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Archive for the ‘Destination’ Category

DAY1

I was lucky to be able to fly from the newly developed gigantic and brand newish airport the most anticipated YIA (Yogyakarta International Airport), it took around 45 mins journey in the morning and normally would take around 60-75mins drive as the driver told me. The airport is huge, spacious, and man it makes you feel like you are not in Jogja at all, despite the public transportation that is still being developed, this icon surely would become an icon by its own and a status symbol for Kulon Progo as the gate to Jogja.

AirAsia recently foresees the development of Lombok to become the next paradise in Indonesia archipelago; and I believe that is one of the reasons why it flies the route YIA to Lombok Praya and selected days, as frequent as 3 flights per week and with easy connections from Denpasar (more on that later) and also a direct flight from Jakarta of course (and some international flights too).

Having landed at around lunch time, the LOP (Lombok Praya International Airport) is located in the middle of the island itself, and having researched previously, I decided to head to the South, where the Kuta Beach is located (yes, it named the same as the one in Bali). Around 30 mins from the airport, and tada you are in the heart of the hype.

My first stop is Terra, a small local shop led by not less than 4 personnel whom excel in their culinary scene. With the tag line ‘the food that loves you back’, I tried its infamous smoothie bowl to beat the heat that afternoon which turned out did not disappoint at all. Terra’s menu looked so good including the sushi tempeh but I didnt try perhaps next time. If you are into vegan, health-conscious, and love the ingredients that are organically grown then this is the place to be! In addition, the food will love you back! IG: TERRA_LOMBOK

Out of curiosity, I popped in Kenza which is located just a few steps away from Terra. Interestingly, Kenza offers a more laid-back atmosphere, together with friendly staffs whom treat you like they know you for ages! Other than food and beverages, Kenza also sells locally made handicrafts, souvenirs, accessories and so on, so feel free to browse while waiting for your order. Having eaten smoothie bowl at Terra, I decided to skip lunch instead and ordered myself a beautifully fluffy stacked pancakes which is too pretty to be eaten, and not forgotten that it came with a bougainvillea petal at the top. I could stay there the whole day and just watching people passing by. IG: KENZALOMBOK

Next stop is Milk Espresso, as you could guess from its name that this venture is well-known for its Aussie style brekkie combo (and coffee of course! as it opens daily as early as 7AM) which I was too full to try! Do not worry, this is also located just a few steps away from Kenza so you will not be too far away from beautiful place which offers delicious food that worth the calories! Was too full to eat a big meal, I looked at the cake display and opted for a cinnamon roll which to my liking was a little too dry but nevertheless was alright! Would definitely come back next time! IG: MILKLOMBOK

Cinnamon Roll and fresh juice

Having stuffed myself well, I decided to get a little rest and SVARGA was my choice to stay this round IG: SVARGARESORT, it is located at the North of the island at the famous Senggigi Beach area and around an hour drive back from Kuta area. Not just beautifully landscaped with manicured garden and greens, this newish resort is too chic, bright, and spacious with an affordable nightly rate that comes with breakfast set too!

The driver told me that nowadays people start to move away from Senggigi area to Kuta at the South or directly hop on to the Gili (Trawangan, Meno or Air). As a result, few businesses rather quiet and some unfortunately were forced to close down, so if you are looking for a decent place or cafe for a meal it is always better to call first to avoid disappointment. The good thing is that you are never too far away from plenty convenience stores, shops, eating places and warungs. For dinner, I tried Pasta Pojok which I found from browsing through the google map and saw whats nearby. I ordered arancini (stuffed rice balls) and a homemade gluten free pasta (yes they do have some gluten-free menu, but I did not notice that it might contain more eggs, hopefully not!). The meal was good, decent, and affordably priced, best part is all the pasta is homemade. BIG LOVE! IG: PASTAPOJOKSENGGIGI

DAY2

After breakfast with a breath-taking view, I still amazed of how the architecture of SVARGA RESORT designed it in such a way that every room still enjoys unbeatable view of the sea, but one still maintains its privacy of each room even if you are at the higher level. In short, breakfast is served at the restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the infinity pool and more view of the sea.

Now the journey starts! Taking a fast boat or a regular boat from Senggigi to Gili T is the common plan, so I decided to go along with this. The sea port called ‘Bangsal’ and as I have read in few advisories that you must be careful with the scam, telling that your boat has left, or your ticket is invalid, therefore, head to the official ticketing counter (which at time was under renovation). Minimal signage, so you have to ask carefully about the ticket price and the schedule. The ticket costs IDR85K one way and should not be more than that and the journey took around 45-60mins with a quick stop at GiliAir, Gili Meno and finally Gili Trawangan or famously known as Gili T. Otherwise if you are in a slow pace holiday, why not hop on in the regular boat which costs IDR25-30K depending which island you would like to hop off.

Interestingly, no motor vehicles are allowed in Gili T, so rent a bike or charter a local horse-drawn carts named Cidomo. For the health conscious hiring a bicycle could be much more fun as you can explore the island and also exercise (there are paths that very sandy so you have to get off from your bike and carry your bike manually). Overall it was a new experience for me and very fun! Gili T itself is the largest and the most visited island as compared to the other 2 Gili islands. You could go around the whole island in around 30-40minutes by bike. Let me tell you, Gili T is very laid-back spot, which blessed with stunning beaches to spot sunset and sunrise. Locals are very friendly and welcoming!

The 4 months old Santorini Beach Resort was selected due to its design and yes the white and blue hues that make you feel like you are in local Santorini haha. It features 24 rooms that overlook swimming pool and just steps away from the beach. You might want to note that this resort is located at the Western part of the island, whereas the port, shops and more accommodations are located on the Eastern part of the island, but as long as you have a bike with you then you are good to go!

I always fascinated and excited of what the locals have to offer in my trip and that includes the local food establishments as it has already passed lunch time! So by chances, Kayu Cafe (IG: KAYUCAFEGILI) was another hit on the point! You will be greeted by the coffee scent once you entered the humble cafe and a rather busy afternoon. The food was great and not forgotten to mention the view. My personal tips: go and find a table by the beach or by the upper floor for more undisturbed view of the beach. Lunch time might be very busy and sometimes they could run out of some items too such as chips, tortilla and so on, so be early and try your luck!

Kayu Cafe by the beach

What else? Try the local boulangerie! Yes, there are 2 in the island, the first one is le boulangerie that is located not too distant from the port. Pick your favourite escargot, or chocolate danish or whatever you might want to try if you are a flour worshipper like me haha! The second establishment is tucked away from the main road, and is located at the small alley, named NICO BOULANGERIE. It has the best lemon curd tartlet in the island and when I came there I was lucky to get the last piece! Oh, and the apple pie was the bomb too! You know like the pie, with full of sliced apples fillings, brown sugar and just the right hint of cinnamon! Heaven! Do not worry there are plenty of ATMs located in the island, Mandiri, BRI, BNI, Niaga, except BCA.

Almost everywhere is the good spot to catch the glimpse of a sunset and sunrise, so be sure you are there during the golden hour. Having read the review of the local night market, if you wish to try then do not forget to always ask the price first before ordering. They sell lots of sea food, ready to eat dishes and so on; and might get crowded during dinner time. I then decided to dine at Regina which known best for its pizza whom prepared, baked to perfection by the Italian owner. Mammamia, the pizza turned out to be very good and authentic. In contrast, the pasta was a little too overcooked but nevertheless the sauce was to die for! Highly recommended!

DAY3

Gili T is for the early riser, wake up early to catch the best sunrise view from your very own window! I was eager to try kayaking but due to high tide from the previous night (and still went on until the morning hour) so it was not possible to do it. Thus, I decided to get another island circle ride with my bike and enjoyed even more spots to take some photos for my feed. Few spots were very quiet literally like you would feel that its your own island!

It’s time to move to Bali so again you could either hop a ferry ride back to Lombok and to its airport to fly to Bali, or else get a fast speed boat from Gili T to Bali (Padang bai). Get your ticket at an official ticket counter and prices may vary depending on the size of the ship and schedule departure. Mine priced at IDR350K and it took about 2hours40minutes to Padang Bai, with a complimentary bus shuttle to Ubud, Seminyak, Kuta, Sanur, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Airport, and so on.

Once arriving at Padang Bai you will be directed to the bus that would take you to your final destination. The journey to Seminyak (where I was staying for a night) took about 2 hours so be sure you stock up with some water and snacks!

Dinner was at a rather humble (and I think its newish) establishment called Taco Casa Seminyak which serves a decent Mexican cuisine and it was really good!

IMG_1850

DAY4

Maison at C was the choice to spend my night in Seminyak; as I have had visited and surveyed last time but only managed to get a chance to stay this round. Humbly priced and location wise was alright too, plus its rustic vintage decor and style which a feast for the eyes.

What is Bali without the beach? So right after waking up, beach was next on the list!

A visit to Bali will not be completed without a visit to Monsieur Spoon which famous for its danish, pastries, and so on! This place definitely will be in my list every time I go and visit Bali. You will be warmly greeted with the scent of flaky buttery croissant right from the oven and that scent would occupy the whole restaurant! What to choose? Well, every thing is good, my suggestion get few items then share the calories, so you could have a taste a little bit of everything! It does serve breakfast and lunch too! There are few outlets in the island, but mind you if you drive a car, finding a parking space might be troublesome sometimes, so because of this to I went to the Canggu branch with its backyard parking space.

Moving on, the next night I stayed at one of the best hidden gems in Bingin proximity. The property is uniquely bookable only either via airbnb or direct booking and since this is very high in demand, so you must make a reservation at around 3 months prior to your visit. It is truly one of a kind accommodation where you have to walk from the parking lot, pass the local neighbourhood, which lead you to a small alley and few hundreds steps down the cliff, then there you are! So my tips: just pack things lightly and be fit! Haha! Climbing up and down the stairs was almost like a fitness test in real!

Of course your fitness test pays off when you witness the sunset and the sunrise by your own small terrace (that comes with hammock!) How cool is that? You will never be too far from the beach when you stay here, everything is local and its a paradise for the surfers. Not to worry, it is time to disconnect sometimes from the world as the signal may not be existent all the time. Sit back, relax and enjoy the beach and the surroundings!

DAY5

The staff said always close the window as they might be monkeys play around in the morning and they were! Nothing is more breathtaking than a morning dip at the beach just right in front of your room while you enjoy the sunrise scene at the same time and get a little sun-kissed tanned all over your body! Next thing, let the waves wash your feet! Be ready to bring some spare shorts (preferably the quick-dry ones) some spare tshirts or tanks too as the sea always invites you to jump in and get some splash!

By the way, the room does not inclusive breakfast but you can always order from the ala carte menu and there are some local establishments around you (shall try next time!)

MY 2 CENTS:

  • Book a car if you wish to stay in Lombok before your next departure to Gili T as there are only a few daily departure to and from the island, so at least you could explore the Southern part of the island namely Kuta, trust me its worth going!
  • Get your fast boat ticket from the official ticket counter as there will be people trying to sell you the ticket and so on, so prior research is always advisabrele!
  • Once you are in Gili T, rent a bike, which should not cost you more than IDR50K for 24hours (or 25 hours of usage). Your island adventure would be much more easier with a bike, and on the plus point you are working out at the same time!
  • Bring or prepare some cash or withdraw from the nearest ATMs as most shops only accept cash
  • Reserve your flight early, a return ticket from CGK for mid-October is priced at IDR1.342K, whereas from YIA to LOP is priced at IDR937K
  • Pack as light as possible! Do not forget to wear your flip flop and lots of sunscreen!

 

Credits to the Photographer who willed to get splash over the waves over and over again in order to capture instagram-worthy pictures, and got the iphone wet! Ooopss.. plus the trip planner who planned this remarkable trip before hand! ありがとうございました

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Having a chance to visit Perth (again) this winter time has really delighted me. Been here, studied here and lived here for sometimes makes me feel emotionally bound to this city. Of course one way or another many have said that Perth is relatively quiet as compared to eastern coast cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, but I personally think that what makes Perth differs and unique from others, laidback, not rushing, beautiful weather this time.

I stayed in my host-parents’ house where I used to live when I was here years ago. A beautiful cozy house with italian flare I would say (since my hostparents are Italian) plus that it is convenient to either catch a bus or a train.

/DAY1

my sister and I were craving to have lunch at this Japanese canteen called ‘tanpopo tea-house’ that is located near our former school called St. Mark’s somewhere in Mt. Lawley; so we decided to take bus from the city to go there. Surprisingly St. Mark’s is not there anymore, either they have closed down or relocated somewhere else. Our school building has been transformed to a city-loft style of apartments block. In addition ‘tanpopo’ too has relocated itself from the corner of the small supermarket to now its own shop across the street. Still the best menu we rave is the Teriyaki Chicken Katsu.

The rest of the day we strolled the city and not forgotten to visit Jaws sushi shop in front of GPO where we used to have our post-school-mid-day hunger fixed plus Miss Maud too (you will not find miss maud anywhere else except in this city!). Everything on display is soooo good!!

/DAY2

The next day we decided to go for Cicerellos even before we plan to go to Perth this time, so Fremantle is the answer. Same old school style of fish and chips but we love it. Luckily that we did not order one for each, instead we ordered one and we shared and even  that successfully made everybody full. Huge portion that is. After that big brunch we strolled upon cappucino strip – that is a street where all the coffee shops are located and yes, they all offer cappucino! If you are not into coffee then the famous gelare shop is just around the corner (Yes, we do have ones in Indo but trust me it tastes somehow different!). We spent the rest of the day in the city, try to navigate our way since the city itself has been progressively renovated and relocated, in a good way of course; bought some snacks australian made in woolworths and plus not forgetting our favourite Baker’s Delight!! If you ask me what is good there, I always love it’s banana cake.

/DAY3

When we were students here, we did not really spend our time to go to the countryside or visit other suburbs that are famous for local produced items, so this time we decided to embark on half-day tour for farm and winery visit. The tour starts at 9 in the morning and lasts for 4 hours.

Our first stop was Margaret River Chocolate factory, massive chocolate display and extensive chocolate variants to choose from. I do not really like the chocolate but the home-made ice cream was something to-die-for! Next stop was Caversham wildlife park where you could see and experience the Australian outback. I have been to similar place before when I was in excursion for my English course but I could not remember where it was. So that was Caversham park, full of koalas, kangaroos, snakes, lizards, dingos and so on.

After that we went to one of the well-known wineries in the region located in Swan Valley called Lancaster. I am not into alcoholic drinks either, but its own produced dessert wines have blown me away! Good review on this one that I finally bought one for my host mum.

Last stop is the nougat factory which I think it runs by an Italian family too. You can ask for free sample before you decide which to buy, ranging from hard nougat, soft nougat, plus more than 10 flavours to choose from. This stop would make up the whole half-day tour and we were happy!

One thing that has never changed, dinner is always a fiesta or a celebration. My host mum would normally cook more than 2 dishes plus salad and dessert, so the dinner menu would be something like:

/Appetiser

Traditional style cannelloni with ricotta and spinach filling

/Main Course

Beer battered baked fish with mixed garden salad and olive, balsamic dressings

/Sweet Ending

Home-made banana custard, raspberry crumble sponge cake and ice cream

/After dinner

Selection of cookies and lemon cake

 

Last but not least, enjoy some shoots here. Perth anyone?

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Melbourne offers a different vibe as compared to Sydney. This city will mesmerize you with its magical charm and never-ending beauty. Well, a little like London I would say but it is in Australia.

LET’S FLY

Full service airlines may be your choice to fly direct to Melbourne. Regional carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and Malaysia Airlines do offer daily flights to the capital of Victoria. If you are traveling from Sydney, then you can either choose to fly with Qantas, Tiger Airways, Jetstar or newly rebranded Virgin Australia. The connections are countless starting from the wee hours to almost midnight, kind of like a shuttle service between the two capitals, that is almost one flight in every 40 minutes. Alternatively, if you are on budget then AirAsiaX offers a one-stop service (through KL) from Jakarta to Melbourne (that is if you don’t mind arriving at 11.30pm!)

LET’S GO TO THE CITY

Melbourne has two airports, one is called Tullamarine and the other is Avalon. Make sure that your flight is landed at Tullamarine as it has a better transportation option as compared to the other one. My pick to the city was SKYBUS, the fastest and the most convenient transfer to town. One way adult ticket costs you at AUD17, however for return ticket costs you AUD28. This shuttle bus runs everyday including Sunday and public holiday. Here is the deal, it takes you to the bus port where you would be delivered to your respective hotel by a minibus (and that is inclusive in your ticket).

LET’S STAY

Melbourne’s CBD would be in a square of  Collin’s Street, Bourke Street and somewhere there. It is very easy to navigate. For your convenience you can book yourself in any hotels within this proximity and you are right in the heart of CBD. I was staying at Grand Hyatt Melbourne (recently refurbished and renovated!) at 123 Collins Street and everything is within walking distance. Westin Melbourne is another choice that is located nearer to the iconic Flinder’s Station. Other than those, the city itself offers a numerous accommodation choices depending on your budget and your preferred location.

LET’S EAT

My first destination in Melbourne is to have lunch at NOBU in Crown Tower. Its signature dish by Nobu Matsushita ‘black cod in miso’ would make you beg for more. Have your lunch here when they offer lunch set and you would have a little bit of everything in that lunch box. Trust me it should satisfy your hunger (Bento box with black cod costs AUD45). Along the way from Collins Street to Crown Tower there are lots of cafes, restaurants, for sure something for everyone.

LET’S SHOP

International brands and local brands are everywhere, get lost yourself in the city (and practically you won’t be lost anyway!).

LET’S IMAGINE

and start to book your ticket now!

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The charm and beauty of this city will make you beg for more or even linger for a little longer. Sydney it is! Located in the Eastern coast of this kangaroo continent, Sydney has becoming much more like melting pot simply because you would find everybody from everywhere here.

LET’S FLY

Numerous connections are offered between JAKARTA and SYDNEY. One can opt to direct service by flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, despite its weird timing (arriving in Sydney by mid-morning) maybe would give you a good chance to just in time for check-in. If you want to splurge a bit more then why not fly with Singapore Airlines or Qantas. Please note that Qantas uses its budget carrier for JAKARTA-SINGAPORE service before continuing its journey to Sydney (oh yes, with Qantas of course!). Other than that, the good news is SCOOT will play its luck to the continent with merely SGD168 from SINGAPORE to SYDNEY one way; or even you can choose AirAsia if you do not mind transiting in KLIA before flying to Sydney.

LET’S GO TO THE CITY

Upon arrival in Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, you can take the AirportLink which will take you all the way to town in about 20 mins. 1 adult ticket would cost AUD15 one way. Hop off in Town Hall or Central and you are right in the middle of the city. Find your way is easy with the city’s public transport.

LET’S STAY

If you plan to stay a bit longer in the capital, try to search for serviced apartments such as Meriton, Medina or even Fraser Residence. Normally the unit would be equipped with all basic necessities, including washing machine, dish washer, cooking utensils plus laundry drier. Advance booking translates to cheaper rate for the whole stay (starts from AUD145 nett for studio apartment in Meriton). Other than that, various hotels with various gradings are also available throughout the CBD and beyond, but again transport makes things easy to go and hop.

LET’S EAT

Sydney offers all kind of cuisines, ranging from Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Modern Australia and so on. Sushi has made its trend here, seems being well accepted by the locals. Believe it or not, frozen yoghurt has also sets its footprint in the capital with long queue over hours. The tips is to order one or two dishes first, see if they are enough for everybody, yes, I am talking about HUGE portion here. Don’t forget to try the local pie chain and the cupcakes too.

LET’S WINE

Book yourself for a winery tour, lunch and wine tasting are inclusive. Learn how to do a proper wine testing from the experts, see how the good wine is produced and last but not least drink responsibly! Some wines are only being sold in Australia and not meant for exported to other countries.

LET’S IMAGINE

and start to book your ticket now!!

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So what’s so good to be here? This establishment has been popularly known by locals (and foreigners of course). The eye-catching colonial alleys and exterior have successfully preserved the charm inside this bakery.

Do not be surprised that there is no ‘please wait to be seated’ rule applies here. So casually you can pick your favourite table then all you need to do is joining the queue to place your order. Ah Teng offers both ala carte and set menu throughout the day, ranging from breakfast, lunch and high tea. I am not too sure about dinner time.

I had a chance to try the scones set plus the sandwich during the high tea hour. You must fill up the sandwich order, tick whatever you want, type of bread, selection of vegetables, choices of filling, mayo or ketchup or bbq sauce or everything then pass the form to the lady behind the counter. You may have to wait for a while since the sandwich is prepared on the spot as you order. Oh yes, the good news is that the scones are ready too, but just need a good few minutes to be reheated. Mind you that the portion is quite generous so sharing is recommended.

In case sandwiches and scones are not in your list, then Ah Teng offers an array of danish, quiche, bread rolls and some other items too.

(Ah Teng’s Bakery is located within the Raffles Hotel complex, it is actually just in front of Raffles City facing the Fairmont)

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I did not have a chance to actually dine in and try the food offered, but this place reminds me of something like Social House or theGoodsDept back in Jakarta. If you could remember that KFC was used to be in front of each other with McD in Takashimaya basement 1, then this no longer the case. The McD was moved then there is new boy in the town called PiqueNique (Who invents the name by the way?)

A spread of cupcakes, cakes and others-es make themselves available to be picked and to  be seen. Short enough, then it was the time for a little guilty pleasure, my pick was a red velvet (That was shocking red!) and the baked cheesecake.

The red-velvet was alright, was not the best one but was not that bad either. The shocking red was really eye-catching and the outer layer was more like those little tobiko on top of sushi. Texture wise, it was very fine, delicate but a little dry. I guess it would taste better if it could have been a little moist inside out. Overall, you could skip this unless if you cannot tahan to be seduced by the red and let the cream cheese does its wonder.

Next item was the cheesecake. Bottom line: something like what bakerzin has baked. The main body of the cheesecake itself was good, texture wise and taste-wise. Not too sweet and not too cheesy too, a perfect companion for someone who likes everything in a good balance. The jewel was located at the very last layer of the cake, that golden brown thing made its kick in your mouth. You could taste a mixture of chocolate, cinnamon, spices, ginger maybe or a splash of refreshing coffee in it. All in one and could be your pick next time.

Piquenique does offer meals too and I think I should try it one day, an array of breakfast sets plus comfortable dishes are readily available to cure your hunger.

(Piquenique is located at Takashimaya Basement 1, just in front of KFC)

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Make sure you have these places noted somewhere in your gadget.

Hong Kong – Go to K11 Art Mall tucked in TST MTR Station, then on the street level at rear entrance you would find Paul Lafayet – Pattisserie Francais. Here you would find things ranging from mango mousse (to-die-for) to localised tiramisu as well as apple crumble. Everything is good so beware if you are a window-shopper.

Hong Kong – If London is too far away for a soft-baked cookies English style, then why not hopping into Marks and Spencer flagship store located in Central MTR Station. You would find the freshly baked goodies here, everytime everyday. White chocolate soft-baked cookies is my top rated, followed by the traditional chocolate chip cookies. Go down to the the basement then you would know what I have been raving about.

Kuala Lumpur – Pavillion has it all. For a series of serious meal to cure the hunger, go up to the top floor where you could find Ben’s. I assume the owner named Ben. Casual, hassle-free, good place, good service and good food and will not burn your pocket. Whether you are a fans of a traditional style or western menu surely you will be well taken care of. In case you are blown away by the menu, easy, pick ‘Nasi Istimewa’. Enough said.

Taiwan – Everywhere in Taiwan, I mean Taipei and other cities, you could easily find Family Mart Chain. What I mean is nothing like daily necessities, but look at the food section and find a display of sweet potatoes. Generally its all good, ripen and ready to eat. The golden potato is naturally sweet and velvety smooth. In case you cannot find one, then hop to any night markets around the city and you should be able to find it. Caramelised tastes better. Happy hunting!

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