Category Archives: Travel

Climbing the volcano known as Mount Batur, Kintamani, Bali

On 12 August I went with Mathieu and Milly to Kintamani to climb the Batur Volcano.

At 02:30am the driver picked us up from our hotel in Ubud. It’s about an hour drive from Ubud to Kintamani.

Before we started climbing we got a small breakfast of banana pancakes and coffee.

Fortunately we brought some warm clothes because early in the morning in the mountains it is rather cold. After breakfast we drove to the starting point near the bottom of the volcano but we were not the only one there… Many people had the same idea, it was busy, hundreds of people planned to climb the volcano that morning.

Eddy, our guide gave us water and a torch. The torch is a very important tool for the climb as at 04:00am it is still very dark. Eddy also explained there are around 100 guides working at the Mount Batur climb and each guide is allowed to take a maximum of 4 persons. So if all guides were working with full groups there were around 500 people going up. It seemed less although still plenty! As we started as one of the last ones we saw a Christmas tree like mountain due to the torches going up in a long line. Funny sight actually.

To be honest, I thought climbing the volcano would not be so difficult, but I was wrong, it’s not easy walk in the park. Some parts were steep and you had to focus were to place your feet as it was a very uneven path with rocks and cracks etc.

The plan is to reach the top before sunrise. As the sun rises approx. 06:30am and it takes 1,5/2 hours to reach the top.

We made it, reached the top half an hour before sunrise. We were very lucky with the weather. Clear sky and no rain or clouds and therefore had a beautiful view. We saw the sun come up and it was really great.

We got a special breakfast at the top. Eggs boiled in hot lava steam, bread with steamed bananas, hot thee and coffee and when we finished the breakfast and after taking lots of photos we went down. Going down went faster and I think it was easier also.

Later, not far from the volcano we took a swim in hot spring water. The hot water comes from the volcano and was very soothing for our tired muscles from the climb.

We felt very satisfied because we made it!

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‘Pure’ Bali

On the 15th of each month my photography friends and I will place at least one photo based on a pre-selected theme on our Stoer Photographers facebook page. All Stoer photographers will use the same theme but will visualize it from their own perspective.

For this month the theme is ‘Pure’

Every day I see ‘Pure’ things in Bali.  In Canggu the place where I live you still see many rice paddies. Two weeks ago I saw the farmers planted the bibit (young rice plants) in the earth, all by hand.  They worked very hard, with their feet in the mud. At the end of the day all the bibit are planted.

Every day I passed the rice field on my motorbike. I can see the rice plants growing.

Today I had to stop to make a photo of this beautiful rice paddy…

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Bibit (young rice plants)

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Planted all by hand…

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working hard in the mud

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The work is done…

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Two weeks later a beautiful rice paddy


Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam

In Amsterdam the weather is cold, rainy and misty. Nature looks grey, no leafs on the trees, no green. It is almost winter time. I miss the tropical weather and the green nature, but… no problem, I just went to Hortus Botanicus.

Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world. Today, there are more than 4.000 plant species growing in the garden and greenhouses.

Because my focus is on Asia I was curious what kind of Asian flowers and trees I would find in Hortus Botanicus.

When I stepped in the tropical section of the greenhouse I was surprised. The greenhouse looks like a real tropical jungle and even feels like a tropical jungle, hot and humid. So great… The plants and trees are beautiful and so green, like Asia. I’m happy…

I made a lot of photo’s, just too much to show.

Better is, if you are going to Amsterdam, to visit this beautiful place.

More info about Hortus Botanicus you will find on: www.dehortus.nl

Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Plantage Middenlaan 2a
Amsterdam
T. +31 (0)20 6259021

In the back, the gorgeous museum cafe The Orangery

Inside the butterfly greenhouse

Inside the the tropical section of the greenhouse


The Zeedijk, Amsterdam Chinatown

I’m still in Amsterdam and try to find Asian links with the Dutch… because my focus is on Asia. That is not so difficult, lots of Asian people live in Amsterdam. Approx. 120.000 Chinese people live in the Netherlands of which 25.000 in Amsterdam.

The Zeedijk, also called Amsterdam Chinatown, is located downtown Amsterdam, close to the famous Red Light district. You will find many Chinese restaurants, called toko’s, but also other Asian restaurants and deli’s as well Chinese shops and massage salons. The biggest Asian supermarket Amazing Oriental is located on the Nieuwmarkt, close to the Zeedijk and The Buddhist temple Fo Guang Shan He Hua, the biggest Buddhist temple in Europe, is also located on the Zeedijk.

The Buddhist temple cost 9 million guilders (4.1 million euros) to build, 6 million of which was donated by the Fo Guang Shan organization and the remainder by businessmen and other private donors. Construction workers from Taiwan build the roof with the specific decoration. It was completed in the year 2000 and dedicated in person by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

If you are in Amsterdam don’t miss the Chinatown tour!

More information about the temple you will find on:
http://www.sacred-destinations.com

The Zeedijk, Monday morning, still quiet…

Entrance of The Buddhist Temple Fo Guang Shan He Hua

Inside the temple

The friendly staff of the temple

Nam Kee restaurant is a famous restaurant in Amsterdam because of the
Dutch drama film ‘Oysters at Nam Kee’

Bruce Lee still popular in Amsterdam Chinatown

The biggest Asian supermarket in Amsterdam ‘Amazing Oriental’


Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam

Last friday I went to the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. The Tropenmuseum is one of Europe’s leading ethnographic museums, renowned for its collection. This museum it’s my favorite. Every time when I’m in Holland I visit this museum. I love to make a journey in non-western cultures. The Tropenmuseum offers permanent and temporary exhibitions display (art) objects, photographs, music and film. I could tell you more, but it is better to visit the museum when you go to Amsterdam or have a look on their website www.tropenmuseum.com

Enjoy the tour!

The beautiful and historic building

Historical photographs the Bridges photographed in former Dutch East Indies

Former Dutch East Indies collection

Toean (Sir) Anwar (Indonesia), ca 1880 – 1940. He looks very real…

Collection from Bali, Indonesia

Kris, traditional weapons from Indonesia

Beautiful piece of art from wood

Collection from Papua New Guinea


Villa Flow, East-Bali’s Best Kept Secret

I posted already a few times about places in the East of Bali. In Karangasem you find the beautiful rice paddies, the chocolate and soap factory, restaurant Bali Asri in Gelumpang village, near the town of Amlapura and White Sand Beach. Yes, we love visiting East Bali… And when we are in the East, we always stay in the stunning boutique hotel villa Flow.

Villa Flow is located on a hill and the magnificent view takes your breath away. The main villa is stylish decorated, the guestrooms are beautiful and the Coconut house is a great wooden house. From all the rooms you have panoramic views. On the premises you also find a large gazebo for your massage, pedicure, manicure or to follow yoga lessons.  Of course they have a great swimming pool but one of the greatest things on this premises is the very large organic garden. All meals they serve consist of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, directly picked from the garden. The owners love to give you a tour of this wonderful place…

And we are not finish yet…  villa Flow also has its own private beach at the ocean, it is in walking distance so do not miss it. A great place to relax late afternoon and watch another Bali sunset enjoying a nice cocktail.

It is a great pleasure every time to stay in villa Flow. The relaxing atmosphere, the beautiful environment and lots more… Yes, Villa Flow is East-Bali Best Kept Secret for sure!

I add a few photos of villa Flow to this post, but if you want to see the beautiful guestrooms and more you have to go to their website www.villaflowbali.com

Boutique Hotel Villa Flow
Seraya-Barat, Karangasem, Bali
Phone: +62 82 145242733
info@villaflowbali.com

The main villa and the huge swimming pool

Coconut house from below

The roof terrace

Panoramic view from the roof terrace

The stylish decorated television room…

and verandah

The amazing organic garden

and Villa Flow’s private beach…

with lots of green


and beyond… Margaret River, West Australia

One of the reasons we travelled to West-Australia is… we are wine lovers. From Perth we drove to Margaret River, a paradise for wine lovers. We stayed in Cape Lodge, a beautiful place to stay. We loved the apartment suite, so big… The environment is very relaxed, very green and for runners a great place to run, so both we did. If you plan to stay in Cape Lodge, book a dinner in the restaurant, the food and the wine is really fantastic.

http://http://www.capelodge.com.au/

On the road to the winery we saw many kangaroos. I couldn’t resist taking a photo.

The first winery where we had our tasting was at McLeod Creek Wines. When we entered the estate we saw a man working in his garden with a bird on his shoulder, so funny…  After Mcleod Creek Wines we had a tasting at Voyager Estate. This estate is a totally different compared to McLeod Creek wines. Very big, white and perfect. To perfect to my taste… The next day we drove to Leeuwin Estate. Friends advised us to have a lunch at Leeuwin Estate. We did and we don’t regret it, fabulous food and delicious wine and served in a great setting.

http://www.mcleodcreekwines.com.au/
http://www.voyagerestate.com.au/
http://leeuwinestate.com.au/

We did not only stop at wineries and taste wines, we also drove to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. From the top of the lighthouse you could see whales in the distance as well as the spot were the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.

If you are in bad physical shape don’t take the stairs to the top of the lighthouse…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Leeuwin_Lighthouse

The last day we visited the Jewel Cave. What nature creates, unbelievable….

http://www.australiassouthwest.com/Things_to_See_and_Do/Caves