Tag Archives: Travel Tips

Nusa Lembongan + Nusa Ceningan – buy one, get one free!!

Let’s start with Nusa Lembongan! To often associated solely with Bali, Nusa Lembongan is very much it’s own and unique island paradise!
  
Many tourists visit Nusa Lembongan for the waves it offers but with breaks such as Shipwrecks and Lacerations who would want to surf here right? (Well… me and a few thousand other people every year apparently).  

Did I mention the surf was flat?
 

Even more tourists come here simply to chill out by the beachside, however, I can’t say that locations such as Devil’s Tears evoke too many feelings of relaxation. I’m quite sure Mushroom Bay is a more popular spot (can’t say I’m surprised).

Can’t see any devils crying around here! Better have a closer look!

But for me, Nusa Lembongan was simply about exploring! The freedom of hoping on a motorbike and riding off into the sunset so to speak is beyond addictive! In my opinion, getting away from the beach is where Nusa Lembongan really comes into it’s own. The ride up to the lookout from which you can basically touch Nusa Penida is definitely worth the effort. 

   
 

During the long hours I’ve spent in Indonesia, I’ve developed something of a fascination with riding across bridges. Particularly those bridges seemingly not sturdy enough to bear the weight of small creature (perhaps, a mouse?), let alone the weight of many motorbikes + riders at once. And this is where Nusa Ceningan comes in! Though the bridge connecting Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan appears significantly more structurally sound than most that I’ve come across, it still seems unfit for it’s role as a two lane highway!

  

Dream Point is quite a lovely spot on Nusa Ceningan. And if you’re looking for a nice spot to hang out for a little while, the new Le Pirate Beach Club is in a great location, if you don’t mind paying for it. 

   
 

A few side notes :
 – Seaweed farming is the main source of income for local families on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan and it is quite the sight to watch the seaweed plots slowly emerge as the tide ebbs away. 

  

 – Just because you can rent a motorcycle, doesn’t always mean you should. I saw many tourists with significant injuries due to crashes. Just because there are no cars as such on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, doesn’t mean it is safe to ride around. 
 – Most of the food options on both Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are overpriced as they do cater solely to the tourist market. If you’re looking, for a cheaper (and tastier) alternative, try out Warung Bu Edy’s on the main road. Best meal I had by far!

  

Top reasons to visit Central Java

1. Ancient temples 
There aren’t too many places in the world where you can visit the largest Buddhist temple in the world as well as one of the world’s most spectacular Hindu temple complexes in the same day. Central Java, however – home to both Candi Borobodur and Candi Prambanan – is one of those places. 

*Tip* : Arrive at Borobodur at 6am or stay overnight for the best experience!!

   
   
2. Awesome views

Located just 2-3 drive from the heart of Yogyakarta, Kalibiru was by far one of the most magnificent places I encountered during my time in Indonesia. The photos speak for themself!

   
 
3. Unspoiled and uncrowded waves

As one of my previous post suggested, I fell in love with Batu Karas. Suffice to say, I’ll be back!!

   
 

Where to stay in Batu Karas!

Villa Monyet (www.villamonyetjava.com) is hands down the pick of all accommodation available in Batu Karas. The rooms were fantastic, really quite affordable and best of all, located just across the road from the main surf break. More importantly however, after just a week long stay I felt like I’d lived there my whole life. My vocabulary isn’t broad enough to convey how great Villa Monyet and Batu Karas was as a whole! To put it simply, everyone was just beyond welcoming and super friendly.

   
         
Getting there…

I believe most visitors to Batu Karas fly either domestically or internationally into Jakarta and from there fly with Suci Air to Pangandaran before taking a short taxi ride to Batu Karas.

Alternatively, you can do as I did by flying into Yogyakarta before enlisting the help of a quality driver in order to tackle the 8-9 hour drive to Batu Karas through some very remote areas.

Everyday Bahasa Indonesia Words and Phrases : Part 1

I have studied Indonesian both at school and abroad for the last 5 years, so I have some idea of what I’m talking about. Anyway, here’s a handy list of various Indonesian words that are bound to make you sound just a little more Indonesian.

Pronouns
Me, my, I – Saya (formal – if talking to someone older or in a higher position than yourself) or Aku (informal)
He / His, She / Hers – Dia or -nya (as a suffix, e.g. his pen – penanya)
You – Anda (formal) or Kamu (informal) or -mu (informal, as a suffix, e.g. your bike – sepedamu)
Dad / Mr, Mum / Mrs – Bapak / Pak, Ibu / Bu

Greetings / Goodbyes
Hello / Hi – Halo / Hai
Good morning – Selamat pagi (2am – 10am)
Good day – Selamat siang (10am – 3pm)
Good afternoon – Selamat sore (3pm – sunset)
Good evening – Selamat malam (sunset – 2am)
Good bye / See you later – Sampai jumpai / Sampai nanti

Etiquette
Thank you – Terima kasih
Sorry – Maaf
Excuse me – Permisi

Numbers
1 – Satu
2 – Dua
3 – Tiga
4 – Empat
5 – Lima
6 – Enam
7 – Tujuh
8 – Delapan
9 – Sembilan
10 – Sepuluh
11 – Sebelas
12 – Dua belas
13 – Tiga belas
14 – Empat belas
15 – Lima belas
16 – Enam belas
17 – Tujuh belas
18 – Delapan belas
19 – Sembilan belas
20 – Dua puluh
21 – Dua puluh satu
100 – Seratus
1,000 – Seribu
100,000 – Seratus ribu
1,000,000 – Sejuta

Bargaining
How much? – Berapa?
Too expensive – Terlalu mahal
Wow, cheap – Wah, murah

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more common questions to come next week.

P.S. The feature image above was taken at Deus Motorcycle Workshop, Canggu

Obtaining a Social Cultural Visa for Indonesia (for Australian Citizens Only)

The Sosial Budaya visa is the most popular visa for anyone who is planning to visit Indonesia for an extended period of time. Unlike a Tourist Visa (30 days VOA), the Social Budaya visa is valid for six months. Just to be clear, it is not a work visa and to do so is illegal.

The visa is initially valid for a period of 60 days and can be extended four times – each subsequent visa is valid for a period of 30 days – after that. Once you have been in the Indonesia for six months, you will need to leave the country.

You need to apply for your visa at an Indonesian Embassy. I applied in person at the Indonesian Consulate in Sydney.

“Visas are submitted to the Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney by filling out the appropriate forms (1 copy for each person) and enclosing:
– Passport (still valid at least 6 months from the date of entry).
Non-passport documents (such as Travel Documents, Certificate of Identity, and Certificate of Registration, Emergency Travel Document, etc.) will not be accepted.Check your passport for blank visa page (minimum 3 blank pages should be available). Please be advised that we will return your application and passport if we found there are no blank visa pages on the passport or incomplete application without prior notification.
– One recent colour Passport photographs.
– Proof of a ticket in and out Indonesia, or a ticket to continue travel to another country.
– Proof of permanent residence for non-Australian Citizen. Please be advised that applicant with no proof of PR would be suggested to obtain Indonesian visa from country of origin/country of residency.
– Letter of invitation from family or social organization, which describes the purpose of the visit and guaranteeing all transportation and living expenses that will incur in Indonesia.
– Copy of ID of the sponsor. If the sponsor is non-Indonesian citizen please provide a copy of KITAS and passport. If the sponsor is an Indonesian citizen, a copy of the KTP (Indonesian ID card) must be provided.
– For minor applicants, a statement letter from parents or guardian and copy of parents’ or guardians’ ID.
(source: http://www.kemlu.go.id/sydney/Pages/ServiceDisplay.aspx?IDP=5&IDP2=23&Name=ConsularService&IsRootWeb=false&l=id&l=en)
– the visa fee is $60 and can not be paid in cash (but Eftpos is accepted).

My visa took 3 weeks to be processed due to Christmas/New Year closures so be sure to leave plenty of time for acquiring your visa before your departure date. Additionally, visa applications at the Indonesian Consulate in Sydney can only be submitted and collected during the following hours :

Monday – Thursday:
Submission
09.15am – 12.15pm EST
Collection
02.15pm – 04.00pm EST

Friday:
Submission
09.15am – 12.00pm EST
Collection
02.30pm – 04.00pm EST

Top 5 Things to do in Las Vegas for People Under 21 (Like Myself)

There are many existing stereotypes and stigmas surrounding Las Vegas that imply this city is filled with sex, strippers and over-indulgence. But there are a surprising number of things to do for those that are too young for the nightclubs and casinos. Here are my top five:

1. Walk The Strip

The Strip is surprisingly cool (and much less sleazy than it may be portrayed)! This is the only place in the world where you can visit Venice, Paris and New York all in one day. The Bellagio Fountains and the volcanic eruption at the Mirage were definitely a highlight, whilst the glowing neon lights at night are as iconic as ever.


2. Pinball Hall of Fame

This place was absolutely incredible despite the 4-5km walk through scary streets alone (I’d definitely suggest driving). At US$0.25-$0.75 per game, the Pinball HoF is incredible value. And if you do happen to visit, I implore you to play the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game as I you may see my high-score (unfortunately I clicked the wrong button so the high-score is under the name “AAA”)!!


3. AdventureDome

This is where you’ll find most kids in Vegas on a daily basis. The inside is actually huge and it’s definitely worth having a look even if you don’t pay for the rides (some of which are more intense than you’d expect of an indoor amusement park).


4. Neon Museum

The Neon Museum is the place to visit if you want to experience the history of neon signs in Las Vegas with a massive neon graveyard that houses some of Las Vegas’ most famous signs from past decades. Hour-long compulsory tours cost US$18 and are run every half hour.


5. Battlefield Vegas

Battlefield was definitely right at the top of my wish list during my time in Las Vegas, however for now it must remain on my bucket list as I had both insufficient time and money. But seriously, who doesn’t want to be driven around in a military-grade Humvee before firing weapons from various eras throughout modern history.

How to : New York City Subway

My first trip on the New York Subway didn’t go as planned. I found myself on an uptown platform when I intended to go downtown and was confused as to why the train didn’t end up where I expected it to. As such, the subway (already daunting enough to begin with) became seemingly impossible to master. However, through repeated efforts I began to get the hang of one of the most complex transit systems in the world. To that end, I have compiled a guide to the subway in an attempt to educate fellow travellers!


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

At present, the fare for a single ride is $2.50. However, through the discounts available for multiple ride combinations, or through using unlimited-ride MetroCards (which are available to be used for set periods), the actual cost can be substantially less. I found the best value for short-term visitors such as myself is a 7-day unlimited pass for $30.


“UPTOWN” AND “DOWNTOWN”

On the subway, the words “uptown” and “downtown” are used in this relative and direction-of-travel way. When used that way, “uptown” means to the NORTH of where you are now standing, and “downtown” means to the SOUTH of where you are now standing. Before you enter the station, you MUST know whether you are going “uptown” or “downtown”.


THE STATION ENTRANCE

At the sidewalk entrance there will be a sign that shows the name of the station and the lines that stop there. Some stations do not have any way to cross between the uptown and downtown platforms, and the station entrance will lead to the platform for one direction of travel only. In such cases, the sign at the entrance will specify which direction can be accessed from that entrance.


WHAT YOU FIND WHEN YOU GO DOWN THE STAIRS

When you enter a subway station, you will arrive in the area with the turnstiles. There is also a large map of the entire subway system on the wall, along with a bus map and a neighborhood map. You will also find machines where you can purchase MetroCard. You can also buy MetroCards from the “railroad clerk” in the booth. If you want your own subway map or bus map, the clerk has these in the booth — they are FREE, so ask for one! If you are from outside the US and are using a machine to purchase or add value to a MetroCard, don’t be perplexed if the machine asks you for your “ZIP code”, which is a 5-digit US postal code. Just enter 00000, and the machine will accept it.


THROUGH THE TURNSTILE AND ONTO THE PLATFORM

Once you have entered the turnstile, you continue to the platform. Keep in mind that some stations are large complexes, and have more platform areas than one – just because you found a platform, it does NOT mean it is the one you are looking for! How do you know what platform it is? Look at the signs that show what lines stop there, and also whether that platform is for “uptown” or “downtown” trains.


ABOUT THOSE LETTERS AND NUMBERS

It is very important that you know the exact name of the line or lines that you want to use; NEVER think of the subway as having a “red line” or a “blue line”. But aren’t the lines shown in those colors on the map? Yes, but the colors do NOT tell you where a train goes, nor do they tell you which stations a train stops at. Two trains that have the same color may end up in entirely different locations, while trains with different colours may make identical stops.


EXPRESS AND LOCAL

The NYC subway has both local trains that stop at every station, and express trains that use a different track and that skip many stations, just stopping at certain major stations. How do you know which is which? Simple: at places and times when express service is in operation (because some express trains go local during very late night hours), a line that runs express on weekdays will ALWAYS be express on weekdays, and a line that runs local on weekdays will ALWAYS be local on weekdays If you know where you are going, whether it is an express or a local stop, and what trains stop at the station to which you are going, you will then know what train or trains you want.


HOW DO I KNOW WHEN TO GET OFF?

While stations are announced, sometimes the public address system does not work well and the announcement may sound like “Mmph whngg grph Bbklyn-bmd drnns wahh bwmmhh”. You should therefore have some idea of what stations come shortly before the one you want, and be watching for your station. Watching? Yes; when the train pulls into the station, you can look out the window and see the name of the station written repeatedly on signs, in the tiles on the station wall, and on plaques attached to the station columns.


BUT WHAT IF I GET LOST?

Well, so what if you do? The trains are all running on fixed rails, and it isn’t as if they are wandering about the countryside to end up in some random and unknown location miles from town. If you miss your stop, it is very clear from the map (remember, there are two maps in every car) what the next stop, and all of the stops after that, will be. Simply get off at the next station where you can cross to the other side and get a train going back in the direction you wanted.


USEFUL LINKS

Here are links subway riders might find useful:

The main page of the MTA:

http://www.mta.info/nyct/

The map of the subway system:

http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/submap.htm

Service Advisories:

http://travel.mtanyct.info/serviceadvisory/

Schedules for individual subway lines:

http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/schemain.htm

The Straphanger’s Campaign (a private advocacy group for subway riders)

http://www.straphangers.org/

The Wikipedia entry on the New York City Subway:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_Subway