Category Archives: News: Destinations

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Scuba dive at Menjangan

Category : News: Destinations

Menjangan Marine Park, this small unpopulated island and a national park has been named one of the most spectacular coral reefs of Bali and is accessible to both scuba divers and snorkelers. Underwater sites range from sheltered and shallow coral gardens to vertical reef walls smothered with sea fans. From vivid gorgonians to reef sharks, pygmy seahorses to schools of snappers, sand banks with garden eels to magnificent formations of hard corals. Menjangan represents well the huge diversity of south East Asia’s coral reefs. There is a wreck, said to be an old slave boat, sitting on a gentle sandy slope at around 40 meters. Menjangan Resort is the closest dive centre to Menjangan Island and is set within the boundaries of the West Bali National Park, ensuring a unique setting for your land-time. Pos Dua is definitely the favorite site at Menjangan, an abundant shelf of reef in the shallows with abruptly drops into a near vertical wall encrusted with a plethora of corals; it looks like an explosion in a paint factory in some places. The visibility is great, at minimum 20 meters, giving a real sense of the sheer size and complexity of the reef walls.

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Tulamben, the best site for macro underwater photographers and muck night diving in Bali

The Tulamben Liberty ship wreck is a must do for any divers going to Bali. The liberty ship lies on a sand slope was hit by a Japanese torpedo then was beached by the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963. The wreck is about 130 m long with the shallowest part at about 9 m deep and the deepest on the other side of the wreck at about 30 m deep, the Wreck is so big that you need at least two dives to see it all. Best time for dive is in the morning or late in the afternoon or try a great night dive. The ‘rush hour’, normally between 10 am and 2 pm. If you are a beginner diver it is a unique opportunity to scuba dive a world class wreck dive site. If you are an experienced diver try to go further to the deeper part of the wreck around 35 m deep and look at the wonderful bow gun covered with Coral. It is a great photo opportunity! Moreover for macro lovers you can also find the rare pygmy seahorse in the area. The Liberty Wreck is not the only amazing dive site around the Tulamben area. Diving the Tulamben Wall also called Drop Off is also a great experience and makes a perfect second dive. Just a few hundred meters from the Liberty wreck lay Coral Garden Drive Site; it is a nice coral garden very easy and perfect for beginners or for night dives. This place has been recommended for Night diving experience! This location is a Reef. A few kilometers North, you will find the Kubu village. There is a wonderful reef with a nice coral garden, a very good place for macro underwater photography with pygmy seahorse and nudibranch. There are two very easy dive sites perfect for beginners. A good place to see blacktip and whitetip reef Sharks. Night diving this site is also very rewarding. The other best dive resort near Tulamben is Seraya Secret Dive site. It’s the best site for macro underwater photographers and muck night diving in Bali. With a 10 m deep black sand bottom, you can stay for hours searching for strange small creatures hiding all over the place. If you are patient enough, you might see the rare mimic Octopus. The visibility can sometimes be poor due to the sandy bottom but this doesn’t really affect muck diving. Get your camera ready and enjoy.

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Bromo, Indonesia’s most breathtaking volcano sights

Gunung Bromo is an active volcano that lies at Tengger giant caldera. With its top blown off, it appears more crater than mountain, while putrid sulfurous gas and smoke billow out from within. This mountain is one of Indonesia’s most breathtaking sights: the massive size of the entire Tengger caldera and the magical beauty of the scenery and the dramatic highland light really are what dreams are made of. [codepeople-post-map] Visiting Bromo starts even before the sun is up to catching the magical sunrise. The best views of the massive caldera landscape are almost certainly had at sunrise from the top of neighboring Gunung Penanjakan (2,770 metres), as the sun rises, the clouds are the first to catch the color. Red. Pink. Orange. Then the valley starts to glow. The shadowy outline of the mountains comes into the focus and vista across the whole area is suddenly bathed in light. It is a good way to start the morning, indeed. A few moments later, down at the base of Mount Bromo itself sweeping views back across the ‘sand sea’ to the lip of the crater and over to Mount Batok and the Hindu temple (this only opens on auspicious days in the pilgrim calendar) at its base. It feels like something from Sahara. The only vegetation is up on the cliffs around the caldera, watching fearfully down at this barren landscape.

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Karimunjawa, home of outnumbers reef fish and corals.

Category : News: Destinations

The remote archipelago of Karimunjawa, a marine national park, consists of 27 tiny coral-fringed islands in the middle of Java Sea. These islands are an off-the-map spot with a population of about 10,000, many of whom still make a living from fishing and cultivating seaweed. Most of the islands have sublime white-sand beaches with turquoise sea. The heavenly time is when the sun went down in glorious shades of pink and red. And the reason why swimming and dive in here so wonderful is the variety of coral life within the park. There are nearly 250 species of reef fish and 100 species of coral that thrive in the waters around Karimunjawa. The archipelago is divided into zones to protect the rich ecosystem. Zone One is completely out of bounds to all except national park rangers, with other areas set aside for sustainable tourism. The main island, Pulau Karimunjawa, is home to most of the archipelago’s facilities. Fishing, tourism and seaweed cultivation are the main livelihoods. This is also the site of the islands’ only real town, Karimunjawa, and, despite widespread mangroves, a couple of good beaches. An airstrip is located on adjacent Pulau Kemujan. High season in Karimunjawa is from May through October. During the rainy season, winds and waves make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to travel to the islands.

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Dieng Plateau

Category : News: Destinations

Taken from Javanese word 'adi', meaning beautiful, and 'aeng', or impressive, this plateau has stunning panorama, beautiful Hindu temples, cool weather and magnificent views of mountains hugging its flanks.

But Hindus say Dieng is from the word 'Dihyang', meaning heaven, and cite the presence of temples in the area. The temples are still used as places of worship.

Dieng is located 26 kms north of Wonosobo and 2,093 meters above sea level. Average temperature ranging from 10 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius. In the south, Prau Mountain is part of the Wonosobo area while Bandongan village at the foot of Sumbing Mountain is in Magelang regency. The plateau is also surrounded by other mountains, including Bismo and Rogojembangan, in Banjarnegara. The Pendawa Lima temples are found on the slope of the mountain, are also said to be major evidence of the dawning of civilization in Java. The temples were built in about the 8th century during the Sanjaya Dynasty era.

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What to see Jalatunda Well A not active crater fills with rain water. Jalatunda seem like a large well with diameter more than 100 m. Local people believe, someone who can throw a stone beyond the crater will reach their entire wish. Candradimuka Crater This crater is not volcanic crater but a land rupture. There are 2 crater but its only one crater that still active. The crater constantly roars. Sileri Crater Sileri is the widest crater in Dieng and spurt milky water like water being used to wash rice before cook; Javanese people call it ‘leri’, so people near Dieng named this crater Sileri Crater.

Dieng Temple Complex Dieng temple complex was discovered in 1814 by the Netherlands’ H.C. Cornelus. It consists of four different groups of temples that are all named after the characters of the Mahabharata epics. They are Dwarawati and Parikesit Temples in the north; Arjuna, Semar, Sembodro, Puntadewa, and Srikandi Temples in the center; and Dwarawati Kidul, Abiyasa, and Pandu Temples in the east. The other group includes Setyaki, Ontorejo, Petruk, Nala Gareng, and Nakula-Sadewa Temples. Visitor can find other interesting archeological site and statue in the Museum near Gatotkaca Temple.

Merdada Lake Merdada Lake was a volcanic crater and the widest lake in Dieng Plateau, it’s about 25 Ha. A agricultural development center is built near the lake.

Sikidang Crater Named from Javanese word ‘kidang’ or baby deer because the activity of the crater seems like a baby deer that jumping around, running and moving. This crater spurt high temperature water and mud.

Tuk Bimo Lukar A fountain dripping clear water in a natural bathing spring considered as holy is the origin of Serayu River.

Telaga Manjer Manjer lake is popular for weekend family picnics. The lake is 54 m deep and 79 hectares large, surrounded by green mountains. The location is 12 km from Wonosobo, in the sub-district of Garung.

Telaga Warna Telaga Warna, a lake reflecting various colors from its basin. In addition, Telaga Pengilon (or Mirror Lake) is believed to be a place where a princess from the Hindu Mataram Kingdom used to gaze. Near the lake at Sikendil Hill in Jojogan village, visitor can view Dieng plateau from Dieng Plateau Theater.


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The Keraton, Sultan residence and heart of Javanese arts and culture

Built in 1756 by Sultan Hamengku Buwono I, today the Keraton is the residence of Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and his family as well as a center of Javanese traditional arts and culture. All the buildings, courts, carvings and trees and even their locations within the 14,000 sq. m. Keraton have deep philosophical meanings and are symbolic of human life. The palace, the Tugu Monument and Mount Merapi are positioned in one line, forming a sacred axis. In the old times, the Sultan concentrated his mind along this axis before leading meetings, making decisions or giving orders to his people. Visitors can enjoy the atmosphere of the Keraton as it was centuries ago. Daily activities open to the public include gamelan music, Javanese poetry readings, court dances, and puppet shows designed to preserve the ancient arts. Many sets of gamelan instruments, antiques, batiks and heirlooms make the Sultan’s Palace one of the most interesting tourist sites in Jogjakarta. Keraton Tours Monday-Sunday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm, Friday 8:00 am – 11:00 am. HB IX Museum & Keraton Batik Museum (inside the palace) Open daily: 10:30 am – noon. Museum Kereta (Royal Carriages Museum) Jl. Rotowijayan, west of the Keraton: Open daily: 10:30 am – noon. Entrance fees charged. Daily Activities at the Keraton All performances are held at Sri Manganti Pendopo, inside the Keraton. Monday: Javanese Gamelan Music – 10:00 am – noon Tuesday: Javanese Gamelan Music – 10:00 am – noon Wednesday: Golek Menak (Wooden) Puppetry (abbreviated performance) – 10:00 am – noon Thursday: Javanese Court Dance – 10:00 am – noon Friday : Javanese Poetry Recital – 9:00 – 11 am Saturday: Wayang Kulit (Leather) Puppetry (abbreviated performance) 9:30 am – 1:00 pm Sunday: Wayang Orang (Human performers) – 9:30 am – noon [codepeople-post-map]

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Candi Barong, twins temples on the Hill

Category : News: Destinations

candi-barong Located at Candisari Village, Bokoharjo, Prambanan.Open daily 8 am – 5 pm. Overlooking Banyunibo is Candi Barong, a Hindu temple built around the 9 th century AD. There are two separate terraces. The first one is empty but on the second are two temples, both of which are almost identical and have no entrances. Each side of the two buildings has similar decorations. The temple's roof is of three ornamented tiers resembling those on Candi Ijo. Interesting is that the main room of the building is at the back, not in the center like other temples. It is called Barong because of the barong head ornament on the complex gate. About 50 m north of Barong lies the Dawangsari site. Although nothing remains but a few scattered stones, it is thought that Dawangsari was a Buddhist temple, whereas Barong was Hindu. [codepeople-post-map]

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Ratu Boko Palace

Ratu Boko Palace is a huge complex built on 16 hectares as the residence of King Boko of the first Mataram dynasty. Local legend says that Ratu Boko liked to eat human flesh.

Primarily in ruins, visitors must use their imaginations to fill in historical and structural gaps. Gold plates inscribed with Buddhist mantras have been found here dating to 792 A.D, along with stupas and Bodhisattva statues, indicating that at one time it might have also been a monastery. However, Hindu remains such as lingga and Ganesha statues have also been discovered.

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From the restored main entrance to the right is the Palace’s audience hall that has been restored. On the left of the hall is a Keputren Pool (“Princess’ Bath”) that was used as a bathing pool for women. Fragments of sculptures and bas-reliefs can be found around the pools: elephants, birds and snakes. Other partial structures are a crematory temple, now only a tall platform bordered by steps and surrounded by parapets; a pendopo (meeting hall) surrounded by a high rock fence with three entrance gates and water spouts outside the fence; a miniature Hindu temple with three small gates representing Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu; and the alun-alun, the town square. To the south of the complex are two caves, probably used for meditation.

[codepeople-post-map] Direction Jl. Raya Piyungan, 3 km south of Prambanan Temple at Dawung and Sambirejo villages, Piyungan, or 19 km east of Jogjakarta. Open daily 7 am – 6 pm. The panoramic views surrounding the complex are breathtaking. On a clear morning, Mount Merapi and Prambanan and Kalasan temples are visible to the north, while to the south, the Indian Ocean is discernible in the distance. This palace is also the best place for witnessing sunset. Ratu_Boko_(2)_medium

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Prambanan – Setting The Bar High

Category : News: Destinations

PRAMBANAN - SETTING THE BAR HIGH Situated in a picturesque plain dotted with archaeological monuments amongst rice paddies and villages, you will probably be impressed by the Hindu Prambanan temple complex before you even pull in to the park, the height and pointed architecture of the temples gives an impressive welcome.

Prambanan’s status as one of the most extraordinary pieces of South East Asian religious architecture was recognised by a UNESCO in 1991 when it named this complex a World Heritage Site.

prambanan (1) SCALE UP The sheer number of temples within the Prambanan Complex is extraordinary, the site is structured in a series of three ‘squares’ which radiate out in size. A raised central square, has a total of 11 temples, of various sizes, the largest being the Siva (Shiva) temple which towers dramatically at close to 50 metres high. It is flanked by temples honouring the gods Vishnu and Brahma. Three smaller temples sit in front of the larger temples and each of these is dedicated to the ‘vehicles’ or transportation of the gods represented: Nandi, the bull, for Siva; Hamsa, the sacred swan, for Brahma; and the eagle Garuda for Vishnu. The second square radiates out symmetrically and contains paths through to the central square, as well as 224 smaller temples of identical design. These temples are known as perwara temples, meaning guardian or complementary. Although most of these smaller temples are currently tumbling ruins, a few have been restored and it is not difficult to imagine the sheer magnitude of what was once here. A third and final square was also walled at some stage, is not on the same axis as the central two, and does not contain religious artefacts. It is thought that this area would have been for those involved in ceremonies to prepare offerings, and for buildings to house resident priests and pilgrims. These buildings no longer remain as the materials used have not survived over time. Loro_Djonggrang_prambanan STORY TELLER The exteriors of the temples and the balustrade areas within the central square are dense with carvings, and in particular, the Siva temple is famous for the 62 relief depictions of the Ramayana Ballet, telling the story of King Rama and his wife Sita. The Ramanaya Ballet continues to have strong links with the temple complex, with performances held on an open air stage within the temple compounds. THE LEGEND OF LORO DJONGGRANG Within the Prambanan's Siva temple is a series of chambers, dedicated to Ganesha, Bhatare Guru; a bearded priest, Siva himself, and importantly, Durga, who local folklore claims as the depiction of Loro Djonggrang, the slender virgin. The folklore of Loro Djonggrang ties this site in with the Ratu Boko Palace with Ratu Boko being the father of the princess Loro Djonggrang. A prince named Bandung desperately wanted Loro Djonggang to marry him and she refused, as she he had killed her father. He insisted, and she finally agreed on one condition. He must build 1000 temples in one night. Prince Bandung summoned up spirits to help him, and close to dawn, much to the dismay of Loro Djonggrang they had completed the 999th temple. Loro Djonggrang ordered all of the servants to light a large fire, and begin pounding rice. The roosters were fooled into thinking it was dawn and began to crow, the spirits fled, and the final temple was left unbuilt. Prince Bandung was furious and turned Loro Djonggrang into stone, representing the final temple.     GETTING THERE AND GETTING IN prambanan_detail:: Prambanan Temple Complex is located 17 km east of Yogyakarta, on the road to Solo.   Sources: Borobudur Park oficial website, credit photo: Borobodur Park website respective owner.

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Borobudur, Fine Details on Massive Scale

Category : News: Destinations

Borobudur temple After visiting the largest Buddhist monument in the world, it is not hard to see why this is the most visited tourist site in Indonesia. The list of the Seven Wonders of the World has changed many times over the years, and often Borobudur has been included. UNESCO added the monument to its list of World Heritage Sites in 1991, and has been of great influence in restoring the monument to its former glory. borobudur1 The temple is a massive step pyramid structure made from giant stone blocks, built on a hill, surrounded by valleys and hills. The levels rise up representing the stages of enlightenment. On the lower rectangular levels, stone carved panels tell the story of the Buddhist Sutras, in total there are 1,460 intricate scenes. Higher terraces switch to a circular shape on which statues of Buddha sit inside perforated bell shaped stupas. These levels are a great deal less ornate, representing a rise from earthly ‘form’ to a higher state of formlessness. 504 Buddha statues sit, facing out to nature, demonstrating a range of hand positions. The top of the monument is crowned with a massive bell shaped stupa, close to 10 metres is diameter. Currently the centre of this stupa is completely empty, and questions remain as to whether it has always been empty, or in fact held some form of icon within. Interestingly a hidden level of stone reliefs exists at the base of the monument, depicting stories of desire. Artistically Borobudur represents a melding of Indian monuments and the traditional terraced sanctuaries of Indonesian art. In plan view, the monument represents a Mandala, which is a schematized representation of the cosmos, often drawn repeatedly as a meditative mechanism. LOOKING BACK Borobudur Temple was built by Sailendra dynasty between 750 and 842 AD. In terms of world wide religious structures, it was very early, it would be 300 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat was constructed, 400 years before work began on the great European cathedrals. At this time the Saliendra dynasty built a great number of monuments, both Hindu and Buddhist, in the region there are even temples where the two religions combine, alternating symbolism. Abandoned at around 1100AD when the power shifted from central to western Java, ash from the local volcanoes covered Borobudur and the vivacious jungle then grew up around and over it. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles is credited with the re-discovery of Borobudur in 1814. Raffles, who is known as a great admirer of history and culture, alerted the rest of the world to its existence and commissioneda clear up of the site, removing the trees, undergrowth and earth that had built up. 1907 to 1911 saw significant restorations lead by Theo Van Erp. UNESCO and Indonesian government undertook a complete overhaul of the monument in a big renovation project from 1975 to 1983.   GETTING THERE & GETTING IN Borobudur is located 40 km northwest of Yogyakarta, 7 km south of the town of Magelang, Central Java. We recommend you organise a car and driver through either our Visitor Assistance Centre or your hotel. This way you can also have transport ready to take you back when you are ready to head back. The other alternatives are a tour group mini-bus, or even a taxi. The local buses can be a bit of a rough travel experience, but if you are game the bus leaves from Giwangan bus terminal in Yogyakarta and drops off in Borobudur bus station which is a little over 1km walk from the temple.

WHAT WE CAN OFFER TO YOU: TRANSPORT & GUIDE FOR DAY VISIT TO 3 TEMPLES, BOROBUDUR - MENDUT - PRAMBANAN. Check our tour Here ...

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Sources: Borobudur Park oficial website, credit photo: Borobodur Park website respective owner.