Betcha Bye BALI Wow

After a grueling 2-week, work-related trips around Central Thailand and Java in Indonesia, I spent my then untouched annual leave in Bali.  My original plan was to go to Jeju Island in Korea but I wasn’t sure if my body was ready for a winter-y holiday so I ended up doing a 6-day staycation in the famed Indonesia island getaway.

So what did I do during that almost one week trip in Bali? Here is a rundown:

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1. Chased some sunset, surfed, and strolled along the beach. I stayed around the Kuta Beach and Seminyak Beach areas so a splendid sunset view is a regular. Plus, these beaches have waves one can’t resist to ride so surfing is a good option to do. Also, you can go to Padang-Padang Beach, a famous small beach on the way to Uluwatu temples. It is one of those places Julia Roberts filmed in the movie Eat, Pray, Love.

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2. Went nature-tripping in Ubud. Perhaps the best place to relax — the greenery, the gimmickry (think giant swings, infinite pools in the middle of forests, photogenic picture taking corners), and some friendly primates make Ubud a must visit.

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3. Jaw-dropping seascape of Nusa Penida island. From the very scenic Broken Beach to the uber-mesmerizing Kelingking Beach, this island’s wonders shouldn’t be missed. I wish I stayed longer in this island as it seems to have more to offer.

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4. Bali, predominantly Hindu in religion, is filled with temples. Some of which are found near beaches, and cliffs adding beauty to seaside views. I really didn’t explore much of the other well-known temples of Bali as I had an overdose of these structures during my 1-week Thailand trip. I only managed to see Uluwatu and Tanah Lot – perhaps 2 of the most frequented temples in the island.

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5. Experience Balinese culture at the GWK (Garuda Wisnu Kencana) Cultural Park, a cultural park about 10–15 minutes driving from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. It is devoted to the Hindu god Vishnu, and his mount, Garuda, the mythical bird who became his companion. Thanks to a very generous and kind local I met at the Jakarta airport, Sir Gunawan (an architect of the park) who invited and have shown me the beauty and vastness of this place.

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6. Lastly, probably the best thing I did in Bali — sleep and just laze around (doing nothing), and at times, spend some lovely time by the pool. Accommodation in Bali are some of the cheapest yet they have very comfortable, beautifully adorned rooms and relaxing pools!

So there… I may not have totally fallen in love with Bali, but I still enjoyed my relaxing and not so tight (in terms of itinerary) schedule. Maybe the next time I visit the island, the company of friends and loved ones would add more delight. Take it easy. Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust.

Travel Memorabilia

Hello friends! It has been more than a month the last time I have made an entry here. I just came from yet another pretty tiresome, but definitely fun-filled series of travels. I will try to post some of these recent adventures sometime soon. In the meantime, here is a short sharing of what I love to buy and bring home during travel.

Traveling is a very rewarding experience. After a trip, one goes home with innumerable mementos — from incomparable life lessons to new found friends, to of course uncountable photographs, and memories to cherish a lifetime.

Aside from these, I have also developed a habit of bringing home a physical memorabilia that comes in different forms. Before, I would make sure I get to buy at least a keychain or a fridge magnet as a souvenir from my trip.

Today, i have gone beyond these usual stuff. Whenever I go on a travel, I alot a certain amount of my money to buy some of the things I personally collect. Some of these include miniature building decors/displays like an Eiffel Tower from France, a Burf Khalifa and Burj Al Arab from my Dubai travel or a Milad Tower I bought in Iran from a recent trip and many more.

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Also, I make sure that I have a paper bill and some coins to spare for my currency collection. Some of my friends actually like these as my pasalubong to them since some of them also have this kind of colkection. I happen to collect also Starbucks tumblers and diecast planes. I am even starting to collect some books and dolls unique to a certain place I have visited. And lastly, I also bring home some paintings which I plan to use as wall decors when my dream of putting up my own cafe comes into fruition.

I know these are just material mementos and the memories that go with the travel are still far more important. Nonetheless, it feels good to see tangible reminders as to how awesome one particular trip was.

 

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Borobudur & Prambanan: Indonesia’s Soul

Yogyakarta (often called “Jogja or Yogya”) is a city on the island of Java known for its beyond visible traditional arts, cultural and intellectual heritage – hence being regarded as Indonesia’s “soul”.

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This special region of Indonesia is sternly independent and protecting of its customs, and still headed by its sultan, whose Kraton (a royal palace) remains the center of traditional life, despite Yogya being a large urban centre – making it one of Indonesia’s most liveable (and lovable) city!

What makes it more lovable? Yogyakarta is home to two of Indonesia’s most important archaeological sites, Borobudur and Prambanan!

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Set amongst dewy, forest-clad hills near the city of Yogyakarta is a structure built in about 800AD. Borobudur is regarded as one of the world’s most extraordinary temples. It is made up of 72 stupas — mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics, typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns) each containing a Buddha figure. I have to say that this is the ultimate splendor of this important sacred monument.

A succession of five square bases is thriven by three circular terraces with the 72 stupas around it. It is said that these signifies the transcendent passage from the life of desire, by way of meditation to Enlightenment. If the temple is viewed from atop, it looks like a lotus flower. (Too bad I don’t have a drone camera to capture such).

Today, Borobudur whose landscape is dominated by the Gunung Merapi Volcano is a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site.

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Aside from Borobudur, another noteworthy UNESCO World Heritage Site is the 9th and 10th century Hindu complex of Prambanan. Prambanan is a temple devoted to Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma.

The main temple of Prambanan measures over 150 feet tall. Its towers appear to be neck crane-like with very elaborate reliefs. Some tourists say that Prambanan is reminiscent of Angkor Wat in Cambodia (which I have yet to see). Being one of the largest Hindu temples in the entire Southeast Asia, this temple is a must-see. And if you will ask me which between Borobudur and Prambanan I like better, I’d say – the later.

Things to take note of:
• Borobudur is open 6am-5pm, admission 75,000 Rp, but you can gain earlier access with a “sunrise ticket”, available through your hotel or a package tour.
• You may or may not have a local guide within the temple (costs around Rp75,000).
• Prambanan is also open 6am-5pm, admission is same with Borobudur.
• Make sure to wear something decent.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. take it easy ebri’juan’…

Bintan Resorts (Indonesia)

The beach is always a happy place for me – sunny or cloudy. The feel of basking along white sand dotted shores, the smell (and taste) of saline air and sea water can turn everything amusing.

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Bintan Island or Negeri Segantang Lada is an island in the Riau archipelago of Indonesia, known for its beaches and resorts. It is a frequented vacation spot for foreigners coming to Indonesia (well, besides the more famous Bali). Being in close proximity with Singapore, travelers en route the Lion City would usually consider visiting Bintan.

Two beach resorts I got to visit are LaGoi Bay, a seaside destination at the northern part of Bintan facing the Singapore Strait, and Nirwana Gardens found on the north-west coast of the island. Both of which are speckled with white sand beaches. the Nirwana Gardens in the north-west coast of the island of Bintan.

 

LaGoi Bay is considered as one of the key tropical beach resort encompassing residential and commercial properties that sprawl over 1,300 hectares on this Indonesian island.
The beach itself is wide and clean. It reminds me of Cagbalete and Tondol Beach in the Philippines. The ripple effect on the sand during low-tide is an added charm. There are colorful umbrellas one may opt to rent along the shoreline, especially when the sun becomes pretty warm. The place looks really ideal for family picnic and gatherings. I also admire how clean the provided rest rooms are.

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The vicinity of LaGoi Bay also houses a hotel and several commercial establishments (shopping center). There is even a lake that is surrounded by a golf course that contributes to the tranquil vibe of the place.

Nirwana Gardens, on the other hand, offers its visitors a handful of beach activities, a mini zoo (where I got to see some big iguanas), natural forests,  and various recreational facilities. I personally like this small area along the beach where there are pine – like trees and large rocks found (and lots of squirrels playing). I was told that real Sumatran elephants roam the beach area too (unfortunately, they weren’t there then).

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Several restaurants that offer Japanese and Thai cuisines, a coffee shop that serves Indonesian and  International  popular dishes, are also found within the garden resort. Furthermore, they also have a facilities that may be used for office meetings, conventions and event life events like weddings and birthdays.


How to Get There: Once in Singapore, take the ferry from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) and reach Bintan’s Bandar BentanTelani Terminal in 45 minutes to an hour. Get a local taxi that will take you to either LaGoi Bay or Nirwana Garden Resorts. The closest international airports are that of Singapore’s Changi Airport and the New Bintan Resorts International. The Hang Nadim Airport in Batam and the Raja Haji Fisabilillah Airport on Bintan Island may also serve domestic travelers.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.