6 Days Seoul Itinerary #2: What to Do, Day Tours (and more…)

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

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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View from the watch tower.

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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”.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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:

https://www.trazy.com/experience/detail/nami-island-petite-france-the-garden-of-morning-calm-tour


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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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!

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CHEERS to the many good things to come! x

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

https://www.trazy.com/experience/detail/mungyeong-hiking-zipline-tour


Visit Royal Palaces with a Hanbok

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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.

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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!

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Gyeongbokgung Palace.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)
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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).

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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.

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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)
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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.

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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.

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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)
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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.

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The cafe has a tea merchandise section.

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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.

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

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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!

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Homemade pure tofu Sundubu jjigae with seafood.

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

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

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

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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!).

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Chocolate flavoured bingsu.

And this marks the end of my Seoul food list.

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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

From Bali to Jakarta: Nebula Kuningan

An established household name in Bali (with three restaurants in Kuta, Petitenget and Ubud), Nebula has decided to set up home in Jakarta. And no better place to open a restaurant than the vibrant neighbourhood of Kuningan…simply because it is my hood hehe. 😉

With her sleek industrial interior, Nebula radiates a modern and urban feel without coming across as pretentious. Minimalist yet cozy at the same time!

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Bar area.

While ambiance plays a key role in every restaurant, Nebula’s main mission is to deliver a personalized culinary experience to guests by transforming good ol’ comfort food into tasteful delights.

There are two different kinds of menu — Lunch Menu and Dinner Menu. Both menus offer a selection of hearty Indonesian fusion dishes and innovative cocktails.

Nebula Kuningan, Kuningan Menu

Nebula Kuningan, Kuningan Menu

The former focuses on quick one dish options for office workers to eat during lunchtime (individual servings) whereas the latter focuses on dishes that are best enjoyed communally over long conversations (dishes for sharing).

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Can’t wait to tuck in!

This means you need to visit Nebula at least TWICE to try out all their food. 😉 I’ve been to Nebula a few times for lunch and only once for dinner and all their dishes are amazing. Some of my favourites include their Soft-Shell Crab Bao, Thai Fried Rice Pork Belly, Nasi Campur Bali, Salted Egg Squid (a very Singaporean dish!), Chicken Betutu (super tender and tasty), and Glazed Shirt Ribs.

Most times I was too busy eating to snap pictures of the food. Here’s what I got:

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Thai Fried Rice Pork Belly (IDR 60k).

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Spaghetti Tuna Hang Jebat (IDR 55k).

For the healthy/weight conscious, fret not. Nebula has brought over their infamous smoothies bowls from Bali!!! I absolutely love their Healthy Bowl with greek yoghurt as the base (IDR 55k).

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Healthy Bowl (IDR 55k).

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Served in round wooden bowls with wooden spoons. Such pretty colours!

Expect to spend about IDR 150k-200k/pax for food and drinks at Nebula (lunch would be cheaper). The calories gained are worth every penny!


Nebula Kuningan 
Kantor Taman A9
Jalan Dr. Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung Lot 8.9
Mega Kuningan, Jakarta 12950

One of Jakarta’s Finest Coffee House: Tanamera Coffee Roastery

Tanamera Coffee is an independent coffee house with several branches in Jakarta (and even one in Bali!).
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CHEERS!


TANAMERA Kebayoran

Jalan Ahmad Dahlan no.16
Jakarta Selatan 12130

Our Last Singapore National Day Reception in Jakarta

President Jokowi and Ibu Iriana are currently in Singapore for the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat held today. 2017 is a particularly significant year for both the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and Singapore (SING) because it marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Hence the ingenious tagline RISING50!

On a related note, I can’t believe one year+ has gone by since Singapore National Day Reception 2016. Annual events like this make the passing of time even more salient and remind me that our time in Jakarta is soon coming to an end. *sobs*

At this year’s National Day Reception, we celebrated Singapore turning 52 years as well as RISING50. Pardon the lack of photos, I was too busy helping myself to all the delish local food.

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Singapore food street, Shangri-La Hotel.

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Haji Lane brought to Jakarta.

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Happppppy 52nd Birthday Singapore!!!

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So glad to bump into Mia. What a small world.

The photo booth was really pretty and we couldn’t help hogging it for a while hehe.

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Singapore Embassy in Jakarta housewives.

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Trying to be posh. FAIL.

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Cool attempt. FAIL.

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What would I do without these ladies?! They add so much colour to Jakarta! 🙂 

The 52nd National Day Reception was very special because Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean officiated the event. Two days later, DPM Teo also met the Singaporean community living and working in Jakarta at Singapore Community Day.

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Singapore Community Day, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski.

Together with fellow Singaporeans, we sang the National Anthem and recited the Singapore Pledge. Never felt any prouder to call Singapore my home. ❤

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On stage to cut Singapore’s birthday cake.

The Haji lane photo booth found its way from the National Day Reception at Shangri-La Hotel to the Singapore Community Day at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski. And we couldn’t resist taking more photos!

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Just chillin’ at Haji Lane.

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Shiok lah.

One thing I’m really thankful for here in Jakarta is the huge Singaporean community. They’ve provided me a home away from a home. And they’re one of the reasons why I’m going to miss this place so much.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” 
― Anaïs Nin

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.

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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.

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Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud.

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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.

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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.

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Some pretty steep steps.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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A relaxing and tranquil dining experience.

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

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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. 🙂

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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.)

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All ready to conquer the ducks!

Day 2

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Mission accomplished – BANANAS.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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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).

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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“165 steps up. Good luck.”

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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.

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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.

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Love the sounds and the power of pounding water.

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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).

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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.

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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!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Shopping streets.

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Handmade dogs for sale, anyone?

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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:

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Hand-painted flower portrait.

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Wooden tray for remote controls/drinks.

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A family of 3 giraffes, carved by hand.

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

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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.

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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.

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Interior of the restaurant with a backdrop of greenery.

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Showing us to our seat.

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

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

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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!

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An indulgent lunch against nature’s landscape.

Thank you for following me on this adventure! xx

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Now what’s next? 🙂

Day Trippin’ to Jakarta Aquarium

I’m finally back after a 3-month hiatus from blogging!! The past few months have been a really busy period for me — interviews back home, my dog of 18 years passed away, weddings, and so forth.

And boyyy am I glad to be finally back in Jakarta and settled in my usual routines. So here begins a backlog of blog posts. 🙂

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At the Jakarta Aquarium.

Jakarta Aquarium

Mid-June this year, Agent D and I visited the recently opened Jakarta Aquarium. An innovative project by Taman Safari Indonesia, the Jakarta Aquarium is located in the new Neo Soho extension of Central Park Mall (West Jakarta).

The combination of Indonesian biodiversity, the beauty of Indonesian heritage, and technology are what makes the Jakarta Aquarium truly unique. During our time there, I felt like we were transported away from the reality of Jakarta’s stress and traffic into another world of stories, magic and beauty.

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Of stories, magic, and pure beauty.

I would strongly recommend visiting the Jakarta Aquarium if you have kids/toddlers! Of course, it would make a good place for a date too.

What can you expect to see?

The entire aquarium spans two levels. The upper section focuses on the life of people and animals on the numerous islands of Indonesia.

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On an Indonesian Island.

A massive interactive touch table shows the map of Indonesia and gives visitors information on the archipelago’s geography, biodiversity and traditions.

As you walk through the rain-forest and mangrove areas (an endangered part of the Indonesian marine ecosystem), you’ll get to see Komodo dragons, coconut crabs, otters, huge lizards, frogs and stingrays, just to name a few.

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Fish-reptile-like-thing.

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Long neck tortoise!!

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Cute orange tiny frogs.

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This gave me goosebumps…

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Hello baby stingrays. 🙂

We happened to be in time for the otter feeding. Otters are such fun and intelligent creatures! Peek through the glass tunnel to spy on them — you might find them holding hands while asleep.

I really like the swirl tank, a beautiful piece to welcome visitors as they walk down the stairs from ‘above water’ to ‘under water’.

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Swirl tank.

The lower section of the aquarium is much larger and focuses on the endangered reefs and oceans of the Coral Triangle, where more than 3,000 species of fishes reside.

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❤ ❤ ❤

A series of jewel tanks offer unique sightings of some of the most beautiful, small, and odd sea creatures.

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Tiger fish??

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Sexy pouty lips #1.

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Sexy pouty lips #2.

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An illusion?

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Such pretty fins!

Other highlights include the majestic reef tank, the jellyfish tunnel, and a large touch pool with gentle sea creatures like Blue Starfish, Bamboo Sharks, and Turbo Snails.

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The majestic reef tank. Hello giant stingray!

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Giving it a go at the touch pool.

Hop onto the Sea Explorer (5D Theater) where you can experience riding a submarine to explore the depths of the ocean. This may involve getting wet though! 😉

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On board the Sea Explorer Submarine.

There is a classroom/playroom specially set aside for children. Let your kids’ imagination run wild as they create and colour their own fish, scan their drawings, and have their fish swim freely on the screen.

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Children’s classroom.

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Small cafe beside the classroom.

The Pingoo Restaurant

The Pingoo Restaurant is an American seafood and grill restaurant inspired by the penguins’ habitat in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The Pingoo Restaurant.

The restaurant is separated by glass from the penguin enclosure; you can watch penguins swim/waddle around as you dine and even feed the penguins during the designated feeding times.

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Up close with penguins.

I did not try their mains as I only had cake and drinks there. I hope they don’t disappoint!

After your filling meal, drop by Ocean Wonders to pick up some souvenirs. I was so tempted to get this adorable squid!

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SQUID.

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Other cute souvenirs.


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Jakarta Aquarium
Neo SOHO Mall, Floor LG 
Open daily from 10am – 10pm

Entrance Ticket: IDR 175k/pax onwards

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