The highlight of my long weekend in Belitung was island hopping and snorkelling off Pantai Tanjung Kelayang for the day. The weather in Belitung is very much like Singapore, hot and humid, and it is easy to get sunburnt. My friends and I lathered ourselves with sunscreen early in the morning, before enjoying a light breakfast at our beachside Santika Hotel. Although Belitung is a former Indonesian mining island, originally named after the toxic PHB Billiton company, nowadays it is trying to reinvent itself as a tourist hot spot. Sprigs of colourful yellow and red baby blooms danced in the breeze along the hotel’s perimeter as we finished our brekkie.
I was blown away by Danau Biru, the blue lake, among other awesome sights in Bintan. Many residents of Singapore regard Bintan as just some island to go for a cheap day spa. But Bintan has far more to offer with incredible religious and natural diversity.
Bali is not my favourite place to go for a holiday. Too many tourists. Too many Australians. But I am grateful to my last trip there when, on a whim I decided to skip drinking cocktails by the pool and go for a half day Bali cooking class. My previous understanding of Indonesian cooking was limited to peanut satay and fried rice. However, attending the Anika Bali cooking class gave me a true appreciation for the complexity and richness of this cuisine as well as the variety of ingredients used. We prepared a several dishes during the class which all tasted delicious, from creamy beef curry and nasi goreng, to bean salad and boiled bananas with palm syrup.