.  Families like to come to hang out and take portraits on weekends.

The town square in Old Batavia, the city built by the Dutch during their colonial rule, that is now a decaying neighborhood inside sprawling Jakarta.  Families like to come to hang out and take portraits on weekends.

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After a week exploring Jakarta, which is on Indonesia's largest and most populated island, Java, we flew to Bali, only a few hour flight, but worlds away in its architectural appearance.  The people of Indonesia practice many religions, but the Balinese practice their own form of Hinduism that is only found on Bali and in Balinese communities elsewhere in the country.  Faced with extreme tourism, the Balinese hold strong to their religious and cultural beliefs and lead beautiful and fascinating lives.  Our first stop was the lively town of Seminyak, filled with shops and great beaches, but also with tourists.  We quickly rented moto-bikes so we could get around and out of town.  This proved to be the best decision of the trip and allowed us to find places we never would have seen in a car or on foot.  Our second stop was Ubud, a mountain village known as the cultural center of Bali.  There too we took our moto-bikes and found that outside the touristic town the real beauty of Bali was waiting to greet us.

Inside Delu Villas where we stayed in Seminyak, Bali

Inside Delu Villas where we stayed in Seminyak, Bali

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Chic cafés abound in Seminyak.

Chic cafés abound in Seminyak.

The open-air market next door to Delu Villa.

The open-air market next door to Delu Villa.

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One of the many temples we visited.

One of the many temples we visited.

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Tanah Lot is a temple located on rocks in the ocean and is one of the most spectacular temples in Bali.

Tanah Lot is a temple located on rocks in the ocean and is one of the most spectacular temples in Bali.

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Head 20 minutes outside of any town on your moto-bike and you'll find farm fields like these.  This one was planted with watermelons.

Head 20 minutes outside of any town on your moto-bike and you'll find farm fields like these.  This one was planted with watermelons.

This is a rice paddy.

This is a rice paddy.

While in Ubud we stayed at Bambu Hinda, an eco-resort made of bamboo structures and old Javanese bridal huts.  The entire resort has views of rice paddies and serves some of the best food in Bali.

While in Ubud we stayed at Bambu Hinda, an eco-resort made of bamboo structures and old Javanese bridal huts.  The entire resort has views of rice paddies and serves some of the best food in Bali.

The terrace on the bridal hut, where we stayed.

The terrace on the bridal hut, where we stayed.

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We also visited The Green Village, a community of houses made entirely of bamboo.

We also visited The Green Village, a community of houses made entirely of bamboo.

One of the many traditional Balinese dance performances offered in Ubud.  All are recommended.

One of the many traditional Balinese dance performances offered in Ubud.  All are recommended.

This is PT Bamboo, the factory that makes bamboo houses and furniture that ship all over the world.

This is PT Bamboo, the factory that makes bamboo houses and furniture that ship all over the world.

We visited The Green School, a school entirely off the grid, that creates the green leaders of the future.

We visited The Green School, a school entirely off the grid, that creates the green leaders of the future.

Another house in The Green Village

Another house in The Green Village

On the final day of our trip we came upon this shop in Ubud offering traditional antiques and wares from the island of Timor in the South of the country.  We had to buy an additional suitcase to bring our purchases home!

On the final day of our trip we came upon this shop in Ubud offering traditional antiques and wares from the island of Timor in the South of the country.  We had to buy an additional suitcase to bring our purchases home!

This temple has a natural spring inside it.  Around the outside are spouts that let the water, which is considered holy and very cleansing, flow into separate pools.  In these pools people line up submerged themselves under each spouts literally be glanced by the water and by the Gods.

This temple has a natural spring inside it.  Around the outside are spouts that let the water, which is considered holy and very cleansing, flow into separate pools.  In these pools people line up submerged themselves under each spouts literally be glanced by the water and by the Gods.