Where The Wild Things Roam

Share This: Tangkahan is a remote village in Northern Sumatra where you have the opportunity to sleep in the jungle with the ‘big five’ of Indonesia – the Sumatran elephant, the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Sumatran orangutan, and the clouded leopard....

Vibrant And Historic Jakarta

Share This: Jakarta is a modern fast paced city offering the visitor a host of attractions It’s a huge modern city with a towering skyline and a patchwork of small back lanes where life continues as it has done for hundreds of years.  Jakarta has a fascinating...

The Body Temple Spa – Canggu,Bali

Share This: Spas have a personality. From the delicate scented air of the lobby to the presentation of fresh ginger tea in a delicate pot to the flow of the gracious staff – all of this hints at a spa’s unique personality. As I entered the Body Temple Spa, I...

Family Fun at the Canggu Club

Share This: If you want to bounce your day away and keep the kids entertained then head on out to the Canggu Club, located 15 minutes from Seminyak. Bounce Bali is one of the attractions at the club, where up to 50 kids at a time can trampoline to their hearts...

Suku Sawang Orang Belitung Island

Share This: Belitung Island emerges gracefully out of the Java Sea inviting curiosity and exploration. It does not disappoint. It is unquestionably a place of extraordinary and untouched beauty. The beaches are chalky white, and are touted to be some of the most...

Reflecting on Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage 2016

Share This: Reflecting on Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage 2016 Each month, our intrepid duo Stephanie Brookes, Writer and David Metcalf, Photographer set off to explore some of the lesser-known enclaves of Indonesia and bring back tales of hidden heritage and culture....

COCKFIGHTING SHOWDOWN

Share This: COCKFIGHTING SHOWDOWN   I witnessed my first cockfight in Bali, in a small village just outside Ubud. I stumbled upon it by chance when I was running, with a local sports club, on a Saturday afternoon. Our route took us through a temple complex in the...

Happy Daze

Share This: Stephanie Brookes delves deeply into her yoga practice while falling in love with Bhutan, a spiritual Buddhist nation widely known as ‘the land of happiness’. EXPERIENCE  MOVING SLOWLY AROUND, around the giant prayer wheel at the Memorial Chorten in...

Sheila in the Rice Fields – Ubud Yoga House

Share This: Reinventing Your Life at 60 Sheila first came to Bali in 1985 and had a strong connection with Ubud which she maintained through the years.  After a career working in International schools around the world, she felt ready to settle down, but where? As she...
A large, tropical retreat in Bali

A large, tropical retreat in Bali

Share This: 376 Rooms / 22 Suites / 17 Villas French elegance and Balinese tradition blend seamlessly together throughout Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort on the island’s southern peninsula, but no place more than in the lobby. Sweeping ocean views fan out before...

Making silver jewellery

Share This: When you sit in an artist’s studio, surrounded by banana palm fronds swinging in the breeze and a hint of frangipani in the air you get inspiration. The workspace at Sanur Jewellery Studio is set in a sprawling tropical garden. The studio is...

Why stay in a hotel in Bali when you can stay in a tree house?

It’s no secret that we’re now opting for using our break for something more than a week in a hotel. We want more. And that more, comes in the form of these luxe Balinese tree houses. Sunrise House, Green Village This is a luxury stay combining cutting-edge...

Bali – Green Utopia

Share This: The ultimate palms and paradise destination? There are many, and Bali is definitely on the shortlist. But there’s more to the Indonesian island besides white-sand beaches and clear blue water. We hop on our bikes to experience the authentic life and ways...
People of the forest

People of the forest

Share This: I watched with fascination as the Wana elder, a woman of about 80, deftly rolled tree bark into an intricate traditional pipe. I sat on a hand-woven  leaf floor mat and listened  to her husband, a jovial, talkative  character, explain about life in the...

FULL MOON RISING – BUDDHA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY

Share This: Every May, a vibrant festival is held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple, located in Central Java. Buddhists from the far reaches of Asia gather to celebrate the holy festival known as Waisak, celebrating...

Ternate Tales Of Natural Selection

The Spice Islands are wrapped in an aromatic history of cloves, mace and nutmeg, Kings and Sultans, spice wars, and the rise and fall of invading armies. As I travelled through the Spice Island chain, I saw massive groves of cloves and nutmegs clinging to the perfect...

Festival of Colour

 FESTIVAL OF COLOUR  I arrived late in the evening to catch the Prince and Princess Tourism Competition. Suddenly chairs were parted and bodies shifted to make room for me in the front row. I was ordered to sit here, by one of the Dayak ladies, so I quickly took my...

THE GHOST STALLIONS OF MUNA ISLAND, SULAWESI

Share This: As we headed out of Raha on rutted roads and made our way into the interior of Muna Island, I peered out of the car window, passing villages and hoping for a glimpse of a stallion. Latugo Village on Muna Island is where, word has it, most of the island’s...

Bali’s peaceful hillside hideaway

Share This: Viceroy Bali sits perched on a high ridge above Bali’s Valley of the Kings, where shrines and ancient water temples date back to the 8th century. The presence of these ancient artifacts lends an atmosphere of mystery and spiritual grace to this stunning...

Reflecting on Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage 2015

Each month, travelling duo Stephanie Brookes and David Metcalf, explore some of the lesser-known enclaves of Indonesia and bring back tales of hidden heritage and cultural journeys of discovery. Here are a few highlights from 2015. Kejawen A holy energy resides in the...

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven: Nusa Penida Island, Bali I squeezed my way through a tiny gap between two huge boulders and was assured by my guide, “Yes, yes this is the way, just keep squeezing”. This was by far the most unusual way I had ever entered a temple. Within seconds,...
Tiwah Life and Death in Dayak Country

Tiwah Life and Death in Dayak Country

Tiwah Life and Death in Dayak Country    Recommended by Stephanie Brookes   Written by David Metcalf    Photos by David Metcalf  www.davidmetcalfphotography.com   Napin Dalin, the chief of Tewang Rangas village, looked me straight in the eye and said, “The...
Mass Cremation – The Balinese Way

Mass Cremation – The Balinese Way

Arriving in Medahan Village, just South of Ubud, I was met by my Balinese friend Ketut. Stepping over gaping holes (and trying not to fall in one), I followed her to the temporary wooden shelves that housed the bones of the deceased. The bones had been exhumed from...
Colombo: Full of History

Colombo: Full of History

COLOMBO HAS PLENTY TO OFFER THE VISITOR, ABOVE ALL, ITS FRIENDLY, WELCOMING PEOPLE WHO WILL CHARM YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. Colombo is the gateway city to Sri Lanka, a small country that boasts pristine beach stays, elegant hotels in the highlands surrounded by tea...
Weh Island : The Outer Edge

Weh Island : The Outer Edge

A small tropical treasure trove of peace and adventure can be found tucked away in Aceh’s far north, at the north-westernmost edge of the Indonesian archipelago. Weh Island is a small active volcanic island with a fringe of magical beaches, colourful corals, and rich...
Dieng Plateau “Abode of The Gods”

Dieng Plateau “Abode of The Gods”

Dieng Plateau “Abode of The Gods” Some wonderful examples of the oldest architecture in Java lie sprinkled across the Dieng Plateau in Central Java.  Towering volcanic peaks surround these isolated Hindu temples, which date back to the 7th and 8th centuries when Java...
Tales, Myths and Legends

Tales, Myths and Legends

Abu Bakar, the grave keeper, recited the legend of Princess Lala Jinis to me as we sat in the 1,000-year- old cemetery that Abu conscientiously protects, near the small village of Seran, in a remote part of West Sumbawa. “My quest for more tales and legends took me to...
Pride of The Desert

Pride of The Desert

  Every year, the Rajasthan desert plays host to the vibrant Pushkar Camel Fair, as well as a spiritual festival at Lake Pushkar, to purify the soul. A line of camels, horses and their traders, as well as musicians, vendors and snake charmers appeared over the...
Heavenly Halong Bay

Heavenly Halong Bay

A boat trip into Halong Bay, a world heritage listed site in North Vietnam is a spectacular experience. The beauty of this region leaves you spellbound as you cruise alongside hundreds of sheer limestone peaks rising out of the sea, stone mountains clad in jungle,...
Bodie: A Wild West Ghost Town

Bodie: A Wild West Ghost Town

Bodie: A Wild West Ghost Town It’s a long bleak road to Bodie, a ghost town left abandoned in the arid high desert plains of the Eastern Sierras, California. It’s a day trip out of Mammoth Lakes on the Scenic Highway 395 North. The lonely 13-mile stretch of dirt road...
Pasola and Ancient Rituals

Pasola and Ancient Rituals

Recommended by Stephanie Brookes   Written by David Metcalf Photos by David Metcalf  www.davidmetcalfphotography.com Sumba – Pasola and Ancient Rituals Adi steadied his horse as he prepared for battle. A chorus of feisty yelping surrounded me, as Adi’s fellow...
Aceh – Into the Wilderness – Gunung Leuser National Park

Aceh – Into the Wilderness – Gunung Leuser National Park

A trip to the Gunung Leuser National Park, in Southern Aceh is a no-frills affair and puts you right in the heart of pristine virgin rainforest and orangutan country. At my bungalow forest stay, Wisma Cinta Alam, mornings were a busy affair with fellow trekkers...
The Ancient Wonders of Sulawesi

The Ancient Wonders of Sulawesi

Tana Toraja Located in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago, Sulawesi sprawls out across the sea, resembling the shape of an orchid, between Kalimantan and Maluku. The journey into Tana Toraja takes about eight hours and starts by heading North out of Makassar...
Selayar Island

Selayar Island

Selayar Island is a secret find; an unspoilt island tucked away in South Sulawesi.  The charm of the island combines genuine, warm hospitality with first-rate diving and a little German hospitality. Selayar Island is positioned near the famed Takabonerate National Sea...
Memoirs of the Tsunami

Memoirs of the Tsunami

Sri Lanka is a tropical island of legendary beauty. It is often described as the “teardrop island” as it sits off the coast of India like a tear. It is a compact island with beautiful beaches, sheltered bays, ancient relics, wildlife and is largely untainted by...
Romancing the Waitakere Ranges

Romancing the Waitakere Ranges

The Waitakeres Ranges is a 16,000-hectare parkland of outstanding beauty. The one-hour scenic drive through the Ranges is studded with tree ferns, giant Kauri trees and spectacular views. It’s easy to fall in love with the soft romantic waterfalls, misty bays and...
Secrets of the Unknown

Secrets of the Unknown

North Lombok Largely unexplored, North Lombok offers a peek into an exotic world of natural wonders and ancient communities. Under the shadow of Mount Rinjani,  a stunning coastline and beautiful rice terraces await you, as well as a culture that holds strong to its...
Horse Riding Lombok

Horse Riding Lombok

According to Chinese astrology, the Year of the Horse is a time for fast victories, unexpected adventure and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten track the better. On Lombok, not only do you have the deserted...
Nomads of the Sea

Nomads of the Sea

I sat talking with Asman, an ethnic Bajau Palauk on his wooden fishing boat as sea cucumbers dried on the upper deck and we spoke about his seafaring life. “We love to be on the ocean. The ocean is our land. We feel very happy and content and it is all we know. My two...
Discovering Orangutans

Discovering Orangutans

A journey on the Rungan River, Central Kalimantan allows you to explore primate country, experience traditional village life on the river and have contact with the local Dayak culture in a pristine jungle environment, with no other tourists around. Gaye and Lorna, the...
Banjarese – The River People

Banjarese – The River People

Recommended by Stephanie Brookes    Written by David Metcalf    Photos by David Metcalf  www.davidmetcalfphotography.com Packed in with hundreds of jukungs you float around small boats with piles of vegetables, towers of fruit, a bounty of fresh fish carefully laid...
A trip on the Mighty Mahakam

A trip on the Mighty Mahakam

Recommended by Stephanie Brookes   Written by David Metcalf    Photos by David Metcalf  www.davidmetcalfphotography.com Kalimantan is one of Indonesia’s greatest adventures. Tales of fierce headhunters moving stealthily through the rainforest, poison blow darts...
Mountain of Fire

Mountain of Fire

Mount Bromo Sometimes you just have to get up at 3.30am to view a spectacular sight and hope for that wow factor.  Most of the places worth seeing in this world always require a bit more of an effort and Mt Bromo is no exception.  It might be hard to believe that Java...
Kawah Ijen Volcano

Kawah Ijen Volcano

East Java Extremes There are some pretty extreme locations to visit in Indonesia and up near the top of the list is a hotspot that may leave you breathless and hot.  Ijen crater lake sits high on a plateau 2,386 metres above sea level and its steaming hot –...
Jakarta Expat lifestyle

Jakarta Expat lifestyle

Living in Jakarta is one big adventure, moment by moment. It’s a busy city teeming with people, bicycles, motorbikes, chickens, buses, noisy bajajs (three wheeled passenger vehicle pedicabs), cars squeezing between lanes and street cart vendors pushing their...
Central Java

Central Java

Central Java – Hidden gems of Central Java Far from the maddening crowds there stands a tropical gem in Central Java.  As I awoke in the early morning, the volcanic peaks of Central Java started to reveal themselves.  A backdrop of eight volcanoes surrounded by swirly...
Banyuwangi and Beyond

Banyuwangi and Beyond

Are you interested in getting a closer look at a steaming active volcanic crater? Are you into adventure travel? Have you ever heard of Banyuwangi? If you are keen to get way off the beaten track then Banyuwangi, a little tucked away spot in East Java, a region that...
5 must-do’s in Jakarta

5 must-do’s in Jakarta

1. EATS Eating at Lara Djonggrang (http://www.tuguhotels.com/laradjonggrang) is like taking a step back in time. Take a walk through the ancient beauty of Indonesia and treat yourself to a unique dining experience. The restaurant is in a majestic old house and you can...
10 things i love about Jakarta

10 things i love about Jakarta

The capital of Indonesia and its surrounds are full of surprises for the visitor. Jakarta – a city full of life and colour, with the outlying regions offering just as much diversity. At ground level you will see people hanging out of bus windows, street musicians...
Wae Rebo – A lost village in Flores

Wae Rebo – A lost village in Flores

A lost village in Flores A last minute decision to buy a pig before setting off into the isolated mountains of Manggarai, Western Flores proved to be a wise decision. I was about to embark on a three-hour trek to the old Manggaraian village of Wae Rebo and I felt it...