What do you have in mind when you hear "Dubai"?
You might think about huge desert, skyscappers and luxurious shopping centers.
But the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates has much more to offer than that and we're sure you'd want to experience them yourselves.
Here are some places and activities you might want to try.
1. Stay in style at Al Maha Resort
Have you ever wondered how it feels to live in a desert? Al Maha Resort is not just a luxury place for you to stay in, but it also offers you the culture and experience of living in a Bedouin-typical building.
You can also see animals that can only be found in Arab countries such as Oryx and Gazelles while sun-bathing at the poolside. FYI, you can also swim in the temperature-adjustable pool!
Al Maha Resort can also provide a place for 300 guests if you need to hold a wedding ceremony, family gathering, or other event.
2. Seek thrills at Skydive Dubai.
How about jumping out of a plane from 4,000 meters height through clouds? Skydive Dubai provides experienced instructor and safety rope to make sure you are safe. You can do it for the thrill or you can do it for the 'gram because a photographer would also be ready to capture your skydiving moments.
You can experience the free-fall for about one minute before the instructor opens the parachute and you will spend around 5 minutes witnessing the beauty of Palm Jumeriah until you land. You can also skydive above the desert if you want.
3. Dine like a star at Bread Street Kitchen & Bar
Bread Street Kitchen & Bar in Atlantis, The Palm offer tempting European dishes with a nice interior design.
You also can try their best menus including wagyu beef burger, Alaskan crab and pineapple carpaccio with kiwi and coconut sorbet. The restaurant is owned by Gordon Ramsay, so you know it's good.
4. Explore the dessert with Platinum Desert Safari.
One thing you must try while visiting Dubai is its Desert Safari. The tour would take you to exploring Dubai’s desert. The driver of Land Rover would pick you up in the afternoon and stop to let you taking pictures while enjoying sunset from the desert.
At night, the driver would take you to a great campsite to enjoy BBQ, Arabian coffee, Sisha, ride a camel, surf on the sand or paint your hands with henna. Belly dancers would perform before you leave.
Local elebrity Mischa Chandrawinata has enjoyed those activities in Dubai and shared the moments on his Instagram.
Check this video to watch Mischa's desert safari experience.
Nyepi or the Day of Silence is a holiday to celebrate Hindu New Year, which is largely commemorated in Bali. The day is reserved for self-reflection, where Balinese have to stay at home to pray and contemplate, prohibited from any daily routine, work, travel, turn on the lights, set the fire or having entertainment. Even tourists have to stay at their hotels.
However, the days surrounding Nyepi are the busiest days in Bali. There are numbers of ceremonies before and after the Day of Silence, and people are making a huge, eerie-looking effigies to be burned during the ceremony.
Here are some interesting facts about Nyepi you need to know.
1. Nyepi day helps reduce the emission of carbon dioxide in Indonesia by approximately 20,000 tonnes.
2. The United Nations designated a "World Silent Day" every March 21. The day was inspired by the Nyepi Day.
3. In a day of Nyepi in Bali saves electricity by 60 percent, or about 290 megawatts. It’s equal to Rp 4 billion.
4. Ogoh-ogoh, the giant effigies that look like demons, are made several days before Nyepi to be burned during the Ngerupukan ceremony.
5. Ogoh-ogoh will be paraded around the village on the eve before Nyepi and then it will be burned in the town or village hall.
6. Ogoh-ogoh are intricately made by local artists. They represent evil spirits called Bhuta-kala in Hindu teachings. Burning them symbolizes the purification of human and nature from the bad things.
7. The Melasti ritual is held two to four days prior Nyepi. It’s a ceremony to cleanse and purify the souls of the performers.
8. The ceremony usually takes place on a beach, and those who carry it out are usually in a state of trance.
9. Balinese people also gather in front of their houses to prepare offerings for the ritual, one day prior Nyepi.
10. Nyepi helps save fuel as much as 500,000 liters of diesel, equivalent to Rp 3 billion. This is a result of the inactivity of two power plants in Pemaron and Gilimanuk, Bali.
11. One day after Nyepi, Balinese people hold a kissing festival known as Omed-Omedan. During the ceremony, young people gather to pray, and then to dance and kiss each other as the spectators flush them with water. The ceremony is said to chase bad luck away.
Hindus in Indonesia will celebrate the Hindu New Year by holding Nyepi, or the 'Day of Silence', on Tuesday, March 28. The majority of the Balinese have to stay indoors for a day of reflection, abandoning all of the daily routines including work and play, in solemnity. During that day, we’re prohibited from doing any activities, even if it’s only a walk to the nearest minimarket.
But what if your Bali vacation coincides with Nyepi? Well, there’s a set of rules you must not break. Here are some tips.
1) Choose your departure and return dates at least one day before and after Nyepi.
And be sure you depart in the morning and return in the evening. One day before Nyepi, the airport and most of public transportation usually only operate half day and will be shut down at 3 or 4 pm. On Nyepi day, there will be no flights nor other transportation options operating, so you’ll have to wait until the next day to leave Bali.
2) Understand the “Catur Brata Penyepian” rules.
It is a set of rules that must be obeyed by Hindus during Nyepi. They are Amati Karya (not allowed to work), Amati Lelungan (not allowed to travel or walking around), Amati Geni (not allowed to set the fire/turn the lights on) and Amati Lelanguan (not allowed to have fun). Non-Hindus, including tourists, are expected to respect these rules.
3) Understand that Nyepi lasts for 24 hours.
Nyepi Day lasts for 24 hours, starting immediately after the first lights on the horizon appears, about 6 am. Then, the Catur Brata Penyepian rules apply until the sun rises on the next day at 6 am. Make sure you’re not breaking the rules, because there are Balinese traditional guards, locally known as pecalang, safeguarding every single corner in Bali. Pecalang are highly respected among Balinese communities.
4) Stay in your hotel during Nyepi.
You’ll have to stay in the hotel all day during Nyepi, because it’s prohibited to stray around. So forget the plan to enjoy the beach or to have a fancy beachside lunch, because you just can’t go anywhere. However, tourists are still allowed to turn the lights on and do activities inside hotel area, such as swimming, eating, and all.
Those who break the rules, by going to the beach for instance, will be caught by pecalang.
5) Don’t be noisy.
As a tourist, you’re still allowed to have some fun in the hotel area, such as watching TV and listening to some music, but make sure that those are for your eyes and ears only. Keep the volume low.
6) Lights are only allowed inside the room.
You can turn the lights on in your hotel room, but make sure the curtains are shut. If your hotel room has a balcony, don’t turn the balcony lights on.
7) What if you fall sick during Nyepi?
If you feel unwell and need a doctor, report immediately to the hotel clerk and he/she will call the nearest hospital. The hospital’s ambulance will pick you up. Ambulance is the only vehicle allowed on the road during Nyepi.
8) Stockpile your supplies!
Buy your supplies at least one day before Nyepi, because you can’t get anything during the holiday. Be sure you have a sufficient stock of food, snacks, water and beverages, as well as your breakfast, lunch and dinner for the Nyepi day. If you're lucky, you can buy frozen food so you can microwave it when needed. But if not, you can ask your hotel clerk if they provide a Nyepi meal package.
Don’t forget to get some medicine for minor illness such as headache, cold, stomachache, gastric issues, mosquito repellent and ointments for sore joints.
9) What if there’s a baby with you?
The same rule applies: prepare everything at least one day before Nyepi. Be sure you have enough milk, diapers, baby foods and snacks for your little one. You can buy frozen baby food, which can be purchased at various places in Bali. Consider to order the baby foods online before departure, so they can deliver it to the airport upon arrival, or to your hotel. Bring the baby’s favorite toys and storybooks to keep him/her busy during the Day of Silence.
See, you don't have to cancel your trip? You can still enjoy Bali or even better, you can use the Day of Silence as an opportunity to relax, meditate and contemplate about your life.
The Indonesian Tours And Travel Agencies (ASITA) of North Sulawesi recently released ten "neverending sensations" of Manado, consisting of spectacular tourism attractions besides the already globally famous Bunaken. Here are the pretty faces you should consider visiting if you're planning your next getaway:
1. Lembeh Strait and Island
Lembeh Strait is considered as best spot for underwater macro photography. It is often dubbed as the Mecca of Divers or The Mecca of Macro Photography. The Dive Magazine puts this place as one of the top 5 best diving destinations in Asia Pacific, while Scuba Diving Magazine crowns it as the Best Night Dive spot in the region.
2. Lihaga Island
The underwater realm with a beautiful coral overlay is a paradise for divers. If you're not too keen on jumping in the water, you can also opt to spend your time on the quiet white sand coast with a beautiful view.
3. Nain Island
The island, famous for its sand, is unfortunately only visitable during low tides. However, the wait is worth it as the glittering sand during both daytime and full moon is absolutely breathtaking.
4. Pal Beach
Pal Beach, located in Marinsow Village, East Likupang, North Minahasa, is a new spot for tourists. This gem at the northern tip of Sulawesi is blessed with a white sand beach that gracefully extends to the island's northern coast. To reach this place, you only need around 90 minutes by land transportation from the capital, Manado.
5. Mahembang Beach
Though it will take you three to four hours to reach this place from Manado, you will surely be astonished by the beauty of its crystal clear, greenish sea water.
6. Lakban Beach
Located around four hours from Manado, Lakban Beach used to be a mining site but is now popular for its alluring, photogenic nuances. More Instagram posts for your feed!
7. Baling-Baling Island
Pretty beach? Checked! Beautiful underwater views to snorkle around? Checked! A hilltop where you can enjoy the view? Checked! Baling-Baling Island has it all for those dreaming of a quite trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There is no lodging here, but you can rent a house from the native Bajo tribe for a nice homestay vibe, or you can just return to the main island and stay at hotels on Tumbak Beach.
8. Rurukan Village
From the height outside of Tomohon city, you will be able to enjoy some parts of Minahasa mainland landscape, like Manado, Bitung, Mount Klabat, Mount Lokon, and Tondano, as well as its lake from distance.
Dubbed as the 'East Indonesian Kitchen', the place is famous for its annual Potato Festival and the misty Lake Moat.
10. Tondano Culinary Boulevard
This is one of the the many places notable for its delicious food in this part of Indonesia. It is located in the Koya Village of Tondano, precisely at an intersection between Jalan Boulevard Tondano and the road in front of the Manado University.
Brilio.net - Lake Toba and Mentawai Island are both beautiful and fascinating destinations anyone visiting the Indonesian island of Sumatra definitely do not want to miss. But in case that's already on your itinerary and you're looking for more great sites to check out, the region's marine tourism has more to offer than just the places in your guidebooks.
1. Pandang Island
This natural beauty in Batubara, North Sumatra, is home to beautiful corals and clear waters around the island. One will also be able to find a turtle breeding ground and freshwater wells in the area.
2. Berhala Island
This outer island of Indonesia is located in Tanjung Beringin, North Sumatra. Although military personnels guard the area since it borders with neighboring countries, the island can still be reached from several ports, such as one on Cermin Beach, Serdang Bedagai, and the port of Tanjung Tiram in Batubara.
It takes two to three hours to reach the Sedang Bedagai Port from Medan and another four to five hours to reach the uninhabited island by boat. There are no hotels on the island, so it's recommended to rent one of the marine's dormitories or bring your own tent when planning to stay overnight.
3. Badalu Island
The Badalu Island in Barus, Central Tapanuli, North Sumatra offers travelers the beauty of crystal-clear waters and beautiful reefs that attract fishes like Moorish Idol, Butterfly Fish, Angel Fish, Anthias, Lion and Clown Fish.
It takes up to 10 hours from Medan to get to the island, and one should always take note of the day's weather before crossing to the island.
4. Mursala Island
This island is home to a beautiful waterfall that flows right into the blue ocean. It is located in the Tapian Nauli area in Central Tapanuli, and used to be one of the filming locations for the movie King Kong in 2005.
The owner of a Kansas water park said its announcement that it will demolish a towering waterslide as soon as investigations into the death of a boy on the ride this summer have concluded was motivated by uncertainty among park patrons, not any pending legal settlements involving the accident.
Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts and the family that runs it said in a statement Tuesday that the "Verruckt" ride at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, will be permanently removed from its tower "once the investigation is concluded and we are given permission by the court." The Texas-based company called the move "the only proper course of action."
"Coming up on the holidays, this time of year, it's something we'd like to set to rest," company spokeswoman Winter Prosapio told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "When we're allowed to take it down, we will take it down. We have no interest in having it up another hour."
Billed as the world's tallest waterslide, Verruckt has been closed since Caleb Thomas Schwab died on the ride August 7. The boy was decapitated, someone familiar with the investigation previously told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to speak publicly about the boy's death.
Two women in the raft were injured.
Attorneys for the Schwabs — Caleb's father is Republican state Rep. Scott Schwab — and the women are independently investigating the accident. No charges or lawsuits had been filed as of Wednesday.
Michael Rader, an attorney for the Schwabs, said he had been working with Schlitterbahn and its legal team on a plan to eventually remove the slide, but that it "cannot be torn down until all investigations and potential litigation has concluded."
Scott Schwab didn't respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Verruckt, which is German for "insane," featured multi-person rafts that made a 17-story drop at speeds of up to 112 kph, followed by a surge up a hump and a 15-meter descent to a finishing pool. Riders were harnessed with two nylon seatbelt-like straps, one crossing the rider's lap, the other stretching diagonally like a car shoulder seatbelt.
The regulation of waterslides and other amusement rides has drawn scrutiny since Caleb's death. Kansas is known for its light regulation of amusement park rides, and the Texas-based company that operates Schlitterbahn lobbied legislators to help ensure that it remained responsible for its own inspections.
Kansas requires annual inspections of permanent amusement park rides but allows private inspectors to do the checks.
Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts said Tuesday that it has been cooperating with investigators and the victims' families and attorneys, noting that "in our 50 years of providing an environment for families and friends to gather, we've never experienced this kind of devastating event."
Jim Suhr/Associated Press
Brilio.net - Two things may come to mind when you hear the word "Manado": spicy, delicious food and Bunaken. We sure aren't going to contest the former — the region's penchant for spices in their meals is perhaps only second to Padang's — but when it comes to tourism destinations, this part of Indonesia offers so much more to explore that calls for more than just a few short days spent in Bunaken.
Here are 10 great spots in North Sulawesi that should be on your list:
1. Tumbak Sea Park.
The place takes approximately three hours to reach from the center of Manado, but once there, one will be spoilt for choice with over 20 great spots to swim and snorkel.
2. Ratotok Beach.
The natural beauty of this area will amaze you.
3. Siladen Island.
This island is not too far away from Bunaken and takes just 45 minutes from Manado.
4. Lembeh Island.
Divers, get ready to pick from 88 diving spots around this island.
5. Lihaga Island.
Hawaii? Nope. Welcome to Lihaga Island with its white sandy beaches and calm waves.
6. Ratahan Telu Waterfall.
In need of a break from the beach? Here's the perfect spot for a swim.
7. Mount Tumpa.
Just a 50-minute ride away from Manado, this place offers a different point of view of the region's beautiful seas.
8. Bukit Kasih Sculptured Cliff.
Named "The Hill of Love", this monument stands as a symbol of religious harmony in a diverse culture. The area has five different places of worship for believers of the five major religions in the country.
9. Tandurusa Park.
Get ready to witness various floras and faunas such as crested black macaque, tarsius, and other kinds of birds. This ain't no hunting grounds, though!
10. Flower Garden Tomohon.
Got something to say? Say it with flowers. And there are plenty of them at this beautiful flower garden.