In love with Lombok: A blissed out honeymoon on Bali’s calmer neighbour


Bumping along the road in pony and trap, with children cheerily waving us along the paddy field-lined way, Lombok seems a million miles from its tourist-packed neighbour, Bali.

Marco Polo, our pony, clanks away with pink tassels and bells and we alight at Prawira village. Here locals show us how they filter coconut oil, grow crops and make bamboo ornaments.

The children yell hello and show us their spinning top games. The small Indonesian island of  Lombok, between Malaysia in the north-west and Australia to the south-east, has attracted visitors since its new airport opened in 2011.

But its infrastructure is basic and, unlike Bali, there are no taxis, no public telephones, and English is not widely spoken. Perfect for our honeymoon, my husband and I decide.

While traffic is notoriously congested in Bali, there aren’t many cars in Lombok. Scooters whizz by with families clinging on, while others use a pony and trap. Chickens and the occasional tethered cow hang about on the roadside.

We are here at the beginning of the rainy season, but the cooler air is a relief. It is warm enough to sunbathe in the morning before the heavens open for a few hours in the afternoon.

If you don’t fancy the showers, their dry season is from now until September. Though the rain is itself a spectacle. We watch it bounce off roads while sheltering under the canopy of a bar with a cocktail.

Dark falls quickly here after spectacular sunsets, and we dine most nights by candlelight. By day there are trips to Prawira village to nose around its pungent morning market. And boat trips to the beautiful Gilli islands, which you can see hovering on the horizon from the hotel’s beachfront.

From here we snorkel with sea turtles among the coral reefs. Our hotel, The Oberoi, Lombok, even arranges for us to plant coral on the seabed, with a plaque showing our names and the date.

We feel like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on tour. Lombok is a two-hour boat ride or 30-minute flight away from the much better known Bali, and as we are in the area it seems a good reason to compare the two.

The Oberoi, Bali is near the upmarket spas and restaurants of Seminyak, one of the island’s most fashionable and busy spots. Couples, surfers and backpackers flock from the UK, U.S., France and Australia.

Susan Sarandon and David Bowie are among the celebrities who have stayed in our hotel, which has been designed to recreate the atmosphere of a Balinese village, with restaurants serving local food and an amphitheatre.

Some visitors are drawn to Indonesia hoping for an Eat Pray Love experience. As newly marrieds we’ve got the love part sorted, but it’s easy to see why people describe the islands as spiritual, too.

Lombok is predominantly Muslim and we hear the daily call to prayer from our terrace, while Bali’s population is mainly Hindu. Outdoor temples such as nearby Pura Petitenget are made up of small courtyards with statues of gods and altars covered in black-and-white checked cloth.

The check — kain poleng — symbolises the Balinese belief that the world is composed of opposing forces. Both islands share the same friendliness, but for us, Lombok has the edge. Quieter roads, cleaner beaches and fewer people. When you can relax in such unspoilt beauty, what’s not to love?

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One of the Most ‘Bucket-Listed’ Beverages

The Unique and Flavorful Coffee was Praised by Jack Nicholson’s Character in the Movie ‘The Bucket List’

Top 7 Dream Destinations in the World

Indonesia, with all its fascinating wonders in over 17,000 islands, has been chosen among the top seven dream destinations in the world.

The largest online social travel network WAYN (Where Are You Now) through its website has recently revealed the top seven dream destinations as chosen by its 21 million users worldwide.

Indonesia came 4th in the competition, outranking Brazil, India, and Turkey, while South Africa took first position followed by Fiji, and Dubai.

The nominated destinations (both cities and countries) were selected by employing a combination of market research data and tracking user engagement on WAYN’s 21 million users voted for their favorite destination out of the seven listed, with prizes up for grabs for those who vote, in the period of two weeks starting from 3rd April. Additionally, each nominee received US$70,000 of marketing promotion globally, out of a US$500,000 marketing contribution from Where Are You Now? Ltd.

Comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches and stunning landscapes, Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world. The country is blessed with fascinating diverse natural landscapes and exceptional cultures. While the fabled island of Bali has built its own international reputation for its stunning beaches and unique culture, yet Indonesia still has a lot of other equally amazing splendors.

Those who could just die for divine beaches and stunning underwater life can spoil themselves in Raja Ampat, Wakatobi, or Bunaken. For wildlife and adventure seekers, a chance to see the Komodo Dragon in its natural habitat on Komodo Island or an up close and personal encounter with Orangutans at the Tanjung Puting National Park are surely experiences that cannot be found in other parts of the world.

As a country of diverse ethnic groups, Indonesia is also blessed with some of the most unique cultures. The grandeur of Javanese art and lifestyle in the city of Yogyakarta still retains its classic ambience of the sultanate. Other more exotic cultures can also be found on Nias, Mentawai, Flores, and other islands in the archipelago.

For the full list of the top dream destinations click :

Hottest destinations for Australians

Thailand, Indonesia and the US are still the hottest destinations for Australians, who are continuing to travel overseas in record numbers.

Each of the three had big increases in Australian visitors in the past 12 months, but they have not surpassed New Zealand, which remains the No. 1 destination for outbound Aussies.

A record 8 million Australians took advantage of the strong dollar and went overseas last year, an overall increase of 8 per cent on the previous financial year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“This meant that an extra 6000 Australians per day decided to take a trip overseas compared to just three years earlier,” said Sean Thompson, the bureau’s assistant director of tourism statistics.

The top five favourite destinations for Australians were New Zealand (1.1 million visitors), Indonesia (910,000 visitors), the US (819,000 visitors), Thailand (600,000 visitors), and Britain (487,000 visitors).

The number of Australian travellers to Thailand rose by 23 per cent, to Indonesia by 13 per cent, and to the US by 9 per cent in the past 12 months.

The figures are even more impressive when compared to those in 2008-09, when the Australian dollar was around US75¢ compared to $US1.03 last year.

Since 2008-09, tourism to Indonesia has more than doubled, while the number of Australians heading to Thailand and the US has increased by about 60 per cent.

Flight Centre spokesman Colin Bowman said that in addition to booming bookings to those places, Britain was also performing well.

“Perhaps there is some latent demand after people put off travelling there because of the Olympic Games,” he said.

“There has also been a fair bit of publicity about the alternative ways of getting there, including the Qantas/Emirates tie-up through Dubai and Etihad via Abu Dhabi.

“New Zealand is also as popular as ever,” he said. “The publicity around The Hobbit last year has helped and the Kiwis have been very good at marketing different styles of holidays such as ski, food and wine, and fly/drive in the South Island.”

Mr Bowman said Thailand and Indonesia continued to trade on their strong beach culture while good airfares were helping boost visitor numbers to the US, particularly New York, which has come back into vogue.

The outbound figures are contained in a report released last week by the Bureau of Statistics that also showed that tourism contributes more than $112 million a day to the Australian economy, outpacing industries such as agriculture; forestry and fishing; construction; and transport.

Despite the high numbers of Australians travelling overseas, the news isn’t all bleak on the home front. The number of visitors coming here from other countries has also continued to rise.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said: “The high dollar is not new, and is something our industry has had to adapt to, rather than hide behind.

“The reality is that we’re coming off the back of three years of solid growth [in overseas visitors coming to Australia]. Last year was a record for international visitors, up nearly 5 per cent to 6.1 million, with the country showing little sign of losing its global appeal.”

Records have also been set by the Australian cruise industry, with passenger numbers surging 11 per cent to 694,062 last year, according to a report released this week.

The Cruise Lines International Association also said that in the past four years the number of Australians taking a cruise doubled.

I Shall Return!

Bank Indonesia Survey of Visitors Reveal Most Tourists Want to Visit Bali Again

 The Jakarta Post reports that many people responding to a survey carried out among tourist visitors show visitors to the Island come with great expectations and, once here, state a declared intention to visit Bali again.

4.91% more foreign tourists visited Bali in 2012 than did in 2011.

Asian Pacific visitors dominated Bali arrivals at 59.02%. Based on the further assumption that Indonesian travelers now represent 55% of all Bali visitors, this means more than 90% of Bali’s visitors come from within the region.

The survey of Bali visitors was conducted by the Bali branch of Bank Indonesia in May and November of 2012 and covered 1,000 respondents.

92% of those answering the survey confirmed they were on the island for a holiday, with 81% saying they want a return visit.

Stephanie Gunawan of Bank Indonesia showed that 67.09% of those responding were staying in the southernmost regency of Badung, followed by Gianyar (17.01%) and Denpasar (13.07%).

24.32% of those polled listed beach visits as a primary focus of their trip followed by shopping (13.10%) and museum visits (12.63%). Other motivations listed for visiting Bali included nature visits to mountains, lakes and waterfalls.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to

Gold Cert. Thank you

Indonesia gets award in Basel trade exhibition

Lonely Planet Travellers’s Choices 2013

Mark Broadhead | Lonely Planet author

It’s no easy task deciding on your favourite countries to travel to. We asked our fans on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Thorn Tree to tell us where they have travelled and then we asked them to rate those destinations by 16 criteria (for example, which was the best ‘Value for money’ destination). More than 3000 people responded, and the results are now in.

In this post, we look at the popular destinations to go to for ‘Cultural sights’, ‘Nature’, ‘Travel memories’, ‘Safety’, ‘Meeting other travellers’, and ‘Meeting locals’. These are calculated by seeing the percentage of people who visited a destination who also rated it as the best for that criterion. So, for instance, nearly 30% of people who have been to Italy considered it the best destination they have been to for food.

Cultural sights

It is no coincidence that destinations with ancient architecture dominated the ‘cultural sights’ list. When you think of Angkor, Giza, the Coloseum, Bagan, Hampi or the Great Wall, it’s enough to get itchy feet.

Cambodia. ‘Angkor Wat, Cambodia‘ by shootingjaydred. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Cambodia
2. Bhutan
3. Italy
4. India
5. Egypt
6. Iran
7. Burma
8. China
9. Japan
10. Uzbekistan


The Americas dominated the top 10 for ‘nature’ with four countries gracing the list: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil and Canada. Costa Rica takes the top spot. As one of our authors puts it, Costa Rica boasts a ‘Disney-like cast of creatures – ranging from howler monkeys to toucans.’ Of course, it also has jungle, active volcanoes and stunning coastlines.

‘Treefrog tadpoles’ by ggallice. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Costa Rica
2. Iceland
3. New Zealand
4. Bhutan
5. Australia
6. Namibia
7. Ecuador
8. Brazil
9. Canada
10. Kenya

Travel memories

Asia was the most ‘memorable’ continent, dominating the top four places in the list. Memorable destinations are also typically far-flung, dream destinations (at least for people who don’t live in Asia, South America or the Pacific).

Taj Mahal. India. Agra. ‘India: Taj Mahal‘ by babasteve. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Bhutan
2. India
3. Iran
4. Burma
5. Australia
6. New Zealand
7. Peru
8. Afghanistan
9. Ghana
10. Japan


If safety is your thing then head to Japan, which easily topped the list with 32.5% of visitors ranking it first. All the Scandinavian countries were in the top 20, with Iceland and Norway making it into the top 10.

‘Do(g)scene‘ by m-louis. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

1. Japan
2. Iceland
3. New Zealand
4. Canada
5. Singapore
6. Australia
7. Bhutan
8. Switzerland
9. Germany
10. Norway

Meeting other travellers

As expected, backpacking hotspots dominated the best places to meet other travellers. Backpackers tend to be on longer trips, which facilitates more encounters with fellow travellers. Australia topped the list with 26% of visitors ranking it first. Of this top 10, India had the highest ranking for also meeting locals (see the next list below).

Koala. Australia.‘Koala at Billabong Sanctuary‘ by Christian Haugen. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Australia
2. Thailand
3. Nepal
4. Peru
5. New Zealand
6. Vietnam
7. India
8. Bhutan
9. Bolivia
10. Costa Rica

Meeting locals

The famously hospitable Iranians easily made their country the best for ‘meeting locals’. With 31.5% of visitors ranking it first in this category, this was nearly double the second-placed Ghana.

‘some iranians. isfahan oct. 2007‘ by seier+seier. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Iran
2. Ghana
3. Burma
4. Ireland
5. Colombia
6. Philippines
7. India
8. Bhutan
9. Fiji
10. Ethiopia

We asked our fans on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Thorn Tree to tell us where they have travelled and to rate those destinations by 16 criteria (for example, which was the best ‘Value for money’ destination). More than 3000 people responded, and the results are now in.

In this post we look at the popular destinations to go to for ‘Relaxing’, ‘Entertainment’, ‘Shopping’, ‘Transportation’, ‘Off the beaten path’, ‘Accommodation’ and ‘Beyond expectations’. These are calculated by seeing the percentage of people who visited a destination who also rated it as the best for that criterion. So, for instance, nearly 30% of people who have been to Italy considered it the best destination they have been to for food.


No surprises here. All of the top 10 destinations for relaxing are known for their amazing beaches. Most are also well-known for their unhurried ‘island time’ sensibility. Maldives won with the highest score of any category winner in the survey: 47.4% rank it first for relaxing above anywhere else they’ve been. Greece was the only European country in the top 10. The Caribbean seems like a safe bet if your primary goal is to relax next vacation, with the Bahamas, Barbados and the Dominican Republic all making it into the top 10.

Maldvies. Beach. Deck chair. Sea.‘it seems i/u need a break!!‘ by muha…. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs

1. Maldives
2. Fiji
3. Seychelles
4. Bahamas
5. Barbados
6. Thailand
7. Belize
8. Dominican Republic
9. Greece
10. Indonesia


If you want to be entertained, then head to the UK, the US or Argentina… cheers! Yep, it seems that most of the top entertainment destinations are good places to get drunk. But there are also the benefits of theatrical shows in London and New York. Live music is also very much part of the culture in most of the top 10 entertainment destinations. For example, if you’ve been to Ireland and didn’t experience traditional folk music in a pub, it is a good excuse to go back.

‘The Shipwrights Arms‘ by kholkute. Creative Commons Attribution

1. United Kingdom
2. United States
3. Argentina
4. Australia
5. Ireland
6. Thailand
7. Spain
8. Hong Kong
9. Brazil
10. Singapore


The usual suspects are on this shopping list. The USA comes in first…if you can’t buy it in the States then you probably can’t find it anywhere else. Other destinations are renowned for their bespoke qualities, like Thailand or Hong Kong for getting a tailor-made suit. The haute couture tradition in France is at the other end of bespoke price range.

 ‘Sham Shui Po‘ by kainet. Creative Commons Attribution

1. United States
2. Hong Kong
3. Thailand
4. United Arab Emirates
5. United Kingdom
6. South Korea
7. Singapore
8. France
9. Japan
10. Argentina


Everybody loves Japan’s bullet trains, it seems. Or, at least, it helped Japan get number one spot for transportation with 32.9% of its visitors ranking it first in our survey. The much maligned (by Londoners), but excellent Underground also assisted the UK to second place. In fact, most the top 10 transportation destinations are known for having great train systems (at least for where travellers congregate, eg New York City rather than the whole of the US).

Shinkansen. Bullet Train. Japan. Railway.‘shinkansen 700 series‘ by kubotake. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Japan
2. United Kingdom
3. Germany
4. Singapore
5. Hong Kong
6. Australia
7. France
8. Switzerland
9. Argentina
10. United States

Off the beaten path

Proving that even the most visited continents have hidden gems, three countries in Europe made it to the top 10 ‘off the beaten path’ list. But Bhutan was the clear winner, capturing 45.2% of its visitors’ votes for this category, which is nearly double the second-placed, Moldova.

‘Chisinau, Moldova‘ by vlitvinov. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Bhutan
2. Moldova
3. Mozambique
4. Algeria
5. Ghana
6. Albania
7. Bolivia
8. Burma
9. Iceland
10. Azerbaijan


The top 10 for ‘accommodation’ proves that it is primarily about location, location and location. The top four placed destinations may have been helped by the fact that they are renowned for their beaches.

Thailand. Hammock. River. Jungle. ‘River Kwai Hammock‘ by Mark Fischer. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

1. Thailand
2. Maldives
3. Mauritius
4. Australia
5. United States
6. New Zealand
7. Japan
8. Indonesia
9. United Arab Emirates
10. South Africa

Beyond expectations

In an age of hype it is good to know that travellers are still surprised by some famously wonderful destinations. It is safe to say that news reports have caused many people to regard Iran in a negative light. Even though it is common knowledge that the people of Iran (or any country, for that matter) are not the same as their government, travellers are still surprised enough by Iran to place it first on this list.

 ‘Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay‘ by Luz Adriana Villa A. Creative Commons Attribution

1. Iran
2. Burma
3. Colombia
4. Iceland
5. Cambodia
6. Bolivia
7. New Zealand
8. Uganda
9. Japan
10. Namibia

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Lokasi Terbaik melihat Vampire.

Kota Pontianak masuk dalam daftar The World’s Best Vampire-Spotting Locations oleh brand travel guide nomor satu di dunia, Lonely Planet.

Artikel yang ditulis oleh Tim Richards, salah satu penulis di Lonely Planet ini memuat lokasi-lokasi di seluruh dunia yang dapat dikunjungi untuk mempelajari lebih banyak tentang cerita-cerita makhluk drakula. Kota Pontianak yang merupakan ibukota dari propinsi Kalimantan Barat berada dalam daftar bersama sembilan tempat lainnya, termasuk Bran Castle di Romania, museum yang dulunya adalah benteng tempat Vlad, pemimpin legendaris Wallachia yang terkenal akan reputasi haus darahnya, yang kemudian dijadikan inspirasi dalam cerita Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Dalam artikel tersebut, Richards menyebut tentang “the undead manifestation of a woman who has died during childbirth” (jelmaan hidup dari perempuan yang meninggal saat melahirkan) yang bagi masyarakat Indonesia lebih dikenal dengan sebutan “kuntilanak”. Deskripsi makhluk tersebut oleh Richards tidak jauh berbeda dengan apa yang digambarkan oleh mitos-mitos dan film-film masa kini, yaitu seorang wanita cantik yang menarik laki-laki ke dalam kematian dengan mengeluarkan isi perut mereka dengan kukunya yang setajam silet.

Legenda kuntilanak memang merupakan salah satu cerita yang berhubungan erat dengan sejarah berdirinya kota Pontianak. Dikisahkan bahwa pendiri kota tersebut, Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman, mengusir kuntilanak saat pertama kali datang untuk mendirikan kerajaan.

Tiga lokasi cerita kontemporer terkenal tentang drakula juga masuk dalam daftar, yaitu kota Forks di USA (setting franchise novel dan film Twilight), lokasi-lokasi syuting serial TV “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” di Los Angeles, dan lokasi syuting True Blood di California. Artikel ini dapat dilihat di situs dan di buku Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel.

Written for Good News From Indonesia by Raisa Nabila

Seeing Indonesia in Bangkok

By Ahmad Cholis Hamzah*

Wherever I was in foreign countries in 1980’s if I introduced myself that I am from Indonesia, people that I met quickly replied “oh Bali” as they thought that Bali Island is not part of Indonesia; or some people replied “oh Indonesia, Soekarno”. Even when I performed my Haj (pilgrimage) in Mecca in 1998 an old Arab man that I met also replied by whispering to my ears “Indonesia, Soekarno”. Indeed, Soekarno the first President of Indonesia was popular in the world especially during Indonesian Independence and global Cold War period.

I do not want to enter into debate about the strengths and weaknesses of former President Soekarno; However it would be wise to say that people in ASEAN countries if they want to be a good ASEAN community they should know and understand key respective leaders and hero in each member countries. By doing this, there would be stronger ties between member countries to understand more about each other not only in term of international trade and investment but also in term of cultural understanding.

What Madame Tussauds in Bangkok does in presenting the wax figure of former President Soekarno is a good example on providing cultural and historical information to public in an ASEAN member country. Madame Tussauds Bangkok in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Indonesia office unveiled the historically important wax work of the founding father of Indonesia President Soekarno on 24th September last year (2012). The event was witnessed by daughter of President Soekarno – Megawati Soekarnoputri who was also the fifth President of Indonesia. Madame Megawati donated her father’s traditional songkok cap to outfit the life-size figure, helping to create a sense of authenticity.

President Soekarno, who was born in 1901 in Surabaya, Indonesia, proclaimed his country’s independence on August 17, 1945, and served as its first president until 1966. He died in 1970.

Madame Tussauds Bangkok is a good example of a media that shows the magnificent wax works of prominent world figures, and provides more understanding about world history to public. However, it would be better for the purpose of ASEAN solidarity Madame Tussauds Bangkok should not only show  world popular figures such as David Backham, Bruce Lee, Justin Bieber and Cristiano Ronaldo; but it should also show prominent leaders of each member country of ASEAN. We do believe that ASEAN countries are rich with respective, well-known figures that had noble contribution to the world order and prosperity.

Providing more information about respective leaders of ASEAN countries to public would strengthen the solidarity of people among ASEAN.

*) Alumni of University of London, U.K; Airlangga University and a lecturer at PERBANAS (Banking College) Surabaya-Indonesia.

Bran Castle, Romania

Image by ZeWaren

There’s nothing better than going to the source, and in the case of vampire lore that’s Vlad ?epe?, legendary ruler of Wallachia, now part of Romania. ?epe? became the scourge of the Ottoman empire and was fond of impaling entire Turkish forces sent against him. His bloodthirsty reputation inspired Irish author Bram Stoker to use him as the model for Dracula, and thus a legend was born. Bran Castle, one of his strongholds, now houses a museum dedicated to Queen Marie of Romania. It has an impressive clifftop profile, looking like the quintessential location for a vampire movie.

Vampire Bats, Costa Rica

Image by MiguelVieira

The vampire bat has become inseparable from the legend of the vampire. Apparently inspired by a newspaper article about these inhabitants of South and Central America, Bram Stoker wove their blood-sucking habits into his novel and the rest is history (or at least, folklore). These small bats do feed on animals’ blood but rarely suck on humans, though there have been reported attacks in recent years in Brazil and Venezuela. One of the best places to see them in the wild is Costa Rica, especially within Santa Rosa National Park and Corcovado National Park.

Musée Des Vampires, France

Hidden away in the Les Lilas district of Paris is an enigmatic museum devoted to the vampire. Visits can only be made by appointment, but once through the forbidding red door, the visitor is treated to an eclectic collection of books, photographs, weapons, masks, models, costumes and other curios referencing the vampire legend. There’s also a creepy Gothic garden out the back. The Musée des Vampires.

Forks, USA

Image by ericnvntr

When author Stephenie Meyer set her vampire novel Twilight in the small town of Forks, Washington, she had little idea of the wave of vampire tourism she was setting in motion. When Twilight went ballistic on the bookshelves, ardent fans headed for Forks, neatly arresting the slow economic decline caused by its traditional mainstay, the timber industry, losing momentum. Now vampire fans can buy undead memorabilia, go on tours to locations that resemble Edward and Bella’s literary hangouts, and celebrate Bella’s birthday on 13 September. Dazzled by Twilight offers three Twilight-themed tours of Forks and La Push.

Vampire Tour of San Francisco, USA

Image by msprague

Anyone who’s read Bram Stoker’s Dracula will remember Mina Harker, whom Dracula attacked with the intent of transforming her into a vampire. Given that this curse was apparently lifted once he was destroyed, you might be surprised to find Mina Harker wafting about in 21st-century San Francisco, and sporting an American accent. But every weekend you can join Mina for a vampire tour of the city’s historic Nob Hill. It covers documented San Francisco history as well as speculative supernatural events, and attendees are encouraged to dress spookily. The Vampire Tour of San Francisco commences at 8pm each Friday and Saturday.

Dracula Tour of London, UK

Image by vintagedept

Given the British capital’s starring role in the original Dracula novel, it makes sense that there should be a vampire tour of its darker nooks and crannies. This supernatural outing takes in a house in Highgate where the vampiric one apparently lived during his London sojourn. It also takes in the ghosts of Highgate Cemetery, the satanists of Highgate Woods, and other dark denizens. Curiously, the whole thing is then followed with a medieval banquet. Blood, presumably, is not on the menu. The Dracula Tour of London, run by Transylvania Live, takes place nightly except Mondays.

Pontianak, Indonesia

Vampiric creatures aren’t just a Western obsession. Malaysia and Indonesia share the legend of the pontianak, supposedly the undead manifestation of a woman who has died during childbirth. This supernatural being is said to take the form of a beautiful woman, attracting men to their deaths by disembowelling them with her razor-sharp fingernails. You wouldn’t really want to encounter one of these hellhounds, but if feeling brave you might visit the city of Pontianak, said to be named after the undead creature which once terrorised its men. Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesia province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.

Dracula’s Haunts, Whitby, UK

Image by jlcwalker

Before Dracula reached London in the pages of Bram Stoker’s novel, he came ashore at Whitby. The North Yorkshire seaport is famous for being the home base of 18th-century explorer Captain James Cook. However, no amount of historic circumstance can top Stoker’s evocative description of the Russian schooner Demeter blown across Whitby’s harbour with its dead captain lashed to the helm, crashing beneath the East Cliff before disgorging the vampire in the guise of a huge dog. As a result, Whitby has become a popular destination for vampire-fanciers. The Whitby Gothic Weekend is held twice-yearly, in April and October, and features concerts, markets and comedy nights.

Buffy locations, USA

Image by janeway216

Buffy the Vampire Slayer gained vampires a big new TV audience in the 1990s. If you loved seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar stake scowly-faced evil vampires while finding time to fall in love with a reformed one then you might like to visit the locations in and around Los Angeles where the series was filmed. The series’ exterior scenes at Sunnydale High School were in fact filmed at Torrance High School. Shots of the fictional University of California at Sunnydale were taken at the UCLA campus in Westwood, and at California State University in Northridge. And the vampire mansion once lived in by Angel, Spike and Drusilla is the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Ennis House near Griffith Park. You can find a comprehensive list of Buffylocations within the IMDb entry for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

True Blood locations, USA

Image by sookiebontemps

Bon Temps, Louisiana, is the fictional town in True Blood, the rightful heir to the vampire-mania stoked by Buffy. As with Buffy, the main character of the show is female, Sookie Stackhouse, who, like Buffy, falls in love with vampires. Unlike Buffy, vampires no longer hide from mainstream society — they have ’come out of the coffin’ to drink a synthetic human blood (Tru Blood). But vampires aren’t the only supernatural citizens of Bon Temps. Werewolves, werepanthers, faeries, shapeshifters and maenads also roam its streets. While all the human characters in the series pass through Merlotte’s Bar & Grill, the vampires of the show frequent Fangtasia, a bar owned by the thousand-year-old vampire Eric Northman in Shreveport, Louisiana. The actual bar used for some of the filming is located in Long Beach, California, so if you want to be a fang banger then head to Alex’s Bar. Other True Blood film locations are scattered over Southern USA and California. Seeing Stars has a site dedicated to finding these sights.

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