Sharing our discoveries with you as we travel this journey in life…
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We arrived in Lovina with one specific objective – Bali Dolphin Watching. Aside from watching dolphin from confined aquarium, our past encounter with live dolphin was in SeaWorld, Gold Coast Australia. This time, we have chance to watch it live neither in aquarium nor at the theme park!
Seeing Dolphin in Bali
In the beginning, we were quite skeptical, having heard friends who signed up for the tour didn’t spot any dolphin. We asked our driver Mr Agus before arriving in Lovina, “What is the chance of spotting dolphin in Lovina?”. His answer was, “So far, I can see dolphin each time I’m there..and I heard the same from the guest I have driven too. In fact, if you are lucky, you can see over 500, if unlucky maybe around 50-100”. Taking his word, we booked a hotel in Lovina.
It was a beautiful Thursday morning, we woke up at 5.30am. Pak Agus was very punctual, and we left our hotel Pandawa Village around 5.45am. About 10 minutes later, we arrived at beachside and the boat captain Pak Komang was already there waiting.
Being a first time visitor to Bali, Singaraja town in north Bali was never in our family original plan. After all, most of Bali attractions are located in south (Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Jimbaran, etc) and central such as Ubud, Kintamani.
For our family of daddy, mommy and a 5 year old boy, the thought of visiting Singaraja first stem from Lovina, a beach in north Bali famed for its dolphin watch. When we first read about Lovina and surrounding area, we came across a town called Singaraja. The name Singaraja can be broken down into two words – “Singa” (Lion) and “Raja” (King) when translated in Malay or Indonesian language.
Turned out to be this city of ‘Lion King’ was the former administrative capital during the Dutch era. Now Singaraja is the capital of Buleleng regency. Apparently, Buleleng is the largest regency with area of 1365km2, spanning from north west till central north coast of Bali. In terms of population, Buleleng regency come second after Denpasar city with 624,000 people (source: census 2010, Wikipedia). However, according to our driver Mr Agus who is a local Singaraja resident, current population (May 2015) in Buleleng regency is around 800,000 people.
Anyway, here are 5 facts about Singaraja which are not commonly known by outsiders:
Similar to big scale theme parks in other countries such as Disneyland, Six Flags, Universal Studio, Sea World, Ocean World in Hong Kong or Lotte World in South Korea, Bukit Merah Laketown Resort has its own charming theme – a lake town resort that is composed mainly of an Eco Park, Water Park and Orang Utan Island.
I can pretty sure bet, there is no other theme park in the world that would present you the unique opportunity to visit Orang Utan Island, despite it’s not a glamorous thing to do. Orangutans or Orangutangs are considered the most intelligent primates, of the great apes that currently only found in Sumatra and Borneo. Classified as an endangered species, except for their long hair and arm, most anatomical structures are very similar to human hence giving its name ‘Orang Utan’, literally translated that ‘Forest Man’. If you would like to meet up with Orang Utan upclose and personal, boating tour can be arranged at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort upon arrival.
Aside from Orang Utan Island, Eco Park and Water Park await. If this is your first trip, let me quickly brief you on what to expect from both.
Despite Hong Kong is very much oriental in character, it offers a taste of a cosmopolitan, truly a melting pot of worldwide influences. Growing as a global city, this means the entry into the country is very much hassle free. If you are unsure on entry permit or requirement for your nationality, look up here for visiting pass or visitor’s visa requirement into Hong Kong. With that in mind, you can start to book for your flight and accommodation.
Homestay – Truly!
Unlike the massive countries like United States or Australia, land prices skyrocket because every square foot in Hong Kong is very precious. Hence, lodging in four or five-star hotels can start from HK$1000-3000 (US$130-390) particularly in town areas or top attraction zones. For the home-stay kind of accommodation, it means you give up luxury and the usual comfort. There are many variety, the one I am referring to is budget hostel that occupied usually more than a decade old buildings. The ground floors are usually happening zone, commercial street and bustling, come with convenience stores less than 10 feet away. Prevalence backpackers areas are Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kong and even Yau Ma Tei or Jordon and Austin. Price is inexpensive, space however is tiny, you also have to bear the discomfort feeling when sharing an elevator or lift. It can be suffocating, as it is rather small and slow! But, it offers the real life experience of Hong Kong folks! They cramp into this kind of space, right here day in and day out. No jokes. So, promise you a truly homestead (for Britons) experience! Of course, this is not for faint-hearted!!
Avenue of The Stars Why and why..people keep talking about this place? This the only place in the world that one can see Bruce Lee in action. I am not joking – you would see the scene of this iconic kung fu master movie star is perpetually in action, rain or shine plus the craze of crowd. Forget about selfie-ing only you and Bruce Lee!
As its name per say, it is the avenue to pay tribute to the stars of the silver screen and the people who made the magic happen. Similar to Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, there are plaques, handprints of the stars and sculptures found along the promenade in addition to panoramic view of Victoria Harbour and the comforting breeze.
Aside from a pleasant walk, reviewing the line-up bronze statues, the must see is metropolitan landscape across the sea. Tall sky scrappers that made homes in Central or Wan Chai on Hong Kong island.
Let’s not beat around the bushes, I am up for the atypical highlights of Hong Kong hence do not expect much on food and shopping or stories of bustling metropolitan. Instead, this post will bring you to uncover the best kept secrets that nobody had told you before upon their return from Hong Kong! Wilderness indulgence – Lantau Peak Sunrise If hiking or jungle trail adventure is your cup of tea, then head to Lantau Island, the fitness enthusiasts favorite weekend gate-away. With more than a dozen of hiking trails to offer, the famous and the most popular ones are Lantau Trail itself. Made out of 6 marked sections, it’s rewarding to explore Lantau Trail Section 3 that takes one from Ngong Ping to Pak Kung Au. Starting from the point near Wisdom Path at Ngong Ping is much easier for visitors as the clues is pretty clear. Not too far after, one would reach a tiny lookout platform on the right, giving a panoramic view of Wisdom Path. As you progress on the trail, green is abundance. If you look up and ahead, the view of Lantau Peak that is clearly visible with a tinged of mist capping its summit. Stands at 934 m above sea level, Lantau Peak is the 2nd highest peak in Hong Kong. Don’t forget to turn back, you’re likely to catch zig-zagged mountainous line, Wisdom Path, a graceful seated Big Buddha and even the blue sea, spanning from across from west to south.
If you’d heard of Tangga Kenari 1000 Tahun (literally means 1000 Year Canary’s Staircase), it is actually the trail of 1334 steps that leads you to the summit of Mount Jerai or Gunung Jerai. Yes, you’d read it right. After merely a thousand odds steps of stairway, it means you’d conquered an altitude of 4793m and guarantee you to be on the top of the world!
Exactly, Tangga Kenari Seribu Tahun is a must-try for fitness enthusiasts as it is the longest man-made staircase that was ever built in the forest without endangered the lives of flora. Aim to promote nature tourism, this trail has been used extensively as the training ground for jungle trekking by youth and teens activists.
Mention Hong Kong and anyone would immediately think of shopping paradise and splendid gastronomy adventures that offer amazing arrays of mouthwatering dim sum, dai pai dong (open-air street stalls), pineapple bun, wife cake and Hong Kong style milk tea. Fabulous, fabulous! Combined with a day trip to Macau, it can feel like a heart beat – the sights of UNESCO Heritage site, popping out Ruins of St Paul, Largo do Senado (Senate Square) that give the feel and look of a rustic Portugal city, followed by a visit to the old town of Taipa. That’s not about it, we also decide to take a peek at the largest casino in Asia – The Venetian Macao that sits at Cotai though we are not up for the games, slot machines and money.
Hong Kong, is not a total stranger to me. Despite I had stopped, on transit for more than a few times during inter-continental trips, it had never came across my mind to visit this country thoroughly. This time however, I am aiming for the road less travel, hence skip the theme park attractions e.g. Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park and Noah’s Ark Resort. Instead, it is a mixed of city walk, natural adventure blends with shopping galore and food hunting!
Wild, bizarre and easy, this piece of 4D3N Hong Kong itinerary is my first draft, good for reasonably fit travelers. Hong Kong…See you soon!!
Day 1: Hong Kong The Peak + Lan Kwai Fong + Symphony of Light/Victoria Harbor @ Golden Bauhinia + Ladies Market
Ideally, this is a great little hilltop retreat that promises tranquility amidst of tropical greenery. As one stands on the summit, village houses can be spotted among the vegetable farms, winding streams, palm plantation in the horizon and whirling hills in the not far away sight, blends with birds tweeting and wild bugs chirping. .Continue reading “Anisani Village Resorts @ Serdang | Wild and Free”
When I was trying to share a gorgeous waterfall, Serdang is the of a sleepy town that slipped out of my mouth. And one responded “So, you’re in Klang Valley recently?”. Nah, I wasn’t. I was still wandering not far from Penang, just cross over to the neighboring state Kedah. And I saw faces with eyebrows raised! Not many perhaps know that Kedah has its own Serdang. Some local folks refer it to ‘Air Terjun Batu Hampar Sungai Air Puteh’ or literally translated as ‘The waterfalls of Air Puteh River’. Yet, do not mistaken this waterfall that sits next to Serdang or Bandar Bahru townships with the popular Batu Hampar Waterfalls in the Yan district that lies beneath the foothill of Gunung Jerai.