Pulau Umang – A Nature Themed Resort Island for All
The international global trend of going “back to nature” is a lifestyle that is fast becoming a passion to city-dwellers. Pulau Umang is proud to showcase a nature-themed resort which is uniquely designed to have each and every aspect of its architecture blend in with the beautiful nature surrounding it. This is the perfect place to rest and relax for individuals who are stressed out and bored by their daily routine.
Umang Island is located at Sumur, Pandeglang, Banten, roughly 183 km from Jakarta (approximately five hours away by car). With its mesmerizing mountains of Honje and Ujungkulon, this resort boasts an enviable location. Currently, the resort offers 60 nature-themed rooms, all located on prime beachfront property with a host of of amenities and facilities that offer traditional massage, a swimming pool, kids pool, and a jacuzzi, an event hall, table tennis, and a kids club. On top of that, there are other nature-based activities on offer, such as snorkeling, banana boat, flying fish, fishing, outbound games, barbeque and more.
Pulau Umang also boasta two unique nature-based activities – Outbound Adventure and Amazing Camp Adventure. In Outbound Adventure, guests experience various “back to nature” activities, such as trekking, river rafting, as well as traditional al-fresco meals served in the heart of the jungle. Supported by a creative and professional group of nature-lovers, Outbound Adventure is sure to be a hit with urban dwellers. The Amazing Camp Adventure is another offering designed for kids to allow them to learn more about nature as well as their own capabilities and skills.
All in all, Pulau Umang is slated to become one of the main tourist attractions for those looking to have a family gathering, company events, outbound team building and more – there is a little bit of everything here!
The South East Asian country of Malaysia is a mix of two halves, separated by the South China Sea. The peninsula boasts the modern city of Kuala Lumpur, with its sprawling suburbs and adjacent towns, while the Borneo is renowned for their breathtaking, untamed landscapes, wildlife, spectacular diving sites and diverse cultural heritage. From timeless tropical rain-forest and national parks to rugged mountain terrains, there is much to explore and experience in this melting pot of world’s cultures. Here are the top 8 Malaysian adventures for nature and adrenaline lovers alike.
For those who felt they do not have the physical abilities to climb up one of South East Asia’s highest mountain, it’s time to put Mount Kinabalu back on your list of attractions to visit. There is now a 1.2 km long Via Ferrata in Mount Kinabalu, which covers routes of varying difficulties catering to all hikers, from beginners to seasoned. The Mount Torq Via Ferrata is basically a mountain path created out of steel rungs, rails and cables embedded into the rock face. Using this, hikers can go on routes previously only accessible to more experienced rock climbers.
The Via Ferrata starts at a whopping 3,411 m and takes you all the way up to 3,776 m, making it one of the world’s highest iron roads. Those after an exhilarating, adrenalin-charged experience can opt for the challenging four-hour hike up to Low’s Peak, Mount Kinabalu’s highest point at 4,095 m, which offers some truly awe-inspiring views and hidden corners of the mountain plateau as well as a traipse across a 22 m footbridge suspended at 3,600 m above sea level!
Located about 120 km south from Sabah’s capital city Kota Kinabalu, the Klias Wetlands is a haven of natural paradise. With its lush mangrove forests that are home to a myriad of birds, reptiles, mammals and insects, the wetlands is a must visit for nature and animal lovers alike. A deep river winds through it all, and the best way to experience the Klias Wetlands is through a guided tour down the river.
Make sure that you have an experienced tour guide who can introduce you to the great, diverse wildlife that include the long tail macaque and the elusive proboscis monkey, and endangered species. The Klias river cruise typically starts at 3 pm and continues into the evening. Come nightfall, the forest comes alive with the song of nocturnal animals and insects but the highlight of the evening cruise has to be the breathtaking sight of thousands of fireflies lighting up the riverbanks, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Other than adventure, check out as well our list of 8 Must-Try Malaysian Food to whet your appetite!
Redang Marine Park
Located 45 km off the coast of Kuala Terengganu in the South China Sea, Redang Marine Park is a world-class dive site that will satisfy even the most jaded diver. With turquoise blue waters and an abundance of spectacular marine life, this little jewel is a popular destination for both diving enthusiasts and beginners. The Marine Park covers all 9 islands in the Redang Archipelago, but the most popular destinations are Redang Island and Perhentian Islands. In contrast to the backpacker theme of Perhentian Island, Redang has a more up-market image, with the island featuring more than half a dozen or so resorts. Snorkeling and diving are the more popular activities here, and rightly so as the coral reefs can be quite spectacular. Redang is a popular place to complete the beginner’s diving course, but some of the sites further out can have strong currents, and are more suitable for experienced divers. Redang is also the site of two historic shipwrecks, which were sunk at the beginning of World War II.
Labuan is a group of one large and six smaller islands off Sabah in East Malaysia. The waters surrounding these seven idyllic islands are home to some of Malaysia’s richest coral and fishing grounds, which makes this another attractive site to marine lovers and scuba-diving enthusiasts. Apart from the colorful underwater coral reefs and a dazzling variety of marine life, Labuan is also the site of four wrecks, including two from World War II. The four wrecks, locally known as the Australian Wreck, the American Wreck, the Blue Water Wreck and the Cement Wreck, are some of the best wreck diving sites in Asia, ranging from novice to serious wreck diving with penetrations into the hulls. Local dive schools provide various introduction and basic wreck diving training courses leading to a PADI Wreck Diver Specialty rating and TDI Advanced Wreck Diving course.
Diver’s, be sure to also visit nearby Indonesia for some of the best diving in the region. Check out our photographic journey through the Diving’s Holy Grail of Raja Ampat.
The Sipadan Island claims to be the world’s best dive site. While this is a big claim, the diving here is certainly world class, with more than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species that have been classified in the ecosystem. In 2002, resorts around the island have been closed to protect the environment, so visitors will need to stay on nearby islands, such as Mabul or Semporna, and take a boat into Sipadan to dive. Because Sipadan is now a protected site, only 120 dives are allowed daily, so it’s best to dive as early as possible to beat the crowds and increase your chances of getting on the dive roster. Be sure to check with your dive operator that the dives are done with permits, as some companies have been caught diving without permits. Sipadan is surrounded by very rich reef life with sea turtles and white tip reef sharks seen on almost every dive with visibility ranging from 10m to 30m and above.
Kota Kinabalu National Park
Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site is Kinabalu National Park, which ranks amongst the most popular tourist spots in the whole of Malaysia. Established in 1964, this national park is home to faune and flora spread over four climate zones, making it one of the most important biological sites in the world. Apart from many carnivorous plants, the park is also home to many endemic animal species, including the Kinabalu giant red leech and giant earthworm.
The national park is located on the west coast of Sabah and covers some 754 sq km surrounding Mount Kinabalu. The park headquarters is the main point of entry for most visitors and is easily accessible from the rest of Sabah via highways and roads. Leisure travelers will enjoy exploring the park as it requires little endurance and you can enjoy trekking at your own pace. Accommodations are available in the park near the park headquarters.
Marine lovers would also enjoy this write up on Diving in the 3 Pearls of Indonesia only here in Unearthing Asia.
Gunung Mulu National Park
A must-visit for the intrepid traveler, the Mulu Caves National Park is where you’ll find one of the longest networks of limestone caves in the world, hidden beneath forested slopes. Lubang Nasib Bagus (Good Luck Cave) is one of the biggest caves here, containing the world’s largest underground cavity known as the Sarawak Chamber, as well as the Deer Cave, the world’s largest cave passage. The Clearwater Cave, meanwhile, contains an extensive river system that winds its way underground over 30 miles. Those who prefer their activities above ground can test their endurance by conquering the Pinnacles, the serrated limestone peaks dominating the park’s high country. Climbers require stamina and several days of rigorous trekking to make their way to the top.
Taman Negara National Park
The Taman Negara National Park is Malaysia’s largest, a truly national and natural wonder which crosses the state boundaries of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. It is home to one of the world’s oldest tropical rain-forest blessed with a stunningly diverse ecosystem. There is plenty to see and do in Taman Negara, from white-water rafting, to trekking the various trails within the park, with the latter an obvious choice to experience jungle life. The Teresek trail will lead right up to the world-famous Taman Negara canopy walkways that are 510 m long and suspended some 45 m above ground, giving trekkers a mesmerizing bird’s eye view of the jungle. Try and spot the gigantic Mengkundur tree, or the various wildlife, such as elephants, wild boars and monkeys, among others.
Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of top Vietnamese noodle treats.
Deep in the hearts of Papua, lies the Holy Grail of scuba diving. Back in our very first issue of the magazine we shared about the eco-conservation efforts being undertaken in Raja Ampat to ensure this paradise would last as long as it can. Here we’d like to showcase the amazing photography of Scotty Graham, which was featured then in our print magazine. Enjoy this photographic journey through Raja Ampat’s marine beauty!
The archipelago of Indonesia boasts plenty other diving attractions. Be sure to check out our list of amazing dive spots in Indonesia before you book your trip here!
Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of divers paradise in Indonesia.
Indonesia is the widest archipelago in the world, with more than 80,000 km of coastline and 3.1 million square km of marine area. With such a large marine area, it’s no wonder Indonesia is often described as a diver’s paradise. There are plenty of attractions for all kinds of marine lovers, but this time around, we will focus our attention on three small gleaming pearls – North Sulawesi’s Gangga Island, Bali’s Candidasa, and Lombok’s Gili Trawangan.
The Gangga Island, North Sulawesi
The Gangga Island arises from the depth of the ocean north of Sulawesi, in the Bangka Archipelago, just off the National Marine Park of Bunaken. A volcanic island, Gangga is adorned with lush tropical trees and colorful flowers. There are several diving areas within reach from Gangga Island, suitable for beginners and experienced divers. The diving spots available in Gangga offers an astonishing kaleidoscope of life forms in more than 25 first-class dive spots in its central position between Bunaken and Lembeh Straits, which also happens to be one of the major playgrounds of paradise for macro-photographers.
Another island paradise bound to attract scuba divers is the renowned Raja Ampat, long heralded as scuba diving’s Holy Grail. Be mesmerized by the crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and pristine marine beauty in this jewel in the ocean!
Towards the south of the Indonesian Archipelago is Bali, the Island of Gods. At the Eastern coast of this island, far from the crowd, lies the small village of Candidasa, a key location where your choice of tours in the water, and out, begins. Bali has a superb reputation as a diving destination, and overal there is as much diversity of dive sites and marine life here than anywhere else in the region. In the eastern coast of Bali, the feature is on the Mantas, mola mola (sunfish) and tiny pigmy seahorses.
Candidasa is also home to the Bat Cave Temple (Pura Goa Lawah), an important temple to the religious locals which is home to thousands of bats hanging on the rock of cave walls. Legend has it that the cave extends all the way to Pura Besakih up at Mount Agung, more than 30 kilometres away. During various holy days, thousands of pilgrims would visit Pura Goa Lawah to join in sacred ceremonies, before heading up towards Mount Agung.
From water-sports at white sandy beaches to first-class shopping, to luxurious gourmet treats and a relaxing escapade at a hillside cafe, Bali has it all. Here are some of the must-do things in Bali, the Island of Gods.
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Last but not least on our quick island hopping is Gili Trawangan, one of the three small islands off the coast of Lombok. Here, visitors can experience the serenity of a small island, the excitement of the underwater world, and the energy of island nightlife all at once. The island was renowned as a backpacker mecca in the 90s, and while it is still true to some extent, there is now a range of luxury and glamour on the island, and especially so on Gili. On one hand, you have a multitude of relaxing laid-back beach-side cafes serving home-made drinks and local delicacies, but on the other end you also seafood buffets, gourmet treats and luxurious stays.
The diving on offer is excellent, and the island is well-known as a teaching center for diving newbies. There are however, spots with strong currents and drifts better suited for the experienced, with the focus on barracudas, manta rays, sharks and hundreds of turtles.
Other than the above three gleaming pearls, the archipelago of Indonesia boasts plenty other diving attractions. Be sure to check out our list of amazing dive spots in Indonesia before you book your trip down South!
Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.
Traveling to Egypt may not top every backpacker’s to-do list, but this fascinating country is a gateway to the ancient world. Starting your journey in a Cairo hostel, the land of the Pharaohs is your oyster, with the pyramids at Giza and living museum Luxor are within easy reach.
Aside from the ancient monuments and dusty tombs, the Red Sea is home to some of the best diving spots in the world, and modern day Cairo’s lively clubs and bars would make the fun-loving Pharaohs proud. And of course you can indulge your inner Indiana Jones wandering around the Pyramids, trekking across the dunes of the Sahara, or riding in a boat along the Nile…
Buses are the easiest and cheapest way to get around the country from Cairo, as the service is reliable and relatively safe. The buses vary in quality depending on how touristy the destination – Dahab, Sharm el Sheikh and Luxor are served by slightly more expensive buses with air conditioning and toilets.
Modern day Cairo is certainly hectic, but the capital is an essential first stop on any Egyptian tour. The Egyptian Museum is a vast cave of ancient treasures, and home of the golden face of Tutankhamen. It’s a great way to cool off from the heated streets, and the crowds aren’t too hectic in the afternoon.
The city is also home to scores of Arab architecture and medieval sites from the days of Saladin. The ‘Blue’ Mosque, made of ink and turquoise mosaic tiles, was built in 1347 and is Cairo’s prettiest, and the minaret of the Ahmad Ibn Tulun Mosque boasts the best view over the city.
Cairo’s bustling bazaars and souks are a sensual feast of fragrant spices and sheesha pipes, brightly coloured fabrics and stalls crammed into the marketplace. Perfect for sourcing an exotic souvenir, you’ll need razor-sharp haggling skills.
After sundown, the souks are packed with snake-charmers and belly-dancers. For more modern entertainment, head to Zamelek for bustling outdoor bars and hipper-than-thou clubs. For a more relaxing classical attraction, the River Nile has been the lifeblood of Egypt since ancient times, and the ultimate way to see the city is to glide through the heart of Cairo on a felucca, a traditional Egyptian wooden boat.
One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Giza may be touristy, but the three famous pyramids and the grand Sphinx are simply unmissable. If you must take a horse or camel ride around the pyramids, agree to the price first, or you’ll end up ripped off, or stranded on a camel!
Luxor feels like an outdoor museum, its nineteenth-century boulevards lined with ancient temples and monuments. The Karnak Complex is home to the biggest temple in Egypt, as well as obelisks, sphinxes and all manner of ancient paraphernalia. Take a tour to the Valley of the Kings in Thebes for the cursed tomb of Tutankhamen and Ramses VI.
Other Top Sites
The list of must-see ancient sites is overwhelming in a country so rich with history, but there are a couple worth making the extra trek for. For a change of scene away from the rampant tourism of the major sites, check out Egypt’s oldest Coptic monasteries St Anthony and St Paul, hidden amidst the arid mountains and barren cliffs of the Red Sea. The surrounding desert is breathtaking, and the monasteries themselves have a fascinating past.
The catacombs of Kom es-Shoqafa in Alexandria are a more ghoulish sight – these subterranean tombs tunnel underneath solid rock, and are filled with the burial chambers of a wealthy family from 2AD. A mix of Egyptian relics and Greco-Roman architecture, these tombs document the dying days of the ancient Egyptian faith.
Diving in the Red Sea
If you’re feeling all Pharaoh-ed out, try diving the Sinai Peninsula at the resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Experienced divers can take a boat trip from one of the diving shops to Ras Mohammed National Park, and first timers can learn the ropes by snorkeling in the shallow reefs of Middle Garden.
Whatever your level of diving expertise, the exotic marine life, unbelievably clear waters and rainbow coral reef make this one of the best diving spots in the world. If you don’t fancy diving into the deep blue, the postcard perfect beaches are the perfect place to recover from hours of trekking through ancient sites.
About the Author. Lauren Smith. Lauren writes for HostelBloggers, the Insider’s Guide to Budget Travel. She wants to travel the world on a shoestring, and tries to cram in as much backpacking as possible when she’s not at work!
More than 5 million square meters of water surrounds the island archipelago of Indonesia. Undoubtedly, it is a grand settlement for hundreds if not thousands of underwater species and beautiful, colorful coral reefs. At once, this country offers plenty of spots that many diving enthusiasts can only dream about.
Thanks to the unusual political turmoil and usually exaggerated travel warnings, you’ll rarely find this country on the average traveler’s itinerary. Fortunately for the brave and adventurous, that means less tourists, more peace and quiet, and a better chance of enjoying all the serene beauty on your own sweet time. Here’s a list of Indonesia’s 8 Amazing Dive Spots for you to dream about, and one day try on your own!
Bintan Island, Riau
Probably the most accessible island from outside Indonesia, this diving hotspot is less then an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore. The island boasts of 18 km of pristine white beaches with rich marine life, and various dive spots for your enjoyment and perusal.
Not far from the northern coast line there is a small gorge 8 meters deep with a flat bottom, a perfect site for those trying out scuba diving for the first time. Another unique site here is Ship Wreck Point, where you can explore the remains of an old tanker boat sunk years ago in the depth of the sea.
Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands), Jakarta
This unique area consisting of over a hundred small islands (thus the exaggerated name), has always been the playground for divers from Jakarta. From the various islands, a few of the more popular ones are Pulau Kotok Besar, Pulau Kotok Kecil, Karang Bongkok, Pulau Sepa and Pulau Pantara.
Pulau Seribu is very accessible, you can simply rent a speedboat from the Marina, or a fisherman’s boat from one of the various piers. About one to two hours worth away from Jakarta and you’ll be able to dive to your heart’s content. Some of the larger islands provide better accommodation such as resorts and villas, but you’ll have to rent a boat to visit the smaller islands – that’s where the beautiful corals are!
Karimun Java, Central Java
Another side of Java Sea that’s also a diver’s paradise is the island across the sea at Semarang, Central Java. This area, called Karimun Java, is a collection of 27 smaller islands surrounded by ocean water rich with blue coral Acropora reef. Divers can explore the remains of Indonour, an ancient merchant ship that sank long ago in 1955. An additional treat here is the various sea turtles that hatches in the conservation park.
Derawan Island, East Kalimantan
About 50 miles away from the Tanjung Redeb, Berau Province’s capital, is an area covering several smaller islands. Its filled with spectacular corals and underwater caves for adventurous exploration. Derawan has more than 17 dive spots across the area, each with its own unique attractions for you to consider. Some of the more popular sites are at Pulau Sangalaki, Pulau Kakaban and Pulau Maratua.
At Sangalaki, you can find eagle rays, sting rays, leopard sharks and cuttlefishes as well. It is also the preferred hatching spot for giant green turtles, which you can view every night. The main attraction at Pulau Kakaban is the 5 square meters saltwater lake filled with stingless jellyfish and goby fish. And finally, at Pulau Maratua, you’ll find plenty large-sized fishes such as barracuda, tuna and mackerel. Sightings of hammerhead sharks, and up to eight species of whales are also often reported here.
Scuba diving enthusiasts should also check out our photographic journey through the marine paradise of Raja Ampat, long renowned as the Holy Grail of Scuba Diving.
Komodo Island, Flores
This island is usually associated with the Komodo Dragons, with it playing host to these fiery gigantic lizards species. But in regards to scuba diving, this area also plays host to a score of dive spots that are known to be some of the best in the country. From Sebayour Kecil, Pulau Tengah Kecil and Pantai Merah, various underwater attractions are on offer, such as various mackerel, cod and grouper fish.
At Pantai Merah, or roughly translated as Red Beach, you’ll find not far from the coast a 5 meter drop-off filled with colorful fishes. There are more dive sites at the western coast of Flores, such as Pulau Tatawa, Pulau Tatawa Kecil, Pulau Rinca and Pulau Nusa Node.
Nusa Penida, Bali
Pulau Nusa Penida, located east of Bali, is a popular dive spot amongst both local and international divers. About one hour away from Bali, this island has some of the healthiest coral reefs, with exceptional visibility of 15 to 35 meters.
For beginners, there are various dive spots at the northern coast of the island better suited for exploration. At the southern coast, there is also Blue Corner, Nusa Lembongan and Gamat, for those more experienced divers looking for a challenge. The sun fish is often sighted at Crystal Bay, while manta birostris are common occurrences at Manta Point.
Bunaken, North Sulawesi
This is another hotspot that is better known internationally compared to the rest, consisting of the smaller islands of Pulau Sialdoen, Gangga, Mantehage, Nine and an old volcano in the middle of the sea, Manado Tua (Old Manado). Snorkeling and diving are both extremely popular, with up to 16 dive spots spread amongst the islands in the area. Bunaken features a slope with up to 30 meters drop-off housing various species of fishes and marine life. Sightings of shark are not uncommon, so beware!
Indonesia is home to so many amazing diving destinations, its simply impossible to write about them all at one go! Here’s another diving-related article – Diving in the 3 Pearls in Indonesia.
Selat Lembeh (Lembeh Straits), North Sulawesi
Still at North Sulawesi is another icon of the diving world, Selat Lembeh (Lembeh Straits). This dive site is famed internationally with its diversity of marine life, some unique to the site. Here you can find the mimic octopus, pygmy seahorse, flamboyant cuttlefish and hairy frogfish among others. It’s a haven of underwater photography, and is often called the “Mecca of Macro Photography”. Be warned however, that the delicate nature of Lembeh Straits means it is only appropriate for experienced divers.
Travel smarter! If your looking for the best deals on Indonesia hotel prices, head on to SmartHotelComparison.com for a one-stop portal which allows you to compare prices from over 500 booking websites!
For some of the best car-rental pricing comparison, check out Cyprus car hire!