Touk-touk, horse cart or motorbike?

Yogyakarta alley (Illustration by Charles)

We talked about it in a previous article on Java, motorbikes are very present everywhere in Indonesia. This means of transport seems indeed prized for its simplicity and independence even for the younger ones (from 14 years!). And rather useful for the steep elevation…

But it comes with inconvenience such as noise, air pollution and many accidents while the bus unfortunately seems to lose ground and that the horse cart are no longer there for folklore. As for the bike, its place remains very marginal (touk-touk and self-service bikes, incredible for Yogya!). Fortunately some elders remain loyal!

Java is rock and roll

For this second article on Java, we make you discover some sound atmospheres collected this week. Put your header louder :)!

We start with the arrival by train to Malang station:

Train Malioboro ekspres

Then the street musicians who have brightened our bus ride to Probolinggo with guitar, ukulele, congas and songs a capella:

Singing in the bus Malang-Probolinggo

In Kalibaru, night market atmosphere, with the agitation that joins every break of fasting:

Street market in Kalibaru

The famous litany after sunset:

Evening pray

Finally, still in Kalibaru, once nature has taken back its sound rights:

On the banks of the River in Kalibaru

Selamat pagi Indonesia!

After two days in the futuristic and disproportionate world of Singapore, we embark on the 2nd of May for an Indonesian getaway backpackig. Let’s go to Java! Yogyakarta, located in the South-Central of the island, allows us to familiarize ourselves gently with the Javanese universe. With a little bit of agripping, we find the streets crowded of 2 and 4 motorized wheels with uncontrolled trajectories, still there’s a nuance of “calm” compared to India or Nepal. We do not fail to make ourselves collar multiple times for a tuk-tuk ride (a kind of rickshaw in front of a bike or a moped) but resist and use our legs to visit quickly the vicinity of Kraton, historical and political downtown and taste the first local dishes: chicken in soup or skewers, rice often steamed and some vegetables (beans, cabbage or cucumbers) cooked just enough spicy and of course bananas of the market!

Covered market in Yogyakarta

We leave the next day exploring Borobudur and its temple “postcard”. It was expected: the entrance ticket is disproportionately expensive but the site is actually charming and photogenic. First Sunrise at 3am and first volcanoes on the horizon, we look forward to approaching its!

Soon we set sail to the East by bus to the city of Solo (Surakarta). Let’s be honest, we’re disappointed. The big town lacks charm, the corks are omnipresent at the moment of our journey between the station and the hostel. Fortunately the day without car on Sunday brings us a certain comfort: sandals, skates, carioles and horses are out! During this time, Ramadan launches into the streets of the city with a multitude of itinerant walkers, sails that unfortunately resemble more and more to burkas and prayers in echo several times a day. These moments of prayer rather depaying at the beginning, then become slightly invasive by their duration (sometimes several hours) and their volume (they are ubiquitous!).

Mosque of Solo on his bed of motorbikes

Further to the East, we return from balm to the heart when arriving by train to Malang thanks to our pleasant rooftop Hostel made of bamboos, to new culinary discoveries (bakso and Sate to the menus) and the colorful alleys of Jodipur district. It is also an opportunity to cross the first “counterparts” backpackers tourists. Indeed, we are getting closer to Bali…

Train overlooking the Jodipur colorful village

New stopovers of this first week decidedly urban and made of public transportation: Probollingo then Jember and Kalibaru who do not really have a particular charm but leave glimpted green forests surrounding and flirt ever more with the majestic volcanoes. We take te road to Bromo and then Ijen!

Here, believe us, our experience is up to what we have been able to read or hear. Each of the volcanoes visited at night offers us a magical experience: Bromo immortalized from afar because again in activity since 1 year ago and Ijen accompanied by a guide as close as possible to the sources of bluish sulfur. It’s touristic but still pretty darn handsome.

Sunrise on Bromo and Ijen volcanos

Thus ends these 8 days in Java, authentic, urban and relatively preserved of mass tourism, except in the vicinity of volcanoes. If you plan to mak a trip there, choose the train to cross the island (economy class is enough) and Yogya to discover the urban side. What’s next? Bali where we will try to avoid hordes of Australians and Frenchies to rather meet nice fish. To be followed!

Berlin, erster Halt !

22nd of April 2019, adventure begins:)

We prepare the gears quietly… fingers crossed so that everything passes in the saddlebags and does not exceed 30kg each!

5pm, departure by train from the “House” of Franche-Comté, direction Belfort then Basel then Hamburg then Berlin!

After 18 hours of travel, we finally meet Betty the sister of Cléa and Pablo a longtime friend. It’s time for a crazy Berlin week, perfect opportunity to roder our bikes and discover famous German bike paths!

Who we are

Cléa

Initially attracted by old bikes with racing frames, I use to cycle above all as a means of urban transport in everyday life. Passing through the alleys of the cities in which I studied was the most practical and independant mode of travel for me.

Arrived in Lyon in 2016, Sylvain encouraged me to undertake longer trips in France and Switzerland. Mixing the discovery of a territory with this mode of movement so doux (just like my original region – Doubs) seduces me. Today, we embark on a long journey together, counting on our complementarity for adventure and DIY to achieve this beautiful dream.

And Sylvain

Native of Savoy, I’m in love with mountain at all seasons. I use to ski tour their and as much as possible to bike, seeking for great outdoors and alpine landscapes. For studies and then for work, I’m established in Lyon since 2007. Their too, I don’t mind pedaling, despite the exhaust pipes in the nose, to go for a drink with friends, improvise or swing.

I had the luck to ride in Europe (Scotland and Iceland) and since 2016 in France and around with Cléa! I now look forward for discovering bewitching distant lands together!

Singapore-Louang Namtha

Our project will begin in Singapore on June 17, 2019. We will go up the east coast of the Malay Peninsula and then the golf of Thailand. We will pass not far from Bangkok then, if the monsoon does not block us, we cross Cambodia and go up the highlands of Vietnam and then North Laos along the Mékong.


Mohanzhen-Beijing

We will then enter in China by the Xishuangbanna and head towards the mountainous landscapes of Yunnan and Sichuan with our minds focused on Beijing where we’ll arrive around October 2019, probably helped by some trains.

Tijuana-Cancun

A second part of our trip will take us to the other side of the Pacific, in Mexico, where we will ride down to the Baja California then the West Coast before finally joining the Yucatan sometime in December 2019.

What’s next ? We’ve got the secret wish of finishing our adventure in Colombia on the beginning of 2020… !

The project, or the adventure !

“Cycle-o’clock”: Cycling Time 🙂

Cyclists on a daily basis, we’ll embark next June for a first long journey together: 8 months on the roads and paths of Asia and Latin America. We will develop in the form of short articles our appreciation of the place of the bicycle in the countries crossed as means of transport or travel, and the remaining stakes (infrastructure, security, multimodal, etc.).

We’ll also detail the peculiarities of the equipment encountered, the galleys of travel and the beautiful discoveries. Pictures and drawings will decorate the whole thing!