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.

CultureLocale

Buddhist spiritualism at the 500 Lohan Temple

Post 14 500 Lohan Temple Img1

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.

4
Locale

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

Post 13 Banyuwangi’s G-Land Img1

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. 

2
Locale

Explore Bali’s Hidden Canyon at Sukawati

Post 12 Bali’s Hidden Canyon Img1

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. 

2
CultureEvents

Bali’s iconic Kecak dance

Post 11 Bali's iconic Kecak dance Img1

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!

2
Statistics

Incredible Biodiversity of Raja Ampat

Post 9 Bio Diversity of Raja Ampat Img1

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!

3
CultureLocale

Shop At Sukawati Art Market in Bali

Sukawati Art Market in Bali Image 1

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!

2
Food

3 Local Desserts You Shouldn’t Miss in Bali

Post 3 Delicious Local Desserts Img1

Whether you’re on a gastronomical expedition to Bali or just happen to be there on a visit, you never know when a sweet tooth comes a-knockin’. That’s why we made this list of the top-rated Balinese desserts that you absolutely should not miss! Try one of these unique local desserts and treat your taste buds during your stay in Bali (and thank us later!):

1) Jaja Laklak

Rice and rice flour desserts are quite a specialty in this part of the world. The Jaja Laklak is a customary Balinese cake that looks and tastes almost like a pancake, but it is sweeter and a lot tastier. It is served with palm sugar and shredded coconut as toppings to give the confectionary its saccharine appeal. Savour it with a cup of tea to get instantly addicted!!

Desserts - jaja laklak
jaja laklak

2) Klepon

Desserts in Bali
Klepon

Also called, Onde-onde, this dessert is not only delicious but quite fun to eat too! Soft, chewy balls of glutinous rice filled with molten palm sugar bursting in your mouth, that’s Klepon for you. From local street vendors to the traditional Balinese markets, you can find Klepon almost everywhere in Bali. But watch out, they are so addictive, you’ll lose count of how many you’ve had!

3) Pisang Goreng

Desserts in Bali
Pisang Goreng

For all those who love banana fritters, this one’s for you! The lip-smacking Pisang Goreng is a banana fritter variety that you can get anywhere in Bali. To give it a whole new dimension of taste, the Balinese serve the deep-fried Pisang Goreng with honey and ice cream toppings. Now, go, get your chompers ready!

During your trip to Bali, don’t forget to try these desserts either to end a meal or simply as snacks between meals! Your tour guide from Locaguide will be able to take you to the right places, only known to the locals, so you have the most authentic experience!

1
Culture

Experience Bali’s Authentic Balinese Massage

Post 2 Authentic Balinese Massage Img 1

There are some things in Bali that attract not just our eyes but also our other senses like smell and touch. The sensual Balinese massage is one of them.

Almost similar to the other traditional southeast Asian massage techniques, the Balinese massage is also greatly influenced by the Ayurvedic and the traditional Chinese medicines.

However, since there are hundreds of spas in Bali, it is often hard to distinguish between an authentic Balinese massage centre and others. A local guide could be greatly helpful in such a scenario to take you to authentic massage centers. If you’re looking to get a Balinese massage during your trip, here are some things you should expect:

1. Know the difference between a hard vs a soft massage

As soon as you enter the spa, this is the first question that a Tukang Pijit (a Balinese masseuse) would ask you, almost always. And no, a hard massage does not mean they’ll take all their strength to break your ribs and bones. It just is an indication that they know their onions. If you opt for the soft massage, they will ensure that they use a more gentle pressure during the massage.

2. Aromatherapy is an integral part of Balinese Massage

Any Balinese masseuse would tell you that, in order to reach the stage of a complete relaxation, you need to sooth all of your senses with equal priority. That is why, unlike the Thai technique, the Balinese massage taps into the therapeutic power of the scented essential oils to soothe your mind and body alike. Do ask your personal tour guide from Locaguide to suggest the best aromatherapy centres in Bali!

 Balinese massage
Herbs for the massage and healing

3. Expect deeper pressure in a traditional Balinese Massage

You shouldn’t be surprised when your masseuse uses a deeper pressure during the massages, even if you opt for the ‘soft’ massage, as mentioned earlier. More pressure simply allows greater access to the deeper tissues and muscles in your body.

4. You’ll feel a lot lighter (in a positive way)

After an amazing hour-long session of the Balinese massage, you will feel revitalized, refreshed, and relieved from all the stress in your body and mind.

 Balinese massage
Balinese massage

So, if you’re on a Southeast Asian adventure, an authentic Balinese massage would be the last thing you want to drop out of your list. 

2