Category Archives: Bali

From the Frontier: WIT Correspondent in Bali

Wit Blogger Wailana is currently in Bali, Indonesia over the winter holidays.

bali

Report from Ubud – Technically it’s rainy season now, but it’s been rather moderate, humidity balanced with light afternoon showers, so it’s not overbearing.

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Thailand has a reputation of “Land of Smiles,” but it’s no less true in Bali, where the locals are warm and welcoming. It’s busier than I imagined, with avid scooters winding through the streets. Keep close to the sidewalk!

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It’s true what they say – Ubud is a yogi paradise, with comfortable yoga cloth shops, inexpensive spas to pamper your skin and muscles, healthy vegan bowls and sessions of acupuncture and reiki healing setting your chakras in place.

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But it’s also a place of daily spirituality, with Hindu gods looking down at you from the temples, and grimacing statues at each house’s entrance to keep bad spirits away. Religious structures and houses alike are carved from black lava rock, and smothered lovingly in moss.

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There seems to be a statue at every corner, every entrance, large and small, and a tiny shrine in every courtyard, a tiny house-like building fit for a bird. I watched a Balinese girl walk past flowering lilypads to each shrine, leaving a smoking incense stick. She placed a small offering of leaves woven in small square baskets, filled with flowers and bits of rice and crackers, tributes to appease demon spirits.

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Frequent flights from PDX to Singapore and onward to Bali, Indonesia. To speak to one of our travel consultants, email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

More Reading on Indonesia: 

Brief Bali

Asia with Avanti Destinations

Bali with Star Clippers

Reading List: Indonesia

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Celebrating Chinese New Year

We already have clients booking their trips for Chinese New Year in Asia! Folks are getting ready for this wild lunar week, starting February 10, 2013. Call us now to book, because flights and hotels are already filling up!

photo by Benj Roberts

Hong Kong is a wildly popular destination for the Lunar Year due to its fantastic fireworks displays over Victoria Harbor. Want to join in the fun but need to avoid the crowds? Still not sure where to go? Here are some of the great alternative spots to catch the festivities:

1) Beijing

Where else to catch the festivals at their finest than the capital of China, Beijing? With a dizzying myriad of fireworks, acrobats, tours, parades—here there’s no end to the sights, dazzle, and fun activities. Visit a temple for a true immersion into culture, and catch exhibits of feasts, art exhibits, tea ceremony demonstrations, dragon dances, and other entertainment.

photo by tanakawho

2) Bangkok

During the New Year, the wild metropolis of Bangkok is teeming with celebrations, red paper lanterns, and colorful decorations. Travelers can enjoy the Southeastern slant on this dynamic festival—from acrobatics and firecrackers, to dragon parades and street fanfares. Pay your respects to the gods at Leng Noei Yi Temple. Dress up in your best red attire, purchase a gold coin in Chinatown for good luck, and eat at a traditional noodle house.

photo by Chelsea Hicks

3) Bali

Festivities in Bali, though more modest, are no less enthusiastic. Families typically celebrate at home, where they clean their houses of any bad luck, and prepare traditional meals together. Special dishes, such as egg skin dumplings, are thought to usher in good fortune. In the cities, festivities center around small parades, dragon dances, and the lantern festival. For a special treat visit the Buddhist temple in Kuta the Vihara Dharmayana.During thefestival the temple is dressed in red lanterns and colorful masks, with dance performances and tasty feasts for all visitors to share.

photo by Trevor Mills

4) Malaysia

Nearly 24% of Malaysians are Chinese, and so the air is ripe for New Year celebrations. Families usually head home to spend time with their loved ones in the country, but that’s not to say there aren’t festivities abound in Kuala Lumpur. The week of festivals is all about food and dance in the capital. Catch a lion dance, a parade around town, see the midnight firecrackers, or go on a shopping spree, as many retailers hold sales during the week. Enjoy Chap Goh Meh, the 15th day of the New Year, when unmarried women will toss tangerines into the waters and wish for husbands. Head up to Penang, perched on the Malacca Strait, to see this in full blown action.

photo by tanakawho

5) Singapore

The Chinese New Year in Singapore is a conglomerate of festivities, nighttime performances, dancing competitions and more. Vendors set up nighttime stalls and red lanterns in magical night markets. Families clean their home of any bad fortune. Head over to Chinatown, the center of the festival, where decorations are abound and street troupes mesmerize you with their lively acrobatics. Don’t miss the Chingay Parade to view its vividly colored floats, multiethnic dancers, and spectacular Fire Party.

photo by Bridget Coila

Heading to Asia for the festivities in February? We’re already booking clients for winter and spring travel! Ask our agents about their firsthand experiences in Asia. Call us at 503.224.0180.

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Bali

This week, we’re taking a look at some of our atypical destinations. Monday was Burma, today is the beautiful island country of Bali. Situated in the heart of Indonesia, Bali is a major draw for surfers, divers, history buffs and beach lovers. Its magical and exotic culture entices everyone from luxury travelers to budget backpackers.

Willamette Intl Travel works with vendors who encourage tourists to try an immersive experience in Bali. Trek through forests and rice fields, learn about traditional herbs and dance, savor Indonesian cuisine and marvel at maestros of weaving, sculpture and music.

photo by Bart Speelman

Bali is a land where Indian, Chinese, and island echoes mingle. Bali religion is a blend of Hindu and local animism, and the culture is infused with age-old traditions and superstitions. View the spectacular barong, legong keraton or calonarang dances, graceful performances that tell the tales of good versus evil.

Wander on the playful sands of Sanur and Kuta or visit a crafts workshop in Ubud. With world-class beaches, a mesmerizing culture, and several stunning volcanoes, there is no end to activities and sights in Bali.

WIT Agents Pam and Christina have both had the opportunity to explore this beautiful country. Pam in particular works with many of our clients heading to Asia. Call them up for a chat or email if you’d like to know more about their experiences.

Heading over to Bali? Look us work with you for an unforgettable vacation. Call Willamette International Travel at info@wittravel.com or 503.224.0180.

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