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? 🙂

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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

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:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesia-on-high-alert-for-nov-4-protest-against-jakarta/3249324.html

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/thousands-of-muslim-hardliners-to-rally-in-jakarta-over-alleged-blasphemy-by-governor


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! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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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?

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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.

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Belitung, city centre.

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

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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.

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Fries by the pool/sea.

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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.

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Tanjung Tinggi Beach.

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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.

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HUGE granite boulders.

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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.

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Sun finally setting over the sea.

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Dinner under the stars. 🙂

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Take #1: In the waters.

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Take #2: My ANTM moment.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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What’s cooking?! Surrprissssse!

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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Read a book by the swimming pool + suntan.

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

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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.

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1st night dinner at Lotus Bayview Restaurant.

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

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10 minutes before the sun went down.

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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.

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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.

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Just us and the vast ocean.

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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.

Although Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are all lovely in their own ways, both Agent D and I felt that Gili Meno was best for snorkelling.

A tiny island no doubt, but it has one of the best beaches and waters + snorkelling sites all round with incredible corals and fishes. You can rent snorkelling sets on the island for about IDR 100k/day.

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Before taking a dip!

First day, our boatman picked out various sites around the 3 Gili Islands for us to snorkel. We saw corals and a large variety of fishes but felt that we wanted to see more. As such, we signed up for the ‘Public Boat Trip Gili Meno’ (IDR 150k/pax) with Blue Ocean Boat Trip the next day.

It consists of a three hour group snorkelling tour either in the morning (10am) or afternoon (2 pm). The boat stops at Meno Wall, Coral Garden, and two other spots around Gili Meno.

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The ‘Public Boat Trip Gili Meno’ uses a glass bottom boat.

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Corals on the seabed.

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Deep into the sea.

With the help of a guide in the waters, we were able to see a lot more things in 3 hours than in an entire day. Apart from countless species of colourful fishes, we saw lil’ Nemo, a brown octopus, a shipwreck, and even swam close to sea turtles!!

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Thank you for being good to us, Gilis!

Both days, we left the Gilis around 4pm to head back to Lombok Island. According to the boatman, there are no lights out at sea and it’ll be dangerous after the sun sets.

On our boat ride back, we caught sight of majestic rock formations. The glimmering sun on the waters was such a pretty sight!

Useful Information:

Private boat hire: +6287864696189 (Agus)
Blue Ocean Boat Trip (snorkelling operator on Meno): +6281339509859 (Dean)

4) Sunset horseback riding along the beach

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A once in a lifetime experience.

Horseback riding along the beach is a must-try on Gili Trawangan. If you want to ride along with the sunset, book the time slot that is from 5pm-6pm.

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Susie getting ready.

Suitable for families or couples, is a nice break to ride along the beach (and even partly in the water!). We didn’t have time for a full hour’s ride so we paid IDR 200k/pax for half hour instead.

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Introducing the handsome Rano and gorgeous Susie.

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Riding alongside the mountains and sea.

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Being novice horse riders, we were holding on for our dear lives.

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What a stud!

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Into the water we go.

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Backdrop took my breath away.

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Rano and Susie were too fascinated with the water to pose.

Agent D and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We both agreed that it was one of the highlights of our Lombok trip and worth every penny spent.

Thank you Susie, for the safe and lovely ride! x

Useful Information:

Sunset Stables: +62 859-3501-2836 (located near Casa Vintage)

5) Explore the three Gili islands on a bicycle

As the 3 Gili islands are surrounded by sea, no cars can be found on them. The only modes of transport are horse-drawn carriages (Cidomo), bicycles, and your own bus 11 (i.e. your legs).

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Gili Trawangan.

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Gili Air.

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Gili Meno.

If you’re taking a Cidomo, don’t forget to negotiate. Some of the quotes can go up to IDR 150k for one way. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle for about IDR 40-50k for a few hours.

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Cidomo horse sporting one of the coolest hairstyles in town.

If you worry about your bicycles being stolen, you may want to bring along a bicycle lock. Otherwise, it is generally safe. There are plenty of quaint streets and back-alley cafes to explore!

Here are some of the sights we saw:

Quite interestingly, we came across a sign stating “Thank you for NOT wearing bikinis on the streets of Gilis – respect local culture”. Glad both Agent D and I adhered to this. 🙂

6) Chill on the beach with a beer + book

On both Lombok and the Gilis, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and hotels lining the beach. One can simply enjoy a meal with a sea view, read a book on a comfy deck chair, suntan on a hammock, or even soak in the breeze on a swing.

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Laze the day away with a book.

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Lunch with a view.

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Coffee/tea with scones, anyone?

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Relieving my childhood days.

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Suntanning on a hammock.

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Wind in our faces!

If only I had more time in Lombok…

7) Pamper yourself with a spa treatment/massage

Because we stay in Jakarta where we have easy access to affordable spa treatments/massages, we decided to give this a miss in Lombok.

You may want to check out the following outlets which offer massages and body treatments at very decent rates:

  • Lemongrass Spa provides services such as massages for IDR 85k/hour and foot reflexology for IDR 75k/hour. If you’re not keen on massages, they have a nail package (manicure + pedicure + polish) for IDR 170K.
  • Orchid Day Spa and Beauty Salon offers similar treatments at slightly cheaper rates.

8) Shop for cute handicrafts

If you love Indonesian handicrafts like I do – you’d love Lombok! From wooden household wares to ceramics to gorgeous seashell bowls to chunky beaded necklaces, Lombok has them all.

I spent about 2 hours just picking out wooden coasters, door stoppers, soap holders, rattan tissue boxes, fabric placements, etc for the new home. All at really good prices!! (Thankfully Agent D was there and helped me exercise restraint hehe.)

Here are some handicraft shops you can check out:

  • Bayan Lombok Handicraft and Tropical Gifts is located within walking distance to Sheraton, on the opposite side of the road. They have a great variety of handicrafts at reasonable fixed prices. I bought most of my stuff there.
  • Anna’s Giftshop is a cute little shop that sells things like handmade pearl jewellery, colourful sarongs, pottery, woodcarving, decoration lamps, etc — also at fixed prices.
  • Pasar Seni (Art Market) is situated between Santosa and Sheraton. There are numerous small stalls selling handicraft and souvenirs. Prices are not fixed so be prepared to bargain!

9) Check out nice restaurants and eat good food

I will cover this in the next post where i will be sharing all the restaurants with sunset views, awesome yummy food and reasonable prices.

Till then, cheers! x

Explore Indonesia #6: Day Trip to Bogor, Short Getaway from Jakarta

Last Sunday, Elaine and I took a day trip out of Jakarta to Bogor for some fresh air. Bogor is a city in the West Java province. Located around 60 km south of Jakarta, we took slightly over an hour to get there. We left home around 8 a.m. and reached Bogor around 9.15 a.m. (traffic and weather were very kind to us that day).

On our drive there, we caught sight of faraway mountains in the distant background, which was really a majestic sight to behold. 🙂

Bogor Botanical Gardens

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Lovin’ the green grounds and fresh air.

The city of Bogor has a presidential palace and a botanical garden (Kebun Raya Bogor) adjacent to each other – one of the oldest and largest in the world. Our first stop for the day was the Bogor Botanical Gardens.

Fun fact: It is the oldest botanical garden in Southeast Asia (woah never knew that!).

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Inside the Gardens.

The Bogor Botanical Garden is located right smack in the Bogor city center. The main gate is located in the south and most of the garden facilities are concentrated there, such as the ticket purchasing booth, visitor center, plant/souvenir shops, library and conservation building.

The Gardens stretches over an area of 87 hectares and contains 13,983 specimens of trees and plants. There’s plenty of space to run/jog around, play a game of frisbee or soccer, fly some kites, or even have a picnic.

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Many picture-perfect spots.

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Locals having a picnic under a shady tree.

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Well manicured trees and lawn.

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Nice flat paths to walk/jog on.

The Bogor Botanical Garden is divided by the Ciliwung river and has three bridges. One of the bridges, the Red Bridge, is a pretty famous ‘attraction’ in the garden. Indonesians believe that if a couple crossed the bridge together, they would break up soon after (for real?!!). :/

One of my favourite spots is a place called the Mexican Garden – dedicated to all kinds of desert plants.

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Mexican Garden (Taman Meksiko).

There are approximately 100 species of cactus, agave, yucca and succulent plants from around Asia and the Americas. I never knew that succulents could be so pretty!!

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We-fie with our succulent friends.

Another must-see place is Astrid Park, located at the eastern wing of the Gardens. The park offers a splendid view,  with the bright colours of green, yellow, and red (from canna lilies) spread out across the garden grounds.

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Beautiful Astrid Park.

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Only missing my picnic mat.

If you feel like soaking in the panoramic view of the garden over a cuppa coffee/fruit juice, drop by Grand Garden Cafe situated in Astrid Park itself. Seems like the perfect place for a good read too.

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Grand Garden Cafe.

Before leaving the Gardens, Elaine and I dropped by the Gunting Pond. One can see dozens of pink lotus flowers floating on the surface of the pond, a really enchanting sight!

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Floating pink lotus flowers with the presidential palace in the backdrop.

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Shady walkway leading up to Gunting Pond.

Although passers-by are not allowed to enter the Bogor Palace  (unless you have special permission from the Indonesian State Secretariat), one can catch sight of the presidential palace from the Gunting Pond. The pond fronts the backyard of the Palace.

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Bogor Palace in the distance.

There are so many things that I wanted to see but didn’t manage to in the limited time frame — Bogor Zoology Museum, orchid glasshouses and orchidarium, Teijsmann Garden, Soedjana Kassan Garden, guesthouses, etc etc. And not forgetting, the northwestern part of the Gardens where herds of deer roam freely!!

I’ll definitely be back to visit Bogor Botanical Gardens again, perhaps with Agent D the next time round.

Both Elaine and myself had a great time at the Bogor Botanical Gardens. It is a must-go if you have never been there! ❤

Shopping at Bogor Factory Outlets

Apart from Bandung, Bogor has quite a reputation for factory outlet shopping as well. The outlets carry brands like Zara, Guess, H&M, Mango, and Adidas.

Elaine and I only managed to stop by Raja Factory Outlet before lunch. It is one of the newer kids on the block for bargain shopping in Bogor and carries apparels, shoes, and accessories in a two-storey building. Ladies and kids wear can be found on the ground floor whilst menswear is on the second floor.

Exterior of Raja Factory Outlet (photo credit: Raja F.O.)

Don’t have too high expectations; I personally found the fashion a little backdated. I did manage to buy some sportswear (Nike dri-fit shirts for Agent D and Pilates tights for myself) for a real steal though! *HAPPPPY*

Raja Factory Outlet can be found on No. 3 RT02/RW04, Jl. Raya Pajajaran, Jawa Barat 16143.

Read more about outlet shopping in Bogor in this article by honeycombers: Bogor Bargains. Enjoy! x

To-eat in Bogor

A friend recommended Sahabat Yunsin Resto to have lunch at when in Bogor. The place didn’t disappoint – food was good and prices were inexpensive.

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Sahabat Yunsin Resto.

The restaurant was a no-frills kind of place but the food preparation looked clean. According to my friend, their Mee Ayam and Mee Babat are popular choices and you can choose to have them either salty or sweet (asin/manis).

Elaine and I both ordered their Mee Ayam Baso (salty) and enjoyed every bit of it. The sauces weren’t overpowering, but it was tasty.

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My Mee Ayam Baso (salty) with ice Milo.

Sahabat Yunsin Resto has a few outlets around Bogor. The one I went to was on Jalan Jenderal. Sudirman No.12, Sempur, Bogor Tengah, Bogor.

After lunch and a filled tummy, we headed back to Jakarta around 3+ p.m. Traffic was great and we arrived back home in 1.5 hours.

Thanks for being so good to us, Bogor! Till we meet again!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Explore Indonesia #3: Cultural City of Yogyakarta

About 3 weeks ago, I noticed on the calendar that a long weekend (Easter) was coming up. WHOOOOOP. I casually asked Agent D if we should travel out of Jakarta and to my surprise, he said “Yeah, why not?”. Upon hearing that, I quickly booked our air tickets and hotel (yes, all within a night) to seal the deal.

We settled on Yogyakarta because we’ve heard so much about it from our friends and also because it was just a one-hour flight away from Jakarta. Few days before our trip, I spent some time researching on places to check out in Yogyakarta – primarily that of food and attractions. Here’s what we did. 🙂

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Exploring the old streets of Yogyakarta.

Day 1:

By the time our plane landed in Yogyakarta around 10 a.m., Agent D’s stomach was growling real bad. We had woken up at 5 a.m.earlier in the morning and in our mad rush to the airport, did not have any time for breakfast. Garuda Airlines only offered a puny bun during the flight which was not enough to satisfy a hungry growing boy.

We arranged for a driver to pick us up from the airport and went straight down to Roaster & Bear for brunch. Roaster and Bear is an absolutely lovely two-story cafe lined with glass windows, white walls, and wooden furniture. Their entire theme revolves around bears (as their name says it) — BEARY INSTAGRAMMABLE indeed.

Whilst waiting for our food to come, I went around taking photos of the cafe. Agent D really liked this poster and insisted I take a photo of it (which is really rare, he seldom takes a fancy to cutesy stuff).

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I LOVE YOU BEARY MUCH (AWW).

Alas our food arrived! I told Agent D to wait for a few minutes while I snapped some photos of the food. He obliged with a weak smile but I could tell from the corner of my eye he was just waiting to pounce on the food hehe.

The food was not bad. I liked my pumpkin soup (which had a sweetish tinge) and tuna sandwich. If only the onion rings were more crumbly though. Agent D felt that his scallop pasta would have been much better with fresh scallops instead of frozen scallops. But then again, we would be paying a premium for that.

By the way, food in Yogyakarta is REALLY AFFORDABLE (1/2 the prices of Jakarta and 1/4 the prices of my home country). And this is true even for nice restaurants in 5-star hotels. Here’s a picture of the menu for your reference. 🙂

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Roaster and Bear Menu.

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Just had to take a picture against this cute wall.

After our very filling lunch, we proceeded to Mount Merapi. Translated as “Mountain of Fire” in Javanese, Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Asia. It has erupted at least 68 times since 1548 and the most recent eruption in 2010 left 30 dead. SCARYYY. On our journey there, I prayed a silent prayer that 25 March 2016 was not going to be the next eruption in history. (Apparently, it erupts every 5-6 years which means an eruption is due anytime soon!)

We rented a jeep and a local guide to bring us around for 1.5 hours (IDR 350K). You’ll see many jeep companies at the base camp all offering the same kind of tours. Pick any one!

It was really fun zipping through the gravel-filled paths, up and down steep slopes, with the wind in our hair. Agent D stood up as our jeep went down a slope and started laughing so hard, he couldn’t stop. Being risk adverse, I decided to stay put on my seat for the whole tour.

Our Merapi Lava Tour consisted of 3 stops — Museum Sisa Hartaku (My Remaining Treasure Museum), Alien stone, and Bunker. Here’s us acting cool with our dashing red jeep.

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Outside Museum Sisa Hartaku.

Museum Sisa Hartaku (first stop) is within an actual house that was partially destroyed by the Merapi eruption in 2010. Everyday items such as bicycles, toys, televisions, furniture and cutlery are on display at the museum. From the items, one can catch a glimpse of the sad extent of the destruction and the impact it had on people’s lives.

 Just look at how the televisions melted because of the hot ash cloud. 😦

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Deformed televisions.

For me, this clock was an especially poignant reminder of the Merapi eruption on 5 November 2010. Due to the intense heat, the hands of the clock  were embedded into the clock surface at the point of eruption. Frozen in time, literally.

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12.05 p.m., Friday.

Along the way, we passed by abandoned dilapidated houses. Our guide told us that a number of villages were affected by the eruption and many houses still remain in ruins to this day.

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The 2010 Merapi eruption destroyed the homes of many.

Alien stone (a HUMONGOUS stone) was hurled out of the crater during the eruption. Not quite sure how it managed to travel such a long distance to land here. But it did. Looks more like a mini stone hill to me. 

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Us with Alien Stone.

Our third and last stop, Bunker, had a lovely view of Mount Merapi. Thankfully it was a pretty clear day and we managed to see the towering volcano in all its majestic grandeur. Agent D and I felt this was the best part of the tour; it reminded us that He who created the mountains – nothing/no situation is too big for him.

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Taking a moment to soak in God’s wonderful creation.

“The mountains melt beneath him
    and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
    like water rushing down a slope.” Micah 1:4

We decided to head to Borobudur next. Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many people come to Yogyakarta with the main intent of visiting Borobudur.

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It was raining cats and dogs when we first got out of the car so we rented 2 big umbrellas from the locals. My jeans were soaking wet 5 minutes into walking towards Borobudur. :/

The monument consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. It’s amazing how the builders of those times put everything together by hand, without any cranes or scaffolding!

I read somewhere that Borobodur was forgotten for hundreds of years, and lay buried under jungle foliage and volcanic ash. Historians deduce that this may have been due to the religious shift to Islam in the 15th century.

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The view from the top of Borobudur.

The rain tapered off towards the end so we managed to take a photo without the umbrellas over our heads. YAY.

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We ended the night with dinner at Stupa Restaurant by Plataran, a 15-minutes drive from Borobudur. The moment we stepped out of the car, we were like WOW. SO PRETTY.

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Dinner with a view.

The outdoor terrace offers breathtaking green scenery of Menoreh hills and rice paddy fields. Digging into our warm food whilst soaking in the view was an awesome experience. Sadly, it got dark soon after and all I could see were some faraway stars. 😦

The food was so-so only (maybe because we ordered Chinese food instead of Indonesian food heh) and a tad on the salty side. The duck was quite tough to bite!

Prices were on the steeper side, but still affordable nonetheless. If anything, go for the view. Its worth it. Here’s the menu for your reference:

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Stupa Restaurant Menu.

Day 2:

Agent D and I were so tired towards the end of day 1 that we decided to take day 2 slower. Our Yogyakarta trip was meant to be a relaxing getaway from Jakarta and the last thing we wanted was returning to Jakarta on Sunday night even more tired than before. SLOW DOWN, DEB. You don’t have to see everything.

We decided to sleep in on day 2 and left for the Kraton of Yogyakarta at 10.30 a.m. It was really crowded (and hot) by the time we reached around noon time.

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Emblem of the Yogyakarta Kraton.

The kraton is a palace complex which is the main seat of the Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family. It serves as a cultural center for the local Javanese people and contains a museum that displays the sultanate’s artifacts. The Kraton’s architecture contains a mix of Buddhist, Islamic and Hindi elements.

There are approximately 2000 palace guards at the Kraton, out of which only 1000ish are active. I ran into a tea lady who is responsible for preparing tea for the royal family at various times of the day. She told me that she’s currently 7o+ years old and has worked at the palace since a very young age; her parents were palace workers too. And so are her children.

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With a palace tea lady. She carries a dagger in front of her chest, don’t play play!

Our next stop was Taman Sari, a short 5-minutes drive from the Kraton. It was built mainly for the Sultan’s pleasure; only females (his MANY wives, NUMEROUS concubines, and daughters) and the sultan himself were allowed to enter the central bathing complex.

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Entrance of the Taman Sari.

The central tower in the central bathing complex was used by the sultan to observe his daughters and concubines bathing in the pool. :/

I find it a real pity that the Kraton and Taman Sari have not been well-maintained over the years. Many of the walls had paint peeling off and growing algae, the artifacts did not have proper English translations, and the insides were not well-lit (some areas did not even have lights and we were walking around in total darkness!). Sad sights of once glorious places. If only more effort was put into the upkeep and preservation of both places – I’m sure they’ll be an even bigger hit with tourists.

We din’t stay long at Taman Sari but spent more time exploring the Kampung Taman settlement. I really enjoyed walking around the colourful houses and observing the people’s way of life.

The residents of Kampung Taman are best known for their traditional handicrafts and many of them sell craft and batik from their homes.

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A lady hand-making a piece of batik outside her shop/home.

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Spotted a raccoon snoozing in one of the convenience stores (sorry for waking you up mister!).

I was happily walking around the stores in search for the perfect batik dress when I heard Agent D’s stomach rumble. GRRROOOWWWL. I glanced at my watch and omg it was 2.30 p.m.! Time was flying by so fast. We called our driver and headed to Mediterranea Restaurant for lunch. BEST CHOICE EVER.

Touted as one of the best french restaurants in Yogyakarta and rated #3 of 723 Restaurants in Yogyakarta, Mediterranea truly lives up to its name.

With a homey ambience and small bar, Mediterranea comes off as an unpretentious French restaurant. I felt that even if I folded my legs on the chair and put my elbows down on the table – no would would judge me. The restaurant has nice surrounds for dining with an atrium (a covered garden) out at the back.

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Hungry and tired.

We were both very hungry and over-ordered (again). The food was authentically french and tasted yummy. Best thing yet — the prices. For all the food we ordered, out total bill came up to IDR 289K (S$30)! Very reasonable right. 🙂 🙂

The duck confit with mashed potatoes was our favourite! The duck was cooked just right and was paired together with grilled eggplant (beneath it). The mashed potatoes had bits of risotto in them…SO GOOD.

Both Agent D and myself were in food coma mode after lunch and decided to go back to the hotel. After resting for 2 hours, we freshened up and headed down to Jalan Malioboro for some shopping (what’s a holiday trip without shopping right – much to Agent D’s dismay hehe).

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Jam-packed streets of Jalan Malioboro.

Jalan Malioboro is one of the icons of Yogyakarta. Many small eateries, batik and souvenir shops can be found there. There wasn’t anything much for us to buy (apart from my batik dress) but it was nice to just soak in the atmosphere by taking a slow stroll down the street. Tourists can also opt to sit in a becak (rickshaw) or delman (horse carriage) at night.

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In search of a pretty batik dress.

Dinner was at Hikaru Dining Japanese Restaurant, a cosy Japanese establishment near to our hotel. Juliana was just commenting that I seem to eat all kinds of food in Indonesia (French, Japanese, Western, Chinese, etc) – all except Indonesian cuisine. Haha that is so true. Not sure why I never have a craving for Indonesian food. The only time I eat Indonesian cuisine is when friends come to visit.

The food at Hikaru was decently good for the prices we paid. Their chef is apparently certified by Singapore Health Association (is there such an association in Singapore?!) and they’ve won a number of awards in earlier years. Impressssive.

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Here are some pictures of the interior of the restaurant:

And some photos of our comfort food:

I totally forgot to take a picture of my salmon head soup. Only realised it after I had dug out the poor salmon’s eyeballs and cheek meat (yes, I love fish eyeballs) which didn’t look too appetizing after. Agent D liked his ramen and their baked salmon roll was as good as the one in Sushi Tei.

Day 3:

Day 3 in Yogyakarta happened to be Easter Sunday. I woke up earlier before the alarm clock rang and decided to peer out of the hotel window to see if I could catch the sunrise. A brightly lit cloud amidst a blue unlit sky greeted me.

Psalms 146:6 came to mind: He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– he remains faithful forever.

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Easter Sunday morning. Christ is risen!!!

I went back to bed thereafter only to wake up again at 9.30 a.m. After breakfast, Agent D and I went for a leisurely swim at the hotel pool downstairs. It had been a lonnnnng time since I last swam and after 3 laps, I was kinda panting and had to stop by the side to catch my breath. Sigh time to start exercising again.

As our flight was only in the late afternoon, we decided to go for some SPA pampering at De Wave Spa after checking out of the hotel. I had a 60 minutes full body massage + 20 minutes face massage whilst Agent D went for a 90 minutes full body massage with greater focus on the back. SHIOK.

As seen from the receipt above, the total cost of both our treatments was IDR 220K (S$23). WORTH IT RIGHT?! It is even more affordable than my usual massage package in Jakarta! So happy.:) After our massage, we had a slow lunch at the hotel and then headed to the airport.

Both Agent D and myself really enjoyed our time in Yogyakarta and we’re thinking of making another weekend trip sometime within our posting. Next time round, we hope to do more adventurous stuff like cave tubing and abseiling into Jomplang Cave (which I heard is really fun!).

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Us on the plane. Up, up, and away!

Come to Yogyakarta if you’re seeking a short getaway without burning a hole in your pocket. It won’t disappoint! x


Useful Information:

Recommended lodging: Grand Aston Yogyakarta (https://www.aston-international.com/eng/hotel-detail/73/grand-aston-yogyakarta)

Recommended car rental service (comes with driver): Ukhi (http://yogyadriver.com/)

Explore Jakarta: Kota Tua and Cafe Batavia

This morning, Agent D left home around 5 a.m. for work. I woke up (barely) around 4.20 a.m. to fix him a simple breakfast which he could eat on the way to the airport. My hands and legs seemed to be strangely moving on their own in synchrony while being detached from my brain (which was still in deep slumber).

OK let’s boil water. Hand gets kettle and fills it with water. Finger pushes the boil knob. Legs move to the refrigerator. Hand opens the refrigerator door and gets 2 slices of bread and pops them into the oven. Legs move to the Master Bedroom and arms prepare Agent D’s suit and tie. Bread is ready. Hand butters bread with a knife and layers on a thick spread. 

Come to think of it, I can’t even remember if I spread kaya or blueberry jam onto Agent D’s bread. Hmm or perhaps it was nutella instead :/ My only faint memory was that of saying “bye-bye!” at the doorway and waving Agent D off. My legs must have found their way to the bed because the next thing I knew, the alarm clock was ringing and it was time for me to change to head down to Kampung Kids (Tuesdays are my volunteer days).

So please pardon me if this post isn’t too coherent – I’m still in sleep deprivation mode.


Today I’m going to write about my trip to Kota Tua when my folks visited in February. My dad is a history buff and so I thought he might like exploring the streets of Jakarta’s old town.

According to Mr. Wikipedia, Kota Tua was an important commerce hub in Asia since the 16th century. Thus, it was home to several important historical sites and buildings like the Former Court of Justice (currently the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum), the oldest surviving church in Jakarta (Gereja Sion), the 18th century City Hall (currently the Jakarta History Museum), and so on.

As we got out of the car and stepped onto the streets of Kota Tua, I felt as if I was transported to an earlier era of Jakarta. The entire street was lined with old colonial buildings of Dutch-influenced architecture.

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The entrance where my driver dropped us off.

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Stretch of old colonial buildings.

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A cute little cafe.

We took a short walk down the street and found ourselves at the Central Square. It was BUSTLING there – vendors selling food and souvenirs, street buskers (SO MANY. They were practically 1 cm apart), Indonesian tourists with their selfie sticks, bicycle rental shops, and so on. What a sight really!
One great pity is that many of the colonial relics are decaying. While there have been attempts to preserve and restore some of  the buildings (e.g. the Kota Post Office building has been converted into a contemporary art museum), many are sadly deteriorating and quite a number lie in ruins till this day.
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After preservation works – Post Office building.

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Colonial architecture steadily decaying.

I really hope that most (if not all) of the historical sites can be restored to their former glory SOON. And that one day, Kota Tua will achieve the status of a UNESCO world heritage site. 🙂
To escape from the heat, my parents and I decided to head into Cafe Batavia for some cooling down. Our bodies had probably lost about 3 buckets of water by then (one bucket each) and there was a strong need to re-hydrate. That feeling of stepping into an air-conditioned space with nice soft music playing in the background – SO GOOD.
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Upper level of Cafe Batavia.

Rated #13 out of 6,402 Restaurants in Jakarta on Trip Advisor, Cafe Batavia lives up to its name in terms of ambience. Set in a 200-year-old colonial building, Cafe Batavia is actually the second oldest building in Central Jakarta after the Fatahillah Museum (!!). The cafe’s decor oozes history and gives a glimpse of what life was like in the colonial era. At certain times of the day, the cafe has a live band playing downstairs.
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Wall backdrop consisting of picture frames.

If you have a choice, sit upstairs by a window overlooking the square.  It’s perfect for people watching and looking down on the happenings in Central Square (from the comfort of your seat).

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By the window.

The cafe serves quite a variety of food; from authentic Indonesian food to Chinese food (including dimsum) to Western food. They have an extensive cocktails menu as well. I can’t say much about their food because we only had drinks there (it was tea time).

I’d recommend that you try the traditional drinks (which we did). There are 4 types of drinks made from different herbs and spices and one can have them hot or cold. We ordered three traditional drinks to share amongst ourselves – two of them tasted really nice while the other was…well…an acquired taste. We were such thirsty hippos that when the drinks came, we slurped them up really fast! And FORGOT about taking pictures again. 😦

I’ll be visiting Kota Tua sometime soon to explore their Puppet Museum and Kite Museum. Looking forward!