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kecakEveryone who visits Bali should experience watching the famous Kecak dance. It is a Balinese dance which also a music drama depicting the story of Ramayana. The signature of the dance itself, is the performers who percussively chants “cak” and moves their hands and arms.

There are a few places to catch the performance. One of the best places is Pura Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple. The temple is situated at Bali’s southwest end, perched at the edge of a steep cliff, overlooking the crashing waves 70 meters below. The best way to get here is to arrange a transport in advanced with your hotel or any agents. As Pura Uluwatu is one of the 9 main sacred places in the island, visitors are required to wear a sarong or a sash if the clothes are too short or too revealing. Both sash and the sarong are provided at the entrance.

You’ll get to see monkeys roaming around. But they ain’t nice buddies, instead keep your eyeglasses, jewelry and other valuables in your bag or pocket. If you got unlucky, these little buddies will snatch them from you. So stay be careful.

The performance takes about 1 hour and is performed before the sunset. The storyline of Ramayana is about Prince Rama, who with the help of the monkey-like Vanara defeats the evil King Ravana to rescue his Princess Sita. The dance is not accompanied by any musical instruments but it uses voices of the dancers.

When I watched the dance, there was an accident happened. The monkey-like Vanara performer accidentally kicked the fire-lit bush to the wrong direction, to the audience. It almost caused a big and serious accident to happen. Fortunately the dancer were quick enough to kill the fire and no one was hurt.  Therefore, if you think that the best seats are those in the first few rows, I would say the opposite. The performance involves a giant fire display that is integral to the plot. It might get dangerous.

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A visitor was asked to join the performance

A visitor was asked to join the performance

When fire was involved in the performance

When fire was involved in the performance

I had watched the Ramayana-story based traditional dance in Yogyakarta before. But both dances are both different in the ambience. The performance at Uluwatu was more phenomenal with the sunset and the temple scenery as the background.

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Entrance Fee:  
Temple Entrance Fee : Locals: Rp 15,000 and Foreigners: Rp 20,000
Kecak Performance Ticket Fee: Rp 100,000 (Note that during high season, tickets are often sold out and should be booked a few days in advance)

Time for the Kecak Performance : 6:00 PM daily

 

 

 

 

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Motel Mexicola… It is the current hipster place in Seminyak, Bali. I’ve seen pictures posted in social media platforms, showing bits of how the place looks like. The place was definitely the top of my list for my Bali trip this time.

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Do not get mistaken by its name. Motel Mexicola is not an average motel, it’s actually a bar! The moment I stepped into Motel Mexicola, I felt that I was in a set of a Mexican movie. Everything is just so Mexican here. Bright colours are everywhere, mural paintings on the walls, and it’s all about patterns and tiles, religious icons and flowers filling every spare corner…

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The place is going Mexican all the way. The menu is about proper tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and the list goes on. The portion is good for sharing too. We decided to try the nachos and the churros. As for the drinks, we went for their Mangohito, which is fresh slices mango blended with mint leaves, sour mix hardly shaken and burst with soda rock glass presentation, and their Mexican Banana Smoothies.

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I love the nachos! The fried tortillas is served with minced pork meat with blended guacamole. But the churros disappointed us. The texture was not rightly cooked and the caramel dipping sauce was too watery.

With the amazing decoration, the ambience was superb and totally had the whole “Mexican” vibe going on. It is a great place to hangout and chill out. But if you are looking for Mexican munchies, maybe it is not.

Address:
MOTEL MEXICOLA
Jl Kayujati No 9X Petitenget Beach,
Seminyak, Denpasar,
Bali, Indonesia, 80361

Website: http://www.motelmexicolabali.com

 

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Danau Maninjau or “Maninjau Lake” is a volcanic lake which is also one of the largest lake  in Indonesia and also the second largest lake in West Sumatra. To reach Danau Maninjau, we need to go through “Kelok 44” or “44 Turns” hairpin bends down to the lakeshore.

Since it is located 461,50 meter above the sea level, the weather is very cooling. Danau Maninjau was the last spot during my one-day-visit to Bukit Tinggi. But, the scenery is very beautifully breathtaking!

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The whole view is just like a painting. I can’t believe that this kind of scenery can be found in my country.

Similar to Batu Malin Kundang, Danau Maninjau has its own legend “Bujang Sembilan“. It is believed there was once a family with 10 people, 9 single men and a woman named Sani. Because of her beauty and her good behaviour, a man named Sigiran fell in love with her. One day they were accused for having immoral acts by the footmen.

To prove their innocence, they jumped into the crated of the Mount Tinjau. They swore if they  were guilty, the mountain would erupt and if they were innocent, the mountain would not erupt. In the end, the mountain erupted and it formed a large crater which is then filled by water and became Danau Maninjau.

Beside Danau Maninjau, there two other lakes that are also famous. They are Danau Singkarak and Danau Kembar. However, the locations are far from one another and I did not have time to visit all 😦

So if you happened to visit these lakes, I’d love to hear what do you think about them! Have a safe journey and happy holiday!

pantai

There was once a legend about an ungrateful son that sailed away from his home village. Eventually he became rich and marry a princess and returned to his home village. However he was ashamed of his poor family background and refused to admit his own mother. seeing her ungrateful son attitude towards her, the broken-hearted mother put a curse on him and his ship to turn to stone.

That is a story of Malin Kundang, one of Indonesian famous legends originated from West Sumatra. On my second day in Padang, I had the chance to visit Air Manis Beach or “Pantai Air Manis”. The beach has a rock formation that is said to be the rock of Malin Kundang and the remains of his ship.

The folktale was first introduced to me in my primary school time.  How real the legend is and how the shape of the rock formation is, has been wonders to me. So I was so excited to see the Malin Kundang rock.

The beach was about 15-20 minutes away from the city. During the journey to the place, I saw how the locals still living below the poverty line. Poor families, small houses… It is really sad to see how much the social gap in my country.

The people that still living below the poverty line :(

The people that still living below the poverty line 😦

There are 2 entrances to the beach; one is to the beach without the Malin Kundang Rock and another one is with the rock. Make sure that you enter the one with signage “Batu Malin Kundang”. Unfortunately, the place is only accessible by car. So, to have a driver or to rent a car will be helpful.

According to the locals the rock is now starting to undeformed due to the erosion. So the locals clean the sands daily to prevent the rock to be buried away. When I saw the rock with my own eyes, I could not believe on how a stone could resemble a human face on the ground. Not only the Malin Kundang stone, but also there are stones in the shapes of bucket and ropes.

Malin Kundang Rock

Malin Kundang Rock

The ship wreck, rope and bucket rocks

The ship wreck, rope and bucket rocks

See how real they are? Visiting the remains remind me to be a humble person and do not be disobedient to parents, especially our mothers.
PS: Mom, love you to the moon, xoxoxo

It never crossed my mind that I would be able to visit Padang this year… To be truth, I did not really heard about the city, unless for Malin Kundang and their famous delicacies that I have had million times in Jakarta.

I still can recall when my mom suddenly called me one afternoon and threw the question: “Your father will be going to Padang for his business and he offered us to go along and tour the city. Do you want to go?” 

Still in a confused tone, I heard myself agreeing to her. Yeah, why not?! Let’s see what West Sumatra has to offer.

The flight from Jakarta to Padang was 1 hour 30 minutes. Don’t expect the airport to be huge or grand. Minangkabau International Airport maybe simple but it still serves its function well. The building has a spired roof showing the characteristic of Minangkabau architecture, usually found in rumah gadang traditional house.

Minangkabau International Airport in Minang-styled roof architecture

Minangkabau International Airport in Minang-styled roof architecture

The airport is located 23 km away from the city. It is about 30 minutes drive by car. Different from the hectic Jakarta, Padang is more quite and peaceful. With the equator crossing Sumatra just north of Bukit Tinggi and Padang, the weather is hot and humid. Since that I went in December during the rainy season, it rained everyday.

Soon after our arrival, immediately we headed for our lunch. I’m the most curious to try the original “nasi Padang” , the famous delicacy of the town. This spicy rice that has spread throughout the country and even world. 

Rumah Makan Pagi Sore

Rumah Makan Pagi Sore

The side dishes of 'nasi Padang'

You can pick which side dishes to spice your ‘nasi Padang’

Special dish from Pagi Sore - Ayam Goreng or Fried Chicken

Special dish from Pagi Sore – Ayam Goreng or Fried Chicken

‘Pagi Sore’ is one of the most famous franchises for nasi Padang. The restaurant is famous for their fried chicken. Although the fried chicken is small in size, but it is crispy outside and soft inside. The chicken is small because they are ‘ayam kampung’.

It tastes different from any nasi padang that I tried in Jakarta. For me, nasi padang outside of Padang is more flavourful and spicier.

But to pay homage to the native cooks is always be one way to experience Padang.

I went to Batam for another short get-away and to attend the Batam Archbishop’s birthday celebration mass. Was very excited because Batam is one of nearest parts of my country to Singapore, but it was my first time going there.

The driver brought us to Balerang Bridge (Jembatan Balerang), the bridge that connects the islands of Batam, Rempang, and Galang. The bridge is the icon of the area and has become a popular tourist spot. These are the pictures that I took there:

Great view that Balerang Bridge offers

Beautiful right? I did not expect that Batam has a beautiful scenery like this too.

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