Labuan Bajo’s Rangko Cave – Keep Calm and Wander

Labuan Bajo's Rangko Cave - Keep Calm and Wander

Rangko Cave in Labuan Bajo was the first place I went to as soon as I settled myself in a hostel. I arrived at Labuan Bajo a day before the 3-day tour and I had the whole afternoon free with no agenda. A fellow hosteller told me to explore Rangko Cave and she was raving about it. She showed me photos of the cave and I was wowed! So, without thinking twice, I hopped on a gojek (Indonesia’s Uber) motorbike.

Directions to Rangko Cave

Going there is pretty easy – that is – if you drive a motorbike. If you don’t, like me, here’s what you are going to do: Take a gojek that brings you to Rangko village. The trip should be around 45 minutes. Remember that this is a very small village and it’s very rare to get a gojek so it is wise to ask your driver to wait for you. Negotiate for a reasonable price.

From Rangko Village, there are outrigger boats that you can rent. As a solo traveler, I rented it for 250k rupiah ($20) for the whole trip. The “captain” also became my photographer. From the shore to the cave, the boat ride took us 15 minutes. When we arrived, we were the only people there + the ticket master. The water was very clear but the shore where we disembarked was full of plastics. Tourists pay 50k rupiah to enter but no one really cares about cleaning the site. It’s heartbreaking to see those floating plastic bottles and boxes.

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Bali Waterfalls – Keep Calm and Wander

Bali Waterfalls - Keep Calm and Wander

These 11 Bali waterfalls will add to the excitement when visiting the famed Island of the Gods. Whether they’re big or small, these waterfalls can surely delight your adventurous spirit. All of these waterfalls involve a bit of hiking, some are a bit exhausting and others are easy peasy. But once you see/hear the raging or calming sound of these waterfalls in a middle of a lush jungle, all worries are gone. Not to mention the sounds of birds, insects, and other living creatures that harmonize with the cascading water.

Bali Waterfalls – Sekumpul

I have no doubt this is Bali’s most beautiful waterfall. Sekumpul Waterfall is way up north of the island right in the middle of a jungle. I was speechless the first time I saw it. It was just beautiful from afar and much more stunning when I was at its base.

The hike down was easy but you’ve got to be wearing shoes to make it easy to wade in the water and to protect your feet from sharp objects/rocks. Going back up can be challenging as it would test your physical limits.

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Nasi Goreng, Indonesia’s Signature Dish – Everything to Sea

Nasi Goreng - Pixabay

In 2018, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism declared fried rice – better known as nasi goreng – as one of the five national dishes alongside the likes of gado-gado (assorted vegetables coated in peanut sauce) and soto (traditional soup composed of an assortment of meat and vegetables).

What’s interesting about these choices is that they share a similar trait, which is their malleability. Although there’s a universal definition or understanding of each dish, their serving or presentation may differ from each Indonesian region to the next; gado-gado, for instance, may transform into lotek, karedok or pecel in other regions, all of which essentially employ the similar principle in composition but perhaps contain slightly different ingredients.

What Is Nasi Goreng?

The same also applies to nasi goreng. Although not native to Indonesia – the origin of nasi goreng is often said to hearken back to China and the world-famous Chinese fried rice – the dish has become so iconic and singularly Indonesian thanks to its distinctly aromatic, earthy and smoky taste profile and most importantly, its versatility.

At present, there are roughly around 60 variations of the dish known across the archipelago, ranging from all-veggies to meat-heavy. Furthermore, there is no single defined recipe for it, as every fried rice dish with certain mixtures, additions, ingredients, and toppings could lead to another version. 

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Bali’s Kecak Dance – Everything to Sea

Bali's Kecak Dance - Everything to Sea

Bali, often nicknamed “The Island of the Gods” or sometimes “The Island of a Thousand Temples”, is known as a mythical place rich with art and culture, fascinating its visitors.

Experience the Bali’s Kecak Dance

One thing the Balinese still maintain is Bali’s Kecak Dance. Part ritual, part art-performance, part dance, Kecak is carried out by about 100 bare-chested men wearing nothing but black-and-white sarongs. It is meant to illustrate the world’s diversity. For the Balinese, it’s important that each aspect of the world is in balance. The concept is that there are many differences in the cosmos, and they should strive to be in harmony. Kecak is often performed before sunset surrounded by breathtaking views, such as the oft-visited temple in Uluwatu.

“Chak … chak … chak”. This is the repetitive sound of chanting during the dance. All the male performers vocalize it in synchronicity. Some of them drop into trance. Watching it is engaging… mesmerizing… hypnotic… and exciting. There’s really nothing like a Kecak experience.

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Pura Lempuyang Indonesian Temple – Keep Calm and Wander

Pura Lempuyang Indonesian Temple - Keep Calm and Wander

Pura Lempuyang (or Lempuyang Temple) is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bali. It is also one of the oldest and holiest Hindu temples worth going to when traveling to this tropical island.

This sacred temple is two hours drive away from Canggu. The picturesque ride on your way up there is one to be enjoyed with such delight.

Visiting Lempuyang Temple during the pandemic has its good and bad side. There were only very few people (close to none) when we were there. On the other hand, not every temple was open.

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Indonesia’s Floating Temple – Keep Calm and Wander

Indonesia's Floating Temple - Keep Calm and Wander

Indonesia’s Floating Temple

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Temple in Bedugul, in the highlands of Bali, gains its monicker as Indonesia’s Floating Temple as it is on the edge of Lake Beratan. However, the structure is not literally floating on the lake. It depends on where you stand, the temple, at a far distance, looks like it is buoyed up. 

On the day I visited it, the water was so low that it didn’t really look like I expected it to be. It was disappointing to me because I already knew how/where I want my photos taken. Backdropped with a gorgeous mountain, the complex reveals its beauty on a sunny day. As it is on the highlands, the weather changes from time to time.

I was lucky that on the day I visited it, the sun cooperated. But as soon as I was done, a thick cloud revealed, and rain came.

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Indonesia’s “Broken Beach” – Keep Calm and Wander

Broken Beach - Keep Calm and Wander

The Broken Beach in Nusa Penida is one of the most-visited tourist attractions on the small island, next to Bali. But is it really broken? When I saw it personally, I couldn’t figure out why they call it as such. Nothing there is broken.

Broken Beach Views

As you can see in these photos, there is a natural bridge with a natural arched tunnel under it. The water passes through the tunnel and smashes to the small beach below.

Of course, there’s no way going down to the beach, except taking a boat tour – as we were told. You see, the area is circular, and the hole in the middle forms a 50-200 meters high cliff. It is a unique rock formation and truly one of the island’s natural wonders.

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Indonesia’s Kelingking Beach – Keep Calm and Wander

Indonesia's Kelingking Beach - Keep Calm and Wander

Yes, Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida is your ultimate hiking trail down to the white seashore. That is, I assume, if you are into a treacherous hike and reward yourself by frolicking in the white sandy beach and the turquoise salty water.

Perhaps you’ve seen this area on many tourism promotions for Bali and Indonesia.

Pantai Kelingking in Nusa Penida, according to the Traveler’s Choice Awards in 2019, grabbed the 19th spot of the best beaches in the world.

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The National Museum in Jakarta – Keep Calm and Wander

National Museum in Jakarta - Keep Calm and Wander

The National Museum in Jakarta has more than a hundred thousand relics coming from different parts of the country.

This institution in Jakarta has more than a hundred thousand relics coming from different parts of the country.

It’s a must-visit if you want to know Indonesia’s cultural history. I have one word to say – impressive!

The National Museum is a Beautiful Building

The locals nicknamed it the Elephant Museum. There’s even a bronze Ellie on the top front of the building. So, there’s no surprise why and how this museum got its monicker after the gentle giant. The facade is, obviously, colonial. This impressive 1862 structure has its long history back when the city was occupied by the Dutch.

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Walking Tour in Gay Jakarta – Keep Calm and Wander

Gay Jakarta

A walking tour in Jakarta is possible – as long as you have the stamina to walk around, of course! And when I say walk, I’m talking about 4-6 hours of movement from one place to another. But such length of time depends on the pace you’d like to take. Remember that Jakarta is a huge city and streets can be confusing for a first time visitor.]

Hire a Tour Guide

I highly recommend getting a private tour guide for this walking tour – just like I did. It saved me so much time from researching and using Google maps. My guide made sure that I had a total experience of the city. We walked in streets and alleys, crossed bridges and passed through the nitty-gritty parts of Jakarta. We also took a shared public cab once and got on a train – and I loved the experience! If you want the same experience I had, you better call or send WhatsApp text message to Prie via +62-818-0228-8008.

My tour guide picked me up at Oria Hotel in central Jakarta on a rainy morning. He brought with him two raincoats, just in case we needed it. Fortunately, when we started at 9:00 in the morning, the rain temporarily stopped. And since the streets were wet and slippery, we walked slower than expected. These are the places and activities we did – in order of visitation.

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