Bali Hidden Gems

What is the first thing popped in your mind when you heard a word “Bali”? Most people will say beach. Indeed Bali has beautiful beaches stretch along the island. Not only the white sandy beaches, but also the black ones. But do you know that Bali is not just about the beach?

The island of Bali has many hidden gems spread throughout the island. Rice terraces, forest, volcano, lakes, rivers, caves, canyon, you name it. The good thing is most of those places are still less exposed by many tourists. You still can enjoy the stream of the river between lush green canyons while you do rafting. Even if you are lucky, you can see one or two apes hanging on the trees.

Wandering the non-touristy places in Bali is one of my favorite activities during the weekend. I usually go with scooter for faster and easier way to travel around this island. I visited a scenic jogging/walking path on the hill in Ubud, enjoy the view from atop of hill overlooking to the sea in Karangasem, found a hidden waterfall with its blue lagoon, hike Mount Batur on sunrise time, trekking in an uphill village overlooking to the lake, and etc.

Bali is famous with its authentic rice terraces called Subak. Subak is the water management (irrigation) system for paddy fields on Bali Island, which was developed in the 9th century. For the Balinese, irrigation is not simply providing water for the plant’s roots, but water is used to construct a complex, pulsed artificial ecosystem. The famous rice terrace in Bali can be found in Tegalalang, Keliki, and Jatiluwih as a UNESCO world heritage. Make sure you stop by those places to see how Balinese combine art and irrigation system.

Are you an adventure seeker? Try to climb the volcano in Bali. Mount Batur is an option for those who want to witness a stunning sunrise above the cloud, with not so long hike needed. Only require about 2 hours hike to reach the top of Mount Batur on 1.717 meters height above sea level. And prepare yourself for the golden sun rising slowly from behind the sea of cloud. You also can spot Mount Rinjani in Lombok at the far east. Want to try the higher level of hike? Then you should hike Mount Agung, the highest one in Bali with 3.031 meters height elevation. Those volcanoes are not only for the strong legs hikers. For people who just want to enjoy the volcano from afar, there are restaurants that offer lunch with the view of this majesty volcano.

Where there’s a volcano, there’s must be a waterfall. And it’s true. Bali has a lot of waterfalls to offer. From the highest one in the midst of forest, until the one situated in the centre of rural villages. Both are worth to visit. And let the cool breeze indulge you while you enjoy the sound of waterfall hit the lagoon underneath.

Talking about the lake, Bali has some lakes with beautiful view surrounding. The famous ones are Lake Batur and Lake Bedugul. Each has their own beauties to capture. While the more secluded one, Lake Tamblingan, lies side by side with Lake Buyan in the midst of Munduk green hills.

I’m sure by now you just can’t wait to come to Bali and explore its secret gems, hidden in the middle of untouched nature. Then just pack your bag and go!

Written by Fransisca Widi

Indonesia Culinary Experience

Visit Indonesia is not only for the beautiful sceneries and cultural richness. It is also about enjoying the delicious culinary experience. You will always captivated by the various kinds of Indonesian foods in every province you visit. Indonesians eat rice as their daily meal, three times a day. Yes, three times. You might be surprise with this and wondering how Indonesian people could eat that such high carbohydrate in the morning. But that’s how we are. Most of us indeed eat a complete big meal with rice in the morning, but there are also people who choose to eat lighter meal on breakfast. The common breakfast menu in Indonesia are Nasi Goreng (Fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodle), Bubur Ayam (chicken porridge), Nasi Uduk (coconut milk rice), or Mie Ayam (chicken noodle). But in some provinces in Indonesia, they also have their own authentic breakfast menu. While eating bread or cereal in the morning is less common for Indonesians, unless the big cities residents.

Nasi Goreng Curry

Talking about lunch, we must agree with the common diet concept of big meal for lunch. And Indonesians know it so well. Even for dinner, we still able to eat rice complete with its ornaments. Lunch and dinner menu could be anything, like rice (of course), sautéed veggies, chicken/beef/fish/eggs, soup, and etc. You must have heard about Beef Rendang. It is one of Indonesian famous foods. It made of beef meat cooked in a thick coconut milk with herbs and chili. It took several hours to cook Rendang to make it soft, tender and juicy. Chicken is another favorite menu as well for Indonesians. In Bali, you can find the famous Ayam Betutu, chicken with fresh chili sambal and several kinds of ornaments to enjoy together. In Jogjakarta, you will find Nasi Gudeg – a mix rice with beef, chicken, egg, sautéed jackfruit, tempe, and sambal – display on a piece of banana leaf as your plate. Nasi Gudeg is slightly sweet. So, if you are afraid of Indonesian sambal (famous with its HOTness), you can try Nasi Gudeg.

Nasi Ayam Betutu Bali

Beef Rendang

Nasi Gudeg

Typically Indonesian Lunch

Indonesians have a motto for daily meal as “4 healthy, 5 perfect”. The 4 Healthy consist of carbohydrates main meal (rice, noodle, potato or bread), Animalic proteins (beef, chicken, fish, or egg), Veggies Vitamins, and Fruits vitamins. And number 5 is for milk. So it means if we could fulfill 4 kinds of those specified foods in our daily life, it’s good for our health and even perfect if we could drink milk as well.

So, got an idea of what food you will try once you are in Indonesia? Don’t think too much, just come and experience it yourself! ☺

Written by Fransisca Widi

Indonesia’s Beautiful Underwater

Indonesia consists of 36% of main land and islands, and 64% of sea. So, besides having a range of beautiful landscapes and volcanoes, Indonesia also has countless water resources and underwater beauties. Not to mention the beautiful beaches stretch along the country, for Indonesia is the biggest archipelago country in the world.

As an Indonesian, I am aware that my country is an epicenter of biodiversity, hosting a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else on earth. Having bunch of dive sites throughout the archipelago, Indonesia provides many kinds of diving style to try. From challenging drift diving, extensive reef diving, amazing night diving, unique muck diving, and stunning steep walls to enjoy. This fact makes me curious of knowing more of the underwater world and decided to take a diving license to explore deeper and longer.

And once I saw how underwater world looks like, I never stop craving for more dives in my life. Since I live in a beautiful Bali island, which surrounded by some popular dives area, I usually go for a dive trip every few months. Tulamben, Amed, Padang Bai, and Menjangan Island are the perfect option for recreational dive as well for beginner divers. For the adventure seekers and big fish lovers, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida Island in Bali or small islands in south west Lombok are the answer. So far, my favorite dive sites are Tulamben with its Ship Wreck and Nusa Penida with its Manta Point. Diving with some Manta Rays surrounds me gives a special sensation and makes me more grateful for a chance to see such a beautiful giant fish yet friendly.

Fransisca dives in Tulamben Coral Garden

When I’m not diving, snorkeling and skin diving are my other water activities. With its pristine water, Bali and Lombok offer the easiest way to enjoy the underwater. You can get in a glass bottom boat, and enjoy the trip to the snorkeling spot by watching the underwater life beneath your feet.

Of course Bali and Lombok are not the only underwater paradise in Indonesia. There are a lot more destinations that have different beauty to offer. East Indonesia is famous with its underwater heaven. From Karimun islands in East Java, Wakatobi islands in Celebes, Mollucas islands, Nusa Tenggara islands, until the famous Raja Ampat in West Papua islands. Not to mention, underwater of Weh island in the very west of Indonesia also surprisingly beautiful. All of them offer you the stunning underwater experience that you will never forget.

Spare your time to enjoy the sea and underwater when you visit Indonesia. If you want to peep a bit of underwater beauty, take a snorkeling tour. By floating with mask and snorkel, you already can see the corals and colorful fish decorating the underwater world. If you are curious what lies down there and want to explore deeper, take a diving lesson to get a license. Or if you only have limited time, join in a Discover Scuba Diving trip. It allows you to dive up to 12 meters without holding the license. And trust me, once you get down there and see the underwater beauty, you will never see the world in the same way you see it before!

 

So, ready to see the other world under the water? Grab your google, snorkel, and fins! And let’s enjoy the underwater heaven of Indonesia.

 

 

Written by Fransisca Widi

A typical drink in Hanoi – “Cà phê Trứng”

As a coffee lover, I have tried to many different kind of coffee all over the world however the best one in my mind and I did not choice any second throughts in my favorist drink list, it is Egg Coffee.

An Egg Coffee ( cà phê trứng) is a Vietnamsese drink which is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, surgar, condensed milk and Robusta coffee. The dink is made by beating egg yolks with sugar and coffee, then extracting the coffee into the half of the cup, followed by a similar amount of egg cream, which is prepared by heating and beating the yolks. The cup is served inside a bowl of hot water to retain its temprature. You can find a noumerouse of coffee when visit Hanoi especially in Oldquater but the most famouse coffee I prefer and would like to recommend is Ca Phe Giang.

It is not a huge café, mordern and fancy like the ones that are popping out the street of Hanoi. You can fell the atmosphere of home and cozy when you are here. It is quite difficulty locating it since the place is hidden small lane on Nguyen Huu Huan Street in the city Old quarter. It is a narrow path getting inside the café. The lights were a bit dim, it was really a family owned café and not really the classy type.

You should really try this Egg coffee at least once in your life. It was a really good experience. Depend on your wish, you can chose either hot coffee or coffee with ice. Ice coffee is very frothy and smooth while hot egg coffeee is tick, creamy and sweet. Why don’t you try at both ?

Although there is a list of another drinks, egg coffee can be calles as the best one and become the best choice for Hanoi street food list. In fact, I can drink few more cups of egg coffee but I don’t want to keep myself a wake during that night!You should really try this egg coffe at least once in there life, it was a really good expereince.

 

Giảng Cà Phê

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