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Diving 101: Safety Guideline for Beginners

As a diving instructor living in Indonesia, one of the best diving spots in the entire world, I meet lots of people who would love to go on a dive but are nervous about the health and safety aspects. I meet even more people, unfortunately, who are so keen to start diving that they completely ignore the health and safety aspects, potentially putting themselves in danger.

My job isn’t just to take people on the trip of a lifetime – it’s also to imbue them with a healthy respect for the ocean and everything that lives within it. Here’s my advice, one that I dispense daily in the course of my work, written down to help out beginners to the wonderful world of diving.

Find a quiet spot to dive

If you’re a beginner diver, you don’t want to be overwhelmed with crowds the first times you dive. Those same crowds might also scare off the marine life, therefore cancelling out the very thing you came for.

My favourite diving spots of all time are Padang Bay which has amazing dive sites, and Nusa Dua which is great for those who love isolation. Moreover, those amazing locations are just scratching the surface of all Bali has to offer – but you really should do some research before you book your diving trip.

Nusa DuaConsider your own health

To be a diver, you really have to be quite physically fit. Cardiac-related deaths make up at least a quarter of all diving deaths, so please don’t become a part of the statistic.

Undergo a physical examination before taking up diving as a serious hobby, and absolutely ask your doctor if there’s anything at all in your health records that could make diving an overly dangerous experience for you. Even if you’re given an absolute all-clear and told you’re healthy, you still have to listen to your body at all times and never get complacent in your health. If you have a cold or the flu or are even just tired from partying, don’t dive. And don’t dive if you’ve been drinking. Just don’t risk it.

However, bear in mind that it’s not impossible to scuba dive if you’re disabled. There are many centers and resources for disabled people who want to try diving.

Plan ahead and stick with your buddy

Before you go diving, you should have planned out every last detail, including how deep you’ll go and how much air you’ll have in your tank when you ascend. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, ask your diving instructor. Never be afraid to ask us questions in fact – it’s what we’re here for.

diving instructor You should have a diving buddy who goes under with you (It’s best if this is someone you already know, but it doesn’t have to be). You should pre-arrange hand signals with them beforehand, as obviously you won’t be able to converse underwater. Keep your diving buddy in sight at all times; don’t swim off the second you spot something interesting. If you do lose them, slowly ascend to the surface to regroup.

Go slowly and relax

It can be scary diving for the first time, but you simply have to relax your body and, if needs be, remind yourself that diving accidents are incredibly rare. If for any reason you start to panic, alert your buddy and your dive instructor and slowly start ascending. That ‘slowly’ is very important when it comes to diving – ascend too quickly and the nitrogen bubbles forming in your blood will make you sick with decompression illness or ‘the bends’. That’s one thing you absolutely, definitely do not want.

Ascend at 30 feet per minute max, and you should be fine. Then, take some time to rest before diving again.

diving is funDiving is fun, the best kind of fun in the world in my opinion, but it’s not a sport for the careless or arrogant. Always follow your instructor’s advice – it’ll save you ruining your holiday with a spell in hospital instead of underwater.

5 Must-See Places in Southeast Asia

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.”

– Francis Bacon

I fell in love with Southeast Asia after reading “The Beach” and “The Tesseract”, both by Alex Garland. Both novels weren’t part of the reading list, which was quite unfortunate. I could compose an essay in an hour or two, but it didn’t matter. The chance to travel to that part of the world came.

I was excited with my trip, along with my course-mates. I dreamed of a Robinson Crusoe moment in a desert isle, but the closest thing to that was Ha Long Bay. Colin, one of my three travel buddies in this trip, remembered our module on Ian Fleming and James Bond. We did went to Andaman Sea, where “The Man with the Golden Gun” was shot, but that would be another tale.

What was it about Southeast Asia that the likes of Graham Greene have used as backdrop for their novels? It was different from what I’ve seen here at home, or the continent for that matter, but that wasn’t the reason. It would be the destinations, but there was more. In other words, it was anything but dull. It was also unique.

Below were my five must-see places:

1. Wat Rong Khun (Chiang Rai, Thailand)

Designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, this temple war arguably the main attraction in northern Thailand. Compared to the other monastery temples (wat), White Temple was unconventional, which drew lots of tourists. I would recommend spending half an hour looking at the wall paintings, a mixture of Buddhist images and pop culture. So imagine the likes of Harry Potter in the presence of Buddha’s solemn face, which seemed quite awkward at first. Eventually, I warmed up to it.

2. The terraced fields of Sa Pa, Vietnam

This town in northern Vietnam couldn’t be in a better location, as locals would be greeted with the panorama of Phan-Xi-Pǎng (Fansipan), the highest peak in Vietnam, every morning. It looked splendid on a sunny afternoon, but the countless terraces were the ones that tourists shouldn’t passed up. It would take a day or two for trekking, which might not be enough. Several ethnic groups lived there, and my interaction with them was priceless. Be warned that souvenir shops were ubiquitous in the village of Cat Cat, and the some of the locals were too persistent (in selling their items).

3. Angkor Thom (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

thailand travelNot that Angkor Wat was unattractive, but Angkor Thom had an august appearance. One needed an imagination, as all that remained were ruins, which looked gorgeous from certain angles. The Bayon Temple was my favourite, its solemn faces good enough for a postcard.

4. The temples of Yogyakarta, Indonesia

One must go the distance in able to see the Buddhist and Hindu temples in Yogyakarta, located in central Java. Borobudur, a pyramid-like temple, was a sight to behold. The summit looked like a page from a fairy tale, where tens of bell-like structures were arranged circularly. Not far behind were Prambanan and Ratu Boko, more reminders of a mighty civilisation that once flourished in this part of Asia.

5. Ho Chi Minh

East meets West, past meets present. This former capital of Vietnam had many landmarks that revealed its storied past. I visited the French section twice, where one of Gustave Eiffel’s creations could be found. I was referring to the Post Office, its remarkable interior had an old map of Saigon.

Lee Smyth studied Film and Literature, had a stint in dissertation writing services, and did freelancing jobs in writing and proofreading. He would pursue a graduate degree next fall. Check out his blog and Twitter account.

Top 5 Spectacular Destinations for Female Travelers

If you are looking for some adventurous places or a place where you can just walk the streets and enjoy the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you should consider the five most idyllic travel destinations for female travelers.

1. Bali, Indonesia

Bali, IndonesiaBali, the smallest province of Indonesia, is probably the personification of all things that women love. The island offers female travelers with a stretch of affordable spas, lavish shopping, delectable dining and exquisite sunset cocktails. It also gives women travelers great opportunity to bask under the sun because of its pleasant tropical weather, crystal clear ocean waters and warm sandy beaches. Women will also be fascinated to delve into the unique Balinese Hindu culture. The people of Bali are generally friendly, so women can safely walk around the island day and night.

2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

amsterdam_papeneiland_snow-980x550The Dutch are generally very classy and well-behaved people. Amsterdam is a place where women, cyclists and pedestrians are well-respected, so there’s very little chance of harassment. The city’s Red Light District may be quite seedy; however, walking by day and stopping at a local pub by night is one great adventure for women. While in Amsterdam, it’s easy to be captivated by the same beauty and culture that inspired Van Gogh. The city streets are generally clean and women will feel a great sense of comfort and security because of the absence of unwanted catcalls, typically rampant among machismo-laden cultures. During summer, the sun sets late at midnight, so the city is kept lively and bustling with fun opportunities for female travelers.

3. Canada

America’s neighbor to the north is consistently ranked among the happiest countries for women. This beautiful country is one of the countries with the lowest crime rate. Although Canada does not have the most exotic locations, sharing culture with the United States because of its proximity, makes it a comfortable and safe place for female travelers. Top destinations include the cosmopolitan cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal as they are filled with warm and friendly people. These cities also offer gorgeous views and a diverse mix of culture. Often, you can come and go as you please, as Canada is generally woman-friendly country.

4. Paris, France

The-Eiffel-Tower-FranceThe City of Love has been always among the top travel choices for female travelers. This cosmopolitan city is an ideal place for women because the French generally admire the female species. So, women must be ready to be swept off their feet with striking flattery from Parisian men. The city also immensely in soaked with a spectacular ambiance drenched with the luscious French cuisine, magnificent attractions and stunning culture and history. Women can wander alone in the streets of Paris for hours without feeling threatened or self-conscious. Moreover, the world’s fashion mecca offers many opportunities for women to indulge in a shopping spree.

5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio-Janeiro-Cristo-Redentor-BrasilFemale travelers will relish the great party experience thrown by the Brazilians, especially during the Carnival. The city transforms into a vibrant and colorful street party where women can enjoy showing some skin and great dance moves. This marvelous South American city is home to the world’s most gorgeous beaches that draw millions of tourists the whole year round. It is a place of amazing physical beauty and interesting culture of friendly people. Rio de Janeiro is also a top destination for men, so it’s a perfect place to find a great match.

An ideal travel destination for female travelers is one that gives a sense of acceptance, exceptional respect and genuine friendliness. Above all, it must offer unparalleled safety. To ensure safe travel, you must keep in mind some basic safety practices.

When traveling, store your valuables in a hotel safe, whenever possible. Instead of a purse, use a money belt and keep a copy of your passport in case it gets lost or stolen. Furthermore, it is best to secure a travel insurance to prepare you for any unforeseen eventualities. Make sure that your coverage includes virtually everything that you need, so carefully review your insurance policy. Finally, always appear confident and don’t forget to have fun.

Alex Pejak is a girl from Sydney who loves to travel and later blog about her experiences. She often travels to Europe, where she has a lot of friends and relatives.

What Indonesia has for Photography Lovers?

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world providing the stunning sites to click on for photographers. The natural serene beauty of Indonesian islands will drive the photographer mad. Indonesia has incredible natural beauty having superb mountains, world class serene beaches, awesome lakes and awe inspiring greenery. It attracts every kind of visitors including photographers from all over the world. It is the kind of sweet delight for all the tourists. Here I will tell you about some fantastic places which will treat your eyes and also a treat to the lenses of your cameras. Here is the list of photogenic places of Indonesia.

Lombok:

LombokLombok is one of the top icons of tourism in Indonesia.  It has some amazing sceneries which can amaze the people visiting it. The beautiful beaches are perfect place to take photos of the rising sun with clear waters. The white sandy beaches will make an adorable photo in the evening. The more you explore the Lombok, the more you will be surprised. The Mount Rinjani towering sky adds an enchanting charm to the island. You will also enjoy the richness of biodiversity on this island. Keep on exploring and do not put your finger away from the camera click button. You will get some extraordinary photos at this island.

Komodo national park:

Komodo national park is one of the splendid sites to visit. The komodo is the giant dragon which is the largest living reptile on earth. The park derives its name from this giant reptile. The photographers come to this place very often especially those working for national geographic channel. They shoot the dragon from different angles trying to capture each and every movement of this giant. The park has not only the giant it has many other things to offer you. It has the best spot for diving under clear waters of red beach. You will enjoy a trip to komodo national park.

Bali:

baliBali is the beach paradise. It is the top destination for those seeking to spend time on beautiful islands. It is bestowed with magical beaches making Bali a unique and distinctive tourist’s attraction. You will enjoy the magical beauty of volcanic beaches of the west and soft sandy beaches of the south. Besides the famous beaches Bali has the treasure of hidden beaches which are nestled below the secluded cliffs and are difficult to get to. These islands are perfect sites for the day light photography. So turn on your cameras, get ready to capture the scenic beauty of these beaches and later on save this natural treasure by transforming photos to canvas UK to get the maximum delight on watching them.

Lake Toba:

Lake Toba is the beautiful lake surrounded by eye catching mountains and awe inspiring scenery. It is the second largest lake in the world. It is perfect spot for nature, historic and spiritual tourism. The morning scene with the mist hanging over the lake is indescribable view. It seems that you are in heaven while the soft breezes are crossing you. The site is a good one for photographers but to capture the morning scenes more light within their camera is required.

Have fun and make as many photos as you can. You will love all of them.