Tag Archives: bali

Reading List: Indonesia

Read before you go! Today we’re taking a look at some recommended reading of one of the growing tourist destinations, Indonesia! Take a look at some of these jewels from and about Java, Bali, and other popular locations.

Lyall Watson. Gift of Unknown Things. Examines symbiotic relationship of a community and its environment on an unnamed island.

Tim Flannery. Throwim Way Leg. A scientific expedition into Papua New Guinea.

book2

Simon Winchester. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded. A fascinating, interdisciplinary look at the 1883 eruption of Krakatau from the author of the Professor and the Madman.

Tom Severin. In Search of Moby Dick. Search for the globe’s last whale-hunters in the remote village of Lamalera, in Nusa Tenggara.

Christopher Koch. The Year of Living Dangerously. A stark account of a journalist living in Sukarno’s Indonesia during 1965.

book1

Helen & Frank Schreider. Drums of Tonkin. A team of husband and wife documents their 1963 voyage from Sumatra to Timor.

Jose Manuel Tesoro. The Invisible Palace. A nonfiction account of the murder of a journalist in Yogyakarta during the Suharto regime.

book3Giles Milton. Nathaniel’s Nutmeg: True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History. A depiction of 17th century Indonesian trader Nathaniel Courthroupe and his struggle to save a nutmeg-laden island from the Dutch.

Interested in booking a trip to Bali or any one of Indonesia’s gorgeous islands? Call us for more details, 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Indonesia, Reading Lists

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Asia, Bali, China, Malaysia, News, Singapore, Thailand

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bali, Features

Top Ten Destinations for Diving

photo by Paul Toogood

Did you know that today is World Oceans Day? Officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008, The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network have celebrated by promoting ecological awareness, community involvement, sustainable seafood events, and other ways to honor the world’s oceans.

Here at WIT, we are celebrating by taking a look at some of the best places to scuba dive around the world!

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, Paradise Reef, a series of interconnecting reefs full of shellfish, crustaceans, and colorful fish. It is also the site of “The Abyss,” a 3000-foot vertical drop that descends into darkness. Lucky divers can catch a sight of the Splendid Toad Fish, endemic to the region.

When to Go: September to May

What to See: orange ball anemones, file-fish, sea turtles, octopi, French angel, shipwrecks, file fish, trunkfish, stonefish, moray eels

Cayman Islands

The three Cayman Islands are great locales to dive around—there’s great visibility, very little runoff from the land, and ample amounts of Caribbean fish and invertebrates. Scuba diving is fantastic all year long on the leeward side of the Grand Cayman, where the waters are protected from wind and waves.

When to Go: All year round, water temperatures range from 80F in winter to 86F in summer.

What to See: Stingray City (a series of shallow sandbars with dozens of rays), Kittiwake Wreck, shallow reefs.

Tahiti

With temperatures between 79F and 84F in summer and visibility down to 120 feet, Tahiti is a great diving destination for the novice and seasoned expert alike. The island is known for its large marine life: from manta rays with meter-long wing spans, to Napoleon fish reaching over 35 kg. There are also several excellent training facilities to get your CMAS and PADI certifications.

When to Go: Year round.

What to See: gray shark, reef shark, sleeper shark, barracudas, dolphins, turtles, humpback whales (July-October), shipwrecks.

Galapagos, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands boast a marine life as diverse and wondrous as the one on land. The waters are rich in phytoplankton, casting them a deep green shade. But do make sure you are with experienced divers—those currents are not to be trifled with!

When to Go: February to April

What to See: whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, white tip reef sharks, eagle rays, dolphins, sea turtles, sea lions, fur seals, creole wrasse, seahorses, batfish, frogfish—and out of the water, marine iguanas and penguins!

Fiji

The Fiji archipelago is encircled by a huge reef, making shallow lagoons and a plethora of amazing scuba sites. Diving is a major attraction here, with a visibility of 130 feet deep, and warm waters from 77F in winter and 86F in summer.

When to Go: Year Round.

What to See: Astrolabe Reef, Bega Lagoon, Rainbow Reef

photo by Paul Toogood

Bali, South Pacific

The incredible diving in Bali is due to the island’s currents and its rich marine life—with a list of over 600 coral species and 3000 reef fish species. The Indonesian Throughflow is a flow of water that exits from the Indonesian archipelago into the Indian Ocean, carrying organic nutrients, plankton, and larvae that provide a healthy diet for the area’s fish and mollusks.

When to Go: April to November

What to See: Big Bumphead parrotfish, ghost pipefish, cometfish, anemonefish, morays, ribbon eels, octopi, mola-mola, or the ocean sunfish. Tulamben Wall—its purple gorgonian sea fan that stretches over 2 meters in diameter.

Cocos and Malpelo Islands, Costa Rica and Colombia

The Caribbean is home to some incredible samples of sealife. Nowhere else in the world can divers swim with such a plethora of sharks and large fish. Cocos Island has around 20 dive sites, with both shallow to steep options available. Malpelo Island’s main attraction is the scalloped hammerhead shark, which can swim in schools of up to 300 sharks.

When to Go: September to March

What to See: hammerheads, silk sharks, Galapagos shark, whale shark

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

At 2,600 km, this gigantic coral reef system is the largest in the world. It runs along the Queensland coast of Australia, and is composed of around 2,900 reefs and 900 islands. Due to its size, it offers scuba challenges for both amateurs and professionals, and is home to a great diversity of sealife—sharks, dolphins, or a saltwater crocodile if you’re really fortunate!

When to Go: August to January

What to See: tiger sharks, whale sharks, pufferfish, angelfish, surgeonfish, hawkfish, 360 species of hard corals, sea snakes, 6 types of sea turtles, giant groupers, Caribbeam reef shark, nurse shark, saltwater crocodile (rare), humpback whales, dolphins, dugongs.

Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Jacques Cousteau called this sea “The World’s Great Aquarium” due to its biodiversity. This is a great destination for North Americans due to its proximity and size. Also known as the Gulf of California, this strip of water separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland, and shares a coastline of around 2,500 miles.

When to Go: June to November

What to See: marlin, dorado, sea lions, whales, hammerhead sharks, barracudas, shipwrecks, devil rays, cow-nose ray, mola-molas, amber jacks, goatfish, turtles, moray eels, pufferfish, porcupine fish, flute fish, scorpionfish, lobsters, seahorses.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu in the South Pacific is a diver’s paradise—with a vast collection of caves, lava towers, coral mazes, grottoes and wrecks. A chain of 83 tropical islands, it’s a great spot to witness some great underwater sights—including the must-see SS “President Coolidge,” at 22,000 tons, the largest wreck dive in the world.

When to Go: April to October

What to See: SS “President Coolidge,” swordfish, marlins, barracuda, dolphins, unique starfish, dugongs, and Million Dollar Point (a stockpile of equipment dumped by the U.S. military).

~~~~~

How to be a responsible, eco-friendly diver

  1. Maintain proper buoyancy: greater weight increases drag on your body, increasing the risk of damaging the reef or disturbing the floor
  2. Never touch a creature: touching can remove protective layers of oil or skin and possibly damage the animal. Watch out for the more delicate living coral.
  3. Be aware of your dimensions: Pay attention to what is around you and where you are going—divers operate in terms of front and back, sideways, and up and down. Make sure you keep aware of your surroundings.
  4. Secure your gear: firmly attaching your gear keeps it from banging around or potentially falling.
  5. Leave no trace: don’t leave anything, don’t take anything. Minimize your carbon diver’s footprint, and keep the reef intact.

~~~~~

Willamette International Travel has worked with a variety of diving companies who tailor their services around your needs. We have sent clients on day excursions, shoretrips and multiday LiveAboard experiences alike in destinations such as Australia, Bahamas, Fiji, Christmas Island, Mexico, Hawaii, Egypt, and more!

Thinking about incorporating diving into your trip abroad? Ask us about some great scuba opportunities! Email our in-house certified diver at pamd@wittravel.com or call us at 503.224.0180.

2 Comments

Filed under Features, Travel by Scuba