Lombok: Between Mosque and Beaches

Last February, I got a second chance to visit Lombok. Just like my first, this time it was mainly for work…with a little bit of traveling in the end ๐Ÿ™‚

But, unlike my first time in Lombok where I mainly visited cultural site (read about it here) this time around my friends and I stayed in a hotel closed to the airport. The hotel is called D’Praya Hotel.

We arrived on a Friday, so when my colleague when for their Friday prayer, I got to visit a souvenir place. Its a bit early to buy souvenir since we just arrived. We just ended up walking around.

It was not until the following day that we got a chance to explore Lombok. First, we went to Grand Mosque at Islamic Center in Mataram. It is a large mosque with artistic design.

Lombok is known as The Island of a Thousand Mosque. Here is one of the grand mosque at Islamic Center

Our next destination is Tanjung Aan Beach. It is a nice white sand beach. We dont have much time to play around the beach. So I just walked around. There were a lot of children selling souvenir. They also offer to help take various kind of instagrammable pictures. Two of them offered me. But, I was a bit hesitant. Instead I asked them to be my model.

These two boys, Nunjal (front) and Soyong (back) at Tanjung Aan Beach, Lombok offered to take a picture of me pushing the hill…for 5 thousand rupiah pay. But I ended up convince them to pose for me.

From Tanjung Aan, the tour guide took us to Kuta Mandalika Beach. Itโ€™s the latest tourist area hailed to be the next Kuta. The beach is quieter and cleaner. The white sand is also similar to Kuta Beach. But the infrastructure is not entirely ready.

Here again, I found myself approached by many kids selling souvenir.

I chatted with two of them that also offered picture services. I knew that I would have to give them something so I might as well gave them a chance to show what they are capable of.

I was quite amazed with the end results. They certainly know how to work out a camera phone.

This one supposedly a two in one pic
This one is a flying pic
I only hoped a bit and it looked like I jumped high ๐Ÿคฃ

The next day, its a free day, so I called one of my students who happened to live in Lombok. She took us around Praya.

We visited another mosque, Praya Mosque.

A fine view of Praya Great Mosque
Front view of Praya Great Mosque

Finally we visited a water reservoir before heading back to our hotel.

Lombok feels like Bali decades a go when there were less buildings and more natural sites.

Perhaps that is why the cloud seem a lot closer as if they were hanging from the sky.

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Surabaya: City of Heroes

DSCF3104.JPGIsn’t ironic that I talk a lot about Bali and other places, but I have never wrote anything about the place that I currently live, Surabaya.

I tell you why. From the first time I came to Surabaya in 1994, I came to think of it as quite boring. Well, how can you blame me, I come from Bali where you can always find natural things for amusement. Surabaya, is a busy trade city. So, if you want to go to malls or shopping center then it is a good place. But other than that, its quite dull.

But as I started to live permanently in Surabaya in 2005, a lot has changed. Surabaya is now green and clean thanks to our mayor. But still, I have not really explore Surabaya.

Until when my then 8 years old niece who lives in Bali come to visit us. Then I got really excited to think how I can entertain her. I did not have the time to take her out of town…So, I ended taking her to the places around Surabaya.

Tugu Pahlawan

Surabaya is known as the City of Hero due to its courageous fight on 10th November 1945. In Indonesia it is commemorated as the National Hero Day. A monument is dedicated in remembrance of this fight.

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Surabaya Heroes Museum

Monumen Kapal Selam

It is located in the center of the City of Surabaya. Its actually a submarine turned into a museum. Very popular place for teachers to take their students for field trip.

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Submarine Museum

Patung Suro & Boyo

Located next to Monumen Kapal Selam is the iconic symbol of Surabaya: the Sura (Shark) and Baya (Crocodile).

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Iconic Shark & Crocodile

Taman Remaja

The title can be translated into Youth Park. That is why this place is commonly used to showcase child and youth talent. Ever since my two girls enter kindergarten I have been a regular visitor of this park since they usually joined various competition here. The park has several stages to host dancing, singing and other performance. But it also has many children ride.

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Wonorejo Mangrove Ecotourism

Here you can see one of the last mangrove forest in Surabaya. It basically provides means to increase awareness to preserve the ecosystems.

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Surabaya Carnival

If you wanna take your kids for a fun trip but do not want to brave the traffic to Batu, Malang then you can take them to Surabaya Carnival. There are a lot of rides and interesting exhibits that will keep them busy!

Taman Bungkul

Recently, Surabaya also has a lot of new park. One of the most famous park is Taman Bungkul. Situated in the center of the city, the park is very lively particularly on Sunday Morning. A lot of people and communities just gather in the park. There is children playground, skating place, etc. Another attraction is the culinary stalls around the park.

 

Me and Famous Landmarks

Every famous place has its landmark. A visit to a famous place would not be complete if you have not taken a picture of “the” landmark.

I have been quite privileged to be able to visit some of the most famous places in the world and here is my collection…

LONDON

There were plenty of other landmarks that I had of England and London in particular, but I took them with an old camera. So, to put them up I must scanned them like this one here.

Me with the iconic London’s Telephone

I hope that I can visit London again one day ๐Ÿ™‚

PARIS

I think that this landmark need no introduction. So happy to take it when the light was lit
Champs Ellyssee
Colorful window of Notre Damme

ROME

The Colloseum
Imagine that this was once the arena where Gladiators fought against lions?

VATICAN

The Vatican and the Pope was actually there...
The Vatican and the Pope was actually there…

KUALA LUMPUR

The Petronas Tower

SINGAPORE

Some might argue that Merlion is the most iconic landmark of Singapore. But Marina sandsbay is equally great

USA

I visited several states and each equally interesting.

Washington D.C.

The most famous house in the world

Boston, Massachusetts

Massachusets Institute of Technology

Chicago

Chicago Navy Pier

San Fransisco

This one is probably the most precious pictures that I got during my visit to USA. First time we could not get a picture of the bridge it was really foggy. As we drove we kept trying to get a picture until finally we got a perfect spot to get this one.

Bangkok

Asiatique, a busy shopping area in Bangkok

KUMAMOTO, JAPAN

Kumamoto Castle

Blangsinga and Tegenungan Waterfalls

On our way home from Saba to Songan, Kintamani we wanted to visit a new place. My husband mentioned that there are a waterfall close by. He said its called Tegenungan Waterfall.

I searched for it and found that it was quite close to another waterfall called Blangsinga Waterfall. I did not really checked it on the map.

My husband decided to take us to Blangsinga Waterfall. We arrived to the entrance and immediately went to the ticket box. It was relatively cheap, only 30 thousands rupiah for two adults and two children (under 12 years old).

First we took quite a steep stairs so I would advise visitor to really watch over their children. Not long after we took the stairs down we arrived to a heart-shaped wooden frame clearly prepared for visitors to take instagram-worthy pictures ๐Ÿ˜

We carried on after taking our pictures. My husband and the girls walked ahead of me as I stopped several times to take some pictures of the surrounding. The cool water splash and sound of the waterfall were really inviting.

After I reached the bottom of the stairs there was a lady who wanted to climb up. The guard stopped and asked for her ticket. She showed it and I heard him said “Sorry, if you want to climb here, you must pay for a ticket…if you dont wanna pay then you must take that route”. The guard signal for a stairs in another side of the river. It puzzled me…but I didnt ask for more information. I just assume that we must also take the route…although I can already see that there were so many more steps compared to the way we came down.

We then enjoyed the cool and fresh water of the river. Some visitors swim under the waterfall. Some prefer to take instagram-worthy pic by swinging in front of the waterfall.

We did not bring any clothes to swim so we just crossed the river. As we about to take the steps there were sign that says “good luck with the 165 steps”.

Wow…for a person who rarely exercise like myself…it is quite a put off..but my girls just went straight.

I took it bit by bit. I stopped several time. Finally, I arrived and immediately greeted by a sign that read Tegenungan Waterfall. It took me sometimes to realized that we have actually crossed to another territory.

I am still hoping that Blangsinga carpark is within walking distance. So we stopped in one of the shop by a drink and ask the lady the way to get back to Blangsinga. She said it was quite a walk. 4.1 kilometres to be exact. She said we better go back down and up to where we came ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ต

So apparently, the two waterfalls, to be honest I completely missed the Tegenungan waterfall on my way up because I was so busy catching my breath, were separated only by a river. But, on land it was 4.1km.

Turns out I misinterpret what happened earlier. Each waterfall sold separate ticket. You can enjoy the same sceneries as long as you come and go from the same place, which make more sense rather than my assumption ๐Ÿ˜‚

So moral of the story is

Dont assume, just ask whenever you are in doubt

But, I have no regret. I quite enjoyed having conquer the 165 steps!

Plus, I got this perfect shot of the waterfall from Tegenungan steps.

Bali Countryside

My long holiday is halfway through. I am still determined to blog more. Today I would like to talk about Balinese countryside.

Yes, Bali is known for its beautiful nature and unique culture. However, as more and more area in Bali transform with modernization, I often missed the old Balinese environment.

Thats why during holiday, I always try to bring our children to the countrside where some aspects remain untouched by modernization.

The other day we stayed atย Villa Sabasanti located in a secluded area close by Saba Beach. In the morning, I took my girls for a walk. We wanted to go to the beach but we ended up taking a route into a farm.

Along the way we enjoyed the sceneries of Balinese countryside..

Corn field with Saba Beach in the background

In addition to coconut and banana trees, bamboos are the most essential tree for Balinese. It is used for ceremonial elements, as well as home utensils and handicraft.
I have read somewhere that bamboo may not be as big and strong as any other wood but their versatility is their strength.

Then there were also a lot of coconut trees. A typical sights in Balinese villages.

In addition to the usual coconut trees, there are also a special type of coconut..its a lot shorter with ivory skin and smaller fruit, hence Balinese called it Nyuh Gading.

After a while…we reached a field where local farmer leave their cows. My two girls were really excited especially seeing several calfs ๐Ÿ˜Š

I went back to the villa feeling quite happy that some of Bali remains as it were before…

Balinese Blends Modern and Traditional Life

Bali is known for its beautiful landscape and unique culture…the image of Balinese women dressed modestly, carrying offering in their heads across rice field have been the object of a lot of paintings, postcards and posters. But, Bali is not immune to the lure of modernization.

Development driven by tourism has certainly changed the face of Bali, especially in certain area in the southern part of Bali. Now you can see the houses, public places and building mix modern architecture with traditional culture.

This is Titi Banda Statue, representing the story of Rama with an army of Monkey on their way to cross the bridge to Alengka and pick Sita. It is located in three-way junctions of By Pass Ngurah Rai and By Pass Ida Bagus Mantra

But, despite the change from typical Balinese architecture, in every Balinese Hindu house you will see one or two shrine or temple like this.

Sanggah: a typical shrine or temple for Balinese Hindu to pray
The above picture taken in a used-to-be familiar Waturenggong street in Denpasar, Bali.

I passed this road every day when I was little. It has always been a busy street due to its proximity to schools and universities. But, now it was cramped with shops and bustling with cars and motorcycles. But densed among shop selling clothes, bags, foods, minimarts, I am happy to see this shop called Ketut Banten (zoom in for the red signage). As the name suggest, it sells Banten that is an offering Balinese Hindu use in their rituals and ceremonies. The simplest form of offering is Canang.

The base of Canang is a rectangular shape intricately made from young coconut leaves. Then flowers and leave are arranged in it.

There are many forms of artifact in Balinese Hindu.

Garuda is one of the most popular mythical creature in Balinese culture. I took this in Puncak Penulisan temple
Ornament in Pura Hulundanu Batur
Pajeng is a traditional umbrella put beside the temple. The color is normally white, yellow and black

With advance technology Balinese also changed the way they do things. Cars and motorcycle take over the more traditional horse carriage.

Skillful but also risky

This lady balance her Boiled Corn, known as Jagung Rebus by Indonesian, in her head while Riding Motorcycle. Skills you rarely find anywhere else, but in Bali. I took this picture around Pura Besakih and at that time she was travelling in a quiet road. Still, safety riding warrant certainly needed. Even in public places like Ngurah Rai International Airport, Balinese artistry is at full display.

This exhibit of The Good Barong and The Evil Rangda