Lunching with Sun Bears

Balikpapan’s Sun Bear Sanctuary lies in the Sungai Wain preservation area of East Kalimantan’s rain forest, off Kilometer 23 on the road to Samarinda. Here, seven sun bears rescued from poachers and other threats roam the 3.25 acre natural enclosure. Twice daily, the bears, whose Indonesian name “Beruang Madu” actually translates to honey bear, pad…

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We’re Famous! BIWA’s Biking Group Caught on Camera

Indonesia’s Independence Day, August 17, is right around the corner, and the streets festooned with mini Indonesian flags and garlands of red and white painted party cups make this a fun time to stroll or bicycle through the villages (“kampungs”). This Wednesday, the BIWA cycling group did just that.   Bike rides with the Balikpapan…

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Hiking Bukit Dinding off Samarinda Road, Kilometer 45

Bukit Dinding (Wall Hill) is a stunning backbone of boulders arching above East Kalimantan’s rain forest, about an hour and twenty minute’s drive from downtown Balikpapan. Pak Yayan has been telling us about this place for months, and since Sam had a weekend off to go further from camp, we said, “Let’s do it!” Now, the title…

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Trekking to Kali Waterfall in Manado, Sulawesi

  Kali Waterfall (“Air Terjun Kali”) is located in the rain forest surrounding Kali village, about twenty or so minutes from downtown Manado. Along the way to Kali, tarps spread with freshly plucked cloves (“Cengki”) dry in the sun. Sulawesi is one island west of the famed Spice Islands, where Columbus himself set sail for,…

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Manado: Touring the Minahasa Highlands

The Minahasa Highlands begin about one hour’s drive inland from North Sulawesi’s capital city of Manado. And while most visitors fly into Manado for its world-class diving venues, the Minahasa Highlands offer something completely different: volcano trekking, white-water rafting, extreme cuisine, moss-covered jungle hikes and glorious waterfalls are just some of the choices. And if you’ve got…

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Cycling through Kalimantan’s Rubber Tree Plantations

Cycling around Balikpapan is all kinds of fun, but perhaps the best part of it is the random field trip encountered during these rides, like riding through rambutan plantations, watching mussels gleaned at low tide and then smoked, visiting a farmer harvesting seaweed for sale to cosmetic industries, or, as was the case this Sunday, cycling…

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Snorkeling Bunaken Island

Bunaken Island, just one hour by boat off the coast of Indonesia’s North Sulawesi city of Manado, is touted as one of the world’s top-ten dive spots. I also discovered while researching our weekend getaway destination, that, with some exceptions, most “resorts” on Bunaken cater solely to divers (as opposed to land-lubbers or even snorkelers) and as…

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Cycling the Appian Way

My earlier post about the holy month where we currently live got me thinking of my own favorite time of year: Christmas! And though I am not Catholic, I especially love the way Catholics celebrate Christmas until Epiphany, January 6. Because otherwise, it’s kind of a bummer, right? There’s all this to-do leading up to…

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A day at Manggar Beach, Kalimantan Indonesia (East Borneo)

Manggar Beach lies about 21 kilometers east of downtown Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and though it isn’t even close to the white sand and crystal blue waters of one’s dreams, it’s got something else to offer that’s completely unique. Try visiting on a Sunday afternoon when bizarro homemade, self-propelled paragliders weave treacherously between picnicking families, girls…

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