travel and eat

Saturday, March 8, 2014

5 plus 1 Things to do in Sabang

Sabang is a perfect place for weekend gateway or for enjoy the life. If you are looking for a quiet place for your vacation then Sabang is the perfect choice.
So, here are 10 things you can do while visit Sabang. 
1. Enjoy beaches

Sabang has so many beaches. If you are looking for quiet beach, please visit to Gapang Beach.

2. Diving, snorkling, and other watersport

The most favorite place for waterspirt is at Iboih. But if you looking for a less-crowds place then you can do it at Gapang Beach

3.  Enjoy local food
Try mie sedap (noodle soup) and martabak in front of mie sedap restaurant.

4. Get zero kilometer certificate

Go to the  zero kilometer's monument. After taking pictures, go to the food stall that offering zero kilometer's certificate.

5. Explore the island
Rent motorbike or car and explore the island. Just get lost! There are so many places in this island which have great view.

6. Enjoy the life!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Between rain, Sukuh Temple, and Kama

The rain was falling when I arrived at this temple. Sukuh . A pyramid -shaped temple, similar to a Mayan-Inca pyramid - which lies at Mount Lawu  This place is not far from Solo. or Yogyakarta. .Wearing blue raincoat blue, I immediately stepped lightly , through the stone steps of this temple. I've been wanting to be here for years. Therefore, rain would never stop me from visiting this temple today, I said to myself. Just before I entered the temple, a man offered me guide service. I gently rejected.

As has been described in many travel blogs , Sukuh first gate is forbidden to be passed . There is a locked gate in that building. So, I tried to peek at it from the locked gate.  And yes, I saw it!  A relief of 'linga - yoni ' unity . People thought that it was a symbol of sex intercourse. Is it true?? All I know is lingga and yoni are the symbol of 
Many people called this temple as the temple of sex. I do not entirely agree . Moreover, before I rejected the local guide had told me earlier about this temple.

" The form of the temple which is composed of terraces that rise indicates the purpose of life according to Hindu Dharma ( work ) , Artha ( material / money ) , Kama ( sex ) , and finally Moksha. The stage can not be reversed and forth. "

Based on the local guide explanation and the reliefs at this temple, I made a conclusion that this temple is more than just a temple that exploits about sex . This temple, wanted to teach the Hindu community  that sex as the element of purusharta that closest to moksha.  So, it must be sacred ! Yes , through this temple , the Hindus in particular taught to see sex as something sacred !

The smell of the rain and the wet ground brought me back to observed the statues in this complex . My favorite statue is the one who has a shaped  like a woman's uterus .

To the top
The reliefs

The womb-shaped relief

Unfortunately I can not stay here a bit longer . Although it was still raining, I had to leave this place. Just before I left, the mist began to fall. 

Tsunami Museum: it's all about remembering

The tsunami was a devastating natural disaster that we never thought would happen earlier. It hit Aceh on December, 2004. It was Sunday morning. 

A local told me about his memories of  tsunami. 
"Everything was falling apart. My family, friends, and relatives were dead. Tsunami destroyed my house. And after ten years, I still remember about it. About the fear. And I'm sure I will forget it."

I visited this unique building that located across the Blang Padang field. This building, the Tsunami Museum, built to commemorate the natural disaster that struck Aceh in late 2004. After put my bag in locker, I entered the museum. First, I entered the Tsunami Tunnel. It was a narrow and dark tunnel. Completed with water that sometimes hit our body. Then after through the tunnel I entered the room. In this room, there are victims' name taped to the wall.

From this room, i entered another room where I can see the movie clip of Tsunami. The first three rooms presumably serves to give the visitors a quick overview of Aceh tsunami. From the main hall, I explore rooms that exhibit Tsunami pictures, memorable stuff, and everything that connected with Aceh Tsunami.
I was two hours in the museum. Following the whole narrative back on the catastrophic events through images, writing, and movies. Tragic! Even so, as a reminder, this museum is quite successful. 

Through this museum, through sad pictures and all memorable stuff here, we all be reminded about many things in this life. We are reminded of the presence of God, who became the director of this life. That everything is possible happen to us if he wants it. 
Second, we are reminded not to destroy nature. We must learn to read the nature's behaviour. Make nature become our best friend. 
Third, we are reminded that we can't live without others. That people in the world should help each others. No matter if they have a lot of difference with us. You never walk alone...
Fourth. There is always a rainbow after the rain. No matter how bad things happen to us, the good things will come to us after that. 

I guess this place is the right pit-stop to remember....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amazing Ayyuthayya

So, this is Ayyuthayya. I was on my bike, around the city. And all i can see are the ruin of the temples and the travelers. 
After almost 2 hrs trip by train from Bangkok, biking combined with hot weathers actually was not good idea. But, well... The only cheapest option to explore Ayyuthayya was by bike. Only 40 baht a day! But as soon as I met with the temples, the hot weather wasn't my problem anymore.
Temples in Ayyuthayya remind me with the one of heritage site in Java, Trowulan. Here, all temples can be described as mega structures. They were big, made from bricks, some were under reconstruction while the others were only ruins. 
The man from the bike rental gave me Ayyuthayya map. I found that Ayyuthayya had so many temples. And it was not possible for me to visited all the temples in one day. half day. I had to go back to Bangkok at 4 pm. So, for my half day tour, I just visitide 4 temples/sites. 

The first temple I visited was Wat Maha That. The Budha's head statue was very famous. Wat Maha That is the must-visit site.

In this site there were about 4 or 5 different type of 'buildings'. 
Here, I noticed something. That the shape of Budha statue in Thailand is different from in my country. Budha statues in Thailand are slimmer.

Next Wat is Wat Phra Si Sanphet. This was my favorite wat. The sites was bigger than Wat Maha That. The place was not so bleak. Some of the 'buildings' are renovated and made from concrete.

The best section of this site was the pathway at the back side of this temple. One of its side was a row of old trees while the others was used to be a row of Budha statues. 

The rain was falling just before I left the Wat. So I waited for the rain and ate the coconut ice cream. The next hour, I was on my way to the big reclyning Budha statue.
The site was rather far from the temple but when I was arrived, I was very disappointed with this site. The statue was not well maintained. It was dirty. I only 5 mins there without taking any photos.

I looked at my watch and...oh...!!! It was nearly 3 pm. My train to Bangkok was at 4 pm. So, I had to went back to the station immidiately. On the way back to the station, I visited Wat Phra Nam. Another beautiful temple with a small lake so you could see the reflection of the temple on the lake. Really beautiful. Too bad, I couldn't stay longer at Wat Phra Nam. I had to catch the train. One hour later I was in a train. I bought the 2nd class. After biking around the city, all I wanted was an aircon train. Even the price is much expensive than the 3rd class, but for the sake of the aircon...

As the train left the station, I looked at Ayuthayya again through the window. I admitted that Ayuthayya was really occupied my mind. Someday Ayuthayya, I said to myself, I would come to visit you again. Soon! I wish....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bangkok: Love it or leave it!

As the one of the worst traffic jam city, Bangkok still has the magnet for travelers. The foods, the massage, the city atmosphere, the tradition, the temples, the name it!

Spend 7 days and six night in Bangkok, I was amazed with so many things here. I can feel the paradoxity here between modern and tradition (religion). The temples with their unique architecture vs the high rise building, the monks vs ladyboys. The mall vs traditional market. 

First morning in Bangkok I took Chao Praya express to Wat Arun. It was Saturday morning. The boat was full. The guide was busy explaining to the tourists about the buildings and the interest places along the river. At dock #8, I junped out and took another boat to cross the river. Wat Arun, here I come!
Bought a ticket then I entered the gate. This temple was really challenging. Climb the temple and went down through narrow and very steep stairs. Eventhough the stairs were completed by hand rail but I still nervous.
Accompanied with banana fried, I walked to Wat Po just for took some pictures of the huge reclining Budha. I was here for half hour only. I had to go to Chatuchak before they close. 

I felt so exciting when I visited Chatuchak market on Saturday afternoon. Bargained and bought everything I want. Although that place isn't comfortable but I didn't mind. I just love shopping and bargaining! 

This place was absolutely my playground. Cool stuff, ethnic bags, crafts, clothes, can find those things here. If you feel tired, you can find a lot of local foods here.

Bangkok after dark is more sparkling. Malls at Siam district and the nightlife at Pat Pong with their ladyboy show. But it will be great too if you just sit and have your beer at Khaosan with other travelers or just walking around like I did!

The second day, I visited the palace, and..once again...some temples. The marble temple is my favorite. Not because of the temple because of the garden. I spend half hour in a gazebo reading a book and listening to my iPod and eating papaya which i bought from the fruit seller outside the temple. 

The greatest thing happened when I was on the way to Wat Suthat. Some people told me that Wat Suthat was close. I didn't believe them. From the travel blogs, i read that sometimes tuktuk driver told traveler that the palace was close but it wasn't. I ignored them and kept walking untill I found there was a marching band in front of the wat. Polices are everywhere. The street was close. All the motorcycle and cars and busses were stopped. 
I realized that there would be something happened here. I took the picture of the marching band but the policeman who stood next to me told me not to took some pictures. It was prohibited. So.I asked him what's going on. He said that the prince would be coming to the temple.
The Prince???
So when the Prince was come, everybody must stood up. No photos! And after the prince and his wife went out from their car and came in, everything was back to normal. The traffic was normal. People continued their activities. And I tried to stop taxi and went back to the hostel.

Well, if you feel enough with temples and Bangkok architecture, I think it's time for you to go to Dusit Palace or Ananta Samakhom or you can attend cooking class instead walking around from mall to mall.

Well, Bangkok is really a paradox city. Traditional vs modern. Old vs new. Traditional market vs mall. Traffic jam vs BTS. Chaos vs organized. Bangkok or just leave it!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saigon vs pre wedding

Four days in Saigon and I saw three pre wedding photo session. Two sessions at Saigon post office and the other at Ho Chi Minh Museum. 
So, I guess Saigon is one of the perfect place for pre wedding photo session.
When I asked the pre wedding photographer, he said that the old buildings of Saigon usually become the favorite place for pre wedding photo session. Post office and Ho Chi Minh Museum are the most favorite place. 
But Saigon City Hall and Saigon Opera House are perfect for pre wedding too!

So, I guess the cities with their old buildings in good condition are the perfect place for pre wedding photo session.
Happy wedding day!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Amphawa in 3 hours

Sunday 3 pm. I was standing at minivan pick up point. I was at Amphawa. Felt so hot and hungry. And had no clue to find direction to the floating market. So, instead of doing nothing here, I followed the Japanesse traveler. He brought the map in his right hand and  smartphone in his left hand. I was too lazy to find the direction through my Iphone. I was starving and couldn't think clearly. So I just followed him!
Less than 5 mins I saw a lot of street vendors selling foods. Pork, fruits, snacks, and my favorite....sea food! And in a minute I brought 3 plates full of scallop with sour chili sauce. 3 plates for me only! Yeah, I was starving!! I bought it for 150 baht! 

After finished with scallops I had to figure out: where is the floating market. Well, I'm not a well-prepared traveler. All I know is how to get in to Amphawa from Bangkok and how to go back to Bangkok from Amphawa. So I followed people.
I kept walking till I found a super crowded market. Everybody were here I guess. Most vendors offered local foods or beverages while some vendors, not much, offered religion stuff.

The crowded market

For their ritual

Not far from the market there was a bridge. Super crowded also! But many people were taking photos there. I walked to the bridge and when I stood right in the top of the bridge, I found what I was looking for. The floating market! 

Floating Market

And then I realized that this floating market sell local culinary as the main tourism product to attract the tourists. Not all vendors. But mostly. But yeah! I agree that this place still original. Many people said that the other famous floating matket - Damnoen Saduak - is too commercial. That's why I decided not to go to Damnoen Saduak. Too bad, Amphawa floating market only open during weekend. 
After down the bridge,I turned to the left, and walked at the riverside. This side was crowded too! People sat at the riverside and bought foods. Some Amphawa boys played, running around, but next second they changed their part: from the ordinary boys turned into waiters for the vendors. Yes! They served foods that has been ordered by the tourists.

The riverside, the old shop house, and the tourists
The Amphawa boy a.ka the waiter
I sat at the riverside and drank the coconut. Amphawa's wheater is hot.  Two coconuts finally make me fresh again.
Next to me there was a lady who sells boat trip ticket. The fireflies boat trip costs 60 baht and start after 6 pm. The 50 baht boat trip is a trip to four or five temples at Amphawa. Because I must go back to Bangkok before 7 pm, so it was impossible for me to take the fireflies boat trip. Although most traveleres recommended fireflies boat trip. So I took the 50 baht boat trip.
Lucky me, this lady couldn't speak English. I didn't understand what she said, and so did she. I gave hr 50 bath and said that I want to take boat trip. I pointed to the picture at her desk but she still talking in Thai language. Nearly desperated, a local girl offered me to be my translator. I agreed. So, she started explain to the ticket lady and in a few sec the ticket is in my hand.

"Thank's" I thanked to her.
"It's okay! Have a nice trip," she answered and smiled at me. And then she told me to go to the 'dock' where the boat is. 

In a boat I was alone. I had to wait until the passengers come and the boat is full. 
"For how long?" I asked the boatman.
"One hour!"
I looked at my watch. It was 4 pm. I should go back to Bangkok at 7 pm and got to be pick up point before 6.30 pm. The trip itself takes 1-2 hrs. 
Thank's 45 mins the trip began.

It was a special trip. We went to four or five wat (temples). People can pray there. Hmm...I hope I coud see beautiful and unique wats that slightly different from wats in Bangkok. But I was wrong. The wat architecture is similiar with Bangkok wat. And although the wat is clean but looks dull. No explanation from the boatman about wats history or something. And yeah... I began to feel like I was wasting my time taking this trip. 

But, there is always blessing in disguise, isn't it??? The lady who was sit next to me asked me in Thai language. And once again I had to explain that I'm not Thai people, so she asked me again using English. She asked if I enjoyed this trip or not. Then I told her what's in my mind. And the rest of the trip, she became my private guide. 

Still don't know what it is. Cemetery? Or just stupas?

Feeding fish after pray

Wat in Amphawa
Amphawa before sunset

The wat guard.....cute!

After the fourth temple, the rain was falling. So we had to finished the trip. It was 5.45 pm when the boat  arrived at the 'dock'. After said goodbye with the lady, I jumped out from the boat. 
I guess it was the time for me to said goodbye to Amphawa. 

See you soon, Amphawa....!!!!

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