MOUNT BROMO

the magnificent Mt Bromo will not disappoint with its spectacular views and dramatic landscapes. At 2392 meters tall, Mt Bromo is not among the tallest of Indonesia’s mountains but its stunning beauty lies in its incredible setting.

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE

Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist monument and a priceless ancient center for pilgrimage and education in Mahayana Buddhism. The world’s largest Buddhist monument draws pilgrims from around Southeast Asia to a remote hilltop in central Java, surrounded by lush green vegetation and ringed by volcanoes—one of which remains active

GREEN CANYON

Green Canyon, yes, make no mistake it’s not America’s Grand Canyon, but it is Pangandaran’s Green Canyon on the southern coast of West Java. Originallya called “Cukang Taneuh”- the local Sundanese meaning for Soil Bridge- Green Canyon has a 3 meter wide bridge made up of soil above the twin cliffs on both river banks. This natural wonder is surely a spectacular scene that you will not find anywhere else.

UJUNG KULON NATIONAL PARK

This national park, located in the extreme south-western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa.

THE ANAMBAS

Named Asia's Best Tropical Island by CNN.com in 2013 the Anambas islands are indeed a tropical paradise. Located in the South China Sea, the Anambas are among Indonesia's northern-most border archipelagos.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Tanjung Bira

Tanjung Bira Dive Sites Guide Overview


Tanjung Bira is famous with beautiful and pleasant white sand beach. It is clean and neatly organized and its beauty and pleasantness are well known even by foreign countries. Foreign tourists from other countries visit the beach for enjoying their holidays. In the background soar up the "Puang Janggo" mountain with the more than 400 m of height and it can be reach around 40 minute by hiking.

Tanjung Bira Beach is a totally bewitching beach whose white sand is like wheat flour spread along the seashore. You can do activities such as diving, swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. You can also watch the sunset or sunrise in the same position. In addition, the enchantment of Liukkang Beach and Kambing Island located in the trans marine of the beach will amaze you during the visit to the destination.
Bira or Tanjung Bira is the one of tourism and marine tourism in Bulukumba Regency, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Its about 5 - 6 our driver from Makassar the capital city of South Sulawesi. Tanjung Bira is located on the southernmost of South Sulawesi Province. It lies in Bonto Bahari Sub-district, Bulukumba District. It is about 40 km away from Bulukumba city.

Tanjung Bira is famous tourism and marine object both for local and foreign tourist with beautiful and pleasant white sand beach. Facing to the ocean and background soar up the “Puang Janggo” mountain with the more than 400 m of height make this place ideal for visitor stop for holiday and vacation trip in Sulawesi, especially in South Sulawesi. The beauty and comfort of the beach is well known to the world. Foreign tourists from many different countries who visited this place for a vacation.


  
Tanjung Bira is also offers distinguish diving typicality, compared to other dive spots in Indonesia. The type with challenging adventure; under water current, White Tip and Black Tip Sharks swarming around divers. Several dive spots in Bira are highly recommended only for experienced divers though there are also beautiful spots for beginners, those who fancy dives with proper risks especially related to the intensity of current. Bira is one of the place to passively interact with sharks; a rare spot even for Indonesia. 
Beautiful white sand beaches with steep walls are eagerto satisfy your viewing pleasure. The facility here can be considered as adequate, from small inns to two-star hotel and resorts are available along the sandy beaches. You can also go for snorkeling here, in case you`re not in the mood for scuba dive, or perhaps just to walk around through the natural ambience of Bira Beach.

Tanjung Bira has a couple of good spots and some interesting coral formations including a spur at 30 meters that is often surrounded by reef sharks. Maramasa Pinnacles are located to the north of Bira and offer good diving although evidence of dynamite fishing can be seen.


  

Here below the most and the top of Tanjung Bira Dive Sites :

Tanjung Bira.
Typical Composition of this spot is sand, coral and rocks, in about 30m depth you may find regular sharks, rays, barracudas, Nice hard corals and if you lucky even a hammerhead. Also thousands of fish of every color and shape are here including regal/ angelfish, checkerboard wrasse and masked unicorn fish, against a beautiful backdrop of acripora corals, gorgonian fans and sponges.

House Reef Bira.
A nice wall dive to the depth of about 20m. Coral reef on this sites dominant soft rock, lot of lion fishes here, from clearfin, spotless to zebra lion fishes and even the shy twin spotted lion fish. Also nudibranchs and lots of coral reef fishes. Whale Shark and Devil Ray usually passing here. Coral reef fish is Butterfly, Cardinal, Angel, Grouper, Damselfish, Anthias, Batfish, Wrasse, Parrot, Surgeon, Trigger, Box, Puffer, Porcupine.

Stingray Bay.
Best to dive early morning, 2 little sea mounts of around 15m with lots of red corals, anemones, eals, lion fish. Average depth 15 - 20m, bottom contour     Slope, bottom composition sand, coral and rocks, coral reef dominant soft rock.

Pasi Island.
Beautiful coral garden and underwater landscape invite for photo shootings. Average depth 5 - 20m, bottom composition sand, coral and rocks, coral reef fish is Butterfly, Cardinal, Angel, Grouper, Damselfish, Anthias, Batfish, Wrasse, Parrot, Surgeon, Trigger, Box, Puffer, Porcupine. This spot is suitable for beginner.

Liukkang Island.
This spot is one of sites to see sharks, jacks, dogtooth tuna, schools of barracuda and surgeon fish. Average depth 5 - 30m, coral reef dominant is hard rock, bottom contour is slope. This spot is suitable for beginner.

Bira Harbor.
This site is located in front of Bira Harbor with the bottom composition is sand, coral and rocks. Average depth 5 - 25m, there are also wreck can be found here.

East of Tanjung Bira.
A nice wall followed by a slope which turns into the shallows. In the deeper parts (30 - 40m) there are some white tip and gray reef sharks, eagle rays and stingrays. The shallows are quite interesting too, if you take a close look you can find nudibranches and ribbon eels.

West of Tanjung Bira.
This spot offers colorful wall with a sandy bottom at about 10 - 30m. Turtles and lots of reef fish.

Shark point.
This sites lies close to the harbour. You do a driff dive on a slope and sometimes there can be quite a lot of current. A good place for big fish like tunas, trevallies, sharks and cods.

Kambing Island.
Kambing Island is located between Selayar Island (stress the second vocal) and Bira lie two islands. This sites is excellent. You will dive on a wall that drops down to at least 60m. Sometimes there is a lot of current and you have to know when you can dive and when it is better to listen to the boat captain and dive somewhere else. On the dive there were constantly sharks patrolling back and forth white tipped,
black tipped sharks on the wall and nurse sharks at the coral garden that starts from about 15m up. You will very likely to see schoools of hunting mackerels or tunas abd great trevallies as well as groups of bumhead parrotfishes. In the coral garden you might find scorpionfishes, cuttlefish or a octopus and with luck the juvenile zebra batfish. A great place for scuba diving!

Maru Masa.
Typical Composition of this spot is sand, coral and hard rocks, Manta sometime passing here. Some fish can be found here is Trevallies, Snapper, Fusiliers, Sweetlips, Tuna and many more. Average depth 15 - 25m and its also suitable for Beginner. Coral feef fish is Butterfly, Cardinal, Angel, Grouper, Damselfish, Anthias, Batfish, Wrasse, Parrot, Surgeon, Trigger, Box, Puffer, Porcupine.

Black Sands.
As well as our fantastic reefs in Bira we are always exploring new sites around Bira. A longer boat trip of around 2 hours has a some great muck diving in volcanic sand with many rare frogfish, octopus, nudibranchs and critters galore.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

UBUD


Ubud is a remarkable town in the middle of the island of Bali. For more than a century, it has been the island's preeminent centre for fine arts, dance and music. 

While it once was a haven for scruffy backpackers, cosmic seekers, artists and bohemians, Ubud is now a hot spot for literati, glitterati, art collectors and connoisseurs. Famous names walk its busy sidewalks everyday. Elegant five star hotels and sprawling mansions now stand on its outskirts, overlooking the most prized views in Bali. Nonetheless, Ubud is still popular with backpackers, mystics and all the finest fringe elements of global society. Ubud is not "ruined". Its character is too strong to be destroyed. It still draws people who add something; people who are actively involved in art, nature, anthropology, music, dance, architecture, environmentalism, "alternative modalities," and more.


Ubud is arguably the best place to use as a base if you're visiting Bali; if you're looking for culture, comfort, nature and inspiration. Ubud is surrounded by most of the things that bring people to Bali -- scenic rice fields, small villages, art and craft communities, ancient temples, palaces, rivers, cheap accommodation and unique luxury hotels. And it's central location makes it easy to get from Ubud to the mountains, beaches, and major towns.

Why peruse these web pages?
The real Ubud is under the surface. There are plenty of interesting things on the main streets, but most of the magic of Ubud is hidden away. In the backstreets, backwaters, courtyards and cafes. In people's hearts, minds, and dreams. This part of the Bali web site was built to show you how to go behind the facade and find the real Ubud, and the real Bali, without having to spend all your time searching for it. 


There's no point in repeating what's in the guidebooks, so we've tried not to. If you're interested in Ubud, there are at least a dozen guidebooks on Bali available and they all provide information on Ubud. Use this web site before you go to guidebooks, to find out what makes Ubud so special. Then use it after the guidebooks for up-to-date information, news and features about our extra ordinary town.


Friday, 24 April 2015

WAKATOBI NATIONAL MARINE PARK


Legendary underwater explorer and conservationist, Jacques Cousteau is said to have called the Wakatobi islands – then known as the Tukangbesi islands:  an “Underwater Nirwana”


Now a National Marine Park covering the entire Waktobi District, it comprises a total of 1.4 million hectares, of which 900,000 hectares are decorated with different, colourful species of tropical coral reefs. For Wakatobi is widely recognized as having the highest number of reef and fish species in the world.   The islands are also famous as the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Here can be found fringing, atolls and barrier reefs and offer more than 50 spectacular dive sites easily accessible from the major islands.  This is the habitat of large and small fish species, the playground of dolphins, turtles and even whales.


The island group comprises 143 larger and smaller islands where only 7 are inhabited counting a total population of around 100,000, while the others remain uninhabited. Most notable are the Bajo communities, the seafaring nomads who inhabit many of Indonesia’s remote islands.
Located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific Coral Triangle, in the province of South East Sulawesi, the Wakatobi Islands offer crystal clear pristine waters and a rich bio-diverse underwater life, a true paradise for Divers, as this is one of 3 hearts in the World Coral Triangle that stretches from the Solomon Islands in the Pacific to Wakatobi, and North to the Philippines.  Wakatobi alone is said to have 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species from a total of 850 of world's collection, which, comparing with the two world's famous diving centers, the Caribbean Sea  owns only 50 species with 300 coral reef species in the Red Sea, in Egypt.

Situated  at the end of the south eastern “petal’ of the orchid shaped island of Sulawesi and separated by the deep Banda Sea to its north and east and the Flores sea to its south,  the name Wakatobi is in fact an acronym of  its four main islands, which are :  Wangi-wangi (WA), Kaledupa (KA), Tomia (TO)  and Binongko (BI).
Due to its magnificent underwater life, Wakatobi is fast gaining worldwide attention for its quality dives that can be made by beginners to professionals. Small wonder, therefore, that many liveaboards make this one of their main ports of sojourn.  Aside from its dive sites, Wakatobi has many superb beaches.

The conservation group “Operation Wallacea” is very active in this marine park, conducting underwater research and conservation. During the Sail Wakatobi 2011 in August, the Marine Laboratory on Hoga Beach by Kaledupa is to be officially inaugurated. (For information visit: www.opwall.com)
The District capital of Wakatobi is Wanci on Wangi-Wangi. Since the opening of the Matohara Airport on Wangi-Wangi, these remote islands are now more accessible and can be reached by flights from Jakarta or Makassar.  There is also another landing strip on Tomia island, which receives charters from Bali.

For more detailed information on Wakatobi, visit: www.wakatobi.info
Watch the video about Wakatobi:
Tired of diving and snorkeling?  Visit the Kampong Bajo Mola on Wangi-Wangi and see the life of the local Bajo sea nomads. There are also a number of interesting forts on Wangi-Wangi. Five kilometers from Wanci is Fort Tindoi, standing on top of Tindoi Mountain, while at Liya Togo Village is Fort Lya which also has the Lya Kraton Mosque within its compound. The fort was built in 1538 by an influential Islamic cleric called Syekh Abdul Wahid. Other forts are the Mandati Tonga Fort and the Kapota Fort.


Kaledupa has some of the best beaches such as the Hoga Beach, Sombano Beach, Peropa Beach, and Puncak Jamaraka  
The Untete Beach at the Kulati Village is the longest white sand beach on Tomia with endless rows of coconut trees, where the usual fish grilling tradition is held. There are also mangrove forests to explore.

VISIT MAMUJU


Once forming part of the vast South Sulawesi Province, the province of West Sulawesi was not officially formed until 5th October 2004. Along with the establishment of the new province, a capital was chosen as the center of government activities, which fell on the little coastal town of Mamuju, which lies most central in this tall shaped province. Not only does it serve as the center of government, Mamuju also acts as the main hub to explore the hidden beauty of West Sulawesi.



Although it is the capital of South Sulawesi Province, the town of Mamuju is not an autonomous town and still lies under the administration of the Mamuju Regency. Situated strategically between Palu, capital of Central Sulawesi, and Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi, Mamuju has grown into an economic bridge between the two cities. Flanked by a coastal area and a mountain range, the town is highlighted with green and brownish hills to its immediate interior, and lines of fishing boats and Mandar’s distinct Sandeq sailing crafts along its shoreline.



This small city also offers magnificent sceneries and relaxing ambience. Although having undergone reclamation, the Manakara beach still presents a beautiful view of the Karampuang Island in the distance, especially when the sun sets, creating a beautiful silhouette of the island.



While the view of Karampuang Island is already a spectacle in itself , the island holds much more fascinating wonders below the waters surrounding it. Beautiful and pristine coral reefs and schools of colorful fishes dominate the scene right to the shallow shores, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving.



The island itself got its name from a local legend that says that the entire island magically emerged during a full moon, hence the name “Karampuang” which in local language means “The Moon”. Sharing borders with the local population who live on the island, the rocky part of the island is also completed with shelters and paved paths for visitors to enjoy the view and ambience of the island. Karampuang island is also habitat to the unique giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro) that are known to be able to climb trees and are active at night.



Approximately 30Km away from downtown Mamuju, in the direction of the Ahmad Kirang Airport, one can feel the tranquilizing breeze of Bukit Jati Gentungan Recreational Park. Nestled in a fascinating natural setting, this is the best place just to lay back, relax, and absorb the refreshing atmosphere. The 4 hectares area also comes with a swimming pool for those who wish to take a dip in the refreshing water. The recreation also has 4 villas, 2 cottages, and 1 hall, for those who wish to spend the night here.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

GORONTALO


Gorontalo province mostly contains of mountainous area that stretches form the north to the south of the province. The Mountainous panorama of Gorontalo is magnificent.
The mountains and forests are the homes of unique animals and trees. Anoa, tarsius, maleo bird, babi rusa (deer pig) are among the rare species that can be found here. Maleo, for instance, is a species of birds which lay eggs bigger than themselves. While Tarsius is the smallest primate in the world; it has approximately 10 cm length.


  Meranti and Rattan trees in Gorontalo’s forest. In the south part of Gorontalo’s sea, which is known as “Teluk Tomini”, there are a number of small islands which spreads around the sea. Those islands are still unsettled and  beautiful white sands surround each of them. Teluk Tomini (Tomini Bay) is a heaven for divers, because the geographic position of “Teluk Tomini” itself, which is crossed by the equator line, has naturally presented various kinds of sea creature inside.




Other Places of Interest:

Potanga Pool
Potanga Pool. Approximately 4 km from the center of Gorontalo town, Potanga pool has natural cool and fresh water, comes from the natural mountain spring.

Pentadio Resort
Pentadio Resort on the north of the Limboto Lake or 12 Kms from the center of Gorontalo City. This resort has complete spa, facilities, cottage, swimming pool and hot spring water pool.

Otanaha Castle
Otanaha Castle. In the past, the Kings of Gorontalo used Otanaha castle as a place of protection and defense. The unique of the castle applies in the material that was used to build the castle, which was the mixed of sand, plaster and the white part of Maleo egg. The panorama of Danau Limboto also can be seen clearly from the castle of Otanaha, because the castle itself stands in the top of the highland. Precisely, the castle is located in Dembe I, Kota Barat. The distance of the castle is approximately 8 km from the center of Gorontalo city. Beside Otanaha castle, there are two more castles that also located in the same area, Otahiya and Ulupahu castles. The visitor must pass 345 steps of stairs to reach the three of the castles because of its position that located in the top of the highland. There is also alternative way to be able to reach the top of the mountain.

Nani Wartabone Monument
Nani Wartabone Monument. It is a historical monument of a local Gorontalo hero, named Nani Wartabone. He played an important role for the independence of Gorontalo. This monument is located in the center of Taruna Remaja Gorontalo Park.

Mesjid Hunto (Sultan Amai)
Mesjid Hunto (Sultan Amai). Hunto Mosque is one of the oldest mosque in Gorontalo (300 years old). The Mosque is located in Siendeng Village in Gorontalo city. In this mosque, there are well and beduk (an Islamic traditional drum) that has the same age as the Mosque itself.

White Sand of Leato
White Sand of Leato. The seashore with its white sand give us an impression of ma¬king refreshment to the visitors. Watch the process of repairing wooden boat in traditional way. The underwater life of this place is quite interesting. The beautiful coral-reef, the unique of fishes and sunken ship has become the attraction for the divers. This beach is located on North Leato, about 12 km from the town center.

Olele Sea Garden
Olele Sea Garden is distinctive from others and has the marine resources. It is closest diving point, only 45 minutes from Gorontalo city. Other diving site is Lahilote Beach.

Limboto Lake
Limboto Lake. A village named Iluta, which is 10 km from the town center, marks the entrance of this Lake. The unique characteris¬tic of this lake lies on the variety of freshwater fish species, which only can be seen on this lake. Besides, on this lake there was a landing field for the amphibian airplane name Katelina, which carried The First President of Republic Indonesia, Bung Karno.

The Tower of Majesty
The Tower of Majesty. The Tower of Ma¬jesty is a tower with 60 meters height. On the top of this tower, there are telescopes, which are served to explore the beautiful sight of Limboto Lake. Inside this tower you can see many of displayed souvenir and some restaurants.

Natural Hot Spring Water Bath of Lombongo
Natural Hot Spring Water Bath of Lombongo which is located on Lombongo village, Suwawa 20 km away from the town center. There are natural hot spring water bath, cold spring water bath, playground, and the stage for art performances. The hot water spring contains sulfur that can cure any skin diseases.

Tangga 2000 and the Footprint Lahilote
Tangga 2000 and the footprint Lahilote. On this tourism area, you will directly face the beauty of Tomini Bay. This location is facilitated by shop and recreation places. The shady coconut trees give you cooler atmos-phere in the evening. See a huge stone looks like human footprint, “Lahilote”, located on Pantai Indah Pohe, Kota Selatan. Historically, Lahilote was a footprint of a man who married a falling angel.

Ayuhulalo Waterfall
Ayuhulalo Waterfall is located on Ayuhulalo village (Ayuhulalo means moon woods), Tilamuta. It is about 5 km away from the District of Boalemo. Its environment provides a fresh atmosphere for the visitor, because shady green woods with its everlasting and fresh water surround this area.

The Beautiful Boalemo Beach
The Beautiful Boalemo Beach. It is white sand seashore with calm and clear water, can make yourself comfortable and relax, swimming, boating, and diving. Along the seashore, there are coconuts and pine trees. Moreover, it has some luxuries resorts.

Bitilia Sea Garden
Bitilia Sea Garden some diving spots with remarkable beautiful underwater view. This place is 15 minutes drive from Boalemo Indah Beach.

Bolihutuo Beach
Bolihutuo Beach. In most part of part of Bolihutuo beach grows giant pines tree, it has created the cool and calm atmosphere around the beach. White sand that spreads around the beach has made the beauty of the beach more complete. There are also available some cottages.

Bajo’s Tribe Villages
Bajo’s Tribe Villages (Tilamuta, Torosiaje, Popayato) Bajo’s tribe lives in a group and has their own culture and habit. They always make activities on the boat and they work as a fisherman. The Bajo’s tribe that still live in the boat is called as “Bangau”, because wherever they move around from one island to another islands in the end they will be back to the Toro Pantai Island to cultivating pearl and sea grass.

Central of Kerawang
Central of Kerawang Handicraft Industry (Karawo). Kerawang is one of Gorontalo’s traditional handmade cloth.

The Sacred Cemetery of Ju Panggola
The Sacred Cemetery of Ju Panggola. Sacred cemetery of Ju Panggola built in 14th century is located in the sub district of Dembe I, 8 km from the center of Kota Barat in Gorontalo city. People of Gorontalo that live around the cemetery consider this cemetery as a sacred place because it has a unique characteristic, related to the Islam culture. Therefore, it isn’t surprising to find out that many of visitors do meditation around the cemetery area.

Rumah Adat (Traditional House) Gorontalo
Rumah Adat Gorontalo (Bantayo Poboide) Traditional house is located in the center of sub-district of Limboto, Gorontalo. Lite¬rarily “Bantayo” means building and “Poboide” means place for meeting. Bantayo Poboide is taken apart as a symbol of Gorontalo culture and also has a function as a place for the activity that related to the art and culture of Gorontalo.

Bantayo Poboide has many rooms and each room has a different function, and every ornament that applies in the building symbolized every part of Gorontalo inhabitant’s activity.

Pantai Olele
Pantai Olele This beach is a gate to the underwater paradise. The amazing beauty of underwater life on this area has been recognized by many of the divers in the world. It is proofed by the enthusiasm of the divers who come to this area.


BANDUNG

BANDUNG



Bandung, capital of West Java , is a great place to visit any time of the year as it’s not only renowned for its picturesque open vista, but the town also offers many attractions well worth a visit.


Surrounded by green fertile mountains, Bandung today is Indonesia’s center for learning and creativity. Here is the wellknown, Institut Tekonologi Bandung (ITB) established since 1920, the university that has produced many of Indonesia’s top scientists from engineers, geologists to leaders in business management. Today Bandung is one of Indonesia’s most prestigeous university towns. Bandung is also the center of Indonesia’s burgeoning ICT technology, at the same time it is a center of arts and artists. Every weekend and long holidays the city is filled with young people from Jakarta who flock to Bandung to enjoy its youthful creative atmosphere in music, painting, fashion, and the culinary arts. 



Originally established in the late 19th century as a colonial garrison town, Bandung soon grew into a town for wealthy planters who owned the miles and miles of tea, coffee and cinchona plantations, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens in the cool and fertile hills of West Java. Bandung thus became the town of the European elite. And since this was the era of art deco, Bandung has a rich heritage of buildings in examplary art deco architecture. They include the beautiful Villa Isola, - now housing the University for Education-, the Concordia, the present Asian-African Museum, which was then the Society’s Clubhouse- , the main Braga shopping center, where the Dutch colonial elite went to shop, and the Savoy-Homann and Preanger hotels, where they would overnight and hold grand balls. 



While along the present Jalan Juanda, then known as Dago Boulevard, were the houses of the elite with their green lawns and flower gardens fronting opulent homes. In those colonial heydays in the early 20th century, Bandung became known as “Parijs van Java”, or the Paris of Java, where Dutch planters and ladies paraded and flaunted their wealth and beauty along the boulevards and Bragaweg, then the Champs Elysees of the East. 



Today, Bandung is remembered in history internationally as the venue of the First Asian-African Conference held in 1955 which brought together for the first time, leaders of 29 Asian and African countries, who declared to jointly fight colonialism for national independence. Attending the Conference were noted national leaders, among whom, Jawaharlal Nehru and daughter Indira Gandhi of India, Chao En Lai of China, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and Indonesia’s own President Soekarno. The Asian-African Conference became the precursor of the Non-Alighned Movement. 



Later Bandung also became the center for textile mills producing much of Indonesia’s textiles for fashion wear, linen and upholstery.

Standing some 768 m above sea level, Bandung is today the country’s third largest city after Jakarta and Surabaya. Since the opening of the Cipularang Toll road, which cuts down travel from Jakarta to two hours from the previous four hours over the tortuous Puncak Pass, Bandung has become the favourite weekend getaway to relax and escape from the hectic pace of metropolitan Jakarta.


For Bandung offers trendy fashion wear at reasonable prices at its myriad factory outlets, a wide range of delicious local and international cuisines, and a distinct colonial European-style atmosphere combined with captivating traditional arts.
To observe some of the fascinating images of Bandung, you can visit these photo essays:



Bandung is a town that offers great promise for shoppers. You may be overwhelmed with the large number of factory outlets scattered along Dago (Ir. H. Djuanda), Riau (R.E.Martadinata), Cihampelas, and Setiabudi. Here you can shop to your heart’s content and grab famous brands, trendy fashion and a lot more. Unlike the real Paris though, the clothes here are surprisingly affordable! Looking for the new design of jeans? Just stop by at Cihampelas street. Buy something here and their collections will brighten up your wardrobe in an instant.


Just a 30 minute drive from Bandung and you’ll be greeted by the natural beauty of the hills and valleys. Refresh your mind and unwind through a pleasant journey to Lembang, north of Bandung. On the way, stop at POM TAHU that sells the famous Tahu Lembang (Lembang tofu) and fresh milk in various flavors. Around this area, you can pick your own strawberries while breathing in the fresh air of Lembang and let your small kids have fun with outdoor activities, like a mini flying fox, pool rafting, and balloon walker. Get your adrenalines pumping by trying outbound activities at Imah Seniman, Lembang. For the adventurous, drive up the hills pass exhilarating tracks by ATV (All Terrain Vehicle), fly through the sky with the Flying Fox, or enjoy the many fishing spots around here.


Extend your journey and take in celestial sights through the giant telescopes of Bosscha Observatory or drive further up to the Tangkuban Perahu Volcano. Walking around its famous craters (Kawah Ratu, Kawah Upas, and Kawah Domas) will be a remarkable experience. This is one of the few places in the world where you can see volcanic activity up close, and enjoy the local hospitality.


Do not forget to admire Bandung’s art-deco architectural heritage found throughout the city. This will be a good opportunity to take a flash back in history. The Museum of the Asian-African Conference is definitely worth a visit and is one of the best preserved tropical art deco buildings, as are the ITB campus, the “Gedung Satay” governor’s office, Villa Isola, and many more.

TELUK KILUAN

TELUK KILUAN



Located in Lampung Province, Indonesia, the bay is isolated from the common crowd. I do hope it stays that way so that irresponsible tourists or people wouldn't pollute the beautiful sea and marine ecosystem Kiluan has to offer.



The way to Kiluan from Jakarta (our starting point) is quite rough (not only metaphorically speaking, but also literally). First we had to get to Merak Harbor to cross the Sunda Strait, straight to Bakauheuni Harbor. It took around 4 hours drive to get to Merak, then another 1 hour for the queue to get into the ferry, and approximately another 3 hours on the ferry. Afterward, the rough journey awaited. We had a stop for breakfast, and another to deal with some minivan's issue. While we were stopping at Padang Cermin Village, the local said it would require another 2 hours to Kiluan. She was...underestimating it, I'd say (or maybe she has gotten used to the road so much). It took us around 3 hours from the village to Kiluan. The road was heavily damaged, hence very bumpy.



When we finally got there, the beach felt amazing for me despite its grayish color. Apparently to get into the villa we were staying in (and basically to explore to some other sides of the island, or to get to other islands), we had to take a traditional boat called "jukung" that could take up to 10 persons. When we arrived to the land, I was even more amazed by the beautiful white sands and clear bluish green water. The villa where we were staying in was alright, but over-packed. (the trip organizer's business, but just saying).



I love how clear the sea is. The water looked like it was inviting me to jump right into it. I could actually see the rocks and corals from the surface quite perfectly, had it not because of the ripple made from the jukung. The lagoon required another boat trip from our villa, then we would walk up a little woods on a hill to get to the other side of the island. It is not possible for the jukung to get there for the wave crashes pretty hard on this side of the beach.

From here, to get to the lagoon is another exciting experience. You need to climb the rocks and stick to the cliff side. It wasn't a long climb though; only took around 10 minutes. Basically the lagoon is a natural shallow sea water "pond" at the bottom of a cliff, which is surrounded by big rocks. Beyond these big rocks, is a raging sea. In the lagoon, the water is quite clear and calm, yet you could swim in it and of course, encounter some sea animals. Beware of sea urchins and little Moray eels! But yes, you can get you salt-waterproof cameras out and capture some beauty. Or you can simply swim and enjoy the moment.


The next day was dolphin sightseeing hunting. We had to take the jukung few kilometers off-shore, and waited for the wild dolphins in their wildlife habitat to show up. That's the idea. But unfortunately, since there were to many of us, plus the noisy sound of the motor engine on the boat, the dolphins drifted away from us quite quickly. I myself didn't get any shot, some of my lucky friends with much better camera (than my lovely phone camera) got some shots of the dolphins.



I would say the trip was enjoyable (despite of some lacks from the organizer's side) and the beauty of Kiluan is one of the best I've seen so far. I'm pretty sure there are more beautiful places in this vast country, but this trip was definitely worth my time, money and efforts.

Friday, 17 April 2015

WHITE CRATER LAKE

WHITE CRATER LAKE



Travelling south from Bandung, capital city of West Java you will find yourself surrounded by mountains with magnificent sceneries, a rolling evergreen landscape of neatly cropped tea bushes, clumps of tropical forests, and misty hilltops. Amidst this fascinating setting, a surreal beauty radiates from an enchanting crater lake known as Kawah Putih or literary translated means the White Crafter.
  
Kawah Putih is located near the charming little market town of Ciwidey, approximately 50 Kilometers south of Bandung. The Crater Lake is one of two craters of  Mount Patuha, with the dry Kawah Patuha or the Patuha Crater located 600 meters to its northwest, being the other.

Stepping into Kawah Putih is like entering a different realm. As the name suggests, the Crater Lake and its surroundings are dominated by a pale white color which radiates a rather hypnotizing ambience. The vast dormant volcanic crater is filled with surreal turquoise-colored water. On sunny days, the color of the lake is stark and bright, while  on cloudy days, the entire crater can be shrouded in mist,  which presents its own mystical beauty. The tree-clad cliffs surrounding the crater reach around 2,500 meters above sea level and make for a stunning backdrop, especially when the clouds start to roll in. The altitude here brings with it chilly temperatures, which in a way, will add to the magical splendor of Kawah Putih.


The lake is said to have been first documented in 1837 by Dr Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn, a German botanist who carried out a considerable amount of research in Indonesia until his death in 1864 in Lembang, located just north of Bandung.

At the time, there were various local stories about the history of the area. Birds were said to avoid flying near the region and some were even found dead after flying above the lake. Villagers in the area tended to regard the forest around the lake as eerie and somewhat mysterious. These stories prompted Dr Junghuhn to investigate, and so discovered Kawah Putih. He concluded that the birds flying over the Crater Lake died due to its high concentration of sulfur.  

Upon this discovery, a sulfur plant known as the Zwavel Ontginning Kawah Putih was established by the lake during Dutch rule on Java.  In  World War II the plant was taken over by the Japanese military and was operated under the name Kawah Putih Kenzanka Yokoya Ciwidey. Today the plant no longer exists , however, entry points to its  tunnels,  remnants of these mining activities can still be seen at several points around the current site.


First opened for visitors in 1987, nowadays Kawah Putih is a favorite destination for tourists and day trippers who are simply stunned by its mesmerizing ambience. On weekends and on holidays, quite large numbers of visitors frequently visit the area just to immerse themselves in the mystical beauty of nature.

Kawah Putih is open to the  public daily from 07.00 to 17.00 West Indonesia time. The facilities available are adequate with a parking lot, transportation, information center and food stalls. The entry ticket for domestic tourist is IDR15,000, while for international tourists this  is IDR30,000.


The spellbinding scenery and surreal ambience of Kawah Putih offer their own unique sensation. This is truly the best place to refresh one’s mind and soul and get re-energized from the stress of daily activities. The dramatic setting of Kawah Putih also makes it a perfect place for those who enjoy the art of photography. The place has long been known as a favorite site for  photographic sessions.



Leading up to the mountainous area of Kawah Putih you will be presented with a number of houses surrounded by strawberry fields. You can buy fresh strawberries or even pick them yourself. Not only do they make great souvenirs, you will also have fun experiencing this with your family.

Ciwidey is also famous for its Sundanese traditional drink called Bandrek. Made from Ginger and brown sugar, the warming beverage perfectly fits Ciwidey's cold climate. As a souvenir, you can buy bottled bandrek in the many shops in Ciwidey with prices ranging from IDR8000 to IDR 16000.

Another signature snack of Ciwidey is the Kalua Sweets. Made from dried Pomelo skin, the Kalua comes in a variety of colors such as brown, red, green, and white.
Get There


Kawah Putih is located approximately 44 Kilometers south from the center of Bandung City. Depending on the traffic in and around Bandung, the trip will take a little over two hours. The main road is the busy road south from Bandung through the town of Soreang, capital of the Bandung Regency, continuing down to the town of Ciwidey.

The turn from the main road to Kawah Putih is hard to miss
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The spellbinding scenery and surreal ambience of Kawah Putih offer their own unique sensation. This is truly the best place to refresh one’s mind and soul and get re-energized from the stress of daily activities. The dramatic setting of Kawah Putih also makes it a perfect place for those who enjoy the art of photography. The place has long been known as a favorite site for  photographic sessions.