The Java to Bali Ferry: How to reach it and what to expect

We recently took the Java to Bali ferry from Banyuwangi, Java to Gilianuk, Bali, and though the trip was more or less an accident, we are so glad that we chanced upon the experience! Most people arrive in Bali via the Denpasar airport: Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport. Perhaps because of this, the most developed…

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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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Seven Ways to Embarrass Yourself in Bahasa Indonesia

After living in a foreign place for a while, perhaps one tends to forget how many painful exchanges have been inflicted upon the ever-patient native speaker, all for the sake of acquiring whole wheat flour or topping up one’s mobile phone credit. And for whatever reason, no matter what language you are trying to speak in…

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Ramadan, Balikpapan-style

Balikpapan, the city in Indonesian Borneo, where Sam and I currently live, lies just 88 miles south of the equator. And today, June 21, marks the Winter Solstice for us and the Summer Solstice for those living north of the equator. It also happens to be a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan…

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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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Pasar Klandasan, Balikpapan’s Awesome Fresh Market

This post is dedicated to Pasar Klandasan, a fresh market here in Balikpapan that I frequent about once a week. Balikpapan is flush with large fresh markets (called “pasar” in Bahasa Indonesian), especially in the old town area of Kampung Baru and Kebun Sayur, where Blue Sky Hotel stands prominent, or along the ocean-front drive…

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