Another 24h in Singapore

Back in 2013, when I visited Singapore for the first time when I worked in one of architecture and interior design book publisher based in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was also my first time traveled to a foreign country in Asean, as well as in the world. Since then, I often went to Singapore for few months, few weeks, or even just stayed less than 24 hours.

Yes, less than 24 hours.

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MRT Station in Changi Airport
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A very clean MRT

 

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Another very clean area inside the MRT

Maybe some of you also have an experience like me. It was a tough job, I admitted. I had to go to Singapore for less than 24 hours sometimes only brought books to our distributor in Singapore or had a meeting with some architects and partners in there. I even was joined with the architect tour in Singapore, it was an activity initiated and organized by my publisher company. Since then, I am very familiar with Singapore streets, café, restaurant, specifically places which identically with good architecture and interior design buildings.

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A very clean and well-organized parking lot in Arab village area
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Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station area and right-part is the Visual Art Centre

And since that too, I feel like Singapore already became one of my favorite countries to visit. Don’t ask me why, because I know you must have said, “Singapore is a very expensive country in Asia!” or “There are so many regulations in Singapore! You will get fine easily with the law enforcement.”

Yes, unfortunately, that’s the truth.

But you have to see Singapore beyond those kinds of things. Beyond expensive prices, high buildings, so many and tight regulations, Singapore has their own beauty.

Well, every country does.

I love the cleanliness of the country, the pedestrian, the environment, and their rich cultures from Arab, India, Melayu, Chinese, Asian and Western! You even can see so many different cultures and races from around the world only in Singapore (at least from my perspective).

I have my own favorite spots in Singapore both for hangout or just to stroll around the city, there are China Town, Bugis, Boat Quay, Esplanade Park, and Kampong Glam (Arab Village).

 

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Boat Quay with Anderson Bridge views
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One of the oldest hotel in Singapore, Fullerton Hotel

For all of you, who already went to Singapore, must be very similar to those places I mentioned above.

But, did you ever try to visit those areas only within 24 hours? I did.

Well, more than 5 times I guessed.

Just a few weeks ago, I went to Singapore and arrived around 9 pm, more or less. That was after 3 years or more, I guess since I went to Singapore last time. I feel good to be back. And I thought I already forgot the street and places in there, but I was wrong. Surprisingly, I still knew very clearly every spot in Singapore and every MRT stations.

Once I arrived there, I went directly to the hostel, which called The Pod. It is located on Beach Road in Arab Village area. The location is very good and I knew this boutique hostel long time ago, but I just had a chance to go there last time. Almost midnight, I felt very hungry because I was not eating very well for dinner, so I went to the Kampong Glam café just behind my hostel. I bought fish and chips and Ice Kopicinno. And oh my God, I really loooooooved the Kopicinno! It wasn’t because I feel very hungry or thirsty, but I really love the taste. Somehow it’s very sweet because of the milk, but the coffee is strong too. It was very good to stay in that area because you can easily get some places to eat or drink during the night.

 

Now, please let me know where is your favorite place in Singapore? And why you liked it?

 

Thanks,

Astrid

 

#8th Review: Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, Thailand

Yes, I know it’s been so long I did not make any review or recommendation. But no worries, I will give you my hotel review when I travelled to Bangkok, Thailand last week. It was quite short travel as I only stayed there to attend few days of the regional meeting related to my works. And the organizer gave us the twin shared room in Pullman Hotel G, which is located in one of a very good area in Bangkok, the area name is Silom road.

That was actually my second visit to Bangkok back in 2014, but I actually still very familiar with their road, the good places and restaurants. I could say, Bangkok is one of my favourite big city in the world!

And oh well, let me show you the hotel room look like…

view from the entrance

twin shared bed room overview

We’ve got a quite spacey hotel room for two. And I love their room because white everywhere. Make it looks like very big and clean. They also provide a mini refrigerator, spacious chest to restore your clothes, water heater, mini bar, the safety deposit box and the iron!

the most important, the iron!

Oh yes, as you can see below, they also have a big flat screen TV! But we never used it anyway, as the main channels were in Thai, also some Chinese, etc. Maybe because we were not really into the TV, and always worked hard every night after a whole day meeting.

Oh yes, the most favourite thing of my room was the bath and shower room! It is almost my dream bathroom, lol.

very nice bathtub

a spacious shower room with beautiful patterns ceramics

The breakfast was also very complete, of course, it’s a five stars hotel! They have Western, Chinese, and any Asian food to fulfil your indulgence and your happy tummy! But, unfortunately, their coffee taste bad for me. I much much prefer the coffee which they served for the coffee break during the meeting.

The hotel location was very good, very close to the sky train station, which called BTS. The closest BTS station name is Chong Nonsi. It is also very close to the Patpong Night Market, where you can go window shopping, as well as enjoy many cafes and bars in there. Well, you might find very “unique” bars in there (you know what I mean, for those who ever been there). Besides, there are many Seven Eleven mini shops, where you can get any kind of unique snacks which typically Thai or even Korean. I was so happy as I easily get Samyang Nuclear in there! Hahaha. Sorry, out of topic.

But overall, my stay was very good, except, during the check-in process they asked to give them 3,000 Baht which is equal to IDR 1.400.000 or at least EUR 100 for deposit, which was quite rare (and that was actually my first experience), as the hotel room has been paid and arranged by the organizer. But don’t worry, as they will give your money back, or if you use the credit card, they will cancel it after you check-out from the hotel.

Well anyway, never mind.

For me, the hotel is very good for the couple, holiday with a family, friendly environment, very good for people with disabilities, also business purposes. We had 3-days meetings in a very high point of the hotel which was on the 30th floor! We even can see the beautiful skyscrapers and high building surround.

Well, I won’t recommend this hotel for those who are a budget backpacker, as the price is quite pricey.

188 Si Lom, Bangrak, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand

#6th Review: Morrissey Hotel, Jakarta

Hello, my lovelies readers! It’s been a long time since I wrote my last hotel review.

Today I am gonna write my review during my stay in Morrissey Hotel, Jakarta! For Jakartans people, maybe already know about Morrissey Hotel.

I have stayed in there for few times before, and I found its really great place to stay either with your partner, family, friends, as well as for working purpose. Why? Because the room that they have is very cozy, super clean room, nice service and located in a strategic place in the heart of Jakarta.

Spacious Twin Room @ Morrissey Hotel

This is how the twins room look alike, basically, the decoration is the same with the deluxe room. They have studio apartment room type. The price is not really expensive for a night, usually, it ranges around Rp 1.000.000 – Rp 1.250.000 ($75-94), it will depend on when you’ll book the room.

Yes! You definitely can cook in this apartment room type! ❤

Once you enter the room, on the left side, you will see there is a mini kitchen, complete with a sink, stove, microwave, toaster, refrigerator, and all of the kitchenware (even complete with the cutlery).

From entrance side
Kind of ‘living room’
Makeup and working space
Entertainment space (TV cable, DVD player, iPod dock)
Twin Bed
I love their brick wall ❤
Complete with 2 bottles of mineral water, tea, coffee, and creamer

They also provide an iron, hairdryer, safety deposit box, bathrobe, cute and free toiletries, slippers and plus they also have a double sofa for you to enjoy with your partners during your stay in there.

Besides, they also have swimming pool and gym where you can relax and enjoy sunset/sunrise from the upper floor! It’s very close to National Monument, 2 famous culinary areas: Sabang and Jaksa, also 5 minutes walk to Sarinah and 5 minutes drive to Grand Indonesia Shopping Town. You can easily travel or hang out around there by using Bajaj or Ojek. 

The price above is included with breakfast for 2 person(s) with different and variety kind of food, from Western to Eastern and not to forget, Indonesian specialities!

I wish you will have a pleasant stay in Morrissey as I always did…

Morrissey Hotel Residences

Jl. Wahid Hasyim No.70, Menteng, 10340 Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia

Maimoon Palace, Medan – Indonesia

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Maimoon Palace or Istana Maimun is an istana (royal palace) of the Sultanate of Deli and a well-known landmark in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra, Indonesia. Today, it serves as a museum. Built by Sultan Ma’mun Al Rashid Perkasa Alamyah in years 1887–1891, the palace was designed by the Dutch architect Theodoor van Erp and covers 2,772 m² with a total of 30 rooms. The Palace has become a popular tourist destination in the city, not solely because of its historical heritage status, but also because of its unique interior design of the palace, combining elements of Malay cultural heritage, Islamic and Indian architecture, with Spanish and Italian furniture and fittings. And I really love their mosaic style in their interior of the palace ❤

📷 Astrid Maharani
📍 Istana Maimun, Medan – Indonesia

Unexpected Journey #2 : Danau Toba, North Sumatera – Indonesia

Well, weekends almost over now (in Indonesia time). But I have many stories that I would like to share with you about my last business trip to a new island that I ever visited in my life. Yes, that was my first time visited this island, although I am a Sumatera descent from my mother side.

I was very lucky that I had a chance to visit, to see and to feel directly the Lake Toba (in Bahasa, Danau Toba) as our refreshed time after long journey and lot of works to do in the past weeks. This is the most well-known and famous area for a touristic place in North Sumatera or Medan. When we planned this business trip to Medan, I was thinking that we won’t have much time to visit this beautiful and wonderful lake because of our tight working schedule, but in fact and unexpected, WE DID IT! Yay.

For me, the Lake Toba it seems similar to the sea, considering the size of the lake which very large. Did some of you already knew or ever visited Danau Toba?

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Beautiful view of Toba Lake from above

I would like to tell you a short history about the lake. Well, before I only knew few about the lake, I am so lucky that I have a boyfriend who is a geologist (and he knew more about Indonesia than me, I guess) so he was telling me a short explanation about the Lake Toba. Since then, I Googled a history of the lake and this is it what I found.

Lake Toba is a large natural lake occupying the caldera of a supervolcano. The lake is about 100 kilometres long, 30 kilometres wide, and up to 505 metres (1,666 ft) deep. Located in the middle of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatera. It is the largest lake in Indonesia and also the largest volcanic lake in the world. It was massive supervolcanic eruption estimated that occurred 69,000 to 77,000 years ago representing a climate-changing event. It is the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, it had global consequences for human populations; it killed most humans living at that time and is believed to have created a population bottleneck in central east Africa and India, which affects the genetic make up of the human worldwide population to the present. (Wikipedia)

Pulau Samosir or Samosir Island, which is the island in the middle, was joined to the caldera wall by a narrow isthmus, which was cut through to enable boats to pass; a road bridge crosses the cutting. Samosir island is the cultural centre of the Batak tribe, the indigenous from North Sumatra. This eruption was estimated to have caused mass death and extinction of several species of living creatures. The eruption of Mount Toba has led to changes in the earth’s weather and the start into the ice age that affects the world civilization. Samosir Island is an unique island for it is a volcanic island that settled in the middle of Lake Toba. The altitude is 1,000 meters above sea level. Although it has becomes a tourist destination for a long time, Samosir is kind of virgin natural site. In the middle of Samosir Island, there are two more beautiful lakes named Lake Aek Sidihoni and Lake Natonang. The area around Toba has pine forests that arranged beautifuly in greenish nuance. On the outskirts of Lake Toba, there are several waterfalls which are extremely fascinating. Furthermore, you will also find a sulfur spring. At Samosir Island you can also find misty mountains, crystal clear waterfalls to swim, and farming communities. The friendliness of Batak society will captivate you because wherever you go then immediately able to find new friends. (Indonesia Tourism)

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Kartika Beach, Toba Lake – North Sumatera, Indonesia

So that’s all about the lake and the Samosir island. Last time, we had a plan to rent a boat to go to the Samosir island, but because the time was already a little bit late in the afternoon, so we decided to go back directly to the city because some of us will have a morning flight the next day. Yes, it’s unfortunate. But I was happy to see and feel the beach sands also the water in the lake. Because most of the local people said;

“You have not been to Medan if you do not touch and feel the water of Lake Toba”.

So we did it!

Me, keep busy operated my new camera :3
Me, keep busy operated my new camera :3

During the journey from South of Aceh to the Lake Toba took around 5 or 6 hours by car. The road? was very crazy for the first timer like me! Hahaha. The road feels like we were in a rollercoaster, ups and downs, many curves because we were passing by the mountain hills. Left and right our cars were covered by many beautiful trees and in some road, we can easily found wild monkeys surround!

It was a memorable and unexpected journey for me. And the best way to start my 2017’s travel journey so far! I would love to come back to Lake Toba and next time will be happy to explore and visit beautiful waterfalls around the lake, like Air Terjun Sipiso-piso (Sipiso-piso waterfalls) ❤

#4th Review: Grand Aston Hotel, Yogyakarta

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I love this Illy cappuccino like…… A LOT! Also the cookies :9

Welcome to Yogyakarta!

I would like to share my experience while I stayed in Grand Aston Hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. On last December, I have visited Yogyakarta with my colleagues in the office for our organisation’s activity. We had a chance to stayed in Grand Aston Hotel in there. I think the hotel just built couple years ago because everything seems quite new. The hotel is super clean and well-designed. It is located in very strategic areas; 30-minute drive from Malioboro Street, where you can find a looooooot of souvenirs, cheap batik, accessories, street food and much more.

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Messy twin share bedroom for me and my colleague
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Please, ignore the box on the right! 😀

As you can see in the pictures above, this is how exactly the twin share room look like. Quite spacious + there is also a double sofa seat near the window. The room facilities at this hotel also quite complete, there was; telephone, TV flat screen with cable channels, Iron, Ironing facilities, hairdryer, slippers, minibar, refrigerator, alarm clock, and the WiFi also worked very well!

During my stays in this hotel, me and my colleagues was a little bit upset because of the breakfast, the lunch and the dinner menu almost similar like every day. And we have complained about the home-made chilli which was very good but they just served us only 1-2 times during 6 days of our stayed in there, hahaha. But overall the food taste was good! I was upset because they did not serve a cup of cappuccino for free during the breakfast, so we should order and it is not included in the breakfast menu. Because I really like their Illy cappuccino like A LOT! It reminds me of my Rome trip because every morning I always drank the Illy cappuccino to boost my mood, hahaha. Oh, I also was upset, because their traditional drink which called kunyit asam jamu or turmeric acid drink was verrrrrrryyyyyyy sweet! Yes, it made me feel upset.

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Here is me relaxed in the swing sofa haha

Oh, the hotel also located nearby the Ambarukmo Mall, Galeria Mall, Tugu Monument, Tugu Train Station, Malioboro Mall, Pasar Beringharjo, and Lippo Plaza Yogyakarta. Since the Grand Aston Hotel Yogyakarta is one of 5-stars hotel, so no wonder the room price it costs around IDR 1.200.000 – 1.500.000 or EUR 85-107 per night. It is quite expensive for Yogyakarta which very famous with cheap price, but it’s normal price for hotel rates in Jakarta.

I was not really exploring all of their facilities, but what I know, they also have rooftop bar on the 9th floor, swimming pool and fitness centre.

What I love the most during my stayed in this hotel, they have a lot of jajanan pasar which very rare to find in Jakarta city, which located in front of the hotel. Like this one! My favorite jajanan pasar all the time… kue putu! Hahaha. This one is extremely very rare in the place where I am living now, but a long time before when I was child, it was easily found even in front of my old house every in the afternoon.

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I miss you kue putu!

Okay, sorry I got easily distracted by kue putu.

So, for you who wants to go to Yogyakarta either with your friends, colleagues, family or with your significant other, I can recommend you to stay in Grand Aston Hotel Yogyakarta. Because the staff was also very friendly, smiley, and helpful 🙂

#3rd Review: 5D 4N in Marriott Hotel, Jakarta – Indonesia

Finally, I have time to write on my 3rd review! During the 1st and 2nd reviews, I made some reviews about my experiences with airplanes, but now, I will try to make a review about one of 5-stars hotel which located in my hometown, Jakarta!

last month in November 2016, I stayed for 5-days and 4-nights in Marriott for a training program which organised by the ASEAN Secretariat. And the organiser booked all of the participants which came from all over ASEAN countries in this hotel. Actually, it wasn’t my first time to came to the hotel, but I came sometimes before just to attended some wedding reception.

I will not tell you about how was the training program or talking about the organiser. But I will make a review about this hotel for your recommendation.

So this is it, my review during my stay in Marriott Hotel, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta.

Like any other hotel room, when we opened the room, you will find a corridor and the bathroom on my left. I’ve got the deluxe room in 26th floor, both the bedroom and bathroom were quite big. It’s actually still very original hotel bedroom design, moreover if we looked at their furniture which they’re used.

The facilities which they have also very complete, there are: TV, telephone, radio, laptop safe, Flat-screen TV,  iron, working desk, Ironing facilities, wardrobe/closet, clothes rack, shower, bathtub, hairdryer, toilet, slippers, minibar, refrigerator, electric kettle, wake up service/Alarm clock, towels, and single sofa!

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A big bed for myself!
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Working desk and TV
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Very nice single sofa there!
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The view from my room in 26th floor

What I like the most is their bathroom! Super clean, big and very complete. I enjoyed myself in the bathtub every time after the training and went to the gym, put the bathtub scents and the aromatherapy made it more perfect!

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The shower and the bathtub
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Relaxing in the bathtub!

They also have very complete breakfast choices, from Western, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, or even homemade breakfast. My favourite during the breakfast was a cup of cappuccino, dim sum, scrambled eggs, salmon and their juice! Lumayan, perbaikan gizi hahaha.

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Salmon, yummm!
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Omelette, dim sum, mushrooms and hot cappuccino

Every time after the training, I always spent my time to go to the gym, even just for treadmill or uplifting. Because I know, I ate like almost 5 times/day; breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2x coffee break during the training. So I need to burn the calories! Hahaha.

The fitness place located on the 3rd floor together with the swimming pool, sauna and spa places. In this floor they also have very nice and beautiful balcony, which you can use maybe for relaxing, working on your laptop, or even just walk around. Unfortunately, the swimming pool is quite small and located in the corner. I was thinking maybe the swimming pool was only fit for my nephews haha.

So far, the service was very good, the staff was very polite and helpful. Located in a very good and strategic area in the heart of Jakarta. Where you can easily go to the Lotte Mall Shopping Avenue, Mall Ambassador, ITC Kuningan by a walk around 10-15 minutes, also Oakwood only less than 5 minutes walk. The price? Oh yes, when I checked for the room price, I think it wasn’t too far from another 5-stars hotel in Jakarta. For deluxe/twins room it costs: IDR 2.700.000 – 3.000.000 or EUR 190 – 215/night, include breakfast!

It’s very recommended for couple, family with children also for business purpose!

I hope you will enjoy your stay in Marriott, Jakarta, like we did!

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with my lovely baby nephew, Abyan!
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Looked at his happy face after delicious breakfast!

Kampung Naga, Tasikmalaya – Indonesia

kampungnaga-village

Kampung Naga or Dragon Village. Why dragon village? The name has nothing to do with the village or vice versa. In this village there are around 300 indigenous people and in daily life, they chose to not having an electricity for life, even our Government offered free electricity machine several years ago, but they rejected. Because they want to keep the originality of their village and the traditional ways to prove they can survive even without the electricity.

📷 Astrid Maharani
📍 Kampung Naga, Tasikmalaya – Indonesia

 

Pasar Beringharjo, Yogyakarta – Indonesia

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Pasar Beringharjo or Beringharjo market is one of the famous traditional markets in Yogyakarta. Located in the Malioboro area and close to the Keraton. The front section has a wide range of inexpensive batik. There are also warungs (food stalls) which selling a huge variety of fruit and vegetables. There is also rempahrempah (spices) on the 1st floor. It’s open every day from 10 am to 4 pm. You need to bargain for the prices, and you will be surprised with the prices you will get! Happy shopping!