Category: Asia

Journeys to Saudi Arabia: Tasting Raw Camel Milk

How does the raw camel milk taste ? Is it really the best milk on this planet ? What makes it so different from other types of milk ?
These questions crossed my mind whenever I saw these beautiful animals during my travels. I was not able to find the definite answers to all these questions but I did not hesitate when a chance of tasting it appeared. A bowl of fresh, warm camel milk with foam on top. How could I refuse ?

Saudi Arabia

Camel milk is often described as ‘liquid gold’ or ‘elixir of the desert’. There are many benefits of drinking camel milk. Some studies even show that it can kill cancer cells …

Camel milk: facts and health benefits:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Stimulates blood circulation any is good for your heart
  • It is nutritious. Important source of energy, protein, calcium, riboflavin, B12, and other essential nutrients
  • Compared to human milk, it contains more fat, protein, ash, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron and copper, and less whey protein, lactose and zinc
  • It does not contain proteins responsible for allergic reactions and therefore is easily digested by lactose-intolerant individuals
  • Helps in proper growth and development of bones and organ systems

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

On the highway 65 from Riyadh to Al Kharj there are several camel farms where the camel milk can be purchased. Several are located just beside the main road. Some parts of the highway 65 are running literally through the desert. The road is surrounded by beautifully formed dunes on both sides where groups of camels or caravan of the camels can be seen.
When you stop at a camel farm and ask for camel milk, the local Bedouin will milk one of his camels and offer you a bowl of fresh milk. Tasting the camel milk for the first time in your life is quite an interesting experience.
The sweet taste of warm camel milk … unforgettable …

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

LINKS
www.blueabaya.com – Good post about camel milk
www.naturallivingideas.com – 10 reasons to drink camel milk
www.camelmilkassociation.org – Info about camel milk
www.livescience.com – camel milk nutrition facts, risks & benefits
www.organicfacts.net – camel milk organic facts
www.wellnessmama.com – camel milk info

Gili Meno – Lombok’s paradise island, Gili Islands, Indonesia

Gili Meno

Gili Meno – the paradise on Earth

Gili Meno is the smallest of Gili Islands archipelago located just of the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. The archipelago consist of three small islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air from which Gili Meno, located in the middle, is the smallest. Only about 500 people live permanently on the island. The main income comes from tourism, coconut plantation and fishing. It is the most peaceful island from the three of them.

Gili Meno

How to reach Gili Meno ?
The island can is reachable from the main land only by boat. Several boat services are operating between Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air and Lombok. Links to several websites can be found at the bottom of this post.
Depending on the weather, the fast boat journey to the island may be quite unpleasant. So be prepared and keep a plastic bag handy (especially when travelling with kids). You may not get a chance to visit the toilet. They seem to be occupied all the time…

Why Gili Meno ?
Because time really runs slower here. If you are looking for an secluded island experience, no crowds and places on the beach with Bob Marley music –
this is the place. Gili Meno is the perfect place for people who wish to recharge the batteries or for those who are searching for peaceful time in their hectic life – perfect getaway holiday. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited – no wonder why it`s Honeymoon favourite destination. The island is beautiful on ground- many local restaurants with amazing variety of fish with extremely relaxing ambiance – but also underwater – with colourful coral reefs, turtles and other unique marine animals.
Fortunately all three Gili Islands do not permit any motorised transport on them. Cidomos (small horse-drawn carriages) can be rented if you need transport on island. The island is tiny so if you stay few days you can explore the whole territory and enjoy untouched by human existence flora and fauna.

Main Attractions

DIVING AND SNORKELING
Gili Islands is paradise for divers and snorkelers. There are plenty of famous diving sites around the island such as “Gili Meno walls” where turtles can be seen during the day swimming freely and at night Morays Eels. Clean water full of fish, clear blue crystal see, colorful coral reefs and endless beaches with white sand. Best way to explore the underworld is to hire a local guide with a boat and do a full day snorkeling trip around the island. Because Gillis are often called the turtle capital of the world the chance of seeing a turtle is so high that the local guides sometimes say: If you do not see a turtle today, you will get your money back.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno

TURTLE SANCTUARY
It is an interesting place which plays an important role in protecting and hatching baby turtle for release to Gilli waters. Gillis island are ” turtle capital of the world”! It is fun to watch small babies turtle in different stages of their development – in different ” swimming pools under one roof “ you can observe how they grow. This sanctuary is a good example how one person can make a difference as this place is run by one person Pak Boulong – who dedicated his life to take care of turtles – which are protected on all Gili islands.

Gili Meno

SALT LAKE AND MANGROVE FOREST
The lake is located near the mid-western half of the island. It is a place to visit when you get bored of the gorgeous beaches and need shelter from the sun.
A place for nature-lovers offering the possibility to watch birds and variety of other species in their natural habitat.

EXPLORING NEARBY ISLANDS
The remaining islands: Gili Trawangan and Gili Air are located very close to Gili Meno and are certainly worth a day trip. Another option is to get a boat to Palau Lombok which is almost as big as Bali and has lots to offer. One of the most interesting destination in the area is Nusa Penida island where we did Volunteering Work for FNPF.

WHERE TO STAY ?
We stayed in “Meno Dream Resort” and would recommend it to everyone! Relaxing ambience, beautiful garden, friendly service, clean rooms and delicious breakfast – and all that 300m from the see! You can rent the bike here for free – and explore different parts of the island. We loved the place so much that we stayed extra longer and would love to go back in the future!! Again do not expect luxury hotels rooms with air conditioning and Wi-Fi and ATM machines on each corner. After all if you want a remote quite place, expect simple conditions – I mean simple conditions.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno

WHERE TO CHILL OUT ?
Best undisputed no.1 place to chill out on Gili Meno is Bar Diana. This is the place where Bob Marley music sounds like in Jamaica. With the Meno Wall in front and Turtle Heaven on the right it is also a great place to go snorkeling and enjoy a cold beer afterwards. Other places to spend lazy hours would be Karma Beach and Escobar 2. Karma Beach is located on the Lombok side and offers good view on the active volcano Mount Rinjani.

Gili Meno

Gili Meno

PHOTO GALLERY

LINKS
www.gili-paradise.com – Paradise Islands Travel website
www.gilimenobungalows.com – Meno Dream Resort website
www.nomadicmatt.com – Gili Island travel guide by Nomadicmatt
www.indonesia.travel – Info about Gilii Meno
www.giliecotrust.com – non-profit organisation established to protect Gili Islands
www.nc.cdc.gov – Health Information for Travelers to Indonesia
www.bigbubblediving.com – Gili dive sites map with description

FERRIES
www.gilibookings.com – Ferry bookings
www.gilitickets.com – Ticket to Gili Islands
www.scootcruise.com – Scootcruise website
www.gili-sea-express.com – Gili Sea Express website

3 days in Muscat, capital city of Oman

Muscat is an amazing city! It is Middle East’s best-kept secret. It is located on the Oman Gulf at the Arabian Sea and surrounded by the rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains. A city which will become the top travel destination soon (or maybe it already is…) What makes it so special ? Muscat is considered as one of the smallest capitals in the world, but this relatively small city has a lot to offer. The Omani culture and history, architecture, beautiful sandy beaches along the Arabian Sea, mountains, delicious food, local markets, amazing people (some even claim that the Omanis are the most hospitable people on earth !). There is so much to see there. Oman advertises its natural beauty with the following campaign: ‘Beauty has an address – Oman’. READ MORE !!!

Volunteering for FNPF Nusa Penida, Indonesia


“If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
. . . I’m starting with the man in the mirror”

We took those words seriously and decided that next family holiday will be the one to ” give back” a bit of what we have and make a difference.
This year vacation was not only fun but a bit of “work” as well. Thanks to FNPF (Friends Of The National Parks Foundation) this experience was amazing and unforgettable. Friends of the National Park Foundation (FNPF) is an Indonesian conservation not-profit organization working to protect wildlife and its habitat, at supporting local communities.
FNPF’s primary wildlife focus on Nusa Penida is protection and rebuilding wild populations of endangered Indonesian birds such as Bali Starling (Bali’s emblem bird),Java Sparrow and Cockatoo. Bali Starling is (or maybe was) listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. It is one of the rarest living bird’s in the world ! READ MORE !!!

Beijing & Great Wall, China 2014

Beijing 001In June 2014 I was sent by my employer to Beijing for 10 days. First time in my life I could enjoy a business class flight and for the first time flying Boeing 747. Enjoying the business class in the upper deck with lie-flat Business Class seats with massage option, Individual LCD video screen and excellent service was an interesting experience but it is not my style at all … I felt like the funny fat people from Wall-E movie… READ MORE !

Antalya, Turkey 2012

Antalya 001
Going to Turkey ? – Yes !
Spending a full week in on of the luxury hotels along the beach ? – No, thanks … Not in my taste …
We wanted to go to the Anatolia region ( also called Asia Minor ) but stay away from Antalya and big hotels located east from Antalya. To our surprise even the kids didn’t go for this option when we showed them one of these beauties in a brochure. They pointed their fingers to a bungalow instead. In order to help them make the right decision we told them some interesting stories about wild animals and how much better the the wild nature is than a concrete block 🙂 Boys, you made the right decision! READ MORE !!!