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

Ad: 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Việtnam

Opening hours: 7.00AM – 10.30AM

Tel: +84 9889892298

Bali Zero Plastic Movement

Makha Bucha Day

Makha Bucha Day is a Buddhist holiday celebrated in Thailand. It is based on the Buddhist Lunar Calendar and comes in February or March on the Gregorian Calendar. The celebration is held during the third lunar month of the year (which will be held on 19th February this year) because Buddha is said to have delivered certain of his teachings at this time.

 

What does Makha Bucha mean?

Where does the name for the Makha Bucha Day holiday come from? Well, the Buddhist calendar traditionally used in Thailand is a lunar one, and the third lunar month is known in Thai as ‘makha’.

The term ‘makha’ in turn comes from the word ‘Magha’ in Pali, the sacred language of the religious texts of the Theravada strand of Buddhism most widely practised in Thailand. Meanwhile, ‘bucha’ is a Thai word – once again deriving from the Pali language, this time from the word Puja – which means ‘to venerate’ or ‘to honour’.

Therefore, the term Makha Bucha is taken to refer to a day intended for honouring the third lunar month and, in particular, the Buddha and the teachings that he delivered on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month. Note that in a leap year, Makha Bucha Day may instead be held on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month.

How is Makha Bucha Day celebrated in Thailand?

As well as Thailand, Makha Bucha Day is celebrated in other countries including Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. It first came to be celebrated in modern-day Thailand during the reign of King Rama IV, first observed only in the ground of the royal palace and later becoming more widely recognised nationally and finally introduced as a Thai public holiday.

As is common on all manner of Buddhist holidays in Thailand, it is common for Thai Buddhists to visit their local temple to make merit on Makha Bucha Day. While at the temple, they might also listen to Buddhist teachings, give alms to monks, recite Buddhist scriptures, and participate in the evening candlelight processions around the ordination hall that are held by many temples.

If you want to get your own insight into local celebrations of Makha Bucha Day in Thailand, simply stop by the local temple closest to wherever you are staying in Bangkok or elsewhere. Most will be happy to welcome inquisitive souls and to let you observe – or even participate in – processions and other activities to mark the holiday.

 

Source: expique
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Tips to enjoy Nyepi Day in Bali

 

Nyepi or Silence Day is a very unique holiday that you will only find on Bali and its neighboring islands Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. Its purpose is to celebrate the Balinese New Year. Since Balinese people follow a different calendar system, and this year Nyepi (Silence Day) takes place on March 7, 2019.

Despite of all the rules to be followed, such as wandering restriction around outside of your house, and not to be seen or heard, The Silence Day is a unique experience you could try and enjoy during your stay in Bali. With some useful tips below, your Nyepi experience will be fun and memorable.

1. Plan your arrival; Ngurah Rai International Airport is perhaps the only international airport in the world that totally ceases its operations for a full 24 hours every year. Due to the closure, all flights both arriving and departing from the airport will be inoperable. It’s always a good idea to plan your flights in or out to avoid the actual Nyepi date. In other words, arrive early – perhaps in time to watch the lively parades of Nyepi Eve!

 

2. Find yourself a nice accommodation, with a swimming pool, to enjoy the tropical climate even on Silent Day. Hotels in Bali are well geared up to offer their guests the best experiences during Nyepi, which basically confines them to their resort grounds, as traveling is one of the restricted rules during Nyepi Day.

 

3. Ogoh-ogoh Parade, a cultural highlight you don’t want to miss. The evening before Nyepi each village will have a huge parade presenting large artfully crafted monsters, made from bamboo and recycled paper, called Ogoh-Ogoh. They will be carried through the streets, accompanied by traditional music and mostly even a performance act. It is really impressive watching this cultural Highlight.

 

4. Stock up snacks & DVD. Visitors are exempt from the Nyepi restriction of lighting fire (for cooking – as long as the light and fire is not visible from outside your room or villa), so it’s okay to stock up on snacks or food for your kitchenette. The same goes for in-room entertainment such as DVDs (entertainment and other luxuries are also restricted among the Balinese during Nyepi). The local government has pushed for TV stations to cease broadcasting over Bali’s airwaves over Nyepi. Your hotel’s satellite channels will mostly remain available, including internet and Wi-Fi.

 

5. Book a full spa treatment. Nyepi is a great opportunity to make good use of its silence and seclusion, so why not spend some quality spa time with a full-day treatment? It’s a perfect time to reflect, reconnect and truly unwind.

 

6. Stargazing. Despite, having a relaxed day and just enjoying doing nothing, you will see the most amazing night sky during Nyepi Day. Since every place is supposed to shut down the lights, you will be able to see a million stars!

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Travel Tips to South East Asia

Planning a holiday all the way to South East Asia might be an exciting thing to do in your vacation agenda. But what if you have never been to Asia before? What things you should be preparing for an excellent journey to Asia?
Here we share some tips for everyone who will travel to South East Asia:

1. Essential Documents
Prepare your passport and its digital copy. Some countries are free visa entry, some will apply Visa on Arrival. Don’t forget to check the immigration information in advance, for every country you will be visiting. If it needs visa in advance, you can arrange it in your home country.

2. Travel Duration
If it’s your first time to South East Asia, my tips is: don’t rush! Many traveler choose to travel fast in order to fulfill their bucket list in such a limited time. 1 night here, 1 night there, and then cross the border to the next country. It’s exhausting, besides you could not get enough experience of the places you are visiting. Spend at least 3 nights in each city to know more about the area, the culture, the local life, and the culinary. Because traveling is not about how many places, but it’s about how much experience you get during the journey.

3. Eat like locals
Want to experience an absolute travel? Try the local street foods! South East Asia is so famous with its street foods. Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, you name it. All of them have their own authentic street foods to offer. Almost in every city, there’s a street foods market, both day and night. Make sure you do at least once, roaming around the packed night market and eat the local foods in one of the stall. I’m sure you will not end up with 1x visit only!

4. Drink from the bottle
To avoid any bacteria or germs infecting your liver, try to drink only from a sealed bottled drink.
We don’t say that South East Asia is dirty and has a high risk of diarrhea, but the different climate between Northern hemisphere and the South East Asia could also be the main factor your body immune needs to deal with. And if you are not in your peak performance, the risk of getting sick from any germs is still possible to happen. So protect yourself.

5. Light packing
Traveling to the tropical South East Asia doesn’t require any of bulky outfits. As the weather is relatively warm all year long, light clothes would much work for entire occasion. T-shirt, casual shirt, short, light dress, and sandals are the essential, plus a sun glasses. Only in the rainy season you might need a hat or umbrella. But if you are a kind of who love to dance in the rain, you probably don’t mind to get a bit wet. In some areas of SEA there’s winter season (like in Hanoi), but the winter in SEA is still relatively warm for the people from Northern hemisphere. It’s around 14-20’c.

6. Join in at least one cultural exchange activity.
By joining in an activity that has some culture activities to offer, you will get a new unforgettable experience during your travel. For example visit a farmer’s house, traditional market, join in an art workshop, lunch with the royal family in the formerly palace (in Bali), join in one hour teaching at the local school, farming with local farmers, and etc.