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...
Komodo and Beyond

Komodo and Beyond

As the crew heaved and tied off in practiced unison, the seven sails billowed and flapped as ropes snapped into place. The sails filled and caught the breeze. The sleek wooden schooner came into its own; we were sailing. We cut through the white waves (Ombak Putih)...
Malang – Grand Old City

Malang – Grand Old City

Stephanie Brookes glides through the streets of Malang, on foot and by becak, to discover its urban colonial charm and rural countryside. I stood outside the Tugu Hotel in Malang, pondering which becak (cycle rickshaw) driver I was going to use for the day. All of...
The Baduy People Urang Kanekes

The Baduy People Urang Kanekes

Hidden Heritage: A Cultural Journey of Discovery Text Stephanie Brookes | Photos David Metcalf Diversity : Our travel stories this month take us back to a former time of innocence in the backwoods of Java, and an adventure to the fabled Ring of Fire. The Baduy are a...
West Kalimantan – Karimata Islands

West Kalimantan – Karimata Islands

Pontianak in West Kalimantan is the starting point for a trip to the Karimata Islands. The bustling harbour is alive with activity and home to a myriad of traditional boats. After stepping down from the pier, I had to scramble across a number of unseasworthy looking...
An Interview with Kinari Webb

An Interview with Kinari Webb

Saving Lives and Rainforest An Interview with Kinari Webb, MD of ASRI Medical Clinic, West Kalimantan How does a remote medical clinic, in West Kalimantan, come up with ideas like “payment in kind”, a non-cash exchange for medicine and life-saving treatments? What is...
Life & Death in Toraja

Life & Death in Toraja

Life & Death in Toraja Believed to have descended from the stars, the Torajans of Sulawesi are a unique people who practise elaborate funeral rituals for their deceased. Words: Stephanie Brookes  Photography: David Metcalf Located in the middle of the Indonesian...
The Celebration of Love

The Celebration of Love

Romance for many unfolds around nature, the whispers of the inner and the outer world, framed by a setting that allows you to climb to the top of stairs and shout “yes”. Whether you are planning to get married, wish to fall in love for the weekend or have loved with...
The life of a fisherman

The life of a fisherman

The Sasak and Bugis coastal settlements, some dating back as far as 4,000 years, hug the Lombok coastline and many traditional small fishing villages can be found in between mountain regions and fertile alluvial plains. The local people of Lombok, known as “Sasak”,...
Into the heart of Borneo

Into the heart of Borneo

What is a New Zealand photographer doing with a documentary film crew in a longboat in the wilderness in Borneo? David Metcalf is passionate about the Dayak people of Borneo (Kalimantan) and has spent years exploring the outer reaches of one of the most ecologically...
The plaited craft

The plaited craft

As mina (aunty) Herta sat on the wooden floor of her humble weathered eighty-year-old home, she flexed her big toe and masterfully plaited three strands of rattan.  This would soon become a handle for the rice basket she was making. Between the strands of a woven...
Tales of the Naga

Tales of the Naga

The Hornbill Festival of northeastern India celebrates the 16 major tribes of Nagaland, bringing to life the ancient tales of the Naga people through song, dance and storytelling. Hornbill feathers are worn when performing ceremonial dances. The power and majesty of...
Blitar – Hidden relics of the past

Blitar – Hidden relics of the past

Falling into history and stumbling upon ancient relics is what is in store for you when you take a journey to the far east of Java. The 80km stretch from Malang to Blitar reveals weathered stone shrines and alluring temples from the Majapahit Kingdom, which ruled...
Emerging into the light

Emerging into the light

Cambodia and Laos Cambodia has returned to the tourist’s radar screens, and is alive and kicking. Tourism is moving so fast, it is now in the top three money-earners for the nation. Emerging from the brutal years of the Khmer Rouge rule and two decades of Cold War,...
Travelling Spoon

Travelling Spoon

TRAVELLING SPOON The concept of Travelling Spoon is to put people in touch with locals and allow for a cultural exchange over dinner. This concept is based on the idea that food brings people together. It is growing and expanding worldwide, really changing the way...
The Joy of Ubud

The Joy of Ubud

For anyone keen on music, culture and the arts, a trip to Ubud is a must-do during your stay in Bali. The drive takes just over one hour from Denpasar and, as you gently wind your way up towards the central mountains, you will be treated to views of terraced rice...
The Essence of Bali

The Essence of Bali

The essence of Bali starts with a villa experience. The privacy of a villa transcends you from a busy, hectic lifestyle to one of peace, serenity and exclusivity. When you experience a one to one staff ratio, the pampering is beyond words however, pampering by a local...
Teaching English Ubud

Teaching English Ubud

VOLUNTEER TEACHING ENGLISH — UBUD In a little village, about 10 minutes drive from Ubud, an English tutor volunteer program is well established and you can join an English class and assist the Balinese English teacher. I found my way to Pejeng village having contacted...
Pure Indulgence

Pure Indulgence

Puri Wulandari Sometimes it’s all about romance. Anniversaries, honeymoons and birthdays – we all have them but how many times in our lives do we indulge in a truly luxurious treat. Dial “6” on your phone and its all arranged. This links you to your butler – all...
SOS Orphanage Tabanan

SOS Orphanage Tabanan

SOS ORPHANAGE — TABANAN Before I visited the SOS Children’s Village Orphanage I was a little hesitant about what conditions I might discover and I wondered if this was going to be a positive or negative experience. The SOS Children’s Village, Tabanan, is 30km...
Negara Buffalo Races

Negara Buffalo Races

Recommended by Stephanie Brookes   Written by David Metcalf    Photos by David Metcalf  www.davidmetcalfphotography.com Negara Buffalo Races – The crowd erupted into a loud roar as one of the chariots slid off the track trying to round the corner, taking a risk...
Kingdom of Pejeng

Kingdom of Pejeng

Gunung Kawi I followed wayan, the temple sweeper, down a crooked path. “Come this way,” he said, “I will show you a waterfall and a hidden temple.” I followed him along the jungle path with mossy overhangs towering above and steamy misty jungle rice fields that...
Hidden charms lie beyond the tourist strip

Hidden charms lie beyond the tourist strip

Leaving Kuta behind, STEPHANIE BROOKES explores a fascinating island Getting out beyond Kuta can reveal a whole new Bali experience to the traveller — one of heart and soul, allowing you to observe how the Balinese live in harmony with their land. Journeying to the...
Grand Mirage Resort

Grand Mirage Resort

Hotel Review I am standing with my toes in the sand on a private beach in Nusa Dua.  The beautiful white sandy beach stretches out in front of me and the feeling of “being in Bali”, with the tropical balmy breezes and the relaxed beach vibe is ever-present. Sometimes...
Visit to an Orphanage

Visit to an Orphanage

What can a visitor do that will give them something to take away? STEPHANIE BROOKES discovers a few of the many experiences the island can offer. SOS ORPHANAGE — TABANAN Before I visited the SOS Children’s Village Orphanage I was a little hesitant about what...
Sari Organik

Sari Organik

SARI ORGANIK GO INTO THE GARDEN, PICK YOUR INGREDIENTS, AND THEN SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE VIEW WHILE YOUR MEAL IS PREPARED FOR YOU AT SARI ORGANIK. I bent down over the masses of green leaves in the sari organic garden bed and  tried to decipher which one was iceberg...
Devdan Show Review

Devdan Show Review

Treasure of the Archipelago Bali, Indonesia – Nusa Dua This mega production show is a theatrical experience that will keep you elevated, with its lofty acrobatics, intrigued with its journey across the Indonesian archipelago encountering animals and dramatic scenery,...
Bali Aga Sacred Ways

Bali Aga Sacred Ways

Bali Aga Sacred Ways – Karangasem Kingdom Karangasem regency is an area of intense beauty. Mount Agung towers in all its glory at 3,142 metres and creates a stunning landscape over East Bali. The dramatic foothills and crevices created by centuries of lava...
Alam Sari

Alam Sari

Alam Sari Life in an open-air villa, perched 42 steps up on top of a rice paddy immediately transcends you to a very peaceful place. As I roused from my slumber, I could hear a faint, soft, tinkling sound of a village cowbell…. somewhere in the distance. Was this in...
5 places to stay in Bali

5 places to stay in Bali

Why not explore some different options next time you make your travel plans? Stephanie Brookes gives some top accommodation picks, which we hope will inspire you to find the true spirit of the island. KUTA: Ramayana Hotel — Shopping and entertainment What I love about...
Stradbroke Island

Stradbroke Island

Stradbroke Island  – Island of Charm North Stradbroke Island is affectionately known to everyone as “Straddie”.  Not only do you have beaches, wildlife and a chilled atmosphere but also unusual things happen on Straddie.  From September to January you will see a...
Tempting Mount Tamborine

Tempting Mount Tamborine

It’s Friday afternoon and you’ve left work early. This well overdue weekend escape has been on your mind forever, and finally it is your time to relax. Your destination is Mount Tamborine, a mere 70 kms out of Brisbane. If you are searching for beauty and tranquility...
Mount Barney and Beyond

Mount Barney and Beyond

It’s not often a weekend in the countryside offers two free-roaming alpacas munching leaves outside your kitchen window at 6.00am. It is equally pleasing that as you step outside onto the porch at your lakeside cottage, you immediately have more encounters with...
East Bali

East Bali

Visiting East Bali Away from the high-end tourist mecca of Kuta and Seminyak there lays a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered. The natural beauty of East Bali – its highland region and stunning coastline is a pleasant surprise, where the culture and traditional way...
Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Most tourists going to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef approach it by sea. Stephanie Brookes arrived by air. The experience was unforgettable; the beach world class. To fully appreciate the colour, diversity and pristine beauty of the Great Barrier Reef along...
Crystal Creek Rainforest

Crystal Creek Rainforest

A Romantic Getaway – Queensland, Australia The poet, William Henry Davies, wrote, “What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare” and it is often true that we do not take the time to contemplate our surroundings. However, Crystal Creek...
Faces of Bali

Faces of Bali

I sat talking with Grandma Ni Made Sibuh in her village in Petemon where she has lived all her life. She was born around 1935 however, “This is a rough guess only,” Sibuh explained. “We never had birth certificates or registrations back then.” She does, however,...
Hanging out in Hanoi

Hanging out in Hanoi

Hanoi is 1,000 years old and therefore deserves to be called an ancient city. Despite the busy hustle and bustle, Hanoi has a calm peacefulness about it, from it’s wooden staircases crafted centuries ago, to it’s dollhouse-sized terrace houses. A beautiful...

Orangutan Adventure

Orangutan Adventure I spotted my first orangutan high up in the trees in the early morning. I heard it before I saw it. I awoke to branches cracking and some pretty furious tree-shaking going on. Lucky for me I was on a boat, at a safe distance from the huge, hairy,...