Showing posts with label around the world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label around the world. Show all posts

WW: Queenstown from Above - Road Trip in South Island NZ

Still on my series of stories about the Frakarsas' road trip in South Island, Aotearoa New Zealand and this time I will share some photos of Queenstown, particularly the view from above. 

Many have claimed that coming to New Zealand is not complete without visiting this remarkable city. Queenstown has certainly won many people's hearts due to its remarkable landscapes (one of the mountain areas here is named the Remarkables! ), tranquil ambience, clear blue sky, hiking trails and tons of adrenaline - junkie and back to - nature activities you can do here.

For me, our last summer road trip in the South Island was my second chance to visit Queenstown. Last November, I managed to visit this place and enjoyed some parts of it, amidst the meetings that I have to make  together with my Ambassador and my team.

So this time, when I visited Queenstown again with my family, we ensured that we went to Skyline Queenstown. This is the popular place to those loving adventures, including riding the luges and trying bungee jumping! Well, I skipped the bungy jumping but we all took the gondola up to the higher ground and enjoyed unlimited luge rides!  We did try the Skyline luge in Rotorua back in 2022 but at that time, we didn't take the unlimited one because we went to the Hobbiton, the movie set of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbits on the same day. So, my kids had specifically requested to have more time in the Skyline luge Queenstown and indeed, tt was really fun to do so

These are some of the photos I took up there, on top of Skyline Queenstown, showing Queenstown from above.

Cheers from the Frakarsas

the other side of Queenstown

We certainly had so much fun here, with the whole morning gone with endless climbing up the gondola and go with the luge again and again. We took many pictures as the view from up there is amazing.

Queenstown, or Tahuna in Māori, is indeed beautiful. 

I’ll be more than happy to go back again here, preferably during winter or fall, to see different faces of this picturesque city.

Btw, for our summer adventures, You can see the short video I prepared from the action camera we put on my son's helmet while enjoying the luge ride here in Skyline Queenstown

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday and have fun with the linking party

WW: Welcome to Rotorua, the Jewel of the North Island, New Zealand

Hi everyone..

Welcome back and allow me to take you to Rotorua, the Jewel of the North Island, New Zealand, this time.

In the middle of the Desert Road

Rotorua is one of the famous tourist destinations in Aotearoa, particularly in the North Island. Before the pandemic, this city is swarmed by nature lovers and outdoor as well as adrenaline junkies as Rotorua is famous for those thrilling adventures. Rotorua is also one of the best spots to enjoy geo thermal springs, spa, and all those wonderful place. 

Lake Rotorua

We tried as many as we can, from hot spring family pool, luge, the Hobbiton, the Maori cultural center, the geyser, Rotorua Lake and the museum. 

At Te Luia, exploring the Maori amazing cultures

Even along the way, when we passed Mt. Ruapehu, Lake Taupo, Wairauoru, and more cities, the sceneries are already breathtaking.

we really love the Hobbiton!

It was fun indeed and I will be more than happy to share more details on my next post. But now, let's see a recap of our Rotorua trip in photos.


spring is in the air..

the three of us.. minus my hubby...

Rotorua Museum

The Frakarsas in front of one of the Hobbit's holes

One peaceful corner of Lake Rotorua

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WW: Memories of Chinese New Year Celebration

Chinese New Year Celebration in Jakarta
Happy Chinese New Year Celebration

Happy Chinese New Year! 

Wishing you all a wonderful, prosperous and productive year of the OX.
I know that we all are still facing the daunting challenges posed by COVID - 19 pandemic and we are working extra hard to fight it in order to survive it. That goes with the same spirit of the ox, which happens to be the symbol of hard working. 

Well, regardless whether we believe in those predicaments, I think we all need to remain vigilant yet positive in facing the days ahead.

CNY celebration is identical with dragon or lion dance. Such a great performance. Taken in Paris CNY 2010

Now, I do miss the festive Chinese New Year celebration. Many of Indonesians are Chinese descendants and they usually have that merry celebration welcoming they new year. I mostly attend the celebration, except during this pandemic of course. We usually have the expo or the exhibition, with a lot of performances including the lion or dragon dance, which is called Barongsai, in Indonesia. It was amazing to see this performance live as it requires tremendous skills, flexibility and stamina.

one of the pavilions built during CNY celebration in Jakarta

I can only remember the good times we joined friends, families and even strangers in welcoming this Chinese New Year. There are times when we took the trips only to see the celebration of Chinese New Year. We saw the parade, the colorful gatherings with unique performances and incredible costumes and make- up. Truly a feast for the eyes of the spectators!

Look at all the details

Here are some photos I took from the our times in  Paris, New York City and Jakarta celebrating the Chinese New Year.

I love these three amazing ladies.. taken in Paris during CNY Celebration

The queen... taken in Paris CNY celebration

ready for the dragon (or the lion?) dance?

Hope we all have a wonderful days ahead!
Again, Happy Ox Year and stay strong (like the Ox), happy, safe and healthy.

cheers from me 10 years ago :)

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Lost in Angkor Wat

And my itchy feet take me further...

This time, I had a wonderful experience in Cambodia.

Has anyone visited Cambodia before? Did you visit the capital city Phonm Penh? Or you managed to visit Angkor Wat as well?

I decided to republish some of my posts with updates and more photos. Again, I come to realize that I still have tons of photos to share.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Attending a 2-day seminar on Genocide in Phnom Penh ( I will share the photos on another post), I welcomed myself to this fellow ASEAN member states.

Phnom Penh is nice obviously. I did have that familiar warm feelings that I got whenever I visited ASEAN countries. Then, as people say, a visit to Cambodia will never be complete without paying a visit to Angkor Wat. Covering the area of more than 162 hectares, Angkor Wat is without a doubt the largest religious complex in the world. No wonder this temple complex has been proclaimed as the symbol of Cambodia and is proudly appeared on Cambodia's national flag.

So, without further due, I flew to Siem Reap with Angkor Air and plunged myself to the ancient-old mystical Angkor Wat.

It was an amazing journey indeed! One I still cherish until now.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
one lovely corner at Angkor Wat Temple

First thing first, I flew to Siem Riep from Phnom Penh. It took around 50 minutes fly and we landed at Siem Reap International Airport. As soon as I arrived at the Siem Riep airport, , I got my tuk-tuk to take me to the hotel, had an appointment with the driver for my early-morning ride, and snuggled to my lovely Wooden Angkor hotel (really recommended for sure and you canread my comments for Siem Reap and Phnom Penh at tripadvisor)

The first thing crossing my mind while stepping my itchy-feet here was Borobudur Temple. Well, it is actually quite different because Borobudur is a Buddhist Temple, while Angkor Wat is the Hindu temple. Excuse my ignorance and simplistic approach.

Borobudur is indeed an amazing artifact as well and visiting Angkor Wat, to some extent, was like paying a pilgrimage to its homeland. Maybe because both are amazing temple complex and both are listed in UNESCO World Heritage.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that Angkor Wat is a combination of Buddhist and Hindu  temples. In the beginning, many of the early temples being built here were depicting Hinduism. The original construction of the temple was dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver in Trimurti, Hinduism triad deities. It was first built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman, the King of Khmer Empire ruled in the 11 - 12th century, for the state temple as well as his mausoleum. the Khmer architecture, during this golden era, is vividly shown by intricate details; the structures, the elements , and the motifs. All of them can be seen through elaborate towers, galleries, bas-relief, and more.

So back to my visit, I started the day very early, I was picked up at 4.30 AM and obviously I was not the only one arranging such early rendezvous. By the time we arrived at the temple, lines of tuk - tuk was already long. And by the way, trying to get a good spot amidst hundreds of people already flocking in Angkor Wat since 5 am was not that easy apparently. 

it was pitch black dark at that time and I was literally squeezing myself. I raced to the spots where we have the view of the whole temple, with the lake in front of it for its beautiful reflection.. The place was already packed with sunrise-hunter like me and tourists who smart enough to start the day early to avoid the scorching sun later on.

Then, after moving at least 3 times, I got my spot. Although I was just an amateur photographer and mainly relying on my no-so-advanced smart phone that I used at that time, I felt like it was such a waste if I didn't immortalise the moment with my gadget.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
and the sun kissed the morning....

The temples are amazing and there are so many things to see.

As it was a huge complex, I really have to manage my time and make my priorities.
I was a bit more ambitious at first, but after reality hits me (plus scorching sun the beginning of March when I visited and still quite early in the morning), then I dragged myself until the very last minute to the main attractions.

I was starting with Angkor Wat, enjoying its magnificent sunrise
Reflecting the five peaks of Mount Meru (the home of the Gods in Khmer - Hindu) Architectural masterpiece, Angkor Wat stands majestically until present day. This particular temple was abandoned for quite some times, particularly as Buddhist dominated the later successor of King Suryavarman II.

Then I continued the journey, trying to absorb the ancient vibes in its grandioso form, strolling around walls upon walls of hundred-year-old stories printed on those bas-reliefs. Here are some of the photos I took along the way.

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
somebody tell me what the story here...

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
one of the bas-relief in Angkor Wat...

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Apsara Lady...

Then to I went to Bayon temple, famous for its smiling Buddha. Here you will see so many of them.

Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

As the day continued, I walked further to Ta Phrom to see the famous spot of the Lara Croft's Tomb Raider. Remember the movie? The one starred by Angelina Jolie? Ta Phrom has been getting more and more attention because of that movie and because of its unique huge trees growing amidst the temples and becoming inseparable part of it. But I guess I will do so on the next post. I have also visited several other parts of this gigantic complex. So, stay with me as I will get back to you, will you?

Exploring Cambodia and Siem Reap
So, what do you think about Angkor Wat?
Do you like visiting ancient temples like this?
What do you like most?

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Btw, just a little tip to those traveling here. 

  • Don't forget to dress as required and fully considering the season. Summer can be very hot and humid so get your comfortable cotton dress or t-shirt and hat if necessary. 
  • Get your tumbler and fill it full as you will walk a lot. 
  • Wear you favorite sneakers as without even realizing it, I walked from 5 AM to 5 PM, just occasionally take tuk - tuk  to go to different places and have lunch.   
  • Get your tuk-tuk since the very beginning and make sure you make a clear deal with the driver. Tips will be highly appreciated as well. I forget how much I paid for my trip. I guess it was around USD 50 for the whole trip (from hotel, around the complex and to the airport - yes I took tuk-tuk to and from the airport :). But it was back in 2013 and before the pandemic. The price might change already.
  • As the complex is huge, make your priorities by choosing the places you want to see and explore, especially if you need to catch your plane later that day as well.
  • And finally, enjoy the trip. It's really worth all the efforts!

See you on the next post!

WW: Hagia Sophia Revisited

Alley at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

We have heard from the news recently that Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya in Istanbul, Turkey is now becoming mosque again. It was originally built as Cathedral then turned into mosque for several times before it functions as museum. Until July 10th, 2020, when President Erdogan of Turkey announced that Hagia Sophia will resume its function as mosque again.

Morning light at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

I just remember my last visit there and  revisit this amazing place through my external hard disk. Again I just realize I have so many unpublished photos of Hagia Sophia. 
Even after all those times, I am still awed by its magnificent details.

Hope you like the following photos.

the chandeliers at Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

the outer part of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

amazing ceiling at Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

Details at  Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

the second floor of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Mosaics of Jesus at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

more Jesus mosaics at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

more Jesus mosaics at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

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Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day, people!

Happy Earth Day, people!

I sincerely wish we all getting more and more aware of the condition of the earth we are living now. How many damages we have caused and how suffering the earth is :(. 

Well, I am not trying to blame anybody, any governments, any industries, or whatever. But as we see those piles of garbage, dirty rivers and oceans, polluted air, melting ice, deforestation and many more environmental damages,  don't we all have to do something? 

I know there are many movements and concrete actions being put forward and implemented in oder to save our planet. Our one and only earth. 

This Corona pandemic has somehow presented an opportunity for all of us to think and rethink of what we can do to 

The earth has been our home!

And in this Earth Day, I made a note of what we had done and what we should do to help the earth. I couldn't help but write this little note, not necessarily a poem, in Bahasa Indonesia. I really love to see the beauty of mother nature and I firmly believe that it is our obligation to keep it clean and beautiful. Alas, we are doing exactly the opposite!

Nevertheless, I know deep down inside we all want to do something to help the earth. Something simple that we can try ourselves and teach our children. Something concrete like using no or less plastic, using less energy, planting more trees and plants, avoiding littering and separating trash, bringing tumbler and environmental bag everywhere, and so many more.

Here's my little video, a little self-reminder to myself and how I hope I can continue to take actions to keep the earth beautiful and clean.

Happy Earth Day! Untuk bumiku tercinta... Maafkan hati dan akal kami.. yang kerap dangkal memahami cinta dan ketulusanmu menjadi rumah indah nan nyaman tempat kami berlabuh dan sandarkan harapan Kecantikanmu yang memikat seharusnya kami jaga erat agar tetap lekat untuk anak cucu kami kelak. Biru lautmu dan juga langitmu harus terpatri di kalbu agar cinta ini tak jadi sendu dingin membeku Bumiku sayang... Terima kasih untuk semua cintamu dan keindahanmu yang getarkan kalbu Meskipun ku tau ini akan jadi perjalanan panjang penuh liku Izinkan kami 'tuk terus mencintaimu Just a little note for my dearest earth! Selamat Hari Bumi Mari kita jaga dengan segenap hati Photos and videos were taken at Yonkers, NY; Bear Mountain, NY; Astoria Park, NYC; Washington Square, NYC; Central Park, NYC; Tokyo, Japan; Teluk Lampung, Lampung; Atambua, East Nusa Tenggara; Tanjung Benoa, Bali; Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia.

Happy Earth Day and let's keep our earth beautiful!