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

Mangrove forests of Sungai Sebong River

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If there is a magical eco-experience that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Bintan Island, that would be a boat ride through the mangrove forests near the Sungai Sebong river.

The mangrove forests of Sungai Seibong is one of the most surreal attractions of Bintan Island and home to a wide variety of wild flora and fauna.

Bintan Island, also called Negeri Segantang Lada Island, has always been a favourite destination among nature lovers. Well known for its natural extravaganza, this small island has a wonderful mangrove forest, located south-west of the Bintan Resorts tourism area.

Cruise ships and magnificent sights await

The relaxing cruise along the mangrove forest offers an otherworldly experience, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The short tour starts from a river-facing stilt cottage in a quiet, serene, and picturesque location. After passing through many dilapidated stilt huts and hotels, the river narrows down and you’ll enter the thick mangrove forest that brims with life. During this incredible boat ride, get a glimpse of the amazing wildlife amidst a serene setting. Here, you can easily spot some monkeys, snakes, and iguanas during the ride.

The essential guide

The Bintan mangrove forest tour can be best enjoyed if you have a local guide along with you. A local guide from Locaguide could explain the history and importance of the location as you cruise along the narrow waterway. Moreover you can hear stories and legends about how the people of this region are dependent on fishing and related activities to earn their livelihood. Earlier, a coal industry was operational in this area but was closed down due to the mangrove conservation efforts by the local environmentalists.

Sungai Sebong River
Sungai Sebong River

The Bintan mangrove forest tour is truly relaxing and is rightly one of the best attractions in Bintan where you can spend an amazing Indonesian family vacation. Bask in the tranquillity of the mangrove forest while you’re surrounded on all sides by the peaceful natural setting.

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Food

Indonesia’s most famous Salad – Gado Gado

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What if you were told that Indonesia had a salad that wasn’t really a boring salad but a wholesome healthy meal found in every home, street side stall and even fine dining restaurants? We present ‘The Gado Gado’

A beautiful amalgamation of rice, veggies, boiled eggs, potatoes, tofu and peanut sauce, your very first experience of Gado Gado will show you why it deserves a place in the list of national foods of Indonesia.

The Gado Gado: What is it ?

Gado-Gado literally means a potpourri. That’s the perfect description of this dish, a mixed-vegetable salad with a nutty dressing that is served in a variety of personalized modifications all over Indonesia. This go-to meal is always served with something crunchy –  prawn crackers, fried chicken or melinjo chips, made from the hard fruit of a tropical evergreen tree.

During your Jakarta city tour, you will come across multiple open-air eateries, locally called ‘warungs’ where you will see just how many incarnations the Gado Gado has across Indonesia. Trust your local guide to guide you to the best food cart around and order a version of the one dish meal that you would relish.

The Gado Gado
The Gado Gado

Gado Gado is one salad that has it all – sweet-and-sour taste complementing the roasted nuts and the subtle fish aftertaste of the sparingly used shrimp paste. Add to that Indonesia’s signature peanut sauce. However, this isn’t the same as the satay peanut sauce but is equally if not more satisfying.

Your tour guide from Locaguide will be able to take you to the best local warung to satisfy your cravings for this iconic dish from the kitchens of Indonesia. The beauty of Gado Gado is in its simplicity and that it can be had any way you like it, every version being equally exquisite. Have you thought of how many versions you are going to try when you go to Indonesia next?

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CultureEvents

The traditional Legong dance of Bali

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The spirit of Bali has always been in its ancient Hindu traditions, beautifully infused into its art and culture. The music and the dance-dramas of this mystic place derive their storyline and characters from the ancient Hindu scriptures, prominently the Ramayana, often entwined with various elements from the Balinese historic kingdoms. The traditional Legong is one such dance form.

The Legong dance, which has become a Balinese cultural emblem to the outside world, is one of the most popular among a list of cultural dance performances native to this magical island.

 

Historical significance


The dance, which developed during Bali’s feudal era, is usually performed by three young girl dancers. One of them acts as a maid, who dances the opening act and the other two dancers perform the main part. Beautifully dressed in colourful attires, the dancers look as traditional as you’d imagine — with gold brocade costumes, intricately-designed gold ornaments, and headdresses decorated with frangipani flowers.

Legong dance
Legong dancers

Traditionally a long ceremonial dance performance, the Legong, when performed for guests, is abridged to a 90-minute version. There are various versions of the Legong dance, and the most popular among them is the Legong Keraton, which developed in the 1920s.

The dance can be seen throughout Bali during festive seasons, but in Ubud and Sukawati, it is performed round the year for tourists. A local guide can be booked with Locaguide, who can take you to the best Legong performance available for your convenient date and time.

Legong dance
Legong dancers performing

With the help of the local guide, you can ensure that you get a legit ticket to one of these dance performances without getting duped by children who try selling these ticket along the way to the show. Usually, the ticket also functions as a brochure explaining the performance, so that you get the essence of what is being enacted. Each slight finger movement, facial expression, footwork, and gesture of the Legong dance has a meaning attached to it, and your guide could also help you understand the various nuances during the show.

A holistic Balinese experience is impossible without witnessing one of these traditional dance-drama forms of Bali, such as the Legong dance. Arrive early at the place your local guide recommends, get a front-centred seat, and enjoy the performance to its fullest!

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CultureLocale

The local Sea Gypsies of Panglong Village

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Ever heard stories about the community of sea gypsies and wished to meet them in real life? Then a visit to Panglong village on Bintan Island, Indonesia would surely be a treat for you during your Bintan vacation!

Panglong, a small nomadic village towards the north of the Bintan island, is the residence of some of the world’s most unique villagers, also known as Sea Gypsies or Orang Laut.

This remote village, which is just an hour’s ride from the Bandar Bentan Telani port, is one of the most popular Bintan tourist attractions. When you enter the village, you may not find anything different from the other fishing villages. However, a long list of surprises awaits as soon as you enter the village.

An interesting fact about the Panglong village is that it is left so untouched that it has remained in the most pristine form, even in the 21st century. They live in houses made of red bricks, almost resembling the houses of the Eskimos. The villagers call these houses “Dapur Arang”. Your local guide from Locaguide can tell you more about their lifestyle, legends, and folktales about mermaids and mermen as you walk through the village.

Dapur Arang of sea gypsies
“Dapur Arang”

The Sea Gypsies

The village is a unique tourist site in itself, but the villagers are even more special — they’re quite aptly called the sea gypsies. They have lived as nomads all their lives in very simple houseboats just off the coasts of Indonesia. They are experts in detecting the areas with a lot of fish just by listening to the reverberation of the seawater clashing with rocks at the shore. All they have to do is, keep their ears close to the floor of the boat!

At the Panglong village, you can be sure to enjoy your evenings by watching these elusive but real-life sea gypsies doing their daily chores as the sun sets — an experience you can cherish forever! Don’t forget to ask your local guide to help you plan a day trip to this unique place on Bintan island.

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CultureLocale

Buddhist spiritualism at the 500 Lohan Temple

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There’s nothing as spiritually satisfying as a travel that accompanies meditation. If you’re longing for such a spiritual expedition, Indonesia has a lot to offer. The 500 Lohan Temple is one such amazing destination where you can immerse yourself in Buddhist spirituality.

The 500 Lohan temple, also known as Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, is one of the very few monasteries that is dedicated to the Buddhist saint, Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.

Where is it located ?

Located in Tanjung Pinang City of the Bintan Island, this surreal Buddhist monastery is featured as one of the key attractions in Bintan Island. From the outside, the 500 Lohan Temple looks like any other Buddhist monastery. But, pass through the grand stone archway made in the Chinese architectural design guarded by the statues of General Ha and General Heng, and be ready to be fascinated by the incredible sculpture park. A local guide from Locaguide could be a great choice as he can give you more insights into the meanings of the sculptures and inscriptions as well as describe some of the legends and history behind this temple.

500 Lohan Temple
500 Lohan Temple

The Golden Arhats

With 500 golden statues of arhats or Buddhist saints all lined up in perfect order and harmony, this place is truly a spiritual extravaganza. The peculiarity of these lifelike statues is that all of the arhats are sculpted with a different posture and facial features, depicting their characters in its true sense. Each statue also displays the name of the saint at its base.

500 Lohan Temple
500 golden statues of arhats

The incredible Tibetan Buddhist artwork and symbols adorn the surrounding walls of the temple. The Thai style sculptures of the Buddhas along the pavilion. You can see the sculpture of the Baby Buddha, as you walk facing the pavilion.

The 500 Lohan Temple is indeed a photographer’s wonderland. It is best to explore this place along with the other tourist destinations in Bintan Island, such as the mangrove forest near the Sungei Sebung river or the quaint Senggarang village so ask your local guide to plan your day accordingly.

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Locale

Banyuwangi’s G-Land – A Surfer’s Paradise

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Pristine waters, white sands and waves that are six meters tall – welcome to G-Land or as it globally called ‘Indonesia’s Surfer’s Paradise’. Located to the south of Banyuwangi city, G-Land derives its name from Grajagan, the bay that attracts tourists from all over the world. The waves here at Plengkung Beach are a huge draw for professional surfers given that one gets to experience seven huge rolls of waves that are nothing less than six meters in height.

Nicknamed the ‘Seven Giant Waves Wonder’, there is much to do at this tropical heaven. Whether you are a professional surfer looking to ride the gigantic waves of G-Land or a laid-back tourist looking to soak in the sun or simply enjoy nature at its best, Plengkung Beach never disappoints.

The waves at G-Land are second best in the world for surfing, Moreover they ranked above Australia and South Africa. Furthermore G-Land has also hosted international surfing championships and is best visited from the month of April through to August. To make the most of the locale, a Banyuwangi tour guide would be greatly helpful to experience the best of this region.

How to get there

Getting to Plengkung Beach is easy. You can opt for either of these routes. The first route is by land and is longer than the second option. The mode of transportation is by car and you will have to cover 86 km. Your journey will begin at Banyuwangi and take you via Kalipahit-Pasaranyar-Trianggulasi-Pancur to your destination at Plengkung. The second option is a land-water trip and you will have to cover around 53 km. This route begins at Banyuwangi and takes you to Grajagan via Benculuk then or the final leg of the journey, take a speedboat from Grajagan Beach and head to Plengkung Beach. To have a hassle free experience, just talk to your tour guide from Locaguide and seek his help in planning a visit to G-land.

Surfers Paradise
G-Land

If an escape from your routine life is what you desire, G-Land is the best place to holiday in Banyuwangi. With no phone reception, you’re sure to relax and rejuvenate, far from hustle and bustle of life in the city. 

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Locale

Explore Bali’s Hidden Canyon at Sukawati

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Snuggled away among the quiet villages of Sukawati is a little gem that though hidden, is no secret— the Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon. It boasts remarkable rock formations and is a haven for those who want to enjoy some peace and solitude.

An excursion to this little paradise will excite the adventurous at heart with a 2-to-3-hour trek, involving rock climbing and wading through knee-deep water.

Bali’s Hidden Canyon at Sukawati
Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon

Beji Guwang’s deep and rugged ravine was formed with thousands of years of erosion from the Oos River. This eventually left it looking like the masterpiece it is today. The excursion will follow the Oos river and will take you through a set of three canyons, where you will navigate slippery rocks and varying water levels. You will trek for as long as you can enjoy the sunlight. If hiking isn’t really your forte, you can enjoy serene spots within the canyon that are perfect for yoga or meditation.  The raw beauty of the chasm is bound to enchant you. There are several sections hidden by a canopy of plants and trees that entwine themselves on the craggy surface of the rocks. So, it is always safer to call your guide in advance before you head out.

While you may like to venture out on your own, the slippery steep rocks can be risky to navigate, unless you have an experienced guide alongside. Locaguide can help you find a local tour guide who can not only help you navigate these canyons safely but will give you the chance to discover the lesser traveled parts of the gorge. You will need to do a considerable bit of climbing, jumping, balancing and pulling yourself up rocks, but they will seem much less daunting if there’s someone to guide you. 

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CultureEvents

Bali’s iconic Kecak dance

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Imagine dozens of men in traditional Balinese costumes, loudly chanting and dancing in rhythm in a large circle, while immaculately dressed actors enact stories from the Ramayana around fire torches. That’s what the iconic Kecak dance of Bali looks like. Based on the Hindu mythology of Ramayana, the actors and dancers enact how Ram and his brother Lakshman rescued the former’s wife, Sita, from the evil Ravana.

The Kecak dance has been recognized internationally as a unique Balinese art form that is performed every evening at the Uluwatu Temple and the Tanah Lot Temple.

Bucket List Item in Bali

The performance draws a massive crowd and is regarded as one of the top 10 activities to do in Bali. You can ask your local travel guide to take you to either one of the two locations and club this activity with a visit to the respective temples for a perfect way to end the day.

Kecak dance
Kecak dance performance

This dance form is quite dramatic in more ways than one and gives the audience a glimpse of rich Balinese culture and traditions in a beautiful setting. With the sun setting in the background, the stage is set for a dramatic performance by the actors, while the fire torches at the centre stage add to the ambience. The presence of fire is of much significance in this dance in order to portray how Ram’s loyal aide Hanuman burnt Ravana’s territory in their attempt to rescue Sita. There are no musical instruments used in this act, but the synchronised chanting of the dancers provide a wonderful backdrop for the entire performance.

Kecak dance
Kecak dance fire performance

If you are looking to have a truly authentic cultural experience in Bali beyond the usual tourist attractions, watching the Kecak dance is a must! These days there are also slight variations of the original performance enacted in certain places in Bali using a different storyline from the Ramayana. So if you’d like to watch something different, ask your guide from Locaguide to take you to the right places. A magical setting, coupled with gripping performances by the dancers, makes this one of the top things to do in Bali!

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Statistics

Incredible Biodiversity of Raja Ampat

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Imagine a tropical archipelago crowned with a lush green canopy. Pristine turquoise water lapping on to the white sandy shore. Colorful coral reefs — home for millions of exotic marine life. An idyllic beach with a few bamboo gazebos. That’s Raja Ampat for you!

Raja Ampat, which is directly translated as ‘Four Kings’, is an archipelago that consists of more than 1500 mini islands. As the name suggests, there are four main islands here — Salawati, Misool, Waigeo, and Batanta.

Home to one of the richest marine ecosystems on the planet, the archipelago of Raja Ampat is part of the coral triangle, consisting of the islands of Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea — making it a perfect incubator for the exotic biodiversity.

The ecosystem of this region is so rich and unique that it is often considered as the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity. With more than 1508 species of fish, 699 species of molluscs, and 537 coral species, the Raja Ampat islands is ranked first for its marine biodiversity as per the surveys conducted by Conservation International.

Raja Ampat
Islands at Raja Ampat

The islands are largely untouched. That is why, it remains a safe haven for a variety of endemic species of fish, such as the wobbegong sharks and harmless jellyfish. Studies have also found out that almost 96% of Indonesia’s stony corals and 75% of the world’s hard coral species are found on this archipelago.

Raja Ampat
Marine Life at Raja Ampat

How to get there

If you’re planning to be at one with nature at Raja Ampat, accessing this region is not that difficult. You need to take a six-hour flight from Jakarta to Sorong and a boat for the remaining journey. You can arrange a local guide from Locaguide to pick you up at the island. He will accompany you along your journey, meanwhile explaining all the interesting myths and legends surrounding this beautiful archipelago. He can also arrange a deep sea diving expedition, snorkelling, and other activities for you to bask in the immaculate beauty of nature.

Hailed as one of the top destinations for nature lovers and photographers, you can be sure to enjoy your days in Raja Ampat to its fullest!

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CultureLocale

Shop At Sukawati Art Market in Bali

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The moment you land in Bali, you’ll notice the rich cultural tradition of this fascinating destination. The influence of the traditional art is quite evident in everything you find here, The Sukawati Art Market is a must visit location. 

As any experienced tourist would tell you, if you wish to keep a souvenir of the distinctive Balinese art and culture, one of the best places you can check out is Sukawati Art Market or ‘Pasar Seni Sukawati’ as the locals would call it.

This sprawling traditional market, located in Jalan Raya, Gianyar, is well-known for its amazing artwork, sculptures, and hand-crafted items. Unlike many tourist shopping streets, everything in Sukawati Art Market is sold for a song!

What to expect

Sukawati Art Market is indeed a paradise for souvenir-collectors. The crowded market has everything, from handcrafted jewellery, bags, and accessories to wooden sculptures, traditional kites, framed paintings and ceremonial items at dirt-cheap prices. On the ground floors, you’ll mostly find colourful clothing stalls that sell all types of dresses and fabric. There is also an aromatherapeutic section towards the backside of the market, where you can buy aromatic candles, incenses, and fragrance oils.

Sukawati Art Market
Sukawati Art Market

The market at Sukawati is open on all days. You can find most stalls open even before the clock strikes 8 in the morning, and the pedlars awaiting their first visitors. The crowd would often start pouring in as early as 10 am. However, the best time to practice your bargaining skills would be in the late afternoon hours and evenings, until all the shops close at around 7 pm. Having said that, if bargaining is not your forte, having a trustworthy local guide with you in Bali will ensure that you’re not paying higher prices. A personalized guided tour with Locaguide will give you a unique experience of this traditional market.

So if you’re planning to visit Bali, don’t forget to pay a visit to this bustling local market where you’ll be looking at an entire collection of paintings, jewellery, handicrafts, and accessories made by the Balinese craftsmen. But even if you don’t end up purchasing anything, just a stroll through the market is bound to make your day come alive!

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