Ride Smart

Ride Smart

March 08, 2016

Biking opens up a whole new world, letting you explore places less traveled. But riding adventure bicycles safely off the beaten track is voodoo science that requires not only specific skills but also a thoughtful approach and planning for trouble while you are far from help. Here are some techniques to improve your off-road biking experience.   Carry your bicycle Learn to pick up the heavy bicycle by yourself. Position your back against the seat, grasp the lower handgrip seat, and lift with your legs.   Master disaster Cell phones often doesn’t work in the outback, and the old practices of screaming for help, lighting a signal fire, flashing a mirror at aircraft, or simply waiting for another vehicle to arrive are actually rather risky schemes if you or your bike get seriously disabled. A much smarter alternative is to install a SPOT satellite transceiver ($120-$550 from www.findmespot.com) that transmits your location and connects you with family, friends or emergency services anywhere you go).   3.       Lower the weight If the nearly 50-kg curb weight were not enough, stuff another 10-kg into the side cases and/ or trunk and you will be perched atop a high-centered ‘hippo’. Carry only what you need, and pack the heavy stuff down low.   4.       Read the terrain Single tracks, sand, mud, and rocks present real challenges for sport/adventure bicycles. Bodywork interrupts your line of sight, your mass is ponderous, and tires don’t grip very well. Continually scan the terrain ahead and choose the smoothest lines.   5.       Practice braking   Safely test for dirt grip by applying the rear brake until the wheel locks briefly. Regular maintenance is very important. Ensure this before you’re off on a biking adventure.       Source: Journey Magazine, February 2016

TANA TORAJA FESTIVAL

TANA TORAJA FESTIVAL

February 09, 2016

I have just arrived at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulwesi for a business trip. The welcoming billboard of Tana Toraja with its picture of three women dancing colorful hairpieces reminded me of a festive celebration eight years ago.     The memory came to me so clearly, an unforgettable moment. It had been my very first time in Sulawesi, a fine morning at the end of August 2007, when my cousin, Ka Ina from Makassar invited me to attend the Tana Toraja Festival.   Ka Ina said that Tana Toraja Regency was celebrating its 50th birthday. Also, the day remarked 760th anniversary of Tana Toraja itself, so the people from the surrounding villages and districts did not want to miss the excitement. The full event was held for the entire month of August that year, and the last day was dedicated to a colossal feast, hosted in a Komando Daerah Militer (Kodim) field in Rantepao.     CUSTOMS PARADE     The Torajans were excited for this annual celebration. The streets were teeming with throngs of people from all over Toraja; not one of the 40 regencies was absent from the festivities, and each one had its own unique performance to offer to the audience. Sinjai Regency, for instance, gave a performance called Mambola Sipatan, where a boy climbed a bamboo structure supported by several men laying on the ground. It was a bewildering show!     It was also at this festival that I learned that the popular Asmat Tribe that is found in Papua are actually Torajans! They returned to their homeland for the event with its theme, “Love Your Country Preserve Your Culture” I also particularly enjoyed the Tira dance attraction, where a group of boys from the regency of North Makale danced to the music of bamboo instruments.     MEROK ATTRACTION     Merok was one of the myriad special attractions at this festival. Merok is a traditional ceremony of Toraja Sa’dan, North Toraja, held as a form of gratitude. The performance included the sacrifice of a water buffalo using an extremely sharp blade so that with only a single quick slash the deed was done. What an eerie moment for outsiders like me.     In Tana Toraja, the buffalo sacrifice is often done as a part of their elaborate multi-day funerals. They believe that the deceased’s soul travels to the afterlife on a buffalo. For the noble, more than 25 buffaloes might be slaughtered, but at least one of them must be particular breed of white-mottled buffalo, which comes at a high price. Afterwards, the horns are cut off and kept as trophies to be hung in the family home. The number of horns hanging in a home demonstrates the wealth and importance of the family.     Ka Ina told me that for Torajans, life very much revolves around death. This unique custom has lived in their society for centuries. For them, a funeral is a great celebration of life, much like a going-away party, and is an occasion in which the entire family of the deceased and members of the village take part. This ancient tradition is known to be one of the most complex funeral traditions in the world.     SO MANY TRADITIONAL DANCES     The Pagellu Dance is a welcome dance for patriots returning glorious from the battlefield. Pagellu means an expression of happiness. That year, in 2007, the largest ever Pagellu dance was staged. At least five thousand students from the Tana Toraja regency danced Pagellu on that very day.     Nowadays, Pagellu is often performed at weddings, at harvest time or to welcome VIP guests. Adorned in gold and silver, the dancers tell the story of the women of Toraja, the cycle from birth to death and the daily activities of the Toraja girls.   There were also the Nondo and Ma’Badong Dances. The difference between the two lies only in their context. Ma’Badong is performed in funerals, while Nondo is performed at moments of joy and celebration. The dancers wiggle their pinkie fingers as they move in a big circle.     The festival of Tana Toraja in 2007 was really a huge event. I have never witnessed a greater festival in Indonesia. Last year, Toraja International Fetival 2015n was held in Kete’ Kesu Village on August 14-16 and successfully amazed both local and international tourists. The festival included a music group who blended traditional music with contemporary tunes. International musicians attended the feast. Traditional dances were again performed. It also showcased Toraja traditional arts such as tenun (handwven fabric) as well as local food and coffee. The event was considered a success.     As the government strives for Toraja tourism, the event will be back again in 2016. It will possibly be held in August. As the event become more popular and international, there will be more peculiar ceremonies, bigger dances and music collaborations performed. More local talents, artists and international musicians are expected to come. The venue and theme have not been published, but wherever it is, I plan to be there!       Toraja International Festival 2016 schedule     Want to go to the local traditional market? Learn the Tips & Tricks     What is the 3 Historical Markets in Jakarta?       Source: Journey Indonesia, January 2016

RAMMA VALLEY: VALLEY OF THE KINGS

RAMMA VALLEY: VALLEY OF THE KINGS

February 09, 2016

Rocky, long and high. There are many words to describe the trail at Ramma Valley, but easy certainly isn’t one of them. But aside from those that denote challenge, it is words like picturesque, beautiful and idyllic that keep people visiting.   The gritty metropolis Makassar, the capital city of South Sulawesi, is one of the nation’s greatest ports. Tourism is a rapidly growing sector in Makassar, as is evidence by the new hotels, ferry ports, shopping malls and theme park.   But as the metropolitan city has few sights, especially for an adventure junkie like me, and with the relentless tropical heat and pollution, few travelers stay more than a night or two. As Makassar is also known as the gateway to Eastern part of Indonesia and the entry point to countless adventurous tours, I left Makassar for do a day trip to the picturesque Ramma Valley, located in Malino, a small hill town resort in the Gowa District of South Sulawesi, 90 kilometers from Makassar.     Only two hours’ drive from Makassar, I hit the road at dawn with friends. The journey was smooth and the traffic and the combination of anticipation and great company made it even more exciting. We opened the windows to let the wind blow against faces and enjoyed the peaceful morning.    Lembana Village was our destination. Lembanna is a small village in the foothills of Mount Bawakareang and the starting point for trekkers to the Mount Bawakareang or Mount Lompobatattang. So, here is where the adventure started.      ALMOST THE KALPATARU FLOWERS   To reach Ramma Valley, we walked through the dense and green forest for about 2.5 hours. At the start of our trek, we shared the trail with those hikers heading for the top of Mount Bawakareang. Since on this visit did not plan to reach the summit, we picked the right path at the first fork in the trail. Of course, the guide has told us to do so before we set out, otherwise, we could have very easily got lost at the very beginning!   Along the way, we had to cross several rivers with crystal clear water and rocks around. The area was scattered with stunning flora, including the beautiful Barringtonia Asiatica.     THE BREATHTAKING PANORAMA   When we finally reached the top of the hills, the views was truly awe inspiring. The vast green vallety was laid out before our eyes; a small river ran along it on one side and on the other loomed a couple of high mountains, one which was Bawakareang and the other Lompobattang.   After a few minutes rest, taking in the incredible view, we carefully descended the steep and rocky path through the foothills, and in less than 30 minutes, we arrived in the valley. The breeze blowing along the valley was calming, and the panoramic green fields, the rivers, lake and waterfalls were all so exquisite that we were able to forget our bustling thoughts for a while. The Ramma Valleys reminded me of the time I hiked Mount Gede-Pangrango in west Java through the valleys of Surya Kencana. There, is no edelweiss in Ramma Valley but, otherwise the two were very similar and equally beautiful. If you’re feeling thirsty, there is a natural well you can drink from.     THE MYTH   Besides its enchanting views, Ramma Valley has one characteristic not so easily found in other similar locations. The local people use the valley, thanks to its altitude, for livestock, with cows and horses roaming free. Groups of shepherds come to stay for a few days at a time, accompanied by their dogs, to take care of the animals.   Like the other mountains in Indonesia, there is also a local myth that Mount Bawakareang is  a sacred and spiritual place. The guide told us that anyone climbing to the summit during the holy Hajj month (the month of Dzullhijjah in the Islamic calendar) is rewarded as much as if he makes the pilgrimage to Mecca. No wonder, when the month is near, the place is packed. Finally, the journey came to an end, and it was time to go back before the sun fell behind the horizon and the path grew too dark. As we were walking down the hills, I was already thinking about my next visit to Mount Bawakareang. Next time, I’m aiming for the summit.     Source: Journey Magazine, January 2016     Plan your stay and visit Tana Toraja Festival 2016

5 Unique New Year Traditions around the World

5 Unique New Year Traditions around the World

December 14, 2015

Ring in the bell because New Year 2016 is coming! Now, while you are busy preparing foods for family dinner or New Year party costume and accessories, some people in other countries are collecting old photos or bad memories to be burned in New Year’s Eve. Unique isn’t it? Read the rest of 5 unique New Year traditions around the world.   1. Burning Old Memories To burn pictures of your ex might be one way to move on. Just like the tradition in Ecuador. They have a unique tradition to burn all bad and sad memories from the past year in order to celebrate the New Year. They believe that this is a good way to start a new life, and not attached to the past.   2. Throw Things New Year’s Eve in Denmark will be rowdy because the Danish have this tradition to throw plates and glasses to their neighbor’s door. And then, they’ll get up on a bench and jump together as a symbol of leaving the bad and welcome the fortune of New Year.    3. Matchmaking Game If you’re female, single and ready to mingle, you might want to join the Belorussian tradition in welcoming the New Year. Single ladies in Belorussia will be standing in a row and spread some corn kernels in front of them. If the roosters are coming to you, then you might get married in the upcoming year.   4. Sleeping at the Graveyard  It might sounds spooky to spend the rest of the end of the year at a graveyard.  But this is what people in Chile do. They believe that they have to welcome the New Year together with their ancestors on the graveyard. Dare to try?   5. Wearing Polka dots The Philippines believe that wearing coin shaped clothes on New Year’s Eve will bring fortune in the New Year. They also usually bring coins or tiny bells as a symbol of good luck.   Which of these five unique traditions that you might want to do? Will you sleep at a graveyard, or will you spread the corn kernels like the Belarusian does?    If you still want to have some fun with party for the whole night long, stay at Singgasana Hotel Makassar. With less than IDR 1.5 million, you can stay and enjoy the New Year’s Eve with various entertainments at our Black & White Party, including breakfast on the next day. Reserve now!

5 Worst Trip Planning Mistakes

5 Worst Trip Planning Mistakes

November 27, 2015

Even experienced travelers admit that holidays have gone awry for them now and again, for a variety of reasons. But most travel mishaps are easily avoided if you plan right. Here are five most common trip planning mistakes to be considered.   1. Being inflexible with your dates Fixing your travel dates too early could be a way to pay too much. Plan the dates long before you apply for annual leave, allowing flexibility to adjust as new information becomes available. Pushing your travel dates back or forward by just a few days could save you hundreds of dollars.   2. One-stop shopping The days when we’d call up a travel agent, book a trip, hang up the phone and be done with it are long gone. Now, the internet is a hodgepodge of hundreds of competing travel provider sites, all whom are touring the “best deals” and “lowest prices” – and 9 out of 10 times it’s a mistake to book the first thing you see. Keep looking, and you can always come back.   3. Going deal-crazy Yes, bargains are wonderful. But one can take things too far. Travel deals often work against us, and this is exactly how the business can afford to offer them. Beware of discounts that you may not actually use or that you probably wouldn’t book the first place, or that exceed your budget even with the discounts.   4. Cramming too much in If you’re spending so much money on your vacation, it is understandable to want to get your money’s worth by stuffing as much as possible into your itinerary. But it’s key to leave plenty of room in your schedule for the unexpected. Be realistic!   5. Under-budgeting Budget everything! Baggage fees, airline surcharges, cost of airline meals and snacks, ATM fees, hotel service charges, car rental fees, internet charges, taxes, tips, local payments and other pesky little (and big) fees. Overlook the surcharges and your trip could cost hundreds more than you bargained for.     Source: Journey Magazine, November 2015   Does Jakarta has a great underwater scenery?

Pantai Losari

Pantai Losari

September 16, 2015

Set foot the city of Makassar would be complete if not down the beach Losari, the iconic beach promo tour in many cities of Makassar. Losari beach is a beach which is located on the edge of one of the central area of the city of Makassar, which stretches for several kilometers to be exact in the way of the comforter. Losari shore not the beach with sand or rocks but a breakwater embankment. Losari shore not the beach with sand or rocks but a breakwater embankment Losari beach is always crowded public street through the Makassar. Admission is not required to enter this area. It is located a few kilometers from the central market or field Karebosi and not far from Fort Rotterdam, Makassar and Arts center souvenirs at the Somba Opu. The atmosphere of the beach Losari undergo major changes. Previously, Losari beach is famous as the world’s longest food stalls, Losari beach along the edge of the first line the food stalls that sell a variety of foods and beverage including snacks like banana Eppe typical Makassar.   However, as the construction of a connecting road to the Losari beach area of Tanjung Bunga, The stalls were removed and incorporated its location in one of the other side of Losari beach.   Later Makassar City government plans to enchance the look of the beach, then built a platform that is now always crowded with people who wants to enjoy the beach at certain times of the music performances are often held in the pavilion Losari beach. The pavilion is usually crowded during morning and evening dusk while on holiday, this platform usually used as a gymnasium or other light exercise.   There are plenty of snacks that can be enjoyed in this place ranging from chicken porridge, vegetable rice cake to the tipical yellow rice Losari beach. Enjoy the sunset from the beach Losari is the right choice. Come dusk when the sun began to sink the ball in this location is very beautiful.

Avoid Crowd While on Vacation

Avoid Crowd While on Vacation

September 16, 2015

Saat liburan datang, rasanya ingin mencari ketenangan dan suasana baru. Tapi apa daya, Anda harus berbagi tempat liburan dengan wisatawan lainnya. Bukan mustahil Anda bisa menghindari keramaian tersebut. Tamasya punya beberapa tipsnya.   · Cari Objek Lain Lupakan sejenak objek wisata popular, itu sama saja mendatangi langsung sumber keramaian. Kunjungi objek-objek wisata yang cenderung “diabaikan” banyak orang. Tidak ikonik? Mungkin saja. Tetapi dapat memberi pengalaman baru dan prespektif lain terhadap kota tempat Anda berlibur. · Lebih Awal Atau Lebih Lambat Tidak ada salahnya bangun sangat pagi supaya bisa menjadi yang pertama berada di lokasi wisata. Kerumunan wisatawan di pagi hari cenderung lebih sedikit, memudahkan Anda memandangi lingkungan sekitar tanpa lautan manusia. Bisa juga datang lebih lambat, ketika kebanyakan wisatawan sudah beranjak pulang.  · Tanya Penduduk Lokal Kebanyakan warga local tahu seluk beluk daerah setempat. Hal ini bisa Anda manfaatkan untuk memperoleh informasi dari warga local. Misalnya tempat-tempat menarik yang belum banyak dikunjingi, waktu-waktu terbaik mengunjungi sebuah tempat dan transportasi terbaik mencapai tujuan. Anda bisa memulainya dari resepsionis di hotel, namun jangan ragu bertanya pada orang yang ditemui di jalan. · Hotel Yang Tenang Usahakan untuk memilih hotel di area yang lebih tenang, biasanya terletak agak jauh dari pusat wisata. Memilih hotel bisnis boleh-boleh saja, mengingat hotel keluarga seringkali ramai dengan anak-anak. · Pilih Bandara Alternatif  Bandara utama seringkali penuh ketika musim liburan, membuat antrean panjang. Anda juga mungkin ingin menghindari yang satu ini. Cobalah mencari bandara tujuan lain yang dekat dengan kota tujuan. Memutar rute sedikit jauh tapi rasa tenang dan nyaman bisa diraih kan. · Tur Istimewa Kadang beberapa agen wisata menyelenggarakan tur spesial, di mana pesertanya mendapat perjalanan wisata eksklusif. Tur seperti ini memang memerlukan  biaya ekstra, sehingga tidak selalu menjadin pilihan utama.   Source : Majalah Tamasya Edisi Mei 2014 | www.majalah-tamasya.com