Wednesday, December 25, 2019


Just outside of Yogjakarta there are several famous temples (and a church shaped like a chicken). It is possible to do Prambanan and Borobudur in a single day but considering the size of the temple complexes, it's better to do each separately.

Prambanan is very close to the city and can easily be reached by bus (or taxi). 

Prambanan temple

Prambanan is a Hindu temple constructed in the 9th Century. It was destroyed by a volcanic eruption and largely forgotten until re- discovered by the Dutch in the 19th century. It's been under reconstruction ever since.
Buddhist temple in the Prambanan complex

The complex consisted of up to 200 buildings, of which about 20 have been reconstructed. The three main temples have been fully reconstructed - the temples of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma and facing these are the temples dedicated to the animals that serve them: the Eagle (Garuda), the Bull (Nandi) and Swan (Hamsa).

Within these temples are impressive statues of each of the Gods.

Statue of Vishnu

Statue of Ganesh

And the animals


And around the temple are impressive carvings depicting Hindu stories.
Temple carvings

The complex is impressive in its sheer size and number of buildings.

Prambanan at sunset

Including some contemporary Buddhist temples on the outskirts of the complex.

I would recommend at least 4 hours to enjoy the whole complex, especially since the tourist price for entry was around $A35.

That gives you enough time to enjoy the sunset

And make it back to Yogjakarta for its eclectic Nightlife.
Classic rock, Yogjakarta style

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Yogjakarta: Water Castle and Sultan's Palace

Yogjakarta is a large city in West Java known for its food and its traditional culture and arts. Within the city are several examples of 18th Century traditional architecture in the form of the Water Castle (Taman Sari) and the still used Sultan's Palace.

Taman Sari is easily accessible from the city centre and is a nice way of spending an hour or two in Yogjakarta. Entry costs around $AUD1.5 with an additional $AUD1 for using a camera. There are several guides at the entrance who will show you around for a donation which is worth whatever you feel like paying them - inevitably the tour will go to their "father's" batik shop where you can buy overpriced batik, but apart from this typical annoyance it's worth getting a guide.

The tour starts through the main gate which is ornately carved with typical Javanese motifs.

Through the main gate you are greeted by the first pool, where the wives of the sultan swam.

At the far end of the pool is a viewing platform where the Sultan could watch his wives swimming. The pool is also surrounded by jasmine plants giving the area a pleasant scent.

Through the second gate is the Sultan's private swimming pool.
Through the next gate brings you out into a courtyard where cock fights used to take place (the sandy area in the photo is the cockfighting ring).

Around this courtyard are several artisan shops making traditional puppets and batik.

Further outside the main entrance is an underground mosque where the Sultan and his family would pray.

From the Water Castle it is an easy walk to the Sultan's palace. 

Entry fee to the Sultan's palace is $AUD1.5 with a $AUD1 camera fee.

The palace is still used by the current Sultan and employs 3000 people. 

It contains several collections of artifacts and personal items of the Sultans. 

I was a little underwhelmed by the palace but one thing it did have was a live Javanese orchestra performance, which was relaxing way to finish the day before eating my weight in satay.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mae Kampong Village

Mae Kampong village

Mae Kampong is a small village about an hour's drive from Chiang Mai near the Chae Son National Park. 

The village has not quite yet made it on to the tourist trail so the village remains tranquil and small.

The main road of Mae Kampong

The village has a little river running through it that winds past a small temple.

The river

Further up the road the river flows over the Mae Kampong waterfall.

Mae Kampong waterfall

The top of the falls

Even further up the hill is the beginning of the trail to the Chae Son National Park.

Chae Son National Park

At around 1300m high the trail gives sweeping views accross the valley.

The view from the trail

Looking down the valley

Back down the road there is a café perched on the hillside, looking down over the little village of Mae Kampong.

Mae Kampong from the café

Monday, May 15, 2017

The hills around Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai from the hills

Chiang Mai is surrounded by many hills covered in small villages, temples and farmland.

Just outside of Chiang Mai is the temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It is easily reachable by the public red trucks or a tuk tuk. The temple is on the top of a hill outside Chiang Mai.

The stairs to the temple

The temple is similar to many in the region.

The temple

The altar at the temple

A pagoda

But with spectacular views over Chiang Mai.

The hills around Chiang Mai from the temple

Chiang Mai through the haze

Near the temple is the Huai Rap Sadet Waterfall and Nature trail. The waterfall itself is quite small (especially in the dry season) but the 1.5km nature trail gives a nice walk through the area.

The waterfall

The bottom of the waterfall

Chiang Mai from the nature trail

The hills from the nature trail

An orchid

Further afield the hills are covered in farmland.


Banana plantation

There are also caves in the surrounding hills.

A cave

And many small villages offering basic accommodation.

The accommodation for the night

Sunset from the village

As well as many forested areas with various animals.

Golden Orb spider


Tarantula out of her burrow

And waterfalls which were perfect for a cooling swim.

A swimming hole

Before the long trek back to Chiang Mai.

The trail back to Chiang Mai