Baluran National Park

This park is a forest preservation area that extends about 25.000 ha on the north coast of East Java. The location is in Sumberwaru village, Banyuwangi district, Situbondo (on the east border of Java Island). You can enjoy the panorama of savannah and mount Baluran (inactive volcano) in the center of area that becomes habitat of many exotic animals such as wild pigs, deer, peacocks, wild chicken, some species of monkeys and also bulls as the protected animals in the area.

You can enjoy the amazing scenery of the forest and do the safari activities in the wild life and feel the magic of the forest. This park is so unique because 15 km from the main entrance, you can find a beautiful white beach called Bama Beach, here in the habiat of coral reef, fish and mangrove.

You also can observe hundreds species of birds such as hornbills, peacocks and bulbuls. If you like to observe the tropical forest vegetation, the park is a heaven for many species of trees, plants and flowers such as pecan nut trees, Maja, Gadung, Java tamarind trees and mount Widara.

There are several activities that you can do in this park such as: - Safari Forest - forest adventure - Diving and snorkeling - Mountain hiking and mount climbing - Hill walking - Beach adventure to watch the fishermen's daily activities and seed seekers - Canoeing, rowing or boating until you the Fresh Water Gulf, Sejile Gulf and Bilik Beach.

Conducting some scientific researching (with prior permission).
If you prefer to safari to Baluran National Park, there are some cottage designed in Madurese style and operated by Environmental Education Center. There is also a main lodge that will serve you European and Indonesia cuisine.
Villas and lodges, you can rent them with your group members (about 20 persons capacity) and the also provide a praying room and a canteen.
There are two guesthouses by the beach, but you should have prior reservation.
Baluran Information Centre and a small museum that has several preserved animals by the main entrance operated by The Forestry Conservation Region Office.
The visitor can do many activities, such as; Diving, Swimming, boating, snorkeling
A beautiful camping area that is located in Sumberwaru village (outside of the forest preservation area)
Watching Towers that are usually used by rangers to watch or to observe the animals' behaviors and the region surrounding (you can bring a pair of binoculars or telescope to have a better look at the beautiful panorama)

Try to consider the wide ranges of this area, you will be better visit Baluran by your car or rent a car from Denpasar or Surabaya. You can also rent a car at Pasir Putih tourist resort or Situbondo. There is also motorbike public transportation called “ojek” in the main entrance that will take you to Bama Beach (with Negotiated cost)

The Route
o If you take a car, it takes 5 hours from Surabaya and 4 hours from Denpasar, Bali.
o For tourists who stay in Pasir Putih, it takes 1.5 hours and only 1 hours from Situbondo.

Gua Jepang (Japan Cave)
In Baluran National Park, you can see a historical place called “Gua Jepang” (Japan Cave). Gua Jepang is one of historical witness that in this place (Baluran National Park) was happened battle between Indonesia army against Japanese army. Because unequal power, there are a lot of Indonesia army who died in that battle, so this place also called Batangan. Gua Jepang has wide about 12 km that contains in 2 chambers. The north chamber was used to save the weapon, while the south chamber was used as a fissure to see an enemy.

Bekol Savannah
Beside Gua Jepang, in the Baluran National Park, you also can see Bekol savannah. It's about 12 km from the entrance Baluran National park. You will see a flock of deer, bulls, etc, in the morning and in the afternoon (when the sun goes down) to do their activity. You also can see their activity and behavior of those animals from the height.

Bama Beach
Bama beach is located in the east of Baluran National Park. You can see the original beach and the fantastic panorama in here. Beside that you can see the mangrove forest, Bama source and Mantingan source. One of special moment here is that you can see monkey with the long tail (Macaca fascicularis) that fishing crabs with their long tail. If you like go on food, you can pass the truck and you can see the beautiful panorama of Bama Beach on the height. Just with 15,000 Rupiahs per person you can spend the night in Bama Beach to enjoy the beautiful panorama at night here.

Top Hostel in Europe for Backpackers

Top Hostels in Europe

Good hostels offer more than just inexpensive accommodation. They allow the traveller to meet new people from all over the world and garner information about other great places to visit. The more unique hostels, in fact, are those located in rail cars, castles, and even lighthouses.

These hostels are scattered all over Europe, but here is a list of the best ones and their features.

The Bulldog Hostel (Amsterdam)
A sense of humour is a fine thing to have, and the Bulldog Hostel has plenty. Along with a bar, a common room, guest kitchens, and luggage storage, this hostel also offers a Ninja Assassin wakeup call and even a Film Making Studio. Dormitories go for $27 a night.

The Cat's Hostel (Madrid)
This is truly backpacker paradise, as this offers more than the usual rooms and lounge areas — it also has 24-hour reception, WiFi (wireless) in the rooms and free Internet access, telephone and fax, and security lockers. Dormitories start at $22.

Finale Ligure Youth Hostel (Italy)

Located in a real castle, this hostel is open to those who want to experience a fairy-tale like holiday. It's based right along the sea and near Finale trails.

Yellow Hostel (Rome)
This popular hostel offers a 24-hour reception desk, travel information desk, free Internet access, telephone and fax, and even a lift. Dormitories (non-smoking) are at $29.

The Globetrotter Inn Hostel (Edinburgh)

This hostel offers a travel information desk, Internet access, a bar, bicycle rental, parking, a BBQ area, and even a gym. Their hostel shuttle goes for just a $1 a day. Dormitories are $19 a night.

Keep Healthy

Keeping Healthy

Before you take off to Europe for that much awaited backpacking adventure, make sure that you’re ready to endure the rigors and physical hardships that are synonymous with this activity.

When you decide to go backpacking, visit your doctor first and have a general check up. You need to know the exact status of your overall condition so you would know what parts of the body you need to work on. Even if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, you should still hit the gym. You will need to work on your legs, back and abdominal muscles. Give yourself an additional year to work your muscles out for the trek.

Lying curled up in a dingy hostel burning up with fever is not how you want to remember your backpacking adventure, right? And looking gaunt and coming home ill is not a good way to prove that you’ve really gone out backpacking. Therefore, when you are finally in Europe, make every effort to maintain your general health and physical well being. Though drinking vitamin supplements would help, the basic steps to follow are these:

Drink lots of water and eat properly
Nothing nourishes, strengthens and keeps the body in tip top shape than the proper amount of food and drink. Consuming too little food would hasten your fatigue, subject you to dehydration, lower your resistance and make you susceptible to unwanted infections. Ingesting too much would not only cause indigestion but make you feel ill at ease and sluggish which might affect your backpacking itinerary. If you feel hungry, keep some energy bars at the top of your pack, to make it easy for you to reach them.

When you feel tired, rest
Backpacking is not a race and it is not about competition. If you are getting tired or weary, don’t wait until you collapse out of sheer exhaustion before you decide to stop and take a break. Don’t force yourself to reach a particular destination or goal before you pause to rest. Forcing yourself beyond your physical capabilities at the risk of getting injured is never a good idea.

Wear protective clothing
When you are out backpacking, make sure that you put on the right clothes for the right kind of temperature. If you go during summer, wear light clothes and shorts; if you’re out in autumn, wear warmer clothes. Leaving your body exposed to the elements may increase your chances of getting a virus and getting ill in a strange country does not sound very appealing.

Also, you need to pay special attention to your skin and your feet. Bring several bottles of sun block (ideally, at least SPF 25) to protect your skin from the strong UV rays of the sun, and increase your shield by using caps or hats to protect your eyes and face. Since you’ll most likely be walking a lot, it pays to invest on good fitting shoes and padded socks. These not only make walking more comfortable, they also prevent the skin of your feet from getting blisters. Even if you are confident about the quality of your shoes and socks, bring ointments to combat blisters.

Protect yourself from insects
Aside from protecting yourself from the elements and other physical injuries, you also need to arm yourself against bugs and insects. Though most bugs and insects are harmless, there are still some that carry harmful diseases. Since you cannot select the insects that bite you, might as well protect yourself from the whole lot. To ward off insects, apply bug-off solutions to exposed parts of your body (usually the arms, legs and neck) and always wear socks (especially at night).

Lift your backpack properly
One of the most common injuries sustained by backpackers is due, not to external elements such as bugs, ravines, cliffs, storm, sleet, hail or snow — but by their own carelessness. When you are backpacking, your back carries least 35 pounds of dead weight most hours of the day. A good way to injure your back is to jerk the backpack off the ground and hoisting it over your shoulders. You may not feel the pain at first, but constant repetitive movements may (in the long run) damage tendons and muscle tissue. To care for your lumbar area, lift your backpack carefully and properly.

If you consciously make an effort to follow these tips, hopefully, you would be able to return from your journey stronger, healthier and happier than before you left. If others doubt that you’ve left because you’re not sallow and all skin and bones; just show them your pictures (and watch them turn green with envy).

How to make Budget

How to Make a Budget

Like any activity, you have to plan carefully for your backpacking adventure. It’s not enough that you know what trains to take, which places to stay in and what food to it, you have to make sure that you have enough money to sustain you until the end of your journey.

Although backpacking seems like a very non-costly activity, in reality, it is. There are a lot of things you need to buy and prepare for, and it’s not just a sturdy pair of shoes and an all-weather backpack. You will need guidebooks, a digital camera, travel accessories, basic medicine — the works! In fact, preparing for a backpacking trip is harder than planning for a usual out of town holiday.

When you’re preparing your backpacking budget, you divide your estimated costs into two categories: Pre-departure and Post-departure. The pre-departure expenses cover everything that you need to buy before you reach your destination. This will include the following:

Round Trip Plane Ticket - Unless you live in Europe and can just walk out of the door to start your backpacking experience, you will need this.

Eurorail Pass - Rate varies depending on the length of your stay and your age. If you’re below 24 or above 50, you get a discount.

Travel Insurance - Will vary depending also on the duration of your trip.

Backpack - Get a sturdy backpack. You don’t want to rip it halfway through your journey and then end up buying a new one.

Guidebooks - There are general and country specific guidebooks. Select which one you think would be most useful.

Travel accessories - Aside from the clothes on your back (and inside your backpack), you will need your usual toiletry supplies (soap, shampoo, toothpaste), first aid kits (band aids, alcohol, gauze bandages, pain relievers, cold medicine, insect repellants), travel pouches, money belts, flashlights, umbrellas, etc.

The Best Campsites in Europe

The Best Campsites in Europe

It is a known fact that backpackers may at times, when hostels are fully occupied, stay in campsites. Many people, backpackers and non backpackers alike, have pre-conceived images of what a campsite may look like. Tents pitched in grassy knolls, bonfires, and campers being bitten by gargantuan mosquitoes and bugs are what usually come to mind.

However, contrary to popular belief European campsites are in fact not dark, desolate and rustic places devoid of any fun and laughter. Modern campsites have facilities that can rival even the most modern hotels in any country. Situated beside beaches, near lakes, at the slopes of mountains or within splendid grounds, these campsites boast of having bars, restaurants and novelty shops, among others. It’s surprising that backpackers manage to tear themselves away from these comfortable resting places and forge through unfamiliar terrain just to reach their next destination.

What makes a specific campsite stand out from the rest? It depends really, on the clients’ tastes and preferences, but generally, the quality of European campsites are judged based on basic standards. The camps should always run smoothly and efficiently. The grounds and the facilities should be well maintained and the management should always make sure that the sanitation and washing facilities or equipment are functioning properly.

It would matter too if the campsite had its own outdoor and indoor swimming pools, waterslides, and jacuzzis. Other more upscale camps even have recreation areas not just for adults but for kids as well. Some camps have game rooms, tennis courts, and kiddie play areas. In addition to these, some even have bars, shops and restaurants (complete with waiters and full course menus) located within the confines of their compound.

Good campsites should also be versatile. Clients and guests vary depending on the season. During the peak season, they should be able to address the needs of their teenage guests. When it’s the non-peak season, the same campsites should be able to provide for the needs of families and toddlers too. Naturally, there are some sites which target only a specific age group. If you come across one, don’t just brush them off. These campsites are no less desirable than campsites that reach out to a larger market. Since they are market specific, they may have more facilities that would meet your needs.

It would be difficult to actually recommend one specific campsite for backpackers as these sites have different facilities, amenities and cater to different clientele. The quality and “star rating” of a campsite will depend entirely on you. Know what you want first and identify the facilities you need. Once you have determined these, it would be easier to pinpoint a campsite for you to stay in.

If you decide that you refuse to rough it out and opt to stay at one of these campsites during your backpacking adventure, you are more than welcome to do so. You can search for a listing of Europe’s top campsites over the internet.

Though you may come up with several camps and you may glean information from the camp directors or administrators themselves, don’t rely on these alone. Do additional research. Ask around, talk to friends, or visit backpacking forums and ask for advice. Remember that nothing beats the testimonials of those who have, at least once in their lives, stayed at these places. Because at the end of the day, the best campsite is not the one that has the most facilities or the most expensive rates — it is the one which makes you feel most comfortable and safe, and one that meets all your needs.

10 Commandment For Backpackers

10 Commandments for the Backpacker

There are literally hundreds of rules and tips that a backpacker has to know, but not everyone has the time nor the inclination to read through everything. Here are 10 commandments that a backpacker should follow:

1. Know what to bring. Backpacker should only bring what is necessary to their travel plans.

2. Always have with you identification. Bring with you at least two forms of identification in case authorities need extra proof of identity. Keep copies of them and do not put them all together in case of theft.

3. Arrange to have any visas needed. Some countries in Europe require it.

4. Break in any new equipment. You'll need to be familiar with what you'll be bringing.

5. Do a trial packing run. This is to check whether everything you'll be bringing will fit and leave some room for souvenirs, etc.

6. Know where to stay. Check out possible hostels/bed and breakfasts/campsites in your country of choice and see if they are acceptable for you.

7. Get travel insurance. If you plan on doing some risky activities such as skydiving or bungee-jumping, make sure you have travel insurance or check if your regular insurance can be extended during your trip.

8. Be familiar with local currency. Backpackers should arrive in countries with at least a working knowledge of local currency in order to spend it better. It's not wise to bring a lot of cash; convert what you have slowly.

9. Know the mode of transportation. Many countries offer budget air travel, car rentals, rail passes for trains, and even bicycles for rent.

10. Keep your health in mind. It's usual for backpackers to try local delicacies or to wander to rustic areas. Have the necessary shots and take a first-aid kit.