It was so nice to dive into Java’s culture
Marlous and Albert Stam travelled this summer around the Indonesian island of Java, together with their two kids (age 9 and 12) They ended their holiday with a week on the tropical island Gili Air. They created their perfect itinerary together together with Emile, our local travel agent in Indonesia. “The kids also loved Java.”
Marlous’ parents are both originally from Java. When Marlous and Albert were thinking about their next travel destination, Indonesia was a natural choice. “I really wanted to get to know Java this time,” says Marlous. “Also for our kids’ sake, since they’re half Indonesian.”
Marlous and Albert found Better Places online and were immediately drawn to the sample itinerary for Java. “We then got in touch with with Emile, and he tailored the trip completely to our wishes,” says Albert. “Better Places was an immediate fit for us. The personal approach gave us the opportunity to make the journey exactly as we had in mind. We really wanted to experience Java, we preferred not to stay in big hotels and we wanted a good mix between seeing a lot and relaxing. This was extra important as we were travelling with kids. Emile listened to our wishes and created a great trip itinerary.”
Journey to Java with kids
Marlous and Albert were initially a little anxious about travelling with kids in Java. The travel days might be quite long and the culture on Java is very different. “But everything went fine,” says Albert. “We had our own driver, who knew Java like the back of his hand and he was very good with the kids. He proposed things that he thought Nila and Ilan would like. For example, he suggested to go body rafting in the river and they found it amazing. He also took us to the fish market in Pangandaran and that became one of the highlights of our trip. He obviously speaks the language and he could help us to choose the best dishes. We sat there between the locals, eating delicious food with our hands. A great experience.”
The highlights of our Java trip
Another highlight of the Java trip was the small-scale hotel near Borobudur, in the rice fields. The family made a wonderful cycle tour to the temple complex with a local guide. In addition, the becak tour at Pangandaran was a highlight. “With a local guide and four becak drivers we drove through the campong,” says Albert. “We visited local workshops, such as a palm-sugar farmer and tempé maker. For Marlous, this brought back many memories.” Marlous: “We also did a nice cooking workshop in Yogyakarta. I learned to cook Indonesian from my grandmother and mother and it was nice to see how they approach various dishes differently. The course was held in a homestay and we also got a good insight into everyday life on Java.”
Relaxing at Gili Air
The family also really enjoyed their week at Gili Air at the end of their Indonesia trip. “We slept in a small-scale hotel and the atmosphere was wonderfully relaxed,” says Albert. “It was truly a great, varied journey, with a mix of culture, beach and nature. For the children it was a wonderful adventure and it was nice to see how they experienced the differences between the Netherlands and Java. Especially when they met children of their own age and saw how different they live. We feel like we’ve really dived into Java’s culture. Partly thanks to our driver and local guides we learned a lot about the island.”
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