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A handful of tickets, 3 EINDHOVEN (THE NETHERLANDS) - Whether it's in Bali, Sulawesi or Java, you will get tickets for everything, everywhere. Most of them end up in the trash can - or on the street for that matter - right away, but some of them are worth while keeping as a memory to places you have ever been. Maybe it's not important to remember whether you have been there, but maybe it's more important when you were there.

I recognize that is my biggest problem, remembering when I was somewhere. I have loads of memories from Indonesia and most of them I can place in a small period, or at most a year can be assigned to the memory, but if you ask me whether it was the end of April or early May... I will have to think long and hard or just look for my tickets again.

This time some flashbacks from different times, one is from last year, another one from 2004, and one is as old as 1999, when I visited Indonesia for the first time. Back then I even kept the ticket I got when I went to the toilet in Blok M Plaza. Nowadays I obviously only keep some important entrance tickets, even most of my plane tickets I don't keep too long as well.

Entrance ticket to the GWK cultural park near Jimbaran in south Bali.
Entrance ticket to the GWK cultural park near Jimbaran in south Bali.

Ticket to the GWK Cultural Park in Bali.

On the tourist island of Bali, there are many temples, malls and mountains to visit, but sometimes you can get enough of the same temples, malls and mountains and you want to do something completely different. Then it's time to visit the Bali Cultural Park, GWK (Garuda Wisnu Kencana), which is located just outside Nusa Dua, on the southern peninsula of the island. To get there take the main road to Uluwatu (Jl. Uluwatu) and follow the signs along the road.

The area itself comprises a huge statue of the Hindu god Vishnu, paths with many stairs, some open fields with green grass, limestone 'pilars' and other places where you can relax in the shadow of the huge limestone walls. When walking around on a weekend day it will be a crowded place. The hot sun will burn you in minutes, especially when the light limestone reflects most of the sunlight again.

The park has shops where you can buy a drink, they have soft-drinks and local drinks like es dawet. Don't expect prices to be standard, they are not. It is highly recommended to buy or bring a lot of water. Because of all the walking you have to do when you want to see the statue up close and personal, or if you want to enjoy the view over the peninsula, the airport and the tourist areas.

Because the park is located on - rather inside - a limestone hill, the high pillars that were not mined, give shelter to the hot sun and maybe the wind if there is any. Walking around the park offers you some great views over different parts of the southern peninsula. Not only can you see the crowded tourist locations, but also the more quiet extreme southern part of the island and parts of Selat Lombok (Lombok Strait) as well.

As with most tourist spots, whether they are visited mostly by Indonesian (tourists) or by foreigners, expect Saturday and especially Sunday to be the most crowded days of the week. Of course you can get in, but don't expect to have a clear view everywhere. Additionally, school classes visit tourist objects often in the weekend. If you are bothered by that, visit this - and other attractions - on the five other days of the week.

Entrance ticket for the Paotere harbor in Makassar.
Entrance ticket for the Paotere harbor in Makassar.

Ticket for the Paotere harbor in Makassar.

In the heart of Makassar - formerly known as Ujung Pandang, in Southwest Sulawesi - you can find the old harbor, which is still in use today. Of course the modern ships can't moor there, so there is a new seaport built next to it, to make some place for these big boats. The old harbor however, is open to public and can be visited easily.

Right next to the Makassar Chinatown, at a strip of just several dozens of meters between the coastline and Chinatown itself is the small harbor. The original entrance, from Chinatown, is closed by a big gate and the road to it is by far not big enough to be used for trucks and other big means of transport. The nowadays entrance is a little more south. For just a few cents per person (Rp 500, about 0,05 euro) and a little more for a car (Rp 2.000, about 0,18 euro) you can enter the harbor and take a look around.

When you are inside you will notice the big pinisi (schooner) boats. The mostly white boats are lined up to be unloaded or loaded with goods with many destinations in the archipelago. The atmosphere here is one of the old ages, unloading goes mainly manually, bag by bag, piece by piece. Even the bags of cement that were brought in when I was there were simply unloaded by hand. A handful of people walked up and down the wobbling wooden beam to bring the bags ashore.

At another boat, people were having a break. Maybe they look tough, but if you ask them friendly, they are glad to let you on board for a few minutes to have a look around. Outside the fact that it's a pinisi you are on, this is just a normal cargoship, so don't expect much to see in the cargo area or elsewhere on the ship. Maybe the best view you get is from a small distance, with several pinisi lined up.

Don't expect this harbor to be a tourist destination. It's not. You can't buy drinks and snacks here and the people who are in the harbor are just working there. Feel free to ask around if you can get onto one of these boats. Most people don't mind you walking around when they are having a break, but business is business so don't disturb them when they are (un)loading their ships. You can view that from a small distance as well they won't be disturbed by that at all.

External link
Mandala Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park

Posted in Travel @ 30 April 2006 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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