Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rethinking Jakarta


Weshill Consulting Travel and Tours, Singapore: Rethinking Jakarta

It is a objectively usual incidence that when people are plotting their exciting campaign through Southeast Asia they will get into Indonesia, skip over Jakarta and dot the ‘i’ in Bali. Where it is right that Jakarta is a scorching metropolis of government and business that has usually frightened off tourists, a prosperous of modern amenities, attractions, mixed with inlaid charms make it an interesting destination choice for culture and history enthusiasts and you are assured of a no complaints travel.

Old Batavia
Conventional to the action then—Old Batavia is the tourist epicenter of Jakarta. Deliberated Asia’s answer to Holland, the streets and architecture of this small .50 square mile (1.3 square km) town is recognized as the historical and cultural hub of the city. Although in rough shape these days, the town is in spite of everything in its own rite a captivating landmark of Dutch colonialism, like the cobblestone lain Taman Fatahillah (town square), whole with leftovers of the original 17th century town, comprising Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Museum of Jakarta History), and to the east the famous art museum, Balai Seni Rupa.

Jalan Surabaya
Talking about bringing home souvenirs, if you have any curiosity in exploring antiques, consider this Mecca. The Jalan Surabaya or Surabaya Street Market, is recognized for years as a place where you will learn the one exotic treasure you never imagined yourself buying. The market is a living curiosity with more than 500 meters of shopping room, full of interesting nuggets of history. Beginning with cultural masks, to statues, to imported porcelain, to carvings, paintings, and even unanticipated memorabilia, you perhaps won’t be walking out of this marketplace empty handed. The added value of its location in a shady part of town makes the browsing experience all the better you are not scorching in the heat. A word to the wise, like many market places in developing countries, prices are completely negotiable, and need some amount of bargaining if you don’t want to see the bottom of your wallet but be very watchful of frauds and scams..

Pramuka Bird Market
One of the more interesting trades in Indonesia is indeed, of its avian inhabitants even though wildlife conservationists may not like to hear it. This specific market, situated in central Jakarta, can occasionally have up to 300 different tropical species and time-to-time features infrequent and exotic birds, like the sought after Bali Starling, or White Peacock. The Indonesian Forestry Ministry has cracked down on the trade of illegal wildlife, over the years, and much of the capture methods are legal, however don’t be shocked if you come across more unusual fare. None-the-less, from a spectator’s point of view, the Pramuka bird market is an intriguing part of Indonesian culture that cannot be ignored. Many reviews were all in favor of this destination

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Things to See in Jakarta Indonesia


The foremost tourist attractions are situated in the heart of the city. There are numerous touring trips that arise from here and then advance to the historic waterfront and the Kota district, and lastly weave their way inland headed for the Gambir and Menteng districts. You are guaranteed to leave the country with no complaints at all.

Kota: The tourist hub of Jakarta and the center of old Batavia, the Kota district. The main action is focused in the historic Taman Fatahillah, a cobbled square that appears to fit to another era. Visit Sunda Kelapa, the old port area, and you can appreciate the schooners recurring from the high seas to trade their exotic spices, an image immortalized in Joseph Conrad reminiscent portrayals. The luminously painted sailing ships are Jakarta’s most unforeseen attractions.

Taman Fatahillah: This lovely Old Dutch quarter is home to some old and ancient monuments. This is a famous place to view some imposing colonial architecture. The chief fascinations here are the oldest church in Jakarta, the Gereja Sion and Si Jagur, the cannon which represented fertility.

Maritime Museum: Situated in Sunda Kelapa, this museum which was until the 19th century a warehouse for the Dutch, is currently home to the maritime museum. Model boats and faded sepia photos bring to life the numerous adventures at sea counting the voyage to Jakarta from Europe via Aden. You can take in the spectacular views of the surroundings from the old watchtower.

Puppet Museum: The museum is a treasure house of puppets from Indonesia and Southeast Asia. You can appreciate an interesting collection of traditional Indonesian puppets like wayang kulit and wayang golek and delight in puppets shows, which are a consistent feature of the museum.

Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, Singapore: It was established by a group of people who are travel enthusiasts. They wanted to fulfill a long time dream of travelling the world and they wanted to fulfill others' dream as well.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah: This extensive 100-hectare park in Jakarta is an interesting alteration. You can learn Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage. There are pavilions for each of Indonesia’s provinces with shows of regional handicrafts and clothing. There is a big ‘lagoon’ where you can row around the islands of this archipelago or take in a bird’s eye view from the cable cars. As well, there are museums, theatres, restaurants and a bird park with a walk-in aviary. Inquire the people of Jakarta and they will tell you that if you visit the park then there is no need for you to go to any other part of the country. For them the park ‘is whole of Indonesia under one roof.’ You can walk, drive your own car, or take a free shuttle to go around the park just be careful with scams.

National Museum: No hoax but this is reflected to be the Jakarta’s most striking museum, the National Museum offers interesting insights into the history of the city and Indonesia. Exhibits here consist of early Chinese ceramics, pieces culled from Java’s myriad temples and a bronze elephant that was gifted to the museum by the King of Thailand.

Monday, August 25, 2014

5 Money Saving Tips for Exchanging Foreign Currencies

Headed overseas for summer vacation? It's easy to get hit with extra fees and expensive exchange rates when switching currencies. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours

Some currency exchange tables in airports and tourist areas offer bad rates, taking more of your money. And some credit cards and banks can add fees when you buy something with your card.

Your best bet is to bring a credit card that doesn't charge currency exchange fees and some cash for backup. Most purchases should be done on the credit card, says James Gambaccini, a certified financial planner at Acorn Financial Services. That's because credit cards offer fraud protection. If you lose cash, or it gets stolen, you won't get it back. Lost credit cards, or fraudulent charges, are easily replaced or fixed, says Gambaccini.

"Walking around with a money belt and a large amount of cash is not relevant anymore," he says.

Here are five tips to maximize your dollars:

1. GET AN APP

Before boarding the plane, download a currency converting app on a smartphone you plan to use on vacation. You can open up the app to see if you're getting a good deal when exchanging money. With the apps, you type in the amount you want to exchange and it will calculate a figure in the new currency. There are several free ones to choose from, including XE Currency and GlobeConvert.

2. ASK BEFORE YOU EXCHANGE

Be wary of currency exchange places that say they don't charge fees or advertise really good exchange rates. "Don't trust it," says Stan McGahey, an international tourism professor at Saint Leo University in Florida. Often, they will offer you a worse exchange rate to make up for the low fees or have caveats that they don't advertise. Instead of just handing them your money, ask how much you would get for the amount you want to exchange first, McGahey says. That way you will know exactly what you're getting.

And always do currency exchanges in the country you're visiting. You're likely to get a better rate than if you do the exchange at home, McGahey says.

3. FIND THE RIGHT CARD

Get a credit card that doesn't charge a foreign exchange fee. Some will charge a 2 per cent to 3 per cent fee for every purchase made with a foreign currency, says Matt Schulz, a senior analyst at credit card comparison site CreditCards.com. There are many that don't. Not sure if your card charges a fee? Call and ask.

If you don't have a fee-free card, it may be worth applying for one, says John Ganotis, founder of credit card comparison site CreditCardInsider.com. As long as you're not charging more than you can afford to pay, it could be a better deal than exchanging cash. Most credit cards designed for travellers let you earn benefits, such as miles or points to use for a future trip, Ganotis says.

Another benefit: credit cards often will offer exchange rates that are an average over the past month. That could be helpful if you are travelling to place where the currency is volatile, including some South American countries, Gambaccini says.

(Incidentally, you should call your credit card company before travelling to let it know where you are going. If the credit card company doesn't know you're travelling, it could think it is being used fraudulently and temporarily block your card from making charges.)

4. SAY NO TO HOTEL EXCHANGES

If a hotel or another business asks if you want them to convert the bill into American dollars for you, decline. The exchange rate can be bad, Gambaccini says. Instead, let the hotel bill you in the country's currency and let your credit card do the exchange.

5. CHECK OUT CHECKING ACCOUNTS

As with credit cards, make sure your bank doesn't charge foreign exchange fees if you plan to use a debit card. Some may charge a flat fee for using a foreign ATM on top of a percentage for currency exchanges. Checking accounts at some online banks don't charge foreign transaction fees. Call your bank and ask if you're not sure if they charge fees.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Indonesia’s Perfect Wave



There is more to Indonesia than the city of Jakarta. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, Singapore can arrange your tour to find the perfect wave for surfers. You are guaranteed of no complaints after your tour.

Bali
Bali, with its excess of world class surf spots, is the epicenter of Indonesian surfing. Any surf journey here nearly always originates on Kuta beach, the novel Indonesian beach resort. The waves here bid a bit for everyone; advanced surfers will celebrate in fun, sickly-looking circumstances at the same time as novices will find the soft sand beach breaks, and many surf schools, the unspoiled setting for a first taste of surfing.
Not distant from Kuta is the Bukit Peninsula where the best waves in Bali can be expereinced. Padang Padang is one of Indonesia’s exceptional spots. It merely comes to life on the largest of swells nonetheless when it does you can suppose one of the greatest strong lefthanders in the world. You can likewise assume grave crowds and loads of aggro in the water.

Nusa Tenggara
Only south of Bali is the island chain of Nusa Tenggara, which is crowded with surf spots. Lombok, the neighboring island to Bali, is the most filled by surfers and the jewel in the surf crown here is the legendry Desert Point; possibly the best wave in the world. It’s a highly fickle wave but when all the elements come together this near endless, freight train lefthander bids tube rides of up to twenty seconds. For rather a slightly extra beginner friendly go to either Don Don or inside Ekas, which are found on the south coast of Lombok alike.

Java
The most well-known wave on Java, Bali’s northern neighbor, is G-Land or also popular as Grajagan. This is one of those oddities of nature waves against which all other waves are measured. Boundlessly long, impeccably perfect and super consistent, G-Land is most usually reached via boat charter from Bali.

For rather less nerve-wracking, consider the long, smooth sand bottom right point in Batu Karas. Requiring a certainly firm swell to get successful this is perhaps the most user-friendly spot in Indonesia and although skilled surfers might see it a little apathetic it appears nearly tailor made for beginners and intermediates. There are some surf schools and board hire places here in addition to a few cheap places to stay.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Indonesian Cuisine

Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, Singapore: Indonesian Cuisine

With the world’s fourth largest population made up of 250 ethnic groups and spread out over 6,000 populated islands, Indonesia, as can be imagined, is a land of huge diversity. The archipelago once lay along the ancient trading routes between the Middle East and the Far East, a position that opened it wide to the influences from many far-off places.


From the time that its Srivijaya kingdom commenced trading with China in the 7th century, Indonesia has been an important trade region with many foreign powers attracted by its wealth of natural resources.

The Indian merchants brought with them the Hindu and Buddhist religions as well as curries and dried spices such as cardamom, cumin and caraway. Chinese traders and immigrants contributed Confucianism, soybean, noodles and the technique of stir-frying; while Arab traders and scholars introduced Islam, kebabs and Arabian spices.

The Europeans, meanwhile, fought amongst themselves for control of the Spice Islands of Maluku; and Spanish and Portuguese traders brought produce from the New World before the Dutch finally colonized Indonesia for three and a half centuries. During that time, they imported potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, string beans and corn to remind them of home.

Today, Indonesian food is well-known for its fried rice or nasi goreng; its satay, the local version of the Arab kebabs; its beef rendang, chili condiment or sambal, and tempeh or roasted soybean cakes. There are many similarities between Malay food in Malaysia and Indonesian cuisine, but to the experienced palate the differences are just as noticeable.

As with the rest of Southeast Asia, rice is the staple diet in Indonesia, except in Irian Jaya and Maluku where people sustain themselves with sago, which is a type of tapioca, sweet potatoes and cassava. For tourists, you can authentic Indonesian food in Jakarta Indonesia.

Rice is usually eaten plain, combined with a meat dish, a vegetable dish, a sambal and crunchies like fried peanuts or fried anchovies. Sometimes, the rice is steamed in woven packets of coconut leaves to make what is called a ketupat; and sometimes it is steamed in banana leaves and served as lontong.

In Indonesia, it is common for dishes to be cooked ahead of time and later eaten at room temperature. This seems to suit Indonesian families, many of whom do not have set meal-times. This practice is also common in restaurants and public eating places in Indonesia.

Warning! Most Indonesian food is moderately spicy with a predominance of ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reasons to Visit Lombok, Indonesia

A Homestay
Do you want to avoid Balinese-style tourism or the busy city of Jakarta, and then why not pass up on the hotels, spas and plunge pools altogether and opt for a homestay in Lombok? Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours, Singapore can arrange a tour for you. There are many choices everywhere in the island, counting farmhouses and homes in beachside and mountainside villages. Several are fairly extravagant affairs, with self-reliant lodging and opposing from normal travelers' cabins only by the attendance of pleasant crowds. Numerous proposals like an introduction to fishing, farming or even hunting as performed by the native Sasak people, and above a personal look at the groundwork of local foods and perhaps an opportunity to be seated in on some craftwork or the celebration of a festival.

The Lombok Chili Pepper
Because the word Lombok means chili in Bahasa Indonesia, you'd believe the locals to know about spicy food. The green and red Lombok chilies are regularly made into sambal — warning! A fiery condiment — with locally grown naga jolokia peppers, garlic and shrimp paste. Sample it as a supplement to local dishes such as ayam taliwang and sayur nangka.

Hit the Beach
After Bali's busy strips, you can hit Lombok's beaches, they are second to none and a blessed relief of stressful bustle of life. Travel for the island's southwest to truly flee away from the crowds. Surfers adore the big waves at Bangko-Bangko; if its long-walled and hollow left-hand breaks seem excessively demanding then seek the small island of Gili Nanggu. It will take you 15 minutes by boat from the town of Tawun. There, the Gili Nanggu Cottages and Bungalows resort, bids a possibility to idle on an unspoiled private beach that surrounds the island, or to go snorkeling in the beautiful reefs.

Two Wheels Good
Public transport on Lombok is erratic. A lot of the visitors decide to hire a car and driver, which can be found at very practical rates, however if you are feeling daring consider renting a motorcycle. Lombok is easily traversable and its roads are in great condition for Indonesia At just over 80 km at its widest point. The outstanding 21-km coastal stretch from Senggigi to Pemenang winds past lovely bays and beaches and is an easy, white-knuckle ride. Further, smaller roads wander through rugged highlands, passing secluded waterfalls and verdant rice paddies.

Hot, Roasted Worms
Lombok's people are a varied mix of religious and ethnic groups, with the widely held being the indigenous Sasak Muslims. There is likewise a substantial Hindu Balinese population, and important numbers of Chinese and Sasak Buddhists. Altogether means a lively festival calendar. The major and most colorful festival is the Bau Nyale or Sea Worm Festival.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Great budget locations

Portugal
One of the best choices for a backpacker in Europe, Portugal is in every aspect charming and captivating like the more glamorous and expensive Spain and Italy. Each and every good thing in Portugal is free. Many of the finest tourist attractions in Porto are free of charge and Lisbon has a remarkable diversity of hostels for a budget traveler. Moreover, for the most part of what Portugal’s feature is concealed in simple sight. Its old world, laid back elegance, the romance of the hill-side retreat Sintra, the jazz-filled streets of the upper city in Lisbon. This place is exotic yet warm, overwhelming yet homely. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours

Indonesia
You can overlook that you are on a shoestring budget in the very inexpensive and diverse Indonesia. Visualize a country that is made of 17,000 islands, all of which have various topographies and natural wonders. Indonesia is by far more than resting on the unspoiled beaches of Bali or the city of Jakarta.

This country is a small amazement in itself as it is the surfer’s paradise and a gypsy’s haven. Even though transportation can sometimes get difficult, the food and sleep selections will more than offset the discomfort.

Argentina
Argentina is moving to improvement each second but its pretty landscape and poetic beauty captivates tourists. The country is famous for nature enthusiasts; it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the impressive Iguazu falls, fantastic rainforests and some of the uppermost peaks in the world that adorn Argentinian landscapes.

There’s so much to be thankful for here you should go far beyond your comfort zone. Appreciate the juiciest steaks and ruby-red wines, and then tango the night away in this South American wonderland.

Nepal
The largest souvenir to take back from Nepal is the remembrance of smiling, friendly faces. Nepal is a banquet not just for the eyes, but warning, also for the wallet.

Nepal has views that will stay in the mind forever with the colossal Himalayas as a backdrop and the peace of mind that most other countries lack.

A fantasy destination for enthusiastic trekkers, Nepal does not dissatisfy nature fanatics. You will be glad to have hopped on to that shaky flight because of the hospitality of its people.