East Bali Trip 2010: Itinerary Beyond Kuta-Legian

Kuta-Legian has become boring. There are times where I love the Kuta-Legian strip, surf the beach as the sunset approach, then patron one of the club, just to have cans of beer or glass of Martini. But on when working on the Bali itinerary for this trip, I begin questioning myself: “Is there anything else in Bali aside from Kuta-Legian? Can we do something else than surfing, clubbing and watching sunset?”

Continue reading East Bali Trip 2010: Itinerary Beyond Kuta-Legian

Nu Art Bandung, Indonesia

Nyoman Nuarta, as the name suggest, is a Balinese. His is sculptor and one of his well known works is the statue of Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Bali, which is yet to complete. Yap, he is the designer of the huge statue of Garuda Wisnu Kencana, located around 4km south of Kuta, Bali.

If you think Garuda Wisnu Kencana is great, wait until you visit his gallery in North Bandung, West Java. The 3ha area is divided into indoor gallery and outdoor sculpture park, hosting many of his works of statues, not only made from stone, but also from steel. One of his best works is the big woman statue, entirely made from steel for concrete.

There is a small coffee shop at the back of the complex. Try the Coffee Aroma, a local coffee brand, and with the view of the sculpture park, a really nice laid back place to enjoy an evening.

Admission is free. There is a souvenir shop, where you can buy his smaller works, including the replica of completed Garuda Wisnu Kencana. On the 2nd floor, there is a small bookshop, mostly books about Indonesian Sculpture Arts.

Nu Art Sculpture Park
Jl. Sutra Duta Kencana II/11, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia 40151
Phone: +62 22 2017812, 2017816, 2020414
Website: http://www.nuarta.com/park.htm
Email: [email protected]

The Color of Kelimutu

Many people come to the remote area of Flores, East Indonesia, to see this spectacular natural wonder, Mount Kelimutu. On top of this mountain, on where the crater was, there are 3 lakes, each with different color. Thick fog, which often clouds the peak, and believes of local people give the mystical feeling about these lakes.

Mount Kelimutu is located along the Maumere – Ende road. It is located around 3 hours drive from Maumere, and 2 hours from Ende. At the base of the mountain, there are small village called Moni. Moni has some simple bungalows, which should cater for most tourists to spend a night, to see the sunrise at Kelimutu.

On our last trip, we rent a car for a day trip to Kelimutu, from Maumere. We are not after the sunrise, which require us to start at 3 am. We start at 5:30 am, having light breakfast on the way, and reach the parking space of Kelimutu at 9 am. There are entrance fee of Rp. 2.500 per person, and Rp. 6.000 per car. From the parking space to the lakes is around 1 km walk uphill, on a rocky terrain.

Halfway, we reach the observation point for The Brown Lake. The lake, surrounded by steep rock wall, lies few hundred meters below the observation point. I can’t find any reference about the depth of the lake, nor the cause of the color, but according to rumors, the water of the lake is actually clear. I presume that something at the bottom of the lake that give those color.

Few hundred meters more walk, and climbing some stairs, we reach the Inspiration Point, where all the lakes is visible. It is impossible to get the picture of all lakes at once, but by climbing to the highest point of Inspiration Point is enough to complete our trip. On the left is the Black Lake, and on the right, next to the Brown Lake, is the most beautiful Turquoise Lake. We were grateful because when the fog started to set in, a light rain swoop away the fog, giving us longer clear few of the lakes.

On the way back, we stop by in some interesting place. The monastery of Mageria, which provides place for personal religious retreat, is worth to stop by. Besides the giant statue of Elijah facing the ocean, we can see the south coast of Flores from its highest point. Then there is Paga Beach. We didn’t stop long enough to see anything interesting here, but this place is mentioned in Lonely Planet.

For total trip time of 12 hours, with half of it driving, it still worth to do. Lonely Planet provides much information about cheaper but challenging public transport, places to stay in Moni, and alternative if you decide to continue to Ende, and other part of Flores. Enjoy your trip, as we do…

Shrine of Annai Velankani, Medan, Indonesia

If you’re looking for painted church similar like the one in Vatican, look no further. Prepare your backpack and go to Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Vailankanni is a small town in India, located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, around 150 miles south of Madras. Often spelled as Velankanni, it is believed that in this town, The Lady of Good Health did her mystical events.

The shrine of Annai Velankani was built in Medan, in the district of Sunggal. It was built by an Indian Priest, which explains the architecture of it. The building consists of 2 levels. The first level is a meeting place, and the main mass room is in 2nd level. In total, the church consists of 7 levels, making it looks like more to a Hindu temple than a Church.

Other than its unique shapes, another thing that makes this church a must-see is the decoration. Inside the mass room on 2nd level, there are statue of 12 apostles, attached to the pillar of the building. The ceiling is painted with teaching of God, which reminds us to the paintings in St. Peter basilica in Vatican, Rome. The ramp to 2nd floor is painted with the story of world creation from Genesis.

The person who decorates the Church is called Michelangelo of Medan by Jakarta Post. In the complex, there is a small park, dedicated to the late pope, St John Paul II.

Philip Island Nature Park, Australia

Melbourne is quite a small city. If you are on a self-managed trip, you might finish the entire city in 2 days. The greater victoria might be an interesting point of interest, some of them is Dandenong, Great Ocean Road, and Philip Island. I would reccomend the last one for the experience you won’t get elsewhere: The Penguin Parade!

Philip Island (Website: http://www.penguins.org.au/) is located around 2 hours by car from Melbourne. It host 3 natural parks: The Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Center, and the Churcill Island. The option I would reccomend for visit is to rent a car and spend 1-2 night on the island, or take a guided tour, like what we did.

There are a lot of tours offering a day trip to Philip Island for AU$100. Some of them offers half-day trip for AU$70, but my recommendation is to take the full one, because of the experience given. We were taking Australian Pacific Tours (APT, website: http://www.aptours.com.au/). They pick us up from our hotel take us to their head office for us to settle the payment, and then we hop back to the executive bus, which took us to Phillip Island.

The driver did a double job as your tour guide. He tells what is on your left and right while driving, through a headset connected the bus sound system. We go through the beachfront estate of St. Kilda, to the country road, and stop at Warrock (meaning large water in aboriginal language). In this farm, they have Kangoroos, Wombat, and also a Phoenix. There are a souvenir shop, which I found a jacket for AU$50 :D.

Our next stop is the Koala Conservation Center. We are given opportunity to see the sleeping Koala (They sleep 20 hours per day. You will do the same if you only eat Eucalyptus leaves :D). If you’re lucky enough some of them will awake and sit close to the boardwalk, where you can take some nice pics.

Next stop is the city of Cowes, the only city in Phillip Island. They serve wide range of food for your dinner. After dinner, we continue to the fur seal viewing point, which is actually the only part of the tour which is not worth it.

The main show come after the fur seal, where we are taken to the penguin parade show. The penguin will do the ritual of thousands year, where they came back home after searching for food right after the sunset.

Not a Tourist, Not a Backpacker