Mount and Lake Batur from Penelokan Kintamani

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Batur Geopark Museum

One of the most famous tourist destination in Bali is Mount and Lake Batur located in Kintamani, Bali. Most tourists were taken by their tour guide to Panelokan, Kintamani, where they can enjoy the view of the mountain and lake with all its grandeur. I have passed this place many many times, but I am still at awe.

I have noticed several times that in Penelokan there is a building called Batur Geopark Museum. But, we never really got a time to visit it because we were always in a hurry. After all, the building looked lonely and deserted.

But last time, we passed the place on our way home (Songan)…and we are not in a hurry as we usually did. So, we stopped by to visit the Museum.

At that time, there were several cars and a tourist bus in the car park, which means that there are actually visitors inside! We were greeted by a front office staff when we entered the museum. She politely asked one of us to fill in the Guest Book. Once I finished, I expected that she would me the entrance fee. But to my great surprise, she said that there is no entrance fee. Yup, its totally free!!

We started our tour. There were a machine where you can take a picture of your groups. We took some time to snap ours.

The first exhibit is about the formation of the Universe and Earth. The explanation were in both Bahasa Indonesia and English. Its a bit high up, so my two girls just asked me to read them out for me while they went over the illustrations. Next to the exhibit there were an audio visual where you can watch a video and hear more about the galaxy.

Next to it, there were a big globe…the girls tried to locate some of the countries that they have heard. Indonesia (of course), then Thailand, then England 🙂

Moving on, we came to an exhibit about volcanoes. At this point, I am finding myself pleasantly surprised to how genuinely interested I am reading all these stuffs. My mind went all the way back during my school years where Geography was really the most intimidating subject to me. If only there were this kind of display to help me through those years. I might not turned up to be a Geologist or geographer, but it would really help me to get interested with the subject!

The exhibit showed the most phenomenal Indonesian volcanoes. First is Mount Merapi as the most active volcano in Indonesia. Then, there is a description of Mount Tambora that erupted in 1815 and recorded as the the largest eruption in the history of mankind. In another part of the exhibit we can also read a description of Mount Krakatau eruption that cause enormous Tsunami. Finally, there is a description about Mount Toba which erupted 75000 years ago is the largest eruption in the world has seen during the past 2 million years! In front of the exhibit there are volcanic rocks from Mount Merapi and Krakatau. Seriously, how good it is to have that much information within a single exhibit.

Next up is more description about Volcano in Indonesia. It mainly repeats some of the information from the previous exhibit, but the map shows the chain of 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia that form a big part of the Ring of Fire. It also shows some of the fact such as the tallest, lowest volcano in Indonesia and the world.

The next exhibit is on development of Bali Island. Unfortunately, it is described only in Bahasa Indonesia. There were 19 stages in the development starting over 23 million years a go, which the exhibit called as Oligo-Miosen period. A quick google search did not find Oligo-Miosen. But instead found Miosen and Oligosen…so, please don’t quote me on this one (a real amateur here). It described in detail how the volcano activities and sedimentation over the period of the Miosen, Pliosen, Plistosen, right through 5500 ago  formed what we now know as Bali island. I would love to describe each step in more detail but the technicality really is quite challenging. Perhaps one day T.T

I attached here the exhibits courtesy of Batur Geopark Museum. Sorry for the blurry pics, hope it is still readable.

Having learned about Bali, we moved on to the next segment of the Museum. Here we can learn more about the formation of Ancient Batur Volcano, volcanic rocks of Ancient Batur, formation of Batur Caldera I and the ongoing development of the Batur Volcano.

At this point, I got overwhelmed with all the information. Plus, we did not expect that it would be chilly inside the museum so we were all just wearing our normal clothes. So I just took the pictures and skip through some of the exhibits, as the girls start to complain that they feel a bit cold 😦

*I would recommend you wear warm clothes so you can enjoy all the exhibits inside the museum*

It is quite ashamed really because the rest of the exhibits are really equally interesting. First is a large exhibit describing the distributions and Lava Forms of Batur followed by the grace and disaster of Batur Volcano.

We then move to the second segment of the Museum that describe the biodiversity of Indonesia. My two girls got really excited because there are some exhibits on animals. I particularly love the picture of the Reindeer 🙂 There is also descriptions of biodiversity in Bali Island and more specifically on the environment of Batur Geopark.

Next exhibits are about Balinese: plant and the Balinese, Balinese Culture, artefacts and history of Bali, interaction of human and nature: the Balinese people, and the concept of Mountain in culture. If you really wanna know about Bali, it is really a good place to start! One of the most intriguing is exhibit about diversity of cultural expressions in Balinese society. The cultural concept of the relationship balance between people, nature and God called Tri Hita Karana.

Finally, our tour end with three exhibits about potential and preservation of geological heritage, wise man and sustainable nature. The last exhibit convey a very important message:

Equilibrium in the use of Nature is the key to Biodiversity

Wow. By the end of the visit, I felt overwhelmed with all the information inside the museum. Then, I felt its such a pity that this museum is not promoted enough…and also we found that the facilities (toilets) are not well maintained. I will wanna comeback again one day to have a more thorough look at all the exhibits. In the meantime, I truly recommend this place for you and your kids to learn while around Kintamani!

 

Gunung Kawi Historic Site

One of the most important historic sites in Bali is Gunung Kawi. I visited it several times when I was a kid. Once with my school friends during a field trip and other times with my family. Recently, during our stay in Sabasanti Villa, I went with my husband and two girls. It was actually the same day as former US President, Barack Obama visit! We were two hours early 😦

I have never been very good at history lesson. I almost forgot all the history of Gunung Kawi. I have to Google it to find this information.

Gunung Kawi is located in Tampak Siring, Gianyar. Its a complex consisting of temples built in 11th Century by King Udayana. King Udayana played an important role in Balinese history. He married Mahendradatta and has three children: Airlanga, Anak Wungsu, and Marakata. Mahendradatta came from Medang kingdom in East Java. Airlangga eventually left to Java and became the King of Kahuripan, an area known now as Sidoarjo Regency. Airlangga has a large territory all the way to Central Java. The capital of the kingdom was eventually moved from Kahuripan to Daha (now Kediri regency).

There are many many steps to get to the complex. Going down is not hard, but climbing back the steps may take a lot of effort so make sure you are in good shape!

Here are some of the pictures from our visit.

Saba – a Unique and Quiet Place in Bali

Bali is such a unique tourist destination that always have something new to offer. As a Balinese myself, I am continuously amazed with the new attractions in Bali.

If you come to Bali to have a taste of Balinese culture, perhaps you have heard about Ubud. The area has gained popularity since the publication of Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Pray and Love. Or perhaps you are intrigued to go to Gunung Kawi, a historical site visited recently by former US President Obama 🙂  If you are a beach person then you might heard of Kuta and Sanur Beach. In recent years, though many tourists prefer to explore new areas in Bali.

Saba is one of them. Stretched along the Jl. Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra Saba offers a different experience.

We stayed in Sabasanti Villa. Its a five bedroom villa with swimming pool and modern room. Each  room has a king sized bed that immediately excite my two girls. The first floor is equipped with pantry, dining room and kitchen. The second floor is equally spacious. Perfect for holiday with your family and friends.

From there, you can easily do various things around the area.

Here are some of the things that you can enjoy around Saba.

Saba Beach

Dont expect white sand like Kuta or Nusa Dua. Saba beach is quite similar to Sanur. But the wave is quite strong, so it is not very ideal for swimming.

For now there are not many activities offered in the beach except for horse riding. In our last visit, my daughters try the horse riding from Bali Horse Riding. They charge half to hourly ride through Saba Beach.

The beach is also used for pre-wedding photo location. But I think nobody minds if you use it as post wedding honeymoon photo location 🙂

Taman Nusa

Indonesia is an archipelago with over 13 thousands island. It is rich in natural and cultural diversity. If you want to have a taste of Indonesian culture you can go to Taman Nusa.

It is a park that provides miniature and replica of different provinces in Indonesia. Each province presents its traditional house, furniture and artifacts. In some of the house, you can speak to a local person that is brought all the way from their place of origin. I like this place very much because as Indonesian I have not travelled much outside Java and Bali islands. At least I can get a preview of the diversity that Indonesia has to offer. Here are some interesting houses in Taman Nusa.

 

Bali Zoo

Another attractions around Saba is Bali Zoo. One of the main attraction is Elephant Ride.

There is also Bali Safari and Marine Park. But I will suggest you make a reservation for both place to avoid long queues during peak seasons.

 

Bali Bird Park

Bali Bird park host a variety of different birds. It is not as big as other park, but it is perfectly arranged for your convenience. Your kids gonna love it.

Keramas Aero Park

Fancy eating out with a different environment altogether? Keramas Aero Park offers you just that. It’s a restaurant on a real plane. With certain amount of purchase you can dine inside an aeroplane. I guess when you went on long hauled flight you have experience eating in an aeroplane. But, technically, you would not be able to enjoy the meal together with your companion. So, I took my family there. I love the fact that they have special set for children. Our girls always find it hard to eat spicy food. So, they are very happy to have a tempura and burger sets. For adults, the restaurant offers western food with a touch of local taste.

If you wanna taste local culinary, not to worry. There are plenty of restaurants with great food at affordable price. I am particularly fond of Graha Kariana. It has various local foods and it can deliver to Sabasanti Villa. Another nearby restaurant is Padi Buffet Ala’Carte which offers smaller portion with reasonable price.

 

The Color of Songan

We started the new year with a several day breaks to our home in Songan, Kintamani. We timed it perfectly so we can attend the spiritual activity, Odalan, in one of the temples. Of course while at home, we always use it also to have a walk to our garden by the lake.

Here are some of the pictures 🙂

Highs and Lows of 2014

Its the first day of 2015. As I started the year, cant help but to reflect on what has happened in 2014.

Work wise it has been quite a year. There are plenty of changes in the institution that kept us busy. Moreover, our faculty has additional responsibility as the organizer for our Institute’s 54th Anniversary. It was a huge task with so many drama for me. I will have to write an entire post about it later. But reflecting on it now I am so relieved that we finished the task with a generally good result and I learn so much invaluable lessons from it 😉

Personally, 2014 didn’t give me the chance to add more stamp on my passport nor did it give me the chance to set foot on another island in Indonesia. Still, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, UK, The Netherlands, Italy, France and USA for me. Sadly too, only Java, Bali and Madura in Indonesia so far…I know its pretty bad that I live in a country with over 13000 island, but I have only visited 3??!!! Cmon, this should be high on my new years resolution: see more of Indonesia!!!!!

In May, Hita celebrated her 4th Birthday, and it was the first time that she celebrated it in School. Here she is with her Blue Frozen Ombre Cake 😉

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But, its not all gloomy in the travel department. Though limited in Java and Bali, I managed to take the girls to visit more places. We went home in January. Then again in August. We went to visit Panglipuran, a village in Bangli, Bali that still preserved the traditional Balinese house. After that, we went to Bali Bird Park.

But, the high is immediately followed by low period for me. My body must be so tired that upon our return to Surabaya I got so ill and must be hospitalized. In the first two days the doctor thought that it was just digestive problem that lead to dehydration. After the third day he said that I also got dengue fever. I was so gutted since this was NOT my first case of dengue fever. But it was certainly the worst. I must spent 6 days in the hospital with over 10 needle shots :(( So here comes the second new year resolution. Quite simple: be healthy!! I have to really work hard on this since it has been my resolution in the past 3 years :’)

Luckily, I bounced back and then come December we have got another trip to Bali. This time it was for a conference, followed by holiday. It was my first experience to fly with the girls without their dad (he was the conference organizer so he left earlier). Thankfully, they were in their best behaviour 🙂 We stayed at Sanur Paradise Hotel. It was quite a pleasant stay. After the conference, we went to Bali Zoo where the girls got the chance to take photos with animal…and…rode an Elephant!

When we return a week later, the girls grand mom and cousin visited us in Surabaya. At that time I realized that we rarely explore Surabaya. So in the end we went to the Surabaya Heroes Monument, Monkasel Submarine Monument, Surabaya Night Carnival and Kenjeran Park. It was a really fun time for the girls.

Finally, during the christmas holiday we went to Purwodadi Garden. Unfortunately, we only had a very short time to explore as it started raining. Then we went to Taman Dayu Golf and Resort. The next morning, the girls enjoyed the water park. Before heading back to Surabaya we went up to the Pines Camping Ground. It was really interesting because the place actually rent out Tree Houses and Wooden houses. But I think it was not really fun during rainy season. Wish to rent one of the wooden house in the dry season 😉

Sadly, it was during this time that I first heard the news about AirAsia QZ8501. My deepest condolence to the relatives of the passengers. Hope they will have the strength during this difficult time.

 

Missing my Homeland – BALI

Temple at Balinese Home
Temple at Balinese Home

Last week, just as I prepared myself for a holiday to my homeland in Bali, I suddenly started humming and recalling so many songs that have been written about home…

“Been around the world,there’s no place like home” East Seventeen

“Another summer day
Has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I wanna go home
Mmmmmmmm” Michael Buble

“Well I’m going home,Back to the place where I belong, And where your love has always been enough for me” Daughtry

And of course the big ballads “Home Sweet Home” from Motley Crue

You know I’m a dreamer
But my heart’s of gold
I had to run away high
So I wouldn’t come home low
Just when things went right
It doesn’t mean they were always wrong
Just take this song, and you’ll never feel
Left all alone

Take me to your heart
Feel me in your bones
Just one more night
And I’m comin’ off this
Long & winding road

I’m on my way
I’m on my way
Home sweet home…
Tonight, tonight
I’m on my way
I’m on my way
Home sweet home…

I guess home and our feelings about it have been the source of inspiration for so many artists 😀

There is an expression that says “Home is where your heart is” which I think means that your home is where you lived with the people you love. By this definition, my home is in Surabaya because me, my husband and two girls currently lived there. But, deep in my heart I always miss my homeland, BALI. Most of our family still lived in Bali. I also miss the landscape, the environment, the culture, and the food ^^

I miss the familiar trees like Kamboja and Coconut trees mixed in between people homes.

A popular flower tree in Balinese homes
A popular flower tree in Balinese homes

All of these element have changed since my childhood. But, thankfully, I still can find one of my favorite food: Jukut Undis..it’s a kind of soup made from black soybean. It’s really spicy and tasty. Yummy!!! try it if you visit Bali. Unlike many traditional Balinese food that have gone national even international like Betutu, Plecing Kangkung I’m pretty sure you can only find it in Bali 🙂

Undis - traditional Balinese Soup made of Black Soybean
Undis – traditional Balinese Soup made of Black Soybean