Why Sign Up Your Hiking Trip With Us?

1. We believe in providing a streamlined, uninterrupted and personalized customer service experience to all our clients. You will be assigned an experienced and dedicated travel coordinator who will take care of your travel needs and requirements throughout the various stages from initial enquiry, itinerary planning and tour confirmation to post tour feedback. The same travel coordinator will also be contactable 24/7 via phone during your trip.

2. All our travel coordinators are experts in their assigned destinations who have been to majority of the places themselves. Our destination knowledge are also complemented via intensive research.

3. As a boutique travel agency, we work directly and closely with all our local guides and operators with absolutely no 3rd party in between. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, whatever stated in the agreed itinerary will be duly fulfilled by us and our partners. Rest assure you will not be taken by surprise of discrepancies like some ever experienced with mass-market tour operators.

4. We pay our guides (and porters) well and regularly provide them constructive feedback (via customer post-trip survey) on how they can do their job better.

5. We are an ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) registered business with valid STB (Singapore Tourism Board) license. We have a proven track records with both individual and corporate clients – check up our Facebook page and testimonials.

6. We faithfully abide by Singapore Tourism Board’s paid up capital requirements and practice conservative financial management. By requiring all our clients to pay in full before trip commencement, we can pay our partners on time and prevent cash flow and debt plagues frequently encountered by other operators in the industry.

7. All our quoted rates are NETT with no hidden charges with a transparent and easily understandable cancellation & postponement policy.

8. Enjoy 15% discount off the base rate of any Malaysia one-day hiking trip (e.g. Mount Ophir Day Trip, Mount Belumut Day Trip, etc.) whenever you sign up a multi-day hiking trip with us.

  • Discount is only applicable for the first Malaysia day trip; not applicable for subsequent Malaysia day trips.
  • Departure date for the discounted trip must be before that of the multi-day hiking trip
  • Multi-day hiking trip refers to hiking trip with a duration of at least 3 days or more.

FAQ for Shanxi

1. When is the best time to visit Shanxi?
Shanxi is good for travel all year round. It has a continental climate with cold dry winters (November to March) and hot humid summers (June to August). In terms of season the best time to visit is during autumn from September to early November when warm sunny days with clear skies and pleasantly cool evenings are the norm. The second best time is spring from late March to May when weathers are not drastic and the accompanying wind blows away the pollutants. This is also a good time to see blooming flowers in the countryside. Sporadic sand storm may happen in spring though. If you do not mind the cold, winter with its falling snow is a unique time to visit Shanxi; the mountains and the Great Wall are often cover with snow, offering amazing snowy scenery.

2. How is the rail system like in China?
China has one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world and train links almost every city and town. Travelling by train is one of the cheapest and most comfortable mode of travel around China especially for long distance travel. It is also the safest and most reliable compared to travelling by air or by coach. All trains leave and arrive on schedule, and there are seldom any delays.
Rail network in China is generally classified into Normal Speed Rail and High Speed Rail (HSR). Normal speed rail where trains run at 100-160 km per hour are the most common rail service while High Speed Rail where high speed trains (aka bullet trains) run at 200-350 km per hour is fast becoming the norm train service between major cities.

Normal speed rail has both sleeper and seater berths. For sleeper berth, there are three classes: hard sleeper, soft sleeper and deluxe soft sleeper. A hard sleeper carriage has several open cabins (without doors) along the train aisle. There are 6 sleeping berths to a cabin; an upper, middle and lower berths on each side of the cabin. As the cabin is open to the aisle, it has less privacy and can be noisy in daytime. A soft sleeper cabin has door which is closed to the aisle. Each cabin consists of only 4 berths; an upper and a lower berths on each side of it. Deluxe soft sleeper is one class above soft sleeper and comes with only 2 berths to one cabin. Soft sleeper mattresses have more cushion and are softer than hard sleeper mattresses. For seater berth, there are two classes: hard seater and soft seater. Soft seater is just a normal seating coach where passengers sit next to one another. The soft seat coach can be crowded with passengers and their luggage, so travelling in this class will not be so comfortable. Hard seater is the least comfortable and cheapest among all with hard and non-reclining seats. All normal speed trains are fully air-conditioned and equipped with a dining carriage where you can order meals. All carriages are also equipped with boiling water and cold water dispensers and a squat toilet.

High Speed Rail comes with 6 different classes; second class seat, first class seat, business class seat, VIP seat, soft sleeper and deluxe soft sleeper. Second class seat consists of 5 seats in a row (3+2) with non- reclining seats and without foot rests. First class seat consists of 4 seats in a row (2+2) with partially reclining seats and with foot rests. Soft sleeper and deluxe soft sleepers are only available on the overnight trains. High speed trains are also equipped with seat toilets and handicapped restrooms.

3. Is the internet freely accessible in China?
The internet is highly censored in China through the so-called “Great Firewall” – the combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the Chinese government to regulate the internet domestically. Websites that are blocked in China include Google (including Gmail), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, YouTube, Dropbox, etc. If you need to check your emails, it is advisable to auto-forward your emails to other non-blocked accounts such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail beforehand. A substitute for WhatsApp and Line is WeChat – Chinese multi-purpose social media mobile application.

4. What do I need to pack for this tour?
A detailed packing list will be provided upon tour confirmation.

5. Will there be any forced shopping tours?
No, all our tours are strictly No Forced Shops, No Factories and No Detours. However if you are interested in any particular factory or shop, do let us know and we can arrange for it.

6. What are the typical meals during the tour?
Breakfast will be provided by the hotel. Continent styled or American styled breakfast will usually be served at the better hotels (4-5 Star). Lower end hotels (3 Star) or hotels in smaller cities tend to serve Chinese styled breakfast which may include the following food: dim sum, fried noodles, porridge, mantou, etc. Lunch is included in our package as well and will be arranged at a descent restaurant with 2-4 Chinese dishes (depending on your group size) and 1 soup. Dinner is left to your own arrangement; you may take this opportunity for some food adventure.

7. Can vegetarian meals be arranged?
Yes, many Chinese are also vegetarians; vegetarian food can be easily found in China.

FAQ for Tulou

1. What are tulou?
Fujian tulou (福建土楼) literally means “Fujian earthen buildings” are rural dwellings built by the Hakka people in the mountainous areas in south-west Fujian between the 15th and 20th centuries. The tulou are usually large, enclosed and multi-storied homes built with locally available materials (river stones, timber, bamboo etc.) and fortified with mud walls and most commonly circular or rectangular in configuration. Housing an entire clan of up to 800 inhabitants, the tulou functions as a self-contained village with courtyards, halls, grain stores, wells and living quarters within. They were also built for defense purposes around a central open courtyard with only one entrance and windows to the outside only above the first floor. The Fujian Tulou are mainly distributed in Nanjing County, Yongding County and Hua’an County, a region about 150 km across on the Fujian-Guangdong border about 3 hours’ drive from Xiamen. A total of 46 Fujian tulou sites were inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

2. Who are the Hakka?
The origin of the Hakka also known as Kejia (literally means “guest families”) remains obscure despite intensive research by historians and linguistics. But they are believed to have migrated from Northern China (Henan and Shanxi provinces) to Southern China over the past 1500 years, probably to escape warfare, famine or government prosecution. It is also believed there were at least 2-3 main migration; one in the early 4th century and another in the late 9th century. Their final migration in the 13th century during the fall of the Southern Song dynasty took them farther south to their present areas of concentration. Their worldwide population is about 80 million with a significant number in overseas locations as well: Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore etc. In Southern China, they are mainly found in Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Guangxi provinces. Some well-known Hakka are Sun Yat Seng, Deng Xiao Ping and Lee Kuan Yew.

3. What are some examples of traditional Hakka food?
Lei Cha (Thunder Tea Rice) – An assortment of tea leaves, herbs, seeds and nuts which are pounded into a fine powder and then mixed with rice, vegetables, tofu, pickled radish, etc. to be made into a rice dish.

Beef Meatball Soup – A simple, clear broth with vegetables and beef meatballs.

Mei Chay Kou Rou – Soya-braised pork belly stewed with preserved mustard green.

Suan Pan Zi – Literally means “Abacus beads”. Made from yam flour, minced pork, dried shrimps, and mushrooms and kneaded into the shape of abacus beads.

Dung Gong Yam Guk Gai – Salt baked chicken

Duck Stuffed with Rice – A whole de-boned duck stuffed with seasoned sticky rice.

Niang Dou Fu – Tofu stuffed with vegetables and minced pork and served either fried or steamed.

4. What is the approximate cost of a meal in Xiamen?
A simple meal costs about RMB 15-20 per pax while dining at a restaurant serving international cuisine will cost about RMB 50-75 per pax.

5. When is a good time to visit the tulou?
The tulou are good to visit all year around as the temperature in Yongding and Nanjing is mild throughout the year and not cold in winter. The annual average temperature hovers around 20 ℃. However the coastal city of Xiamen is subjected to heavy rains during the monsoon season from July to early September.

6. When is the peak holiday season?
There are two main peak holiday season: Chinese New Year (around January/February) and National Day (1-7 Oct) where travel resources (guide, vehicle, flight, etc.) can be super tight up to a week. Most places of interest will also be very crowded as people make use of the long public holidays to travel around. Early confirmation is highly recommended if you plan to travel during this period as travel resources and accommodation prices are appreciated. Other possible peak holiday seasons are New Year (30 Dec – 1 Jan), Qingming Festival (around first week of April), Labor Day (29 April – 1 May), Dragon Boat Festival (around June) and Mid-Autumn Festival (around September).

7. Which airlines fly to Xiamen?
SilkAir and Xiamen Airlines fly direct between Singapore and Xiamen. The flight time is about 4.5 hours. Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN) is about 15 min drive (10km) from Xiamen city. It is the fourth largest airport in China following Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and has direct flights to many domestic cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong etc.).

8. Where can I get local sim card in Xiamen?
Foreigner can purchase pre-paid sim card at Xiamen International Airport. There are two main telco are China Mobile and China Unicom; both have both have very good coverage (voice and data) in both urban and rural areas.  The cost of a Sim Card can be anywhere between RMB 150 to RMB 250 (SGD 30 – 50) depending on the data amount available.

9. Is it customary to tip while traveling in Fujian?
Tipping is not an established practice in China. You will not be expected to tip service staff who provide only one time short service like taxi driver, waiter, hotel porter etc. However as a token of appreciation, we do encourage you to tip service staffs like guide and driver who provide round the clock services especially for good services. A good ball park figure would be about RMB 80 -100 per day for a guide and RMB 60-80 per day for a driver for the whole group.

10. Is credit card acceptable in Fujian?
Major Credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and JCB are accepted in departmental stores and upscale restaurants in coastal cities like Xiamen but not in the tulou areas.

11. Is English widely spoken in Fujian?
English is not widely spoken in Fujian especially away from the coastal cities like Xiamen.

12. Do I need a Chinese tourist VISA to enter China?
Singaporeans do not require a visa for China for up to 15 days. For nationalities of other countries, please refer to the link here: https://www.visaforchina.org/SGP_EN/generalinformation/visaknowledge/258911.shtml

13. What type of power adaptors are used in China?
There are three types of plugs used in China: two flat pins (“Type A”, the most common); three-pronged angled pins (“Type I”) and two narrow round pins (“Type C”). Electricity is 220 volts, 50 Hz AC.

VISA Requirements

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You Name It, Jogja Has It

“You Name It, Jogja Has It” is our tagline for Yogyakarta, the Indonesia city most famous for its Borobudur World Heritage Site. Yogyakarta also known as Jogjakarta, or Jogja for short has something to offer for every type of travelers – cultural landmarks, historical ruins, white sand beaches, volcano trekking, river rafting, caving, orchard gardens, shopping and gastronomic tour, café hopping etc. Despite being the second most popular tourist attraction in Indonesia after Bali, Yogyakarta is still very much laidback with a relax atmosphere and friendly locals. If Jogja is not under the radar destinations for your next vacation, we believe the recommendations below will change your mind.

Sunrise Over Borobudur 

There are three main places to watch sunrise over Borobudur; Pethuk Setumbu Hill, Dagi Hill and within the Borobudur Park itself. Both Pethuk Setumbu Hill and Dagi Hill offer bird’s eye view of the temple with the menacing Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu in the background. The 400m tall Pethuk Setumbu Hill is located about 4km from Borobudur or about an hour drive from Yogyakarta. The lookout point is a 15 minutes uphill trek from the carpark. To reach the lookout point in time for sunrise, you would have to leave Yogyakarta around 4am. Dagi Hill located within the extensive Borobudur Park is about 300m west of the Borobudur main temple. The 300m high hill is believed to be used as a watch tower during the construction of the temple in the 8th century. Today, its slopes are covered with beautiful pine trees with a clearing at its summit. A concrete stairs of 200 steps leads you through the forest up to the clearing. The best season to capture a clear sunrise is during the summer months from June to August when the air is less misty. If you prefer to capture Borobudur covered in mist, anytime will be fine as well. A sunrise tour within the temple complex provides the best opportunity to capture close up of the temple and its subjects in their best. The morning sun casting its long oblique rays on the temple will bring out the texture of its stone sculptures and reliefs. You will be given a special pass to enter the temple ground early in the morning around 430am before the hordes of tourists arrive.

Photo via phototips

Photo via phototips

Ramayana Ballet

The Ramayana Ballet is an outdoor dance and theatre performance held against the backdrop of the Prambanan Temple. The play is based on an ancient Hindu love story and follows the tale of King Rama and Princess Shinta, summarized in four scenes, namely the kidnapping of Shinta, Anoman’s mission to Alengka, the death of Kumbakarna or Rahwana, and the meeting of Rama-Shinta. The story revolves around the duties of relationships; the qualities of the ideal wife, king, brother and servant. Gods, mortals, giants, monkeys and beautiful women all come together to tell the colourful story of a courtship punctuated by a kidnapping and battles. This world class performance is a spectacular visual treat that combines classical dance, music, costumes, lighting and drama. The story presented in this performance is similar to the reliefs engraved on the Prambanan temple. The performance is held in the evening, 2-3 times a week from May to October.

Photo via triajijati

Photo via triajijati

River Rafting

The highlands of central Java is the source of many raging rivers that flow through the narrow gorge of the mountains to the Java Sea in the north and the India Ocean in the south. Some of the best rafting rivers in Java are found near Yogyakarta. Beginners or families with children can go for Sungai Elo, an easy grade 2-3 rafting river while experts can exhibit their skills at the grade 4 rapids of Sungai Progo. Novices eyeing for a greater adrenaline rush can try the grade 3-4 Sungai Bongowonto. It will be a test of personal perseverance and team spirit as you paddle your raft down the tumbling river with swirling rapids. The rafting duration varies from 1.5 hour for the easier rivers to 3 hours for the more challenging ones. It is usually done as a half day trip from Yogyakarta so that other activities like Borobudur tour can be done in the other half day.


Photo via Norti Horti

Jomblang Cave

Enter Jurassic Park where mosses, ferns, bushes and even big trees remain untouched and preserved over thousands of years. The Jomblang Cave that leads down to the ancient underground forest is a colossal sink hole that measures 50m in width and 80m in depth. To reach the bottom of the cave, one has to abseil down via a single rope pulley system. Image hanging by a safety harness in the air while descending into unknown territory. The adventure continues after you touch ground. Jomblang Cave is just part of a cave complex in the area. A further 250m along the ancient forest is another gigantic cave called Goa Grubog with a subterranean river that flows out to the sea. Other than the endemic flora, interesting geological structures and adrenalin abseiling, the best highlight is unarguably the heavenly light effect created by the diffusion of sun rays through the sink hole. Jomblang Cave was discovered by the Indonesia’s Indiana Jones Cahyo Alkantana an entrepreneur cum explorer who stumbled upon the cave in the 1980s. Since then he has developed it into an eco-adventure site for outdoor enthusiasts.

Photo via jetjeprusyandi

Photo via jetjeprusyandi

Gumuk Pasir Parangtritis Sandboarding

You heard of skateboarding, wakeboarding and snowboarding. How about sandboarding? Enjoyed since the times of Egyptian pharaohs, sandboarding is a combination of snowboarding, surfing, and skating, only it is on sand dunes instead of snow, waves or streets. Good thing is you do not need to travel all the way to Egypt to try it out. There are natural sand dunes in Indonesia and they are just an hour drive from Yogyakarta. The 15km wide mini desert called Gumuk Pasir Parangtritis is formed by wind and water movement which brought volcanic sand from nearby Mount Merapi into the area – a phenomenon which has puzzled geologists for years. Try out different styles of sliding; standing up, sitting down or simply lying flat on your stomach – who knows you might have an innate talent for sandboarding.

Photo via wowshack

Photo via wowshack

Timang Beach Cable Car Ride

Game for an open-air cable car ride across crashing waves? What if the “cable car” is made of wood and operated via nylon ropes instead of steel ropes? The daredevil “cable car” is the only form of transport used by local fisherman to bring them across the narrow strait from the coral hills at Timang Beach to Watu Panjang Island. The rocky outcrop about 20 meters off the shore harbors a rich lobster colony. Upon reaching Watu Panjang Island safely, you will be rewarded with sweeping view of the beautiful coastline from Krakal Beach to the twin Turtle Island at Nglambor Beach. Timang Beach which faces the Indian Ocean is just one of the many beautiful beaches in the Gunungkidul district. Yeah beach hoping after your adrenaline rush!

Photo via fanswebld

Photo via fanswebld

Merapi Lava Tour

Get an adrenaline rush by standing on the slopes of Merapi – one of the most active and dangerous volcano in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Merapi has erupted regularly for more than 10,000 years and is believed to be the cause of demise of the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram in 1006. Ride on the legendary Jeep Willys to retrace the barren trail that was created during the major 2010 eruption which devastated a number of villages along its lava path. Along the trail is a truck size boulder that was hurled a few kilometers out from the volcano crater during the eruption. Visit an underground bunker which was built as an emergency shelter for the villagers in the event of eruption but which turned up to be the burial mound for the two guys who sought refuge inside. Witness the horror of the eruption in the Museum Sisa Hartaku (translated as My Remaining Treasure) – a modest museum created from the remnant of a house that was destroyed by the eruption. On display in the house are some of the surviving furnishings including one partially melted clock with its hands frozen at the time of eruption.


Photo via shogunzack

Mountain Trekking for Novices

At 2565m above sea level, Mount Pra is the tallest mountain on the Dieng Plateau. Mount Prau (Prau means boat in Indonesian language), so named because the shape of the mountain looks like a boat. The mountain which takes about 3 hours to hike from base to summit is readily accessible via a 3 hours’ drive from Yogyakarta, making it an excellent day outing from the city. Unlike most mountain trekking routes, the trail up Mount Pra is along its ridge with unblocked scenery. During the hike, you will pass by vegetable and fruit plots, savannas blooming with wild daisy flowers and beautiful meadows called Teletubbies Hill. At the summit you will be rewarded with sweeping view of nearby and distant volcano peaks like Lawu, Merapi, Merbabu, Sumbing and Sindoro and down to the Dieng Plateau itself. Dieng Plateau which means ‘Abode of the Gods’ in Sanskrit is dotted with many fascinating geological and historical sites like the bubbling Sikidang Crater, the multi-coloured Telaga Warna Lake, and the ancient Arjuna Complex etc.


Photo via randrytama

Kalibiru National Park

Kalibiru National Park situated in the Menoreh Mountains is the epitome of eco-adventure destination in Yogyakarta. This park is most famous for its unique lookout points – wooden platforms built on top of trees – where you can capture Neo Geo worthy pics of the tranquil Waduk Sermo reservoir in the midst of lush vegetation with pretty hills and endless sky in the backdrop. You can also stroll around the various trails to enjoy the fresh mountain air and greenery or challenge yourself in some adventure games like rock climbing, tightrope walking or flying fox.


Photo via kalibiru wisata alam

Mangunan Fruit Garden

Mangunan Fruit Garden is an up and coming eco-nature hill resort in the vicinity of Yogyakarta. In additional to its refreshing atmosphere, it has one of the best sunrise view in the region. At dawn, the heavy mist casting over the forest canopy creates a magical phenomenon of sea of clouds. As the sun rises, the mist slowly disperses to reveal the meandering Oyo River on the valley below. It also offers an excellent lookout point of the Parangtritis beach with the Indian Ocean in the background. You can also try out the various fruits grown in the orchard like durian, mango, rambutan, orange, mangosteen, duku fruit, longan, guava, guava, star fruit, jack fruit, snake fruit and sapodilla.


Photo via widarko hartono

Ullen Sentalu Museum

Museum lovers will not want to miss out the Ullen Sentalu Museum, voted by many critics to be the best museum in Indonesia. The privately run museum houses a vast array of artifacts that illustrates Javanese history from the era of the powerful Mataram Kingdom that built the world famous Borobudur. The physical setting of the museum – a charming colonial stone building surrounded by well-tend gardens in the midst of pine and cinnamon forest – is enough to set it apart from other museums in the country. The sprawling maze-like building consists of many interconnecting small galleries above ground and tunnel like galleries underground. The collection includes antique furniture, batik, topeng, kris, wayang kulit puppets, sculptures, paintings of kraton princesses and sultans (each with a story of its own), handwritten letters, love notes and black and white photographs of the royal family etc. The visit usually starts with an informative guided tour and ends with a serving of Ratu Mas, a secret herbal cocktail that is believed to bring health and beauty.


Photo via thedustysneakers


Yogyakarta is considered by many to be the culinary capital of Indonesia. Its most representative cuisine is Nasi Gudeg, a rice dish made from young unripe jackfruit stewed for several hours in palm sugar and coconut milk, usually served with egg and chicken. Yogyakarta is sometimes nicknamed “Kota Gudeg” (City of Gudeg). Gudeg Yu Djum located close to the Sultan’s Palace serves one of the best Gudeg in Yogyakarta. The stalk which is now helmed by its 4th generation also offers diners an opportunity to look at how Gudeg is made in its kitchen. The runner-up after Nasi Gudeg is probably Brongkos, a sweet and spicy rawon-like beef brisket soup cooked with spices, tolo and red beans. Warung Handayani located at Alun-Alun Kidul is the crown of Brongkos in town. Fried chicken diehards should not miss Ayam Goreng Kalasan – fried chicken pre-marinated with coconut milk – reputed to be tastier than Popeyes. Street food lovers will find their paradise in Jalan Malioboro with street eateries selling local snacks and deserts like satay, wedang ronde (glutinous rice ball in ginger soup), kelapa muda (young coconut drink), rujak es krim (ice cream rojak) etc. Café-hoppers will also not be disappointed as cafes selling coffee and gelato are big businesses in Yogyakarta.


Photo via backpackfoodie

Guide to Gunungs in Indonesia


Here is a guide to the Gunungs in Indonesia that iwannatravel currently offers. We do note that this is only a small percent of the many many mountains in Indonesia, but do check back regularly as we strive to add in new destinations and options for you.

Name of Gunung Hiking Time** Level
Gunung Bintan 2-3 Hours Beginner
Gunung Bromo 3-4 Hours Beginner
Kawah Ijen 4-6 Hours Beginner
Gunung Batur 4-5 Hours Beginner
Gunung Sibayak 4-5 Hours Beginner
Gunung Sinabung 7-8 Hours Beginner
Gunung Gede & Gunung Pangrango 2 Days 1 Night Intermediate
Gunung Inerie 8-10 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Agung 10-12 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Kerinci 2 Days 1 Night Intermediate
Gunung Rinjani 3 Days 2 Nights Advanced
Gunung Semeru 3 Days 2 Nights Advanced

** Estimate based on a average hiker who exercises regularly (e.g.: able to jog 4 km within 30 mins)


Green: Beginner
Yellow: Intermediate
Red: Advanced

Check out our list of Gunungs In West Malaysia as well!