Indonesia is the world’s largest island country. It is formed by dozens of volcanically active islands spread throughout the country. The archipelago has been a central trading hub since the 7th Century and boasts the world’s second highest level of biodiversity, coming in just behind Brazil.


Indonesia


Prambanan Temple

You land in the capital city of Jakarta, but you are not staying in the metropolis. You wait for your connecting flight that will take you close to Prambanan, where you are anxious to visit the infamous Hindu ruins. After some shut eye on your connection- you are woken up by the jolt of your plane landing- you’re more than ready for some adventuring. You charter a taxi to take you the rest of the way to the Temple.

You quickly learn upon arrival to the Prambanan Temple grounds that it is not one singular temple, but 500! There are 4 main temples that make up the Prambanan Temple Compound: Prambanan temple (referred to locally as Loro Jonggrang), Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple, and Lumbung Temple.

You were always a hands-on learner and love walking through the actual remains of history. You see a tour group and sidle closer to learn more about this ancient place.

The tour guide is explaining that all these temples were built in the 8th century during Shailendra’s dynasty– which was ultimately responsible for creating a religious renaissance in the country.

As you meander through the Sewu Temple, your tour guide comments that this is the largest Buddhist structure in Indonesia.

Sunshine spills over you as you emerge back into daylight from the shade of the Sewu; you notice a particularly beautiful carving in the stone and stop to look at it closely. The tour guide notices and stops next to you. She marvels at the workmanship with you for a moment before telling you that all the temples depict carvings similar to this- they tell the Indonesian version of the epic Indian poem, The Ramayana.

You make a mental note to find a copy of Ramayana as you walk out of the Prambanan Temple grounds.



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Waterbom Bali

You’ve been to some epic waterparks in your day, so when you heard about one in the rainforests of Bali you just had to make a stop. After purchasing a day pass from the ticket booth, you make your way inside. As playful screams emanate from people on the rides surrounding you, you smile as nostalgic childhood memories of summers spent at the waterpark wash over you. This is exactly what you were hoping for.

As you walk aimlessly, you can’t help but marvel at the grounds; it is as beautiful as you imagined!

You’re too busy paying attention to the landscaping to notice that you’re in the splash zone of a waterslide. You realize this soon enough as someone makes their way to the finish and lands with a giant sliding splash that soaks you.

You laugh out loud, wringing out your hair as you look up to the top of the slide. “Now’s as good a time as any”, you think.

You climb the stairs, higher and higher, until you reach the top of the slide. You make the mistake of looking down on the last turn and see how high up you are. You look away quickly as you come up to an attendant. There is no one in front of you, so you are able to go immediately. Lucky you!

The attendant waves you over to the starting point. You get situated and push off!

As you wind round and around, you are again taken back to your childhood- when tall water slides were what you lived for in the summer. Your reminiscing is interrupted when the tube slide opens up to reveal a lush rainforest surrounding you- it’s so pretty that you almost forget you’re on a ride until the tube envelopes you again. You rocket towards the end and land, laughing, in the splash pool.

“This is gonna be a fun day”, you think, as you race up the stairs to go again.

Mount Batur

You’re staying in Kintamani, a highland area in East Bali. You noticed a brochure when you checked into your hotel advertising a Sunrise Hiking Tour to Mount Batur, an active volcano. You book yourself for one tomorrow morning.

It’s only 5pm, but you head off to bed because there’s an early wake up call (and it is early).

Your alarm goes off at 1:30 am (the driver is picking you up at 2; Mount Batur is about a 1 1/2 hours away) and you fleetingly inquire to yourself “What were you thinking?”, as you sluggishly get dressed in your hiking gear while practically inhaling some coffee.

You make your way downstairs to the charter that will take you to meet your tour guide.

It is still dark when you reach the starting point of your hike. The tour guide introduces himself, handing out flashlights and giving safety instructions. He tells you it will be about a two hour hike to the summit; the sun should just be rising once we get there.

As you’re hiking, you thank yourself for pushing through the tiredness as your surroundings are indescribably beautiful and the workout is immensely rewarding. At the two hour mark, though, that energy is waning- you briefly think about quitting, but again push through. You can’t help but think about hot showers and comfy beds as you push yourself right over a hill to reach the summit.

The tour guide was spot on. The sun was just coming over the horizon as you and your group settle in to watch.

After a few minutes, the tour guide serves you a breakfast consisting of bread, “eggs boiled in volcanic steam”, and hot tea. You sit there drinking in the view while politely, but ravenously eating your food; you have worked up a major appetite and know you’re going to need the energy for the trek back down.

After the sun rises fully, you and your group make your way down Mount Batur, stopping to explore craters and marvel at the scenery, to where the driver waits for you.

On the way back to our respective hotels, we stop at a traditional Balinese coffee plantation.

Sipping on strong volcanic black coffee, we learned all about the coffee growing, harvesting, and packing processes at that particular plantation. We even got a chance to sample herbal teas, chocolate, and the world’s most expensive coffee, kopi luwak. As the plantation tour guide explains what kopi luwak is exactly, you’re happy that you already finished your cup…


Coffee in Indonesia


Originally a non-native crop to the archipelago, coffee was introduced to the country in the 17th century (when Indonesia was still under Dutch rule). The Dutch planted Arabica plants, in what is now modern day Jakarta, with the hopes of disrupting the monopoly that the Arabs had on the coffee trade.

The lands proved to be prime for growing coffee; large coffee plantations were quickly established throughout the country. However, in the early 19th century, a bout of coffee rust almost completely obliterated Indonesia’s coffee industry. The Dutch had to think fast and got their hands on Liberica plants. Unfortunately, these crops were also relatively short-lived due to disease- even today, only a small number of these plants remain in the Java region and are not usually grown commercially.

The Dutch finally found a solution in the Robusta plant. Living up to its name, the Robusta crops were strong enough to bring Indonesia back into the coffee trade. Still today, Robusta makes up 90% of Indonesia’s coffee export.

The island nation ranks #4 in the World’s Top Coffee Producers.



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