Places to Visit in Indonesia

Believe it or not, the diverse country of Indonesia comprises of as many as 170000 islands! Although you could be sure of finding everything you have ever fancied about a beach destination, exploring all of it is not a possibility. As a smart traveler you need to be aware of some of the top destinations to explore. Just like Myanmar travel, there would be a multitude of exciting locales to choose from. We look at the top choices to explore.

Yogyakarta

If you are looking for a true confluence of old and new, a blend of the contemporary and the tradition, Yogyakarta is the destination to head to. Be it shopping, ancient attractions or the exquisite food, it is all on offer here. Simple soak in the culture, visit street vendors, enjoy puppet shows, pick up artifacts silversmiths and spend time on interesting street arts. Do not miss the temples of Prambanan and Borobudur. Experience a blend of both Budhdhist and Hindu cultures.

Dieng Plateau

This unique destination is a caldera complex that was formed due to the eruption of the Prau Mountain. Being at 2000 meters above sea level, the location makes it one of the coolest regions in the country, as compared to the humid lowland conditions. You can visit the enigmatic multicolored lake, the hot-springs and explore the ancient temples around the area. The scenic beauty comprising of rolling hills and aesthetic plantations is a treat to the eye.

Thousand Islands

A 90 minute ride on a speedboat from the Ancol marina will bring you to the beautiful Tiger Island or Pulau Macan. You can enjoy simply breathtaking views, sparkling white sands, clear waters and mindboggling snorkeling spots in a completely well preserved set up. There is a resort on the island which ensures a comfortable stay. The resort also motivates tourists who are engaged in conservation activities by planting mangroves and corals. It is truly a model for an eco resort.

Lake Toba

 Lake Toba is one of the most frequented lakes in Indonesia. It is in fact the largest volcanic lake in the world you can enjoy a hearty swim in these waters after your hectic travel and indulge in an extended Balinese massage after that. Follow it up with a great meal for ending your day. It is a famous destination for relaxing and unwinding and also for complete rest after hard core trekking and backpacking.

Lombok

Lombok is a quieter version of Balo and is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations of Indonesia. If you are looking to catch some quiet moments away from the maddening crowds amidst green mountains and crystal clear blue waters, this is the place to be. You can also visit the Gili Islands which lie nearby. Gunung Rinjani, which is a familiar trekking spot, is also quite popular.

Apart from these intriguing spots, your travel agency will of course suggest the most popular cities like Bali and Jakarta. Mix up your itinerary to create interesting combinations and ample variety in your travel plan.

Foods You must Try while in Sri Lanka

The quaint and enigmatic island of Sri Lanka is often referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and the tear drop of India. More aptly however, it can also be described as the land of Rice and Curry! The Lankan cuisine is one that infuses local fruits like jackfruit and coconut with an arsenal of exotic spices, resulting in mouthwatering delicacies. Here are some of the best dishes tour agencies will urge you to spend on, when you are on a Sri Lanka tour.

Kiribath or Milk Rice

Kiribath is a signature Lankan dish. Even if you are not particularly fond of rice, consider this delicacy. Rice is cooked in a thick coconut milk. It is then pressed and flattened and cut into diamond shapes. The taste is quite like milkfish and is a tad bit creamy in texture. Milk rice is eaten with spicy chili paste or even with the local banana or a traditional sweet. It is typically served for breakfast and will be found in most breakfast buffets.

Dhal Curry

 The comfort food here is of course rice and curry. Dhal curry is one of the more popular accompaniments with the quintessential rice plate. It is made from lentils or masoor dhal which is cooked in coconut milk. Tomatoes, onions coupled with fresh and hot green chillies are sautéed and then mixed with spices like turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek and finally pandan leaves. This hearty broth is often cooked in an earthen pot and this adds to the flavor.

Fish Ambul Thiyal or the Sour Fish Curry

Firm fishes like tuna or seer are used for this preparation. Cubed pieces are sautéed in a spice blend made from cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, turmeric and pandan and curry leaves. The tart like sourness is brought about by goraka which is a special ingredient. It is a tamarind like fruit and lends a distinctive flavor to the dish. The ingredients are mixed and simmered on low heat with an ounce of water and cooked till the watery broth dries up, leaving a spice coat on each cubed piece of fish. It is a dry curry.

Koththu Roti

Koththu roti is a dish that is cooked with strips of flat bread or godamba roti strips along with curry space and fried veggies. It is important to remember that the dish is strongly spiced. So, if you are not comfortable with pungent food, ask for less spicy variant. There are several variants available including egg kothhtu roti and chicken koththu roti.

Watalappan

Watalappan is Malay influenced desert in Sri Lanka which is popular with the Muslim population here. It is egg custard which is steamed along with traditional kitul jiggery along with coconut milk, nutmeg and cardamom. It is a heavy desert to be consumed during the day. Trapped air bubbles prevent it from being too heavy.

A Sri Lanka tour offers a plethora of lip-smacking options when it comes to food. There are seafood delicacies, delicious accompaniments in the form of sauces and pastes and loads more! Tourists are likely to be spoilt for choice.

 

To read our previous article, please click here.

Top Reasons to Visit Myanmar

Very few countries are genuinely cheerful places. While Thailand is called the country of smiles, Bhutan has a happiness index; Myanmar is gradually revealing itself to the world. Contact a travel agency today to handcraft a Myanmar tour for you.

You can go for a teak boat ride on the enigmatic Irrawady, or ring the largest bell in the world. It is also a chance for you to get firsthand experience of the ancient rituals and practices of Buddhism. Here are the top reasons to visit Myanmar.

See the reclining Budhha

So far, you must have only read about the reclining Budhha or saw it on TV. One reason to visit Myanmar is to come face-to-face with this historical statue. The statue is housed in a shed in Yangon. Visit it during your stay in the capital and take pictures to brag about it to your friends.

Go hot-air ballooning

The arid plain of Bagan has over 2500 ancient Buddhist monuments, and some even go back to the 10th century. A devastating earthquake destroyed countless other pagodas and temples. Soaring over the area in hot-air balloons is worth every penny you spend. Remember to ask your travel agency to book the trip between October and March.

Visit Shwedagon Pagoda

Myanmar travel is incomplete without visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda, and this way, you can finally tick it off your bucket list. The stupa on the Pagoda is 110m high and the top is encrusted with more than 4500 diamonds. It is mind-boggling to know that royals throughout history have donated gold equal to their body weight to the Shwedagon Pagoda. Meditate for a while and experience sheer bliss.

Taste the unique Burmese tea-drinking culture

Not even the famous Ceylonese tea can match the street tea culture in Myanmar. The country has tea shops for a fragrant milky tea experience. You can also munch on sweet doughnuts, steamed buns, or samosas. The experience of watching a Premiership football match with Buddhist monks at these shops is surreal.

Try the exotic Thanaka sunscreen

If you haven't been able to find a cure for oily skin yet, Myanmar travel would do you good. The local women and children often smear a creamy, fragrant paste called thanaka on their faces. Myanmar is a tropical country and the thanaka paste provides a cooling sensation. You can grind some for yourself, too, in the Chatrium lobby.

See the largest book of the world

This makes for good bragging to your bibliophile friends. At Mandalay Hill's foot, you will find the Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines. These are Buddhist scriptures inscribed on 729 stone slabs by a scribe, who finished the project in over seven years. Collectively, these form the world's largest book.

Drive by Aung San Suu Kyi's house

The Nobel Peace Prize winner was released in 2010. Ever since, the house where she was put under house arrest in has become a site of interest. It is a peaceful sight to drive by the lakeside house and even pause to take a few photographs.

 

To read our previous article, please click here.