TripCanvas Editorial Team

TripCanvas Editorial Team

A collective of travel, food and adventure enthusiasts sharing stories about hidden gems and unexplored local attractions, aiming to showcase and help you explore the destination in its truest form.

Locale

Bask in the sun at Tanjung Aru beach

Tanjung Aru beach 1

Known for its spectacular sunset view and laid-back vibes, the Tanjung Aru beach in Kota Kinabalu is perfect for a day of sunbathing and swimming in the calm waters of the shallow sea. Named after the Casuarina trees that line the beach, Tanjung Aru beach is an urban oasis, often flocked by the residents of Kota Kinabalu for a quick escapade from the city.

Things to do

Spend your day amidst the locals at Tanjung Aru beach, as you play frisbee, or football with them on the sandy beach or just sit down and observe the evening go by. Said to have the best sunset spot in all of Malaysia, the beach is a great place to observe the life of the locals as you sink your feet in the cool sand and soak up the warmth of the sun. The calm water of this part of the beach makes its perfect for swimming and walking in the shallow parts of the sea. Alternatively, you can also try walking on the reflexology track set in the path of the adjacent Prince Philip park, or work up an appetite at the exercise area. This park also acts as a perfect picnic spot if you are looking to spend the day here.

As the sun starts to sets you will be left in awe at the multiple shades of orange and yellow melting into the horizon. The gorgeous sunset is best enjoyed while munching on some local delicacies from the multiple street food stalls that set up shop as the day progresses and the sea breeze starts to bring down the temperature. Moreover the Tanjung Aru beach is well known for its open food courts serving street-style local snacks ranging from satays to noodles to fresh seafood.

How to get there

Tanjung Aru is easily accessible from the city centre. Only about 15-20 minutes driving time away, you can hop on a bus or a cab to get here. However if you are running short of time and want to include a quick visit to Tanjung Aru as part of your Kota Kinabalu city tour, consult a local travel expert from Locaguide who can help you plan a complete itinerary for the same.

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Locale

Visit the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park 1

Located a short ferry ride from Kota Kinabalu, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a group of 5 islands off the coast of the Sabah state of Malaysia, in the South China Sea. The islands are the perfect place to spend a day eating, relaxing and just enjoying the view. If you want, you can spend all day on the sandy beach of one island, or you can choose to island hop and visit them all for a couple of hours each. Known for their marine life, the islands are the perfect place to see some spectacular underwater life.

Out of the 5 islands, Gaya island is the largest and one of the more developed ones along with Manukan and Sapi. These 3 islands attract all the tourists in the marine park, and for good reason. While Gaya island has some of the best resorts, Manukan and Sapi have world-class diving and snorkeling spots teeming with marine life. You can choose to dive down and explore the coral reefs, or snorkel and watch the life underwater. Alternatively, activities like kayaking or parasailing are also popular ways to enjoy the marine park’s beauty.

How to get there.

To get to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, try getting on the first ferry out to the islands from Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal in Kota Kinabalu so that you have ample of time to island hop or spend exploring the underwater world. The last ferry back to the mainland leaves around 5 pm and one whole day is ample of time to spend exploring the islands. However, if you are feeling extra adventurous, you can camp or stay in a resort on one of the islands, if the weather permits it.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

To make the most of your island hopping day, it is a good idea to be accompanied by a local tour guide who would know exactly how to explore the marine park and help you take your mind off the logistics. Consult a local guide from Locaguide to plan your whole day, help you select the best spots to dive in or snorkel at and also help you reserve ferry tickets for a smooth journey. 

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Locale

Pasar Baru – Jakarta’s Oldest Pedestrian Market

post 42 passar baru img1Pasar Baru

Experience the local culture and get to haggle like an expert in the oldest street market in Jakarta: Pasar Baru. A pedestrian market, Pasar Baru should feature in your places to visit in central Jakarta list. You can browse to your heart’s content and eat till you burst at this one-stop marketplace while getting a glimpse of the daily life of the locals.

History of Pesar Baru

Built in 1820, Pasar Baru is the oldest pedestrian market still functioning in Jakarta, even though, ironically, the name Pasar Baru means New Market! Often referred to by the locals as “Little India”, Pasar Baru is filled to the brim with items you would love bargaining for. Known for its massive selection of quality textile and fabric, this vibrant market will truly test your bargaining skill if you want to get a fair price for your find. If that’s not your forte, take help from your local travel guide to make purchases at a fair price. Antiques, art, footwear, spices and much more can be bought from the lanes of Pasar Baru lined with small stalls.

Pasar Baru

Take the help of your local guide to also get to taste the soul of Jakarta’s culinary culture right at this market. Filled with hidden gems for a foodie, it would definitely classify as food heaven for those who love to experience culture through the food of the locals. The legendary noodle shops here are some of the best places to visit in Jakarta for anyone who is food obsessed.

Pasar Baru

Not only is it a paradise for shopaholics and foodies but it also offers a little something for those who love to sightsee and enjoy religious history. Sin Tek Bio temple is one of the oldest temples in Jakarta and is part of every Jakarta city tour. Located at the end of a narrow alley in Pasar Baru, the temple is known for its candles lit for protection of individuals and families. The altars covered in candles placed in circles is one of the hidden gems of Pasar Baru.

We suggest you make up the craziest list of items you want to shop and taste and set off to explore this buzzing market with a little help from your guide from Locaguide.

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Food

A Local Culinary Favourite – Nasi Padang

Do you love experiencing the local culture when you visit a new country? If you do, then what better way to engage with the local community than through their own food! If you have booked an Indonesia tour, you can be assured that you will have a large variety of local dishes to experience. Indonesia’s expansive food culture is why a tour through this country is often called a gastronomic journey. And Bintan Island is not left far behind in contributing to this experience. Ask your local guide for the meal everyone relishes and loves in this part of the country, and he is bound to say ‘Nasi Padang’.

This Indonesian specialty is a style of steamed rice served with an array of pre-cooked dishes. True to its origin, these side dishes can vary from meats, fish, vegetables, and spicy sambals that are eaten with plain white rice.

Nasi Padang
Nasi Padang

 

The Experience

A usual spread would comprise of around 12 dishes but you can also opt for a super lavish spread comprising of 14 dishes. Defined by spices like chillies, turmeric, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, lime leaves,  and a mix of local herbs along with vegetables, seafood and meat, Nasi Padang is one of the most flavourful and fulfilling meals of Indonesia. This is Indonesia served to you on a plate. Most of the side dishes in a Nasi Padang meal are curries but you will have the option to include boiled dishes with sambal, deep fried seafood as well as grilled sides. A Nasi Padang meal is typically eaten using one’s hands, after which you will be offered a bowl of warm water with a slice of lime to clean your hands.

Nasi Padang

What better way to experience Indonesia than through its food had with the locals while sharing stories from across the globe. If you want to enjoy an authentic Nasi Padang during your stay on Bintan island, why not ask your local guide from Locaguide to set it up for you? The unique flavor and assortment of dishes are bound to leave you craving for more!

 

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CultureLocale

Senggarang Village – Bintan Island’s smallest village

If you’re planning to spend a whole day at a rustic Indonesian village, the old-world charm of the Senggarang village is not to be missed. Located in Bintan island of Indonesia, this amazing village is a melting pot of various ethnic groups belonging to the Chinese, Indonesian, and Malay origins.

The stilt cottages-fringed coastlines, the spicy seafood, and the quaint ancient Chinese village set up express the fundamental aspects of the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia.

The Senggarang village is the smallest village in Bintan and has a very distinct population and culture, unlike what you find elsewhere in Indonesia. The village is home to an ethnic Chinese community that arrived about 1800 years ago and settled here while on their route to India.

The villagers live in beautiful fishing hamlets facing the waters, and most of them follow the Buddhist religion. Apart from the beautiful cottages, the Senggarang village also has a lot of other tourist destinations like the Buddhist shrines and temples filled with Buddhist iconography and depictions of various Chinese legends. You can also see various forms of Buddha statues and sculptures dotting the entire village. That’s why a local guide could come in handy for taking you to the best places around.

The Senggarang village, Riau, Indonesia, Bintan
The Senggarang village

What to do there.

Two of the most renowned temples that you shouldn’t miss are Tay Ti Kong Temple and the ancient Tian Shang Miao Temple, which is also called the Banyan Tree Temple. In order to enjoy your time without worrying about all the hassle it takes to find the popular tourists spots in Senggarang village, it is highly recommended to opt for a guided tour by a local guide from Locaguide. If you’re planning to travel to Bintan Island from Bali or Jakarta, you can easily get a flight to Bintan Island. If you’re travelling from Singapore, you may prefer travelling by ferry or a flight to Jakarta and an onward flight to Bintan. The rustic ambience and the beautiful coast, lined with quaint houses and traditional Chinese temples makes Senggarang Village one of the top places to visit in Indonesia with family.

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Culture

Discover Traditional Batik Art of Indonesia

post 37 batik art img1Batik Art

Batik Art is a traditional art form that has been in practice for over 2,000 years in Indonesia. No one returns from a trip to Indonesia without buying some form of Batik paintings, be it as an art or be it in the form of clothes.

With its origin in the Java island of Indonesia, Batik painting is essentially a manual dyeing technique used to create patterns and designs on fabric, and involves a lot of skill, patience and practice.

Batik, Art, Dye, Fabric, Artwork, Tradition, Indonesia, Batik Art

The first step in the complicated dyeing process of a batik painting is to stretch a piece of fabric onto a frame and stamp the desired design using a mixture of beeswax and resin. Contemporary Batik art pieces often have more intricate designs hand-drawn on the fabric. Using a pen-like instrument called “canting”, artists draw the hot wax onto the fabric. The canting is made up of a copper tip, for the wax to flow smoothly and a wooden holder, so that the hot wax does not burn the hand.

Batik, Art, Dye, Fabric, Artwork, Tradition, Indonesia, Batik Art

Then comes the actual dyeing part where the colours are slathered on the fabric. Once dried, the dye is set by soaking the fabric in a tub of fixative. This process is repeated to add more colours to the fabric. 

If this kind of artform intrigues you, ask your travel guide from Locaguide to help you find and register you for a hands-on Batik painting workshop, that gives you the chance to create your own Batik masterpiece. Learn this skillful artform and then sit back and listen to local stories as your Batik fabric gets ready to go home with you.

In case you’re not keen on learning but just want to purchase a painting as a souvenir, your guide will be able to show you how to identify if your painting is truly a batik piece or just a one-sided screen printing. Whether you attend a workshop or simply buy a painting, this unique local art is sure to add another dimension to your Indonesia trip.

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Locale

The Magical Ancol Dreamland Theme Park in Jakarta

post 33 deamland img1Ancol dreamland

Ancol Dreamland is a part of a huge tourism resort on the Jakarta Bay that comprises multiple amusement parks, making it a must-visit on holiday in the capital city of Indonesia. The largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, the Ancol Dreamland is a fascinating place to visit with friends and family across all age groups!

Ancol Dreamland
Ancol Dreamland

The amusement park was built in 1966 with a combined concept of entertainment, art, and education. This recreational park is definitely perfect for family vacation, but it has a lot of interesting rides and activities that are not just fun for kids, but adults as well. Complete with an international championship golf course, a hotel resort and a marine theme park, Ancol Dreamland is a complete fun package for the family.

Ancol Dreamland

Given the vast size of this amusement park, it’s easy to lose track of which rides you should not miss and which sections of the theme park you must visit. Your travel guide from Locaguide will be able to easily take you through the various parts of this huge park and also suggest suitable activities for your family. But just to give you an overview, these are some of the key sections of the park you should definitely check out during your trip to Jakarta.

What can you see there ?

Dunia Fantasy (Dufan) is the largest outdoor entertainment center in all of Indonesia with more than 40 rides and activities which are divided into regional segments – Jakarta, Indonesia, Asia, Africa, America, Europe, and Fantasi Hikayat (Ancient Egypt and Greece)

Ancol Dreamland

Ocean Dream Samudra is a section of the theme park that showcases marine life through an aquarium, dolphin and sea lion shows and a 4D theatre.

Atlantis Water Adventure is a water theme park comprising of a wave pool, a flowing river pool, rainbow ball pool, waterfall pool, several slides, and two children’s pools.

Ancol Art Market, also known as the Pasar Seni Ancol, is the local open-air market in this theme park with hundreds of stalls with painters, souvenir shops and other artists selling their handcrafted goods. 

A complete family entertainment park, the Ancol Dreamland theme park is the perfect place to visit in Jakarta with kids, for a fun-filled day.

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Locale

Explore Royal History at The Taman Sari Water Palace

post 34 Taman Sari img1Taman Sari

The Taman Sari Water Palace is the site of the royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta and dates back to the mid 18th century. A place to rest, work, meditate, hide and defend the Sultanate and his family from the yesteryears,  most of the buildings are now used by local residents as accommodation or commercial space. Visit this royal palace during your trip to Yogyakarta to hear tales of the past from the locals – tales from back in the days when the Taman Sari belonged to the royalties of Yogyakarta.

How to get to The Taman Sari Water Palace

Undoubtedly one of the most popular places to see in Yogyakarta, you can easily reach the Taman Sari Water Palace by either booking a taxi or asking your local travel guide to accompany you on the short walk to the palace from Kraton. Once there you can either walk around and explore the grounds on your own or ask your tour guide from Locaguide for a guided tour of the place if you are keen to know the history behind the palace.

Taman sari, Yogyakarta, Culture, Indonesia

The Taman Sari Water Palace shows a unique infusion of eastern and western concepts of architecture. The unique garden of the Royals has a mosque, a fort, a meditation space, and a man-made lake with artificial islands in the middle. A series of underground tunnels connect the structures on these islands. Each feature of the Taman Sari Water Palace was built keeping in mind a particular ritual and had its own unique use during the Sultanates rule. Ask your guide to help you with the local names of each area but also their use, as well as the stories the locals believe to be true of the palace.  

Taman sari, Yogyakarta, Culture, Indonesia

If history and architecture excite you, then be sure to soak in Indonesia’s royal past and include a day long trip to the perfumed gardens of Taman Sari Water Palace during your Yogyakarta tour.

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Locale

Trekking Mt. Merapi, An Active Volcano

post 35 Mt. Merapi img1Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in all of Indonesia, its name literally translating to “Fiery Mountain”! But unlike many volcanoes in other parts of the world, Mount Merapi can be climbed and this trek happens to be one of the most popular activities in Yogyakarta.  

Merapi, Trek, Volcano, Yogyakarta, Indeonesia

The Trek

There are multiple routes to get to Mount Merapi, but the most favoured route is the northern access point from Selo. Starting at midnight the trek takes over 9 hours long and includes a 4-hour long hike uphill. With only the light of your flashlight to guide you and your group, the trek is best experienced in the silence of the darkness with assistance from your travel guide from Locaguide. As you trudge your way uphill, the knowledge that you are climbing an active volcano will give you the adrenaline rush you need to reach the summit before the first light of the day strikes.

Four hours into the climb you will reach Pasar Basu, the base camp where a short snack break prepares you for the final leg of the trek. Let your local guide take you through the next set of obstacles. He will tell you best how to navigate through the volcanic ash and how to overcome the final hurdle, a steep rocky climb to the crater of Mount Merapi.

Merapi, Trek, Volcano, Yogyakarta, Indeonesia

At the volcano summit, the temperature is known to drop below 5 degrees Celsius but the view is spellbinding. As you watch the sunrise over the horizon, the landscape starts to awaken and everything the sun rays touch change colour. You are on top of a volcano with the world at your feet, the smoke of the volcano behind you and the clouds below you. You know it’s worth every minute of sacrificed sleep and every step during the uphill trek. If adventure is what you crave, definitely include Mount Merapi in your tour of Yogyakarta. 

Merapi, Trek, Volcano, Yogyakarta, Indeonesia

 

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Culture

Visit a Malaysian “Open House”

post 30 open house img1

The two things you should keep in mind while planning a holiday in Malaysia are the food and the festivals. These two things truly define Malaysian culture in the best way possible. A melting pot of different religions and cultures, it is safe to say that Malaysians have a lot of festivals to celebrate all year round. Irrespective of which festival it is, the interaction among the local Malaysians makes way for a special brew of culture and hospitable warmth that the country is known for, giving birth to the concept of an “open house”.

What is an “Open House”?

If you happen to be in Malaysia during any festival, be sure to attend an “open house” or Rumah Terbuka as the locals call it. Common during Eid, Diwali, Chinese New Year and Christmas in Malaysia, Open House is the perfect example of how well the diverse communities in Malaysia intermingle. Open house literally means the host’s house is open to receive all well-wishers and guests and everyone is invited to attend, regardless of their cultural or religious background. A practice unique to Malaysia, “Open House” is more than just a welcome to someone’s house. It is a way of life here where every race is mutually accepted and respected by all.

Rumah Terbuka, Open house, Malaysia
Rumah Terbuka festivities

 

True to their hospitable self during “open house”, Malaysians welcome even tourist into their homes and give them an inside peek and a chance to be part of the festivities. Seen as the perfect practice to foster goodwill and renew social ties, it has been followed by the government too. During major festivals, the government houses are open to the public for food and drinks. Your local guide from Locaguide may be able to suggest the best open houses you can attend for an ongoing festival and the dos and don’ts you need to keep in mind. He will be the best person to help you mingle and interact with the locals and other guests.

Open house, Rumah Terbuka, Malaysia
Rumah Terbuka feast

Get a chance to taste authentic local homemade delicacies and watch performances and cultural dances by the local artists and orchestras in a unique setting. You’ll be surprised how different the experience will be and how closely you can experience a completely new culture. 

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