June 2016


There are only two seasons in Klaten, and that is the dry season or the wet season. You’ll find that even during the wet season, you’ll want to take a dip and get out of the Klaten’s sometimes unbearable heat. There are usually two fees, a local entrance fee, and a foreigner entrance fee. The foreigner fee is usually about double what it costs the locals. Don’t get too bent about the price. It’s just the way it is and not really breaking anyone’s pocket in the long-term. You’ll also have better days the sooner you come to terms with this.

Here are three places to keep you cool during your stay:


One of my students (at the time) took me here. It’s basically a water park where the water source comes from a well. There are several sections of this mini water park to break up the fun.

Lazy River: there’s one area (my favorite) where you can rent inflatable tubes and lazy tube around the “river” (it’s more like a hundred meters in length by a five meters in width.). It’s shallow enough to stand in but deep enough for you to relax in.

There are also vendors in this section with blankets set out near the river. For a small fee, they’ll watch your belongings so you can freely enjoy the water park. If you get hungry, they also sell things like iced tea and refreshments, instant noodles, and other local snacks.

Waterslides: Adjacent to the lazy river are a couple of pools with decent sized waterslides. It’s fun coming here and being a kid. Sometimes the water doesn’t run as freely, so you have to give yourself a little nudge to keep going at a faster pace.

Tipping Well and Playground: This area is mostly intended for children, but fun watching them. Next to the kid’s pool is a water playground where kids run around and besides that is a tipping well that kids loved hanging under. It was a well from above that continually has water slowly filling up. Once it fills up, it tipped over gallons and gallons of water onto the kids and then resumes upright to its filling position again.

Entry Fee:

15,000 rp for 1 local + 1 tourist

5,000 rp to watch our bags

5,000 rp per tube rental




Pongkok is a cold water spring where the locals swim and snorkel. It consists of a sandy bottom with random treasures such as a random bicycle and many varieties of tropical fish. The spring gets to no deeper than 6 feet, so overall a very safe place to get cold.

Pongkok 2

You can rent or bring in your own snorkels, and it’s a place where many families come to hang out.

Entry fee: 13,000 rp



Here we have a lake more intentionally used for fishing than for swimming but nonetheless recommended to me by the locals (depending on who you ask). I was never daring enough to challenge myself against the fresh water fish and fisherman, but it’s there as an option!

rowo 1

If you’re not keen on swimming, it’s nice just to walk around and enjoy the views from either above on a hill or listen to some of the music jamming from the waterfront in which I decided to take.

rowo 2

Entry fee: 5,000 rp

Parking fee: 2,000 rp

Food/Drink: 3,000 rp (iced tea) 10,000 (cup of noodle soup x2)



One thing you need to be especially mindful of when traveling to Klaten is modesty. I was completely unaware of the cultural differences and assumed they might be wearing full body swimsuits instead of bikinis. Once I arrived with my host family, I quickly realized how wrong I was! Growing up and living most of my life in Southern California, bikinis and swimwear were a normal thing, but the women here were covered from head to toe in long pants and long sleeves. This was a culture shock for me, even with it being my 3rd country and again after my 21st country.

Long story short, I ended up swimming with my sundress on. Not because my host family asked me to, but because it was how I felt most comfortable blending in.

After that, I started wearing my yoga workout pants in the water. It’s lightweight and quickly dries making this a perfect multi-use item for long-term travelers. They seemed to be okay with me wearing a tank top, but that’s only because they knew I was a foreigner. If I were local, it would be frowned upon.


Just about every traveler dreams of going on a European vacation at least once in their lifetime. And Italy often figures prominently in many of these highly sought-after itineraries.

Much like Spain and Greece, this boot-shaped nation is hundreds of years old and boasts a long and colorful history. The latter has, in turn, resulted in centuries’ worth of breathtaking architecture, art, and sculpture — and of course, one of the most celebrated cuisines in the world.

So, if you happen to find yourself en route to one of the most coveted travel destinations in the world, what should you do first?

Walk Around the Trastevere Neighborhood

Rome might be off-putting to some, what with its overpriced tourist traps and scam artists that seem to be lurking around every corner. If Italy’s capital city makes you feel the need for some extra room to walk, run, or even hop around in, look no further than the old Trastevere neighborhood.

Located a bit further from the capital’s bustling city center, this old neighborhood’s relatively quiet cobblestone streets are a nice reprieve from its tourist-oriented counterparts. Once you’ve gotten your fill of undisturbed brisk walking or even jogging, you can even stop in at one of the local eateries for a cheap but yummy bite.

Climb Florence’s Most Famous Building

If you have a taste for heights (and the adrenaline rush that often comes with scaling them), and you aren’t the least bit claustrophobic, go all the way up to the top of the Duomo in Florence.

The climb up this dome-shaped structure will not only get your spirits rising (pun unintended), but it will also give you a splendid, all-encompassing view of the city dubbed “Rome’s little sister.” As a bonus, you’ll also get a glimpse of the wonderful feats of architecture and engineering that went into building this structure on your way up.

Drive the Amalfi Coast

Channel your inner-daredevil and go for a drive along the Amalfi coast. Italians have quite a reputation for being among the world’s most reckless drivers and nowhere is this more apparent than on the treacherous road snaking its way along the Italian coastline.

If you’re brave enough, you can rent a car and attempt to navigate your way around this rather dangerous highway. If you actually value your life (but still would like to experience that roller-coaster like thrill of riding in a vehicle that appears to go over the edge in any minute), you can also hitch a ride with a local and then hang on for dear life, while enjoying the view of the picturesque coast, of course.

Pizza in Napoli

Grab an honest-to-goodness slice of Neapolitan pizza in its birthplace. Naples is widely credited as the very birthplace of the bread and tomato-sauce combo that has captured the hearts of people all over the world. It would be a crying shame to visit Italy and not sample this delicacy in the way that it was meant to be eaten.

Besides, after all that traveling, you’re sure to need all that extra energy that only a slice of pizza dripping with cheese and carbohydrates can provide.

Bangkok is one of the top destinations in Southeast Asia. Here you will find everything you need to know about transportation from the airport, SIM cards, accommodation, and how to pick a neighborhood. 


The most efficient and least expensive way to get into the city is to use the BTS Skytrain. Otherwise, you can take a taxi which costs you about $40 USD.

You should be able to pick up a SIM card from the airport. DTac covers more area and cheaper but spottier in the city. True carrier is biggest but centric to big cities.


Line, Tuk Tuks, Motorbike taxis, taxis, and trains. Uber is available but not reliable. I dealt with many cancellations from my drivers after waiting 45 minutes to pick me up and because they couldn’t find me, canceled my ride. This happened from several different locations.


Like any big city, you can use many different booking platforms. I prefer using Agoda for hotels, HostelWorld for hostels, and AirBNB for something unique.

Tip: HostelWorld sometimes offers the same accommodations as Agoda. Try comparing prices between the two. HostelWorld is often less expensive and doesn’t charge any booking fees. This may be because their audience is often budget travelers.


Picking the right neighborhood can be intimidating. You definitely don’t want to pick a special deal from a hotel provider only to find it’s in a desolate area on the wrong side of town from where I want to be.

My Strategy:

Step 1: I first tend to look up neighborhoods on AirBNB. They offer a great platform that describes each of the neighborhoods. Am I looking for my hipster crew? Will I be there more on business? Or am I looking for a place centrally located to all the tourist attractions? Check out AirBNB first and read up on the different neighborhoods.

Step 2: If you’re not feeling AirBNBish and want to stay in a hotel, I then look up Agoda and search by location based on the categories listed and reference my AirBNB list. Once I find a place I like on Agoda, I cross-reference with HostelWorld to see which has the better rate. 9/10 times, HostelWorld always saves me a few dollars.

Note: I do not receive any affiliate payments by recommending these companies.


Bangkok has an amazing food culture. You can find all sorts of cuisines from street food to fine dining. There are also many great cooking schools if you wanted to learn how to cook Thai food. I took a cooking class through (website) while attending TBEX (travel blogger conference) and it was some of the best food on my trip.


You get 30 days for free as a US citizen but getting a longer visa wasn’t too difficult for me to obtain. There was a Thai consulate in Los Angeles, where I used to live, and I got a 90-day visa pretty easy before my arrival. It cost me $60, and they hang onto your visa for 24-48 hours upon approval. When it’s returned, you have a Thai social visa occupying one full page in your passport.

Wedged between two more popular countries in South America, Uruguay proves itself worthy as your downtown destination. Uruguayans take pride in their beach-lined coasts, rich culture and history, and tourist attractions. But more than that, this country offers visitors an exceptional experience. Here are four ways to explore Uruguay. 


Parades and parties never hear the last call in Uruguay’s capital city, Montevideo. It hosts the longest Carnaval celebration in South America, lasting a full forty days. You may dance and sing-along with the natives in Desfile de las Llamadas, an all night long parade. This parade is usually accompanied by the drumming of the candombe, a historical instrument in Uruguay.


Primarily known as a summer beach destination, Uruguay’s beaches do not disappoint. Punta del Este is the home of some of the best beaches in Uruguay. Usually visited by celebrities and wealthy vacationers during late December to February, it simply is the perfect place to soak, swim, and relax.

Tourists looking for white sand beaches with astonishing vistas can find them at Punta del Diablo. A five-hour bus ride from Montevideo, this is the ideal place to go for a walk at sunset, enjoy the sea breeze, and breathe in clean air. You may even go surfing and kite-boarding with Punta del Diablo’s strong waves and winds.


Uruguay has stunning land areas too. Visitors can take a long walk and just be one with nature at the Parque Nacional Santa Teresa. This park sprawls over a 3,000-hectar area covered with about 2 million trees and traversed by 60 km of high trails. Flora and fauna originating from various regions around the world can also be found in this park. Another tourist attraction inside the park that has a historical significance is the Fortaleza de Santa Teresa that lies quietly on top of a hill.


For visitors looking for a laidback adventure, Gauchos in Estancias are there to help. Estancias, mostly found in the interior of Uruguay, give the tourists a chance to experience the tranquility of the country. It offers old farmhouses to stay at, horses to rent and take on guided tours on the beach or in the forest and learn new skills such as cattle herding.

Uruguay may not yet be recognized as a top tourist destination, but it will surely leave you speechless with everything it has to offer. Progressive, striking, secure, and culturally refined, Uruguay is a diamond in the rough. Looking for your next downtown destination? Perhaps it’s time to say “Hola, Uruguay!”


Pin It