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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At Home with Cayenne and Elements Concept Home Decor

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

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

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

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Elements Concept, Kemang.

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

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Beautiful minimalist rattan and wood.

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

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Elements dining set.

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Cozy vibes.

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

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Glass candle holder with gold rim. I WANT.

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

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

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

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Spot the kawaii motorbike helmets encased in rattan?

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

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

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

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

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


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Cayenne, Kemang.

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

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

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One of my fave items – TILED solid wood tables.

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And tiled stools. How cute!!

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Vintage sofa with matchy cushions.

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Cayenne dining sets and tableware.

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

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Wooden kitchenware, rattan…you have it all.

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Woven baskets of all shapes and sizes.

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Intricate glassware.

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

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

My souvenir from Cayenne:

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

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


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

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

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

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INACRAFT 2017.

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

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

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Ticker counter at 11am.

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

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

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

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Upon entering Hall A.

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

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Batik cloth and clothing.

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

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Trendy batik flats (love the topmost right pair).

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

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All things wicker.

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Cutest handsewn stuffed animals.

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Of beautiful food covers and bottle-lamps.

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

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Crowd situation at noon.

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

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

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Onesies for your beloved kids pets.

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Handmade statement necklaces.

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Storage boxes for almost everything and anything.

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

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

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

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

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    The only thing I got for Agent D.


INACRAFT 2017

The 19th Jakarta International Handicraft Trade Fair

26 – 30 April 2017
Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta

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).

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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.

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Scenic green grounds.

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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.

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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?!!

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Such pretty orchids!

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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.

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Martha Tilaar Training Center.

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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. 

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

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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.

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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). 

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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.

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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.

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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

Friday Treasure Finds: Qlapa Flea Market Jakarta

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

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My Friyay treasure finds from Qlapa market.

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

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

Some pictures from the ground:

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Entrance to Qlapa flea.

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

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Lovely water colour paintings.

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Well wishes cards and notebooks by ARTIAN.

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

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

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

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Photography art on canvass and tote bags.

My buys from Qlapa flea:

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Tiny things to brighten up our home.

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

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

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

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

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Please hold another one soon, Qlapa market!

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


Qlapa Flea Market
Lippo Mall Kemang
Ground Level

From Straight Hair to Curls: Nobu Hair Salon at Citywalk

In my last post, I recommended Anna Wijaya Salon for hair spa. Today, I’m going to share my hair perming experience at Nobu Salon in Citywalk mall.

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After the perm – Ivana and I with our new curls.

I’ve had straight hair all my life and have longggg wanted to go for a perm but never had the guts to do so. My hair is awfully thick – if not maintained well, I’ll totally blend in with a troop of lions. And so I always had this fear that perming my hair would make me more lion-ey.

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Farewell, straight hair!

But…I finally got down to doing it last Wednesday. I guess it was now or never.

Many of my friends cut their hair at Nobu Salon and have nothing but praise for the hairstylists there. By the way, all their hairstylists hail from Japan. The local workers only assist/support them and help out with the hair washes.

My visit to Nobu Hair Salon started off with a hair consultation. My hairstylist, Manabu, advised me to thin and layer my hair before perming so I won’t end up with a beehive (think candy floss/Pomeranian dog). He also said I had to straighten the top bit of my hair. I told him I wanted natural-looking curls and he said digital perm would suit me best. I went along with his suggestions. 🙂

The Digital Perm Process

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Embarking on a digital perm.

A digital perm is a perm that uses hot rods; the temperature is regulated by a machine with a digital display (hence the name digital). My hair was first soaked in perm solution. Following which, sections of my hair were rolled into curlers and plugged into the heat generating machine. The time required for a digital perm is usually shorter than that of a regular perm.

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Hair all rolled up in curlers and plugged into the machine.

In between all the waiting, you may want to get a manicure/pedicure done. Nobu Salon provides normal and gel nail services at pretty reasonable prices. 🙂

After some time, my hair was given a neutralizing liquid. Once the liquid was spread evenly throughout my air, Manabu opened the rollers one by one. BOOOOOOM. My hair had turned from straight to currrrly!

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About to open the rollers for Ivana’s hair.

After the final rinse, Manabu taught me how to blow dry my hair daily. The routine involves a lot of inward twirling, bouncing and hand work. I am so glad my hair didn’t turn out (too) big. It looks kinda natural, you think?

Here are some before and after pictures:

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AFTER: Curly hair and Freckles.

Nobu Salon issued me a membership card for free; I was entitled to a 10% discount for my current bill and future bills. The cost of my haircut was IDR 500k, the straightening was IDR 250k, and the digital perm was IDR 1,800,000. After the 10% discount, the total bill came up to IDR 2,295,000.

Here’s the bill for your reference:

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My total bill for cutting, straightening, and a digital perm.

One Week Later…

My curls had almost disappeared after 5 washes *sobs*. I’m not sure if it’s because I had previously straightened my hair and it was therefore resistant to perming?! Ivana’s hair, in comparison, was still very curly.

I made a trip down to Nobu again for Manabu to check my hair. He said he’d thin my hair even further (seeeee I wasn’t exaggerating about my THICK hair) and re-do the perm for me. So I sat in the salon chair for another three hours and went through the entire digital perm process again. And TA-DA…now my hair looks like this:

Thank you, Manabu, for re-doing the perm for me ever so kindly and readily. I hope it stays with me this time round! *fingers crossed*


Nobu Hair & More Citywalk
Citywalk Sudirman 2nd Floor #23
Jl.KH.Mas Mansyur 121
Jakarta

Explore Jakarta: Streets of Pasar Glodok

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

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One of the big lanes within Pasar Glodok.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Big prawns. Small prawns. Anyone?

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Fresh vegetables for sale.

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Man selling peanuts + surfing Facebook.

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A peek into the living quarters of Pasar Glodok residents.

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Gallery of colourful fishes.

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More skinned frog legs and crabs.

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

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

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


A few things worth noting:

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