Date Archives

January 2017

Splashing at the Waterpark

They say that you should never let the child inside you die. Family outings helps keep the child inside you alive. Not only it ensures that the kids spend quality times with their parents, but also helps the parents to destress as they spend a refreshing and energy packed days with their little ones. When family outings are planned, it is essential to keep in mind that the entire family can enjoy together. Group activities filled with fun and laughter are the best outings ever. One destination where the entire family always excites to go is a waterpark, and Waterbom Bali offers such activities with loads of adrenaline rush and thrills for the kids.

As the best waterpark in Asia, Waterbom Bali is an oasis in the middle of the famous Kuta stretch and sets in lush tropical garden with many great rides and attractions. Exciting water slides slice through 3.8 hectares of landscaped tropical parks providing hours of fun and entertainment for everyone. With more than 15 rides to choose from, your day is going to be a packed one.

This waterpark has all categories of slides for various age groups. If you are coming with toddlers, then ‘Funtastic’ is the place they will love. It is a large wet playground most suited for small kids 6 and under, where water only ever reaches their knees. There are four tube slides, two short open slides, a climbing net, water jets, canons and a giant tipping water bucket offering hours of fun.

The most popular attraction for families is floating along the ‘Lazy River’ in a rubber tube. The impressive ride is surrounded by dense green foliage where other park attractions are out of sight, creating a feeling that you’re drifting through an Asian jungle full of waterfalls and fountains. ‘Superbowl’ is a gentle slide where the kids have a blast as the slide spins the tube around a big bowl before flushing you out into the pool below. Another major attraction at the park is the ‘Flow Rider’, which lets you experience surfing or body boarding as if you were in the ocean.

For the gaming kids, ‘Water Blaster’ is a super-fun game where you aim and fire the water balloons using catapults to fire at your challenger, hit the bull’s – eye and get them wet. The kids can also try ‘Euro Bungy’ that will catapult them 9 metres into the sky and dare a few flips to pump up the adrenaline.

If your family is up for some serious waterpark activities, then head straight to the slides. The ‘Python’ is the biggest waterslide in the industry. It is a closed in tunnel slide where part of the ride is in complete darkness, which is great for unexpected twists and turns. Waterbom also hosts some crazy, extreme slides for the ones who wants to live life on the edge. ‘Twin Racers’ features a short, enclosed tunnel before gathering momentum for a sudden drop. Lying face forward, race your friends down the slide. Another side by side slide is ‘The Fast N Fierce’ where you plummet toes first down a giant open tube. It goes very fast and is suitable for kids looking for a rush.

The two most challenging and nerve-wrecking slides are the ‘Python’ and the ‘Climax’. Whisking riders along a twisty tube, the pipeline gets your heart racing. It takes only 10 to 13 seconds to slide through the 150 metres tube at 3.5Gs. Looks can be deceiving with this one, as it resembles any other slide but the speeds are extreme when you are in the Python. Climax is another extremely intense ride where you start in a small chamber, and after waiting a few seconds, a trap door opens right below you to drop you 16 metres at 2.5Gs. However, these two slides are not recommended for the kids.

Getting around in Waterbom Bali is very comfortable with expansive, flat paved walkways. Prams and strollers are no trouble. While your kids are having a great time at the park, you can rent a Gazebo to relax and unwind with more privacy. Exclusively for the parents who deserve pampering once in a while, Waterbom Bali also provides a 60-minute spa treatment, ending the day perfectly.

Amidst all these activities, you are bound to discover a new side to yourself which will make you feel pleased at the end of the day. The kids are bound to have a time of their lives, so be ready to receive tons of hugs from them. Every family has a story to tell, and you can create yours.

Credit to Waterbom Bali

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Therapeutic Trip to Jogjakarta

Travelling is therapeutic, and Jogyakarta in Indonesia seems the wisest decision to go to. With a wealth of attractions enriching this city, it ought to be your next healing journey. The array of attractions and the things to do here makes it intimidating to decide of how much time you should spend here. At least, to say, if you are going down to Jogjakarta without having an itinerary, you may come back without having explored the city, not because there is nothing good here, but because you will be spoilt of where to start from. There are a number of guides written by Online Editors which one can use. The below itinerary will make your efforts worthwhile.

Day 1:
Upon arrival to the city, one feels that unique sense of welcoming from the city’s environs. Your first day would best be used to settle with Jogjakarta’s vibe. Check in at a cozy guesthouse of choice and explore the delicious cuisines of Indonesia along Prawirotaman Road. Upon satisfaction, the adventurous can ask for direction to the Jamu stall to meet the medicine woman who prepares healing herbal elixir for the visitors.

Day 2:
The city is ruled by a Sultan, and this is a day for you to live like a sultan. The city is literally developed around the Sultan’s palace called Kraton – a Jogjakarta central attraction. On finishing exploring the palace, a short walk to Taman Sari water palace that was an 18th century Sultan’s holiday gateway will be prudent. This is a home to where the sultan had some sparkling baths with up to a hundred virgins at ago. The stairway to heaven and the 27-mike tunnel leading to the sea are can’t miss spots.

There are so many things to do and so many places to visit in Jogjakarta. Choose how many days you plan to be in Jogjakarta and then ask to the online editors. They can give you a step by step guide around this interesting city to visit.

A Departure to The East Side of Bali

Away from the tourist-packed, chaotic, happening places of Bali lies a mystical land. Quite forgotten by everyone, Eastern Bali is a world in itself. The black sand beaches, spill down mountains, gigantic volcanoes, ancient temples, lush rice terraces offer nothing less than tranquillity and food for the soul. For all those who wish to spend a day or two in the arms of nature, exploring the rich historical heritage of Bali, basking in the natural sensations of the volcanic mountains and crystalline beaches and absorbing the traditional lifestyle in the typical Balinese villages, a trip to the Eastern Bali is compulsory. Let’s travel to east Bali.

There are loads of places to explore in Eastern Bali. In order to enrich your spiritual value, Goa Lawah Temple can be an option. Located in the Pesinggahan Village, around 2-hour distance from Denpasar city, this temple is built around a cave opening that is inhabited by hordes of bats, and hence called the ‘Bat Cave’. In the centre, you will see Shivaite shrine, thousands of year old together with a bale adorned with the motifs of Balinese mythical dragon. The huge banyan trees keep the atmosphere in the temple cool and breezy, and will make you feel refreshed instantly. Another worth visiting temple in the east of Bali is the ancient Besakih Temple, which also known as Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’. Over 1,000 years, it sits 1,000 metres high on the south-western slopes of Mount Agung. The high location of Mount Agung gives the temple a mystical quality. Besakih Temple features three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. You will witness a cluster of temples and shrines, each having their own story and uniqueness.

Bali is considered to be an all year diving destination for the diving enthusiasts. As the famous diving spot, Tulamben comprises of a black sand slope with a thousand-year-old shipwreck and coral gardens. It contains a stunningly diverse underwater ecosystem, and therefore the main dive sites offer different physical environments. The wreck is humongous and a fantastic playground to explore, while you can also find the rare pygmy seahorse in the area. It is the perfect place for underwater photography. Amed is another famous diving spot for soul and body relaxation. Gear up your diving suits to explore the underwater flora and fauna. The teeming marine life here includes various tropical fish, sea turtle, reef tip shark, rays and vibrant coral gardens. You can also spot the traditional Balinese wooden boats called ‘Jukung’ available for fishing charters.

For the beach-goers, the recommended beaches in the east of Bali would be Bias Tugel Beach and Candidasa Beach. Located very close to Padang Bai Port, Bias Tugel Beach is also known as the Secret Beach. You have to walk through a fairly steep and rocky terrain to reach the white sandy beach. The clean water allows you to dive or snorkel to see the beautifully coloured coral reefs and various ornamental fish. Travelling further along the eastern coast of Bali, you will spot Candidasa Beach. This beach offers a tropical climate with thriving coconut trees, perfect spot to unwind. The wind mixed with the smell of the ocean, and the scent of the trees creates an intoxicating perfume. If you are carrying a picnic bag, you may want to stop by and relax for a few hours.

The trekking addicts have a lot of mysterious and adventure spots to explore in the east part of the island. Kintamani is the most favourite trekking destination. The magnificent view of the Batur caldera lake serves as the main attraction, surrounded by the captivating Mount Batur range. In no time you will feel yourself sinking in the beauty of Lake Batur, Kintamani highlands and the fascinating coffee plantations. While at the foot of Mount Abang, you can choose to trek up through dense tropical forests. The trek is considered to be a pilgrim to top of the high spirited atmosphere. The view from the top is simply breath-taking with cloud hovering over the lake and the volcanic cone of Batur on one side, and Mount Agung along with a magnificent shoreline on the other. If you are one of those serious hikers, you could consider taking the trek to Mount Agung.

For those who want to spend their day enhancing their knowledge on the local culture and lifestyle, Ujung Water Palace will bring you closer to Bali’s historical heritage. This famous palace consists of large pools and historic structures set against a backdrop of Mount Agung and the eastern shoreline. You will be fascinated by the blend of Balinese and European architecture. The whole park covering an approximate 10 hectares of land gives you enough space to stroll around and marvel at the ancient structures. While on the historical journey, make sure to visit Tirta Gangga. On entering the site, the first thing you will notice is a pond where rows of guardian figures holding cudgels are neatly arranged. The polygonal stepping stones will allow you to tour on the pond. The huge towering fountains, marvellous ancient springs and huge banyan trees will be a cool retreat in the humid afternoon. The Klungklung Palace in Semarapura can be another famous historic attraction in the east. The palace includes a floating pavilion, main gates and the court of justice. You will be amazed by the paintings that lead up to the ceiling. The grounds are easily walkable and absolutely gorgeous. In the floating pavilion, you would find Balinese artists creating wonderful paintings.

If you are keen to blend with the locals, Sidemen Village would be perfect for strolling around lazily. Located near Besaikh Temple, this village will feed you well with lush, green paddy fields, river valleys and wild pastures, all nestled along the slopes of Mount Agung. Take a walk in the rice fields and interact with the villagers to understand their lifestyle closely.

The Eastern part of Bali has lots to offer, both to the eyes and to the soul. You can choose from an array of mountains, temples, beaches, paddy fields or royal palaces, and plan the itinerary yourself. The list is so exhaustive that it is impossible even for a local person to visit all paces in one go. So, either you are a tourist or a local resident, Bali will never stop to amaze you. “The more you read, the more you will Know. The more you Learn, the more places you will go.”

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine

Cambodia with Backpack

“I would Gladly live out of a Backpack, if it Meant I could see the World.” If you want to get away from the daily monotonous life and head out to somewhere relaxing on your own, backpacking can be an option you should consider. It’s not a planned trip where everything gets decided beforehand, but an adventure where you uncover new things about a place on the move. Leaving your day to day life and associated comforts behind, head out to a trip alone or with other fellow backpackers to discover the wonders of nature or different places that you might not be able to visit on a regular planned trip. Carrying only the minimum life’s essentials on your back during the backpacking trip is not only physically challenging, but liberating for the mind as well as the soul. Backpacking is all about getting away from your normal life with a group of people to spend quality time discovering the best and worst of any place you travel to, and enjoy life as it happens.

Backpacking to Cambodia is a definite adventure that you cannot miss. Cambodia has its own pace to life and gives the backpacker an opportunity to get into photographer’s mode with its abundance of beautiful nature, culture, and way of life. The cost of adventure for a backpacker is cheaper in Cambodia as compared to other parts of Asia. Being in Cambodia is great fun with visit to the historic Angkor Wat, Yoga and Meditation retreats in Siem Reap, enjoying hippie living in Kampot, Dolphin watching, night markets, Cambodian food, Bamboo trains, and finally visit to Phnom Penh, and Cambodian Islands. Cambodia as a country offers a lot to the fun loving backpacker with cheap food, accommodation and adventure that is stress free and reliable. Phnom Penh as a city must be on your list of places to visit.

Phnom Penh is one of the difficult Asian cities to adjust to since it is extremely congested and hot. Its dusty streets reflecting the part of Asia that is trying to recover from a difficult past. For a backpacker who is new to this part of the world, Phnom Penh definitely provides a huge challenge.  However, in this challenge lies the beauty associated with this place. You can witness saffron robed monks, children playing in front of elegant colonial buildings having French architecture, and colorful market stalls all around that sell almost everything from fruits to worn out Levis jeans.  The best thing to do here is to hit the food markets either during the day or night. For a backpacker who enjoys the hustle bustle of daily life, this place definitely provides that through its markets. At the central night market, you can catch on to some of the good and inexpensive food that Cambodia has to offer. Phnom Penh is one place in Southeast Asia where you can enjoy the food sitting on a blanket in the market. This typically presents a picnic like atmosphere while you interact with the locals and have fun with your traveler friends.

There are a lot of marveling city attractions, and some of which are a must watch. The Royal Palace with its classic Khmer roofs and ornate gilding, is a striking structure near the riverfront. Visitors are allowed to visit the throne hall, a cluster of buildings surrounding it and the astonishing Silver Pagoda complex. Wat Ounalom is the headquarters of Cambodian Buddhism. The main attraction here is a stupa containing an eyebrow hair of Buddha with an inscription in Pali (an ancient Indian language) over the entrance. The Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes is a depressing site to visit but still a famous tourist spot. Khmer Rouge leaders were meticulous in keeping records of their barbarism. Each prisoner who passed through S-21 was photographed, sometimes before and after torture. You can view the photographs on the wall and some instruments of torture. 35km south of Phnom Pehn, peaceful Tonle Bati is set on the banks of the Bati River in a well-tended grove of coconut and mango trees, where you can swim and picnic as well as seeing the two small but appealing temples.  A perfect, relaxing getaway after some serious sightseeing. If your backpacking stay allows you to stick around Phnom Penh for a while, then you can find charming cafes, French colonial buildings, beautiful tree lined boulevards, and at night buzzing pubs to enjoy the night life.  Also visit the Killing fields and S21 prison which is very much an important part of Cambodian history.

In terms of accommodation, there are numerous guest houses and hostels that provide cheap accommodation as you try and enjoy the buzz and atmosphere of this place. If you are on a tight budget, then plan a stay in the hostels to help cut down costs. The most well-known area in Phnom Penh for backpackers is Golden Street located on Street 278 and very close to the Independence monument. This area is filled with budget hostels and guesthouses, pubs, tours and activities that is extremely appealing to backpackers. If you want to stay a little away from this area, then look at budget hostels and guest houses near to riverside. Mid-range accommodations are located in the central part of Phnom Penh in the BKK1 district. This area provides maximum comfort accommodation with an active bar scene for the backpackers. The Boeung Kak Lake area is filled with rooms overlooking the lake having basic facilities.

Serendipity is synonymous to backpacking travel. The satisfaction and happiness associated with backpacking cannot be explained, only felt. Cambodia provides million such opportunities where you will create the most memorable moments of your life. So stop planning and get your backpack on. “Let your Memory be your Travel bag.”

Let’s dance, and discover a newer side of you

They say, “Dancing with the feet is one thing and dancing with the heart is another.” Dance is known to be the most beautiful form of expressing yourself. It is a highly liberating activity and infuses a lot of fun element to an otherwise boring workout schedule. True dancing is not about how well you perform, but is more about how much you enjoy it and feel good about it.

Bali offers a lot of dance classes and workshops which not only teaches how to dance properly but also brings a lot closer to the culture where the dance is originally from. These dance classes will be a refreshing experience for a newbie, and the dance instructors are extremely patient. They will make sure you have a wonderful time and a good insight on the cultural aspects of the dance styles. In case you are a fast learner, they might even let you join their group to perform in front of a real audience on a real stage. Nerves aside, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable experience.

Balinese
Balinese dance is beautiful and unique, and is closely connected to religious rituals. Dancers use all parts of the body, including their faces and eyes. Hand gestures are very important. The “Legong Dance” is one of Bali’s most refined and feminine forms, typically performed by young girls who use intricately choreographed movements, manipulating their bodies, fingers, and faces to accompany music. This dance form traces its origins to the 19th Century. History says that when Prince Sukawati was ill; he had a vivid dream that portrayed two maidens performing this type of Balinese dance to gamelan music. After he recovered, this form of dance became a part of Balinese culture.

Girls from age of five aspire to perform Legong dance, and girls at the age of fourteen usually take retirement from this dance form. The dance performance is usually up to two hours with dancers dressed in silk cloth, blanketed with gold brocade, Jepun flowers, and ornamental gold leaf dripping. Makeup for these dancers display black painted eyebrows, thickly powdered faces with a white dot.

Balinese dance classes can be seen all over Bali, and they are conducted regularly. You do not have to carry a lot of things to these classes as you will be provided with the sash and sarong. However, for the entire Balinese costume, you need to pay a little more. So, dress up, dance and get yourself clicked. The effort is worth it.

In Hotel Tugu Bali, the Balinese dance class is also available for children. The class is held every Sunday at 3PM. The skilled students will have the chance to perform what they learn in the class on Bale Agung Garuda stage at Hotel Tugu Bali.

Salsa
Bali also conducts dance classes for Salsa, owing to the popularity and demand. This Latin origins dance is a lively, sensual dance with basic steps that make it easy for beginners to pick up. The basic Salsa dance rhythm consists of taking three steps for every four beats of music. The odd number of steps creates the intrinsic rhythm to the Salsa dancing and ensures that it takes eight beats of music to loop back to a new sequence of steps. You just need to be comfortable with your dance partner and follows the four basic steps of Salsa, which is closed dance position, good posture, hip movement and a fast tempo Salsa song.

The instructors will uncomplainingly guide you through these basics, and you will have the best fun time with your dance partner. They will also explain the meanings behind the individual postures and gestures that comprise the basics of Salsa. It is a wonderful way to expand your knowledge while enjoying a bit of exercise.

In Salsa, the dress requires the dancer to be bright or graphic but with a sense of comfort as things get heated up during the dance. Men usually wear button down shirts with Jeans or Slacks, and women go for club top or cami with skinny jeans. Sleeveless tops and strappy dresses work the best for women on the dance floor. Most important to Salsa dancing are good dance shoes. The suede-bottomed shoes designed for salsa may not be fashionable but are recommended while dancing, as they give you the freedom to move around and prevent slowdown of your movements while dancing.

There are so many Salsa classes in Bali. Private class is the fastest way to learn, while in a group class you can share the lesson with people in the same passion. It will cost around IDR 200,000 – 300,000 per hour lesson. Alternatively, you can go for a free class every week where Salsa party is taking place.

Tango
Tango is a vibrant and playful dance from Argentina. It has very rich potential for expression, improvisation and connection, either danced in both modern and traditional styles. In tango, there is a ‘leader’ and ‘follower’. Like the symbols of yin and yang, the roles of leader and follower each have a little of the other within them. Tango is a collaborative process, which encourages the development of sensitivity, clarity, trust and respect. Since this dance form is quite intimate and passionate, it is best to get your beloved on the dance floor to enjoy a romantic time.

It is recommended to wear lose and comfortable clothes as the postures involve a lot of stretching and turning. Men should make sure that the pants do not have a turned up cuff. It is very easy for a stiletto heel to get caught here, and this is one of the few things that can bring both partners crashing to the floor. For the ladies, it is best to wear heels as it lends to the good posture and flexibility of foot movement. Tight skirt at the thigh or knees should be avoided as this will prevent from moving your legs. Since Tango is a great dance form to express yourself on the dance floor, it is recommended that the dresses that you wear should make you feel confident and sensual at the same time. The clothing basically needs to elevate your mood while dancing.

If you are into this type of dance, Tango class is available every Saturday at Trattoria Legian and every Sunday at Zia Hotel Petitenget between 2PM – 5PM. There will be no specific fee to join these classes, but your small donation would be highly appreciated.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine