“Our happiest moments as travelers always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”As one of the easiest active volcano treks, Mount Bromo is one of the most popular volcanic attractions in the country, for individuals and families alike. Especially when compared to other volcano climbs in Indonesia, this particular trek feels like child’s play. Half of it is done on horseback (you can obviously walk if you prefer), and the other half involves climbing a long flight of steps that takes you right to the rim of the crater. This is where you can see (and smell) the sulfur from the lake in the crater, and watch the deadly fumes emanate in the sky.
Mount Rinjani is the flag-bearer of Lombok’s tourism. I had picked a 3D2N tour from Ecco Tours –Wayan Nate. He was of terrific help on the night I reached Lombok and was always available in case of a trouble during my trip. It was an early start on the first day to the base camp which is a 2 hrs drive from Sengiggi. There are two start points to the trek, Senaru and Sembalun. Ours started from Sembalun, which houses the official Rinjani Information Centre.The initial part of the ascent is more of walking and you will come across many groups on your way. August is a busy month for trekking Rinjani. It is important that you are trained for ascending non-stop so that you are not stranded while panting. The climb until lunch is not too strenuous and the break is important to regroup since the next fraction of the trek only stops when you reach the crater which is your camping spot for the night. This part will be very challenging but the very first sight you catch of the mighty Rinjani – you will be smitten! Reaching the crater, you are in awe of being above the clouds. The Rinjani range on one side and the calm Segara Anak lake on the other. Catch the sunset here while preparing the camp; we call it a night at 7PM. Be warned that the temperatures sink as night dawns and the winds will not let you sleep. But hey, how often do you get to sleep under the stars aka bintang!?“Hello” says our guide at 2:30AM, it is super chilly in the tent. Getting in the open will require multiple layers from head to toe. After a quick tea, we make our way. The first look towards the summit and you realise you are under an endless blanket of stars, it is a moment to behold. The moon shines bright as we make our way over the notorious volcanic rocks under torch lights. In the first 30 minutes of the climb, I wanted to give up. But my guide dragged me on and I am indebted to him for that. Slow climbs and the horizon starts turning crimson. I was now gritty to pick up speed and catch the sunrise at the summit. I catch the sun rising while still climbing and the summit is still about 1.5 kms away. I have to get to the top; I push myself at snail’s speed against the slayer winds while many who have summit make their way down. Later, somewhere around 500m to the summit, my guide says that time is short and we need to descend. It aches even now that I could not summit but that moment was everything I could have wanted. Being at that windy altitude with the sun and the moon in concert above you over that deadly rock face was nothing short of a feat. That’s when Rinjani thought me (a go-getter) to lose over its might!Back at the base camp, we wind up the tents and descend for the hot springs. Passing by the calm Segara Anak lake; the hot springs are a must visit, to relax and loosen those muscles after all that hiking. Some groups camp/ swim around the lake. It is a pretty spot to capture the landscape surrounding baby volcano Mt. Barujari.
Barong dance narrates the story of fighting between evil and good. The masks used are considered sacred items, and before they are brought out, a priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with holy water taken from Mount Agung, and offerings must be presented. If you're keen to learn more about the culture and beliefs of bali, you can make a trip down Obyek Wisata Budaya Sahadewa for this 1 hour show. The ticket will cost you around Rp 100,000
Ayo Ke Bukit Lawang
The main draw to Sumatra for me was the Orang-utans. Gunung Leuser National Park is the native habitat of the Sumatran Orang-utan and Bukit Lawang is a small tourist village at the park’s entrance. Located by a rapid river, the village is home to smiling faces of travellers and locals. There is a feeding platform that tourists can visit twice a day to watch the rangers feed the semi-wild orang-utans. Most people come here to trek in the jungle, for 1-3 days. The trekking service is slightly pricey but among the best I’ve seen. The prices are fixed and set by the park, and it covers the cost of hiring a guide (compulsory), food and camping overnight with the option of travelling back on a local rubber raft made of inflated tubes tied together. Loads of fun!
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”Tangkuban Perahu literally translates to “upturned boat”, which also describes the unusual shape of this volcano. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions near Bandung, with 3 craters accessible by car or foot.The most popular one – Queen’s crater, is the only crater in Indonesia where one can drive up, right to the rim of the crater and observe the sulfur fumes. In my opinion, regular volcano trekkers might not be very enthused by this. I was not too impressed myself. After all, it looks like any other crater in Indonesia, that too with a not so turquoise sulfur lake.
It takes about an hour to drive to the lovely little beach of Padang Padang in Pecatu from the mouth of hell. As you leave Jimbaran and follow the signs to Uluwatu, the road starts to transform in a building site. Half-started development upon development sit next to garish plastic billboards and giant signs promise a tourists' mecca to come. The beach itself is gorgeous. Yellow sands, bright blue turquoise seas that I haven't seen since Thailand. (Most shallow water looks quite dark here as many of the beaches are a dark volcanic sand). Maybe it's the high concentration of surfers nestled in the waves and in the seated crowd lining the shore, but the vibe here is quite relaxed, there's something a bit Thai, maybe even a bit North Devonshire about it. The walk down the steep cliff steps and the long, right peeling break flowing smoothly does seem to add to it. The green back roads coming up to Padang Padang remind me of Woolacombe, North Devon. As you climb the hill, the air becomes cooler underneath pockets of shade from the trees along the road and the lack of traffic hints at the undisturbed countryside. The trees are guarding the roadside and pavements have been abolished! Fresher air, fewer cars and great big coaches clogging up small roads- distinctly Devon!
"So this is the place I should have been for the last two months", was my first thought as I wound my way through a sexily curved hill. Padang Bai is a small, annexed fishing village with a little bay, a secret white sand beach (that's the beach's actual name) a few warungs and guest houses and some deep emerald hills directly behind. Despite its' fishy orientation there's a freshness there that is missing in South Bali. It's the lack of bike fumes and rubbish. Most people pass through on their way to get their rocks off on Gilli-T. Big mistake, this place gets my vibe.
Lake Batur is the widest lake in this island. It lies next to an active volcano. You can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the lake along with the hot spring by the lake. To capture the glorious sunrise overlooking the lake, you can even opt for a sunrise trekking tour on Mount Batur. Engage in the spiritual mountains while attaining peace amid lush green tress, wide lakes and cold atmosphere.
Legian Beach adjoins the Kuta Beach and is another popular beach in the Legian Area. The area is bustling with exotic luxury hotels, street shopping, wall art, handicrafts and paintings, local cuisine restaurants and beach wear. Time to tingle your taste buds by trying out some Indonesian Cuisines here.3. Nusa Dua Beach - Breathtaking Coastline
Its one of the most favourite tourist destination. It has a magnificent view of the Mount Batur, which is still an active volcano and serene calm lake batur flowing down the lane. The temperature here is at least 15 degree less than the temperature of bali. We were fortunate to witness a mesmerizing sight of both rain and sun at the same time during our visit. You may just choose a restaurant with a view of Kintamani to sip a coffee or get high over a few bottles of local Lemon flavored "Bintang" beer.Although we didn’t go ahead for a trek, but for those who love to do it, can actually trek over mount Batur. It is a 2 hour trek to see the sunrise, and the rays creating those sprinkle of diamond dust look on the lake.
Jimbaran is a small town in South Bali which is 11.4 km from Kuta. The Jimbaran beach area is one of the best areas to explore walking. The beach is calm and best suited for swimming. The south end stretch of the beach is quiet and pleasant. The enchanting hold of this place on you grows stronger at sunset. As the sun lowers, you will be content just gazing at its beauty. Make sure you don’t miss it. You may even treat yourself to a soothing massage at Ayana Spa. Treatments usually include sugar scrubs, body wraps, aroma-therapy and reflexology and these are the ones you should indulge in.
Nusa Penida Island
JUNE: skip Java, go straight down to Bali at Nusa Penida Unveiling the wonders of the small islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida, off the eastern coast ofBali, the Nusa Penida Festival will be held on 2nd to 5th June 2014. Presented by the Regency of Klungkung through its Tourism and Culture Office, the festival will be centered at the Nusa Lembongan Island and will involve all the villages of the district. Scheduled to be held for four consecutive days, the festival will feature all the distinct cultural attractions and handicrafts of the islands which are rarely presented to public. Among these are the art of Sanghyang Gerodog which is an authentic performance of Nusa Lembongan. The art of Sanghyang Gerodog was thought to have been lost for over 32 years before it was revived about two years ago. Sanghyang Gerodog was originally performed for a full month period featuring 100 types of Sanghyang including Sanghyang dedari, Sanghyang Penyalin, and more. The video below showcase one of the use of the Sanghyang Gerodog ritual to heal ailment in human bodies and nature. From mid June to mid July, the best place to be is in Jakarta. June 22nd is the official birthday of this capitol city, and the governor prepared plenty of culture events and activities around. From the Betawi Art festival, Jakarnaval, Jakarta Culinary festival, including Jakarta Great Sale.
Lot of amazing cafes, restaurants, Bars & night club..!! Fantastic Shopping.. Very lively place in South Bali! While diving I met a girl from Swiss who was working in China. Apparently she became my Diving buddy! After we finished Diving, we planned our trip ahead to Seminyak.. We made more friends enroute.. Friends from Philippines.. We visited Tanah Lot as it is considered to be one of the most beautiful sunset points in Bali! Since it was our last day and we did not know when would we meet next.. We went partying at Potato Head Beach Club! It would be one of the best located clubs with an infinity pool facing the sea! It was just one of the best trips of my life..! I miss Bali..!
Ubud is 40 km from Batur and is said to be a cultural capital of Bali. Ubud enjoys cooler temperatures than the coast. It once served as the major source of medicinal herbs and the healing tradition in still deeply ingrained in the people here. If you are looking for beads, Buddha, barong and Balinese traditional carvings, silver jewelry, pearls, handmade leather bags, Batik scarves and pashminas, Jalan Raya Ubud is the place for you. You will get some of the best deals here. The culturally rich vibe of this area is waiting to entrap you. The traditional market is from 5am until 9am. Spend some time relaxing at Bali Botanical Day Spa with a range of revitalizing treats. At night retreat to Oka Wati’s Homestay which has been sheltering tourists since 1980. Once you are here, you know you are in the right place away from all the noise. Spend a quiet night here in the middle of Ubud in the rustic charm of this house.