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The following videos were made, during my visit in Myanmar, June 2009. The series of the videos I named: ” MYANMAR THE HIDDEN BEAUTY”, narrated in Indonesian language, however, I believe you really would enjoy the natural beauty of this country that once known as Burma, where the third UN Secretary General, U Thant, originally came from.

Part 1. The Burmese People From What I had seen and read:

The Burmese culture has been heavily influenced by Buddhism and its neighbouring cultures (Chinese and Thai’s). By British colonialization; westernisation have had slightly influenced the aspects of Burmese culture, including language and education particularly of upper income families. However, the way they dress and behave as well as the looks is more like Indonesians or Malay, rather than Chinese.

Part 2: Bagan: City of Thousands Pagoda

Bagan (Pagan), the ancient city with their thousands Pagodas and Temples dating back more than 1500 years of history is the most fascinating place for visitors.

Part 3: Bagan, the City of Arts:

As I fully quoted from Wikipedia: Historically, Burmese art was based on Buddhist or Hindu cosmology and myths. There are several regional styles of Buddha images, each with certain distinctive characteristics. For example, the Mandalay style, which developed in the late 1800s, consists of an oval-shaped Buddha with realistic features, including naturally curved eyebrows, smaller but still prominent ears, and a draping robe.[1] There are 10 traditional arts, called pan sè myo; those are black smith, wood carving, gold smith, stucco relief, masonry, stone carving, turnery, painting, laquerware and bronze casting.

In addition to the traditional arts are silk weaving, pottery, tapestry making, gemstone engraving, and gold leaf making. Temple architecture is typically of brick and stucco, and pagodas are often covered with layers of gold leaf while monasteries tend to be built of wood (although monasteries in cities are more likely to be built of modern materials). A very common roofing style in Burmese architecture is called pyatthat, which is a multi-tiered and spired roof.

Part 4: The Golden Pagoda

BALI, INDONESIA:My two lovely daughters, Imelda Angela (Angie) and Arundina Saraswati, their passion to travel.

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By: Neneng Tarigan

I didn’t recall, when was the last time I visited this Province north Sumatra; the place where my parents and all of us their seven children were born decades back. I have never been to Toba lake since more than 45 years to be exact and never been to Berastagi I think for more than 20 years. Well, I can’t blame myself of feeling unbound with Berastagi since I am the product of mix blood of 4 ethnic groups, the Karonese and the Simalungun from my dad side combined with Ambonese and Mandailing from my mom side. Nevertheless, I feel so proud and happier with this condition because that means I have several kampongs or homelands to visit and for me they are all equally have special place in my heart because there came my ancestors who then brought me as I am today.

I landed in Medan in September15, 2010 and stayed at Mariott Hotel in front of TVRI (the national TV, Sumatera branch office) where my cousin Ferry Tarigan works. I planned to visit Berastagi and the grave of my uncle or our family tomb the next day while I would like to see also the damage caused by the eruption of Mount Sinabung a couple of days before.

There quite a lot of change in Medan as well as in Berastagi; no wonder if Indonesia nowadays is a primary destination for foreign people to trade, to invest and to visit since almost all parts of Indonesia are growing very rapidly aside of natural disasters that continuously hit this beautiful country. For those who believe in the Bible or Qur’an would say these all the signs of the Armageddon or the end of the world, but scientist seen these as the consequences of the aging earth, human demolition on environment and the geographical location of Indonesia that lays along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the Pacific Ocean.

Berastagi, with Mount Sibayak as the background

Berastagi or Tanah Karo (Karo Land) is located in a highland of North Sumatera about 60 km from Medan. We can reach this area by car, by taxi or bus that are available around at reasonable price and condition. When I was small the only place that we can drink water from the tab were in Berastagi and Medan. The water was quite clean and fresh, direct from the water deposit at the mountain slope on the way to Berastagi.

For those who love rafting, the stream is fantastic

There are some international hotels now in Berastagi, the air is fresh and cool. Tanah Karo is a very rich agricultural area that produces fresh fruits, flowers and vegetables for out side markets of North Sumatera and up to Singapore and Europe. We would fall in love with the flowers, the fruits and the vegetables as soon as we arrived in this area. I really love the breeze of my Kampong Tanah Karo. The scenery is fantastic, every where is green, only a little sign of dust left as the eruption of Mount Sinabung occurred two days before I arrived in Indonesia from India. I passed by the refugees tents along the way from Berastagi to my family grave in Kacaribu. My cousins told me, not to worry about the condition of the evacuees here since the majority of them are rich farmers, and they run away from the mountain slopes with their private vehicles, they even ate first class rice from government support to this victimize area. I said in my heart: “No wonder because there is a very strong bound between the President to this area, since he was adopted as the head of this tribe a couple of years ago”.  Of course this is only my silly imaginative thinking, because they got those logistic from the reliable donors. The refugees were all in good condition, thanks God for that, totally different with the one I have seen after in my most favorite place in Indonesia, Yogyakarta! Yes the damage by Merapi  in Java and the Tsunami  in Mentawai islands of West Sumatra were both massive! The death toll reached hundreds in number and the supporting facilities to the victims and the victimize areas are quite poor!

Mount Sinabung is relatively tame and in-active for so many years, unlike the adjacent Mount Sibayak, because we can see the crater of this mountain with our bare eyes from Berastagi.

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When I was small, I like to swim in the natural pools that we can find until today in almost every kampong (village) in highland Karo. The water is clear and cool, if we put our foot in, as if we were in the ice. The aroma of the air are so soothing like in a natural spa. What I rather dislike with Berastagi is, it has so many flies and people in the traditional market here do not care at all with the cleanliness, so I always prefer to stay away from the market just go to the hills around where the view is unimaginatively beautiful. Am I exaggerating here? Not at all as you can see from the pictures I attached here. So welcome to Berastagi, Tanah Karo, North Sumatera.


By: Neneng Tarigan.
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Located 300m above sea level and just an hour’s train journey from South of Jakarta, BOGOR enjoys a cool, wet climate and is home to the famously lush Botanical Garden (Kebun Raya Bogor). The Botanical Garden open daily from 08.00am to 05.00pm; with an entrance fee about US $ 1.- plus 20 cent dollar for entering the orchid house. You can go by train, bus or private car to Bogor and enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way. Some rest areas offer you not only local and Indonesian cuisines but also western one. You don’t have to worry about hotels or restaurants in Bogor. There are a lot of Hotels available nearby the Botanical Garden. Some Hotels I could highly recommend for its cleanliness and conveniences are Santika Hotel (a three star hotel with mall, cinema and restaurants at the same compound), Salak Hotel (a four star hotel built since colonial time located right in front of Presidential Palace and nearby Botanical Garden) and Novotel Golf Course Hotel (a five star hotel located near by the traditional market and not far from the Botanical Garden). These hotels are all between reasonable prices and their foods are yummy and it is almost at no price at all.
In the Botanical Garden, some pathways lie in between towering bamboo stands and climbing bougainvillea, passing through a small tropical rainforest, and ponds full of water lilies and fountains. Perhaps the garden’s best-known occupant is the Titan Arun flower family or the giant Rafflesia (Bunga Bangkai), the world’s largest and smelliest flower. Near the gardens’ main entrance, the rather dilapidated Zoological Museum (open daily from 08.00am to 04.00pm) full with 30,000 specimens, including a complete skeleton of a blue whale, a stuffed of Javanese rhino and most impressively the remains of a huge coconut crab. Outside of the garden, there are plenty of vendors and workshop selling among others Wayang golek or Indonesian traditional puppets and local made souvenirs. If you’re interested in gamelan or Javanese gongs that are using traditional methods, are also for sale around here.
The Giant Rafflesia:

The Giant Rafflesia and Bunga Bangkai may be included in the family of Amorphophallus titanium or Titan Arum – is indeed considered as one of the largest flower in the world. Also known as the “Corpse Flower” because of its foul smell, Amorphophallus titanium is a prized addition to a number of well-known botanical gardens around the world, including London’s Kew Gardens, California’s Huntington Botanical Gardens and Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens as well as at Bogor Botanical Garden Indonesia. The plants have become quite famous and always attract large crowds when a particular specimen blooms at one of the above locations or at a number of others gardens around the world. One such plant was also featured in Sir David Attenborough’s outstanding BBC documentary The Private Life of Plants. In fact, the native habitat of Amorphophallus titanium is the rainforest’s of Sumatra, Indonesia. Below, the photograph of the Titan Arum taken at Stuttgart, Germany’s Wilhelma Botanical and Zoological Gardens by Lothar Grünz in October 2005.

The same photograph along with details about where, when and by whom the picture was taken, is available on the Wikimedia Commons website. And, another shot published on the Wilhelma website clearly shows the same building in the background as that shown in this photograph. The blooming of the Amorphophallus titanium is certainly rare, and the flowers only last for two or three days. The specimens kept in various botanical gardens often go for several years between blooms. In “The Private Life of Plants”, David Attenborough suggests that Amorphophallus titanium in the wild, bloom about once every 1000 days.
So, welcome and visit Bogor Botanical Garden, Indonesia, to explore more about the Titan Arun flowers!!!

By: Neneng Tarigan:

There are so much stories about my beautiful country Indonesia. A country with abundant natural resources and approximately 250 million citizens; with more than 17,000 islands some has no name still; and more than 450 local languages belong to the ethnic groups.

We can speak years and years about the uniqueness of Indonesia. However, in modern time, we better enjoy the story from the slides, because time is so precious and it is more effective if I show you Indonesia from the visual facts.

Every part of Indonesia has a beautiful natural landscape, a gracefully GOD gives to our nation. Some part yes I must admit is bold and deforested by irresponsible people for illegal logs businesses. Some because of the nature and heavy rain as Indonesia has two season that is rainy and dry.

Poverty and imbalance distribution of income and development, yes we still have that, but the central government as well as the local governments work hard to revive the economy; because before the economic crisis hits Indonesia in 1997 our economy was steadily growing at 7 percent annually. The second hit in 2007-2008 due to the drop of commodity prices that was almost coincide with the rapid increase of world oil price and the sub-prime mortgage financial crises, contribute a negative impacts to Indonesia’s economy. The economy that had already experience a turbulence in 1997 now had to endure again the impacts of the world economic crises not to mention the impact of the Tsunami that hits Aceh in December 2004, earth quakes in Jogjakarta in May 2006, in Padalarang early of September 2006 and West Sumatra end of September 2009, as well as various earthquakes in many places of Indonesia in 2010.

But, do the country lost its beauty because of the economic turbulent and the natural disasters? Not at all, neither in the country sides that I mentioned before, because they still have their beauty and extraordinary natural landscapes that we can enjoy till today.

So, why not trying to explore the beauty of Indonesia? This short slides will prove in itself, but by visiting Indonesia you can prove it yourself. Don’t they said: “Seeing is believing”? Bring along your family and friends and have a nice trip in Indonesia. Welcome.

Take a little of Your time and watch the slides. Thank you!

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Otaru is a harbor city in the Northern Part of Japan that once was the centre of economy of Hokkaido’s region. The Otaru’s harbor developed during Meiji Restoration Era about 150 years ago as the busiest distribution and logistics center for fishery and agricultural products.

In the old days, according to the tour guide, many warehouses and banks was built to serve the consumers and traders who came not only from all over Japan but also from neighboring countries and Europe. That is why we can see most of the old office buildings, canals as well as  warehouses in Otaru looks like those of European’s or Netherlands’ styles in particularly.

Today, due to its rather isolated location in the North, the old banks and the warehouses turned to be souvenir shops and restaurants; and Otaru  is becoming more popular as tourist destination for candies, chocolates, glassware, ice cream, light alcohol as well as winter sports since Winter Olympic Games used to had taken place in Sapporo  in 1972 .

To reach Otaru, the easiest and most efficient way is by bus or by train. First, go to Hokkaido by air depends on where you stay in Japan, then  take a bus or a train to Sapporo that will cost you only Y 1000. – one way. The distance between Hokkaido and Sapporo is about one hour drive. If you go by taxi, that will cost you around Y 12,000.- , so better go by bus, it is not only more convenient, but you can put your luggage in the compartment above your seat, in front of your seat or in the baggage compartment. And above all, don’t worry, even you are the only passenger on board, the bus or the train will continue their journey to take you to the bus stop according to its time schedule. So, watch carefully for the bus or the train schedules and where they stop to fit it with your planned programs.

From Sapporo you can join the tour or take  another bus to Otaru and this will cost less; I only pay Y 700 for return bus ticket to Otaru  and that is already included the entrance ticket to Mount Tengu ski slope and one stop in Otaru shopping center.

The rest, I hope you enjoy your trip as much as I really did enjoy it!

6 Responses to Traveling

  1. AJ says:

    Too bad I didn’t know about Bogor when I was stuck in Jakarta. It would’ve been a wonderful replacement for a trip to Bandung, which I missed because of a delayed flight. That giant rafflesia is to be seen…and smelled…to be believed! 🙂

  2. Marlene says:

    Wow! I hope I can visit indonesia later on in life when my children get a little bit older.
    I looks like a perfect place to take thousands of pictures and relax!

  3. Manu says:

    Thats sizzling. I had know included Indonesia in my travel book for a long tour.

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