The Indonesian archipelago stretches from the Asian
mainland all the way to Australia. Our traveller, Shilpa
Mehta explores just two contrasting islands of the thirteen
thousand that make up Indonesia Bali
Starting in Bali, Shilpa arrives in Kuta.
She meets an Australian who came to visit in 1974 and
never went home. She then checks out Kutas beautiful
beach, and has a go at surfing, before relaxing with
a massage from Kutas world famous massage ladies.
From Kuta, Shilpa travels by bus to
the artists village, Ubud, where she has a meal
in a warung, an Indonesian café. She also visits
the rice fields. Bali is renowned for its extraordinary
rice terraces and the ones around Ubud are among its
most spectacular. Shilpa tries her hand at mask making
and learns how important masks are to Hindu sacred stories.
Not far from Ubud is the volcano of Gunung Batur.
Shilpa climbs Gunung Batur with a guide, cooking breakfast
in a volcanic geyser on the way. They catch an amazing
sunrise. Heading onto Lovina on the
North coast, Shilpa joins tourists hoping to catch a
glimpse of dolphins swimming.
Before leaving Bali, Shilpa attends the New
Year festival. She helps with preparations
for the festival where the bad spirits from the old
year are scared away, and good luck is ushered in with
From Bali, Shilpa catches a cheap flight to the strangely
shaped island of Sulawesi. She explores
the southern province starting in the capital city of
Ujung Pandang, which is the gateway to the Spice Islands.
After the tranquillity of Bali, Sulawesi is rather different
and there are many reminders that this is a Muslim country.
At the port Shilpa works up an appetite shifting flour
before hooking up with some local girls who guide her
through the bewildering choice of food on offer at the
Shilpa takes a bus to Rantepao in the
region of Torajaland, following an
inland route that reveals some spectacular scenery along
the way. After a ten-hour journey, she finally arrives
in Torajaland and heads for Rantepaos noisy market
where she is offered all manner of delicacies. She discovers
the traditional houses of the Torajans,
which are shaped like a boat, a reminder to them of
the craft that brought these people and their unique
traditions from Vietnam centuries ago.
Shilpa then takes a two day trek in order to attend
a Torajan funeral. The family of the
deceased keep their dead at home for over a year until
they have saved up enough for a big funeral which lasts
for three or four days. Shilpa arrives just in time
for the culmination of this amazing ceremony, which
involves the killing of several water buffalo and the
burying of the body in a cliff face.