Tag Archives: culture

5 Things You Have to Do While Visiting Jakarta

do while visiting Jakarta

Planning a trip to Indonesia? Don’t miss out on the capitol city of Java. Located on the west coast of the big island; Jakarta is the largest city in Indonesia and one of the largest in the world. Famous for its hustle and bustle, here are 4 things you have to do while visiting Jakarta.

Cool Off at Waterbom
Jakarta is known for its unbearable heat but a trip to the massive Waterbom Waterpark can make the heat far more bearable.  With huge tube slides, a lazy river, and even some wild speed slides; Waterbom is one of the coolest things to do while visiting Jakarta. Whether you are traveling with friends or with the family, a day at Waterbom is a must.

do while visiting JakartaMake Sense of Indonesian History at the National Museum
Indonesia’s long history and multiple islands, languages, and cultures can confuse many first time visitors. A good way to get a handle on this fascinating culture is to check out the world renowned National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta. The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts that run the full gamut of Indonesian history making it a must do while visiting Jakarta.

Get Stuck in Traffic
A city world renowned for its traffic jams, there is nothing more quintessentially Jakartan  than being in a multi-hour traffic jam. So we recommend you get a friendly english speaking taxi driver, make sure the a/c is working and prepare for a slow paced tour of the city. Often times your hotel can help you sort this out, such as the Hotel Mulia or many more found on sites like Traveloka.com.

do while visiting JakartaEat Your Way Through a Market
Jakarta is known world wide for it’s incredible food scene and some of the best (and most bizarre food) in Jakarta can be at outdoor markets. One of our favorites is Pasar Baru, a collection of shops, stalls, malls, and restaurants. Bring a group of friends and sample any food that smells good (which will be a lot!) Satay, is one of the most well known dishes worldwide, while it looks like just meat on a stick, once you try it you will be an instant addict. Another favorite is Chinese influenced meat filled dumplings: Bakpao. If you are feeling hungrier, go for the stick to your ribs Indonesian classic: Rendang, this curried beef dish will leave you wanting more. Don’t forgot your dessert, a popular sweet in Jakarta is Murtabak, sort of a stuffed pancakes with sweet fillings ranging from eggs to Nutella. So eating your way through the streets is definitely something you have to do while visiting Jakarta.

While there are hundreds of other activities to keep you busy in this mega-city, I hope our list of must dos while visiting Jakarta provides some good inspiration for your next trip. So prepare for the heat, the crowds, the friendly people, the traffic, and most of all the delicious food; and you will have an unforgettable time in Jakarta.

 

 

Off the Beaten Path Island Destinations

off the beaten path islands

Looking for a picturesque island getaway that is a little off the beaten path? Prefer to relax on a sandy beach all to yourself? Here are a few off the beaten path island destinations that will have have your friends frantically asking you where you took those photos.

The World, Dubai
A manmade island (could have been) paradise off the coast of Dubai is truly unique. This sandy archipelago shaped to mimic the globe’s 7 continents was originally designed to be occupied by both hotels and private homes but ran into trouble in trouble during the 2008 financial crisis. The project was never finished but the bulk of the islands still remain yet only one is occupied. An entire island chain with  just a single home, this is definitely an off the beaten path island destinations. Tours are offered from the Dubai mainland. Oh, did we mention the islands have begun to sink back  into the ocean? Better see them while you can!

Corsica, France
off the beaten path islands
Known for it expansive and truly unique scenery and culture,  Corsica is one of the Mediterranean’s most fascinating islands though it is often overlooked by many tourists. Corsica is known for it breathtaking mountain hikes including the famous GR 20, known as “the toughest long distance trail in Europe.”  The culture of Corsica is worth the trip as well, the cuisine features a unique combination with influences from both Italy and France, as well as their own unique dishes. The wild pigs of Corsica allegedly supply some of the worlds best pork products. Though the majority of the island speaks French, though there is also a large minority of native Corsican speakers. Corsica is also easily accessible with ferries available from online sites. You can check this one by going to visit ok-ferry.com So if you want a taste of a unique European culture while enjoying some of the Mediterranean’s best outdoors activities, we recommend a trip to Corsica this Spring or Summer.

Koh Mak, Thailand
This island is the definition of an off the beaten path island destination. Located near the Cambodian border in Thailand, Koh Mak is everything you would expect from a jungle island paradise. The white sand beaches have been listed as some of the world’s best, though surprisingly the crowds are few and far between. The island maintains a very traditional way of life based primarily on farming, which makes it unique amongst Thailand’s many tourist centric islands. A typical day off vacationing in Koh Mak would be drinking a coconut on a white sand beach, maybe a bit of snorkeling, followed by some sunset cocktails and a seafood bbq. It doesn’t get much more postcard worthy than this.
So if you want to get away to a paradise make sure you visit some of our favorite off the beaten path island destinations, that feature both privacy and uniqueness. But you better hurry up because these beautiful off the beaten path island destinations are so amazing it is hard to believe they will be off the beaten path for long. Bon Voyage!

Top Places to learn Portuguese in Brazil

Cosmopolitan Sao Paulo is one of the best places to learn Portuguese in Brazil ...  photo by CC user julioboaro on Flickr

Occupying a massive chink of the South American continent, Brazil and its 200 million people have become one of the most significant nations on Earth in the 21st century. Without a doubt, it has become one of the world’s most powerful Portuguese speaking nations, as desperate young people from the mother country have fled their economically destitute land in search of opportunity here.

Others, like you dear traveler, often come seeking some of the best parties, surfing beaches, and jungle environments on the planet. Unlike the rest of Latin America though, this nation speaks Portuguese, a language related to Spanish, but with a number of fundamental differences.

So while you might be ready to book your flight on TAM, you don’t quite know where a great place to study Portuguese in Brazil might be. To help you solve this conundrum, we have uncovered three cities that are perfect for this purpose.

Find out which suits your personality best and once you do, start packing and prepare for the learning opportunity of a lifetime!

1) Belo Horizonte

Located in the midst of historic Midas Gerais state, Belo Horizonte is a great place for those that want to discover the wealth of colonial architecture that lies in smaller towns and cities on days off from their studies. Located well away from larger centers like Rio and Sao Paulo, very few people here speak even basic English, making an excellent environment for immersing yourself in Portuguese 24/7.

Those that are fans of modern architecture will love this place, as Belo is a planned city founded in the 1890’s, meaning that most of its growth has occurred in the past century.

2) Florianopolis

Want to combine your love of the beach and surfing with learning Portuguese? If so, then Florianopolis will make for an excellent base for your learning efforts. It is said that immersion has its greatest success when you learn vocabulary that is centered around your interests, so when you go to hit the waves, limit your interactions with fellow English speaking foreigners, and surf with the locals.

Not only will you learn to speak Portuguese faster, you’ll pick up the local knowledge of the best surf breaks, leading to experiences that travelers passing through can only dream about!

3) São Paulo

If you are a fan of large cities, but the touristy vibe of Rio de Janeiro rubs you the wrong way, then São Paulo will prove to be an excellent option for you. Being a big learning center within Brazil, there are many native Brazilians that are looking to learn English as they earn their degree.

This presents an opportunity for a cultural exchange that will allow them to teach you Portuguese, in exchange for helping them with their English. As for the city itself, São Paulo is known as one of Brazil’s leading centers for arts and culture.

This means that there will be no shortage of museums and galleries to explore, making this place heaven on Earth for the cultured among us.

Top Tourist Attractions In Lithuania

The top tourist attractions in Lithuania amaze you at every turn!

The top tourist attractions in Lithuania are some of Europe’s best kept secrets. Despite having only won its independence from the Soviets in 1993, Lithuania is back on its feet. It is now a member of the European Union and a partner of NATO. That said however, Lithuania doesn’t get as much tourists even though it has a colorful history. After you succeed in finding affordable flights to this fascinating nation, check out the best of what Lithuania has to offer so that you will know what to see when you arrive here. It’s important to remember that whilst Lithuanian isn’t a language that you are likely to be familiar with, all of the tours and guides here have excellent Lithuanian translation services so that you can fully understand what you are seeing.

1. Hill of Crosses

The small hill is located 6 miles from Siauliai and comprises of two mounds with thousands of crosses. The crosses range from cheap to expensive and are made of wood or metal. They were placed there by locals either as memorials or devotions to accompany prayers and this tradition is believed to originate from the 14th century. The Hill of Crosses is especially eerie when the wind blows and causes the crosses and hanging rosaries to rattle.

2. Grutas Park

It is a privately-owned Soviet sculpture park spanning for 2 sq km. It was built to resemble a Siberian concentration park. When it opened in 2001, you can only imagine the controversies it attracted. But the owner stands by the historical significance of Grutas Park even though it reminds them of their painful past. Grutas Park, no matter how controversial, is one of the top tourist attractions in Lithuania.

3. Sand Dunes

The sand dunes at the Curonian Split National Park have folkloric origins but it was really years of deforestation that allowed sand from the coast to wander to the area. It only took three centuries to form these sand dunes, swallowing more than a dozen villages along the way. But replanting is ongoing at the national park and 20 percent of it is now covered by forests. Meanwhile, the sand dunes are still moving but already shrinking. While it’s still there, make sure that you pay the Sahara of Lithuania a visit.

4. Zokniai Military Airfield

This airfield was once the largest military base outside of the USSR. The last USSR troops left in 1993 when Lithuania gained its independence. Today, the air base is used by NATO forces to patrol the Baltic skies. Guided tours of the airfield are available but you will have to book in advance.

5. Nemunas Delta Regional Park

It is the site of the Ventés Ragas Ornithological Station where you can learn more about the Nemunas bird and wait for it from the observation deck. But you can also see other species of birds within the Nemunas Delta Regional Park including 270 of the 350 kinds found in Lithuania. Any birdwatcher knows that this is one of the top tourist attractions in Lithuania.

5 unusual things to do in New York City you never considered

Visiting High Line Park is just one of the many unusual things to do in New York City...

New York City, for all its importance on the American and world stage, ironically has a set of attractions that many visitors adhere to without variation. The Statue of Liberty, Time Square, The Empire State Building, and maybe a museum or two if certain parties are into that learning thing. This isn’t meant to imply that there isn’t anything interesting to see in New York beyond the mainstream attractions that we just listed; it was intended to expose the hive mind tendency of many visitors to only see certain attractions because some book, TV show, or friend told them to.

Being an infinitely complex city, there is an endless array of things to do in NYC, with some being less conventional than others. This post is dedicated towards the latter category, as there are five unusual things to do in New York City that you’ve never even considered doing … that you totally should!

So, go ahead and get to finding affordable New York flights for your upcoming holiday here, while we suggest some truly offbeat things to occupy your time.

1) Visit the Transit Museum

Are you an infrastructure geek? In today’s increasingly urbanized world, there are tonnes of folks like yourself, so don’t be so self-conscious! Indulge in your pet interest at the New York City Transit Museum, where artifacts from the cities’ subway, heavy rail, and bus system are stored for your viewing pleasure. Situated in a disused subway station, and boasting restored subway cars, signaling equipment, vintage signage, plus much more.

2) Create your own New York style pizza

Any traveler can waltz into a pizzaeria and purchase a wedge of New York style pizza to go – but do you have what it takes to make the melty, gooey, treat the way it was intended? Find out by attending a pizza making class, where you will learn the ins and outs of making a NY style pie, including what separates a tasty restaurant pizza from the home made varieties that haven’t quite added up … yet.

3) Check out the flea market in Hell’s Kitchen

Before you get hesitant, this is not the domain of crazed chef Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen is a neighborhood in Manhattan that had long been a rough working class area, but with the wave of gentrification that swept the entire city in the past 20 years, even this place has apartments that are primo expensive.

Despite this fact, the long established flea market has held on, offering a veritable heaven for antique hunter’s, with relics, antiquated furniture, refurbished items, and vintage clothing all vying for attention.

4) Discover High Line Park

Built in the 1930’s to bring a dangerous freight train line off the streets of New York so that traffic could pass beneath it safely, this elevated section had largely become obsolete in recent years as deindustrialization on the West Side of New York had turned into more of an eyesore. Redevelopment of the track bed into an elevated urban park began in phases in 2006, and by this fall in 2014, the entire track will be a continuous 1 mile stretch of greenspace and human activity where nothing had existed for more than a decade.

5) Attend a performance of Sleep No More

Now, I know what you’re thinking … isn’t going to the theater a main attraction of visiting New York City? Well, it is … but the production of the play Sleep No More is far from anything that could be considered a standard show-going experience. Taking place in a re-purposed warehouse that serves as the McKittrick Hotel, a previously long abandoned hotel that has recently been “restored”.

The audience physically walks through the set instead of watching it passively, as the actors/actresses act out scenes of a play that has an eerily similar plot to Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Almost no speaking is done (audience members are masked and instructed to not speak as well), leaving participants to read between the lines in an unforgettable night of performance art. If you are planning to visit New York, you can apply for ESTA online before hand.