Vegan Luxury in Java
Goodbye Jakarta, Hello Bandung and another stay in a hotel wanting to try their vegan services out on real live vegans (us).
We checked into the Hilton Bandung and made a friend for life in our host Julie from the Marketing and Communications department.
Not only did she organise fabulous vegan food for us at breakfast, lunch and dinner, but she was great company and really interested in our Vegan Food Quest (even though we’ve never known anyone to eat less vegetables than she does!).
Caryl chatting with our new friend, Julie
As it was the end of Ramadam and the beginning of the Idl Fitri public holiday, a lot of Bandung was closed as people were busy visiting their families.
Travel Tip 1
A lot of places in Java close down for Idl Fitri so make plans to visit your favourite destinations another time!
This meant that we have nothing to report back about Bandung, as our time was spent in the hotel, eating – which seems to be one of our favourite pastimes anyway!
Glass of wine and vegan dining at Fresco, Hilton Bandung
When we arrived in Solo (after hours and hours on the train) we came across the same problem; it was like the whole town had gone on holiday. Even worse, after 2 weeks of staying in and reviewing luxury hotels for our mission to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world, we’d temporarily forgotten how to look after ourselves in the real world.
Travel Tip 2
Enjoying some Javanese Vegan Luxury is fine but don’t forget how to live back in the real world!
We were also suffering from a bit of homesickness as news of 2 family bereavements began to sink in. One of the hardest things about long term travel is that you can’t just pop round to see your friends and family and give them a hug when they are sad. On one hand, you have all the freedom in the world when you are travelling, and on the other, some of the simplest and yet most important things are out of reach.
We seemed to spend 2 days wandering around a bit aimlessly. We tried to visit the Batik Museum but they didn’t have an English speaking guide, we went to a little backpacker restaurant which was supposed to have good vegan and vegetarian food and it was awful and a serious contender for the worst food we’ve eaten in our entire 7 months of travel (only pipped to the post by our ‘MSG and rice’ dinner in Mersing, Malaysia).
Sometimes travel is like this
The saving grace of our visit to Solo was finding a Jazz Festival where we had a cheery interlude in our otherwise unmemorable visit.
SoJazz Festival was the highlight in Solo
We also found a cool hawker stall selling ‘Tahu Kupat’ which is a fried tofu salad of raw vegetables and rice cakes in a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. It was really tasty and only cost us about 35p (65c).
Er hello tasty cheap Javanese street food
At least we haven’t lost the ability to eat vegan street food…
Before we knew it, we were off to a wellness retreat to be looked after and fed tons of tasty vegan food again. We had a lovely few days soaking up the relaxing vibes and awesome views at the Mesa Stila Resort. We learnt more about ‘Jamu’ (traditional Indonesian herbal medicine) and tried a lot of different potions created by the nice Mesa Stila jamu lady.
Oh and we ate a lot of vegan Javanese food…
Hurrah for yummy vegan ‘Tahu Pepes’ (Tofu with spices steamed in a banana leaf)
A lovely vegan version of ‘nasi campur’ – an Indonesian national favourite
Veganised Solo Srabi – yummy little pancakes we were very happy to try at Mesa Stila
Next stop: Getting back to the basics of vegan travel in Yogjakarta…