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Indonesia North Sulawesi Travel

The Vihara Buddhayana Tomohon Complex: An Oddity in Place

A Stupa and a view of Mt Lokon
A Stupa and a view of Mt Lokon

Our eyes were drawn to this bright orange complex amidst a vast field of agricultural land. For a nonsecular destination like Tomohon in North Sulawesi, whose majority of population flocks to their Cristian Churches, seeing a pagoda, a stupa and a distinct Buddhist temple in this area was almost an oddity in itself. The Vihara Buddhayana Tomohon is one of the rare place of worship for the Buddhist minority in North Sulawesi that has become an attraction by the roadside in Desa Kakaskasen III in Tomohon.

Categories
Food Indonesia North Sulawesi Travel

Discover Manado and the Wonders of North Sulawesi

The Kristus kase Berkat (Christ Blessing) in Manado
The Kristus kase Berkat (Christ Blessing) in Manado

North Sulawesi, found at the tip of the K-shaped island of Sulawesi, may not be as popular to the “eat-pray-love” crowd of Bali or the enlightenment-seekers meditating on the multi-tiered levels of Borobudur in Yogyakarta, but explorers and adventurers seeking a refreshing side of Indonesia will find something to like in this region. There’s an interesting mix of culture, islets teeming with diverse marine life, imposing volcanoes, enchanting lakes and a slew of activities that can keep people under the sun longer than intended.

Categories
Central Java Indonesia Travel

Candi Prambanan and the Indonesian Hospitality in Yogyakarta

Candi Prambanan at dusk
Candi Prambanan at dusk

I felt a tap on my right shoulder. It was the bus driver signaling me we’re near the last stop. I didn’t know I already dozed off in front of this mini-bus on my way back to Yogyakarta. I had an early start that day visiting Candi Borobudur before sunrise and now I head back that afternoon to Yogyakarta this time for Candi Prambanan. One of the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Central Java, often times shadowed by the nearby Candi Borobudur.

Categories
Central Java Indonesia Travel

Wishing for Good Luck at Cetho Temple

The Cetho Temple Grounds with Peak of Gunung Lawu in the background
The Cetho Temple Grounds with Peak of Gunung Lawu in the background

It’s a 9km ride to out next destination coming from Sukuh Temple and Jumog Falls. We go higher up the slopes of the sacred Gunung Lawu and the views just keeps getting better. The afternoon light illuminates the vast tea plantation hills and we pass by a few tea harvesters going up and down the slopes. We are now 1400 meters above sea level and I see the gates to the Cetho Temple (Candi Cetho) bathed in warm light with stone guardians to welcome us.

Categories
Central Java Indonesia Travel

Motorbike Misadventure to the Enigmatic Sukuh Temple

Sukuh Temple, the mysterious monument outside Solo City
Sukuh Temple, the mysterious monument outside Solo City

“Who are you again? Where did we first meet?” asked my driver, Wazit, who seemed to have his senses knocked out of him. He has been asking me this question for the nth time after our motorbike accident in the highway midway to our destination – the slopes of Gunung Lawu for the Sukuh Temple. Suddenly my bruises on my left arms, waist and knees seems so minor. Do I continue with my trip to Gunung Lawu?

Categories
Myanmar Myanmar Travel Yangon

Yangon: A Monk’s Guided Tour of Shwedagon Paya

A family lighting on a planetary post in Shwedagon Paya
A family lighting on a planetary post in Shwedagon Paya

“You can take a picture on this spot. You’ll get a better view of the stupa here” a voice told me in somewhat a better Burmese-English while I was taking a photograph inside one of the pavilions in Shwedagon Paya. I looked back to see a young monk with glasses. He introduced himself as Xanther. He volunteered to take my photo. Thinking about it, I don’t have a personal photo here yet so I obliged. He seemed like a friendly guy and offered to take me around the paya if I wanted. I wasn’t sure at first but he might be one of those young monks trying to practice their English so I let myself be entertained.

Categories
Myanmar Myanmar Rivers Sagaing Sagaing Travel

Sagaing: Sunset by Irrawaddy River

Sunset at Irrawaddy River and Sagaing Hill
Sunset at Irrawaddy River and Sagaing Hill

There was still time when I got down from Sagaing Hill. I asked my motorbike driver Tubo, if we got time to visit this one temple I was eyeing. He insists it wasn’t included on what Olsen advised him so he cannot. Insisting further that it’s just a few minutes away, he stood his ground. I wasn’t in the mood to argue so I just asked his suggestion on where we could kill time before going to our sunset spot. He told me we could visit Tupayon Paya just a few yards from Ava Bridge. So off we went.