6 Days Seoul Itinerary #3: Where to Shop

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. — Bo Derek

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Shoes galore, Seoul.

Where to Shop/Sightsee in Seoul?

  • Goto Mall (Express Bus Terminal Station) 

Goto Mall (Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Centre) is an 800m long underground shopping alley of clothes, accessories and cosmetics. Many subway stations are connected to such underground malls, and Goto Mall is one of the biggest in Seoul.

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Goto Mall is patronized mainly by local Koreans.

It is more popular among locals, as compared to Dongdaemun which is more touristy. For the same products sold, the prices at Goto Mall are slightly cheaper (trust me, I compared several items). You should make Goto Mall as your first shopping stop before checking out the others!

  • Garosu-gil (Sinsa Station, Exit 8)

Garosu-gil in Gangnam is easily my favouritest area in Seoul.

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Lovin’ the quirky decor of this Pizza Express!

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Dr. Jart+’s little exhibit.

Catering to high-end fashionistas, you can witness ‘Gangnam Style’ at its best — chic art galleries, lifestyle boutiques, elegant ateliers, quaint cafes, ETC.

There are plenty of gems waiting to be discovered at Garosu-gil.

Be it cafe-hopping or window shopping or simply people watching, the entire place radiates charm like no other.

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I’ll be back again, Garosu-gil!

  • Dongdaemun (Dongdaemun Stadium Station, Exit 8/9)

You can literally shop till you drop at Dongdaemun. Well, the sky’s the limit when you’re at a shopping district that closes only at 5am. Both wholesale and retail goods can be found at the 26 malls and 30,000 shops in Dongdaemun.

The must-visit malls are HELLO APM, Migliore, Doota Tower and Good Morning City. Countless street stalls surround these malls, hawking accessories, clothes, shoes, and yummy food.

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Sun setting over Dongdaemun as shoppers move from one mall to another.

  • Myeongdong (Myeongdong Station, Exit 5/6/7/8 or Euljiro 1 (ij-ga) Station, Exit 5/6)

Myeongdong is by far the largest and most touristy shopping spot in Korea. It is the TO-GO place for skincare and cosmetic brands, as well as a great place to shop for clothes and fashion items in general.

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Myeongdong (a.m.)

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Myeongdong (p.m.)

Every skincare and cosmetic brand in Korea (e.g., Nature Republic, Innisfree, Too Cool For School, etc) has at least one store in Myeongdong. There could be as many as twenty makeup stores in a single block. And the best thing yet — most of these stores offer an immediate tax refund (PS: remember to bring along your passport when shopping!).

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Huge Nature Republic store in Myeongdong.

There’s also the oh-so-famous Lotte Department store, which has several floors of duty free shopping where you can shop hands free (buy and pick up at the airport). And don’t forget to check out Lotte Mart — Korea’s top discount store which sells everyday essentials, clothes, and lots of SNACKS!

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Honey Butter Chips, Market O’s Real Brownies, Market O’s Cheese Chips, crispy seaweed and MORE.

  • Ewha Woman’s University Shopping Street (Ewha Woman’s University Station, Exit 2/3)

Ewha Woman’s University Shopping Street caters mainly to the young and trendy students in the university area. It is a shopping heaven that sells everything under the sun — clothes, shoes, cosmetics and cute accessories like necklaces, socks and rings.

There are many discounts going on and you can find all the popular brands that local Koreans love. This also means that prices at Ewha are cheaper compared to other touristy areas (similar to Goto Mall’s prices).

  • Hongik University Street, Hongdae (Hongik University Station, Exit 8/9)

Being a college town like Ewha Woman’s University Shopping Street, you can also get good bargains at Hongdae. There are some international retail brands at Hongdae, but most of the shops are run by local retailers/designers.

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Hongik University Street – overwhelmingly crowded on a Saturday afternoon.

Many of the shops were initially from Myeongdong but have now moved to Hongdae because of the underground culture and vibrant atmosphere. Do check out the Hongdae playground when you take a break from shopping – Hongik university students gather here for crazy street performances and festivals! Super happening!!

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A pretty 2-storey local boutique.

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Coffee and tea houses in the Hongik area.

  • Insadong (Anguk Station, Exit 6)
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Ssamziegil shopping mall, Insadong (photo from Pinterest).

If you’re looking for items unique to Korea, I’d totally recommend Insadong. It is a great place to pick up a souvenir as well as shop at local specialty boutiques and gift stores.

Through the streets of Insadong, you can find local antiques, traditional artwork (including paintings), tons of galleries, and so on. Have loads of fun shopping!!

Shopping Tips

  • Before your trip to Seoul, check out the Korea Tourism Organisation’s website for the various sale seasons. You can find the participating outlets and sale periods there.
  • If you spend above a certain amount, you’re qualified for a tax refund. (Fun fact: Korean taxes can be as high as 10% of the total price.)
  • You can deposit your shopping loot in the many coin lockers found around Seoul’s train stations. They are really easy to use and super convenient! With them, you can explore a place freely without having to lug all your shopping goods from a previous stop.

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Coin lockers found around Seoul’s train stations. Singapore/Jakarta should totally adopt this!!

Do check out my list on best places to eat in Seoul here.

As well as day trips out of Seoul and Hanbok rental here!

 

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At Home with Cayenne and Elements Concept Home Decor

As y’all know, Kemang is a treasure trove of unique art galleries, fashion label boutiques, and of course home decor stores.

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Ready to explore Kemang on foot! Colourful tiles outside Cayenne.

I had previously written about Galeri PotCahayalampu, and Confetti Gift Shop, all of which can be found in Kemang. Today, I’m going to share my new Kemang faves — Elements Concept and Cayenne.

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Elements Concept, Kemang.

ELEMENTS CONCEPT started out humbly with just a handful of selected locally-made furniture on display. Fast-forward two years later, it now carries a broad range of items such as teak wood, minimalist rattan and leather furniture alongside modern home accessories.

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Beautiful minimalist rattan and wood.

Elements stands for natural handcrafted home decor with a plain yet elegant style from quality materials. The two-storey kemang outlet has high ceilings, white walls, and full length glass windows, allowing loads of daylight to stream in.

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Elements dining set.

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Cozy vibes.

The blends of different textures and wood furnishings give off a cozy and warm feel. If not for the shop assistant, I’d totally chill on the hammock with my book. 🙂

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Glass candle holder with gold rim. I WANT.

Founder and owner Bastiaan Spil, who is of Dutch descent, followed in his parents’ footsteps by entering the furniture line. His family has furniture manufacturing facilities both in Cirebon and Jepara; everything is made from their own factories.

Through Elements Concept, Bastiaan wishes to open up new possibilities with traditional raw materials. His furniture and home decor can be summed up in a few words — quirky, fun, handcrafted, non-conventional, simple and elegant.

Am lovin’ how the local artisans from Elements inject playfulness and unexpected features into everyday objects!

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Spot the kawaii motorbike helmets encased in rattan?

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Absolutely adored this wooden mini refrigerator (legit Toshiba fridge inside).

To date, Bastiaan has worked on various interior projects for lifestyle ventures all over Indonesia, including the renowned Potato Head establishment in Bali.

I was so tempted to buy >>> of home decor pieces. But after exercising some self-restraint, I settled on 2 items. Here’s what I got:

  • Plant Wall for the living room, made of solid teak wood (IDR 1,375,000).
  • Hanoi Display Table, with removable tray top. Great for serving food/drinks to guests; currently my snack corner (IDR 875,000).

Dear Elements, please keep up the good work in introducing new perspectives to conventional home products. I’ll come visit soon again!


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Cayenne, Kemang.

An independent local furniture and homeware store, CAYENNE is best known for her colourful geometric cushions as well as pretty slip-covers in Indonesian ikat.

Apart from these, Cayenne also has one of a kind furniture pieces, beautiful timber desks, tableware, bed linen, and an extensive range of baskets for storage solutions.

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One of my fave items – TILED solid wood tables.

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And tiled stools. How cute!!

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Vintage sofa with matchy cushions.

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Cayenne dining sets and tableware.

Cayenne is owned by interior designer Dewi Haliman, a great supporter of local goods. Some of the brands sold in Cayenne include Ruma Manis’ ceramic plates, General Object’s woven baskets and wooden cake stands, and Haliman’s own creations ranging from jewellery boxes to chairs, bed frames, and more.

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Wooden kitchenware, rattan…you have it all.

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Woven baskets of all shapes and sizes.

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Intricate glassware.

What I love about Cayenne is that all her merchandise is designed, manufactured and handcrafted in Indonesia. The products are reasonably priced and come with fine craftsmanship – a rare find in today’s mass production world. Plus the store has a really intimate home setting. 🙂

If you get hungry midway through shopping – fret not. Stop by Breakfast at Cayenne for a hearty all-day brunch anytime. The cafe is positioned right beside Cayenne furniture store (they share the same porch).

My souvenir from Cayenne:

  • Glass box with brass trim to store my statement necklaces/makeup (can’t remember the price).

Few places reflect home like Cayenne. I’m sure you’ll find something there that best suits your needs. Till the next time! x


Elements Concept
Jl. Benda Raya No. 8C
Kemang, Jakarta Selatan

Cayenne
Jalan Kemang Selatan 8 No. C2 
Kemang, Jakarta Selatan

INACRAFT 2017: Gifts, Housewares, Batik, and Much More

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INACRAFT 2017.

TODAY was the first day of the 19th Jakarta International Handicraft Trade Fair (INACRAFT 2017) held at Jakarta Convention Center. The event spans five days and will run from 26 – 30 April 2017.

Officially the biggest and most complete exhibition (in Indonesia) of gifts, housewares, handicraft, batik, accessories etc, it is an event not to be missed. I was in Singapore last year during INACRAFT 2016 and was really sad. So glad to make it for this year’s. 🙂

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Ticker counter at 11am.

True to my expectations, it was pretty crowded on the first day (and probably will be for the other days). I went at 11 a.m. and the crowd was already building up. It was worse by the time I left at 3 p.m. (yes four hours later!) – my driver took half an hour to make one tiny turn to pick me up at the lobby.

When I first entered the exhibition hall, I was overwhelmed. There were more than 1500 exhibitors and I didn’t know where to start. Oh by the way…after you are done shopping at Hall A, do continue walking on to Hall B – there are even more stalls there. If not for my appointment at 4 p.m., I’d definitely have stayed longer than four hours heh.

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Layout for Exhibition Hall A. There is a separate plan for Hall B.

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Upon entering Hall A.

I had in mind a few things to look out for at INACRAFT 2017 — batik, accessories, wood home decor, and storage boxes. And I’m happy to say I fulfilled my INACRAFT wish list.

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Batik cloth and clothing.

There are so many stalls selling batik from all over Indonesia…from silk to cotton to tulis to cap – you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice.

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Trendy batik flats (love the topmost right pair).

The housewares/home decor section was equally huge. There were stalls selling aromatherapy items, unique vases, wall art, teak furniture, wood carvings, artificial flowers, carpets, bath fittings, tableware, baskets, embroidered bed and cushion covers, just to name a few.

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All things wicker.

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Cutest handsewn stuffed animals.

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Of beautiful food covers and bottle-lamps.

My advice would be to go early; the place was teeming with people around noon and it got a little harder to move around and browse stall items.

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Crowd situation at noon.

There were a lot of stalls selling miscellaneous items like handmade gifts, stationery supplies, educational games, puzzles, gemstones, board games, pet clothing, and so on.

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Indonesian food that looks realllly real. This got me hungry.

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Onesies for your beloved kids pets.

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Handmade statement necklaces.

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Storage boxes for almost everything and anything.

There was an entire section of stalls run by various provinces around Indonesia; they sell many traditional items unique to their province. I find it amazing how so many people flew down from around Indonesia (with all their special items) just for INACRAFT Jakarta. 🙂

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Ivana hails from Lampung and I insisted she take a picture. 😉

Here’s what I bought at INACRAFT 2017 (much to Agent D’s dismay):

  • Batik necklace and batik brooches, all handmade.
  • Wood serving plate and a wooden vase which I fell in love with at first sight. Can’t wait to pair it with a few stalks of baby’s breath.
  • Batik fabric to make a dress and possibly a matchy-matchy outfit with Agent D.
  • Storage/jewelry box for my accessories (isn’t it just so pretty!). Lovin’ the embroidered silk drawers.
  • And since I’ve been spending the husband’s $$$, I thought I’d better get him something too – a batik casual tee.

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    The only thing I got for Agent D.


INACRAFT 2017

The 19th Jakarta International Handicraft Trade Fair

26 – 30 April 2017
Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta

Friday Treasure Finds: Qlapa Flea Market Jakarta

Moving on from our previous Friday Treasure Find: Confetti Gift Shop,  I’d like to introduce you to Qlapa flea market currently running at Lippo Mall Kemang (from 31 March – 2 April 2017).

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My Friyay treasure finds from Qlapa market.

As you already know, I’m a huge fan of flea markets – especially those selling local handmade products and uniquely Indonesian crafts. The vendors at Qlapa are selling exactly the above. *excitezzz*

I couldn’t wait till the weekend and headed down to Lippo Mall on Friday. The stalls are mainly selling home decor, woodcraft, custom made shoes and bags, pretty batik clothing, leather goods, accessories, AND MORE.

Some pictures from the ground:

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Entrance to Qlapa flea.

Given that the flea was held in a mall, Qlapa market is rather small in size. It would have been nice if it was larger scale with more stalls. Then again, the shopping aftermath would have left me even more broke $$$ heh.

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Lovely water colour paintings.

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Well wishes cards and notebooks by ARTIAN.

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Shoppers drawn to accessories by XUSHA NARA DESIGN; Batik by KREATIV CORNERE.

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Unique woodcraft by a local designer. Couldn’t resist the animals!

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Custom made batik flats, sneakers, platforms, and sandals by D.A.T.

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Photography art on canvass and tote bags.

My buys from Qlapa flea:

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Tiny things to brighten up our home.

I’ve been looking for a good ol’ hand-stitched leather wallet for some time, something I can rough out with whilst travelling. And boyyy was I glad to find a matching pair for Agent D and myself!

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Hand stitched bifold for Agent D and a long wallet for myself. Both are made from cattle skin.

The entire wallet is hand sewn, from the exterior to the interior. Don’t you just love the smell of leather?! I do. 🙂

If you have nothing on this weekend, be sure to drop by Qlapa flea market! I’m sure you’ll be able to find a cute handmade gift for someone special or a souvenir for yourself. ❤ ❤ ❤

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Please hold another one soon, Qlapa market!

If you cant make it to the flea, you can always browse Qlapa’s online shop: https://qlapa.com/


Qlapa Flea Market
Lippo Mall Kemang
Ground Level

Explore Jakarta: Streets of Pasar Glodok

Part of the old Batavia city, Glodok refers to the Chinatown area of Jakarta. It is the biggest Chinatown within Indonesia, and one of the largest in the world. The name Glodok comes from the Sundanese word “Golodog”, meaning entrance to a house, as Sunda Kalapa (Jakarta) is the gateway to the ancient Sundanese Kingdom.

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One of the big lanes within Pasar Glodok.

To start your walking tour around Pasar Glodok, get your driver/taxi to drop you off at the A&W fast food landmark. Your driver can park the car opposite or at the Chandra Building.

Strolling though the streets of Pasar Glodok, there is so much to soak in. It almost feels like a time travel thirty years back through muddy streets and narrow alleys. Revel in the rich history and cultural heritage encased within the city — its historical buildings, ancient temples and traditional Chinese architecture.

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Narrow alley selling culinary delights like skinned frog legs and slimy water eels.

As you go along, observe the people’s way of life, touch and feel what they’re selling, make small conversations, and of course shop and eat to your heart’s content. 🙂

Here are some photo souvenirs of my little excursion to Glodok. I hope you can catch a tiny glimpse of the sights, sounds, and smells I experienced that day.

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Store selling snacks, sweets, nuts, dried goods and everything else.

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An art and craft store selling ribbons, cloth, buttons and everything else.

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Uncle selling chickens saw me taking a picture of his storefront and came out to pose.

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Big prawns. Small prawns. Anyone?

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Fresh vegetables for sale.

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Man selling peanuts + surfing Facebook.

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A peek into the living quarters of Pasar Glodok residents.

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Gallery of colourful fishes.

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More skinned frog legs and crabs.

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Pig trotters, pork belly, intestines, ears and the likes. Spot the cute lil’ snout? (I bought back one ear to try and it was yummy!)

As you can see, Pasar Glodok is full of historical treasures and culinary delights. Food stalls sell everything from the expected to the bizarre.

I certainly hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! ❤


A few things worth noting:

  1. Visit Glodok as early as you can. The good/fresh food sells out fast and traffic gets a lot worse later in the day.
  2. Try not to carry too much cash around and put your money in different places.
  3. As prices are not fixed, don’t forget to bargain and haggle.
  4. Wear comfortable clothes and footwear.
  5. Pile on loads of sunblock beforehand as the open alleys don’t have much shade.

Jakarta Finds: Shopping at Pasar Tanah Abang

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A dizzying array of merchandise at Pasar Tanah Abang.

According to my dear friend Wikipedia, Pasar Tanah Abang has been around since 1735 (super ancient). It is the largest textile and garment wholesale center in Indonesia + Southeast Asia with over 13,000 kiosks and ten thousands of shoppers per day. It is even bigger than ITC Mangga Dua Mall, which I already think is mega HUGEEE.

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Menswear level.

At Tanah Abang, you can find just about everything and anything — batik, woven cloth, kebaya, children’s clothing, menswear, womenswear, Muslim wear, jeans, bags, shoes, accessories, household and bedding items.

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Shop after shop carrying tons of pretty batik.

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Art and craft supplies.

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Bedding items. (My American friend custom-makes her fitted sheets and duvet at Tanah Abang for a good price. Prices differ according to the thread count.)

As it is a wholesale center, the goods sold in Tanah Abang are more varied and cheaper than that of ITC Mangga Dua or Thamrin City Mall (its competitors).

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Don’t forget to bargain!

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Random items you may want to sew/iron onto your fabrics.

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Children’s bags.

Tanah Abang consists of several ‘Bloks‘, with Blok A and Blok B being the biggest, newest, and most comfy to shop in (fully air-conditioned). They remind me somewhat of a modern organized market.

My personal opinion is that shopping at Blok A and B is more than sufficient. My driver actually dropped us off at Blok F’s carpark and we had to walk through a maze within Blok F to get to Blok A. I didn’t like Blok F at all; it was dark, dingy, and very smokey (cough cough).

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Blok A, Tanah Abang.

For those who are thinking of dropping by Tanah Abang, you may find this shopping directory helpful. (Reference: Going shopping at Tanah Abang market? – The Jakarta Post).

Shopping Guide

B1 floor: Various bedding items including sheets, pillows and bed covers, as well as fabrics for kebaya (traditional Javanese blouse), jeans, batik and woven cloth.

SLG & LG floors: These floors are the place for hijab, mukena (female prayer dresses), gamis (Islamic robes), blouses, Muslim wear, kebaya and kaftans. Besides these items, children’s wear can also be found on the LG floor, from school attire to children’s swimwear and sportswear.

G and 1st floors: Menswear including T-shirts, shirts, pants, sportswear and jackets.

2nd and 3rd floors: More variations of womenswear can be found here, including office attire, accessories, bags and wallets.

3A and 7th floors: Various kind of clothes, from original labels to imitations, new to secondhand, are sold on these floors.

5th and 6th floors: A mix of clothes are sold on these floors, from women’s and men’s to children’s and family wear. Clothes for youngsters can be found on the 6th floor.

8th floor: The eighth floor has a food court with fast food and traditional Indonesian cuisine options available.

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Shopping directory for Blok A.

If possible, reach Tanah Abang as early as you can on a weekday. The crowd starts to build up towards the afternoon and the place is especially crowded on weekends/public holidays (crowded might be an understatement).

My loot from Tanah Abang: 1 pair of nice fitting jeans, a shirt for Agent D and 2 necklaces which I absolutely adore!

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Bought a shirt for Agent D from this rack. Can you guess which one? :p

P.S. Bring enough cash $$$.

P.P.S. Must bargain/haggle!

P.P.P.S. Protect yourself from pickpockets. Spread out your money in different places!

Happpppy shopping. x

It’s Always Tea Time at Lewis & Carroll Tea Jakarta

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. LEWIS

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Lewis & Carroll Tea.

Lewis & Carroll Tea is an artisan tea house that has been around for some time in Jakarta. I’ve been wanting to check the place out (since early last year!) and finally got to do so last week. And I loved everything about it — the earth-toned, brightly lit space and the entire collection of lovely tea.

The cafe’s interior is very spacious and white, with loads of daylight. It seems like a great place to have good conversations over tea, or to simply sit in solitude with a book and a cuppa tea.img_16351

Inspired by two tea-loving literary icons C.S Lewis and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), Lewis & Carroll works at crafting each and every blend into a masterpiece of aromatic attraction and visual artistry.

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Colourful pretty tea sets.

The tea is sourced from suppliers all around the world, including reputable tea plantations in Indonesia. Their entire tea leaves collection is impressive — a whooping 12 categories (Black, Black Blend, White, White Blend, Herbal, Green, Green Blend, Oolong, Oolong Blend, Spice, Fruits, or Flower) and 54 different flavors.

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Spoilt for choice by their comprehensive selection of tea blends.

Prior to ordering, you can either walk up to the counter to sniff the tea samples or request for them to be brought to your table. This experiential process enabled me to make a more informed choice on my desired flavour. 🙂

PS: Teas are priced differently with Signature teas at IDR 40k and Heritage teas at IDR 60k.

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After much sniffing, I finally picked this out.

Whilst waiting for your order, you can browse Lewis & Carroll’s teapots and tea leaves that are for sale. All of them are really PRETTY. I was so tempted to get one. 😉

I can imagine they would make lovely housewarming gifts.

To accompany your tea, Lewis & Carroll’s main menu offers a wide selection of choices from light to heavy, including all-day breakfast, salads, pastas, sandwiches, and sweets.

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Flatlay of our beautiful lunch.

The food was well presented and tasted good. Their teas were even better.

I particularly enjoyed the Crystalline Mojito (crystalline fruit tea with mint leaves and lemon water) from their craft tea fusion. It was sooooo refreshing to the throat!

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Truffle fries (IDR 50k) – Could have had more truffle!

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Pan-fried Salmon (IDR 115k) – Salmon was cooked well and the lemon butter cream sauce added a nice touch.

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Chicken Penne (IDR 80k) – Generous portions of chicken breast in fungi truffle sauce.

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Atlantic Bites (IDR 115k) – This one was a disappointment. The smoked salmon was off-colour and wasn’t fresh. I could hardly taste the truffle oil in the crab claw.

We ended off the meal with a really nice dessert (of which I can’t remember the name of!) that we selected at the counter.

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”

― William Ewart Gladstone


Lewis and Carroll
Jalan Bumi No. 4
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12120