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A week long fun at Visakhapatnam

However, there are countless tourism places in India. One may find cities of Historical forts, temples, battle fields, beaches, hills, caves, etc, yet there are cities like Visakhapatnam where one may find plane, hills, ocean and historical temples in a single city, even caves are nearby.

Varahlakshminarsimha templeVisakhapatnam is well connected with national capital Delhi, City of joy “Kolkata”, IT hub Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. One may travel by train to enjoy multiple days journey or may reach by air within two hours. I spent one week with my family there. AC Hotels are available from Rupees one thousand onward for double bedroom. We reached there in the morning and stayed at Hotel Krishna near railway station. In the evening, we hired an auto and started sightseeing from religious places. That evening we spent in Varahlakshminarsimha temple and Rose hill church. Autos are available from Rupees three hundred onward for this trip.

Deity Darshan Next day, again we hired the auto for day long trip in Rupees twelve hundred. We started the day with Deity Darshan at Simhachalam temple which is around ten kilometer from railway station. Then we went to Film City. The road is adjacent to sea and it’s nice to see the film shootings on the way. The film city has a film museum which includes all the film making equipment there. This film city, located on Bheemli Beach Road, is built on the top of Rishikonda hills serves an enticing bird’s eye view of the Bay of Bengal. Dr. D. Ramanaidu, the owner of this film studio, was conferred with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in the year 2010. He is highly respected for his contribution to the Indian Cinema. His name is in the Guinness Book of World Record for producing films in maximum number of regional languages. On 18th February 2015 at the age of 78 this genius passed away after a prolonged illness.

Rishikonda BeachNext stoppage was at Rishikonda Beach. As always, we enjoyed the coconut water and local shopping. The calm blue water of this beach is a sight to sore eyes, and you can indulge in some quiet, peaceful time with friends and family here. You can take a walk along the stretch of the sand, and the sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful here. Then, Zoo is also there at walk-able distance. It was great pleasure for children. Next, we went up the hill to visit VUDA park at Kailashgiri. There we had good food for lunch and toy train riding. It is also a best place for children. Kailasagiri is a hill top park. The hill is at 360 feet and it overlooks beaches, forests & the city. It is one of the best tourist spots in the city for a bird’s eye view of the bay. The Kailasagiri Park is well known for its panoramic view, peaceful atmosphere and its scenic beauty.

Vishakha MuseumThen we headed towards Vishakha Museum. This route is well connected to city’s most popular beach “Ramakrishna or R K beach” where Kursura sub-marine museum, Kali temple and Matshyadarshini aquarium are located. Kursura sub-marine was isolated by Indian Navy years back and now turned into museum at sea beach. If you are in this city, stop to witness the only Submarine Museum in the entire of Asia. Matshyadarshini aquarium is just a fish collection where we have seen variety of fish live. The Aquarium has many marine varieties including the long horn cow fish, butterfly fishes, surgeon major, peacock wrasse, the lion fish, stone fish, red squirrel fish, perch dusky, trigger fish, clown fish, damsels, sweet lip rabbit fish, angels, electric ray, porcupine fish and many more.

It was 9 pm, almost 12 hours journey with lot of fun so we came back to our hotel.

Author: Prakash Vir Sharma

Email: prakash2484@gmail.com

Prakash Vir Sharma

Bali’s International Culinary Journey

Over the years, Bali has evolved with each wave of visitors and is now truly a first-class dining destination, where the world’s most innovative and talented chefs can be found. You can choose to enjoy numerous International dishes with its authenticity and rustic charm right in place. The brunches are served in buffet-style with free-flowing healthy and fresh juices. The lunches and dinners are consisting of complex yet flavoursome dishes that will take you through a culinary journey altogether. Whether you are looking for a fine dining venue to celebrate a special evening as a couple, or looking to revel in a friendly place with friends and family, Bali gives you umpteen options to conclude your culinary journey with a sinful delight.

Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or so they say. In a normal busy morning, it is easy to skip breakfast and put it in the next list of priorities. But, taking just a quick few bites can really make a difference to the rest of your day. In case you don’t have time to grab something before leaving the house, there are some breakfast spots you can put on a highly consideration.

In Ubud, Petani at Alaya Resort Ubud is dedicated their breakfast to help the local hardworking farming community who cultivate the land to provide a consistent food supply. The idea is to get organic ingredients directly from the local farmers. By doing so, they believe that everyone, including the rural landowners, gets the benefits from the tourism industry. As for the diners who enjoy the food, they will get a clear understanding of where the food is coming from while at the same time get an introduction of the best dishes that the island offers.

The signature breakfast at Petani includes Homemade Granolla, Egg Frittata, Melange Platter with tea, freshly fruit juices or gourmet coffee. Also available a Continental or American breakfast, and Silhouette breakfast accompanied with freshly squeezed juice, a seasonal fruit platter, tea and coffee. Petani has its own team of trained baristas to make sure every cup of coffee is perfectly brewed using the finest grade Arabica beans from the Indonesia archipelago. As for the juices, Petani only serves the range of tropical fruit that is locally available. To maintain its freshness, all items in a special pastry basket are baked every morning.

While Petani Restaurant is focusing breakfast to treat the local community, Sands Restaurant is having Sunday Brunch with the chef. Blessed with the best view of Indian Ocean, the restaurant is hiding inside the charming ambience of the Anvaya Beach Resort. The beachfront setting of Sands features the best angle of Kuta Beach with relaxing sound of morning waves, such a perfect spot for those who come to fulfil their taste buds and look for peace of mind.

Offering a new experience for a family weekend treat, the brunch concept is a combination of international buffet-style with a mix of a delightful local taste. Your kids can enjoy an interactive cooking experience under the guidance of highly skilled chefs. Let your loved ones explore their creativity by making pizza with the chefs. As the reward, or just to leave smile on your kids, they are entitled to bring home a Junior Chef Certificate.

30 minutes’ drive from Kuta, breakfast at Anarasa Restaurant features sushi and cheese bar, bakery corner with a selection of healthy juices. Established recently, this signature restaurant at Mövenpick Resort & Spa will boost your day with a scrumptious preference of Indonesian and international specialties, coming only from the best and freshest ingredients, cooked in the live cooking stations. For family treat, children under 16 get the chance to enjoy 50% off for this buffet breakfast.

In Nusa Dua, featuring compelling blends of French and local culinary traditions, Sofitel’s Kwee Zeen is announcing its new ‘De-Light’ menu for breakfast. The concept is simple, maximum pleasure with minimum calories. The philosophy of the menu is supplying primal, powerful, nourishing, healthy food with delightful taste according to Sofitel Quiberon principles. Offering a low-calorie gastronomic adventure, you can savour the exquisite gourmet cuisine without putting aside your healthy lifestyle. The nutritionally-balanced dishes featuring clean and fresh, seasonal ingredients, which makes the small touches of opulence more indulgent. Innovative culinary techniques and an unwavering commitment to refined tastes and textures have inspired low-calorie recipes that will enchant your palate and, at the same time, energize your soul to a healthy lifestyle.

Lunch

Please understand that working long hours without food is as the same as having no energy to function properly. Skipping this meal will only lead to the falls of work efficiency. Some say that lunch should be the heavier meal compared to dinner, and some say vice versa. Whatever you finally decide, you need a lunchbreak during work. Well… everyone does. It can be for the sake of the body or simply just for refreshing.

Offering jaw-dropping views of a tropical valley, Cascades Restaurant at Viceroy Ubud put a high standard for a luxury Ubud’s lunchbreak. The scenery over the Petanu River Valley is truly wondrous, making it as one of the world’s most beautiful restaurants. Carrying a vision to always keep up quality to the highest level, the restaurant has become one of the most essential fine dining establishment in Ubud. On the menu, the creative hands of its culinary team are highly dedicated in developing the uniqueness of the food. The menu has a modern European base with a bit of Asian twists involving influences from Japanese, Thai and Indonesia cuisine.

Driving to the east, Standing Stones treats you with a unique semi-alfresco dining experience of fresh home-style cooking in the middle of an ensemble of towering megalithic stones, viewing the exotic black sands of the eastern Bali’s coastline. Remains unseen inside The Royal Purnama Art Suites and Villas, you can savour the delights on the menu presented rich in taste and flavour at the restaurant’s infinity pool, focusing on Indonesian cuisine, as well as Asian and Continental, wrapped it up using Western cooking methods. As for the food ingredients, the restaurant keeps it fresh from their own backyard garden.

Down in the south, there has been a real explosion of top quality boutique restaurants, and all of them are in competition to be the best in the region. They offer a great range of cuisine in terms of region and sophistication, from Western to Eastern, fast food style, right through to contemporary Indonesian cuisine. Some of the restaurants feature unique locations with awe-inspiring views and artistic interiors.

Let’s start with the one that receive so many spotlights from the eyes of the world, including recognitions from the international foodies. Potato Head Beach Club is without a doubt remains to be one of the most happening hotspots in the busiest street of Seminyak. This place is a ‘must-do’ on any visitor’s itinerary. Famous for its ‘old teak wood window shutters’ trademark, the club is perfect for chilling and partying on its lawn beachfront. However, apart from the lively crowds that gather over the central lawn or around the main pool, you can go to Kaum on the first floor of the club to have a fancy lunch. Catering the authentic flavours of Indonesia, be amazed of the unusual local ingredients that will serve right before your eyes.

Slightly different but quite similar with Kaum that brings the taste of Indonesian to the table, Starfish Bloo at W Bali is presenting Slipper Lobster Rujak for lunch. It is the seas finest paired with the archipelago’s exotic Rujak seasoning, topped with tamarind, jicama, and pineapple for a tropical taste. Best to enjoy it by the beachfront on a bean bag or dreamy daybed, facing to the calmest waves on a coast of Seminyak Beach. Since the raining season has gone by now, you can embrace the gentle ocean breeze tinkling your face as your hand starts digging The Lobster Rujak for your palate.

Moving on from Indonesian delights, The Butchers Club Steakhouse offers high quality steaks prepared in a variety way. Steaks for lunch do sound yummy for your tummy, indeed! This is a casual restaurant with high quality taste. The entryway is marked by a butchery working on his steaks, seafood and charcuterie. The reason being, this area is multifunction as a full retail butcher’s shop that sells branded sausages, steaks, chickens, fish and homemade condiments. In the restaurant, the décor of the dining room is industrial-chic theme with repurposed items, steel tables and vintage chairs. As for the lunch menu, you can start up with Kale Caesar and go for BBQ chicken with side dish grill corn for the main.

Travelling around 30 minutes to Jimbaran, lunch at Sundara is reflecting Jimbaran’s heritage as a hundred-years-old fishing village. Meaning ‘beautiful’ in Sanskrit word, this restaurant is one of the most exclusive dining destinations in the area with the panoramic view of the exotic curve of Jimbaran Bay coastline. This area is very famous for its nightly ritual of fresh seafood dinners with coconut husk BBQs along the beach. If you are here for lunch, you may want to order Grilled King Prawns completed with Balinese spice, papaya salad, peanuts and nuac cham dressing.

Another alternative to go for lunch is Tamarind Restaurant in ITDC Nusa Dua. With all encompassing perspectives of the Lombok Straits and the Indian Ocean, this signature restaurant of Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa permits you to appreciate a world class stretch of white sandy shoreline in a rich setting outlined in impeccable concordance with nature. It additionally offers a delightful mix of culinary joys and wellbeing cognizance to guarantee the prosperity of their guests. The place has a provincial vibe and you will get an impression that you are about to eat in a tent-like shelter, to some degree exceptionally ‘back-to-nature-ish’. Go to sit upstairs to enjoy the ocean view while having lunch. Going through the menu, there is something for everyone, from light crisp and heavenly plates of mixed greens to new grilled fish and delectable side dishes. You can try Lamb Souvlaky Brochette, consists of Greek marinated lamb loin, tomatoes, onion, tzatziki sauce, served with mixed salad and French fries. Or go for something solid like 250g Australian Beef Tenderloin. Either way, both dishes are a pure bliss that one can’t resist!

Dinner

Dinnertime provides a rare opportunity for one to gather with family and light talks about the day. It builds a strong family bond that the young ones can lean on for the rest of their lives. Therefore, whether you take your family out for dinner in a modern, super expensive restaurant, in a humble eatery at the side of the road, or in a recommended restaurant consisting of complex yet flavoursome dishes that will take you through a culinary journey altogether, what’s important is the people sitting next or around you. However, the dishes served on the table before you are where the magic and mystery lies. It is what triggers a long, good quality table talk.

If you are fancy for steak or any kind of meat for dinner, the list is endless. However, if you are around Jimbaran or Pecatu, you can swing by at Banyan Tree Resort in Ungasan. Its fine-dine restaurant, Ju-Ma-Na, offers the best angle of Indian Ocean and the possibility to forget all the stress of the day. Nestled on the cliff, you will get the sensation of dining on the giant ark while floating over the ocean. The evening is indeed the best time to dine, when the lighting in the restaurant blends together with the lights from the boats below the oceanwide. Truly magical! Either you finally decide to sit inside or outside the restaurant, you will have the perfect angle of the ocean. And while embracing the moment, you may want to have a plate of Grilled Kobe Beef. This signature dish of Ju-Ma-Na offers the finest beef quality in the market, Kobe Beef. It comes from Wagyu cows that have been massaged with sake-fed grain fodder and given one beer a day. This makes the beef tender, tangy and wonderfully marbled. It is served with pumpkin ginger puree, spring vegetables, potato croquette and winter truffle jus.

Travel down from Ungasan to Jimbaran, Ayana’s newest restaurant Dava Steak & Seafood Restaurant brings Bali’s seafood grill and steak house experience to a new chapter of satisfaction. Taking full advantage by overlooking Jimbaran’s sunset coast, you are bound to sit and relax while the culinary team work their magic in the kitchen. Waiting for the main served on the table, you can try Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar. Very fresh from the Indian Ocean by Jimbaran’s famous fishermen, this dish is accompanied by local avocado, crispy shallots and a soy citrus dressing. The Grill Menu section features satisfying culinary works of art such as the grain-fed, 200-day aged Stockyard Gold Striploin, a perfectly marbled Stockyard Silver Label Wagyu Tenderloin, Australian Lamb Chops, and Canadian Lobster. Each dish may be complemented by an extensive selection of side dishes including Truffle Mash Potato, Double Baked Cheese Potato, Creamy Spinach with Parmesan and Tempura Onion Rings.

Still in Jimbaran, Balique is to be considered as a cosy and homey restaurant for tourists. The interior mix of French and African style blends perfectly with the location of the restaurant among the outstanding world-class resorts and villas. Looking humble under its whirring fan-open style roof with high-ceilinged open space, you can feast your eyes to the antiques and artefacts sourced from around the Indonesian archipelago. As for the dinner menu, you can ask for Rijstafel to get the local taste.

And if you happen to be in around Legian, you can have this Rijstafel menu in Poppies Restaurant. In case you are not familiar with this type of food, it is a truly magnificent feast that comes in small tasty portions of Indonesian delights from all around the archipelago. Historical-wise, this was the colonial Dutch way to sample the best food of Indonesia. In Poppies Restaurant, this dish comes with a selection of satay, including Sate Lilit, more than enough soup options you can think of, and, of course, with some spicy elements in it.

In Seminyak, precisely on Jalan Raya Petitenget, Jemme Restaurant has prepared special meats for Wednesdays and Sundays. The Roast Beef is served with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, creamy cauliflower cheese, green peas and baby carrots, sautéed green beans and roast almond, roast beetroot and cabbage, crunchy creamy leeks with bacon and horseradish sauce. If you are a fan of pork, you can try the Roast Pork, consists of crackling, roast potatoes, creamy cauliflower cheese, green peas and baby carrots, sautéed green beans and roast almond, roast beetroot and cabbage, crunchy creamy leeks with bacon and apple sauce. This delectable Wednesday & Sunday Roasts have a reputation on the island, and therefore an advanced booking is advised on these days.

Not far from Jemme, Frestro offers the premium international cuisine, crafted with passion, presented in high-quality style with the island’s spirit. While Jemme serves roast beef or pork, this artisan gourmet cuisine restaurant has Roasted free range half chicken that comes with Mizuna, confit vegetables and rosemary juice. Opening until late hour, you can have a great time with good food and drinks.

A bit of walking effort to Jalan Batu Beliq will take you to Hog Wild with Chef Bruno. The inconsistency in using the brand name doesn’t change the fact that it is still dubbed as the best ribs in Bali. Legendary with its rack of barbecued pork spare ribs, or known as ‘Wicked Ribs’, this is a street-style smoky barbecue eatery. So, wipe away the image of a typical chic and stylish Seminyak restaurant. Chef Bruno is a magician when he is working on a slab of ribs. The succulent rib meat smoothly falls off right to the bone, covered in an additively sticky BBQ sauce with enough amount of burning on the outside to give the ribs a delightful smoky flavour.

If you want to have all kind of meet in one plate, you can consider Romeos Bar & Grillery for dinner. Situated in one of Legian’s hippest boutique hotels, this restaurant offers a-top-quality-gastronomic-cuisine experience with dynamic street-front views. Adding more culinary value to the tourists in Legian, this is one of the hotspots to meet up or unwind while enjoying a plate full of meat. A combination of Ribs eye, Pork Ribs, Sausage, Chicken Wings and Lamb Chop comes in a single plate with tasty sauces and side dishes. As their philosophy, Romeos serves with hearty fare and never lets anyone leave hungry! They are, indeed!

Enough with the meat! Now, seafood lovers can have a serious dinner treat in The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa. Among many restaurants inside the property, Sanje Beach Front Restaurant stands out as the best one for a fancy dinner. Featuring ocean views in the glamorous spot of Seminyak Beach, you can go for an elegant sunset by the pool before dinnertime. Lay cosy on the lounge chairs and get yourself excited to watch live performance DJ tries to build up a cool vibe to the place. Serving grilled seafood, fresh from the great Indian Ocean to your table, and a large selection of light Mediterranean Cuisine, as well as a multiple course meal, Sanje will please any appetite and make one breezy afternoon notable.

Still around Seminyak, Alila Seminyak’s restaurant offers bistro-style setting of communal tables fronted by ocean views. The dinner setting takes place in the open kitchen, featuring an Asian Noodle Bar and a Grill & Rotisserie, presenting adventures into authentic and favourite flavours to anyone. The Chef’s Table introduces a new 5-course culinary journey through a unique Western gastronomic experience deliciously paired with a selection of creative cocktails. You can expect the freshest seasonal ingredients and local produce combined with perfectly complementing cocktails to create a distinctive and memorable experience.

Going the same line with Alila Seminyak that introduces its new culinary journey, The Restaurant at The Legian Bali is proudly presented the ‘Discovery Menu’. This dinner menu is a collection of the Executive Chef, Luke Macleod’s signature dishes, pared down to its quintessential elements in the pursuit of balancing simplicity and complexity using the fresh and local ingredients. You are about to be pampered with a six-course degustation menu accompanied by Wine Spectator’s award winning list. The dining place is spacious, opens out onto a poolside terrace and facing to the shimmering Indian Ocean.

Now, moving on to Sanur. This area has long been known for its beautiful sunrise, white sandy beach and iconic rock jetty along the shore. But not many know that the beachfront is also sparked with some of the most exquisite dining options in Bali. Nestled conveniently at Segara Village beachfront, Byrdhouse Beach Club is the first beach club in Sanur, providing diversified selection of international cuisine and vivid cocktails. With a semi-al fresco dining venue, the beach club orchestrates three different kitchens with distinguished dining area and menu specialties

In Ubud, Kubu brings you a fine Mediterranean-European cuisine in a tropical breeze and intimate space of private cocoons overlooking the Ayung river. One of Kubu’s highlight is their Tuna Crudo served with burrata pugliese, smoked lettuce and tomato essence. The Executive Chef, Maurizio Bombini, created this excellent dish to remind him of his hometown Apulia, in Italy. The main ingredients are the Yellow Fin tuna & Burrata cheese – one of Italy’s greatest cheeses but made in Bali by an Italian cheese maker, which remains as his preferred fresh cheese up to this day. This dish is also known as Italian Sashimi. The tuna is served raw, or ‘crudo’ in Italian, and it is seasoned with some orange essence. The burrata is served just as is, giving a slight acidity to the tuna. The sweet taste comes from the onion confit and tomato, and a slight bitter touch from the smoked lettuce. Tuna Crudo is best to serve as a fresh dish, light and easy. It is a perfect selection for the hot/humid weather of Bali, while at the same time keeping the Mediterranean flavour as the main concept of the dish.

Uganda – The Pearl of Africa

Uganda is a landlocked country with a diverse landscape that encompasses the immense Lake Victoria and spreads all the way to Mt. Ruwenzori.  It is one of the few countries in Africa and by extension in the world with a wide range of wildlife to admire, most of which are rare species. But what really is it that makes the Pearl of Africa eccentric?

If Uganda is your destination, be ready to experience real adventure. Starting with the cool environment itself, going to the wildlife and other natural features, and flowering it all with Uganda’s cuisine. Many people have always wished they had planned to stay longer, while others planning for revisits. Some of the highlights of the country include the endangered tree-climbing lions and mountain gorillas. Other activities to enjoy are rafting on Lake Victoria, the source of the great Nile River, adventure in the mystical villages that are hidden in the mist and volcanoes among others. The question is, “what are the best places to visit in Uganda?”

Top Places to Visit near Kampala/Entebbe

Being the capital city of Uganda, it is most likely that your first landing in Uganda will be in Kampala if not Entebbe. Kampala has very interesting neighborhoods which include the Mabamba Swamp that is well decked with shoebill storks among other water birds. There is also the wildlife-rich Mabira Rainforest, Lake Mburo as well as Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and the Ssezibwa Falls, just to mention but a few. You will surely not lack something to admire adventure, do or experience in Kampala and its surroundings.

The Tree Climbing Lions & Chimpanzees

On the western side of Uganda lies Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s most visited game reserved. The intricate wildlife found in the game is a reason for its popularity with the tree climbing lions attracting the highest number of visitors. These are lions that are very rare in other countries but quite many in this park. Meanwhile, Chimpanzees are other rare species in the world and for those who want to have an experience with them; Kibale National park is the place to go.

Gorillas in the Mist

It seems that Uganda is a home to primates as can be seen from how abundant endangered primate species are all over the country. Other than the chimpanzees, endangered mountain gorillas can be seen in the country. With a rough estimate of about 700 mountain gorillas remaining in the world, they can only be found in Uganda, DR Congo, and Rwanda. A visit to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or the more popular Bwindi Impenetrable National Park will give you an ecstatic experience with the mountain gorillas. Almost half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas are found in Bwindi.

Rafting

Jinja is a town anyone would consider the “armpits” of Uganda due to its vast industries and other economic activities that have made this side of the Pearl of Africa to be a buzz. It is also well-known for the river Nile. The town is the source of the Nile River as this is where Lake Victoria lets its water out into the Nile. If you want to enjoy the best and first-class rafting, then you can’t fail to go to Jinja. With the Nile being verified here as one of the top 5 rivers, you will be offered with the best water rafting experiences indeed.

The Switzerland of Africa

Journey southwest from Kampala to a little town called Kisoro to experience some beautiful landscapes which include lakes, cultivated terraces, bamboo forests, a tropical rainforest, hills, and mountains. The most important thing you need when touring Uganda is an open mind as the country has very bad roads. You should, therefore, expect to be taken through shortcuts.

Ugandan Cuisine

There can never be a fan without food. As someone said that there is no love sincerity that supersedes the love for food, Uganda is an eating country. I say that Uganda is an eating country because of how readily available food is. In comparison with most countries where snacks are hawked in public transport vehicles, in Uganda, “five-course” meals are served.

The cuisine consists of modern as well as traditional dishes and cooking styles as well as practices. The cuisine features Asian, Arab and English influences thus variant in complexities ranging from the very basic roasted banana all the way to starchy filler in a sauce of meat or legumes. Since Uganda is a multi-tribe country, you expect a wide range of staples throughout the country with the main dish being the banana stew locally known as Matoke. Others are yams, arrow roots, vegetables, potatoes, tropical fruits, chicken and fresh fish.

An interesting unique dish commonly found in the Northern Uganda is vegetable stew in sesame or peanut sauce. This is taken with Kuon (Ugali-in Swahili), which is a carefully prepared bread-like food from maize, millet, sorghum or/and cassava flour. In Uganda, there are 101 ways of cooking bananas so come prepared to taste something unique you had never imagined you would ever taste.

Conclusion

There is a reason why Uganda was called the Pearl of Africa during its independence. The country is rich in resources and culture. In fact, the entire Africa has been condensed in this tiny east African country. It is very unlikely that there is something in Africa which misses in Uganda. This should be your next destination.

Best Dubai Vacation

“People don’t take Trips. Trips take People”. That is exactly what this desert city does to you. If you can think of a desert which has transformed itself marvellously and effortlessly into a place the world could never have dreamt of, it has to be Dubai. At first, Dubai appears like a vast expanse of desert broken only by huge hills. A second later you scramble to readjust your vision, as a glass and steel metropolis unfolds itself like a shimmering mirage in the Arabian Desert. For most of us the UAE is synonymous to Dubai, the sci-fi-esque city of iconic skyscrapers, palm-shaped islands, city-sized malls, indoor ski slopes and palatial beach resorts. An ideal place to vacation with your family as it provides all types of entertainment you are seeking.  The city remains architecturally and geographically unparalleled. Modernity and antiquity collide into this vibrant city. This is the best Dubai vacation.

If you are planning to spend a few days in Dubai be ready to visit a lot of places. Get your itinerary straight so that you can have a planned and hassle-free sight-seeing experience. The first day in Dubai, make sure to go for the Desert Safari. It will be the best part of this trip as it includes the best of Dubai. From dune bashing in the deserts to camel rides, trying out Arabian clothes, sipping on Arabic coffee, devouring Arabic dates, enjoying the famous Shisha (flavoured hookah), the night ends with a lip-smacking buffet dinner, a mind-blowing Jambura dance and a scintillating belly dance performance.

The next morning you can visit the Dubai’s landmark building, Burj Khalifa, which is at 829.8 meters and the tallest building in the world. For most visitors, a trip to the observation deck on the 124th floor here is a must-do while in the city. The views across the city skyline from this bird’s-eye perspective are just overwhelming. The 360-degree views out across the skyscrapers to the desert on one side and the ocean on the other. You could go either at sunrise or sunset to witness the various avatars of Dubai city while in light or in darkness with lights glittering the city all over. You should also visit the Burj Al-Arab, the world’s tallest hotel, standing 321 meters high on its own artificial island on the Dubai coastline. For those without unlimited credit, you can opt for dinner at the underwater Al-Mahara restaurant, which allows you to view sea life while you eat delicious Californian food.

For the remaining vacation days, it is best recommended to enrol into a hop on hop off bus tour like City Sightseeing, Big Bus and many local bus services. This way you get to see a lot of places without paying for cabs. Start your day by visiting the famous Jumeirah Mosque which is the most beautiful mosques in Dubai and a fine example of Islamic architecture. This stone structure is built in the medieval Fatimid tradition. A program consists of tours, lectures, Arabic classes, and cultural meals to extend better understanding of Muslim faith.

Plan a day to visit places like The Dubai Mall which is the city’s premier mall and provides entry to the Burj Khalifa as well as the Dubai Aquarium. The Dubai Aquarium houses 140 species of sea life in the huge suspended tank on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall. You can walk through the aquarium tunnels.at the Underwater Zoo. Different activities help you get a closer look at the sea life. Glass bottom boat tours are particularly popular. Cage snorkelling and shark diving activities are also on offer. There is also an ice-skating rink, gaming zone and cinema complex. But the main attraction here is The Dancing Dubai Fountain Show. It is a synchronized water movement that is brilliantly choreographed to a wonderful musical soundtrack and goes 500 feet above.

For history fanatics, the Dubai Fort is a must-watch. The fort’s walls are built out of traditional coral-blocks and held together with lime and the courtyard is home to several traditional boats and a palm-leaf house with an Emirati wind-tower.

Walk down the narrow lanes of Bastakia (Old Dubai), highly reminiscent of a bygone, and much slower, age in Dubai’s history. Bastakia occupies the eastern portion of Bur Dubai along the creek, and the coral and limestone buildings here, many with walls topped with wind-towers, have been excellently preserved. The Dubai’s architectural, cultural, and maritime heritage is showcased at the Heritage and Diving Village, with displays related to pearl diving and dhow building, two of old Dubai’s historic economic mainstays. Dubai Creek separates the city into two towns with Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. Boat tours and ship cruises on the creek gives a spectacular waterline view of Dubai.

For the shopaholics, the Deira lies on the northern bank of Dubai Creek. Deira is most famous for its traditional souks (markets), which bustle with shoppers at all times of the day. Deira Gold Souk is world-renowned as the largest gold bazaar in the world. The Deira Spice Souk sells every imaginable spice like paprika, saffron, sumac, thyme and much more.

Take your family to the awesome Dubai beaches and amusement parks. Jumeirah Beach is a strip of sandy white bliss and the number one beach destination for Dubai visitors. Hotels are strung out all along its length, with this being one of the most popular places to stay for tourists. The beach has excellent facilities, with plenty of sun loungers, restaurants, and water-sport operators offering jet skiing. South of Jumeirah beach is the Kite beach. It is renowned as Dubai’s premier destination for kite surfers and is home to an array of water sports operators.

While IMG World of adventure is about Marvel cartoon characters and rides, Wild Wadi and Aquaventure waterpark at the Palm Atlantis is all about adrenaline-rushing water rides. Bollywood Parks brings the world of India’s famous movie industry alive on its rides, and Legoland Dubai provides younger visitors with a fun-packed day out on its interactive rides. So, you have a whole lot of places to give your kids the best time of their lives.

For staying in Dubai, hotel prices start from 350 AED with a breakfast menu. The tickets to waterparks, amusement parks tickets cost 300 AED approx. Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab tickets start from around 130 to 500 AED. You will find very good restaurants in Dubai but the rates are on the higher side. So, it is best advised to plan a detailed itinerary according to your budget and stick to it.

Dubai is one of the most popular destinations in the world for holidays and tours and there are millions of travellers visiting the city every year. Shopping festivals, culinary delights, loads of adventure and much more is all entitled on your Dubai vacation. Whether you are visiting with family or friends, a vacation in Dubai will make you want to travel here again. Plan your next trip to this destination and revel in the marvellous man-made wonderstruck city Dubai.

Learning Balinese Dance at Tender Age

Dance is the most beautiful form of expressing yourself. It brings out the best in you and sets you free. It is an art well-practiced and appreciated around the globe. Balinese dance is one such enticing dance form. Popular all over the world for its elegance and colourful nature, this dance form is very unique, dynamic and highly stylized. A dancer must be able to move every part of their body, from head to toe, and for that reason, Balinese dance is easy to pick up at a tender age.

Apart from its uniqueness, Balinese dance is also closely connected to religious rituals. Dances are often performed at ceremonies, typically as part of dramas, and most involve the Balinese version of the Hindu Ramayana epic. Traditional Balinese dance forms are passed on to boys and girls at a very young age, and training is often rigorous and disciplined. So, it is advisable to impart Balinese dancing coaching at a young age so that kids learn this art form with finesse and grow deeply connected with it.

There are places in Bali to get your kids enrolled for Balinese dance class. In an introduction session, normally the experienced teachers gently guide the kids to take their first Balinese dance steps. The integration of body movements, hand and facial gestures is what makes this dance so appealing to watch. The teachers also explain the meanings behind the individual postures and gestures that comprise the basics of the dance. It is a wonderful way to expand the kid’s knowledge of the Bali-Hindu culture while at the same time enjoying and having fun.

Some resorts in Bali host dance demonstration classes for kids. In Jimbaran, Ayana Resort and Spa is conducted a class in the open air viewing the ocean wide. The kids are expected to get the basics lesson of Pendet Dance. It is originally a dance of worship which was exhibited at many temples. This dance symbolises the welcoming of the gods fall into the natural world. The dance is a lot about the varied facial expressions and symbolized the purity of the soul. Fresh flowers are handed to the kids while teaching, to invoke the true devotion of the almighty. Classes are conducted for an hour every day. The timings and fees varies according to the batch size.

Still in the same location, Balinese dance workshop is also available at Ganesha Cultural Centre of Four Seasons Jimbaran every Monday and Wednesday from 3PM to 4PM. Your little ones will get traditional dance lesson almost as soon as they can walk. At first, they can observe the impressive skills of children from Jimbaran village, and if they fancy trying it, they can join in. This class is free of charge for staying guests, and a small fee will apply for public. At Ganesha Cultural Centre, your kids will get the opportunity to personally meet and learn from Bali’s talented artists, who are hand-picked and invited to share their knowledge and skills. This programme represents the evolution of Ganesha Gallery as an independent fine art gallery. This art space has been refurbished to create an inspiring place for people and artists to connect and interact.

Not far from Jimbaran, Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa conducts Balinese dance classes every Friday from 10AM to 11AM at Lagoon Pool Bale where the highly-experienced staff teaches the kids patiently all the intricacies of Balinese dance forms, giving them a close look of Bali’s cultural and artistic tradition. The Barong dance is loved by kids where they are dressed up as dragons, monsters and other mythical creatures.

In Canggu, Hotel Tugu specialises in teaching kids the basics of Balinese dance before going into specific styles. The class is held every Sunday from 3PM to 4PM and costs IDR 100,000 per session. Local kids from the Canggu neighbourhood can join the class for free. The skilled students will have the chance to perform what they learn in the class on Bale Agung Garuda stage.

Most of the workshops will not ask the kids to bring or wear anything in particular. However, it is recommended to wear lose and comfortable clothes as the postures involve a lot of stretching and turning.  Costumes will be provided to get the real feel of Balinese dance but only after a few classes once they learn the basics. Sometimes the workshop starts with a little presentation of culture, heritage and tradition just to give an overview of the background of the dance forms.

The classes are pretty interactive, making them a fun and quick-learning process. Learning Balinese dance is a special takeaway, and the kids are bound to enjoy thoroughly. As someone rightly said, “There are shortcuts to happiness. Dancing is one of them.”

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine
 

 

Roving the great lakes of Bali

Bali is known for its achingly beautiful scenery and landscapes; an exploration into which is a spiritually awakening experience for many. Spending time in ‘natural Bali’ is filled with peace and tranquility, giving people the perfect environment to ponder life and widen their horizons as an individual. Besides the island’s beautiful underwater world, white sand beaches and unique culture, Bali hides a reservoir of beauty and charm that are often forgotten; these are the great lakes of Bali. These majestic lakes are well worth your time and effort, as they showcase the beauty of Bali that lies beyond the coast. Make sure your cameras are ready for what is truly a visual feast.

Lake Bratan

Let’s begin the adventure in central Bali with a visit to Lake Bratan. Situated in a crater of an inactive volcano, Mount Catur, Lake Bratan is the second largest lake in Bali and is back dropped by the majesty of Mount Bratan. Located in Bali’s central highlands of Bedugul, this lake is a favourite tourist attraction. Its high altitude allows visitors to enjoy respite from the hot and humid weather. The surrounding area is a natural spectacle offering splendid views of mountains and greenery. The lake is surprisingly shallow with a maximum depth of only 22 metres. Irises of numerous colours – yellow, fuchsia and magenta – dot the edge of the lake. The misty peak of dormant Mount Catur looms above.

Found around the lake are three 25-metre-deep caves excavated by the invading Japanese during World War II. There are also a few shrines worth exploring in the vicinity of Lake Bratan. Another popular sight is Bukit Mungsu Market (or Pasar Bukit Mungsu), located in Candi Kuning. Visitors can buy a variety of fresh spices, including nutmeg and turmeric, fruits and vegetables. Due to the cool weather there, you can also pick strawberries on the fields, a unique find considering Bali’s tropical climate.

There are so many activities you can do around the area. The surrounding mountains are popular destinations for hiking and trekking, offering routes of various levels of difficulty. Water sports lovers will rejoice with the abundance of water activities available. Rides on pedal boats, speedboats or traditional boats known as jukung are all available. Other types of water sports that you can enjoy include water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing and paddle sports. Swimming is permitted, of course, only if you can stand the cold waters!

Lake Bratan is considered to be the most holy lake in Bali, as it is a home to one of the most famous temples, the Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, which dates back to stories told in Balinese mythology. This beautiful 17th century temple of Ulun Danu, which appears to float on the water, is dedicated to worship Dewi Danu or the Lake Goddess. Offerings are made at the temple on special festive occasions, as it is believed this will bring economic prosperity to the area.

The lake is a very important source of irrigation for many farms and rice paddies in the Bedugul region. Because of its surrounding temperatures and irrigation system, the area around Lake Bratan is blessed with high fertility, and for that reason Lake Bratan is also known as the Lake of the Holy Mountain.

It takes around 2-hours to drive from Denpasar to Candi Kuning Village, Baturiti district, Tabanan, where the lake lies.

Lake Batur

Lake Batur is Bali’s largest and widest lake with an area of approximately 18 square kilometres. The large crescent shaped lake sits within the old caldera of Mount Batur and is surrounded by the high walls of the crater rim, with an active volcano of Mount Batur adjacent to it. Located in the mountainous area of the Bangli Regency on the southeastern side of the Batur caldera, the lake lies at the feet of two majestic surrounding mountains, Mount Batur and Mount Abang. The crater is situated approximately 500 meters above sea level, and a couple of hot springs can be seen surrounding the lake with one in the middle of the lake. The water is much cooler than the other lakes in Bali. Try to dip your fingers while boating in this lake to feel how amazingly cold (but fresh!) the water is.

On the journey to the lake via Bangli or Tampaksiring, the ashy residues and active hot springs reveal its volcanic history. As you get closer and continue over the last ridge, the massive outlining of the crater becomes visible; expect a large smile to peel across your face when you encounter this moment. You can continue along the road from Penelokan, it continues right around the rim towards Kintamani to circle around the crater. The majestic and spectacular view of Lake Batur can also be viewed from Kintamani.

The only boat access to the lake is through the Trunyan village, home to the Bali Aga people. These local indigenous inhabitants are true descendants of native Balinese and have been isolated from the other inhabitants on other parts of the island. They communicate in an ancient form of the Balinese language and to date still practice ancient traditional Balinese culture and religion. An interesting part of their culture is that when one of their tribesmen dies, they are neither cremated nor buried, but laid under a sacred tree, the Taru Menyan, inside their open air cemetery. The members of the tribe believe that roots and the branches of this sacred tree helps to mask and remove the odour of the rotting, decomposing bodies.

Lake Buyan

Lake Buyan is one of Bali’s unexposed and untouched attractions. Located in Pancasari Village, in Sukasada District, Buleleng Regency, the lake spans approximately 4.5 square kilometres just below the northern rim of the Bedugul caldera. Situated in a plateau region characterised by generally very wet and cool climates, Lake Buyan is surrounded by lush vegetation, featuring fog and cool air, which allows one to appreciate the authenticity of nature’s wonders. The sight of it alone has wonderfully soothing effects that help to temporarily take away the stress of daily life.

Getting to this lake is a bit tricky, involving a 3-hour drive from Denpasar and following the road winding up the hill, where you can see an increasing number of monkeys, before you arrive at the junction on the top of the hill. Turn left at this junction and continue to follow the quiet asphalt road which leads you to the lake.

A community pool, known as Telaga Aya, is connected to the lake via a narrow canal. Telaga Aya is located between the lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan, which are separated by a forest-covered hill. At the top of the hill, Asah Gobleg village is the primary vantage point with panoramic views of both lakes and the surrounding area. Make sure to get your perfect selfie with the lake in the background from the lookout at Asah Gobleg Village on the trek down to the lake.

Encircled by coffee and clove plantations, Lake Buyan has a camping site at its southern edge with the ground being flat there. However, the most common activities are boating or fishing. Hiking or trekking is doable, but best done with local guides, granting scenic views of the landscape. For those who are into mediation and yoga, Lake Buyan offers a perfectly peaceful, serene atmosphere, ideal for such activities. Nature lovers and eco-tourists should find the entire area as a whole an ideal getaway. With limited tourist activities and the absence of human intervention, Lake Buyan still maintains its natural, intact ecosystem through protection of its fragile environment and promoting eco-tourism.

Lake Tamblingan

Lake Buyan is closely related to Lake Tamblingan in terms of location and ecosystem, and therefore both lakes are generally referred to as Bali’s Twin Lakes. An interesting fact is that Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan used to be one whole lake until a landslide separated them in around the year 1800. Now they are separated by a ride almost 2 kilometres wide.

Lake Tamblingan exudes a mystical appeal and charm, with some regarding it as having the most unspoilt natural scenery in comparison to Lake Bratan or Lake Buyan. The lake is located in the heart of Bali’s farming area and the slopes are covered with coffee plantations, vegetable fields and rice paddies. Its official location is on the north slope of Mount Lesung, Munduk Village area, Buleleng Regency, about 3 hours from Denpasar. You will have the best experience just driving to this place with the cool wind blowing on your face and the feeling of pure, clean air all around you. It is advisable to pull over for a few photographs or have a small picnic by the road.

The entire lake area is protected land within the 4356- acre Batukaru Nature Reserve, which is a major reason that both Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan have become increasingly popular with mountain trekkers, adventure seekers, bird watchers and eco-tourists. And since the lake is located at such great heights, you will find that it is mostly covered in fog that casts a beautiful spell on tourists and locals alike. The depth of the lake and reflection of the surrounding trees creates gorgeous hues of blue, green and grey that shimmer across the water’s surface like a palette of paints.

Though motorized boating is not available on this lake, you can rent a rowing boat or bring along your kayaks to explore further. Fishing is also permitted. You can opt for a jungle tour, which involves crossing the sacred Tamblingan Lake by an old-style, hollow canoe. Near Lake Tamblingan, visitors can perform activities, like trekking in the tropical forest with a variety of distances, with trips ranging from 2 to 8 hours. The idea is to spend quality time in and around the lake, and absorb its breathtaking beauty.

There are a few sights worth visiting in the vicinity: numerous temples can be found on the outskirts of Lake Tamblingan, and the most popular one is Gubug Temple. This water temple, which uses the traditional ‘Subak’ irrigation system at the edge of the lake, is a must visit place if you are around the neighbourhood. It retains much of the architectural design, as Ulun Danu Temple, but is less crowded, offering you good photo-taking opportunities.

If you plan to explore ‘real Bali’ a bit more, these four lakes offer history, culture and nature in one experience. Nourish your soul in their stunning scenery, relax at the lakeside hot springs, stroll in the beautiful local villages, take a tour of the exotic plantations, or camp in the mountains and dense jungles. Very rightly said, that Bali is a true treasure trove of natural beauty. Why not see for yourself.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine
 

Feasting on Bali’s Chinese Dishes

Bali hosts a large number of Chinese restaurants serving authentic Chinese food. From varieties of noodles, rice and mouth-watering appetizers, Bali offers enough Chinese food to satiate any food pallet. One of the good things of having Chinese food in this island is that a possibility to enjoy it in a restaurant while comfortably seated viewing beaches from the best angle. Some of the restaurants are very aesthetically built, reminding you of Shanghai cities or reconstructed ancient Chinese temples. From phenomenal crab and lobster dishes to mouth-watering prawn dumplings and the legendary Pecking Duck, it will be a small trip to Hong Kong while feasting on these Chinese dishes.

In Jimbaran area, Ah Yat Abalone Seafood Restaurant offers a huge selection of dim sum. Located inside RIMBA Jimbaran by Ayana Resort & Spa, this world-class dining spot also presents an extensive menu of traditional delicacies alongside popular dishes that guarantee will cater to a wider range of taste buds. In the interior, you can feast your eyes with an eclectic mix of Chinese furniture and antiques, while the space itself can cover up to 300 guests seated with 10 private dining rooms, claiming to be one of the largest Chinese restaurants in Indonesia.

With more than 20 years’ experience in Beijing and international hotels on mainland China, the chef brings the authenticity of oriental taste from his creations. If you come for dinner or lunch, you may want to order Lobster Sashimi; raw lobster meat served with wasabi and kikoman. You can have Lobster Sashimi for the meat and ask the head of the lobster cooked with porridge or stir fried with salt and spicy sauce. As for the dessert, Homemade Coconut Pudding, a mixture of coconut, sugar, coconut milk, strawberry, evaporated milk and galantine, would make a perfect balance in your mouth.

Moving forward from Jimbaran to Nusa Dua area, Ru Yi will take you for an authentic fine dining experience of China Town. Remaining unseen from the world, inside Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury Villas, the interior of the restaurant stimulates a sense of warm and comfort ambience to experience an oriental indulgent dinner. From its delightful Chinese entryways, wooden completing to Chinese adornments and sketches around the dining area; everything cooperates to give you that one immaculate eating background. You can choose your seating spots, either indoor with a classic-dramatic Chinese touch or outdoor overlooking the refreshing waterfall pond. Serving the most delightful customary Cantonese-style Chinese cuisines, you can try Sea Cucumber braised in special Awarta Sauce. This tastes very soft, smooth and light; melts in your mouth with a flavourful taste of a delicate Chinese fine dining meal.

Still within the high-end complex of Nusa Dua, Hong Xing Club & Resto at The Bay Bali features the enchanting décor of a Chinese-styled beachfront garden with a relaxing seating facing directly to Nusa Dua Beach. The smell of the ocean and the touch of the sea breeze creates an experience that will linger in your memory, making it the perfect place while enjoying Asian fusion cuisines. In the kitchen, the culinary team is ready to fulfil your appetite. One of the best sellers at this restaurant is the daily Dim Sum that artfully prepared to satisfy any Asian food fanatic. While you are there, don’t forget to try their signature dish, Prawn with Singapore Sauce, to engage your palate.

Driving further up, slightly outside ITDC complex in Nusa Dua, Table8 at The Mulia Resort & Villas presents an exciting oriental taste of Cantonese and Szechuan. The Dim Sum at this restaurant is a culinary journey of heart-warming bites prepared meticulously. Immaculate in all viewpoints, they’re delicate, delicate, crunchy, delicious and fragrant. Featuring all time favourites, from steamed crystal shrimp dumplings to golden sauce bun or siu mai, to name but a few of Table8’s refined Cantonese flavours. Operate only during lunch hours, you can indulge with the all-you-can-eat Dim Sum and be tantalized as the chefs prepare the dishes in the freshest way. Special only in March, the culinary team at Table8 has fired up their kitchen to prepare delicious flower snail creations. From the simple poached flower snails, to chilled marinated flower snails in Chinese wine recipe among others in a must-try menu.

In Kuta, Warung Laota is one of the local favourites for a midnight late supper. Located only 10 minutes’ drive from the airport, this 24-hour eatery seems like never running low of visitors. The décor is inspired by a simple Chinese restaurant with wood tables and chairs next to a live-open kitchen. Warung Laota is specialised for its fresh seafood, however the hot seller would be Rainbow Porridge, which is a mixed of chicken, meat and seafood. Normally, this type of dish is presented for breakfast, but not is the case in this restaurant. One bowl of porridge can be shared for four people. While enjoying the porridge, better order a famous Chinese snack, or locally known as ‘Cakwe’. The taste will complete one another.

While Warung Laota serves porridge as a main dish at midnight, Pelangi Bali Restaurant has it in a normal breakfast-style. Nestled in the main road of Jalan Dewi Sri – Kuta, this place is a pleasant family-style Chinese eatery enlivened by a mix of conventional Chinese tradition with a hip, having a modern influence. Serving the most delightful customary Cantonese-style Chinese cuisines, you will discover a huge selection of Chinese food. Their dim sum comes in a variety types, from dumplings to Chicken Feet, while the list of option in a la carte menu is endless. Their signature dish is Chicken Golden Sands; soft and juicy chicken roasted covered with a crunchy pan-fried garlic and onion.

Heading a little bit north in Ubud, the recently established Golden Monkey Chinese restaurant serves a large selection of classic Cantonese favourites at reasonable prices. Located in downtown Ubud, the team of speciality chefs takes pride in creating some of the island’s tastiest Chinese food using only the freshest quality ingredients. The Peking Duck is one of the signature of the restaurant. The ducks are carefully and meticulously arranged to give you an incredibly delightful taste and crunch. The smell teases your taste buds when your fingers touch its firm skin to set up the hotcakes before you close your eyes and nibble into that very fulfilling, tremendously anticipated the first chomp. Relish its taste, its succulent delicacy, the flavors and burst of freshness from the fixings.

If you are a great fan of Chinese food, you would agree that consuming this type of dish is not only to satisfy hunger, but also to engage the mind and provoke the intellect.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine
 

Eat Like the Locals

Every place is characterized by its local eateries. Giving a quick overview of the people and their unique way of living, these eateries represent the culture, art, lifestyle and tradition of a place. Filled with different merchandise, artwork and food items, it seems like a miniature country portraying the true colour of its motherland. This is Bali local food!

Denpasar Traditional Market

Denpasar’s charm lies in the marvellous way in which it retains such a strong hold on its cultural heritage and the ethnicities of the Balinese people, flawlessly combining the new with the old. For those who yearn to explore and have an insatiable thirst to deep-dive and learn new culture, a visit to Denpasar traditional market is the perfect doorway to authentic Indonesian lifestyle.

Badung Traditional Market in Denpasar strongly depicts Balinese culture and traditions by beautifully encapsulating Balinese lifestyle in all its shops. This market invites you with street carts, busy food stalls and people selling snacks right off the back of their motorbikes. Exotic and enticing in its own way, the market atmosphere draws in locals by the hundreds, ready to examine through a stockpile of market goods for a fraction of their retail price.

Currently relocated to Jalan Cokroaminoto after a major fire incident, Badung Traditional Market is the centre of town’s economics. Despite being a little dull from the outside, this complex remains a strong driving force for the Balinese economy with transactions and sales happening around the clock. The local people who go for shopping at this market are not only from environment of Denpasar community but also from other places. Badung Traditional Market is operating for 24 hours, divided by 2 shifts start at 5 in the morning and 5 in the evening.

This enormous shopping place consists of a large main building that houses stalls and shops of all varieties, including hardware, slow-moving items and daily necessities from clothing, home ware, kitchen utensils and ceremonial goods such as ornamental baskets and incense. It offers a perfect picture of Balinese tools and items that the locals use almost every day. Some have fixed prices, while others can be well negotiated. Outside the building is the 24-hour-open-air market counterpart, where fast-moving items and groceries are sold. You can feast your eyes on colourful tropical fruits and bargain hard. This market becomes quite cramped up before big holidays like Galungan, Kuningan, or Nyepi.

The highlight of Badung Traditional Market is its authentic street food and Balinese style light bites. From the very humble stalls on the side walk to the food stalls on wheels and motorbikes with a gas cooker, the locals have found many diverse ways to serve warm and fresh food that seems to be delivered straight from the street. Most of the food stallers have their own ‘kitchen’ that they can build flexibly next to the diners who sit on plastic stools at makeshift tables.

You will instantly feel the aroma of Balinese spices engulfing you. Lovely satay skewers with rice cakes are charcoaled to the point where the sugars from the marinade caramelizes and gives the perfect crunch. Tipat is a rice cake cooked in woven coconut leaves, a simple stodge filler, served in a thick sweet peanut sauce. Wash it down with Es Kelapa Muda, which is coconut water and flesh on ice. If you really like spicy food, you will love sate lilit (minced meat, grated coconut, coconut milk, lemon juice, shallots and chili pepper), combo wound around a bamboo, sugar cane or lemongrass stick, and grilled on charcoal or even the Sambal Matah (a chili salsa condiment that you put over grilled fish, chicken or rice). The suckling pig is definitely a must try. It is a unique dish roasted on whole over fire, stuffed with onions, garlic, ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, shallots and chilies. A very common dish that you will find in most of small food stalls is different types of Lawar, like Pork, Jackfruit and Dragonfly Lawar, which is a mix of vegetables, coconut and minced meat drowned in rich herbs and spices. Nasi Campur is Bali’s signature dish but when you order it from local eateries, the chili they put on the side or on top is ridiculously spicy, which gives you the kick of real street food.

The street food in Badung Traditional Market attracts thousands of locals and tourists every day. Simple dishes with complex flavourings is what makes these food items so irresistible, living up to the true definition of street food.

Jimbaran Fish Market

Though many of the popular dishes consists of pork, beef and duck, but fish is something which is a part of the staple diet. Located in Kedonganan village, Jimbaran, Kedonganan Fish Market is a treat for fish lovers. Very popular for its fresh and big catch, this place provides an amazingly long array of fishes to choose from. It is Bali’s main seaside marketplace where fishing boats land daily and haul off their fresh catches, making this place full of fresh catch of unending varieties. Bustling with both tourists and locals, this fish market is one of the hottest culinary destinations in Bali.

Operate daily from 5 AM until 10 PM, this market is visited by people from every segment. Located close to the coastline, the mornings are usually busy with fishermen hauling their boats and dropping off their fresh catch. The fisherman uses large, motorized boat with huge purse shaped seines. They normally depart late in the afternoon and arrive just before dawn to sell their catch to the wholesalers at the Kedonganan Fish Market. The catch is well iced to maintain its freshness and taste.

To enter this fish market, you need to pay Rp 1,000 for motorcycles and Rp 2,000 for cars. You will find stalls laid cleanly all around with small compartments to categorize the different catch. You can also find few fishermen who lay out their catch on the coast itself and few local vendors who sell fish on the move. The characteristic feature of this traditional market is its semi-permanent shops made from wood. Interestingly, the main concept of this fish market is its proximity to the coasts and umpteen restaurants serving the fresh fish there and then. There is no time spent on transporting the fish to the markets, resulting in extremely fresh and high quality fish being sold.

If you are a seafood lover, be amazed to find varieties of fish like shrimp, squid, crab, lobster, tuna, scallops, crabs, oysters, octopus, and chunks of fish eggs. Amazingly, they all cleaned and neatly arranged.  Normally, the fish prices start from Rp 30,000 per kilogram, and more for rarer catches. The prices go up slightly during the rainy season as the catch reduces, as well as during holiday seasons. Bargaining is recommended, and if you are lucky enough you can end up negotiating at some real low price. For your personal note, the fish sellers are pretty warm and friendly. They tend to give a generous discount for anyone buying in bulk.

The ambience is lively, owing to a lot of restaurants and grill houses operating in the vicinity. The place is teeming with tourists more in the evening when they come to choose their catch and take it to a restaurant to get prepared. You can either take your catch home and cook your friends and family a delicious fish supper, or you could even get it cooked on the spot. The restaurants are located along the beaches, providing a beautiful view of the oceans along with mouth-watering dishes to enjoy. These restaurants are operational from breakfast time until the wee hours of the morning. These local restaurants have a rustic air about them and are the perfect place to taste authentic Balinese food cooked in the most customary way. A lot of restaurants even allow you to take your catch to the chef and request them to prepare it for you. Of course, you do have to pay a little extra for this. The best part is that if you want to throw a beach party, you can simply request the chef to cook your choice of fish in your way and have a fun evening with a unique fish dining experience. Kedonganan fish market offers such flavoursome and scrumptious rendezvous.

Kuta’s Street Food

Kuta is a very popular tourist spot. Famous for a lot of posh hotels, resorts and restaurants, the area might seem a little commercialized. However, if you crave to eat an authentic Balinese local food, there’s a place to be considered in the heart of Kuta.

Located in Jalan Patih Jelantik, this place acts like a magnet for drawing people who are crazy about pork and want to have it in the rustic, local way. Pork satay under the tree or locally known as “Sate Babi Bawah Pohon”, speaks for itself. The dining spot is in a tent, right under a giant tree in the parking lot of the public sport Gelora Tri Sakti facilities. To reach there, once you are in Legian street, you can ask around and follow the trail of heavenly scent of barbecued meat.

Rp 30,000 is what it takes for you to enjoy 10 sticks of satay complete with Indonesian rice cake called ‘Lontong’ or better known as steamed ketupat rice-cake cubes. You might be searching for peanut sauce or sweet soy sauce to go with the satay, but surprisingly, you will find a pinch of salt with green chilies served on the side. You just need to trust the local chefs, grab one of the skewers and use the succulent barbecued meat on it to crush the chili on top of the salt. If necessary, tap it a bit on the edge of your plate to get rid of the salt before you go for the first bite. The meat is fresh, tender and juicy. It has an amazing crunchy texture on the skin. The taste of the spices and the pork blended together post grilling on charcoal is so tempting and exotic. It is sweet, sharp, a little bit hot and smoky. The mishmash of the sweet and spicy barbecue marinade together with that boost of saltiness and heat from the chili salt just bombs your food pallet in the right places. There is no doubt that you would go in for a second order or even a third, since there is nothing to worry about a dent in your pocket.

This satay opens daily from 10 AM until everything gets sold around noon. It is better to go early in the morning to avoid long queues. For personal note, it is a little difficult to find a table and chair. You might need to stand and enjoy your pork the local way. Do not get fooled by its humble location and eating spot. Sometimes people wait in queues for more than 1 hour just to taste this succulent, yummy pork. Such is the craze and popularity of this dish. It has been loved by all, and labelled Bali’s gourmet bliss!

Sanur Night Market

Sanur is Bali’s oldest upscale resort area and a mature beach-side town. Despite the abundance of resorts and restaurants around this place, Sanur offers a tranquil and soothing charm. It stretches for about 5 kilometres along an east-facing coastline, with the lush and green landscaped grounds of resorts fronting right on to the sandy beach. The beach is thin and protected by a reef and breakwaters, so families appreciate the limpid waves.

To blend with the locals and for the better understanding of how they live, a visit to Sanur Night Market can be included in your itinerary. Located near Sindhu Beach, the market is amongst the cheapest spots that a tourist can find themselves at. Groceries aren’t as overpriced as it is the case with some other spots that have purposely been established to extort the foreign tourists. Sanur Market ideally operates throughout the day with the mornings being dedicated to the selling of groceries, fresh vegetables, dried fish, pungent spices and various household goods. Slightly after midday, departments shift from grocery stalls to food stalls, and the market suddenly transforms itself into a place of sensory delights. So, you are free to go according to your fancies and whims. If you are a food lover and want to have it in the local way, the best time to arrive would be after 6 PM.

Recently, Sanur Night Market underwent some serious sorts of refurbishments and resulting into a much more organized affair, thanks to the more space created. The variety of street food available here is mind-blowing, from local food stalls to meals on wheels. You can find any kind of fried and grilled food, including fried rice, fried noodles, satay, range of curries and stir fries. It becomes so difficult for the first timer to choose what they want to try. The best part, everything is raging under Rp 30,000 per item. So, if you are travelling on a budget, this is definitely the right place to be.

Mounds of food are dumped onto squares of waiting brown paper before being neatly wrapped and handed to salivating takeaway customers. Most of the visitors park their motorbikes and dash in for a takeaway, while the others don’t mind standing in front of the stalls and waiting for the delicacies to be cooked right in front of them. You might not find chairs and tables as per a common seating arrangement, but frankly, who cares! Don’t be surprised to find heaps of foreigners in and around the food stalls and look very excited to try Indonesian food. Worry not about the language barrier as the stallers speak English quite enough to understand what you want to order. In case they don’t, you can still communicate using the language of food by pointing at the items that you want. One secret of the market is for one to understand the balance between the sweetness and the spiciness of the foods.

As you walk and dance around sampling the sweet and spicy intersections wherever they meet, you will be amazed to see live coals in the stalls where meat is charred and grilled to perfection. It is fascinating to watch the chefs cook with their varieties of tossing, flipping, sautéing and sprinkling exquisite Indonesian spices. Some of the food stalls serve plates of ready-to-go food items behind glass, and you can choose what you want to go with rice. Some of the favourites are Perkedel Jagung (corn fritters), Terong Pedas (spicy eggplant), Tempe (soy bean cake), and Balinese style mixed vegetables. You can also find Lawar (coconut and vegetable dish with bits of crunchy pork), Bakso (Indonesian soup with meatballs), different versions of chicken, beef, lamb and fish. Fried pancakes and egg rolls are some of the other foods prepared in different ways.

If you are not sure what to have for dinner, you can go for a Lamb or Chicken Satay with a delicious sweet soy sauce and Lontong (sticky rice), or do try the savoury Martabak, which is a cross between a thin pancake and a thin omelette, stuffed with a slightly spicy filling that usually includes garlic, minced meat, egg and onion. It comes with fresh, birds eye chilies, sweet chili sauce and cucumber slices on the side. For dessert, you could buy a sweet Martabak with a filling of condensed milk, nuts and chocolate. But if you want to go for something light yet yummy, try a fresh tropical fruit salad of papaya, banana and pineapple, or perhaps a Durian Ice Cream. For only under Rp 100,000 you can have all of this. It is a free delicacy.

Sanur Night Market is an amusing break from eating at high-end restaurants. While gorging on street food, you do not compromise anything on taste and quality. But surprisingly, you get to enjoy unimaginable varieties of food at immensely reasonable rates that you actually go high on food. The charm of standing in front of the stalls, ordering over the counter, interacting with the friendly locals who treat you as people rather than ‘Tourists’ and watching your food getting cooked right in front of you is an amazing experience. Away from the posh and luxury, the street food at Sanur Night Market gives you every reason to devour and indulge into true Indonesian food without feeling guilty about emptying your pockets.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine
 

An epic experience at Universal Studio Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore is a hot destination for families, group of friends, couples, or school-college trips. It is a destination for anyone who is looking forward to enter a whole new world and spend a day filled with adventure and excitement. The first and only Universal Studio theme park in Southeast Asia set up in the stunning Sentosa Island. It is meticulously designed to give you the best theme park experience in the world.

Universal Studios Singapore is categorically split into 7 major theme parks. Step onto “Hollywood Boulevard” framed by dynamic architecture, palm trees and the famous Walk of Fame, you will feel as if you have landed in the center of the entertainment universe. One inside “New York”, feel the spirit and energy of America’s biggest and grandest city as you stroll along the sidewalks and enjoy all the classic landmarks. Soak in the impressive city skylines, neon lights, and facades that set the scenes for big city fun and real-time movie production. For the science-freaks, the city of the future has arrived. Walk into “Sci-Fi-City” and experience the ultimate intergalactic battle of Good versus Evil, and visit a vibrant metropolis with all the ultimate modern conveniences. If you have always wished to explore the mysteries and legends of Egypt, then “Ancient Egypt” is definitely the place to be explored. Ancient pyramids and obelisks stand fast against the sands of time as you are transported to 1930’s Egypt, the Golden Age of Egyptian Exploration. Travel to an era when entire Pharaohs tombs were discovered, and their terrible curses unleashed. If you are a big fan of Steven Spielberg and his Jurassic Park movies, then the “Lost World” is your place. Divided into two themed areas, “Jurassic Park” and “WaterWorld”, this zone is for fans of the two blockbuster movies, as they can experience a dense tropical forest where dinosaurs lurk, then watch death defying stunts filled with thrills and spills. Especially designed for children “Far Far Away” the kids are exported to a world of talking movie stars, donkeys and other fairy tale animals. “Madagascar” which is based on the hit DreamWorks Animation film, brings you to a dense tropical jungle, filled with strange and wonderful animals like lemurs and foosas. Junior Roller Coaster rides, Ferris Wheel, Live Donkey Shows, 4-D Shrek movies, Beach Party Carousel, Boat-Rides ensures your kids are thoroughly entertained.

You may also want to explore the world beyond the screen and Ride the Movies by experiencing cutting-edge rides, shows, and attractions based on your favourite blockbuster films and television series like Puss in Boots, Giant Journey, Battlestar Galactica, Transformers The Ride, Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase, and much more.

On special events like Halloween, Christmas, or New Year, a lot of rides and movies are upgraded to match the festive season and get you into the mood. You can be a part of these fun parties and enjoy till you drop in the Universal Studios experience.

Ghostwriter – Copywriter – Scriptwriter

True Beauty in the Eyes of North Bali Nature

“He who has stopped travelling, has stopped living.” I guess that quote really stands up when it comes to exploring Bali. It is almost impossible to get bored and feel monotonous living in Bali. For the true explorers who are on the continuous quest for new discoveries, this island is an ideal place to satiate that hunger. Waterfalls, beach, crater lakes, paddy fields, vineyards, North Bali gives you no chance to complaint. Being the greenest area of Bali, North Bali also provides a diverse set of tourist spots to explore.

Where to go

For all those who cannot resist of going to the ocean, Lovina Beach is the only destination in the North Bali. Characterised by calm waves and side-lined by coconut trees, it is visited by all those who crave for relaxation. Lovina is sun-drenched, with patches of shade from palm trees. The tourist area stretches over 8 kilometres, and consists of a string of coastal villages – Kaliasem, Kalibukbuk, Anturan and Tukad Mungga – collectively known as Lovina. A short drive from the black sand beach of Lovina, those who are keen into architecture can visit The Royal Palace of Singaraja, which depicting royal grandeur and majestic European buildings.

If you need to pacify your soul, Pura Ponjok Batu can be an alternative. Meaning Stone Cape, this ancient, spiritual place owes its uniqueness to a rock promontory, which from the crevices of rocks grows frangipani trees and shrubs that grows artistically. This Hindu temple is used for praying to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi. For Buddhist, praying at the Brahma Vihara Arama is a must. Located at Tegehe Village, this biggest Buddhist temple in Bali rises majestically overlooking Lovina Beach with lush green hill as a background. Painted with colorful decorations, this place is also a perfect place for relaxation while admiring the beautiful buildings and surroundings.

Soaking in the healing waters of a natural hot spring is the most effective way to relax in nature, and a quick visit to one of the island’s most popular hot springs can be a solution. Located in the Banjar Village, with lush, jungle-clad slopes surrounding the sacred area, Banjar Hot Spring consists of hot ponds filled with warm water. The sulphuric water, which believed to cure skin diseases, spills from the mouths of some stone-carved mythical dragon into three pools at a tempting temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. The presence of brimstones in the water lends the healing property for various skin diseases, which explain why the place is known as the “Magical waters of Bali”.

One of the most famous waterfalls of north Bali is Gitgit Waterfall. Located in the plateau area with the height about 35 metres, the waterfall is surrounded by tropical trees with some plantations protecting the rain forest around it.

The forest lovers will be treated well at the Lemukih village, which lies in the northern slope of the island at an altitude of 638 metres above sea level. It is dotted by gorgeous rice paddies, coffee and fruit plantations, making it ideal for those who want to stroll around and explore deeper into Balinese lifestyle. Encircled by green forests and mountains, Lemukih provides a rather picturesque view. The dense tropical rain-forests are a perfect spot for trekking. It is characterised by 3 beautiful, gushing waterfalls which start at different heights. The water is cool and clean and pours out from the greenery above. The pounding sound of water falling and splashing creates a much desired tranquillity all around.

The wine lovers can enjoy the North Bali by visiting the vineyard of Hatten Wines. Situated between the towns of Seririt and Pemuteran, this place offers wine tasting and exploring experience. The Hatten Wines winery is a modern state of the art facility, bottling over 50000 bottles of wine each day. Like most places, Bali also has its own cultural drink called Tuak, universally known as palm wine. It is a milky fermented alcohol made from the sap of palm trees. It has a sour taste, and a strong burn as you swallow. It is available for purchase in some restaurants and shops and should be tried by every wine lover to know the rustic flavour of Bali.

What to do

Apart from the terrific sceneries to gape at, North Bali provides loads of activities to indulge in. The Kalimudah canyon is the next best thing for sporting Canyoning destination. In this activity, you will come across two different sections. The first section is a sequence of water slides, jumps and short rappels with glorious gorges made of volcanic rock, sulphurate water basin that come out from the underground. The second part is sportier, including swimming, floating, enchanting rappel descents along the waterfall and jumps up to 10 metres high.

Another rewarding activity is undoubtedly dolphin watching at Lovina. There is a certain ecstasy to waking up at sunrise, walking to the beach, finding a local boatman and embarking on an adventure. In no time the dolphins appear in pods of ten to literally hundreds. Some mornings, they even put on a full dolphin show with backflips, massive jumps and sometimes even tail-walking.

For trekking lovers, North Bali provides more than enough jungle treks. Trekking at Lemukih Village is a rare and unique opportunity to experience the traditional culture and the beautiful nature. You can trek all the way to temples, rice paddies, coffee and fruit plantations. If you want to burn more energies, follow a track with stone steps that winds down for about 90 meters to the waterfalls of Leimukh through jungles and rivers. If that’s still not enough and you feel like experiencing more of the wild rainforest, the beautifully crafted nests of Bali’s central highlands will make the trek to Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan memorable. Covered by fog most of the times, the two crater lakes are located within the caldera of extinct Bedugul volcano. You can also set a camp near the lakes.

Trekking along the vineyard can also be a part of your itinerary, and therefore a visit to Welcome Center & Observation Deck of Hatten Wines vineyards is an option. The Alphonse Lavallee grapes is grown locally in most Balinese vineyards, producing very tasty wine. Your trip will start with a quick walking tour of the vineyard. The tour will include a lesson in wine making, grape picking, and a visit at Hatten Wine’s laboratory. Finally, the activity you have been waiting for… wine tasting!

The magnificence of North Bali is just endless and gets even better with more exploration. With adrenaline pumping activities to lazing around in beach and strolling across paddy fields, this northern part of the island leaves no stone unturned to satisfy every ounce of your soul. A perfect region to distress one’s mind and body, North Bali truly captivates the heart and soul.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine
 

Ghostwriter – Copywriter – Scriptwriter