New Improved Searching!

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Just a quick note to say that AnySomewhere has a new improved search feature (box at top right of page). This should be much more accurate than the old one, enabling you to easily find the information you are looking for. Try it out if you’re searching for specific travel details!

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Java Bali Tour: Visit Indonesia

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If you’re inspired by reading about the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali but haven’t visited these amazing islands, this Java Bali tour could be just right for you.

Lynda Bransbury is offering very reasonably priced places on her Java Bali Heritage Tour in December 2012-January 2013. I met Lynda while I was studying Javanese gamelan music and she was studying puppetry in Solo, Central Java. You can read more about her tours in this interview or head straight to her own website.

MountainsHere are the juicy details:

JUST TWO PLACES LEFT ON OUR XMAS TOUR

27 December – 12 January 2012

17 nights in Java & Bali £770 single room; £612 if 2 people share

13 nights in Java £481 single room; £373 if 2 people share

7 night tour of Central Java £270;

Come and experience the wonders and beauty of Java and Bali for 17 nights. Vibrant tropical vegetation, lush rice fields, impressive volcanoes, sacred and ancient sites, dating back to Hindu Buddhist times.

BorobudurEach country has its own rich, cultural heritage. Traditional performing arts and rituals remain a vibrant and valued part of daily life. The 17 night study tour (13 nights in Java and 4 nights in Bali) combines visits to the major historical sites from the Hindu Buddhist past, including the World Heritage Site of Borobudur Temple, with opportunities to see traditional dance, ritual and performance. You can also take part in workshops led by internationally recognized Javanese artists in sound, movement, meditation, traditional dance or shadow puppets.

We visit Javanese mountain villages where the traditional way of life has hardly changed in generations, and stay overnight in village houses. You get to see traditions, performance and farming practices that tourists rarely see.

CONTACT

Lynda Bransbury at [email protected] or telephone (+44) 873 812 664 for more information or to book a place. See www.javabaliheritage.co.uk

Balinese dance

5 Rules for Riding a Motorbike in Asia

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I had never learnt to drive a car in the UK, let alone ridden a motorcycle. Moving to Indonesia, however, to a place with limited public transport, this was clearly going to be the best way to get around. I learnt in one session with a friend, and four years on I’m still alive. This are my personal rules for survival when riding a motorbike in Asia.

The motorbike is a popular form of transport in many parts of Asia

The motorbike is a popular form of transport in many parts of Asia.

1) Learn Quickly
Riding a motorbike is not difficult. Most of the challenge comes from other road users or the road itself. Find somewhere flat and uncrowded and spend an hour or so getting used to controlling the bike.

2) Wear a Helmet
It’s easy for us to forget about safety when we’re travelling or on holiday, particularly somewhere without enforced laws on helmet use. This may seem like a boring rule, but despite being fun, riding a motorcycle is not the safest way to get around. Do you really want a head injury, especially if you are somewhere without ambulances, let alone high quality medical care?

Helmets can be fun too

Helmets can be fun too.

3) Know your Bike’s Limits
My experience of riding a motorbike in Asia has been one of weaving in and out of traffic, avoiding pedestrians and rickshaws piled high with goods, as other people weave around me. When you’re entering the opposite lane to overtake a big, slow truck you need to know how fast your bike will accelerate so you can clear the truck before the traffic in the opposite lane reaches you.

Love your bike - give it a good clean

Love your bike – give it a good clean.

4) Go with the Flow
Before I learnt to ride a motorbike, a friend gave me a very useful piece of advice. She said that whereas elsewhere we might drive in a relatively straight line, just turning at corners, in Indonesia you should smoothly follow the flow of the traffic. Actually she demonstrated what she meant by swaying her body from side to side; it’s hard to convey in writing.  Basically, relax and go with the flow.

5) You’re Never the Craziest Driver
No matter how fast or how crazily you’re driving, remember there is always someone driving faster and more crazily than you. When I’ve been in a hurry to get somewhere I have driven very fast, in areas where the speed limit is generally ignored. Every time, there is someone weaving in and out of traffic, over- and undertaking, much faster and more crazily than me.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43423301@N07/3998449040/

Or you might just get stuck in the traffic, as Asia’s cities become more congested.

And a couple things I learnt the hard way:

1) Automatic scooter-style motorbikes do not go up steep hills with two heavy people on them. Don’t try it or you’ll end up walking like I did.

2) You will at some point become one of those people carrying ridiculous amounts of people, objects or even furniture on your bike. Moving house by motorbike is not as unusual as it sounds.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wirralwater/3762476443/