Saturday, December 28, 2013

Backpacking Itinerary: Indonesia in Three Weeks

I was on a minivan for the final leg of my backpacking journey in Indonesia when I started smiling uncontrollably. I just had some of the best weeks I could have ever hoped for in 2013, or in all of my travels for that matter. What I loved most about traveling in Indonesia was that I did not have any expectations from it. Traveling through Java west to east and a little bit of Bali, I was pleasantly surprised every step of the way, as I was with all the Indonesian foods I had the pleasure of eating here.

Below is the backpacking Indonesia itinerary I eventually ended up with during my few weeks in the country. It has information on getting in, things to see and do, and places to stay in. I'm hoping this will provide other backpackers and budget travelers valuable information for traveling to Indonesia.

Open in Google Maps
Backpacking Itinerary: Indonesia in Three Weeks

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Photos from That One Beautiful Day in Bali

As it turned out, it was not enough to see all of Bali in just one day. Of course, I already knew that. Having discovered that I could easily occupy all of my time in Indonesia traveling slowly and exploring as much as I can on Java Island alone, I decided to forgo Bali for another trip. The last thing I wanted was to rush things and not enjoy the experience. Then again, at the back of my head, I was already thinking that I wasn't really one to enjoy traveling in destinations as widely popular as Bali. How wrong was I.

Uluwatu Beach, Bali, Indonesia
Uluwatu Beach in Bali, Indonesia. There are clearly many reasons for which people have been coming here. I mean, look at that.

In just that one day I transited in Bali in order to catch my exit flight from Indonesia back to the Philippines, I clearly saw what millions of other tourists before me saw here on the Island of the Gods. Spirituality and religion were on display and it was beautiful. Its backdrop of tall cliffs and the vast Indian Ocean, even more so. To think, I was just here one day and I just stayed in the hilly southern part of the island—Bukit Peninsula. Yet I found myself totally enamored. Bali is as popular a travel destination as it is for a reason. It is simply beautiful here.

Here are a few photos from that one day in Bali, a place I am definitely returning to.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Why Travel Tuesday: Snowy Pine Trees in Shangri-la

(Every Tuesday, I will be featuring a photograph from a place I have gone to, a photograph which I believe will inspire others to go out and see the world for themselves. For this week, Why Travel Tuesday features a very Christmassy scene: Snowy Pine Trees in Shangri-la, Yunnan, China.)

Shangri-la (Zhongdian) in Yunnan, China
Snowy pine trees along the streets of Shangri-la in Yunnan, China

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Amount of Crazy to Get to the Blue Flames of Kawah Ijen

Below is a photo from Kawah Ijen in East Java, Indonesia. This volcanic crater lake, found at an elevation of 2,800 meters above sea level, has become an odd tourist attraction because of its open sulfur mine. Trekking up here in the cold of night, we saw miners extracting the sulfur from the crater walls by lighting them on fire. It burned bright blue as the sulfur melted away. Quite the sight.

Kawah Ijen, East Java, Indonesia
The otherworldly blue flames of the open sulfur mine in Kawah Ijen of East Java

It was not easy getting this photo. Let me tell you. Can I indulge a bit? Alright then.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Ultimate Indonesia Food Post: 24 Indonesian Foods I Loved While Traveling in Java and Bali

Indonesian cuisine was familiar, but it was surprising nonetheless. It was familiar because Indonesia and the Philippines (where I'm from) are very close neighbors, and therefore, ingredients tended to be quite the same. How those ingredients were used, however, to form delicious culinary creations I could have never in my life imagined, now that surprised me.

In this post, let me recount some of the foods I encountered while traveling in Indonesia. Let me feature not one, not even two, and you can bet it is not even three, but 24! That's right. Twenty-four of the best foods I had while traveling in the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia.

Nasi Goreng
The humble nasi goreng (fried rice). A breakfast staple in Indonesian cuisine.

To be clear, when I say Indonesian food, I am referring to the foods I found in the parts of Indonesia I traveled to: Java and a little bit of Bali. Friendly advice: You may want to have a full belly before you even think of scrolling down. Let's go.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Foodie Friday: Indonesia's Babi Guling

(We all know I love to eat, so you know I am not kidding around when talking about food. On Fridays, let me torture myself and anyone who might stumble upon this travel blog with a photo of a delicious food I had in my travels. This week, Foodie Friday features porky goodness in the form of Babi Guling.)

Babi Guling, Bali, Indonesia
The glorious porky goodness that is babi guling

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to Plan a Budget for Backpacking in Southeast Asia

"How much money did you spend to go backpacking in Southeast Asia?"

Thus goes a question I often get asked. The truth is, I never have a definitive answer. When I first went backpacking in Southeast Asia, I had an initial budget for three months of travel. But that soon extended to six months, which then became a digital nomad life wherein I earned while I traveled. It was, and still is, difficult to identify an exact figure.

Then again, even if I knew my exact figure, telling it to people might not be useful anyway precisely because it is *my* budget. At the end of the day, we will differ in how we spend money as we all differ on how we travel.

So instead of telling you how much money I spent to go backpacking in Southeast Asia (whichever of my trips you were referring to), let me tell you how I plan my budget for backpacking in Southeast Asia. It will provide more value, I think, for those planning their own short or extended trip in this region. Plus, it'll be simpler for me. Here are my five easy steps:

Singaporean Dollars
Planning a budget for backpacking in Southeast Asia? Easy!