Explore Indonesia #11: 3 Days in UBUD Bali (3-Day Ubud Itinerary)

Early June this year, my parents came up to Jakarta and together, we went for a weekend getaway to Bali. I wanted to spend all of our three days in Ubud because I had already visited Seminyak and Nusa Dua in a previous Bali trip last year. Plus I’ve heard so much about Ubud — Bali’s artistic and traditional homeland.

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Weekend getaway with family in Ubud, Bali.

We stayed at The Purist Villas, a tropical Villa Resort 5 minutes drive from the heart of Ubud. The resort is nestled into natural Balinese surroundings, which can be seen directly from the villas, restaurant and main pool.

Designed with the concept of privacy, comfort, and modern architecture combined with traditional features, our stay there was PURE BLISS.

Day 1

Ubud is most well-known for her stunning and famed rice terraces and the Tegalalang Rice Terrace is a key highlight.

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Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud.

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Beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system.

This exquisite terrace is located precisely on a hill bank, with a breathtaking valley panorama and coconut trees ornamenting the surroundings.

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Took my breath away.

We followed the locals off-road into the paddy fields and watched them harvest their crops. The Balinese people are a friendly and warmhearted bunch; they waved and smiled happily at us as we passed them by.

We stopped at various points along to way to take pictures, breathe in fresh air, and simply soak in the natural surroundings.

Do wear comfortable walking shoes as there is no proper foot path and weaving your way through the fields may involve navigating some wet steep slopes.

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Some pretty steep steps.

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Enjoying the view and good air.

After our 2.5 hours ‘hike’, we were famished. Lunch was at Kepitu Restaurant, a hidden gem located in The Kayon Resort.

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Kepitu Restaurant, Kayon Resort.

The restaurant design features wood, bamboo and an Alang-Alang grass roof which seamlessly blends in with nature.

From the floating sky roof deck, Kepitu Restaurant boasts a spectacular 180-degree view over the pool and jungle landscape. And a cascading waterfall completes this tropical paradise.

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A view to behold.

Kepitu Restaurant serves a good range of Indonesian cuisine, but have Asian and Western food on their menu too. We tried their Indonesian specialty sets which were good. Here are some food pictures to entice you:

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A relaxing and tranquil dining experience.

After our filling lunch, we were ready to walk off the calories at Campuhan Ridge Walk.

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Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud.

Directions to get there: Start your journey at the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa on Jalan Campuhan and park your car at the school. Once you see the Campuhan bridge, follow the pathway on the right that leads towards Gunung Lebah Temple and continue until you see a paved road. Walk along the paved road. That is where your adventure begins. 🙂

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A lovely walk with lots of nature to see.

It was an unusually romantic short trek that took us through rice fields, quaint Indonesian huts and exquisitely designed villas.

Butterflies and dogs accompanied us on the leisurely 2-3km stroll, which made it all the more enjoyable. If you’re tired, you can make a pit stop on your way back at Karsa Kafe.

Make sure you stay sufficiently hydrated and apply layers of mozzie repellant!

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A great retreat from hectic city life.

Next up, dinner at Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant — a dining experience where it is all about the Bebek (the duck).

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Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant.

At the restaurant, you will find duck statues everywhere, ducks splashing around in the pond, and of course the delicious crispy duck on your plate.

Situated at the corner of a picturesque green rice paddy field, you can gaze out from your private pavilion across the rows of little rice plants and listen to the gentle buzz of the surrounding nature.

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Dining with nature at its very best.

Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant serves a wide selection of cuisine, including contemporary western and innovative Indonesian/Balinese specialties. One must-try is the legendary Bebek Betutu or Balinese smoked duck. The crispy duck with sambal was awesome too. (My stomach is growling as I type this.)

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All ready to conquer the ducks!

Day 2

We started off our second day in Ubud at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

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Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Ubud.

You can enter the monkey forest through one of three gates: the main gate at the southern end of Monkey Forest Rd; from 100m further east near the car park; or from the southern side near Nyuh kuning.

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Hello there!!

The sanctuary is inhabited by a band of over 600 grey-haired (and greedy!) long-tailed Balinese macaques who are a far cry from the innocent-looking doe-eyed monkeys on the brochures.

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“If you’re not gonna listen to Mama, I’ll pull your tail.”

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Basking in the sun.

We were super amused at how intelligent the monkeys were, especially on matters pertaining to bananas. I saw one monkey pull down a man’s shorts (!!!) to steal the banana that was tucked in his boxers and another reach into a lady’s pocket to retrieve a banana.

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Mission accomplished – BANANAS.

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Towering ancient trees at Money Forest.

We had lunch at Swept Away Restaurant (located in Samaya Resort), by far one of the best restaurants of the entire trip — both in terms of ambiance and food.

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Took a buggy ride down to Swept Away Restaurant, Samaya Resort.

A wooden deck at Swept Away is just inches from the mighty Ayung River – sit back, unwind and let your worries get swept away as you dine along the riverside surrounded by lush greenery.

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Ayung River.

The meal started on a good note with complimentary bread that was super fluffy, soft and warm. Not to mention the amazing butter!!!

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Complimentary bead and butter.

Swept Away serves a varied and eclectic menu with various menu options throughout the day: breakfast menu, light lunch menu, small bites menu serving Asian-style tapas, and two dinner menus (a la carte and degustation).

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Lunch at Swept Away.

All our mains and dishes for sharing were made to perfection and our tummies were really happy.

After lunch, we went down to the riverside to take photos and bask in the cool sea breeze.

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Fun fact: The Ayung River is the longest river (75km!) on the Indonesian island of Bali.

We also explored the grounds of Samaya Resort, which overlooks some gorgeous paddy fields. If I ever visit Ubud again, I will be very tempted to stay a couple of nights at The Samaya Ubud. 🙂

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Wouldn’t you love waking up to this!

After lunch, we headed to the Tegenungan Waterfall in Gianyar. From the viewing deck, you can see the majestic waterfall in the distance.

However, for a closer sight, you would need to descend the stairs down the river. If you have knee problems or have many young children with you, I’d advise not going down. The stairs are steep and the climb back up is treacherous.

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“165 steps up. Good luck.”

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Dad and mom decided not to follow us all the way down.

That said, Tegenungan waterfall is a dazzlingly refreshing retreat in Ubud. The rich green surroundings and perfectly flowing fresh water make a beautiful sight for all.

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Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud.

I saw many tourists take a dip in the river; some adventurous ones even jumped into the waterfall from a 15 meters height. If you’re thinking of swimming/frolicking in the river, there are shower facilities where you can change.

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Love the sounds and the power of pounding water.

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Kopi Luwak Tea stop before dinner.

After all that climbing of stairs to see Tegenungan waterfall, we were in a dire need of some protein. Dinner was at Warung Ibu Oka, a place famous for its Babi Guling (Balinese-style whole roasted suckling pig).

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Giving us a warm welcome to Warung Ibu Oka.

To make Babi Guling, the entire pig is stuffed with a combination of spices used in traditional Indonesian cooking including turmeric, coriander seeds, lemon grass and more.

Usually, the Babi Guling is served up in big chunks in a rattan bowl with rice, fried intestines, spicy vegetables and Ibu Oka’s secret sauce. Unfortunately, by the time we got there around 7 p.m., most of the stuff (Babi Guling included) were sold out.

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Babi Guling and vegetables were sold out. 😦

We were left with limited choices and the dinner wasn’t fantastic. The only consolation was that Agent D and I made friends with many of the resident dogs of Ibu Oka.

Such cuties!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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Dinner companions for the night.

Day 3

Time always flies when you’re holidaying and day 3 marked our last day in Ubud. SOBS. Before checking out of the villa, we took a dip in the pool.

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One with nature.

After all the sightseeing, day 3 was reserved specially for SHOPPING (much to Agent D’s dismay). We headed down to Ubud Traditional Art Market, locally referred to as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’, to search for unique handcrafted souvenirs to take home with us.

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Ubud Traditional Art Market.

Ubud Traditional Art Market sells loads of stuff — silk scarves, batik, silver jewelry, paintings, woven bags, wooden house decor, and the list goes on. Most of the goods are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan.

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Shopping streets.

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Handmade dogs for sale, anyone?

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Section of the market that was burnt down by a huge fire in 2016.

Fun fact: there was a scene in Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love where actress Julia Roberts and a male character were filmed strolling through the stalls. 😉

Oh and don’t forget to bargain at the market! As the place can get very crowded in the day, keep your bag in front of you at all times with the zipper closed.

Some of my shopping loot:

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Hand-painted flower portrait.

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Wooden tray for remote controls/drinks.

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A family of 3 giraffes, carved by hand.

Our last lunch in Ubud was at Bridges Bali, a lovely restaurant to close our trip.

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Bridges Bali Restaurant.

Bridges is situated at the end of the two Campuhan Bridges, and nestled right in the valley overlooking the River Wos. Hence the restaurant’s motto ‘Where worlds meet’.

There are 7 distinctive levels where you can choose to dine on; whether you are settled and relaxed on the terraces surrounded by tranquil greenery or down by the riverside, I guarantee you an enjoyable meal.

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Take the spiral staircase up or down to the level of your choice.

We chose one of the uppermost levels where we could gaze out across the picturesque valley as we dined.

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Interior of the restaurant with a backdrop of greenery.

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Showing us to our seat.

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Awatch as the outside world continues on the bridges above you.

Their food was fantastic, every dish was cooked to perfection.

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Table flat lay of all the food we ordered.

Along with the ambiance, lunch at Bridges Bali was indulgent and memorable dining at its best!

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An indulgent lunch against nature’s landscape.

Thank you for following me on this adventure! xx

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Now what’s next? 🙂

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Explore Indonesia #10: Day Trip to Kampoeng Djamoe Organic

Kampoeng Djamoe Organik (KaDO) by Martha Tilaar Group is an oasis in the industrial area of ​​Cikarang, about 45-50 km east of central Jakarta. It functions as an environmental education + conservation centre and makes a great destination for a day trip out of Jakarta. 

We left Jakarta on a Thursday morning at 0730 and reached KaDO at 0930 (with smooth traffic, the journey should take less than an hour).

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Welcome to Kampoeng Djamoe Organic!

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the friendly people of KaDO and served a welcome drink (a refreshing herbal concoction meant to warm the throat). As our group was pretty big, we were split up into two smaller groups with separate guides.

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Scenic green grounds.

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Excited tourists.

Our guide brought us on a tour around the Herbal Garden and introduced some of the plants that grow there. KaDO consists of 10 hectares of green land that is home to 650 species of plants, all of which are grown organically. The entire place is very well-organized; the plants have tags with information on their names and uses.

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KaDO’s plants are grown organically, without any fertilizers.

The plants at KaDO are grown for 3 main purposes — medicine, aromatherapy, and cosmetics. Did you know that…pineapple is good for the hair; lavender is good for the skin; teak leaves help prevent obesity?!!

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Such pretty orchids!

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Orchid (left) and plant (right) labelled with its name and uses.

Our guide jokingly told us to breathe in as much of the oxygen-rich air as we could (I personally took loads of deep breaths during my time there). According to him, the air we usually breathe in Jakarta is mixed with pollution and of much poorer quality than that of Kampoeng Djamoe’s.

After the Garden tour, we visited the Martha Tilaar Training Center where young girls from rural villages (some sold by their own parents sadly) are taught skills to make a living.

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Martha Tilaar Training Center.

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Young girls undergoing training. In this picture, they are mixing the herbs required for body treatment/spa.

They are offered free boarding and meals with a small allowance and learn treatment techniques for the body, face, hair, hand and foot.

Upon graduating, they get sent out to the Martha Tilaar Salon Day Spas around Indonesia. (I had previously wrote about my Peach Delima Body Treatment here: Of Spas in Jakarta: Martha Tilaar.)

I went on this day trip with the ASEAN Women Circle (AWC) and we got to plant our very own tree on KaDO’s grounds. Please grow well, little one. Perhaps I’ll come visit you some years later.

Following which, we proceeded to Kedai Sehat Alami for a snack break.

There was a short presentation on the benefits of herbal plants followed by interesting live demonstrations such as making healthy juices/herbal drinks, getting chlorophyll direct from leaves, etc. 

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We got to taste some of the herbal drink concoctions from their homegrown plants. Good stuff!

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Beneficial herbs for good health.

A buffet style organic lunch was included in the day tour package. The food was prepared fresh, using herbs from KaDO’s garden.

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Happy participants.

One highlight of this trip was meeting the woman behind all this, Martha Tilaar herself. She shared about her infertility journey of 16 years, where reputable doctors/professors around the world told her she would never be able to have children of her own. But her mom, a herbalist, decided to use herbs to treat her and she eventually conceived at 41 years of age (three years later). 

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Ibu Martha Tilaar. She’s nearing 80 but doesn’t look it at all?!

Speaking of herbs as an alternative medicine, KaDO has their very own resident doctor within the compound (with a Bachelor of Medicine from University of Indonesia and Masters degree in Herbs). The KaDO clinic takes a holistic approach to diagnosis and prescribes herbs instead of western medicine. The doctor is trained in techniques like acupuncture and acupressure as well. Instead of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), you might want to consider this. 🙂 

After lunch, there were more live demonstrations on makeup application and body care. Everyone danced to traditional music before departing KaDO, which was a really nice finish to our visit.

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Body SPA demo.

Each of us went home with a generous door gift from KaDO. I was given one packet of red ginger tea and one packet of Java tea + Martha Tilaar beauty products including a bottle of moisturizer + a REAL plant in a pot. It’s my very first plant in Jakarta and I hope it doesn’t die on me! :/

To sum up, Kampoeng Djamoe Organik Garden is a place that focuses on organic cultivation and conservation; it also functions as a center for environment education and training. It is their hope that they will be able to raise awareness on the importance of protecting our environment, conserving indigenous plants, while implementing green technology.

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Thanks for inviting me along, Shar!!

KaDO is a lovely green respite from Jakarta and would make an ideal weekend trip for families with children (especially if you want to educate them on the environment).

It is open Monday to Saturday from 0800 – 1630 (entrance fee of IDR 20k). They also have day tour packages ranging from IDR 95k – IDR 150k per person, inclusive of lunch. (Their website was last updated on 29 Apr 2014 so prices may have gone up.)

Drop by their website for more information: http://www.kampoengdjamoemarthatilaar.com/


Kampoeng Djamoe Organik (KaDO)
Jalan Ciujung, Kawasan EJIP Pintu II
Cikarang Selatan
Jawa Barat 17530

Explore Indonesia #9: A Hidden Gem in Belitung (Seychelles of Asia)

Sorry I’ve been MIA-ing for so long! I was pretty occupied the past two weeks and couldn’t find time to sit down and update. Today, I’m staying in because there is a mass demonstration by Islamic hardliners happening around Jakarta. Am praying that peace will reign in Indonesia. For more information:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-on-high-alert-for-nov-4-protest-against-jakarta/3249324.html

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/thousands-of-muslim-hardliners-to-rally-in-jakarta-over-alleged-blasphemy-by-governor


So last week, Ivana and I made an impromptu decision to visit the secret tropical paradise of Belitung. We booked our air tickets and hotel just four days before and off we went!

Belitung is almost like the Seychelles of Asia, with its unique and beautiful granite rock formations all over the island. Its beaches have fine white sand surrounded by pristine waters a brilliant shade of turquoise. And the best thing yet – it is only one hour by flight from Jakarta! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Belitung, Seychelles of Asia. #nofilter

We didn’t want to rush around ‘seeing’ things and decided to take things easy for our three (two full) days there.

Our first stop was the magical Kaolin Lake – a world of white and blue formed from extreme mining activity decades ago. Isn’t it such a beautiful irony?

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Kaolin Lake.

After checking into the hotel, we spent some time exploring the city centre. Belitung is pretty untouched by tourism and is not as commercialized as Bali.

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Belitung, city centre.

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There are no malls in Belitung, only shops like these.

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A must-try in Belitung – Mie Belitung Atep.

We spent the latter half of the day hiding from the rain at the BW suites bar, which has a lovely view.

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Fries by the pool/sea.

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Rain, rain, please go away!

Thankfully the rain cleared up after three (!!!) hours. According to the locals, it is the rainy season now and heavy showers can last for an entire day. I guess we should count ourselves lucky.

We headed to Tanjung Tinggi Beach to catch the sunset + have dinner by the beach.

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Tanjung Tinggi Beach.

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Such cloudyyy skies.

Tanjung Tinggi is one of the more popular Belitung beaches after being featured in the Indonesian movie, Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops). The film was the highest-grossing in Indonesian box office history and won a number of local and international awards.

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HUGE granite boulders.

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So this is how an ant feels like…

Dinner was a short walk away at Lemadang Seafood and Grill. A boardwalk connects the restaurant to the beachfront. One can opt to sit by the beach and enjoy the fresh breeze over dinner, which we did.

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Sun finally setting over the sea.

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Dinner under the stars. 🙂

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Highlight of our meal – seafood soup in coconut.

The dishes were simple but delicious. Our tummies were filled with happiness. 🙂

We woke up early the next day for our island hopping tour with Street Taxi (IDR 400K for a private boat/day). The islands of Belitung are simply gorgeous! I’ll let pictures do the talking…

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Pulau Lengkuas from afar.

Pulau Lengkuas is a small clean island surrounded by big rocks and dreamy white sand. The many big palm trees around the island provide shady spots for a picnic and allow you to seek respite from the sweltering heat.

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Setting foot on the island.

Pulau Lengkuas has an iconic lighthouse, which was recently re-painted without any change to its historical interior.

Do not skip climbing up to the top-most storey of the lighthouse — awaiting you is a view to behold like no other. Just standing there and taking in the vast expanse of the ocean to infinity and beyond = BREATHTAKING.

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Thank God for the good weather – sun hiding behind the cotton candy clouds.

We snorkelled around Pulau Lengkuas and saw many cute fishes and beautiful corals.

Our next stop was Pulau Kepayang, home to a conservation centre that promotes eco-tourism. Baby turtles are kept there till they’re big enough to be set free into the sea.

One can also dive, snorkel, or canoe around the lovely island.

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Picturesque Seychelles-like boulders and pristine turquoise waters.

The guy who took us around the island told us that he has been staying on the island for years. He loves taking photos and reads up on photography techniques at night because there is simply nothing to do on the island. At that point, I loaned him my camera so he could hone his skills.

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Photo taken by our island friend.

Whilst waiting for lunch to be ready, we explored the granite boulders tucked away on the other side of the island (all photos taken by our enthusiastic photographer).

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Take #1: In the waters.

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Take #2: My ANTM moment.

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Take #3: Up on a boulder.

And more photos…

We were super duper hungry towards the end of our ‘photo shoot’. Thankfully lunch was ready in good time. We ordered our lunch (IDR 110k/pax) through Street Taxi because it is apparently cheaper than ordering on the island itself.

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A feast by the sea – cooked by our two boatmen.

After lunch, we stopped by Pulau Kelayang to see its caves.

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Mesmerizing blue.

Just before boarding our boat, we caught sight of a starfish!!! This little one was washed up to shore along with the receding tide.

From a distance, I saw some thoughtless tourists remove a starfish from the sea. To my dismay, they were taking turns to take selfies with the starfish!! :/ [Note: Starfish are a delicate species that cannot survive out of water for long.]

We headed back to the hotel to wash up thereafter. Dinner was at Belitung Timpo Duluk, which serves traditional Belitung-styled dinner.

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Belitung Timpo Duluk.

The interior of the restaurant is homely yet quaint and vintage at the same time. And there’s AIR-CON (!!!) inside, a rare find in Belitung.

You have to try their speciality ‘Dulang Set’, which consists of gangan ikan (fish head), ayam ketumbar (coriander chicken), sate ikan (fish satay), atiampela (gizzard and heart innards), lalapan (raw vegetable salad) and sambal serai (lemongrass hot sauce). #sogoodANDawesome

I cannot remember the exact price of the Dulang Set but it was very reasonable.

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What’s cooking?! Surrprissssse!

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Great meal to end off our Belitung stay.

You’ve been nothing short of ah-maaazing, Belitung! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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And thank you, Ivana, for coming along this adventure with me! 😉