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.


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.


Lovin’ the quirky decor of this Pizza Express!


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.


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.


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.


Myeongdong (a.m.)


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!).


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!


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.


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!!


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.


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!


6 Days Seoul Itinerary #2: Day Tours from Seoul and Hanbok Rental

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta


Hello from Nami Island!

In this post, I am going to share more on day trips out of Seoul,  as well as Hanbok rental.

Nami Island + Petite France + Garden of Morning Calm Day Tour

Out of our six days in Korea, two days were spent out of Seoul. For one of the day trips, we visited Nami Island, Petite France, and the Garden of Morning Calm all within one day!

Only accessible by ferry, Nami Island (63 km away from Seoul) is famous for its beautiful tree lined roads.


Gorgeous greenery at Nami Island.

Many people started visiting Nami Island after it was used as a filming spot for the 2002 K-drama hit “Winter Sonata”. It is also a cultural center for creative ideas of local artists and employees.


One of the filming sites of “Winter Sonata”.

‘Twas a really good (green) getaway from the bustling city of Seoul!

Located not far from Nami Island, Petite France is a small French village hidden in the suburbs of Gapyeong.

It is apparently owned by a rich Korean businessman who had a big love for the things of France (he needed a place to house all the French furniture, paintings, porcelain, etc he had  amassed over the years).

Made up of museums, workshops, restaurants, cafes and guesthouses, Petite France was featured on many K-dramas/variety shows, such as “Beethoven Virus”, “Secret Garden”, “Running Man” and “You Who Came From The Stars”.


View from the watch tower.


Against the backdrop of French influenced buildings.

Inspiration for The Garden of Morning Calm (a 30,000㎡ garden) came from a poem written by Sir Tagore, who described Korea during the Joseon Dynasty as “The Land of the Morning Calm”.


The Garden of Morning Calm spans a total of 30,000㎡.

The garden houses about 5,000 different kinds of plants, including 300 varieties native to Baekdusan Mountain, known as a spiritual mountain to the Korean people.


Really enjoyed exploring the gardens and soaking in the fresh cool air.

The Garden of Morning Calm is open all year-round and is a great spot to visit for families, couples, and photographers alike.

Flowers are in bloom from March to November, so the garden is especially busy during this period. We were so lucky to chance upon these blossoms!


God’s handiwork is amazing!!

Do you recognize this scene from the k-drama “Love in the Moonlight”? I’m not a huge Korean drama fan but I did catch that one…such fond memories!


Ended off our day trip with hot ginger tea, in a traditional tea house at The Garden of Morning Calm.

If you’re in interested, we booked the above tour via this website:


Mungyeong Park Hiking + Omija Winery Day Tour

Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park (2-3 hours drive from Seoul) is one of the best places in Korea for adventurous travellers. You get to walk on old trails with a long history amidst stunning mountain scenery. 🙂


Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park.

Our local guide took us on a light hike through the park; we walked between two high mountains and got to take in some grand views.


Everyone was dressed in hiking gear except for us. -_-

According to our guide, Joseon scholars from the far off provinces would go through this route (by foot) to take the state examination in Seoul.


Joseon scholars used to spend the night here after a long and arduous journey.

KBS drama studio is located in Mungyeongsaejae Provincial Park, a filming set for famous historical K-dramas like “The Legend of the Blue Sea” and “Hwarang”.


One of those filmed at Mungyeongsaejae Open Set.

It is the largest scale studio in the world. There are three palaces and many houses from the Goryeo Period, spread over 60,000㎡.

Before leaving, we were provided snacks and tea in the palace grounds. The lady serving us tea told us that she recently visited Singapore and loved it.

Next up, our guide brought us for an Omija Winery Tour. Instead of producing wine from grapes, Koreans make their wine from omija (five different flavours) berries.


Our first time seeing omija berries.

Fun fact: Mungyeong covers about half of the total production of Omija wine in Korea. And so it made perfect sense to visit a winery in Mungyeong.

The omija wine was a lovely pink colour, had a subtle taste with sweet and sour notes. It was refreshing sipping it and it left a pleasant aftertaste!


CHEERS to the many good things to come! x

If you’re in interested, we booked the above tour via this website:


Visit Royal Palaces with a Hanbok


Korean Hanbok experience. Checked.

I’ve always had this secret fantasy of wearing a Korean Hanbok and striding along the royal palace grounds. And I managed to fulfill this in my recent Seoul trip.

Oneday Hanbok Rental (Address: 2nd Floor, 4 Bukchonro5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul) offers an outdoor Hanbok experience, which is by far more unique than an indoor/studio experience. With a minimum rental time of 4 hours, you can visit various landmarks in Seoul with your hanbok.


Wall mural featuring a Korean lady in her Hanbok.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…With a Hanbok, you are entitled to special benefits such as free entries at selected places (e.g., royal palaces in Seoul, Korean Folk Village in Gyeonggido, etc). Not to mention those places have pretty backdrops for you to take pictures against!


Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Palace was our first stop. And YAY we did not have to queue/pay for the entrance ticket. 😉


Blending into the palace surroundings.

Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the Northern Palace because its location is furthest north compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace).

Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful, and remains the largest of all five palaces.


Such grand grounds!

Our second stop was the Bukchon Hanok Village, home to hundreds of traditional houses (hanok) that date back to the Joseon Dynasty.


Bukchon Hanok Village.

The name Bukchon, which is translated literally as “northern village,” came about because the neighborhood lies to the north of two significant Seoul landmarks, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno.

Today, many of these hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience, learn and immerse themselves in traditional Korean culture.


I would love to live in a hanok donning a hanbok. HEH.

The Hanbok rental fare is not costly (15,000 Korean Won for 4 hours, 4,500 Korean won for each additional hour). Plus it includes basic accessories like bags and hair accessories. Have loads of fun with your Hanbok!!!

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

Also, if you’d like the full 8 page itinerary, do drop me a message and I’d happily send it to you!

6 Days Seoul Itinerary #1: Where to Eat

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” — Bill Bryson

As my days in Jakarta are coming to an end and full time work beckons, I decided to make an impromptu trip to Seoul with Ivana. Plane tickets and the hotel were booked within a day just two weeks prior to the trip and YEEHA we found ourselves on a plane to Seoul! It’s been a month since I got back and I am thinking of sharing my itinerary with you over a series of posts. ❤

Where to Stay in Seoul?

We stayed at G2 HOTEL Myeongdong (Address: 24, Supyo-ro, Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea, 04555) and have absolutely no regrets. A newly built boutique hotel in a quiet and safe neighborhood, it is located 10 minutes away by foot from the Myeongdong area and Lines 2, 3, & 4 of the Subway.


G2 HOTEL Myeongdong.

The rooms are clean and modern, the beds and bedding super comfy, and each room comes equipped with the necessary amenities (all from Innisfree). Plus it is not expensive at all!

Where to Eat in Seoul?

The very fact that there are over 100 different kinds of kimchi should tell you something about the pride Koreans have in their food. Korean cuisine has evolved over time because of social and political change, but it remains a major aspect of the national identity. And I happen to LOVE Korean food a lot.

Here’s a list of some places you may want to check out; most of the restaurants are from research done prior to the trip, some came recommended by Korean friends, and some of them are gems we chanced upon.

  • Sinseon Seolleongtang (Address: 2-2, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga ,Jung–gu, Seoul)

Sinseon Seolleongtang, Myeongdong branch. Be prepared to queue!

Sinseon Seolleongtang specializes in seolleongtang (duh). Is made by simmering ox bones, intestines and shank for several hours until the broth becomes rich and creamy white. When eaten together with rice and other side dishes, it is SO GOOD (especially on a cold morning).


Classic seolleongtang with rice — broth was rich and sweet.

  • Migabon Porridge (Address: 2-2 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul)

Migabon specializes in Korean traditional porridge (juk)a local delicacy. I am not much of a porridge fan because I often associate eating porridge with being sick. That said, I’ll make an exception for Migabon because their porridge is heavenly.


Can’t get enough of my pumpkin porridge!

In case you didn’t realize, Migabon Porridge is located just right above Sinseon Seolleongtang Myeongdong. 🙂

  • Mr. Holmes Bakehouse Seoul (Address: 34, Apgujeong-ro 10-gil Gangnam-gu, Seoul)

Signature instagrammable wall at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse Seoul is the first overseas outlet outside of San Francisco. If you ever make it there, a must-have is the CRUFFIN. A Cruffin is a cross between a croissant and a muffin — it has the flaky texture of a croissant and the flavour of a muffin.


Cruffin + scone.

I ordered the Earl Grey Cruffin which was really good! It wasn’t overly sweet, the flakiness was just right, inner texture was fluffy and the earl grey filling was smooth and creamy. YUM.

  • Hanwoori (Address: 77 Toegye-ro, Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul)

Hanwoori (located on the 5th floor of Shinsegae Department Store) was introduced to us by Min and Nam Young. I met the two of them in Seattle during my 6 months exchange and we have kept in contact since then.


Dinner at Hanwoori with Min and Nam Young.

Hanwoori has been specializing in shabu shabu since 1981. The restaurant uses only pure Korean beef fillet, which is delivered daily from a farm in Gwangju. Shabu shabu is a delightful form of comfort food — rich broth with fresh Korean beef, organic seasonal vegetables, hand-made soy bean curd, and springy noodles.

  • O’sulloc Tea House (Address: 12, Myeongdong 7-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul)

O’sulloc Tea House.

O’sulloc Tea House is a green tea cafe in Seoul and can be considered a destination tea house to experience a touch of Korean tea culture. The cafe serves a variety of smoothies, hot drinks, cakes, and ice cream — most of which have green tea as the main ingredient.


The cafe has a tea merchandise section.


EVERYTHING green tea — matcha latte, matcha ice-cream, matcha roll, and matcha macaroon.

  • Mr. Bossam (Address: 68 Ewhayeodae-gil, Seoul)

Bossam is a pork dish in Korean cuisine whereby the pork belly is boiled in flavourful brine until it turns soft and scrumptious. Mr. Bossam (located in the Ewha area) serves one of the better Bossams in Seoul.


You can choose one of three flavours for your Bossam platter — plain, garlic (sweet), or spring onion (spicy).


Pork belly slices melted in my mouth.

  • Myeongdong Sundubu (Address: 199-50 2-ga Euljiro, Jung-gu, Seoul)

Hidden away from the busy streets of Myeongdong and run by a husband-wife team, Myeongdong Sundubu serves spicy soup with soft silky tofu. The stew comes in a clay pot together with rice cooked from a stone rice pot. According to the owner, he makes the tofu from scratch twice a day. No wonder the tofu is so soft and fluffy!


Homemade pure tofu Sundubu jjigae with seafood.

  • Jeonju Jungang Hoegwan (Address: 19, Myeongdong 8na-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul)

Jeonju Jungang Hoegwan, Myeongdong.

Jeonju Jungang Hoegwan (est. 1956) is a specialty restaurant featuring Jeonju Gopdol Bibimbap in a hot stone pot. The restaurant is popular not only in Korea but also in Japan; it has participated in World Food Expo held in Japan and has been introduced on various Japanese TV programs including NHK and Fuji TV.

Jeonju Jungang Hoegwan’s bibimbap was by far one of the best I’ve had!! Another one, please!

  • Gobong Samgyetang (Address: 3F, 199-13, Euljiro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul)

This yellow broth samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) is made by boiling sanghwang mushroom (a medicinal variety which gives it its unique color and scent), along with a traditional herbal mix (including hemp and jujubes).

After the broth is made, no more than 25 chickens (of a special breed) are boiled at the same time. A smaller batch allows the collagen of the chicken to thicken the broth.


Featured on the Michelin Korea guide – original ginseng chicken soup.

I cannot think of a better remedy for a cold wintery night. 🙂 🙂 🙂


Tender chicken in thick creamy soup, topped with ginseng liquor.

  • Wangbijib Korean Barbecue (Address: 26 Myeongdong 8ga-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul)

If you haven’t had Korean BBQ, you haven’t been to Seoul. Korean BBQ restaurants in Seoul are at a whole new level — think high-quality meat on charcoal grills with awesome ventilation systems (you won’t leave the restaurant smelling like grilled meat).

The servers at Wangbijib are trained to grill the meat for you so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and look forward to your meat. We ordered a few servings of pork belly, which came bright red in colour with a good layer of fats.

Although the pork cuts at Wangbijib were fresh, nothing could beat the meat we had at Mungyeong (some 2+ hours drive from Seoul). Our local guide for the Mungyeong day trip brought us to a family run Korean BBQ inn along the mountainside…and boyyy was the meat tender. IT LITERALLY MELTED IN MY MOUTH. To be honest, it was the best Korean BBQ I ever had. I was so overwhelmed by the meat that I forgot to take note of the restaurant’s name. 😦

  • Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe (Address: 39, Insa-dong, Jongno-guSeoul)

Composed of shaved ice and colourful ingredients, Bingsu is a very popular and elaborate dessert in Korea. At Sulbing, the ice is not only light and fluffy, but super fine too. It has a creamy texture and comes with loads of pretty toppings! Regardless of the flavour you order, it is to-die-for (especially in the heat of the afternoon!).


Chocolate flavoured bingsu.

And this marks the end of my Seoul food list.


Stay tuned for the next post on what to do in Seoul and best shopping places in Seoul! xxx

If you’d like the full 8 page itinerary including what to do in Seoul, do drop me a message and I’d happily send it to you! x

Explore Indonesia #11: 3 Days in UBUD Bali (3-Day Ubud Itinerary)

Early June this year, my parents came up to Jakarta and together, we went for a weekend getaway to Bali. I wanted to spend all of our three days in Ubud because I had already visited Seminyak and Nusa Dua in a previous Bali trip last year. Plus I’ve heard so much about Ubud — Bali’s artistic and traditional homeland.


Weekend getaway with family in Ubud, Bali.

We stayed at The Purist Villas, a tropical Villa Resort 5 minutes drive from the heart of Ubud. The resort is nestled into natural Balinese surroundings, which can be seen directly from the villas, restaurant and main pool.

Designed with the concept of privacy, comfort, and modern architecture combined with traditional features, our stay there was PURE BLISS.

Day 1

Ubud is most well-known for her stunning and famed rice terraces and the Tegalalang Rice Terrace is a key highlight.


Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud.


Beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system.

This exquisite terrace is located precisely on a hill bank, with a breathtaking valley panorama and coconut trees ornamenting the surroundings.


Took my breath away.

We followed the locals off-road into the paddy fields and watched them harvest their crops. The Balinese people are a friendly and warmhearted bunch; they waved and smiled happily at us as we passed them by.

We stopped at various points along to way to take pictures, breathe in fresh air, and simply soak in the natural surroundings.

Do wear comfortable walking shoes as there is no proper foot path and weaving your way through the fields may involve navigating some wet steep slopes.


Some pretty steep steps.


Enjoying the view and good air.

After our 2.5 hours ‘hike’, we were famished. Lunch was at Kepitu Restaurant, a hidden gem located in The Kayon Resort.


Kepitu Restaurant, Kayon Resort.

The restaurant design features wood, bamboo and an Alang-Alang grass roof which seamlessly blends in with nature.

From the floating sky roof deck, Kepitu Restaurant boasts a spectacular 180-degree view over the pool and jungle landscape. And a cascading waterfall completes this tropical paradise.


A view to behold.

Kepitu Restaurant serves a good range of Indonesian cuisine, but have Asian and Western food on their menu too. We tried their Indonesian specialty sets which were good. Here are some food pictures to entice you:


A relaxing and tranquil dining experience.

After our filling lunch, we were ready to walk off the calories at Campuhan Ridge Walk.


Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud.

Directions to get there: Start your journey at the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa on Jalan Campuhan and park your car at the school. Once you see the Campuhan bridge, follow the pathway on the right that leads towards Gunung Lebah Temple and continue until you see a paved road. Walk along the paved road. That is where your adventure begins. 🙂


A lovely walk with lots of nature to see.

It was an unusually romantic short trek that took us through rice fields, quaint Indonesian huts and exquisitely designed villas.

Butterflies and dogs accompanied us on the leisurely 2-3km stroll, which made it all the more enjoyable. If you’re tired, you can make a pit stop on your way back at Karsa Kafe.

Make sure you stay sufficiently hydrated and apply layers of mozzie repellant!


A great retreat from hectic city life.

Next up, dinner at Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant — a dining experience where it is all about the Bebek (the duck).


Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant.

At the restaurant, you will find duck statues everywhere, ducks splashing around in the pond, and of course the delicious crispy duck on your plate.

Situated at the corner of a picturesque green rice paddy field, you can gaze out from your private pavilion across the rows of little rice plants and listen to the gentle buzz of the surrounding nature.


Dining with nature at its very best.

Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant serves a wide selection of cuisine, including contemporary western and innovative Indonesian/Balinese specialties. One must-try is the legendary Bebek Betutu or Balinese smoked duck. The crispy duck with sambal was awesome too. (My stomach is growling as I type this.)


All ready to conquer the ducks!

Day 2

We started off our second day in Ubud at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.


Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Ubud.

You can enter the monkey forest through one of three gates: the main gate at the southern end of Monkey Forest Rd; from 100m further east near the car park; or from the southern side near Nyuh kuning.


Hello there!!

The sanctuary is inhabited by a band of over 600 grey-haired (and greedy!) long-tailed Balinese macaques who are a far cry from the innocent-looking doe-eyed monkeys on the brochures.


“If you’re not gonna listen to Mama, I’ll pull your tail.”


Basking in the sun.

We were super amused at how intelligent the monkeys were, especially on matters pertaining to bananas. I saw one monkey pull down a man’s shorts (!!!) to steal the banana that was tucked in his boxers and another reach into a lady’s pocket to retrieve a banana.


Mission accomplished – BANANAS.


Towering ancient trees at Money Forest.

We had lunch at Swept Away Restaurant (located in Samaya Resort), by far one of the best restaurants of the entire trip — both in terms of ambiance and food.


Took a buggy ride down to Swept Away Restaurant, Samaya Resort.

A wooden deck at Swept Away is just inches from the mighty Ayung River – sit back, unwind and let your worries get swept away as you dine along the riverside surrounded by lush greenery.


Ayung River.

The meal started on a good note with complimentary bread that was super fluffy, soft and warm. Not to mention the amazing butter!!!


Complimentary bead and butter.

Swept Away serves a varied and eclectic menu with various menu options throughout the day: breakfast menu, light lunch menu, small bites menu serving Asian-style tapas, and two dinner menus (a la carte and degustation).


Lunch at Swept Away.

All our mains and dishes for sharing were made to perfection and our tummies were really happy.

After lunch, we went down to the riverside to take photos and bask in the cool sea breeze.


Fun fact: The Ayung River is the longest river (75km!) on the Indonesian island of Bali.

We also explored the grounds of Samaya Resort, which overlooks some gorgeous paddy fields. If I ever visit Ubud again, I will be very tempted to stay a couple of nights at The Samaya Ubud. 🙂


Wouldn’t you love waking up to this!

After lunch, we headed to the Tegenungan Waterfall in Gianyar. From the viewing deck, you can see the majestic waterfall in the distance.

However, for a closer sight, you would need to descend the stairs down the river. If you have knee problems or have many young children with you, I’d advise not going down. The stairs are steep and the climb back up is treacherous.


“165 steps up. Good luck.”


Dad and mom decided not to follow us all the way down.

That said, Tegenungan waterfall is a dazzlingly refreshing retreat in Ubud. The rich green surroundings and perfectly flowing fresh water make a beautiful sight for all.


Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud.

I saw many tourists take a dip in the river; some adventurous ones even jumped into the waterfall from a 15 meters height. If you’re thinking of swimming/frolicking in the river, there are shower facilities where you can change.


Love the sounds and the power of pounding water.


Kopi Luwak Tea stop before dinner.

After all that climbing of stairs to see Tegenungan waterfall, we were in a dire need of some protein. Dinner was at Warung Ibu Oka, a place famous for its Babi Guling (Balinese-style whole roasted suckling pig).


Giving us a warm welcome to Warung Ibu Oka.

To make Babi Guling, the entire pig is stuffed with a combination of spices used in traditional Indonesian cooking including turmeric, coriander seeds, lemon grass and more.

Usually, the Babi Guling is served up in big chunks in a rattan bowl with rice, fried intestines, spicy vegetables and Ibu Oka’s secret sauce. Unfortunately, by the time we got there around 7 p.m., most of the stuff (Babi Guling included) were sold out.


Babi Guling and vegetables were sold out. 😦

We were left with limited choices and the dinner wasn’t fantastic. The only consolation was that Agent D and I made friends with many of the resident dogs of Ibu Oka.

Such cuties!!! ❤ ❤ ❤


Dinner companions for the night.

Day 3

Time always flies when you’re holidaying and day 3 marked our last day in Ubud. SOBS. Before checking out of the villa, we took a dip in the pool.


One with nature.

After all the sightseeing, day 3 was reserved specially for SHOPPING (much to Agent D’s dismay). We headed down to Ubud Traditional Art Market, locally referred to as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’, to search for unique handcrafted souvenirs to take home with us.


Ubud Traditional Art Market.

Ubud Traditional Art Market sells loads of stuff — silk scarves, batik, silver jewelry, paintings, woven bags, wooden house decor, and the list goes on. Most of the goods are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan.


Shopping streets.


Handmade dogs for sale, anyone?


Section of the market that was burnt down by a huge fire in 2016.

Fun fact: there was a scene in Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love where actress Julia Roberts and a male character were filmed strolling through the stalls. 😉

Oh and don’t forget to bargain at the market! As the place can get very crowded in the day, keep your bag in front of you at all times with the zipper closed.

Some of my shopping loot:

Q2 (1)

Hand-painted flower portrait.


Wooden tray for remote controls/drinks.


A family of 3 giraffes, carved by hand.

Our last lunch in Ubud was at Bridges Bali, a lovely restaurant to close our trip.


Bridges Bali Restaurant.

Bridges is situated at the end of the two Campuhan Bridges, and nestled right in the valley overlooking the River Wos. Hence the restaurant’s motto ‘Where worlds meet’.

There are 7 distinctive levels where you can choose to dine on; whether you are settled and relaxed on the terraces surrounded by tranquil greenery or down by the riverside, I guarantee you an enjoyable meal.


Take the spiral staircase up or down to the level of your choice.

We chose one of the uppermost levels where we could gaze out across the picturesque valley as we dined.


Interior of the restaurant with a backdrop of greenery.


Showing us to our seat.


Awatch as the outside world continues on the bridges above you.

Their food was fantastic, every dish was cooked to perfection.


Table flat lay of all the food we ordered.

Along with the ambiance, lunch at Bridges Bali was indulgent and memorable dining at its best!


An indulgent lunch against nature’s landscape.

Thank you for following me on this adventure! xx


Now what’s next? 🙂

Explore Indonesia #10: Day Trip to Kampoeng Djamoe Organic

Kampoeng Djamoe Organik (KaDO) by Martha Tilaar Group is an oasis in the industrial area of ​​Cikarang, about 45-50 km east of central Jakarta. It functions as an environmental education + conservation centre and makes a great destination for a day trip out of Jakarta. 

We left Jakarta on a Thursday morning at 0730 and reached KaDO at 0930 (with smooth traffic, the journey should take less than an hour).


Welcome to Kampoeng Djamoe Organic!

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the friendly people of KaDO and served a welcome drink (a refreshing herbal concoction meant to warm the throat). As our group was pretty big, we were split up into two smaller groups with separate guides.


Scenic green grounds.


Excited tourists.

Our guide brought us on a tour around the Herbal Garden and introduced some of the plants that grow there. KaDO consists of 10 hectares of green land that is home to 650 species of plants, all of which are grown organically. The entire place is very well-organized; the plants have tags with information on their names and uses.


KaDO’s plants are grown organically, without any fertilizers.

The plants at KaDO are grown for 3 main purposes — medicine, aromatherapy, and cosmetics. Did you know that…pineapple is good for the hair; lavender is good for the skin; teak leaves help prevent obesity?!!


Such pretty orchids!


Orchid (left) and plant (right) labelled with its name and uses.

Our guide jokingly told us to breathe in as much of the oxygen-rich air as we could (I personally took loads of deep breaths during my time there). According to him, the air we usually breathe in Jakarta is mixed with pollution and of much poorer quality than that of Kampoeng Djamoe’s.

After the Garden tour, we visited the Martha Tilaar Training Center where young girls from rural villages (some sold by their own parents sadly) are taught skills to make a living.


Martha Tilaar Training Center.


Young girls undergoing training. In this picture, they are mixing the herbs required for body treatment/spa.

They are offered free boarding and meals with a small allowance and learn treatment techniques for the body, face, hair, hand and foot.

Upon graduating, they get sent out to the Martha Tilaar Salon Day Spas around Indonesia. (I had previously wrote about my Peach Delima Body Treatment here: Of Spas in Jakarta: Martha Tilaar.)

I went on this day trip with the ASEAN Women Circle (AWC) and we got to plant our very own tree on KaDO’s grounds. Please grow well, little one. Perhaps I’ll come visit you some years later.

Following which, we proceeded to Kedai Sehat Alami for a snack break.

There was a short presentation on the benefits of herbal plants followed by interesting live demonstrations such as making healthy juices/herbal drinks, getting chlorophyll direct from leaves, etc. 


We got to taste some of the herbal drink concoctions from their homegrown plants. Good stuff!


Beneficial herbs for good health.

A buffet style organic lunch was included in the day tour package. The food was prepared fresh, using herbs from KaDO’s garden.


Happy participants.

One highlight of this trip was meeting the woman behind all this, Martha Tilaar herself. She shared about her infertility journey of 16 years, where reputable doctors/professors around the world told her she would never be able to have children of her own. But her mom, a herbalist, decided to use herbs to treat her and she eventually conceived at 41 years of age (three years later). 


Ibu Martha Tilaar. She’s nearing 80 but doesn’t look it at all?!

Speaking of herbs as an alternative medicine, KaDO has their very own resident doctor within the compound (with a Bachelor of Medicine from University of Indonesia and Masters degree in Herbs). The KaDO clinic takes a holistic approach to diagnosis and prescribes herbs instead of western medicine. The doctor is trained in techniques like acupuncture and acupressure as well. Instead of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), you might want to consider this. 🙂 

After lunch, there were more live demonstrations on makeup application and body care. Everyone danced to traditional music before departing KaDO, which was a really nice finish to our visit.


Body SPA demo.

Each of us went home with a generous door gift from KaDO. I was given one packet of red ginger tea and one packet of Java tea + Martha Tilaar beauty products including a bottle of moisturizer + a REAL plant in a pot. It’s my very first plant in Jakarta and I hope it doesn’t die on me! :/

To sum up, Kampoeng Djamoe Organik Garden is a place that focuses on organic cultivation and conservation; it also functions as a center for environment education and training. It is their hope that they will be able to raise awareness on the importance of protecting our environment, conserving indigenous plants, while implementing green technology.


Thanks for inviting me along, Shar!!

KaDO is a lovely green respite from Jakarta and would make an ideal weekend trip for families with children (especially if you want to educate them on the environment).

It is open Monday to Saturday from 0800 – 1630 (entrance fee of IDR 20k). They also have day tour packages ranging from IDR 95k – IDR 150k per person, inclusive of lunch. (Their website was last updated on 29 Apr 2014 so prices may have gone up.)

Drop by their website for more information: http://www.kampoengdjamoemarthatilaar.com/

Kampoeng Djamoe Organik (KaDO)
Jalan Ciujung, Kawasan EJIP Pintu II
Cikarang Selatan
Jawa Barat 17530

Weekend Trip to Miri, Sarawak


Singapore Changi Airport.

Last weekend, My college friend (Greg) got married to his sweetheart (Val). As Val is from Miri, the couple decided to hold their wedding celebrations there.

I flew back to Singapore on Thursday night and was back at the airport on Friday morning to take the flight out to Miri. With work and family commitments in recent years, it’s been a long while since my JC friends and I travelled together. Thus we were all really looking forward to this short getaway.


The whole Miri gang (the flight consisted mainly of Greg’s contingent of friends and relatives).

Greg and Val lovingly planned out an itinerary for all their guests:


Wedding itinerary.

For most of us, it was our virgin trip to Miri, a coastal city in northeastern Sarawak. Located really close to Brunei, Miri covers an area of 997.43 square kilometres with a population of 234,541.

We decided to stay at Pullman Waterfront as most of the wedding festivities were held there. Here’s an aerial view of Miri from our hotel.


Coastal city of Miri.


We spotted many locals fishing and having a picnic along the banks.

We didn’t get to explore the city much as there wasn’t time to do so. But we managed to have loads of bonding time together, just like old times. 🙂



It’s always hard to take a group picture…




Dinner and drinks at The Hangover 2.



Roomies for this trip.


Managed to catch Greg before he headed off to church.

Everything in Miri seems to be really close by; all our to-and-fro journeys (airport included) were within a travelling distance of 15 minutes. Feels really weird not having to sit in a vehicle for longer than 30 minutes! #JakartaWoes

The wedding ceremony took place at Canada Hill Church, a 10 minute drive from Pullman. Here are some snippets:


Greg’s entourage (his granny is so well-preserved!).


Val’s entourage.

To me, the most important part of any wedding celebration is actually the Holy Matrimony – watching the couple come before God in the presence of many witnesses to seal their love for each other.

“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.” – Franz Schubert

We are so happy you found the love of your life, Greg! Congrats and big love to you both!!


Too up-close for comfort.


Friends for 13 years and counting!

The dinner reception was an unconventional but heartwarming one. Clad in the traditional costume of Val’s tribe, the couple put up an entertaining performance for everyone.


With the happy couple in their tribal costumes.

There was loads of singing and dancing with more than half of the guests (many in their 50s and 60s) heading to the dance floor to do their thang. Not to mention Greg’s hilarious brother/emcee, who got all the Malaysians, Singaporeans and Aussies in the house laughing themselves silly.

Although there was no customary round table photo-taking, the photo booth was more than enough for the night.


Enjoying the photo booth to the fullest.


Brings to mind the good ol’ neoprint days.


Our own table photo!

And so this sums up my weekend stay in Miri. 🙂


Home sweet home.

I stayed in Singapore for one more day before heading back to Jakarta on Monday morning. Poor Agent D was surviving off cup noodles and takeaways in my absence and I wanted to return to cook him a home-cooked meal. 🙂

I’m already looking forward to the next getaway…I wonder when that’ll be though? I hope your weekend was a good one. x

Last Trip of the Year to Singapore: Nowhere Else We’d Rather Be


Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. HOME TRULY.

And now on to our year end holiday in Singapore, where Agent D and I were like tourists in our homeland.


First thing we did upon touching down was…SATISFY CRAVINGS with oily lardy awesommmme hawker fare. That which never grows old on us.

Our first stop was Chinatown Food Centre where we had char kway teow (ohh the hum), a huge serving of claypot rice originally intended for 4 (complete with lap cheong!), and chwee kueh with loads of chilli.

After a very fulfilling lunch, we walked away the fats to my favourite egg tart store a few streets down – Tong Heng Confectionery. Their diamond egg tarts have a slighly flaky but firm crust with an almost jelly-like, egg-custard filling. Simply dan-talizingly shiok.

Another day, we headed all the way to Little India to have Beach Road Scissor Cut Curry Rice. Do not be fooled by its appearance. Although the rice rice looks unappealingly messy and unsightly – it is absolutely sinfully delicious. A plate of ‘heart attack’.

And no Singapore trip would be complete without my hokkien mee


Hokkien Mee with plate of greens (meant to offset lard and oil).

This time round, Agent D and I hardly had time to check out cool and exciting new cafes/restaurants. One exception was Hana Japanese Restaurant, which my friends brought me to.

They’re known for their “flying noodles”, in particular the Flying Truffle Somen and the Flying Salted Egg Yolk Udon. You should also try their 4×3 grid box (chef’s selection of 12 small bites) and Matcha-misu dessert (beautifully decorated like a terrarium).


Food aside, Agent D and I probably covered more ‘tourist attractions’ in one week than in half a year when we resided in Singapore.

In between our food hunts, we explored and walked the quaint streets of Chinatown.


Chinatown, Singapore.

We also spent one lovely evening at Christmas Wonderland in Gardens by the Bay.

I loveeee the gardens. It is a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir.


Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.

Christmas Wonderland has been held in Singapore for three years now (including 2016) and it was our first time visiting this yuletide fair. So glad we made it. 🙂


Magnificent sculptures of light.

The lights came on at 6.30 p.m. and the entire place became more and more magical as the sun set and the skies darkened.


Beautiful Singapore.


Gorgeous luminarie lights.


Ice Palace.

Ohh and we finally got to visit Adventure Cove Waterpark in Sentosa – an aquatic amusement park with an aquarium, waterslides, a wave pool, tubing, snorkeling, etc.

Agent D and I spent an entire day taking high-speed water slides (screaming our lungs out!), drifting on a lazy river, and bouncing around the wave pool. SUPER FUN!

Didn’t get to take any pictures because we left our phones in the locker. Here are two of my favourite rides (photo credit: RWS Sentosa):

Adventure Cove Waterpark Riptide Rocket

Riptide Rocket – Southeast Asia’s first hydro-magnetic coaster. 

Adventure Cove Waterpark Spiral Washout

Spiral Washout – an oscillating tube ride through a twisting, turning water flume. 

We also did some Christmas shopping at Public Garden Christmas 2016, an annual flea market which runs during the Christmas season.


Checking out unique jade rings with gemstones.

Public Garden brings together quality brands and independent businesses with unique merchandise. Industries include design, stationery, art, jewellery, apparel, home decor, vintage, beauty, etc.  #supportlocalbrands


Flowers, anyone?

If you missed Public Garden last December, you can always look forward to the next one this year! 🙂


Around year end, there are more meetups, gatherings, celebrations and potlucks than usual. And we are thankful to be part of some.


Queky and Charmaine.


Happy Birthday Aileen and Alice!!


Agent D’s church homies.


Something to remember this trip by…Agent D surprised me with a bouquet of the prettiest flowers at our GSF +1 gathering.

I asked him why he got me flowers and he replied, “We don’t need a reason to buy you flowers.” Awww, what a keeper. (Actually, he had just spent close to 500 bucks on board games that day…perhaps that was the untold reason heh??!)

Anyhow, the flowers made my day and gave me something to remember this SG trip by. ❤


Thank you husband! XOXO


Our flight back to Jakarta was two hours delayed and we boss monster-ed away!

Already missing you, Singapore. Till the next time!


Explore Indonesia #9: A Hidden Gem in Belitung (Seychelles of Asia)

Sorry I’ve been MIA-ing for so long! I was pretty occupied the past two weeks and couldn’t find time to sit down and update. Today, I’m staying in because there is a mass demonstration by Islamic hardliners happening around Jakarta. Am praying that peace will reign in Indonesia. For more information:



So last week, Ivana and I made an impromptu decision to visit the secret tropical paradise of Belitung. We booked our air tickets and hotel just four days before and off we went!

Belitung is almost like the Seychelles of Asia, with its unique and beautiful granite rock formations all over the island. Its beaches have fine white sand surrounded by pristine waters a brilliant shade of turquoise. And the best thing yet – it is only one hour by flight from Jakarta! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Belitung, Seychelles of Asia. #nofilter

We didn’t want to rush around ‘seeing’ things and decided to take things easy for our three (two full) days there.

Our first stop was the magical Kaolin Lake – a world of white and blue formed from extreme mining activity decades ago. Isn’t it such a beautiful irony?


Kaolin Lake.

After checking into the hotel, we spent some time exploring the city centre. Belitung is pretty untouched by tourism and is not as commercialized as Bali.


Belitung, city centre.


There are no malls in Belitung, only shops like these.


A must-try in Belitung – Mie Belitung Atep.

We spent the latter half of the day hiding from the rain at the BW suites bar, which has a lovely view.


Fries by the pool/sea.


Rain, rain, please go away!

Thankfully the rain cleared up after three (!!!) hours. According to the locals, it is the rainy season now and heavy showers can last for an entire day. I guess we should count ourselves lucky.

We headed to Tanjung Tinggi Beach to catch the sunset + have dinner by the beach.


Tanjung Tinggi Beach.


Such cloudyyy skies.

Tanjung Tinggi is one of the more popular Belitung beaches after being featured in the Indonesian movie, Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops). The film was the highest-grossing in Indonesian box office history and won a number of local and international awards.


HUGE granite boulders.


So this is how an ant feels like…

Dinner was a short walk away at Lemadang Seafood and Grill. A boardwalk connects the restaurant to the beachfront. One can opt to sit by the beach and enjoy the fresh breeze over dinner, which we did.


Sun finally setting over the sea.


Dinner under the stars. 🙂


Highlight of our meal – seafood soup in coconut.

The dishes were simple but delicious. Our tummies were filled with happiness. 🙂

We woke up early the next day for our island hopping tour with Street Taxi (IDR 400K for a private boat/day). The islands of Belitung are simply gorgeous! I’ll let pictures do the talking…


Pulau Lengkuas from afar.

Pulau Lengkuas is a small clean island surrounded by big rocks and dreamy white sand. The many big palm trees around the island provide shady spots for a picnic and allow you to seek respite from the sweltering heat.


Setting foot on the island.

Pulau Lengkuas has an iconic lighthouse, which was recently re-painted without any change to its historical interior.

Do not skip climbing up to the top-most storey of the lighthouse — awaiting you is a view to behold like no other. Just standing there and taking in the vast expanse of the ocean to infinity and beyond = BREATHTAKING.


Thank God for the good weather – sun hiding behind the cotton candy clouds.

We snorkelled around Pulau Lengkuas and saw many cute fishes and beautiful corals.

Our next stop was Pulau Kepayang, home to a conservation centre that promotes eco-tourism. Baby turtles are kept there till they’re big enough to be set free into the sea.

One can also dive, snorkel, or canoe around the lovely island.


Picturesque Seychelles-like boulders and pristine turquoise waters.

The guy who took us around the island told us that he has been staying on the island for years. He loves taking photos and reads up on photography techniques at night because there is simply nothing to do on the island. At that point, I loaned him my camera so he could hone his skills.


Photo taken by our island friend.

Whilst waiting for lunch to be ready, we explored the granite boulders tucked away on the other side of the island (all photos taken by our enthusiastic photographer).


Take #1: In the waters.


Take #2: My ANTM moment.


Take #3: Up on a boulder.

And more photos…

We were super duper hungry towards the end of our ‘photo shoot’. Thankfully lunch was ready in good time. We ordered our lunch (IDR 110k/pax) through Street Taxi because it is apparently cheaper than ordering on the island itself.


A feast by the sea – cooked by our two boatmen.

After lunch, we stopped by Pulau Kelayang to see its caves.


Mesmerizing blue.

Just before boarding our boat, we caught sight of a starfish!!! This little one was washed up to shore along with the receding tide.

From a distance, I saw some thoughtless tourists remove a starfish from the sea. To my dismay, they were taking turns to take selfies with the starfish!! :/ [Note: Starfish are a delicate species that cannot survive out of water for long.]

We headed back to the hotel to wash up thereafter. Dinner was at Belitung Timpo Duluk, which serves traditional Belitung-styled dinner.


Belitung Timpo Duluk.

The interior of the restaurant is homely yet quaint and vintage at the same time. And there’s AIR-CON (!!!) inside, a rare find in Belitung.

You have to try their speciality ‘Dulang Set’, which consists of gangan ikan (fish head), ayam ketumbar (coriander chicken), sate ikan (fish satay), atiampela (gizzard and heart innards), lalapan (raw vegetable salad) and sambal serai (lemongrass hot sauce). #sogoodANDawesome

I cannot remember the exact price of the Dulang Set but it was very reasonable.


What’s cooking?! Surrprissssse!


Great meal to end off our Belitung stay.

You’ve been nothing short of ah-maaazing, Belitung! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


And thank you, Ivana, for coming along this adventure with me! 😉

Explore Indonesia #8: Best Restaurants in Lombok + Gili Islands

I am finally back in Jakarta after two fulfilling weeks in Singapore. Time spent in Singapore always passes by so fast; there’s so much to do and so many people to meet but so little time. I’ll update on my SG trip in another post soon.

As promised, here’s a list of restaurants you may want to check out if you’re headed to Lombok or the Gili Islands. Lombok was exceptional in so many ways, especially when it came to meal times. Good food, amazing ambience/setting — all without burning a hole in your pocket.

Asmara Restaurant & Lounge

Located along Jl. Raya Senggigi (10 minutes by foot from Sheraton), Asmara Restaurant & Lounge was our first stop for lunch. Both Agent D and I hadn’t eaten anything since boarding the plane and boy were we hungryyy!


Asmara Restaurant & Lounge.

The restaurant has a garden theme and its entrance is surrounded by tropical greens. Fresh kitchen herbs grow alongside the stairs leading up to the building.


Lovin’ the greens.

You can either choose to dine outdoors or in open rooms. With the sweltering afternoon heat, we chose the latter option (though I think it’d be nice dining outdoors in the evening).

It was pretty quiet during lunch time, which was good for us. Agent D and I ordered the ‘Sasak Rijsttafel’ set for 2 (IDR 125K/pax) which consists of 7 different items.


A local specialty – Sasak Rijstafel set for 2.

Just beside the restaurant on the same grounds, there is a shop selling art pieces. You can browse around whilst waiting for your food to come (I did just that).


Good value for money dining @ Asmara.

If you’re staying in the Senggigi area, Asmara offers a free ‘pick-up & drop-off’ service by car. Simply ring them up to make arrangements for them to pick you from your hotel + bring you back after your visit. (Most restaurants in Senggigi offer this awesome service!).

Location: Jl. Raya Senggigi, Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara 83355.

Lotus Bayview Restaurant

Lotus Bayview Restaurant is tucked just behind Pasar Seni (Art Market) fronting the beach.


Lotus Bayview Restaurant.

It has a charming antique interior with pretty porcelain plates hung up on the walls, blue-tiled flooring, and flower-tiled tables.

You can choose to either eat inside or enjoy the sand between your feet outside. Situated only a few meters from the shoreline, you can actually see Bali’s Mount Agung on a clear day!


Outdoor seating on the beach.

Agent D and I deliberately made a reservation for 5.30pm so that we could enjoy the sunset over dinner. Coupled with a gentle sea breeze, the entire setting was lovely and so peaceful.


Waiting for the sun to set!


Five minutes before the sun went down.


Finally, the sun setting over the sea.

The restaurant serves a great variety of freshly prepared pizza and pasta as well as local Indonesian fare. Since we had Indonesian cuisine for lunch, we decided to go Western for dinner.

Everything was delish except the banana split, where the strawberry ice-cream tasted funny. :/


A memorable evening.

Witnessing a stunning sunset from Lotus Bayview while indulging in our yummy food will always be a fond memory of our Lombok stay.

Location: Senggigi Beach Art Center complex, Batu Layar, Kabupaten Lombok Barat, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83355.

Karma Beach Gili Meno

After snorkelling around the Gilis for the first half of the day, our boatman dropped us off at Gili Meno for lunch. Among the three Gili Islands, the most passive island retreat has to be Meno with its hushed and laidback atmosphere.

We initially wanted to check out Mahamaya Boutique Resort Restaurant. However, as it was on the other side of the island (and we only had about 1+ hour for lunch), we took refuge from the heat at Karma Beach Gili Meno instead.


Karma Beach Gili Meno Restaurant.

Karma Beach Gili Meno is a beachfront restaurant uniquely consisting of all-bamboo structures and grass-roofed rotundas. We requested to sit in a private hut, and the waiter kindly obliged us.


Beachfront restaurant.

The kitchen at Karma Beach Gili Meno features Mediterranean delights, as well as both traditional Indonesian and international cuisine.

We loved their fat truffle fries, which was the first to arrive. By the time my seafood pasta came, I was already half full. The rest of the food was good but nothing exceptional (perhaps due to my satiety?).


Two shades darker with our food.

Nevertherless, we had a good lunch at Karma Beach Gili Meno. I would recommend it if you’re looking for a restaurant not too far from Gili Meno’s main anchorage.

Location: Gili Meno island, Pemenang, Gili Indah, Pemenang, Kabupaten Lombok Utara, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83352.

The Ballroom Restaurant

The Ballroom Restaurant is part of the Puri Mas resort in Lombok. Its name is derived from the De Rijk family’s long-time love affair with Ballroom dance. We happened to come by on Thursday evening (their designated ‘local culture’ night) and were entertained by live singing and dancing.


The Ballroom Restaurant, Puri Mas resort.

Boasting a beachfront location with unobstructed ocean views of Bali, the restaurant is a fabulous place to indulge in a romantic sunset cocktail with your significant other.


So romantik!

You can dine in or out, and choose from a menu consisting of seafood specialties and Indonesian cuisine.


Main dance floor.


Restaurant’s warm interior.

We got a very nice table right in front of the sea. The candle light, beautifully presented tables with crisp linen, fresh flowers and the sound of the ocean added to the entire atmosphere. (perfect for a couple’s date night *hint guys*)


Eagerly anticipating my dinner after a day out snorkelling.

Although the waiter recommended the chef’s Indonesian traditional Rijsttafel menu, we decided to order a mix of Indonesian and Western dishes instead.

The food was cooked to perfection and the service was outstanding. We’d definitely visit again if we make it back to Lombok.

The Ballroom Restaurant also offers a free ‘pick-up & drop-off’ service by car. Just let them know when you call to make your reservation!

Location: Puri Mas Beach Resort, Jl. Raya Mangsit Beach, Senggigi, Kabupaten Lombok Barat, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83355.

Casa Vintage Beach Cafe


Casa Vintage Beach Cafe.

Casa Vintage Beach Cafe is one of the cutest bohemian outdoor cafes I’ve seen. Set in the middle of shady trees right by the beach, it is the perfect place for winding down with a book.


Incredibly idyllic all-day island hangout.

I love the fact that Casa Vintage is located away from the the rowdier ‘party’ side of Gili Trawangan. The entire place is super tranquil and quiet.

To find this hidden gem, cycle/walk towards the west ‘sunset’ side of the island (near Sunset Stables). You’ll see a bicycle parking bay on the right side and the restaurant on your left.

At Casa Vintage, you get to bask in the luxury of doing nothing but eating, sip a refreshing coconut, take a short nap on a hammock, enjoy the sunset, build a sandcastle, or even have a picnic on one of their comfy rugs with pillows. #lifeisgood


Surrounded by nature.


What’s a beach without coconuts!


Such a pretty setting.

Their menu has a focus on Caribbean cuisine; although not extensive, the food was good. We did have to wait quite a while for our food though. But most importantly, the view + atmosphere = simply amazing.

We left with our tummies and hearts full. ❤


Lovely lunch by the beach at Casa Vintage.

Location: Sunset Side, Front Rd, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

Quali Asian Seafood Restaurant

Our last dinner in Lombok was at Quali Seafood Restaurant within the grounds of Qunci Villas. (After walking around the premises of Qunci Villas, I’ve decided that I’ll want to stay here for my next Lombok trip heh.)


Elegant interior of Quali Seafood Restaurant.


Indoor seating.


Buffet option available for dinner.

With calm waves lapping at the shores in front of you, and Mount Agung of Bali rising on the horizon, this restaurant is another stunning place to dine in and relax.


Outdoor seating along the beach.

The kitchen serves mainly Asian food and seafood (duh), with flavours from all over Asia cooked in many different ways. As it was our last meal in Lombok (SOBS), we kinda compensated for our sadness by over-ordering. #itsoktogrowfatONLYonholiday

All the food ordered came beautifully presented and cooked well. My favourite was the chocolate volcano – the molten lava chocolate that oozed out paired perfectly with the ice-cream and strawberries on the side. Yum.

As with most other Lombok restaurants, the service was exemplary.


A great close to our stay in Lombok.

Don’t forget to request for the free ‘pick-up & drop-off’ service if you need it! 🙂

Location: Qunci Villas, JL. Raya Mangsit, Senggigi, Mataram, Nusa Tenggara Bar.

I really hope you enjoy your stay in Lombok and her glorious food. I’m already missing Lombok as I type this.

Explore Indonesia #7: Things to do in Lombok + Gili Islands


Of pristine beaches and blue waters.

We are back from our Lombok escape, 5 shades darker and lovin’ it. Our four days in Lombok was simply amazing – a lovely respite from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta. I found Lombok to be much more laid back than Bali (less touristy and cheaper!) and we were able to just wind down, chill, and soak in the beach vibes.

In case you’re thinking of visiting the alluring island of Lombok one day, here’s a list of what you can do:

1) Enjoy the resort’s facilities

Because Agent D and I booked our hotel late, we were left with few choices. We finally settled on Sheraton Beach Resort on Senggigi for its central location. (Qunci Villas would have been our first choice!) Although Sheraton was old and in need of a makeover, it was clean and good enough for us.

We spent our first day exploring the resort’s grounds and enjoying the pool.


Stroll around the beautiful green grounds or play a game of giant chess in the lush gardens.


Read a book by the swimming pool + suntan.


Get a refreshing drink by the bar and watch the world go by.


Enjoy the hotel’s private beach.

The private beach was really clean with clear blue waters. Agent D and I borrowed floats from the hotel and bobbed around for a while. You can event rent a kayak and paddle out to sea.

In case you’re interested, Sheraton offers comprehensive spa packages which are half price if you book them during breakfast (a real steal!).

2) Catch pretty sunsets

Because the island of Lombok is surrounded by sea, it has one of the prettiest sunsets with the sun descending into the water. Many of the restaurants in Lombok are located along the beach so customers can enjoy a stunning sunset over dinner.


1st night dinner at Lotus Bayview Restaurant.


2nd night dinner at the Ballroom Restaurant, Puri Mas Boutique Resort & Spa.


10 minutes before the sun went down.


Waiting for the sun to set on Gili Trawangan, after which my camera ran out of battery.

Oh do note that the sun sets rather early in Lombok, around 6 pm. If you want to watch it making its way down, you have to arrive at the restaurant around 5.30 pm thereabouts. 🙂

3) Go snorkelling/diving on the Gili Islands

To get to the Gili Islands from Lombok (Senggigi), you either have to charter a private boat or take the public boat from Bangsal Harbour. Agent D and I wanted to save time so we went for the first option. We paid IDR 700k for a full day’s hire.


With our cute-looking private boat, Amedeo.

We arranged for the boat to pick us up from the beach just behind Sheraton (super convenient!) and it took us about 1.5 hours to get to the Gili Islands.


Just us and the vast ocean.


Spot the Gilis in the distance?!!

As our boat neared the Gili Islands, we found ourselves surrounded by waters in fifty shades of blue. The waters were so clear we could see the corals underneath. It was amazingly beautiful.