AMSTERDAM, CITY RENOWNED FOR ITS TRANQUIL HOUSEBOAT-LINED CANALS

amsterdam

Compact and densely packed with old gabled buildings, the world’s most photographed city is renowned for its tranquil houseboat-lined canals. It’s easy to forget when bicycling around the narrow streets — occasionally stopping for refreshments in snug cafés — that the world’s first ever stock exchange was set up here. Or, indeed, that a notorious red-light district lies in the vicinity.

Unlike its fellow waterway-centric city of Venice, Amsterdam  is no museum piece. From the canals, young internet entrepreneurs strike deals across Europe from their houseboats. With its outward-looking orientation and genuinely international business climate (representatives of 177 different nations live and work here, and more than 1,400 foreign companies have set up offices), the city is well equipped to deal with business visitors. The rise in smart restaurants, trendy shops and stylish luxury hotels has been prolific in recent years.

Most Amsterdam businesses are located in the city centre or in the new commercial district in the southwestern part of the city around the World Trade Centre, where an astonishing array of innovative architecture is revitalising the city edge.

-Money: The Euro (€). Euro-denominated traveller’s cheques and credit cards are widely accepted in main hotels, shops and restaurants. Smaller establishments may accept cash only.

Also see:

https://seekingthespanishsun.com/

(Reuters)

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO AND MUST SEE IN JAKARTA

Beach at Ancol Dream Park, Jakarta, Indonesia

ANCOL DREAMLAND / DREAM PARK (TAMAN IMPIAN JAYA ANCOL)

 

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Picture by Kompas.com

iAncol

If you are looking for a break from the rough and tough, this is as cheesy as it sounds, Ancol Dreamland is could be your dream place. It is open for 24 hours with amusement park – Fantasy World (Dunia Fantasi (dufan)), Atlantis Water Adventure, Ocean Dream Samudra (pentas lumba) for animal shows, Seaworld, beaches (pantai), Art Market (pasar seni), golf range, bowling, Ocean Eco Park, gondola, Hailai club, art academy, paintball and wakeboarding.

NATIONAL MUSEUM

Being two centuries old, National Museum of Indonesia (museum nasional) is an icon that you must visit. It is located at Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat in center of Jakarta city and it is an archeological, historical, ethnological, and geographical museum. Jakarta’s national museum is well known as Elephant Building (gedung gajah) because of the elephant statue there. Visit here to get yourself acquainted with Jakarta and also Indonesia’s history and culture.

NATIONAL MONUMENT

In Jakarta’s city centre of Merdeka Square, stands the National Monument (Monumen Nasional (Monas)) tower. It is a must visit for every tourist in Jakarta as it is a symbol to be beckon with. It stands to symbolize the fight for Indonesia and constructed under direction of President Sukarno. It is open daily from 8 AM to 3 PM everyday except last Monday of the month.

NATIONAL GALLERY

National Gallery of Indonesia is a combination of museum and art gallery in Jakarta, where you can enjoy culture, history and visual arts. Your visit to Jakarta would be well rounded with a visit to this place to admire the local arts.

GEDUNG KESENIAN JAKARTA (JAKARTA ARTS THEATER)
Built during the Dutch colonial period, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta is a concert hall in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is situated close to the Istiqlal Mosque and the Jakarta Cathedral. Check out the various arts program lined up, ranging from theater shows to musical performances. This is definitely the place to visit to stock up on cultural shows and concerts.

SHOPPING IN JAKARTA

Visitors of Jakarta  can enjoy endless day of excellent  shopping centers catering to all budget and tastes. Other option available are  stores and boutiques in the nearby residential areas.

Some of the best places to visit are those in Pondok Indah  in South Jakarta and  Blok M Plaza.  Puri Indah Mall, Taman Anggrek Mall, Central Park  and Ciputra Mall  are located in West Jakarta.

Puri Indah Mall excellently arranges various products on sales in each level of the building.

If shopping is your thing to do, Jakarta offers a lot from high end to budget shopping from malls to markets. You may also want to look at places to stay near Plaza Indonesia  to maximise your shopping sphere.  Recommended Shopping malls or shopping centers or markets in Jakarta:
Plaza Indonesia of FX Mall – designer goods and
Grand Indonesia

Mangga Dua  is a place for cheap yet quality imitation goods
Blok M is also available to visit  for  shoes, clothes, bags.

Another alternative is Pasar Ikan for  souvenirs and household items

EAT

Don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Best Indonesian Food to try all the delicious local delicacies and where else but Jakarta is the best place to hunt for them! One of my favourite restaurant in Jakarta that served really good local Sundanese food is Pondok Laguna. This place is popular with the locals and also travelers alike, so you may find it really pack during peak hours like lunch and dinner.
Eco-bar at Kemang Nightlife, Jakarta, Indonesia
Eco-bar at Kemang Nightlife, Jakarta. Photo by siska maria eviline

NIGHTLIFE
Jakarta, being a large city, is definitely not short of things to do at night. For nightlife, you have many choices of clubs and bar. There are places like Kemang for the younger but dynamic crowds in Jakarta clubbing scene or cafes like Ecobar. It is one of the coolest place to party in Jakarta and the club are trendier yet affordable. Or you can go to the more famous traveler street Jalan Jaksa for some choices of bars, clubs and cafe, the better reason to party here is there are more food choices.

Addresses:
Triple Nine
Kemang Arcade Building on the third floor
Kemang Raya 20 A

Tipsy   (http://www.jakarta100bars.com/2009/01/tipsy-bar-in-kemang-street-beat.html) The Beat Building 3rd Floor
Kemang Raya No 29. Also See:

http://www.jakarta100bars.com/2017/05/dronk-bar-and-club-kemang

 

Queen’s Head Jakarta
Jalan Kemang Raya No 18c, South Jakarta
Eastern Promise
Kemang Raya No. 5

 

SPA AND MASSAGE AND BEAUTY

There are many choices of a spa, massage or beauty here in Jakarta for self-pampering. You can go for traditional Indonesian massages, or soothing spa in the middle of the city, or even go for manicure and pedicure, facial and hair wash and styling in various malls and establishments, ranging from affordable to splurge. If you have more time in Jakarta, you can go for a weekend getaway at the Javana Spa, only 2 hours drive away from the city.

WALK AROUND SHOPPING  AREAS

Come here for the nostalgic walk down the memory lane in Pasar Baru, where it is one of the rare streets of Jakarta that is actually pedestrian friendly.

There  are also other shopping areas such as Mangga Dua  in Central Jakarta.

In these shopping areas you will find many locals here and family-run business selling clothes and watches. There are many vintage fashions here such as shirts, dresses, belts and jackets selling as low as USD10 from second hand / old to new. Also, catch the best local Indonesian food you can find, for example, bakmi. Start walking from Metro Atom at Jalan H. Samanhudi and then walk towards the rear end which is the Jakarta Art centre ( Gedung Kesenian Jakarta).
Day trip from Jakarta or a weekend getaway

If all the above is not enough or you have more time, there is always day trip from Jakarta like Bogor and Taman Safari or escape to nearby Bandung for more shopping.

(Link: http://www.jakarta100bars.com)

(allindonesiatravel.com, Tour Viewers)

Malioboro Makeover To Attract Tourists

Malioboro

 

Yogyakarta. As Indonesia  is looking forward to  more tourist arrivals  in coming years,   Yogyakarta  apparently is  also  active  in revamping its major tourist destinations including   the city’s Malioboro area, one of major tourist enclaves in the province.

Now  Malioboro Street is more attractive  with  a popular arcade and shopping strip in the heart of Yogyakarta.

yogya 3

Tugu Train Station

Photos: Tourviewers

The street is the centre of Yogyakarta’s largest tourist enclave  which is   surrounded with many hotels, restaurants, and shops nearby. Sidewalks on both sides of the street are common views for tourists. Malioboro as usual is   crowded with small stalls selling a variety of goods. Especially in the evening,  several open-air street side restaurants are available offering tasty typical food of Yogyakarta.

The Yogyakarta mayoralty  apparently is in constant efforts to transform  Malioboro, the Tugu train station and surrounding areas into a more pedestrian-friendly cultural preservation zone.

Malioboro and the supporting areas attract domestic and foreign tourists seeking to experience the region’s rich Javanese culture. The area offers souvenir shops, food stalls, a traditional market, restaurants and street musicians for tourists’ entertainment.

 

Jogja 1

 

The revitalization of the city  also involves the participation of Kraton (Palace) and train operator,  PT Kereta Api Indonesia.

The Kraton refers to the Yogyakarta royal palace’s administration, presided over by provincial ruler Sultan Hamengkubuwono X.

Keraton

Yogyakarta province is the second-most popular tourist destination in Indonesia after Bali.  (http://www.bali-indonesia.com)

Foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia including to Yogyakarta have been in the constant rise every year.

Yogyakarta  is home to several ancient temples including Prambanan and Mendut. Nearby Borobudur temple, located in the neighboring district of Magelang, Central Java, is also a major tourist attraction.

(Various sources)

Irish coastal village hosts annual beach horse races

Runners and riders participate in the Christmas Ballyheigue beach horse races in the County Kerry village of Ballyheigue
Runners and riders participate in the Christmas Ballyheigue beach horse races in the County Kerry village of Ballyheigue, Ireland, December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

By Clodagh Kilcoyne

BALLYHEIGUE, Ireland (Reuters) – On a rugged stretch of beach in Ireland’s southwest, the residents of Ballyheigue braved the wild winds from the Atlantic coast on Wednesday for the annual Christmas horse races.

Runners and riders participate in the Christmas Ballyheigue beach horse races in the County Kerry village of Ballyheigue, Ireland, December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

The winds halted proceedings briefly on a bitterly cold day in County Kerry but the tide stayed out and all eight races took place on the temporary track that locals say first hosted the event back in the 1850s.

“It’s a tradition more than anything. Tradition is very important to Irish people,” said 70-year-old Donal O‘Sullivan.

O‘Sullivan, from Listowel, was one of the volunteers that helped prepare the beach to host the picturesque meeting watched by hundreds.

A tractor was used to help clear seaweed, while others put up sound systems and racing posts to create a course for the horses and jockeys, who were as young as 11 and traveled from around the country to take part.

“It means a lot to the area at this time of year where it gives a bit of enjoyment to people who are home on holidays and of course it leaves a few pounds in the village for the day,” O‘Sullivan added.

Writing by Patrick Johnston in LONDON; Editing by Alison Williams

(REUTER)

 

Tuna goes for $323,000 at Tokyo fish market’s final New Year auction

By Kwiyeon Ha

Hiroshi Onodera, the president of LEOC Co. Ltd which owns the “Ginza Onodera” restaurant chain, paid 36.45 million yen ($323,195) for a 405-kg (890 lb) premium Pacific bluefin tuna – around 90,000 yen per kg.

(Photo  Caption)

 

TOKYO (Reuters) – In the final New Year’s auction at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market on Friday, the owner of an international sushi restaurant shelled out more than $300,000 for a prime bluefin tuna and said he was “very happy” with the result. The world’s largest fish market, one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist sites, is set to relocate later this year to clear the way for a road needed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Hiroshi Onodera, the president of LEOC Co. Ltd which owns the “Ginza Onodera” restaurant chain, paid 36.45 million yen ($323,195) for a 405-kg (890 lb) premium Pacific bluefin tuna – around 90,000 yen per kg.

The price was just over half that of last year’s winning bid of 72 million yen and well below the record 155 million yen paid in 2013.

“I’ve tried to win in the auction since last year, so I‘m really happy,” said Onodera, whose company has restaurants in New York and Singapore as well as in Japan.

“This is especially true because it’s the last year in Tsukiji.”
Kiyomura Co’s President Kiyoshi Kimura (C), who runs a chain of sushi restaurants Sushi Zanmai, poses with a 190 kg bluefin tuna, priced with a 30.4 million yen bid at the fish market’s first tuna auction this year at his sushi restaurant outside Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Japan, January 5, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (Caption)

Tuna is prized around the world for its use in sushi, but experts warn growing demand has made it an endangered species.

“The high price paid today for a single Pacific bluefin tuna should not distract from the dire status of the species, which has been depleted by more than 97 percent by years of overfishing,” said Jamie Gibbon, a Pacific bluefin tuna expert for the Pew Charitable Trusts, in a statement.

“If countries continue to exceed their catch limits…the very survival of the species will be threatened.”

The 80-year-old Tsukiji market draws tens of thousands of visitors a year to its warren of stalls with exotic species of fish and fresh sushi, part of a tourism boom that is a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revival plan.

“This will truly be the final auction here, so I made sure I came to watch,” said Mitsuko Yamaguchi, the 61-year-old owner of a seafood store.
Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Kim Coghill

(REUTER)

Top 10 nature breaks around the world

sunset

Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith (www.mrandmrssmith.com) suggest 10 of the best getaways for unwinding in style, from relaxing rural retreats to snow-blessed mountain hideaways and simple seaside sanctuaries.

  1. Wilderness wonders

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Blue Mountains, Australia

Just a scenic three-hour drive from Sydney, all-inclusive Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in the Blue Mountains offers an iconic Australian country experience. Set in 4,000 acres of jaw-dropping, pristine wilderness, taking in vast valleys and elevated escarpments, it delivers dramatic nature in spades. Guided horse-riding and mountain-biking tours beckon, alongside wildlife safaris to spy kangaroos, wallaroos and platypuses. There’s no need to sacrifice creature comforts though, with 40 pampering pool suites, fine-dining, a huge pool, tennis court and indulgent spa. Charles Darwin fell for Wolgan Valley in the 19th century, and it’s easy to see why. (here)

Wolgan-Valley-Resort-Australia-1-768x432

http://www.luxatic.com/the-wolgan-valley-resort-in-new-south-wales-australia

2. Private-island chilling

Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

What do you get when you cross France with the South Pacific? French Polynesia, a dreamy cluster of lagoon-lapped archipelagos in the deep-blue sea, boasting romantic islands and awe-inspiring coral atolls. The Tuamotus archipelago is one of the latter, playing host to tropical Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort hotel on an intimate motu (or mini isle). With a pretty pink-sand beach, bird life galore and a mix of 37 overwater and beachside bungalows looking over the lagoon, this is a tranquil, just-remote-enough paradise. It’s perfect for a laid-back honeymoon or family escape, far from the madding crowds. Expect stellar snorkelling and diving. (here)

  1. Natural highs

Vigilius Mountain Resort, South Tyrol, Italy

If you prefer to head for the hills, ideally enveloped in an icing-thick layer of snow, then Vigilius Mountain Resort in north-east Italy’s spectacular Dolomites is for you. Modern, minimalist swathes of wood and glass dominate the eco-sleek lodge, with 35 rooms and six suites, all mercifully free of Alpine kitsch. Spend your days skiing, snowboarding or Nordic walking, then hit the toasty spa. In summer, hiking, horse-riding, archery and mountain-biking are the big draws. Worked up an appetite? Guests can enjoy modern European fare at Restaurant 1500 or hearty stews and strudels at Parlour Ida. (here)

  1. Desert chic

Amangiri, Lake Powell, United States

When only a desertscape will do, escape to Amangiri boutique hotel near Lake Powell in the heart of Navajo country in southern Utah. An exclusive pocket of modernist luxury surrounded by wild and wind-carved land, this is rockstar chic at its best. The 34 soothing suites embrace the outdoors with stellar views, as does the sandstone-set outdoor heated pool. The incredible spa sports five treatment rooms, a watsu pool and Water Pavilion, and rates include yoga classes and a daily guided hike. Delicious food and drink takes inspiration from the region (think bison burgers, tortilla chips and salsa, and prickly-pear margaritas). (here)

How-to-Get-to-Amangiri-Resort-1024x766

https://www.ryljets.com/getting-travel-amangiri-resort-canyon-point-utah/

 

  1. Spa serenity

MesaStila, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

3240128-mesastila-yogyakarta-indonesia

If you fancy a jungle spa stay away from the tourist hordes, MesaStila hotel on Indonesia’s main island Java could be just the ticket. Ringed by verdant forest and eight easy-on-the-eye volcanoes, this serene garden-set retreat was once a Dutch colonial coffee plantation. Now its 22 elegant villas promise to calm you down rather than rev you up, thanks to the award-winning spa, which uses estate-grown products in its treatments, a hammam, yoga classes and view-blessed pool. The culture-rich town of Yogyakarta is nearby for a hit of dance, art or music, and famous Buddhist temple Borobudur is also within easy reach. (here)

/www.mrandmrssmith.com/luxury-hotels/mesastila

 

  1. Vineyard-hopping

Château de Bagnols, Beaujolais, France

For a rural retreat that knows a thing or two about wine, hightail it to luxurious Château de Bagnols, a five-star aristocrat near Lyon in cultivated Beaujolais. Boasting its own moat, drawbridge and towers in honey-hued stone, the hotel’s 21 spacious rooms are elegant feasts of vintage style. Gourmet delights are also on offer at La Salle des Gardes restaurant, occupying a former guards’ room beside a sunny terrace, which dishes up modern French cuisine as well as trad spit-roasted meats and game. There’s an impressive wine list, and wine-tasting and cooking classes on tap. Horse-drawn carriage jaunts, picnics and hot-air balloon rides up the romance factor. (here)

  1. Modern-rustic luxe

Blackberry Farm, Smoky Mountains, United States

Gorgeous views, a patchwork of picket-fenced fields, sylvanian countryside, and a model home-on-the-farm feel – all the ingredients are there for a textbook rural retreat, but 59-room Blackberry Farm, in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, ratchets the luxury up a notch with smart contemporary decor, can’t-do-enough staff and its own Lexus fleet (or commandeer a golf buggy). Our fave rooms are the Singing Brook Cottages, which are superbly spacious, pleasantly secluded, and offer a gorgeous contemporary take on chic rusticity. The hotel flaunts outdoor pursuits aplenty, including hiking, climbing, rafting, riding and stargazing. The Aveda Spa offers an indulgent alternative for working off those all-inclusive meals. (here)

  1. Animal magic

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in wine region Hawke’s Bay, on New Zealand’s North Island, combines a 6,000-acre working sheep and cattle farm with jaw-dropping Pacific Ocean views, an 18-hole golf course and soothing spa. Touting 22 suites (and the larger Owner’s Cottage for group getaways), this boutique retreat offers serious luxe, fine dining and a romantic circular snug for James Bond-glam drinks. To get your fresh-air fix, opt for a farm tour by foot or four-wheel drive, go on a Kiwi Discovery Walk to spot the rare national bird or take a safari to the local gannet colony. (here)

  1. Country pursuits

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Cotswolds, United Kingdom

Just a two-hour drive from London, the Wheatsheaf Inn brings the trad English coaching inn bang up to date, with stylish design, tasty regional food and beer, and a small spa. Once weary wayfarers called into this 17th-century bolthole to recuperate. Now you can do the same, provided Cotswolds-loving supermodel Kate Moss and her posse haven’t booked it out first. The 14 cosy suites include a former piggery and stableblock, but tasteful mod cons rule now. The dining room and bar are equally welcoming, teaming tempting dishes with bold modern art. Should you fancy yourself as an English country squire, try out clay-pigeon shooting, with Hunter wellies provided. (here)

  1. Jungle thrills

El Silencio Lodge & Spa, Costa Rica

Eco suites on stilts meet the cloud-forest canopy at El Silencio Lodge & Spa in central Costa Rica, set in a 500-acre tropical forest with a winding river and three waterfalls cascading down the mountainside. Take in picture-perfect panoramas from an outdoor hot tub, greet the sunrise from the yoga deck, and feast on natural, organic food (restaurant Los Ventanas uses produce from the garden and local fishermen pitch in with fresh trout). Each of the 15 mountainside Suites is assigned an Eco Concierge, who leads your courtesy hike, coordinates activities, arranges tree-plantings and can point out flora and fauna (expect beautiful birdlife in this private nature reserve). (here) (Editing by Paul Casciato)/

(REUTERS)

 

Exploring diversity in tourism