Climbing Mount Rinjani

At 3726m high, Rinjani is Indonesia’s second highest volcano – and Indonesia has a lot of volcanoes, running as it does along the tectonic plate boundary between the Eurasian and the Indo-Australian plate. It’s an active volcano – it last erupted in 2010 – and dominates the small island of Lombok where it stands. Several friends had recommended it to us as a highlight of their Indonesia trips, and I had really enjoyed visiting the Bromo and Ijen volcanoes in Java, so we knew we had to pay it a visit…

Mount Rinjani


Travelling solo in Java

“Hellllllo mister!” (The ubiquitous greeting in Indonesia)

“Where are you from?”


“Are you travelling on your own?”


“Do you not have any friends?!?!?!?!?”

This was the oft-repeated exchange I encountered during the two weeks I just spent traversing the Indonesian island of Java, from the sprawling capital of Jakarta on the western end to the port of Banyuwangi on the eastern point, tantalisingly in clear sight of Bali. Indonesians really don’t understand the concept of travelling solo, and I was continually asked in puzzled tones like this where were my family or friends!  (more…)

Elephants No. 15 and 16: Prambanan, Indonesia 


I found both of these elephants in the Hindu temple compound of Prambanan, near Yogyakarta in Central Java. Prambanan was built in the 9th century AD, when Java was heavily influenced by India: both Hinduism and Buddhism arrived in the area in this period from India. Unfortunately the temples have been quite damaged by recent earthquakes, though reconstruction work is currently underway – but I very much enjoyed my visit there, following a trip to the amazing Buddhist temple of Borobudur that morning at dawn. At Prambanan, I was given an enthusiastic free tour around the temples by two 17 year old Indonesian school girls who were studying tourism at high school, part of which included a month’s stay in Prambanan, showing tourists around and practising their English.  (more…)

Elephant No. 14: Jakarta, Indonesia 

Today has been a huge change of scene from previous weeks: it’s been goodbye to China, goodbye to my travelling companions Katy and Ali, goodbye to all my favourite dumplings and aubergine dishes, to my good friends Waygo and Pleco, and to wearing short shorts – but hello to Indonesia, hello to solo travelling, and hello to a whole new culture, language, and cuisine (I’m particularly excited about this latter matter!)  (more…)