LEMBANG, INDONESIA

Lembang is located north of the city of Bandung.  Lembang highlands has waterfalls, picturesque sceneries, plantations, farms, and a nice change of cold weather from humid heat.  

Dusun Bambu

Where to Stay:

  • Dusun Bambu – resort, campsite, family leisure park with many restaurants.
Dusun Bambu

What to See:

  • Dusun Bambu – family leisure park
  • Tangkuban Perahu – active volcano with 3 craters
  • Farmhouse Susu Lembang – European themed village and zoo
  • Maribaya Waterfall – hot springs and waterfalls
  • Cimahi Waterfall Air Terjun ibun Pelangi – tall and impressive
Cimahi Waterfall

Where to Eat:

  • Purbasari Restaurant – Authentic Sudanese cuisine in Dusun Bambu
Lembang highlands

BANDUNG, INDONESIA

Bandung is the capital of Indonesia’s West Java province.  The city has a lively art scene. Sculpture park and creative spaces.  There are lots trendy cafes, restaurants, and music venues. My favorite area is the Dago district.  The weather is relatively cool tropical. Tourism is mostly local instead of international. Many residents of Jakarta come here for the weekend to shop and enjoy the cooler weather.  Day trips to the nearby highlands of Lembang is very popular.

Wot Batu Open Air Museum

Where to Stay:

  • Rumah Stroberi – boutique hotel, organic strawberry and vegetable farm.
  • Padma Hotel Bandung – modern hotel surrounded by greenery.
Wot Batu Open Air Museum

What to See:

  • NuArt Sculpture Park – creator of the giant Garuda Wisnu Kencana sculpture in Bali.
  • Selasar Sunaryo Art Space – impressive on site art installation.
  • Wot Batu Open Air Museum – contemporary art.
  • Lawang Wangi Creative Space – contemporary art and cafe.
  • Saung Angklung Udjo – culture performance of traditional Angklung instrument.
  • Gedung Merdeka – historic building where the 1955 Asia Africa conference took place.
  • Gedung Sate – historic government landmark.
  • Paris Van Java – shopping mall with a roof garden.
Nara Park Bandung

Where to Eat:

  • Nara Park Bandung – restaurants and outdoor concert venue.
  • Coco Rico Fantasy Garden – good food and good view.  
  • Rumah Stroberi – delicious local Sudanese and Indonesian food.
Rumah Stroberi

BALI, INDONESIA

Bali is an island east of Java and west of Lombok.  It’s the land of waterfalls, rice terrace, beaches, and Balinese Hinduism.  I’ve been here twice, and here are some of my notes that I’d like to share.

Conrad Bali

See:

  • Aling Aling waterfall – 3 cliff jumps.  Use a guide for safety
  • Munduk waterfall – easy hike, lagoon swim
  • Lempuyang Temple – 100 meters stairs to arrive at gate
  • Blue lagoon – cleanest beach for snorkeling
  • Tanah Lot Temple – seaside temple, sunset view
  • Jatiluwih Rice Terrace – UNESCO World Heritage
  • Dreamland Beach aka Padang Padang Beach
  • Uluwatu Temple – temple on cliff edge, sunset view
  • Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park – giant sculpture
Garuda Wisnu Kencana

Eat:

  • Yellow Flower Cafe – organic restaurant by a local Balinese family
  • Moksa – organic farm to table restaurant and permaculture garden
  • Sisterfields Cafe, Seminyak
  • Watercress Cafe
  • Cafe Organic Canggu
  • Sage, Ubud – upscale vegan restaurant
  • Clear Cafe – organic
  • Primo Chocolate Factory
  • Kynd Community
  • Alchemy
  • Bambu – fine Indonesian cuisine
  • Balibola, Seminyak
Sunset in Bali

Day Trip:

  • Nusa Penida Penida Island.  Atuh cliff, lunch, Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach, Angel Billabong, Crystal Bay snorkeling.
  • Itinerary #1:  Kelingking Beach, Angel Billabong, Broken Beach, Crystal Bay snorkeling.
  • Itinerary #2: Molenteng Hill, Atuh Beach, Teletubbies Hill.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA

Perth is definitely one of my favorite cities.  It’s ranked one of the most livable cities in the world and I can definitely see why.  It’s very convenient to walk around in the CBD, and all the buses in the CBD are free.  Their world class museums are also free admission. For a bustling city, it has lots green spaces.  My favorite is the botanic garden, such a peaceful haven in the city. The food scene is diverse, international, and gourmet.  It’s also very easy to find healthy food such as an organic green smoothie. Below is a list of the best I’ve sampled on this trip.

01.20181009.Botanic.Garden.01.web.jpgLotterywest Federation Walkway


Eat:

  • Panache – healthy savory brekkie bowl.
  • Little Bird Cafe – green brekky bowl.
  • Heno & Rey – trendy tapas bar and restaurant.
  • Jamie’s Italian – celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant. Good lunch deals.
  • Simple Italian cucina pizzeria – pizza and kale salad.
  • Telegram Coffee at State Buildings – best coffee.
  • Petition Kitchen – gourmet, creative dishes, excellent bread.
  • The Beehive Well Beeing Bar – green smoothie and juices.
  • Yelo Trigg – smashed avocado on sourdough by the beach.
  • The Woodfired Baker, Maylands – most delicious sourdough bun for only $1.
  • City Farm Cafe at Perth City Farm – local brunch spot.
  • Subi Farmers’ Market at Subisaco Primary School – best farmers’ market.
  • Mt Claremont Farmers’ Market – you can buy olive oil and kombucha directly from the makers.

02.20181007.02.Heno&Rey.01
Heno & Rey

See:

  • WA Museum
  • National Gallery of Australia
  • Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts
  • Mettam’s Pool at Trigg Beach – mother nature’s swimming pool.
  • Elizabeth Quay Bridge
  • Lotterywest Federation Walkway – take a stroll with a bird’s eye view at the botanic garden.

03.20181006.02.Trigg.Beach05.webTrigg Beach

ROTTNEST ISLAND, AUSTRALIA

Rottnest Island is a ferry ride away from Perth.  While traveling in Perth, I took a day trip there.
01.20181010.Rottnest.Island.06
Cape Vlamingh

The island is called Rottnest Island because when the Dutch came here in the 17th century, they saw many quokkas running around and thought they were rats.  Quokkas are not rats. They come from the same family as the kangaroo. They live on a handful of small Australian islands such as Rottnest Island. Anyways, the island was named Eylandt ‘t Rottenest or Rats’ Nest Island after the quokkas.  Quokkas are adorable especially a mother quokka with a baby inside her pouch.  You can find them crowding around the bakery, but please don’t feed them human food as it will shorten their life spans.  Quokkas used to live till 7 years old, but since they started eating human food, they only live till 3 years old now on the eastern side of the island.  Away from human settlements, the quokkas on the western side of the island are healthier since they still eat their traditional diet of leaves, stems, grass, and bark.

02.20181010.Rottnest.Island.04.jpgSalmon Bay

There are a total of 63 beaches on the island.  The swimming beaches here have no sharks. It’s protected by a ring of reefs.  The ocean is so clean with 20+ meters visibility.

Eat:

Thomsons Rottnest – fresh local WA seafood and fish.

See:

Salmon Bay – site of the dive drop.  Good for swimming and snorkeling.
The Basin – swimming
Geordie Bay – shopping
Parker Point – swimming/snorkeling
Wadjemup Lighthouse – views
West End / Cape Vlamingh – views
Best Quokka Spotting Locations – next to the bakery.
03.20181010.Rottnest.Island.08.Quokka03A real quokka looking at a stuffed animal quokka.

04.20181010.Rottnest.Island.09.sunsetBeautiful sunset on the ferry back to Perth.

SWAN VALLEY, AUSTRALIA

Swan Valley is a beautiful and tranquil oasis.  Only 30 minutes away from the city of Perth, many city dwellers come here for the weekend.  Sip wine, eat gourmet local food, take a walk in nature, and just enjoy the slow pace of life.  The food here is delicious.  We were there in the beginning of October to attend Entwined in the Valley festival.  The weather was perfect. Dressed in layers with a light jacket, I was all set to run around in the festivities. From sampling various foods at the Food Truck Rumble to petting cute baby sheep at the Good Old Fashioned Country Fair.  There are many things to do and eat, even if you’re not here for the festival.  Below is a list of all the things that made me fall in love with Swan Valley.

Mandoon Estate

Stay:

Elegantly designed rooms with amazing views.  Each room comes with a balcony for your morning qigong or yoga practice.  The nature walks surrounding this winery has breathtaking views.  In addition to the winery, it also has a brewery, a restaurant, and an art gallery.

Swan Valley

Eat:

  • Homestead Brewery – beer, beer bread, fish and chips.
  • Taylors Art & Coffee House – where locals go for breakfast and brunch.
  • Riverbrook Restaurant at Upper Reach Winery – gourmet wine and food.
  • The House of Honey – honey and mead tasting.
  • Morish Nuts – local macadamia nuts in every imaginable flavors.
  • Mondo Nougat – artisan dairy free nougat.
  • The Henley Brook – eat and drink outdoor, popular with the locals.
  • Stewart’s at Brookleigh Restaurant – delicious food and beautiful sunset view.

See:

  • Bells Rapids Park – best hiking trails in the region.
  • Guildford Heritage Walk Trails – downtown, heritage walk.
  • Caversham Wildlife Park – Exotic Australian animals, selfie with a koala.

FREMANTLE, AUSTRALIA

Fremantle is a nice day trip from Perth or Swan Valley.  Below is a list of what I’ve sampled in a day trip.

Eat:

The Raw Kitchen – chic and stylish raw vegan restaurant with a yoga studio and a zero waste lifestyle shop.  I like the hummus and green salads.

See:

Freemantle Downtown
Bathers Beach
Fremantle Prison – UNESCO World Heritage site, good informative tour of history.

01.20181005.Fremantle.Prison01.web
Fremantle Prison

02.20181005.Fremantle.Prison03.web
Fremantle Prison

Farm To Table lunch at Wonder Wilderfarm

Wonder Wilderfarm is an organic farm in Relau, Penang, Malaysia. The farm is run by two women who are very passionate about organic food. They also make their own farm products at their shop such as fermented coconut cheese, homemade lip balm and extra virgin coconut oil from their coconut trees on the farm.

In addition to running an organic farm, they also collaborate with Pei Chin from Farm to Plate Malaysia, and host organic farm lunches. Today I had the most amazing home cooked meals right at the farm. Everything on the plate was freshly harvested this morning. The 4 courses vegan and gluten free organic lunch with drinks cost 30RM or 7.7 USD per person. Everything was delicious and you can see the two ladies cooking at the open kitchen right on the farm. It was a communal table and there were 12 people. We ate under the trees and fresh breeze. The first course was a salad consisted of herbs, leaves, and edible flowers, all grown on the farm. It was a very light and refreshing salad, perfect for the weather. The second course was a vegetable soup with homemade coconut cheese, the mild bayan leaves compliment the fermented coconut cheese very well. The main was farm veggies cooked different ways over brown rice with a very cute baby carrot. The dessert was tapioca fritter served with chocolate mint leaf. Drinks were homemade pea flowers tea and brewed nutmeg drink. Everything was delicious and I feel the care and love that went into growing these veggies on the land without pesticides and chemicals, then harvesting them, and finally cooking them, and serving them on the plate for all of us. After lunch, I got to walk around the farm and bought wild cilantro and lemon balm, which Alicia, the owner of Wonder Wilderfarm, freshly cut for me.

It was an amazing experience and delicious! I’d highly recommend checking out the farm lunches and visit the farm!

Wonder Wilderfarm

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Farm2PlateMalaysia

Camping in Nordmarka, Norway. Day 1

JourneyZone 2017

The JourneyZone website doesn’t have much information on the trip, except “the most epic journey across the forests and lakes of Nordmarka ever!”

I didn’t know what it meant, but I’ll soon come to experience the most epic trip of my life.

The trip started on Friday after the conference ended.  I got up super early to pack and wash my hair, knowing that I will not be able to wash for the next two days.  At 7am, everyone gathered around and we all took the train from Oslo to Grua, around 40 km north of Oslo.

After we got off the train, we started hiking in the Norwegian woods. The beauty of Nordmarka cannot be described in words.  It was beauty beyond words.  The big tall Norwegian trees, the blue skies, the crisp clean air, the wet moss, slippery rocks and stones, I was just fumbling through this beautiful forest and fell on some delicious blueberry bushes.  Most of us were picking the blueberries and eating them throughout the hike.  They were delicious, organic and wild, the best blueberries I’ve ever tasted.

I saw some really cute mushrooms, they looked like the Super Mario Bros. mushrooms, so colorful and vibrant.  However, I was advised not to eat them.  Some are poisonous and some are magical.

We were a group of 30 people plus three local guides.  We hiked approximately from Skrikertangen to Svarttjern in the Norwegian woods.  At the end of this epic trip, we will come to hike about 60 km in 2.5 days.  It’s probably the most amount of exercise I’ve ever done.

Tonight the campsite was set up by Belgen Lake, which is part of the bigger Gjerdingen Lake.  The view and especially the sunset was stunningly beautiful.

Dinner was Norwegian wild game stew which consisted of moose meat, potatoes, carrots and lingonberry.  It was absolutely delicious and warmed our bodies in this cold night.

After dinner, people were drinking by the fire and some were chopping wood.  I went to sleep about 9pm.  I used the wet naps to clean myself.  I didn’t want to wash my face in the lake, because the water was cold and I was afraid of falling in.  There were about eight people per tent.  The sleeping bag was very comfortable and kept me warm throughout the night.

Tomorrow, we will hike for 4 hours and attempt to canoe across 3 lakes to get to our second campsite, which is deep into the woods.  There are no roads so cars cannot get there.  More adventure awaits.

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