A Local Culinary Favourite – Nasi Padang

Local  dish of IndonesiaNasi 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 food! Rest assured on your Indonesia tour because you get a wide variety of local food options to experience. The expansive food culture of Indonesia takes you on a gastronomic adventure. And Bintan Island stands no far behind in contributing to this experience. Ask your local guide for the meal everyone relishes and he/she remains bound to say ‘Nasi Padang’.

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

Experiencing Nasi Padang

A usual spread comprises of 12 dishes but you can also opt for a super lavish spread of 14 dishes. Defined through spices and a mix of local herbs, Nasi Padang remains one of the most flavourful and filling dishes. This seems as though Indonesia served to you on a plate. Most of the side dishes in Nasi Padang include curries but you get the option to add boiled dishes. The boiled dishes in a sambal base include deep fried seafood as well as grilled sides. Savour it best using hands and clean them with warm water and a slice of lime given at the end.

The sides served with Nasi Padang
The sides served with Nasi Padang

What better way to experience Indonesia than through its food along with the locals while discovering stories from the region. If you want to enjoy an authentic Nasi Padang during your stay, why not ask your local guide from Locaguide ? The guide will set it up for you. The unique flavour and assortment of dishes happen to leave you craving for more!


Senggarang Village – Bintan Island’s smallest village

CandlesCandles glowing at a temple

If you plan on spending a whole day at a rustic Indonesian village, then Senggarang village remains the best choice. Do not miss the old-world charm of the Senggarang village. Located in Bintan island of Indonesia, this amazing village serves as a melting pot of various ethnic groups — Chinese, Indonesian, and Malay origins.

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

Of the smallest villages in Bintan, the Senggarang village holds a very distinct population and culture, unlike elsewhere in Indonesia. The village remains home to an ethnic Chinese community that arrived about 1800 years ago. They 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 holds a lot of other tourist destinations. Destinations in the form of 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. Meanwhile, a local guide could come in handy for taking you to the best places around.

How to get at Senggarang Village

Do not miss the two most renowned temples — Tay Ti Kong Temple and Tian Shang Miao Temple(Banyan Tree Temple). To avoid all the hassle it is recommended to opt for a guided tour with a local guide from Locaguide. If you plan on travelling to Bintan Island from Bali or Jakarta, you can easily get a flight to Bintan Island. If you travel from Singapore, you may take a ferry or a flight to Jakarta and an onward flight to Bintan. The rustic ambience and the beautiful coast makes Senggarang Village one of the top places to visit in Indonesia with family.


Discover Traditional Batik Art of Indonesia

A woman working on Batik painting

Practised for over 2,000 years in Indonesia, Batik Art forms a traditional art style. No one returns without buying Batik paintings, be it either in the form of art or clothes from Indonesia.

Batik painting originated in the Java island of Indonesia. It essentially makes use of a manual dyeing technique used to create patterns and designs on fabric. This also involves a lot of skill, patience and practice.

Indonesian Batik art
Indonesian Batik art

The process involved in Batik Art

The first step in the complicated dyeing process involves stretching a piece of fabric onto a frame. Then stamping the desired design using a mixture of beeswax and resin over it. Contemporary Batik art pieces often hold more intricate designs hand-drawn on the fabric. Using a pen-like instrument called “canting”, artists draw the hot wax onto the fabric. A copper tip and a wooden holder forms a canting. This to make sure the smooth flow of wax and so that the hot wax does not burn the hand.

Then comes the actual dyeing part where the slathering of colours on the fabric takes place. Once dried, the dye is locked through soaking the fabric in a tub of fixative. This process is repeated to add more colours to the fabric. 

A woman working on Batik
A woman working on Batik

If this kind of artform intrigues you, ask your travel guide from Locaguide to help. He/Shefind and register you for a hands-on Batik painting workshop. The workshop provides you with the chance to create your own Batik masterpiece. Learn this skilled artform and then sit back and listen to local stories as your Batik fabric gets ready.

Take help from your guide if you want to purchase a Batik painting souvenir. Your guide will show you how to identify weather or not it is a batik piece or just a one-sided screen painting. This unique local art makes sure to add another dimension to your Indonesia trip.


The Mystical Borobudur Temple of Yogyakarta

Buddha statueStatue of Buddha at Borobudur Temple

Built amidst a medley of green paddies and swaying palms, Borobudur Temple is a mammoth Buddhist monument. It survived through the volcanic eruptions, bombs and earthquakes to remain as alluring as during the 9th century. An impressive temple as it stands, one must not miss a visit to the Borobudur Temple during the Indonesia tour.

A view of the Borobudur Temple
A view of the Borobudur Temple

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.

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). It also consists of six terraces, three circular platforms and 504 Buddha statues. Moreover, each terrace possesses a different posture of Buddha’s statue. The postures depict contact with earth, giving and helping, meditation, fearlessness, teaching and learning, and turning the wheel of dharma. 

Apart from being the single most popular attraction, Borobudur Temple continues as an important place of worship for Indonesian Buddhists. Make certain to ask your local guide from Locaguide to show you around the temple complex. Also, ask him to help you join the locals during their daily prayers if you wish.

Architecture of Borobudur Temple

When to visit The Borobudur temple

If you are planning a visit to the Borobudur temple, the best time to be there is at sunrise. The views of the sun lighting up the structure and the mist creeping down the monument formed a magical combination. Therefore, transporting you to an era in the past when the temple was truly at its mystical best!


Take a Tour of Indonesia at Taman Mini Indonesia

Riau pavilionRiau Pavilion in Taman Mini Indonesia Park

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah which translates to Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park is your chance to see the diversity of magnificent Indonesia. And all of it in just under one day!

A short trip from Jakarta, the theme park sprawls over an area of 100 hectares. It holds a realistic miniature reproduction of all the Indonesian islands in a central lake. Surrounding the lake are several pavilions, each representing a different province. Right from the province’s architecture style to an exhibition of the province’s cultural artefacts, everything looks authentic. The centrepiece of this magnificent park is a gorgeous artificial lake, where you can also go for a boat ride.

Istana Anak Anak Playcentre
Istana Anak Anak Playcentre

Taman Mini Indonesia showcases the vast variety of plant species across Indonesia in the numerous gardens created within the park. Also included are a walk-in bird park, multiple museums and a recreation area with gardens, swimming pools and restaurants.

Reflecting Indonesia’s social and cultural diversity, the park holds temples and mosques and religious buildings of several faiths. This in order to showcase the tolerance and religious harmony between the multiple faiths that coexist in the country. Furthermore, the park also showcases cultural performances, events and local delicacies from each of the country’s provinces.

Things to do and see at Taman Mini Indonesia

West Sumatra Pavilion
West Sumatra Pavilion

It is easy to spend the whole day in the park and still not have a chance to experience all that it ought to offer. While here, take the cable car ride to get an aerial view of the park. Or you can also rent out cycles to go through the provinces which you might not able to explore otherwise. Take help from your local guide from Locaguide to find your way around the park. He will also tell you the specialities and the difference in the provinces for a better understanding of Indonesian heritage.

If you missed buying souvenirs during your Jakarta city tour, then you can rely on Taman Mini Indonesia. It is a great place to pick up something from every province of Indonesia. The recreational park stays true to its slogan “Visit Taman Mini, Love Indonesia”. This slogan reminds you of the vastness, diversity and hospitability of Indonesia.


Lontong Sayur, Medan’s popular dish

Post 8 Lontong Sayur Medan Img1

Thinking what is one dish that you must try in Medan town? Ask anyone from Medan and you’ll probably get just one answer: Lontong Sayur.

This traditional Indonesian dish is, in fact, a combination of two different dishes – Lontong and Sayur. It is so versatile that you can have it as a breakfast item, while it can also be served as your main dish for lunch or can even be treated as a snack.

What is it ?

Lontong Sayur, just like most other popular Indonesian dishes, has rice as its base. Lontong is simply a kind of rice cake that is prepared by boiling rice until it is partially cooked. It is, then, rolled tightly with banana leaves and secured with a wooden needle, made from the central rib of a coconut leaf, locally known as lidi semat. Finally, it is kept in boiled water until cooked. Once it is cooled, Lontong is cut into small pieces and served as staple food. It is a common substitute for steamed rice dishes.

Lontong is usually served with a coconut milk soup called Sayur lodeh — hence, the dish is commonly known as ‘Lontong Sayur’. Along with shredded coconut, some of the other ingredients used in Sayur include tempeh, tofu, hard-boiled egg, sambal.

Ketupat Sayur is another variant of this delectable paired dish, commonly seen in other parts of Indonesia. In Malaysia, Lontong Sayur is known by the name, ‘Nasi Himpit,’ which simply means pressed rice.

Lontong Sayur
Lontong Sayur

If you’re travelling in Medan, get a local tour guide with Locaguide to guide you through this culinary journey. The advantage of having a local guide is, he can guide you to the best food stall or restaurant serving the most authentic version of Lontong Sayur in town.

The taste, coupled with the ease of making this Indonesian delicacy in larger quantities, makes Lontong Sayur one of the favourites at wedding receptions too. So, if you’re planning a tour to Medan or nearby regions of Indonesia, don’t forget to get a taste of this lip-smacking delicacy at least once.2


Nyepi – Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence

Post 24 Nyepi Silent Day Img4

The thought of a New Year’s celebration brings to mind fireworks, resolutions, and merrymaking in general. However, in Bali, New Year’s celebration is a day of solemnity and silence. Nyepi, also known as ‘day of silence’ is a festival of silence celebrated by Indonesian Hindus. It happens every Isakawarsa of the Indonesian Saka calendar when the island shuts down for 24-hours. The celebration takes place over six days when shops, banks, and streets close early.

Nyepi - Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence
Nyepi – Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence

Balinese Hindus believe that on Nyepi, evil spirits surround the island. To avoid disturbing these spirits and trick them into thinking that there is no life on the island, the silence remains maintained. Every single day of the festival holds a different significance with unique rituals performed all across Bali. 

Day 1 of Nyepi

3-4 days before Nyepi, the Melasti ritual is performed in Balinese Temples located near the sea to purify sacred objects from temples in the holy waters of the sea. Villagers in Bali form processions carrying idols from shrines, bathing them in the sea and then returning them back to their respective shrines.

Nyepi - Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence
Nyepi – Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence

Day 2

Performed the day before Nyepi, the sea Ritual denotes to dispel negative energies and create a good balance in the environment. Balinese devotees create ‘ogoh-ogoh’, demonic effigies made of bamboo and paper and parade them around the island. 

Nyepi - Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence
Nyepi – Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence

Day 3

On Nyepi, the Balinese observe a day of silence, fasting, and prayer. They follow four main restrictions on this day:

  • There is no lighting of fires or using electricity
  • No one is to work
  • There is no entertainment
  • No travelling

All Bali Hindus and non-Hindus as well follow these restrictions. If you visit Bali during this time, make sure you abide as well, although you can do what you want within your hotel. Everything remains shut for the day, including the airport, ATMs, and stores. You can only be allowed to travel in the case of an emergency. Your local travel guide from Locaguide will tell you more about this and help you understand how to make most of this day in Bali.

Day 4

A fascinating practice takes place on this day called ‘Omed-Omedan’ (literally translated into pull-pull) or ‘the Kissing Ritual’. Unmarried youths aged 17 to 30 years take part in this festival, where male participants pull in female participants and kiss them, while villagers pour buckets of water on them. 

Day 5

On this day, the locals of Bali visit friends and family in order to ask for forgiveness. With this ritual, they hope they can start the new year afresh and welcome new days for more prosperity.

Day 6

Upon completion of all the Nyepi rituals, they perform a Dharma Shanti ceremony. It implies a closing ceremony after which the festivities end and life goes back to normal in Bali.

Nyepi - Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence
Nyepi – Celebrating The Balinese Day of Silence

Though Bali is a gorgeous place to visit all year round, it occurs spectacularly unique to visit during Nyepi and definitely calls for a visit to experience it first hand.


Cliff jumping at Jimbaran Panorama Point

Post 6 Jimbaran Panorama Point Img2

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. 7


Mount Batur Volcano From Pinggan Village

Post 10 Mount Batur Bali Img1

Often described as ‘fiercely beautiful’ with its pale wisps of smoke gleaming in the hazy morning light, Mount Batur in Bali is one of the most popular active volcanoes in the world. It is most mesmerizing when viewed at sunrise and sunset. Tourists from all over the world gather at dawn typically at the Kintamani Village to enjoy this spectacular view of the sun rising over the volcano.

But if you’re interested in beating the crowds for an even more enthralling view, we suggest you make your way to the relatively uncrowded Pinggan Village.

Mount Batur Volcano
Pinggan Village

Whether you’re a shutterbug, a yoga enthusiast or a nature lover, the Pinggan Village will easily prove to be a more meditative setting for the sunrise and catching a better view of the volcano. A thick fog covers this village in the early hours of the morning, which only adds an element of mysticism to this natural spectacle. Since most tours to Mount Batur don’t even touch the Pinggan Village, the easiest way to explore this part of Bali is with the help of a local guide who would be able to show you around and know the best spots.

This lovely village is just an hour’s drive away from Ubud, so you’ll have to wake up early to be at the village on time for the sunrise. You could get here by road (recommended) or take the more interesting path and hike up to the village or better yet stay at the village. There are a ton of options to enjoy this memorable experience.

This quaint village is better known to locals, so we suggest you tag along with a local tour guide from Locaguide and avoid the herds of tourists at Kintamani to have an experience that will last you a lifetime! 3


The Iconic Kite Festival of Bali

Post 7 Bali Kite Festival Img1

The Bali Kite Festival embodies everything the island remains known for – culture, beauty and unadulterated fun. This annual festival takes place between the months of July and August (sometimes in October) during the dry season. This in order to leverage the wind that allows the kites to soar high. It’s rare to see Bali’s bright blue sky free of colourful kites at this time. The air remains filled with Gamelan orchestra music, giving the whole experience a more exciting feel.

Historically celebrated to thank Hindu deities for a bountiful harvest. Today, it is easily one of the most spectacular kite festivals in the world. 


Kite Festival of Bali
Kites flown during the Festival of Bali

History of the kite festival celebration

Kites in Bali come in different symbolical forms, with fish (Bebean), bird (Jaggan), and leaf (Pecukan) shapes being the most popular. These traditional kites are handmade and denote a real joy to watch them in the making. For instance, you can watch the Jaggan kites fitted with a guwungan. Guwungan is a tightly stretched ribbon that vibrates in the breeze to create a soothing humming sound. Create a personalized trip itinerary with help from a local travel guide from Locaguide. This will make you include a behind-the-scenes tour of kite making workshops.

Kite Festival of Bali
People at the kite Festival of Bali

If you want to fly a kite yourself or participate in the kite flying competition, then the eastern coast of the Padang Galak is the best place. The largest event, the International Kite Festival held at the Sanur beach attracts contestants from all over the world. Best to keep in check if any changes occur in the festival dates due to weather conditions. Once the dates remain frozen, connect with Locaguide and request for a local tour guide for an amazing experience in Bali!