With several long-weekends and summer holiday fast approaching, you might have started to plan on your next destination to explore. Although going to faraway places to see the beauty of the world is always rewarding, sometimes you just don't have the time and means to travel so far. Don't worry! We've put down a list of places you can visit with relatively short flights from Jakarta (all under-five-hours) for your long weekends and short escapes, and trust us--these places offers just as much excitement as places far away!
Our closest neighbour, Singapore is an ultra-modern city just 1,5 hours away from Jakarta. This island nation offers a plethora of things to do; from shopping at the famous Orchard Road, marvelling on the majestic Super Tree Grove of Gardens by The Bay, re-creating 'that' wedding scene from the hit movie 'Crazy Rich Asians' at CHJIMES near Bugis area, to feasting on uniquely delicious local dishes in famous hawker centres such as Lau Pa Sat or Newton Food Centre--there's always something new to explore in this ever-developing garden city!
A less-travelled holiday destination for many Indonesians, Ho Chi Minh City's popularity as a destination has grown prominently lately. Also known as Saigon, this city has a unique property of evoking feeling of that of exotic lands and also the charms of old world, with its' many French colonial-style architecture. Don't forget to visit the famous Ben Thanh Market to get your souvenirs and take great photos at the 19th Century Central Post Office building and the nearby Notre Dame Cathedral (built with materials entirely imported from France). Also, you can not afford to miss the delicious Vietnamese coffee and street foods!
Arguably South East Asia's go-to shoppers-and-foodie paradise, Bangkok is an extremely popular destination for many Indonesians. Spoil yourself with millions of things to shop and do at Bangkok's many shopping destinations such as Pratunam Market, Platinum Shopping Mall, Siam Paragon, MBK Centre, and Central World, ride a boat to visit the famous Floating Market, or go hop on a Tuk-Tuk to go to Bangkok's many street food sanctuaries (which are practically everywhere in the city), and sample some of Thai's most delightful dishes such as Tom Yum, Pad Thai, Pad Kra Pao, Som Tam, and a gazillion others! Beyond the hustle and bustle of the shopping and foodie scene, find balance in visiting famous temples around the city such as Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Benchamabophit.
Staying in Thailand--For a more tranquil and relaxed escape destination, Phuket is the place to go. A rainforested, mountainous island in the Andaman Sea, Phuket has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, mainly situated along the clear waters of the Western shore. This southern-Thailand island is home to many high-end seaside resorts, spas and restaurants, where you can kick back and relax while enjoying good food, sea breeze and pure white sand. Phuket is also the place to go if you want to try diving, snorkling, wind surfing or sailing.
For a non-Asian feel and a majorly different culture, why not visit Australia? Perth is the closest Australian city to Jakarta with only 1 hour time difference, and it is not less amazing compared to its' famous neighbours to the southeast, Sydney and Melbourne. Perth's modern skyline is complemented by the naturally beautiful Swan River where you can walk, ride, or skate around it. Don't forget to snap great photos at the iconic Blue Boathouse, pet some Koala and Kangaroo in the Wildlife Zoo, visit Fremantle Market to experience local market culture and talents, or do sand-skiing at the unique Lancelin Sand Dune!
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Many of you fitness enthusiast and health-conscious Escapist might be wondering how can you stay fit and healthy during Ramadan. We are fully aware that keeping your work out regime on track is not as easy to be done while fasting and your energy level is considerably lower. Worry not, for your fellow fitness enthusiast Jennifer Bachdim is sharing her fitness tips and trick during Ramadan to inspire all of you to stay healthy!
So many of my friends and followers have asked about work out during Ramadan; what should they eat, when should they work out. I think what's most important is for us to have a good and clear goal for this month. You shouldn't target to lose weight or gain muscles or to hit your best personal record during Ramadan, you should just aim to be healthy, active and fit. Keep the level you have already, or even if you have to adjust your level a little bit it's fine because you're fasting and you can't train during the day. That should be your fitness goal during Ramadan: to be active and healthy.
I think the best time for working out is definitely before iftar, maybe an hour before. Get a good 20-30 minutes of work out and after that you can cool down and eat your iftar meal. Conversely, you can also do it after breaking your fast. Have a simple and light meal like oats with fruits so that the digesting period is not too long, and then you do your work out. Afterwards, you can have another meal and drink.
Basically, you can do your work out whenever you feel is best for you. If you're exhausted at the last hour before iftar and you don't feel like working out, then you shouldn't. But if you still feel fit and you still have the power then you should do it!
Also, many Indonesians like to do bukber (Buka Puasa Bersama – eating iftar meal together). I suggest that before you go for bukber you do some simple exercises first so you can really enjoy your meal, or else you'd have to only eat a simple and light meal so that you can do your work out afterwards.
As I've mentioned before, your fitness goal during Ramadan should only to be fit and healthy, not to gain muscle, lose weight, etc. To help you stay fit, you can just do 5 to 6 types of simple, at-home exercises, repeating it 3 to 4 times.
Complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and oats are filling and will keep you full longer. I usually mix it up with some fruit, or you can mix it with chicken for a savoury option. Always eat fruits and vegetables because you want a good supply of fiber and vitamins while fasting. You shouldn't eat too much fried food! I know a lot of Indonesian cuisine has a lot of good fritters and fried dishes, but you should refrain from eating too much of them.
If you're a coffee drinker, maybe you should reduce a little bit of caffeine and you should not take too much sugar. Instead of sugar, you can use honey or dates! I know dates are very popular during Ramadan and it's a great option to break your fast; they're delicous and naturally sweet, so you can use dates instead of sugar.
Drinking enough water is also very important. Drink 8 cups of water a day. I would suggest you split it into four times of two cups: 2 cups during Sahur, 2 cups at iftar, 2 cups after Taraweh, and 2 cups before going to bet. Of course if you can drink more, you should definitely do that.
Most importantly, just enjoy the special month of Ramadan! Be happy and don't forget to spend your time with your family, friends and loved ones!
Watch Jennifer's full tips and tricks video down here!
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