On September 2nd we left Bunaken with lots of pain in our hearts and a promise to return. We spend 7 lovely days there and wished we could have stayed longer. But that’s the problem with planning ahead. It gives you a bit more peace of mind not having to decide what to do at the last moment, but it also compromises your flexibility.
We booked a flight from Manado to Yogyakarta as we wanted to see a little bit more of Indonesia. And according to all the guide books and other travelers, Jogja was supposed to be a nice city. So on September 2nd we took the boat from Bunaken to Manado, then a car to the airport, then a plane to Jogja, then another car to our new hotel, Duta Guesthouse. It was quite a trip again, but Jace slept a bit on the plane, so all was good. We spend 4 nice days in Yogyakarta, but didn’t see as much of the city as we would have liked. After almost 4 months of traveling in Asia you would have thought we knew by now to plan more conservatively and lower our expectations, but I guess we haven’t learned yet and were a tiny bit disappointed by what little we were able to do in those 4 days. After running around for about 2 hours chasing Jace all around Prambanan we decided to leave Borobudur for another time. We did rent a motorbike and drove around for two days, which was very nice.
On September 7th it was time to leave Jogja again. This time we decided to travel by train, since everybody told us that the train ride was so nice. Although the train itself was great, lots of space compared to a plane, the trip wasn’t very memorable. We were hoping for some great scenery along the way, but if it was there we must have missed it. We arrived in Jakarta late in the afternoon and took a taxi to yet another hotel, the FM7, which came recommended by some other Dutchies we met in Bunaken. A bit too fancy for us and the room was quite small, but they did have a child’s cot for Jace and all three of us had a good night.
In the morning of the September 8th it was time for us to leave Indonesia, as we only had a visa for one month. Of course we’ve only seen a small part of the country, so I’m sure we’ll be back! After an uneventful flight with Lion Air we arrived in Kuala Lumpur.
Since I had been a bit sick (I’m suspecting the aircon on the train!) planning ahead went completely out of the window and we found ourselves in KL airport, with a 2 year old and no place to stay. After three hours of searching, debating, stressing and searching again (and keeping Jace busy in the mean time) we finally settled on the EV World Hotel in Sepang, about 20 mins from the airport. Because we had to be in the airport again early in the morning on the 10th, we didn’t want to go all the way into the city. As is usual when you have absolutely no expectations, it turned out to be a great choice! Very friendly hotel staff, great upcoming area, lots of restaurants and a very relaxed atmosphere. Would have been even more perfect if the hotel had had a swimming pool, because it was extremely hot, but all in all we had a really good time there.
The morning of the 10th was absolutely crazy. I have no idea why we thought it would be ok to leave the hotel at 8 when our flight was a 9:45. On top of that, again, we spend too much time on the internet searching for a nice place to stay in Hanoi and didn’t book anything. So we had the stress of searching for a place till late the previous night and still hadn’t booked anything the morning we left. And to make matters even worse (I’m still blaming it on being sick) we completely forgot to arrange our visas for Vietnam! Which we discovered at about 6:30 in the morning…
But, all turned out well, even if it cost us quite a bit more than we’d hoped for. We found a website that could get us the visa recommendation letter (which you need to be able to buy your visa in Vietnam) within 2 hours with their ultra urgent service (of course for an ultra urgent price). I guess it happens more often that people need a visa at the last moment… We got to the airport in time and about 2 minutes before boarding we booked the first hotel that came up in booking.com when searching Hanoi. It turned out to be another lucky shot. The Rising Dragon Villa Hotel in the Old Quarter is actually really nice, with a great breakfast in the morning and friendly staff. They even upgraded us to a family room free of charge. So now we’re out and about discovering Hanoi and planning our next moves in Vietnam. Again, we have no plan, only a plane ticket to KL on October 10th. But we’ll talk about that more later. With Jace running around we don’t have as much time to update our blog as we would like and we have so much more to talk about, but at least the story of where we are is now up to date again 🙂