Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Diversities and Complexities



Indonesia is composed of 17,000 islands, more than 200 languages and with a population of more than 200million. Java and Jakarta holds the most number of inhabitants and has actually been listed by UNESCO World Heritages in its list of the most diversified country in the world.

Indonesia is a melting pot of races cultures, languages, religions, traditions and histories.

In reviews of the archipelago’s events, Madurese bull-racing, Kerapan Sapi, is a festival that takes place annually on the island of Madura, whilst the traditional Sundanese marriage ceremony involves nine formal stages, and many Javanese people do not typically have surnames.
People may identify themselves according to their ethnicity, birthplace or family, and hundreds of languages are spoken throughout the country, however most Indonesians are united through the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, as well as through the national philosophical foundation of Pancasila. These five principles come from age-old traditions and are said to define Indonesia’s nationhood:
  • Belief in the one and only God
  • Just and civilized humanity
  • The unity of Indonesia
  • Democracy guided by the wisdom of deliberations among representatives
  • Social justice for all the people of Indonesia

Aside from the people, Indonesia is also known as a country rich in natural resources and a haven of paradise. According to Westhill Travel and Tours, Indonesia is the top country in South East Asia when it comes to pristine beaches and nature adventure. From mountain trekking to cave hopping, Indonesia offers varieties of explorations.

Facilities within the country can also accommodate to any ethnicity and nature. No complaints have been heard about Indonesia’s hotels. Those in the archipelago are second to none. In fact, many of our luxurious and unique hotels have constantly been listed as some of the best in the world, located on white sandy beaches, overlooking green river valleys, or situated in the heart of busy capital Jakarta. While Indonesia’s cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, or Makassar are a hive of activities for business and leisure and a paradise for shoppers, offering upscale boutiques selling top brand names, to local goods at road-side stalls. Here gourmets can treat themselves to the many regions’ delectable spicy cuisine or dine sumptuously at international restaurants. And for sheer relaxation, Indonesia Spas are also dominating the list around the world.

From hospitable people and locals, to nature, to facilities, Indonesia is fast growing and developing. We can definitely expect more from this country in the years to come.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Banks and Money Exchange in Indonesia

Indonesian rupiah has more zeroes and digits on its tail. You can easily be a millionaire in this country. Having any currency above $150 equals to millions in Indonesian rupiah.


With the confusion that comes from counting changes and subtracting the money needed to make your way through Indonesia and even on the central business district of Jakarta, having an advanced knowledge and keen eye on the exchange is a must.

A warning reached Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours on the current fraud happening in exchange stalls scattered around Jakarta. With a quick sight of hand and a good acting skill, any scammer can deceive foreigners in slacking some bills off of your money.

•              Beware of places where money changing is a secondary business. It may not be legitimate or they are doing a part time con on top of what they are earning.

•              Indonesian rupiah is composed of IDR1000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000, and Rp 100,000. Always ask for a bigger note. One of the scammers’ tactics is to confuse you by making you count bundles of 2,000 unless you are very sharp.

•              Start to wonder if there are two people at the counter. The other may be talking to you and being friendly while the other is counting your money. This may be another scam to confuse you and take your concentration away from the money. If this happens, just politely ask the one talking to leave you alone since you have to give 100% attention on you money.

•              The exchange person will give you a bundle of calculated notes to be counted by you. Count the notes carefully and bundle them in the order you calculated but don't mix them up just yet. Keep the notes closer to you once you have counted correctly. If the guy proceeds to take the entire bundle back to re-count, stop him and do the counting yourself. If he insists, don't waste your time. Walk away with your foreign notes. Because he is going to take some money off until you give in. 

•              If the guy pulls out a load of smaller 10,000 or 20,000 notes, just walk away as it is just going to be a guaranteed con.

Never let the money leave your sight while it is countered and checked, or you could find the total shorter when it comes back. Everyone should just be cautious and keen in doing their business.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Things to Do in Indonesia Before You Die

Indonesia remains to be the world’s most populous island country in the world and the world’s largest archipelago with 17,800 islands in its territory. It is no wonder why there are a lot of things to do in this country.

Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours advices these following must-do in the country:

1.         Eat Strange Things

Head to the Mangga Besar district of Jakarta and dine on such wondrous delicacies as lizard, frog, bat, snake, or even dog. A little warning though, some parts of the city may also offer you a head of a monkey served on a platter while you are eating its brains (talk about cannibalism)

2.         Go Fishing with a Local Fisherman

As stated earlier, Indonesia is an archipelago. It is basically a given when in every place you see a harbor. Get up at dawn and climb into a tiny little fishing boat which is soon rocking and swaying in the increasingly big waves which splash over the sides of the boat soaking you to the bone while the insides of your now rumbling stomach are threatening to push their way up and out of your throat. No matter how much you complain, you won’t get back to shore in a few more hours. No worries, you probably would have the chance to catch a mackerel and maybe an old flip –flop if you are lucky.

3.         Snorkel a coral Reef

Indonesia is one of the countries rich for its natural resources. Its coral resources are no different. Experiencing its underwater natural resources is a need and a must when you are in Indonesia.

4.         Climb a Volcano

Indonesia is home to 129 volcanoes and it would be a waste if you don’t climb even just one of them. It is best to climb at dawn and, if you are lucky, take a glimpse of the sunrise atop some volcanoes. Believe me, up there is to experience a little bit of heaven.

5.         Take a trip from Jakarta to Bangkok without Flying

In the age of high speed communications we forget that the real beauty of going somewhere is not just in getting there but also in the journey. If you have the time, a really cool thing to do is to get to Bangkok from Jakarta by sea and overland.  You can actually try island and country hopping through buses and boats. From the harbor of Tanjung Priok to Tanjung Pinang to Singapore, then ride buses and trains to Malaysia and another train towards Bangkok.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Experience Spa, Experience Indonesia

Indonesia is known to be a home of the best spas and leisure activities. In its popularity, many expatriates and foreigners come to this archipelago just to get the best from the best. From massages and meditations, to facials and body scrubs, a spa is guaranteed to offer something to help you relax. Indonesian spa’s range all the way from secluded hideaways in beautiful natural surrounds to serene parlors tucked away in the streets of big cities to review and experience. From Jakarta to Bali to Sumatra, there are a lot of spa treatments and clinics to go around. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours introduces some of the places to be when it comes to spa and relaxation. 

Angsana

In beautiful open-air rooftop pavilions or cozy treatment rooms, sensory pleasures are sharpened as professional therapists skillfully ease tension and stress away. Using the ancient art of aromatherapy and a therapeutic sense of touch, a range of specially blended massage oils, floral-based essential oils soothes you through aromatherapy treatments, body wraps and scrubs, massage and facial.

Banyan Tree Spa

Secluded from the busy streets of modern life, Banyan Tree is located in the luxurious Banyan Tree Bintan retreat. Amidst a beautiful natural environment, intimate spa pavilions offer the utmost privacy during personal pampering services. Banyan Tree Spa takes a holistic approach to physical and spiritual wellbeing, providing a sanctuary for the senses.

Ciater's Revitalizing Hot Springs

The cool highlands of Subang in West Java provide an idyllic setting for an unforgettable personal experience where the crisp mountain air and the refreshing sounds of bubbling mountain streams soothe the soul. The town of Ciater is known for its natural hot springs with their healing qualities which promote physical well. With its nice effects, you can never complain. 

Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay

Overlooking the spectacular Jimbaran Bay, The Spa at Jimbaran Bay offers head-to-toe all natural spa treatments that use sea salt crystals, seaweed and aromatics. To cleanse the body, revitalize the skin or balance the senses, island spices, exotic flowers, tropical fruits and essential oils are part of the Jimbaran health and beauty rituals that are derived from ancient Balinese and Javanese traditions.

Puri Santi - Garden of Relaxation 

A Day Spa in the heart of South Jakarta in Cipete. It is easy to reach from Senayan, Kuningan, Kemang or Pondok Indah. Puri Santi’s provides ultimate relaxation by combining traditional Spa approaches from Indonesia and other Asian countries with natural products. They offer private treatment room, ensuite showers and bathtubs, and a VIP Suite for couples with built in jacuzzi, steam bath and private bath room.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cycling your way in Jakarta



In a traffic congested city like Jakarta, it would be hard enough to get your way on foot without worrying of being side swept by a car. Nevertheless, many tourists and visitors continue to suggest that the best way to truly experience the heat, the landscape, the culture and the city is to tour by bike.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”

Still, we all need to be cautious when touring the dangerous paths of Indonesia by bike. Motorists may respect your choice of transportation but it is still better to travel safely. Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours have gathered these simple tips to keep in mind whenever you are cycling your way in the city:

1. There are caveats along the way and these warnings shouldn’t be ignored. Any city biker alive in the city very well know this and of course, it only takes common sense to understand them in the city

2. You have to know and accept that you're a cyclist and at the bottom end of the totem pole.

3. You have to have the humility to acknowledge other forms of motor transport and be willing to concede the rights of way in acquiesce to the honks of the other.

4. You have to have the mental discipline to forget the probabilities and risks that you face from stupid drivers behind you, and proceed from Point A to B in a very steady and conservative line on the road and a cool head. If for any reason there is an obstruction in your path, you should quickly and certainly (no doubts!) determine if there is traffic behind you or not and whether it is safe to overtake. If in doubt, always be ready to choose to be conservative and to dismount. You should also not be averse to momentarily riding on the dusty shoulder of the road if the oncoming traffic looks like it's going to crowded.

5. Please always be reminded to wear all the lights, blinkers, bright shirts and helmets and please always review the most important parts of your bike and if it needs repair. It may look geeky, but geeky also communicates that you have done all that is expected of you as a safe biker and places all other responsibility on others.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Things to Remember

When we talk about natural disasters, we might immediately be thinking of typhoons, tsunamis, flood and other heart-breaking disasters that we dreaded. Among the countries in Asia, Indonesia seems to be on the top when it comes to experiencing these disasters.



Indonesia is a large country spanning across few time zones. Natural disasters common here are the earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Also, the separation between islands makes it harder for help to come immediately when needed. Despite all of these, Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours still continue to promote tourism in this country for obvious reasons. Local and foreign tourists continue to flock the country, ignoring the warning because of the majestic invitation of archipelago from the buzzing busy streets of Jakarta to heaven-like Bali.

Just to be sure, here are some things to remember once you visit Indonesia:

Crime

The crime rate in Indonesia has increased over the years but most are just petty thieving like robbery, theft, scams and pickpocketing. Avoid showing your valuables and money in public and like most places in the world, be aware of your surroundings especially popular public places. There are several bombing reported at highly concentrated tourist area such as Bali and Jakarta, so as to minimize your risk, try to avoid tourist packed nightclubs or restaurants.

Vaccination

It is recommended to get vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid fever before traveling to Indonesia as food hygiene in some areas are questionable. Get more information in vaccinations for traveling in Indonesia.

Medical Issues

Dengue is rampant in remote areas of Sumatra, Borneo and Lombok or points east, so bring strong repellants and be careful. Also the air quality in Indonesia is quite poor, especially in major cities, with occasional haze (June-October) from forest fires in Borneo and Sumatra, so if you have respiratory problems do remember to bring your medication and breather.

Areas to be Cautious at

• Maluku – there is serious civil unrest in this area with long standing communal tensions.
• Papua and West Papua – political tension creates a high risk security situation in that area.
• Central Sulawesi – security situation on risk due to religious tensions and terrorist activities.

Every other country has their own imperfections. Just as no human is perfect, no country is perfect as well. While taking these warnings at heart, never forget to enjoy your journey. Look into the good things each place has to offer. Happy trip!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Exploring Indonesia

I am a native of Jakarta, Indonesia and have also been a host in the famous hosting website, Couchsurfiung.com. Many of our visitors are asking me what they should be expecting and doing in Indonesia that can make their trip worthwhile. Well, in my most humble and objective opinion regarding my country, here are some tips that I can give:
  • Eat on the street – Like many Asian cultures, we Indonesian also like to eat street foods which offers delicious traditional and customary culinary skills. If you are saving money or just trying to be a local, you can buy food for $0.50 while experiencing legit Indonesian custom beside the streets.

  • Bargain hard – Another Indonesian culture. If you don’t bargain and complain about the price, you are definitely not from around. Nothing is ever at face value in Indonesia. Bargain with sellers as most of the time, the price they’ve quoted will not be the price you’ll pay if you bargain!

  • Relax in Bali – When mentioning Indonesia, first thing that comes to mind is Bali. This is probably the most famous of Indonesia’s islands and for good reason. Although often crowded with travelers, there is no escaping the fact that this place is beautiful. Try some surfing at Bingin Beach or visit the Pura Besakih, the Mother Temple, which is a truly stunning building.

  • Dive in the Gili Islands – For a true sense of an island paradise, head to the Gili Islands. You won’t find any cars on these islands; bike travel or horse and cart are the ways to see all that Gili has to offer. You’ll find excellent scuba and snorkel facilities, as well as nightlife on the party island of Gili Trawangan.

  • Jakarta – Indonesia’s capital is a large, bustling city with a population of over 10 million. For a moment of calm, people-watch from one of the cafes overlooking Fatahillah Square in the Old Batavia, the Dutch quarter, where you can take in the historic architecture. In terms of nightlife and eateries, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Jakarta. Make sure to watch for your personal belongings though as my city is admittedly full of scammers (but aren’t they all).

  • Have a spa day – Another famous thing in Indonesia. When you are in a place like this, it only seems right to treat your body to some probably much needed, deep pampering treatments. Getting a massage is basically a given, but why not do it on a beach. Body wraps, facials, manicures, and pedicures are also a nice bonus.