First time in Indonesia

I think Indonesia is a country of adventures and opportunities. Just you need to open eyes and heart, have a will to see, taste, discover, try new things, get out from your comfort zone and be curious.

I found out that during my stay in Indonesia some of the things I did or some of them happened first time in my life. No matter what, but all of them gave me new colors in my daily life. So, here is my list of things “first time in life – in Indonesia”:

First of all – Indonesia is the first Asian country which I visited in my life

And being in Indonesia gives me more opportunities to travel in Asia. Other Asian countries now are much closer than if I would travel from Europe.

I met eye to eye orangutans in Borneo island (Kalimantan)

Couple days in a jungle, living in a boat, meeting wild monkeys, birds, other animals and of course orangutans – was experience that I will never forget.

I took selfie (never before I did that)

It was on motorbike, when I was bringing mattress on my back to first home in Yogyakarta, Java island.

First time in Indonesia - selfie
Friend Otong helped me to take mattress to a new home

I learned how to drive automatic scooter

Driving scooter in Indonesia it means – I can drive now scooter anywhere in the world.

I tried trekking to a volcanoes

Even if mount Merapi defeated me  but at least I tried. But the second time was more successful. I went to Mt. Batur in Bali for sunrise. And even if in the trek beginning I was thinking why I do it, in the end I was happy that reached the top.

Batur sunrise trek in Bali

 

I was a “model” for the Yogyakarta sketchers community members

They wanted to practice and not every time it’s easy to find people who would like to spend their time doing nothing, just pose for a while.

First time in Indonesia - "model"

took a bathe” under the waterfall and was walking in volcano crater

It was in Dieng Plateau, Java island. Never before I saw waterfall and volcano crater in real. What to say about bathing under waterfall? It was powerful feeling.

First time in Indonesia

I tried sandboarding in “grey” sand beach Parangtritis

Never before I try snowboarding, so experience with sandborading was amazing. Just sand in the mouth when you felt down doesn’t “taste” so nice as snow. I got this opportunity while I was shooting in a video.

I celebrated New Year in October with Javanese Royal family members

New year in the middle of autumn? Something new, especially when you are invited to do that with Javanese Royal family members and have an honor to walk in a parade through the city with traditional Javanese clothes.

Javanese New Year

I eat fruits which I never tried before

Even I didn’t know that such fruits exist: “salak”(“snake fuit”), “jambu” (“guava”), “buah naga” (“dragon fruit”), soursop (“sirsak”) and many others.

First time in Indonesia - fruits

I try scuba diving first time ever

I really scare to be in deep water places so this experience was one of the biggest challenges for me but I faced my fairs in Bali.

I was a witness of Ramadhan and Lebaran celebrations

I heard before a bit about Muslim main celebrations Ramadhan, Lebaran but never knew how it looks like in real. But only staying in Indonesia I had this opportunity.

I eat cobra meat and I liked it

I tried “Burger cobra”, “Sate cobra bakar”, ”Steak cobra saus cina” and drink “Ramuan empedu cobra” (traditional medicine from cobra gall and marrow). I was celebrating 6 months living in Indonesia anniversary.

First time in Indonesia - cobra meat

I was bitten by bee

Never in my life before nowhere I was bitten. Probably it was Indonesian style of “farewell” before my trip to Vietnam.

First time in Indonesia - bitten by bees

I drink the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak

First time in Indonesia - kopi luwak

I got a first job offer – to be a guide in Vietnam

I never been a tour guide before, but probably my organizational skills can be used in any area. I liked it, that’s why till now I accompany people during their trips in Indonesia as well.

I was walking in the black sand beach

First I saw grey sand beach in Yogyakarta, Parangtritis beach but soft black sand I enjoyed in Bali, Tulamben beach. When all my life I saw only yellow beaches, see black – something unreal.

I try rafting

I’m quite scared of all water activities but I wanted to try rafting. I did it in Bali when the rainy season started. And it wasn’t so dangerous, even more easier than I thought.

Rafting in Bali

I had unique experience

I participate in Balinese sacred purification ritual which aimed to purify a human body and soul in order to prevent havoc, bad luck and sickness (also achieve self-purification).

Hindu purification

One of my dreams come true

I always wanted to see dolphins in their natural surrounding and I did it, in Lovina, Bali.

I started to write articles and blogging

I would never believe that one day I will start to write and blogging. But it happen exactly in Indonesia.

I’m willing to add more things in a future to this “first time in life – in Indonesia” list.

First time in Indonesia
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  • Have you tried something for the first time in Indonesia?
  • Maybe you tried something for the first time in other Asian countries?
  • What you would like to try in Indonesia?

 

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Lombok beaches which should be in your bucket list

Do you think only in Bali island you can find crystal clear water and white sand beaches? NO. There are many such beaches in other Indonesian islands as well and they are not so crowded yet. In the neighbor Lombok island you can enjoy the same or even better beaches. Maybe it’s time to consider Lombok island one of the options for holidays destination? Beside beautiful nature, it’s a bit cheaper than in Bali.

There are so many beautiful Lombok beaches that during 3 weeks trip we didn’t manage to visit all of them. But here are my favorite ones where I would love to come back one day.

Lombok beaches which I recommend to visit at least once

Selong Belanak beach

Selong Belanak- beach in Lombok

The most beautiful beach I ever saw in Indonesia till now! Wide and long, soft, white sand coast and crystal clear, clean, warm water. The beach is having a curvy shape with hills on each point. The waves are not so high, so you can enjoy swimming (even if it’s not recommended to do because there are fishing boats but from my experience they are too far, not disturbing at all). As well have sunbathing or just a relaxing walk along the beach. As well it’s perfect place to learn how to surf.

Beaches in Lombok - Selong Belanak

HOW TO GET TO SELONG BELANAK BEACH:
Beach located ~49 km from Mataram (~1,5 hour drive). From Kuta Lombok it’s ~ 17 km. From Mataram, you just need to take the route to Lombok International airport. If you have reached Jami’ Penunjak Mosque, you should turn to the North until you find the beach. Make sure to ask around on the way to Selong Belanak beach because there would be no road signs that can lead you to this beach.

Selong Belanak beach in Lombok

TIPS:

  • If you will be lucky, you can buy fresh seafood from local people. Most of people living near Selong Belanak is fishermen, so sometimes they will come back from the sea with fresh seafood. As well you can have fishing trip with local people.
  • The beach will be very crowded during the holiday season. If you can, try to visit Selong Belanak beach on weekdays.
  • You can find many beach vendors there, rent a cot.
  • To make your time more efficient, you can visit as well Mawun beach, Kuta beach, Seger beach, Aan Bay or Sade beach in one day. But I would highly recommend to stay in Selong Belanak beach all day long.

Selong Belanak beach

WHERE TO STAY NEAR SELONG BELANAK BEACH:

Mawun beach

Mawun beach in Lombok

One of the Lombok beaches which is cozy, peaceful, surrounded by 2 hills in the West and East sides. Has a white, soft texture sand in the middle of the beach that turns to rougher, mixed with small rocks near the hills. Has clean, blue water where you can enjoy swimming (but near the hills the waves are higher and stronger). Not too many people come to this beach, so you can feel like it belongs all to you. In this beach you can have relaxing time, sunbathing, climb the hills and enjoy the view of Indian Ocean.

HOW TO GET TO MAWUN BEACH:
Mawun beach is ~60 km from Mataram city (it’s ~1,5 hour drive). From Kuta Lombok ~20 min. drive. The route is Mataram-Cakranegara-Kediri-Praya-Penujak-Selong Belanak-Mawun, or Mataram-Cakranegara-Kediri-Praya-Batunyale-Sengkol-Rambitan-Sade-Kuta-Mawun. If you are visiting Selong Belank beach, Mawun is only ~9 km from there.

Mawun beach

TIPS:

  • You should be careful if you will decide to swim near the hills because there are no lifeguards in this beach.
  • Take some snacks with you because there are only several beach vendors, who sells thing for extremely high price.
  • If you will be lucky, on the way to this beach you can see farmers harvesting tobacco leaves.
  • On the way you can visit as well Selong Belank beach and others around (see above).

WHERE TO STAY NEAR MAWUN BEACH:

Kuta beach (Lombok)

Kuta beach in Lombok

Even if it’s not my favorite place (because it’s too crowded) but it’s strategical good place to stay couple of days and explore South part of Lombok beaches (and not only). There are many places to stay, to eat, order some extra activities or trips to other parts of Lombok, as well make laundry if you are on the long trip.

Kuta beach has ~7 km coastline with some small hills where you can climb. The sand not so soft and you can’t properly swim, as well it lays near the main road. Here you will find many people who comes just chill out with a drink in beach bar or see the sunset. But ~2 km from Kuta beach you can find as well Seger beach (it’s good place for snorkeling, more calm beach just to spend some time). and other smaller ones.

HOW TO GET TO KUTA BEACH:
Kuta beach located ~50 km from Mataram (~1 hour drive). If you are in Bali or in one of the Gili’s island, many tour operators suggest the trips to Kuta Lombok from there.

Lombok beach - Kuta

TIPS:

  • Bargue the price before renting snorkeling equipment.
  • Stay safe in Kuta area.

WHERE TO STAY IN KUTA:

  • There are many places to stay, depends on your budged and wishes.
  • We stayed in Seger Reef homestay. It’s located in front of the beach, has hot water, WI-FI (in lobby) and it’s safe place.

Tanjung AAN beach

Tanjung AAN beach in Lombok

This Lombok beach surrounded by some hills that you can climb. In the middle of the beach also have one small hill that you can hike. Unfortunately, the sand not so smooth like in mentioned other beaches but still you can have nice time of swimming in blue water, enjoy beautiful scenery of ~2 km coastline or have a walk. It’s a good place for snorkeling as well.

HOW TO GET TO TANJUNG AAN BEACH:
It’s located ~75 km from Mataram (~1,5 hour drive). Or ~3 km from Kuta beach. The route is Mataram – Cakranegara – Kediri – Praya – Batunyale – Sengkol – Rambitan – Sade – Kuta and finally Tanjung Aan.

TIPS:

  • There are many beach vendors, some local “warungs” to eat.
  • You can be a bit annoyed by many street sellers who on each step suggest to buy something.

WHERE TO STAY NEAR TANJUNG AAN BEACH:

Pink (Tangis) beach

Pink beach in Lombok

Name “pink” was given because it’s the only beach in Lombok island which have pink colored sand. Some of the locals call this beach “heaven beach” as well. Because it’s cozy, quite beach, seems like untouched by people. But if you want to reach it you need to pass the “hell road”. When we were there, the road condition was so horrible that ~10 km we were passing more than 1 hour. But we saw that people was fixing the road, so I hope now it’s much better.

“Pink beach” surrounded by cliffs that you can climb and have an amazing view of other close Lombok beaches, panorama below the cliffs. Also from the top you can see more clear pink beach color. The sand in this beach so soft and the water so blue, calm. It’s perfect place for 1 day trip. As well, like the road to this place so bad many people don’t come here.

Tangis-Pink beach

HOW TO GET TO PINK BEACH:
It’s ~82 km from Mataram (~3 hours drive). From Kuta ~ 53 km (~1,30 hour drive). But going to this beach take the safe route and don’t go by the quickest way.

TIPS:

  • More clear pink color you can see either in early morning or in the evening, so try to visit it during that time.
  • You can reach Pink beach as well with short boat trips from Tanjung Luar or Telong-Elong.
  • Take some snacks with you because there are only several beach vendors who sometimes not open during work week (only on weekends when come more people).
  • If you don’t want to drive through “hell road” by yourself you can order a tour from tourist offices in Kuta.
  • While you will be in Pink beach, visit as well amazing Tanjung Ringgit, like it’s on the same road.

Pink beach

WHERE TO STAY NEAR PINK BEACH:

A photo posted by I’m Ria – (@lifeinbigtent) on


Tips for all Lombok beaches:

  • Don’t be surprised that almost to all Lombok beaches you will need to pay entrance fee that is valid only for 1 day for exact beach.
  • In all beaches cots are not for free, even if nobody said the price, after you would like to leave somebody will come and ask to pay for it.
  • Have enough cash with you, like not in many places you will find ATM.
  • Stay safe during your trip in Lombok.

Mentioned beaches on the map:

If you think these Lombok beaches not enough for you, check Dan’s from “Dan flying solo” Gili island guide. It’s very easy to reach all 3 famous Gili islands from Lombok and you can discover more beautiful Indonesian beaches.


Lombok beaches pinterest
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  • Would you like to visit these beaches?
  • If you have been in these Lombok beaches what was our experience?
  • Maybe you have other Lombok beaches recommend to visit?

 

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Memories of 2015 in 15 travel photos from Asia

It’s only passed couple days after New Year celebration but 2015 is already the past. Looking back to my 2015 I can honestly say “it was crazy, adventurous, inspiring year”. I’m happy to watch all my travel photos from Asia and remember all routes, met people, stories that I had.

It’s quite hard to select only 15 photos from all trips in 2015 (I was traveling in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Norway). Like not possible all memories put to such small amount of photos but I took this personal challenge and selected :). Here they are (according to the sequence where I traveled from the beginning of 2015)!

My 2015 in 15 travel photos from Asia

#1 Peaceful time in Labuhan Haji beach, Lombok, Indonesia

Travel photos from Asia - Lombok
I just need some time in a beautiful place to clear my head

#2 Intact children in Sa Pa, Vietnam

Travel photos from Asia - Vietnam
Be happy for now reason like a child

#3 Incredible rice paddies in Sa Pa, Vietnam

Travel photos from Asia - Vietnam
Enjoy the little things

#4 Time to get lost, Halong Bay, Vietnam

Travel photos from Asia - Halong Bay
Getting lost is not a waste of time

#5 Wonder moments in Bukittinggi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Travel photos from Asia - Sumatra
Never lose your sense of wonder

#6 Exploring Ramadhan time in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia

Travel photos from Asia - Yogyakarta
Don’t try to understand everything, because sometimes it’s not meant to be understood but to be accepted

#7 On the way to meet with orangutans in Borneo, Indonesia

Travel photos from Asia - Borneo
My destination is no longer a place, but new way of seeing. Marcel Proust

#8 Curiosity moment for both of us in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Travel photos from Asia - Sulawesi
Replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity

#9 Faith time in Tirtha Empul temple in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Travel photos from Asia - Bali
Never lose hope, keep the faith. Joyce Meyer

#10 Inspiring moment in Batu Cave, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Travel photos from Asia - Kuala Lumpur
There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs

#11 Discovering time in Clan Jetties, Penang, Malaysia

Travel photos from Asia - Penang
We live to discover beauty

#12 Magical moment in Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Travel photos from Asia - Bangkok
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen. Goethe

#13 Colorful time in Bangkok, Thailand

Travel photos from Asia - Bangkok
Enjoy the colors of life

#14 Tasty hours in Bangkok, Thailand

Travel photos from Asia - Thailand
You have to taste a culture to understand it

#15 Bewitching place in Tanah Lot temple, Bali, Indonesia

Travel photos from Asia - Bali
In a place where there is will. There is a road. Korean proverb

How about you? What were your travel memories of 2015?

Wish you in 2016 travel more, meet interesting people, try new things and never stop believing in things you do! :)


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