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The road less traveled is the road to adventure, and what every great adventure has in common is someone with a passion to discover something new in this vast a beautiful world we share.
These articles are your personal guide to a whole new bucket list of exploration and a lifetime of new adventures.
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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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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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CultureLocale

The Mystical Borobudur Temple of Yogyakarta

post 32 borobudur img1Borobudur temple

Built amidst a medley of green paddies and swaying palms, Borobudur Temple, a mammoth Buddhist monument has survived volcanic eruptions, bombs and earthquakes to remain as alluring as it must have been in the 9th century. Said to be one of the most impressive temples in the world, the Borobudur Temple is a must visit sight during your tour of Indonesia.

With an aerial view that resembles the lotus, a sacred flower in Indonesian culture, the temple is not an experience to be missed. Made up of two million slabs of lava rock, reaching a height of 115ft and housing close to 1,500 carved story panels and 504 statues of the Buddha, the Borobudur temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Borobudur temple, Buddha, Malaysia
Statue of Buddha

Designed in the shape of a mandala, the layout of the temple symbolizes the cosmetology of the universe according to Buddhist teachings. The temple is built is three levels: the world of lust and desire (Kamadhatu), the world of form (Rupadhatu) and the formless world (Arupadhatu), and consists of 6 terraces, 3 circular platforms and 504 Buddha statues. Moreover each terrace has a different posture of Buddha’s statue depicting contact with earth, giving and helping, meditation, fearlessness, teaching and learning, and turning the wheel of dharma. 

Apart from being the single most popular tourist attraction in Yogyakarta, Borobudur Temple continues in its role as an important place of worship and pilgrimage for Indonesian Buddhists. Be sure to ask your local guide from Locaguide to show you around the temple complex and help you join the locals during their daily prayers if you wish.

Borobudur temple
Borobudur temple

When to visit The Borobudur temple

If you are planning a visit to the Borobodur temple, the best time to be there is at sunrise. Furthermore The view of the sun lighting up the structure and the early morning mist from the volcanic mountains creeping down the monument are a magical combination and transport you to an era in the past when the temple was truly at its mystical best!

Borobudur temple, Malaysia, Buddhism
Architecture of the Borobudur temple
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Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve – Kuala Lumpur’s Urban Sanctuary

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Home to over 200 tree species, 25 types of birds and 12 species of animals, the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, now called KL Forest Eco-Park, is the only tropical forest that remains in the middle of a city. Bukit Nanas literally translates to “Pineapple Hill” and gets its name from the 1860’s when Raja Asal planted pineapples on the hill. Often referred to as the “green lung” of Kuala Lumpur, it offers multiple jungle trails to explore, right in the heart of the city. No city walk of Kuala Lumpur is complete without a walk through this reserve and its multiple trails.

Exploring the trails

The Jelutong Trail in this tropical forest loops the side of the reserve and takes you past some of the large rainforest trees you’ll ever see. Walking across this trail you will come across a tiled pavement with massive bamboo clumps growing on either side, known as the Bamboo Walk. Walking straight through the Bamboo Walk you reach an old banana grove, through which you can take a shortcut to the Suboh Trails. The Suboh Trail is a gorgeous walk passing through the banana plantations to the edge of the forest reserve.

Skipping these trails takes you directly to the small park built for activities. Walking straight through this takes you to two other trails. The Merawan Trail is a jungle trail that takes you past a few large trees, while the short plank walkway built over the forest gives you an awe-inspiring understory view of a typical Malavan rainforest. At the end of the Merawan Trail is the Penarahan Trail, known for its unique, twisting lianas.

Bukit Nanas
Bukit Nanas

However, the trail on every tourist’s list of places to see in Kuala Lumpur would be the Canopy Walk, that trails above the forest with a view of the looming KL Towers and a gorgeous skyline as its backdrop.

Bukit Nanas
Bukit Nanas

With over 1000 meters of walking trails in the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, it is advised you take the help of a local guide to ensure you get to see the best of the reserve. Ask you guide from Locaguide for recommendations and tips to see this urban sanctuary in the best way possible because this is a rare opportunity you don’t want to miss!

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A Slice of China in Kuala Lumpur’s Petaling Street

post 29 petaling street img1Petaling street

Have you ever wanted to be in two places at once? Head to Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur and you will feel like you have been transported to China! Popularly known as the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Street lies between Jalan Pudu and Jalan Sultan and is one of the most popular shopping districts in the city. Petaling Street maintains its traditional atmosphere, more so at night when vendors display their wares along the street bringing the entire area alive.

Petaling Street

At first glance, Petaling street is an explosion of colour and noise, a street thronged by locals and tourists. The stalls that cover the main street are filled with merchandise and you can purchase everything, ranging from clothes to women’s accessories or even decorative pieces and souvenirs. If you are a seasoned shopper and know how to spot the hidden gems among the huge volume of merchandise, you should make your way to the walkways on this street. You never know where you get the best deals and bargains!

Bargaining and haggling have almost become a norm here and Petaling Street is the best place to put your skills to a test and get the best rates possible for your purchase. If you aren’t a skillful bargainer or feel that you may get cheated, your local travel expert from Locaguide may be able to help you get a good deal. Bargaining is best left to the locals, don’t you think?

The food lovers pit stop

Once you’re done shopping, it’s time to enjoy some delicious local street food on Petaling street. With dozens of stalls and restaurants selling a variety of food, you’re sure to be spoilt for choices. The hawkers here offer many of the local favourite foods as well as traditional Chinese food, one of the many reasons why this street features in every list of places to explore in Kuala Lumpur.


The energy on the street is infectious! Once you have had your fill of shopping and haggling, and have eaten to your heart’s content, take a moment to just observe the chaos of the street as it unfolds itself for miles ahead in front of you.

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The Mystical Batu Caves Temple in Kuala Lumpur

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Ancient limestone caves housing Hindu temples that hold murals of stories from Hindu mythology, the Batu Caves are an unmissable day trip from Kuala Lumpur. Watched over by a golden statue of the spear-bearing Hindu deity Lord Murugan, the caves are said to be a national treasure of Malaysian Tourism and are the central point of  Thaipusam, a Hindu festival in Malaysia.

Formed in the limestone hills, located just on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the temples get their name from the Stone River that flows past the hills.

The vel-shaped entrance of the main cave is what inspired an Indian trader to dedicate a temple to Lord Murugan inside the limestone caves, making it one of the most popular Hindu Shrines outside of India. Another reason why it’s thronged by tourist is because of a 140 feet tall statue of Lord Murugan, the tallest in the world.

The Architecture and History

The temple site consists of three main caves and a couple of smaller ones. The Cathedral Cave, as the largest cave is known, has a very high ceiling and houses opulent Hindu shrines. The shrines reflect the tales of Lord Murugan’s victories over the demon Soorapadman. To get the blessings of the lord, you have to climb 272 steps up a steep flight, while troops of monkeys keep you entertained with their antics on your way up!

Walking past a 50 feet tall statue of Lord Hanuman and a temple dedicated to the devotee and aid of Lord Ram, you will reach the Ramayana Cave.  This cave tells the tales of Lord Rama in narrative carvings etched along the uneven walls of the cave. An audio guide is available to help you decipher the carvings, but a local guide would be better able to explain the myths and stories surrounding the Batu Cave Temple. During your Kuala Lumpur city tour with your guide from Locaguide, do include a visit to this holy shrine in your itinerary. Explore the fascinating caves for a unique experience in Kuala Lumpur and also get blessed by the lord while you’re at it.

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Bali, The Island of Gods

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A trip to Bali would be incomplete visiting a few of the famous temples and witnessing the rituals, ceremonies and festivals that take place. Also known as the island of Gods, Bali with it majoritarian Hindu population has hundreds of temples also known as Pura, many of which being centuries old. Lets get familiar with some of the must visit temples.

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Balinese Culture at Tenganan Pegringsingan Village

Post 4 Tenganan Pegringsingan Village Img02

With Bali becoming more and more mainstream as a tourist destination, did you ever wonder what an original Balinese village experience was like in the past? If you wish to see it yourself, then pack your bags and pay a visit to one of the most conservative, original & authentic Balinese village — Tenganan Pegringsingan. It is a walled village in the regency of Karangasem and was once considered to be one of the most secluded societies of Indonesia.

If you are looking to dig deeper into the cultural and historical traditions of Bali, Tenganan Pegringsingan village has everything to satisfy you.

The experience of an authentic Balinese tradition is not something that you get every day. Following a local folklore about a 14th-century king, the villagers still observe the concepts of cleanliness and purity as the most important virtues in their lives. The Tenganan village has kept its culture, tradition, and rituals intact even through the modern era. If you’re a traveller who has little understanding of the Balinese traditions, travelling with a local guide could give you more insights into the cultural significance of this small heritage village.

Tenganan Pegringsingan Village
Tenganan Pegringsingan Village

The village looks really old and secluded from the rest of the Bali island. Even though agriculture and weaving are the primary occupations of the villagers, you can see some souvenir shops around that sell traditional clothes and handicraft items, such as paintings and writings on palm leaves. One of the best souvenirs you can collect from Tenganan is the Geringsing cloth, or the double ikat as they’re known here.

To sum everything up, the Tenganan village is a great getaway destination in Bali where you can delve deeper into the life, culture, and tradition of the islanders. Planning your trip with Locaguide can greatly enhance your travel experience in the most hassle-free way possible. Your personal tour guide will ensure that you get enough information about this place and its history, and come back richer in knowledge.

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Cliff jumping at Jimbaran Panorama Point

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If you’ve ever wanted to try the adrenaline-pumping sport of cliff jumping, Bali’s got a special treat for you.

Located close to the Tegal Wangi Beach around the sapphire-blue Jimbaran Bay is a stunning series of cliffs that drop into 5 to 10 metres into the crystal-clear sea.

The short trek down to these cliffs and the sport itself is the perfect way for you and your friends to spend an adventurous afternoon together.

Cliff jumping at Jimbaran Panorama Point
Cliff jumping at Jimbaran Panorama Point

Though the cliffs are not too high, you’ll see many jumpers showing their skills off here. It’s the perfect place for cliff jumping rookies, who are looking for something exciting but not too intimidating. Add to that, the sheer beauty of this spot and you know you’re in for a good time!

How to get there

The Jimbaran Panorama Point might seem a little difficult to find and navigate, especially for a first-timer. The presence of a local guide is advised to take you down the steep mud and rock trail through thickets that leads to the cliffs. You travel guide from Locaguide will take you safely to the cliffs and also show you local favourites like the secluded Jimbaran Beach, also called the Honeymoon Beach. As you will notice, around sunset, the beach gathers a crowd of many locals to enjoy a spectacular sunset. The beach is also not too far away from resorts, so you can always head back to your hotel if you want to.

Cliff jumping at Jimbaran Panorama Point
Cliff jumping at Jimbaran Panorama Point

Another great way to enjoy the Jimbaran Panorama Point is by bringing along a snorkel, so you can experience the underwater life below the cliffs. Before you think of diving into the water though, it’s wise to make sure the tide is high. Also, since there are many sharp rocks at the bottom, consult your guide who can show you the best places to jump from and the best tide pools to explore at the bottom. 

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The Royal Maimoon Palace of Medan

Post 23 Royal Maimoon Palace Img1

Along with the raw natural beauty of the islands, Indonesia also has a complex history and culture. If you’re eager to know about the history of Indonesia, the Maimoon palace in Medan is a great place to feed your curiosity.

The magnificent palace exudes the aura of one of Indonesia’s most spectacular architectural specimen and is a treasure trove of stories from the past.

 

Where is it located ?

Maimoon Palace is located at Jalan Brigadier General Katamso, Sukaraja village in downtown Medan. You can hire a cab and get to the palace. But if you want to get adventurous, you can also experience the local pedicab service.

Built in the 1890s by the Sultan Makmun Al-Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah, the Maimoon Palace serves as an ‘Istana’ or a royal house for the Sultanate of Deli. Its unique architecture and interior designs are influenced by Mughal, Malay, and Italian styles. This palace is believed to be designed by an unknown Italian architect commissioned by the Sultan. Hence, unlike the other monuments, the Italian attributes, fused with the traditional Mughal and Malay designs, make the monument one of the most incredible places in Indonesia.

Maimoon Palace
Maimoon Palace

Though only the main room of the palace is open for tourists, the lavish inauguration throne and the lush green gardens are definitely worth visiting. Take a look at the amazing collection of the ceremonial kerises (the unique Indonesian daggers) and get to know more about the kingdom through the photo gallery in the main room. A local guide who understands the Indonesian culture and history could explain the importance of everything that is displayed in this palace. If you want, you could even dress up in the traditional Malay costume as a king or a queen and get pictures clicked in those attires.

Since Deli Sultanate continues to be the only kingdom in Medan, the heritage and the aura of the kingdom is priceless. Occasionally, traditional music performances also take place in the palace vicinity. So, a complete guided tour around the palace with Locaguide will give you a good look at the past and present of traditional Indonesian culture.

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