Thursday, July 21, 2016

Travel Tips for a Sunrise Hike up Mount Bromo

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 You can find these glass bottles of petrol lining the streets of Indonesia, just waiting for a motorcycle that needs a fill!
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2,329 meters above sea level takes you to Mount Bromo, when you are on Java Island. Mount Bromo is actually one of the most active volcanoes in the world! (I'm pretty sure it takes you to other volcanoes too though... lol). If you like climbing and don't mind layering like crazy, you definitely must do the Mount Bromo hike! We left Surabaya at around 2am to head to Bromo still on Java, Indonesia. IT WAS SPECTACULAR! I don't have too much time to write today, but I did want to leave you with a few tips for a safe and spectacular hike:
  • Whether you go with a travel agent or independently, you can hike or take a car up to the sunrise hill, if you go with a travel agent, make sure to go with a safe one. You can find some through Trip Adviser, that's always my go-to place!
  • It will get REALLY COLD before 5am, so bring gloves, a hat, and a jacket! But if you forget yours, locals sell winter accessories and used jackets.
  • Make sure to dress in layers. Between 2am and 9am the weather will change dramatically from freezing and dewy to hot and humid.
  • There is no toilet paper or soap in the bathrooms, so be prepared. You also have to pay to use the bathroom (like everywhere in Indonesia).
  • Bring plenty of water, hiking up at high elevations is rough on your body and without realizing it, you could pass out from dehydration.
After hiking the volcano, you can go to another volcano and hike the crater. If you aren't up for the steep climb, you can always take one of many horses. But I will post about this next week, gotta cook me some food now! haha.

The traveling duck,

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Rice Fields in Ubud, Bali

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Rice fields in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia at Tegalalang

Today again we were in Ubud, Bali. Enough with the rainy puras in Ubud, now on to my favorite part of the entire trip to Bali! Today we visited a traditional Balinese style cooperative irrigation system, which in Bahasa Indonesia is called subak. This was my first time visiting a rice field, and like the rest of our visits this trip, we were pressed for time so I wasn't able to take too many pictures or ask too many questions to anyone really. It was very cool seeing the terrace system and seeing the little rice grains on the strong but floppy looking plant stems. Since I was younger I always imagined terrace rice fields and was so interested in how people for hundreds of years were architects of the earth given to us by God. (People think they are so innovative, but come on, after initial innovations, there is only going forwards anyways...) And so, since I had only seen terrace rice fields in photos before even if I was rushed, I was so excited to walk through the different levels... although my cousin and I did get lost and weren't sure how to exit. haha. I also wish I could speak Bahasa Indonesia so that I could ask the locals everything I wanted to know, without the added barrier of a translator. I didn't bring cash and there were multiple bridges which asked for donations, which I felt bad about. But either way, it was great!

On the main street leading to this rice field, there are many vendors, with reasonable prices for all their products, considering that they are hand crochet or made (well, most of them... I definitely saw things that were mass produced). There are also artisan markets close by with skilled wood artisans which carve elaborate doors and chairs and benches as well as HUGE (and I mean huge) wooden figures and dream catchers. Again, because of time, I only captured photos from the car, which turned out blurry. Meeeeehhh. But if I went back, I would want to visit the shops and ask them how long they have been wood working, who are their clients, from whom did they learn, if they are part of a cooperative, and what is their end goal for their products.

But there is so much to do in Ubud, so if you want to travel to Bali and are short on time and are more of a cultural traveler than a touristy resorter, I would suggest spending your time in Ubud, staying at a local eco hotel with good reviews, then going out to learn about the local artisans, agriculture and biodiversity!

The traveling duck,

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hindu Pura in Bali, Indonesia

Typical Balinese Hindu offering. You find these all over the streets of Bali!

Just a quick post today, we went to visit a Hindu pura in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia! On the island of Bali, in Indonesia, they practice Balinese Hindu, which includes their own customs and traditions which differ from Hindu practices in, say, India. 

It was a nice day until we arrived, then it started raining on and off, so people were out, then taking for cover, then out again. haha. Now that I look at the pictures, I didn't really take any overall landscape photos of this place. But the space is filled with buildings like the one here, and concrete floored areas with straw roofed areas. Honestly, it wasn't as culturally educational as I had hoped it would be because I didn't understand what any of the signs said (since they were all in Bahasa Indonesia). In regards to why I didn't get anything translated, well, I was with my younger cousin who couldn't quite translate the technical religious terms to English for me, so I ended up walking around just looking at the architecture of the place. Then afterwards when I asked my family for details, no one knew anything so I kind of just sat there and moved on. In the end, we were rushed out because the family wanted to go to another place to eat and then off to the rice fields, which interest me much much more (because agriculture is a livelihood in itself). And so, enjoy the pictures, although I really don't know anything about them. Just being honest. :) 

Also, seemed to be that most of the tourism on Bali comes from Indonesia itself, which is kind of cool! Okay, off to the rice fields! :D

The traveling duck,