Roaming-Free Monkeys in The Island of The Gods

I am sure many have heard about Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. It is one the must-go-to places in Bali. It is located in Monkey Forest Street in Ubud. If you don’t want to get stuck in traffic to get to Ubud from other parts in Bali, I’d suggest you to stay in Ubud instead.

If you want to see one of the oldest site in Bali, this is the place. It is soothing. And it has monkeys roaming around freely. Before I went there, I read articles warning me about the nasty behavior of the monkeys: picking glasses, grabbing bags, and all that. But thankfully, they all behaved well. I saw some tourists playing around with the monkeys and they seem tamed. But still, you need to take precaution. Guard your camera and make sure you don’t give them any food or even show them the food in your bags!

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This is how it looks like after I pass ticket booth. There is something about this place that is so soothing. I like this place already!

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Once you passed the entrance, this is how the forest looks like. The air is just so refreshing

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Just what I like, trees and trees.

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Once you walk in, you’ll see monkeys like EVERYWHERE. They are not shy to human. Seems like these two are chatting ;D

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Cute little monkey enjoying himself 🙂

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Nope. They are not afraid of human at all

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They are fooling around… I think

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Walking deeper in the forest to see the temple

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Starting from this point onward, you won’t see any monkey around. They are everywhere but not here. Strange, isn’t it? There are temples in there. It is believed to be most sacred place of the forest. Even monkeys don’t want to mess around.

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Still… No monkey in sight

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There is a way down. I thought it’d lead me somewhere but apparently it’s a dead-end to a river ;p

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Some very old trees

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Really, really, really old trees

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Ubud, The Medicine that We Need

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Ubud is easily one of my favorite places in Bali. It has been known as the cultural centre of Bali. When you get there, you’ll find many cultural centres like dance studio, museum and the likes. If you are looking for somewhere to just easily layback with no much noise from the party scene, I’d highly recommend you visiting Ubud. Ubud is actually featured in Julia Roberts’ movie, Eat, Pray and Love. According to the local, the word “ubud” means medicine. This place is full of traditional healers. People from the region will go to Ubud to find healing.

I stayed in a hotel closed enough to the centre of Ubud. There are many stores along the street. What I like the most is I can walk safely on the sideway without worrying about being hit by car or motorbike.

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I had read a lot about Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud and decided to give it a try. It was easily one of the best view in Ubud. I will not provide you how to get there since there are a lot of blogs already shared that kind of information. Actually the real reason is because I can’t recall how to get there ahaha.

So here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

The start of the walk

The start of the walk

It is a pretty long walk but it’s totally worth the view and fresh air. I only met a couple of fellow trackers. I went there in low holiday season, probably because of that. It was good though. Less crowd.

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From the top of the hill, you will be able to see some villages

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After a really long walk, finally I got to see some signs of living

Village on top of the hill

Village on top of the hill

After you found a village, you’ll notice a “cafe” with a really nice view of paddy field. Thank God for this place. I was drenched with sweat and needed a place to rest. It was drizzling by the time I reached that place so after I finished my drink, I quickly asked about the walk back. The waiter suggested me to walk back the track I took instead of continue walking straight down. The walk straight down is 2 to 3 times longer. Thankfully, one of the guys were willing to take me to downtown Ubud with his motorbike. I paid him 25 thousand Rupiah for that.

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I asked someone to take me to downtown Ubud with his motorbike

I asked someone to take me to downtown Ubud with his motorbike

Shop and Eat in Ho Chi Minh City!

Hi fellas! How are you doing? Hope you are doing great and feeling all inspired! 🙂 So a while ago, I went on a trip with my best mate, Wayne to Indochina. My best trip so far! For those of you who might be wondering what Indochina is, lemme enlighten you guys 😉 Indochina is actually a peninsula in Southeast Asia with countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore. We had 2 weeks for this trip and after a really long discussion (it takes weeks to decide which countries to go to with such limited time), this is how our trip looked like. IMG_5960 This is how we broke it down:

  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Phuket, Thailand
  • Bangkok, Thailand

Now let’s start with PART ONE: Shop and Eat in Vietnam!

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Ho Chi Minh City from above

IMG_6146 If this is your first time to Ho Chi Minh City, you’d be surprised with the traffic here. Why? This city has so many motorbikes on the street. I mean they occupy like 70% of it! The road is just full of bikes! Be really careful when you are crossing the street here cos they don’t really seem to care about anyone’s life.

Benh Tanh Market

Benh Tanh Market

IMG_6174 Our first stop is this place. Benh Tanh Market is a big market. If you are looking for souvenirs, this is your place. I suggest you to have something in your mind before you come here. Why? Because there are so many products they are selling here. And you might get lost in your head.

And one more thing: Haggle! Haggle! Haggle!

As a proud Indonesian, I am accustomed to haggle in my home country. I have been haggling ever since I was a little kid. Haggling for toys. Haha.

Ok. Below is how I usually haggle and I am proud to say it works like 90% of the time.

Please note that this is how most of the sellers converse with tourists in Indochina. I just shared what I experienced 😉

Seller (S): 1000 for this
Jonny (J): No… Expensive… 500
S: How many you take? (They ALWAYS ask this)
J: Just one pair and I’d take it for 400 right now.
S: Can not sir… Can not… 900 OK?
J: Let’s make it 600 OK?
S: 850. No profit. Cheap. Cheap.
J: Nah.. Thanks. *I walk out and turn my back to ask again* 600?
S: Ok. Ok. 700? *frowned face*
J: No. No… 650?
S: Ok. Ok. 650… You buy more?

My tips on how to haggle:

  • Start with at least half of the asking price. Actually you can get lower than that. Just use your common sense. The way I usually do it is compare it with the price I’ll have to pay in my country and then lower it down a notch. I was told goods in Vietnam is much cheaper than in Indonesia.
  • Be confident. Act as if you know that the original value of the item is actually much lower than the asking price.
  • Be flexible. Being persistent won’t take you anywhere. And you will end up pissing off the seller. So adapt with the seller. If he lowers his asking price, you go up from that insane numbers you just gave him.
  • Smile. Haggling don’t make that seller an enemy. Smile 🙂

After you are done with this market, I strongly suggest you to go to this next place. It’s right across the street of Benh Tanh. It’s on a second story of a coffee shop. IMG_6175   IMG_6144   If you have never tried Pho in your life, this is your time. Pho is Vietnam’s traditional noodle soup and this place serves the best kind! You are a vegetarian? No worries! They have a tasty vegetarian soup too! Pho in this place is so good that we had both lunch and dinner in this place haha

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L’usine, such a hidden gem

Before we got to Ho Chi Minh City, I had done my research and decided that we had to find this French cafe/restaurant called L’usine. It is on Dong Khoi Street. On the second story of an art gallery. I read good reviews on it and I wasn’t disappointed! IMG_6178

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This place is full with expatriates. A way to blend in into local scene, non?

I really like the atmosphere in this place! It might be a biased opinion, coming from a French aficionado like me ;p but hey! That guy in the photo enjoyed it too. He was thinking for some small-bites but eventually opted for lunch. :p

Monsieur Wayne enjoying his lunch

Monsieur Wayne enjoying his lunch

Alas we didn’t spend more than 2 days in this city so not much restaurants/cafe to visit. That concludes my post on Shop and Eat in Vietnam! On my next post, I’ll share some of the cool places we visited in this busy city! Until next time, Jonny

UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yogyakarta

Hi there! I am back with a new post 🙂 This time I am taking you guys to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Meet Prambanan Temple compound!

IMG_7281.JPG This compound is one of the biggest Hindu temple in South East Asia and the largest one in Indonesia. I suggest you going there either in the morning or afternoon. You may want to avoid going there at noon. Why? 1 simple reason: The heat. Don’t expect trees to give you some shades while strolling around the compound. I went there in the afternoon and managed to capture the above sunset pic 🙂

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IMG_7254.JPG Like other Hindu/Buddhist temple, at the entrance you will be given a sarong (like the one I had in the photo) to wear. Man or woman. Everyone has to wear one of those. When you finish walking the whole compound, you will have to return the sarong at the exit gate. Anyway, look at the crowds behind me? Yup and it’s not even high season!

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IMG_7283.JPG A little tip if you are visiting, instead of going directly to the exit gate, you can take a turn from the gate and see more temple compounds along the way. It’s quite a walk because it’s actually circling Prambanan Temple compound. If you are worried about the crowd, no worries. Most of visitors won’t notice this area. At least in my case, it was just me and my friend walking here. Haha. With trees around us, the air is just so refreshing! The temples in this area are much smaller and some were still in renovation by the time we visited.

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IMG_7251.JPG I hope you enjoy this post and I’d like to hear from you too! I’ll keep more interesting places coming so make sure you follow my blog to keep updated! Until next time! 🙂 Jonn

Jatiluwih Rice Fields, Bali

Ok. To kick start this travel blog, I am gonna start with my favorite place, Bali! 🙂

In case you don’t know, Bali is one of many beautiful islands in a tropical country called Indonesia. This time I will share my recent trip to Bali. I have lots to post here but to ease the reading process, I will divide this trip into a few posts.

I’ll start first with this place called Jatiluwih Rice Fields. Before I give you any background on this, I’ll let you enjoy the picture 😉

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It is located in the west part of the island. It has been named a UNESCO Cultural Landscape for their known traditional irrigation Subak system. This irrigation system has been conserved for centuries and passed down from generation to generation.

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You may notice some people with their bikes in the picture. I took a full day bike tour and this field is covered in the bike tour. I’d recommend you going with a tour from TripAdvisor. It’d be less than USD 50 for a day tour. They will pick you up from hotel, take you to have breakfast in a decent restaurant with mountain view, guide you riding through Balinese neighborhood (which is very nice), make sure you don’t fall and injure yourself (yup, that’s me. I slipped and almost fell from a high mountain to a river), give you a cold banana during break time (It is THE most delicious banana I’ve ever tasted! if you have ever walked or ridden a bicycle under direct sun for the whole day, you’d understand this haha) and provide you a tasty traditional Balinese lunch.

Despite the heat and long ride, lemme tell you something: TOTALLY WORTH IT. The view is just amazing. The breeze, oh my…

Ok. I’ll stop talking and let you savor the picturesque scenery 😉

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Sadly, this is the end of the post. Oh how about start following this blog so you won’t miss awesome posts from me! 😉

OK, guys! See you again!

Jonn