Sanur Beach – Denpasar, Bali

Sanur Beach – Denpasar, Bali

Sanur Beach has been the icon of Bali since the era of ancient Balinese kingdoms. The evidence could be found in an ancient inscription dated back to 917 AD that described how King Kasari Warmadewa really enjoyed the beauty of sunrise on Sanur Beach. In the modern era, this beach was firstly introduced to the international community through paintings by a Belgian painter known as Le Meyeur. In fact, dut to his love to this beach, he settled down in Sanur area and established a painting workshop. Now, his workshop has been turned into a museum where people could still enjoy some of his works.

Sanur BeachWhat to do:

Here at Sanur Beach, one thing that you MUST do is to witness the majestic view of the sun coming out of its resting place. Situated on the eastern side of Bali and located approximately 6 km from Denpasar, it promises an unforgettable moment to start your days in Bali.

In addition to that, this place is also famous for its kitesurfing. It is a kind of water sport where you will surf by relying on a parachute instead of the waves. Sanur Beach is a perfect place for it since it has both a nice long beach topography and steady wind.

Best time to visit:

  • Watching sunrise: 5.30 am – 6 am
  • Swimming and Kitesurfing: Noon – late afternoon (5 pm)
  • Visiting traditional market: Morning – afternoon (8 am – 4 pm)
  • Strolling or relaxing on the beach: All day long

Direction:

  1. If you’re coming from Denpasar area, head to Jalan Hang Tuah and follow the street all the way. Once you encounter the first main intersection of Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai (you’ll see Dunkin Donuts at the opposite site of the intersection), head straight to Jalan Pantai Sanur.
  2. If you’re coming from Ubud, head to Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai through Jalan W. R. Supratman simpang Tohpati. Then, follow along the By Pass until you reached an intersection where you could see Dunkin Donuts on the left and KFC on the right side of the street. There, turn left to Jalan Pantai Sanur.
  3. If you’re coming from Kuta, head to Simpang Siur. From there, turn to Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai and follow along the street until you find an intersection where you could see Sanur Paradise Hotel on your right side. Then, turn right to Jalan Pantai Sanur.

Estimated time required (with no traffic):

  • from Ubud 1 H; from Denpasar city centre 15 min; from Kuta 30 min
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Samosir Island (Part 1) – Samosir, Sumatra Utara

Samosir Island (Part 1) – Samosir, Sumatra Utara

If you are planning a trip to North Sumatra, Toba Lake would definitely be on your list. If that’s the case, you would want to add another place located nearby, Samosir Island. Occupying nearly half of Toba Lake, the island with the size almost similar to Singapore, promises abundant cultural and natural wonders. It is one of the precious hidden gems of North Sumatra tourism spot.

Samosir IslandSamosir Island is the homeland for one of the most prominent race in Indonesia, Batak. There is one main road that surrounds the whole island but its condition at some points could be very bad. This is exacerbated by the island’s contour which could have a drastic altitude at some points of the island. Nevertheless, the natural beauty surrounding the island would easily make you forget about all these little obstacles.

There are two main areas in the island that are commonly visited by tourists. One area is known as Tomok Village which offers cultural attractions. Another one is Tuk Tuk Siadong Village with its natural attractions. The later one would be the tourist centre as it is more popular among tourists.

How to get there:

From Kuala Namu International Airport, you need to head to Rantau Parapat. The journey would take around 3-4 hours by private car and around 4-6 hours by public busses from Medan. Once you are in Rantau Parapat, you could continue your journey to Samosir Island with two options:

By ferries (if you are crossing with vehicles):

  • Head to Ajibata ferry terminal. The ferry would arrive at Tomok ferry terminal in Samosir Island. The journey would take around 1 hour.

By ferries: (if you are crossing without vehicles):

  • Head to Tiga Raja Harbour. The ferry would take you to Tuk Tuk Village area and would even drop you by at your hotels’ harbours. The journey would take around 30 minutes.

Note: You could check the complete schedule of the ferries at Tobaexplorer.wordpress.com

By land route:

  • Head to Kabanjahe – Dairi – Pangururan. After passing Pangururan, there would be a bridge connecting to Tomok Village at Samosir Island.

Note: The land route would take a longer time and the road condition is quite bad. The advantage of choosing this route would be the breathtaking view along Toba Lake. Make sure you drop by at Tele Observation Tower to marvel at the amazing lake view.

Samosir Island Part 2

Samosir Island (Part 2) – Samosir, Sumatra Utara

Samosir Island (Part 2) – Samosir, Sumatra Utara
Samosir Island Part 1

What to do:

  • Visiting tourist attractions

Some notable cultural attractions at Tomok Village include Hutabolon Tomok VillageSimanindo Museum, King Sidabutar Tomb and watching Sigale-gale performance (statues crafted in a way so that they could dance to traditional instrument ,gondang, rhythm). For natural attractions, you could visit Pasir Putih Beach (white sand surrounding Toba Lake) at Parbaba Village, Simangande Waterfall, as well as Sidihoni Lake (claimed as lake above lake due to its altitude which is higher than Toba Lake).

  • Travelling around the island by motorbike or bicycle

You could also choose to travel around the island by renting motorbikes or bicycles either at hotels or at the local warung (small shops). It is worth doing since you would encounter a number of picturesque points throughout the islands. When you do, you could stop for a while to simply ponder at the beauty lies in front of you or preserve it with your camera. Recently, it is even quite common to find professional photographers hunting for magnificent views of the lake. As a cherry on top, you could do some culinary travel too at the same time. Since cycling or riding around the island could be tiring, you could replenish your energy with local culinaries like Mie Gomak (noodle soup cooked with local spices) or Babi Panggang Karo (grilled crunchy pork). For the beverage, you could try the famous tuak (palm wine).

  • Water sports

Another popular activity would be the water sports like jet skis and banana boats. You could find it at almost every prominent hotel in Tuk Tuk Village area. Some of them would require reservation so you would need to check with your hotel for more precise information.

  • Souvenir shopping

And of course before heading back home, you would need to purchase a souvenir as a reminder of your exciting adventure at Samosir Island. For this, you could head to the local market at Tomok Village area (nearby to Tomok ferry terminal). Here, you would discover common souvenirs like keychains, T-shirts, toys, etc. You would also find various unique sculptures and ulos (traditional Batak weaved clothes).

Best time to visit:

Best to avoid the monsoon season (September-January) as the wave would be higher and the journey by ferry could be more dangerous.

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Prambanan Temple – Prambanan, Yogyakarta

Prambanan Temple – Prambanan, Yogyakarta

Prambanan Temple is both the biggest Hindu temple in South East Asia and the grandest Hindu temple in Indonesia. Since 1991, it has been claimed by UNESCO as one the world’s heritage. It is located at the borderline of both Yogyakarta and Central Java province in the most populated island in the country, Java Island.

Candi PrambananPrambanan Temple itself is actually a complex of temple consisting of many smaller temples surrounding the area. This characteristic is what makes it differs from the other famous temple, Borobudur. The complex can be divided into one main courtyard and three main yards known as Jaba (outer yard), Tengahan (middle yard), and Njeron (inner yard).

There are six main temples located at the inner yard area. The six temples are positioned in two rows stretching out from north to south, with three temples on each row. The first row consists of Wisnu, Syiwa and Brahma Temples with Garuda, Nandi, and Angsa Temples on the other row located exactly on the opposite side of the the first row. The first temples are named after three main gods known in the Hindu religion meanwhile the later represent the animals that become each god’s mean of transportation. The biggest temple out of the six is Syiwa Temple with 47 m in height and occupies an area of 34 m2.

What to do:

  • Learning about the story and history of Hinduism in Indonesia

Until now, the historians still can’t determine as to who and when this temple was built. This happens due to the fact that when the temple was firstly discovered, most of it was only remnants. As a result, there are a lot of missing pieces that are yet to be discovered. Nevertheless, most of the remnants have been successfully restored in the last couple of decades. And now, if you stroll around the Prambanan Temple complex, you would discover a lot of relics as well as carvings that depict the story of the Hindu gods.

  • Photography

Not only we will be amazed by the amazing structure and carvings built out of hand centuries ago by our ancestors but also we will be amazed by the picturesque area where Prambanan Temple resides in. The scenery would especially be spectacular during sunset time. At this moment, you could see the grandeur of the sky’s color gradation that is sillhouted by the temples. It is truly one unforgettable experience.

Location:

Prambanan Temple is ± 17 km east of Yogyakarta or ± 53 km west of Solo.

GPS Coordinate: -7.751919,110.492006

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Popular Culinary Gifts from Medan

Popular Culinary Gifts from Medan

Popular Culinary Gifts

As one of the iconic culinary destinations in Indonesia, it is no wonder that the popular gifts from Medan would be some of its trademark foods. This article would discuss about the three most popular culinary gifts from Medan.

Bolu Meranti (roll cake)

Don’t be deceived by its ordinary roll cake look, the taste and texture of Bolu Meranti is second to none in the whole country. In fact, once you’ve tasted it, you would be coming back for more. This amazing delicacy has even been popular to some of the neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore. Meranti roll cake is offered in lots of flavor variants but its signature dish would be the cheese roll cake. Aside of roll cakes, it also sells some other local cakes. For complete list of the variants, you could visit the website, www.bolumeranti.com. There, you would also find information about how to order the roll cakes online for those of you who are outside Medan.

Location: (1) Jalan Kruing 2K (main branch) (2) Jalan Sisingamangaraja 19B

Operational hours: 08.00 am – 06.00 pm

Bika Ambon (fermented cassava sponge cake) and Lapis Legit (layered cake)

Bika Ambon, Popular Culinary GiftsAnother signature gift from Medan is bika ambon and lapis legit. These two cakes are usually sold side by side along with bottled passion fruit syrup (Medan’s signature beverage). There are plenty of stores scattered all over Medan selling them. However, the most popular spot for hunting them would be at Jalan Mojopahit. Here, you would find shops selling them from one end to the other end of the street. All of them try to attract customers with diversed variants of prices and taste.

Operational hours: 08.00 am – 06.00 pm (some shops might open or close earlier)

Durian Pancake

One fruit that would represent Medan the best is durian. If you happen to visit during the durian season, you would find lots of hawkers selling it in various sizes and prices along the main streets in Medan. Recently though, this signature fruit has been transformed into another popular delicacy from Medan, durian pancake. It is made of fresh durian filling covered with a thin skin. Though still quite new compared to the other two delicacies, its popularity isn’t lost to that of Bolu Meranti, Bika Ambon and Lapis Legit. The best place to buy it would be Durian House located at Jalan Sekip 67F. Here, you would discover other popular delicacies made of durian like dodol durian (sticky durian paste), durian pastries, candies, ice cream, and even juice.

Operational hours: 09.00 am – 09.00 pm

Popular Culinary Gifts from Medan Part 2

Popular Culinary Gifts from Medan (Part 2)

Popular Culinary Gifts from Medan (Part 2)
Popular Culinary Gifts from Medan Part 1

Previous article has mentioned about 3 popular culinary gifts from Medan. But if they’re not for you, don’t worry because here’s another list of popular culinary gifts from Medan.

-Durian Ucok Durian Ucok, Popular CulinaryOne food that you must try while visiting Medan is obviously durian. During its season, you would find lots of hawkers selling them on the street. However, there is one place that is well-known for its quality when it comes to eating durian experience. It is Durian Ucok. Formerly located at Jalan Iskandar Muda, the humble shack of Bang Ucok (nickname for the owner) has now transformed into a row of modern shophouses located at Jalan Wahid Hasyim. It isn’t difficult to find the new place. Once you enter the street, you will be greeted by a small yellow and green durian statue on your right. Then, go along the street until you see the yellow and green buildings on your right which is the new place of Durian Ucok. What makes it particularly famous is the fact of how the customers can request for specific taste of durians that they want to eat such as sweet or bitter. It also gives a guarantee that if the durians turn out to be bad or have different taste to what you have ordered, you could switch it with the new ones without additional charge. Another good news about Durian Ucok is it never closes or opens for 24/7.

-Phin Phin Bakery If you would love to bring some gifts of Indonesian traditional market cakes and pastries but doesn’t really have time to explore the local markets, then you should drop by at this bakery. Located at Jalan Dewaruci 32-34, this bakery has been established since 1972 and has been going strong until now due to its well-maintained quality of taste. There, you would find diversed selection of cakes like wajik, kue bakul or soerabi and pastries like nastar. Operational hours: 08.00 am – 06.00 pm

-Tamiang Another place to stop by if you are hunting for local delicacies from Medan would be Tamiang. It is a family based confectionary that offers various traditional Chinese pastries. The recipe for all of its pastries has been passed down from one generation to another yet it still manages to maintain its original taste. Some variants of the pastries include beh te so, phong pia, lou poh piang, etc. One reminder is some of the pastries use pork oil so please check with the store before making a purchase. Operational hours: 08.00 am- 10.00 pm

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Popular Culinary Gifts – Yogyakarta

Popular Culinary Gifts – Yogyakarta

In addition to being famous for both its cultural and natural tourism destinations, Yogyakarta is also famous for its traditional delicacies. Here are some of the most popular ones that are commonly purchased as gifts by visitors.

  • Bakpia pathok

Bakpia pathok is actually a modified version of Chinese bakpia with pork fillings. Since Javanese culture is heavily influenced by Moslem values, the filling is then switched to sweetened mung bean. The skin of bakpia is made of wheat flour which is then grilled. Currently, there have been lots of variations for bakpia’s fillings. The most commonly found ones are chocolate, cheese, and durian.

  • Yangko

If Japan has been known for its mochi, then Yogyakarta would be known for its yangko. It is made of sticky rice flour with minced sweetened peanuts filling and sprinkled flour on the top which is almost similar to mochi.  What makes it different is the outer appearance that is more colourful than the plain white mochi.

  • Dried gudeg

Gudeg, GiftsWhat is gudeg? You might be wondering. It is a kind of sweetened unripened jackfruit. Usually, this traditional delicacy is served fresh with coconut milk along with rice and marinated egg. Unfortunately, this fresh version wouldn’t last long. Thus, the locals invented the dried version that would taste pretty much the same with the fresh version. The only difference is how the dried version is cooked longer to reduce its moist level.

  • Geplak

Next on the list would be geplak which is made of a mixture of cooked grated coconut and sugar. It also comes with vibrant colourful apperance that makes it really enticing. Recently, there have been some new taste variants introduced to all of its fans. One caution would be how the taste could be too sweet for some. So, you might want to try it out a little bit before deciding to buy some more for your friends or families.

  • Monggo Chocolates

Last but not least is Monggo Chocolates. What makes this particular brand of chocolate successful to be one of the Yogyakarta’s representative culinary gifts lies on its secret to mix the international taste of Belgium chocolates with the local ingredients. The chocolates are made of the famous Sumatra and Sulawesi cocoa beans that are known for their fragrance and excellent sweet bitter taste. Monggo Chocolates could be found in classic flavors like milk and caramel as well as special flavors like chilli and ginger.

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Pematang Siantar (Part 1) – Sumatra Utara

Pematang Siantar (Part 1) – Sumatra Utara
Pematang Siantar or commonly known as Siantar is the second largest city in North Sumatra province after Medan. It is strategically located in between Medan and Parapat (the city where Toba Lake is) and can be reached in approximately 2-3 hours by car from Medan. Due to its location, many people often drop by at Siantar to rest whenever they are heading to Parapat. In the last couple of years, there has been an increasing number of visitors who consider Siantar as their tourism and even business destination. This rapid growth is not surprising as the city has kept on progressing itself by improving and building more facilities in order to keep up with the demands from the increasing visitors. And another good news for culinary lovers, Siantar is also popular as one of the top culinary destinations in the province.

How to get there: By private car: -On the arrival gate area of Kuala Namu International Airport (KNIA), you could find a range of counters that offer car rentals along with a driver. For more information about renting cars, you could try to visit this website: rentalmobilmedan.co.id By public bus: -From the exit door of KNIA, you would notice a train station across the street. Once you do, turn right where you would see a ‘BUS’ signage. Afterwards, look for red colored bus with ‘Paradep’ name on it and get on to the one that heads to Siantar. The journey would take around 2-3 hours (depending on the traffic) and the bus would stop once at a local eatery on its way to Siantar. The operational hours of this bus is 04.30 am – 10.00 pm. By train: -From the airport, take the airport train to Medan Central Station. Once there, grab the regional train heading to Pematang Siantar (±2.5 hours).

Culinary travel: Local Food Pematang SiantarThe most common reason for people to visit this particular city is to experience its excellent local foods. Here, you would discover varieties of family based eateries or confectionaries (ranging from local to national scale) that have been run down for some generations. Due to this reason, you could have an amazing yet affordable culinary experience at Siantar. These famous local culinaries are ranging from heavy meals like noodles, light meals like breads and pastries, beverages like coffee until various culinary gifts. Next article is going to discuss about some prominent places that offer these wonderful foods.

Pematang Siantar (Part 2)

Pematang Siantar (Part 2)

Pematang Siantar Tourism

Pematang Siantar Part 1 In this article, we are going to focus on discussing about some prominent culinary destinations at Siantar. And here is the list:

1.Mie pangsit Awai (Awai dumpling noodle); contains pork If you ask Medan people about the most recommended local dish from Siantar, most of them would definitely answer dumpling noodle. There are several reasons as to why Siantar’s noodle is considered as one of the best. First, Siantar’s noodle has a curlier, chewier, and thinner texture compared to the others since it is handmade. Second, the broth soup is a lot tastier since most of them is cooked with traditional methods. And lastly, both char siew (barbecued pork) and the dumpling is processed with traditional secret family recipes that make their taste unforgettable. Although Siantar’s dumpling noodle has been known for its taste, there is one particular brand that manages to be standing out than the rest of them, Awai. What makes it more popular is not only the texture of the noodle but also its clear broth soup and char siew that has more enriched traditional Chinese spices taste. Location and operational hours: Jalan Surabaya 21 A (07.00 am – 09.00 pm)

Kopi Tong Pematang Siantar, Pematang Siantar Tourism2.Kok Tong and Sedap Coffee Shops Siantar is also a paradise for coffee lovers since there are two prominent coffee shops with two different promising trademark taste. What makes both coffee taste better is the traditional method utilized in filtering the coffee which is shown directly to all customers. The first coffee shop is Kok Tong that has been established since 1925. Using fresh Simalungun Robusta coffee seeds from local plantation, this particular brand is known for its thick bitter taste with typical coffee fragrant. As side dish, you should try bakpao panjang Kok Tong which is an oval shaped steamed or fried bun with char siew and egg as its filling. As the contender, there is Sedap that is also using the local fresh coffee seeds but comes with thinner and sweeter taste than Kok Tong. As side dish, you should try its srikaya toast. Location and operational hours: Kok Tong Coffee: Jalan Cipto 115 (07.00 am – dinner time) Sedap Coffee: Jalan Sutomo 97 (07.00 am – dinner time)

3.Roti Ganda Bakery One of the most popular culinary gift from Siantar would be Roti Ganda. It is basically a big loaf of bread that could be filled with two main options of fillings. The first one is its trademark srikaya and the other one would be white butter with chocolate sprinkles. Location and operational hours: Jalan Sutomo 89 (08.30 am – 08.30 pm)

Pematang Siantar

Pematang Siantar (Part 3)

Pematang Siantar (Part 3)

Pematang Siantar Popular Place

Pematang Siantar Part 2

In this final part of Siantar article, we will focus elaborating on two rising tourism spots that is worth visiting while you are in town.

1. Sidamanik Tea Plantation and Bah Biak Waterfall Sidamanik Tea Plantation is actually a plantation managed by PTPN (government company dealing with plantations) and is the second largest black tea producer in Indonesia. Aside of producing good tea, the plantation itself is a very nice place for us to stroll. Occupying an area of ± 8373 ha and located at 900 mdpl above sea level, this plantation offers not only a breathtaking green scenery but also a nice cold weather. Lies within the tea plantation is another hidden gem waiting to be explored, Bah Biak Waterfall. This waterfall could only be accessed by foot or motorbike from the entry point which is a small warung with a simple Bah Biak signage in front of it. From there, you would head down to the waterfall area by climbing down a series of stairs. Once finished climbing down, you would see a majestic view of ± 7 m waterfall that is kind of divided into four main branches. What makes it special from the other waterfalls is how it is surrounded not only by forest but also a tea plantation. Unfortunately, the directory signage to this waterfall is not well prepared by the local authority yet. Therefore, it is advised for you to ask the locals once you are in the plantation area to avoid spending too much time wandering aimlessly in the middle of the plantation. Both of them are located at ± 15 km from Siantar.

2. Aek Manik (Bah Damanik) Natural Spring Pematang Siantar, Pematang Siantar Popular PlaceThis spring was used to be a bathing place for King Damanik and his royal family members which has now been managed by the king’s descendants as a tourist destination. It is also located ± 15 km from Siantar (on the same route to Parapat) and could only be reached by motorbike. Though the journey going there might be quite challenging, all of the efforts would be paid off once you reach the spring. ‘And why?’, you may ask. Imagine the ideal images of blue lagoons that you often find in most tourism brochures or websites, Aek Manik Spring would fit almost all of the criteria. It has a clear blue water that resembles a mirror and thus make it possible for us to see through to its bottom without even diving. It is also surrounded by natural forest and greeneries. This will make sure that your bathing experience will be accompanied by soft refreshing breeze of wind and the calming sound of wind brushing through the nearby foliage. Moreover, since this place is not yet known to most people, your bathing experience here would be as if you are taking a bath in your very own private pool. In bottom words, you should definitely spend some time at Aek Manik.

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