What to do : 8 Tips while 8 Hours Transit in Santiago, Chile

Before, I had never imagined myself to visit a country in one of America continent or America latin countries. I knew nothing about it, except when I was kid, I have been exposed by a lot of America Latin’s telenovela.

Yes, I grew up with drama series telenovela, such as Amigos, Maria Bellen, Betty La Fea, etc. I know some of you, too!

Until few months ago, my husband bought me roundway ticket France – Chile to visit him during the end year holiday, because he has to work few months in Patagonia, Chile. When he offered that, I had kind of mixed feelings. I have never been imagine myself to be in America Latin’s country yet to be in Chile and yes, I knew nothing about Chile.

But here I am visiting the 16th country of my travel list.

My flight was direct from Paris to Santiago, the capital city of Chile. And I had transfer time in Santiago for few hours, before I continue my flight to Punta Arenas, to reunited with my husband there.

So I decided to made a short visit to the center of Santiago, even I had a little bit jetlag because of long flight around 14 hours from Paris to Santiago and the weather was pretty different in between France and Santiago. So, in this post I wanted to share my experience when I transit in Santiago for more or less 8 hours, before my next flight to Punta Arenas, Patagonia.

Put Your Luggage at the Airport Luggage Storage. If you have more times during your transit in Santiago airport but you have a lot of luggage that you don’t want to bring, here is the solution. By paying around 3.000 to 5.000 Peso, depends on the size of your luggage, you can store your luggage at the airport Luggage Storage in Gate 1 lobby, on the 1st floor. This price is lasts for 24 hours, yes they open for 24 hours!

Afterwards, you can walk again to the Gate 3 to find the bus counter which go directly to the Santiago center then buy the bus ticket to go to Santiago Central. There are several bus companies which can brings you to several places that you’d wish for. If you want to go to the central, you can buy ticket bus Centropuerto only for 3.400 peso for roundway ticket Santiago airport to Santiago central and return (for oneway ticket 1.900 peso). The bus departs every 10 minutes and stops in several stop.

Once you take the bus, the duration to go to central from the airport is around 45 – 60 minutes and take the stop in Los Heroes, which the last stop of the Centropuerto bus. Take a walk straight from the Los Heroes stop around 900 metres you will find a big square on the left with beautiful buildings of the Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda, La Moneda Palace & Constitution Plaza.

Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda
(cultural space for Chilean citizen where they can access to the cultural and audiovisual of the nation)
La Moneda Palace
(the seat of the President of Chile works also places for the offices of three cabinet ministers: Interior, General Secretariat of the Presidency and General Secretariat of the Government)
Constitution Plaza
(its a full square surrounded by other government buildings and the President palace)

Luckily, I visited Santiago during the summer. For your information, Chile starts the summer on December to February. But I was not expected that Santiago was as hot as my hometown in Jakarta. The weather was around 33 degrees. The streets, the people, the street sellers, etc was reminds me very well with Jakarta, especially the Kota Tua area.

Can you imagine I was not used any maps nor the Google map (as I did not have the Internet data) when I visited the town? I just used the street sign and by asking people on the street. But before I arrived in Santiago, I took notes on which places that I have to visit while in Chile and I tried so hard to remember the way.

For me, talking English in Chile was a little bit a challenge, as they did not really talk English that much, even in the big town. Just like when I asked a Policeman, nearby the Palace. I asked how to go to Plaza de Armas by sign language as he also did, but I understand what he said until I arrived there and took pictures of the Chilean monuments in Plaza de Armas.

This Plaza is the main square of Santiago, where you can see several important monuments, such as; Monumento al Pueblo Indigena (Monument to the Indigenous People) where this monument intended to the Mapuche people, the indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile, which fought against Spanish conquerors for 350 years; Statue of Pedro de Valdivia the Spanish conqueror and the first royal Governor of Chile, etc. I really love this square because you can see there are a lot of tropical trees, beautiful statues and many street painters.

Plaza de Armas
Monumento al Pueblo Indigena
(Monument to the Indigenous People)

You can see famous buildings surround the Plaza de Armas also to visit the Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago de Chile which just located in the corner of the square. The Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, which had been constructed with neoclassical style around 1700s by the Italian architect.

Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago de Chile (left) and Oficina Correo Chile, the historic central post office and postal museum (right)
Museo Historico Nacional

Since I don’t have much times to visit the museum, so basically I just admired their city landscape and old architecture buildings with the neoclassical style. It was very interesting for me, because when in the town, I could feel I was in one of European country but with the weather and its people which just like when I am in my hometown. It’s a mixed feeling.

After walking around for almost 3-4 hours, I feel hungry and I was looking for place to eat. There are plenty of choices, when you are in the central. One that I remember so far, Chilean loves to eat everything with meat, either beef or pork. Since I am not eating pork, I looked either for chicken or seafood, instead. As you walk in the town, you will see there are bunch of local fast food restaurants. But I suggest you to try their local food, such as Empanadas (pastry filled with meat, cheese or chicken), Cazuela (homemade stew with beef, chicken, corn, rice and potatoes), etc. My favorite is Empanadas Quesso (cheese empanadas) and Empanadas Pollo (chicken empanadas).

After eat, because of the weather was too hot for me to continue to walk, I finally chose to go back to the airport. Once I back to the Los Heroes stop, I found easily the Centropuerto bus that departed few minutes after I went inside the bus. I slept for awhile in the bus because it was very hot outside and I still a bit jetlagged.

Once arrived in the airport, while waiting for the next flight to Punta Arenas, Patagonia, I decided to take a cup of coffee not to far from the boarding gate in domestic flight. You have to try a coffee product which called Patagonia Blend. It is not a sponsored post, but I love their coffee and cappucino vanilla, if you love the light and sweet one.

The last tips is very optional, but there are some things that they sell in the souvenirs shop at the Airport, which there is not in the town. If you will go to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales, you will find a looot of souvenir shop with cheaper price if we compare with the one at the airport. As usual, it will be a little bit more expensive than the one in other town, but it is still worth to consider.

So that’s my travel tips for those people who may have long transit in Santiago before you will have flight to another part of Chile, it is absolutely depends on the person’s preference. But I wish you will have the best days in Chile, as I do.

Main Paragliding + Island Hopping to Hœdic | PART #2

Masih dari liburan musim panas kemarin di wilayah Bretagne, Perancis.

The best place to escape from heatwave in France. Abis panas-panasan saat heatwave bulan Juli lalu, akhirnya kita memutuskan untuk liburan di Bretagne (Brittany), sejuk dan dingiiin angin pantainya. Plus, lumayan untuk refreshing juga~

Lalu kita nyeberang ke pulau kecil yang terletak di bagian Barat Perancis, yaitu di Pulau Hœdic.

Mau tau gimana dan ada apa saja di pulau tersebut?

Tonton vlog barunya sampai habis yaa!

A DAY IN DIEPPE, FRANCE | AMG! Vlog Cerita #10 | #TRAVELYFE eps. 3

Bonjour de France!

Kali ini aku dan suami mau ngajakin kalian untuk jalan-jalan ke kota kecil di Perancis, namanya Dieppe. Gak pernah dengerkan? Kota ini terkenal dengan pelabuhannya, bahkan kita bisa ke Inggris dengan kapal ferry nya, hanya dengan waktu 4 jam saja!

Penasaran seperti apa kotanya? Tonton dan subscribe juga yaaa!

The Couple’s Road Trips preparation!

Welcome to the summer holiday!

For those who are living in a tropical country, maybe summer holiday is definitely not a special thing to do, simply because we have the sun all year.

But not here in France. Since I am living here, I found that holiday is very very important for French people (or European in general), especially during summer. Usually, they already plan a few months ahead to plan for summer holidays, either they will travel around France or overseas.

And this year will be the first summer holiday that I will spend with my husband and his family. Although, this is not the first vacation with my husband, because this past few years we spent the holiday together in Indonesia. What makes this summer holiday feels special because we will do our first road trip to several cities of France and Switzerland, by using train and bus!

What I mean with a road trip here, it is not like what Keluarga Belo did with their campervan (For those who did not know, they are Indonesian Youtubers, if only you watch their Youtube channel), we are not that rich anyways, but we will visit some cities where our friends and family who lives both in France and Switzerland.

Maybe some of you already know that in 2016 I lived in Geneva for 3 months for my fellowship. Since then, there is always a love and hate relationship with this city.

Well, anyways. In this blog post, I would like to share with you things that we have to prepare for our summer road trips! Since we will leave our apartment for one month, so we have to be prepared more.

What do you mean prepare more? Since we live in Rouen only two of us, no maid, no family, having friends and neighbours are very important! Why I said that? You will find the answer below.  

Disclaimer. Even the title is about the holiday, we will still keep busy with our works. My husband will keep busy working on his thesis and I will keep busy with editing videos for vlogs (subscribe to my Youtube channel), writing on blog post also writing on my special project.

Can we do it all during our holiday? Bismillah, let see!

So what we have to prepare?

1. Decide which transportation will you use? Book and buy!

First thing first, either by plane, train, bus or car, you have to decide which transport you will use during the holiday. But in our case, most of the times we both always prefer to go either by train or by bus, so we can enjoy the scenery. Since we will travel to some cities in France, before we will go to Geneva, we are checking which train and bus will be cheaper to go to the destinations. Most of the times, we are avoiding to buy tickets during the weekend (to go or to return), because usually, it will be more expensive. The same as the bus, during this trip, we will try to go by bus which will be more than 3 hours drive, which is challenging! But the good thing using the bus in France (or Europe) for a long trip, they have pretty comfortable bus seats (spacious space, socket and WiFi!).

The best thing to do in advance is also to compare the ticket price either by train, bus, hitchhike car or plane before you go.

2. Where you will go and stay? Draft your itinerary!

Since most of our trips actually to visit friends and families, so we do not have to worry about a place to stay, except our destination to Geneva. We will stay in my husband’s friend place in Dijon, the grandma in Nouan-le-Fuzelier, in the villa booked by my mother-in-law in Bretagne and in Geneva, we have found our host to live few days from Couchsurfing!

Been a long time since I join with Couchsurfing and I was stopped to use it for the past few years, finally, I decided to re-active it again (and changed the name with my husband) and also open request for the traveller who needs a place to stay in our apartment (say Hi to us here!).

Drafting itinerary always fun for me! But we will only draft an itinerary maybe for Dijon and Geneva, because the other places are planned by the grandma and the mother of my husband, so basically we just need to enjoy and relaxing. But for those, who love surprises and challenges, you may also can do or go to some places which not in your itinerary or plan yet.

So do what is good for you and your partner (or friend)!

3. Check which places you want to visit

Wants to go to museum? Park? Hiking in the mountain? Check places you want to go through the internet first! So you know which day they usually open, what time they will open and close, how much the ticket price, etc. Because some of places, either in Europe or France, will close every Monday or Tuesday. So, check it carefully and decide where to go with your partner, prioritize which places you really want to go first, how long you will stay there and… ENJOY!

4. Weather-check!

Even sometimes weather forecast not always right, but at least it’s good to know the temperature in places you will visit, whether it will be very hot, raining, windy, etc. Why? So you will know what kind of clothes that you will use and bring to that place. Whatever the weather forecast said about the weather, always be prepared your raincoat, umbrella and scarf!

5. Get set, rolling and… packing!

Bag pack is always a good idea and very practical! But, since we will leave for a month and I don’t really have a big bag pack, so we decided to bring one suitcase and two bag packs which we will bring by ourselves (coz we both will bring our laptop!). Don’t forget to make a packing-list, so you will not forget to bring essential things which you will definitely need when you travel.

My packing list!

Rolling, rolling, rolling… I always rolls my shirts, dresses, pyjamas, shorts, etc, if I want to do packing, it’s not because it will saving more space, but also it just looks RIGHT and well-packed. Since my husband will bring a lot of books for his research thesis and me with my essential girl things plus my camera gears, so we decided to bring one suitcase to put our clothes, toiletries and books. So we just put our laptop, charger and journal in our bag pack.

Since its summer, I will not forget my lifesaver: suncream & face spray

6. Clean the apartment and then?

Another important thing to do is… to leaves your apartment in a clean and neat condition. Moreover, if you will leave it more than a month. Why? Because you just feel better when you know and make sure all things are clean when you leave and when you will be back again from holiday. No dirty dishes, no dirty kitchen, leave the refrigerator empties, empty the trash bin, no dirty bathroom and bedroom, etc… all things should be very clean! It’s actually up to you, but we prefer that way.

7. Checking all your electricity, gas and water on the day you will leave also very important! So you will not waste it if you will leave it for long time. We also ask a help to our neighbour to taking care our plants while we will have vacation, last but not least… LOCK YOUR WINDOWS AND DOOR!

… and let’s GO!

Happy holiday all!

9 Tips Jalan-jalan ke Versailles, Paris di Perancis

Beberapa waktu lalu, saya mengunjungi pacar (sekarang sih udah jadi suami, hehe) di kota Paris. Sebenarnya, suami saya tidak tinggal di Paris nya, tapi lebih ke selatan dari Paris, namanya kota Orléans. Jaraknya sekitar 130 kilometer, kalau naik kereta intercity sekitar 1 jam dari Paris. Tapi waktu itu kita nebeng di apartemen sepupunya yang berada di kota Paris, jadi biar kemana-mana juga lebih dekat. Semenjak pertama kali ke Paris tahun 2015 lalu, emang sebenarnya udah pengen banget ke Versailles, ya udah ada di bucket list banget deh intinya. Tapi waktu itu karena waktunya juga gak banyak, cuma 2 malam di Paris, jadi ya skipped dulu deh sambil harap-harap bisa berkesempatan lagi untuk balik ke Paris.

Dan, alhamdulillah, ternyata benar-benar dikasih kesempatan dan rezeki lagi, sama orang tersayang pula kesananya! Ihiy. Akhirnya saya membuat itinerary perjalanan selama di Paris selama seminggu lengkap dengan catatan, transportasi, waktu dan semacam what to do selama berkunjung ke tempat-tempat tersebut. Salah satunya, saya bilang saya pengin banget ke istana Versailles!

Apa sih Versailles? Itu dimana? Ada apa aja disana? Terus apa aja yang menarik?

Sebegitu cantiknya ya ❤ Foto dari Pinterest

Sabar, sabar gengs, saya coba jelaskan satu per satu ya.

Bagi yang belum tahu, belum pernah kesana, atau sekadar baru denger soal Versailles. Jadi, Versailles ini dulunya istana dan kediaman utama kerajaan Perancis sejak tahun 1682 di bawah Louis XIV hingga awal Revolusi Perancis pada tahun 1789 di bawah Louis XVI. Dan istana ini menjadi saksi adanya Revolusi Perancis pada zaman itu, dimana Marie Antoinette menjadi salah satu tokoh yang cukup terkenal dan berpengaruh saat itu.

Versailles kini menjadi salah satu situs warisan dunia UNESCO. Biasanya, istana ini digunakan untuk acara-acara penting, seperti; upacara-upacara, Royal Opera dan apartemen kerajaan; untuk apartemen kerajaan seperti Grand Trianon dan Petit Trianon yang terletak di dalam taman; ada juga pedesaan kecil yang dahulu kala sengaja dibuat untuk Marie Antoinette tinggal dan Taman Versailles yang sangat luas dan dilengkapi dengan air mancur, kanal dan kerbun berbunga. Luas seluruh area istana ini sekitar 1.000 hektar. Pokoknya bagi yang pencinta sejarah Eropa, Perancis khususnya, pasti bakalan suka banget sih sama tempat ini! 100% guaranteed.

Look at those ceiling details ❤
Setiap ruangan gaya dan warna wallpapernya beda-beda dan penuh warna, juga dominasi gold. Keren banget ya
The golden gate of Château de Versailles

Nah, jadi di post kali ini, saya mau coba kasih beberapa tips ke teman-teman yang pengin banget ke Paris, tapi bosen kalau cuma stay di kota nya aja, jadi kali ini kita main-main ke Versailles dulu ya. Sebelumnya, ada beberapa hal yang harus diketahui terlebih dahulu:

1. Pilih musim dan waktu yang tepat untuk berkunjung

Musim terbaik untuk mengunjungi Versailles sebenarnya pada musim semi dan panas, karena bunga-bunga bermekaran dan pepohonan akan terlihat sangat cerah dan penuh warna. Walaupun juga harus siap-siap dengan ramainya pengunjung yang datang dari berbagai belahan dunia. Di musim dan waktu tertentu biasanya, area fountain dan taman memiliki beberapa events tersendiri yang bisa di cek disini.

Catat ya, istana Versailles ini tutup setiap hari Senin, Christmas dan Tahun Baru.

The best place to hide, isn’t it? 😀

 2. Baca dan pahami dulu sejarahnya

Lebih baik sebelum kesana ketahui dulu sedikit mengenai latar belakang dan sejarah istana Versailles, jadi semakin bisa meresapi suasana dan cerita dari setiap ruangan di dalam istana. Minimal bisa Googling mengenai sejarahnya, baca beberapa buku, nonton beberapa film yang memang menceritakan atau menyinggung soal sejarah Perancis, berlatarbelakangkan istana Versailles, seperti; Marie Antoinette.

The Hall of Mirrors, galeri pusat istana Versailles yang sempat difungsikan sebagai aula untuk beberapa acara penting keluarga kerajaan

 3. Berangkat pagi atau menginap di kota Versailles?

Sebenarnya ke Versailles itu lebih baik berangkat pagi sekitar jam 7 atau 8 pagi dari Paris, untuk menghindari antrian yang panjang dan udara juga masih sejuk. Terlebih kalau tempat menginap kamu agak jauh dan di pinggir kota Paris, karena waktu tempuh bisa sekitar 1 jam sampai ke Stasiun Versailles Château Rive Gauche.

Atau, kalau memang masih banyak waktu, dan mau mengunjungi istana Versailles dan sekitarnya, bisa menginap 1-2 malam di Versailles village. Suasananya beda banget sama di Paris, kita seperti kembali ke masa lalu, kotanya super indah. Dan ada beberapa pilihan hotel untuk menginap dengan kisaran harga EUR 85/night, kalau mau ada juga kok Air BnB disana dengan harga yang jauh lebih murah di mulai dari EUR 50/night.

Kota Versailles itu emang bagus banget sih, kalau next time ada waktu lebih banyak juga kayaknya saya pengin coba menginap dan eksplor kota kecil ini, di luar dari istana nya yang maha megah.

4. Kenakan baju dan sepatu yang nyaman + gak ribet

Ini juga hal yang penting banget sih, kalau kamu berencana untuk summer kesini, pakai kaos simpel dan jeans udah paling juara. Karena panasnya Paris dan sekitarnya itu juga gak beda jauh sama Jakarta, bedanya less pollution aja sih paling. Terus, karena kalian pasti akan banyak jalan kaki dari stasiun ke istana dan keliling taman Versailles, paling the best ya pakai sneakers! Untuk perempuan-perempuan, I definitely will say no to high heels, stiletto, even flat shoes or whatever it is. Karena secapek itu gengs jalannya, percayalah Versailles gedeeeeeee banget.

Berjalan di sepanjang labirin ini. Kalo ada yang nonton film Parfume, pasti familiar sama labirin ini?

5. Naik RER C, pilihan terbaik dan termurah

Terletak di departemen Yvelines, sekitar 20 kilometer (12 miles) barat daya dari pusat kota Paris, untuk ke Versailles sebenarnya mudah banget! Kalian bisa dengan mudahnya mengakses dengan menggunakan kereta RER C. Untuk mengetahui rute dan stasiunnya dimana saja, bisa dilihat disini. Kereta RER C ini berbeda dengan jalur Metro, jadi pastikan untuk beli tiket di vending machine yang ada di stasiun. Kalau gak salah, tarifnya sekitar 7 euro (PP) dengan lama perjalanan sekitar 1 jam. Saya sarankan sih lebih baik untuk beli langsung PP dari Paris, untuk menghindari antrian lagi saat pulang dari Versailles. Karena biasanya saat menuju kembali ke Paris, di stasiun akhir Versailles Château Rive Gauche itu rame banget, apalagi kalau high season.

6. Jangan lupa bawa bekel makanan dan minuman

Sebenarnya ada restoran, kafe dan tea room yang menjual makanan di istana Versailles, tapi percayalah, mendingan kalian siap-siap untuk bawa beberapa makanan kecil atau mungkin seperti sandwich, croissant, buah, roti atau lainnya yang mudah dibawa dan dikonsumsi disana. Karena banyak sekali orang-orang yang akhirnya duduk-duduk di tangga bahkan di taman untuk sekadar ‘piknik’ dan menikmati udara yang bersih di Versailles sambil makan siang.

Bassin d’Apollon (French) or Fountain of Apollo (English) di sekitar sinilah rata-rata pengunjung membuat area “piknik” dadakan, sebenarnya ada juga bagian taman lainnya

 7. Jam buka? Tiketnya berapa? Beli Dimana?

Istana mulai dibuka pukul 9 pagi dan tutup jam 6.30 sore, tetapi untuk Grand Trianon dan Galeri hanya buka pada siang hari saja. Kalau mau jalan-jalan ke taman dan kebun buka setiap harinya, dan bebas biaya, kecuali jika ada acara Musical Fountain Shows dan Musical Gardens.

Begitu kamu memasuki area istana, di sebelah kiri ada kantor penjualan tiket ada yang namanya Ministers’ South Wing (letaknya di sebelah kiri lapangan The Cour d’Honneur ya!) harga tiketnya EUR 20 untuk semua area, dan EUR 27 kalau kamu mau nonton Musical Fountain Shows atau Musical Garden. Kalau kamu hanya ingin berkunjung ke istana aja dan area taman, harganya EUR 18.

Nah, kalau menurut kamu sehari gak cukup untuk ke Versailles, mereka juga menjual tiket yang berlaku selama 2 hari berturut-turut dengan harga EUR 25 dan EUR 30, kalau kamu mau nonton acara Musical Fountain Shows. Selain bisa beli on the spot, kamu juga bisa beli tiketnya secara online di websitenya ini, untuk menghindari antrian.

8. Persiapkan dan charge semua smartphone, kamera, iPad dll

Lagi-lagi ini menjadi salah satu hal yang penting buat saya dan mungkin juga buat kalian. Karena Versailles memang seindah itu geng dan sayang untuk kita lewatkan. Jadi, jangan lupa untuk mengisi batere gadget dan kamera kamu sampai full ya!

9. Tips khusus: bagi yang mau bawa anak-anak

Ini penting banget buat orang tua atau keluarga yang ingin bawa anak-anak. Istana Versailles mungkin bagus banget kalau kita mau mengedukasi anak-anak mengenai sejarah Perancis dan mencoba untuk memperlihatkan suasana yang ada di sana maupun hanya untuk bermain-main di taman, tapi coba pikirkan dua kali ya kalau kamu mau membawa anak-anak kecil yang usianya masih di bawah 5 tahun. Karena selain tempatnya luas banget, takutnya anak-anak udah terlalu capek dan keburu merengek mau pulang. Belum lagi, ada peraturan di Versailles yang melarang pengunjung untuk membawa stroller, baby chair, pushchair atau gendongan bayi yang ada kandungan metalnya. Kalau kamu membawanya, kamu harus menitipkan barang-barang tersebut di free left luggage yang sudah mereka sediakan disana.

Sebagai bonus, kalau kamu masih merasa capek setelah muter-muter di istana Versailles dan mau ngopi-ngopi atau snacking atau juga mau makan malam sebelum balik ke Paris, tenang aja, gak jauh dari stasiun Versailles Château Rive Gauche, kamu akan menemukan beberapa pilihan kafe dan restoran ala Perancis yang juga bisa memuaskan lidah dan perut kamu lho!

Nah ini pedestrian nya, asri banget ya ❤

Oh guys, satu lagi! Di Versailles juga ada toko oleh-oleh yang sayang untuk ditinggalkan, soalnya barang-barangnya lucu banget buat dijadikan oleh-oleh atau kenang-kenangan, harga dan barangnya bervariasi, mereka menjual kartu pos, alat tulis, mainan anak, cokelat, permen, sabun, tas dan sebagainya, desainnya ala ala oldies klasik gitu!

ini cokelat yang dijual di dalam toko souvenirnya 🙂

Kira-kira itulah beberapa hal yang penting dan harus kalian perhatikan ya kalau kalian ingin berkunjung ke Istana Versailles.

Bagaimana gengs kira-kira? Masih ragu untuk melihat secara langsung keindahan istana yang luar biasa cantik ini?

7 Things You Have to Know before Travelling to Labuan Bajo, Flores (Our Version)

Now I knew why people who have been to Labuan Bajo will not stop talking about their experience and to post their favourite pictures on their social media.

Well, it actually happens to me.

I just can’t stop to post everything about our honeymoon in Labuan Bajo, Flores. With all those magic islands, sparkling and crystal waters with turquoise and deep blue shades were successfully hypnotized us. The first magic that I barely saw with my own eyes in my own country.

Located in the mainland of Flores island in East Nusa Tenggara province, Labuan Bajo is the main point if you want to do trips to Komodo and surrounding islands, the home of the famous Komodo dragons. Historically, Labuan Bajo was the territory of Portuguese in the 14th till the 15th century and made it as the main transaction region from the Portuguese, as they are very rich with coffee, coconut, cacao and hazelnut.

A lot of things you should know about Labuan Bajo, from its history, how to get there, the village, the culture, their ethnicities, to the Komodo dragons, before you will go to this island. Therefore, in this post, I would like to share some important things you need to know, for those of you who are planning to go on vacation in Labuan Bajo which I am sure you do not want to miss!

P1080581_edited
Welcome in Labuan Bajo

1. Check the weather and the ‘right’ season.

I am sure you do not want to go to the beach while the weather is bad, the tide is high and the view looks more grey-ish than green or brownish. It is known that the best months to visit Labuan Bajo is in between June to September, during the summer months. Usually, in October until February or March, they will have a rainy season and the tide is higher than usual. But June – July admitted as the peak season in Labuan Bajo, while August – September which the least crowd.

I guess you prefer to take pictures with those kinds of natural beauty colour like this right?

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The view from Rinca island

 2. Book your ticket in advance.

This is one of the common important things that advised by other travellers as well. Wherever you want to go on vacation, it will be better if you book your flight ticket in advance. It will save more of your money and you definitely can use it for other expenses.

If you are Indonesian, better to book your flight ticket at the latest, 3 months prior departure and if you are foreigners, try to book 5-7 months in advance. The cost if you depart from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo (round trip) is around IDR 2.000.000/each (EUR 120; USD$ 138). There is some airline company which have a direct flight from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo, from the high class to medium class airlines. But if you depart from Bali to Labuan Bajo (round trip) it cost around IDR 1.850.000/each (EUR 111; USD$ 128).

For your notes, there are only a few Indonesian airline companies who have flight schedules and routes to Labuan Bajo, including Garuda Indonesia, NAM Air, Batik Air, Wings Air, Lion Air and Citilink.

3. Book your trip and accommodation a few months away and avoid weekend trips

There are a lot of travel agencies which have some optional trips that can adjust to your budget. From the fancy one with a phinisi boat to the budget trip ones with the wooden cabin boat. It depends on how many people will join with you on the trip, usually the more the cheaper (yet the merrier). If you will go on a vacation with your family or best friends and wants something luxury, you can go with the phinisi boat ones. But if you will go by backpack, the wooden cabin boat also good.

If you will arrive Labuan Bajo one day before your liveaboard trip start, better to book your one-night accommodation in advance, especially if you will go there on the peak season. There are plenty of choices of the hostel, homestay, hotel room and even, resorts. Most of the hostel and hotel also provide WiFi in their room. The range price for the hostel with a bunk bed per person IDR 70.000/night (EUR 4.50 or USD$ 4.80) – IDR 150.000/night (EUR 9 or USD$ 10.20), while a hotel room price starts from IDR 200.000/night/person (EUR 12 or USD$ 13.60) to IDR 2.000.000/night/person (EUR 120 or USD$ 136) which already luxurious one. Last time, we booked a hotel room in Beta Bajo Hotel for IDR 500.000/night/room incl. breakfast, the service and location are great!

Last but not least, usually the trip package will also include the entrance ticket to go to the Komodo National Park (Rinca, Padar and Komodo islands), but there is also travel agent which does not include the entrance ticket fee into their package. In this case, we definitely will recommend you to avoid weekend trips, moreover if you will go to the Komodo National Park areas. Because the price is even more expensive than the weekdays one.

Which again, its better to avoid and save the money maybe to explore another touristic place in Labuan Bajo right?

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4. Choose your local phone provider.

For those people who are working on their social media more often, even during your vacation in Labuan Bajo, to avoid bad connection, maybe because the area is still limited to receive a phone signal, there is no WiFi network, but your ‘job’ requires you to update your vacation every single minute (coz maybe you are a vlogger, travel blogger, celebgram, etc), you have to prepare for the worst worst case, that you have to buy the local phone provider called, Telkomsel. As they have extensive networks and a good internet connection. I used Indosat Ooredoo, but it was not working at all even I was in the road, the hotel and the airport. Well, I was not get paid by mention all of those companies, but it is indeed, based on my personal experience.

 

5. Hailed the sunscreen.

For people who have a very sensitive skin that easily gets burn from direct sunlight and heat, I highly highly recommend you to bring and use all of your sunscreen product! Even you really want to get tanned, but sunscreen is still the most important because it will protect your skin from the excessive sunlight and reduces the appearance of sun damage.

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6. Prepare your cash money!

Although you will find the ATM machine and the money changer easily in the downtown, it is better to prepare cash money in Labuan Bajo. In the hotel and medium-high class restaurant and cafe, they usually provide the EDC machine so you can pay either with your debit and credit card, but if you want to go to souvenir shop or market, buy some street food or small food shop, give some tips for your tour guide, ranger and boat crew, it is better to prepare your cash money.

 

7. Bring all your ‘travel gear’ with you (hint: camera and smartphone!)

If you kind of person who really loves to take pictures coz you really love photography, a blogger or vlogger or simply just because you only want to keep your memories with you, it is better to bring all your ‘travel gear’ to Labuan Bajo. Be prepared to charge all your camera, from an action camera, DSLR, mirrorless camera and smartphone. Oftentimes, they will have limited electricity and its socket in the boat.

Prepare all of your travel accessories with the waterproof one, as you might want to capture and record your best moments while swimming and diving with the shark, corals and all beautiful clownfishes. Oh, yes bring your drone to see and capture Labuan Bajo from above, if you have it too.

Trust me, every corner of Labuan Bajo and its surrounding islands is so pretty and very Instagrammable that you don’t want to miss it!

The rest, you can thank me later and be ready with the real adventure 😉

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Honeymoon Series #6 : Nge-Hitz di ‘Cafe In Hit Coffee Shop’, Labuan Bajo

Finally, here is another recommended place for you to hang out in Labuan Bajo, Flores!

Jadi, hari terakhir di Labuan Bajo, setelah 3 hari 2 malam living on board, kita (khususnya saya) pengennya cuma mau leha-leha aja deh! Jadilah, akhirnya ngopi adalah our top priority untuk berleha-leha di Labuan Bajo. Selain karena, sepengen itu minum kopi asli Flores, sejujurnya di otak saya waktu itu bawaannya pengen nulis dan nulis melulu. Karena banyaaak yang mau dibagi setelah liburan ke Yogyakarta dan Labuan Bajo bersama (ehem!) suami tercinta.

“I just really need an iced cappuccino and maybe bit writing on my laptop!” that was exactly my answer, when he asked what do you want to do today.

Emang ya, dasar orang INFJ, emang cuma paling bisa curhat lewat tulisan-tulisan. Siapa yang setuju?

Acung!!!

Untungnya suami juga sama-sama INFJ, walaupun dia sebenarnya lebih ke tipe more into adventures sih, jadi ya dia setuju aja kalau hari itu kita akan ngopi-ngopi di kafe tok!

Setelah Googling coffee shop atau tempat nongkrong apa yang cozy dan kopinya enak, juga lokasinya tidak terlalu jauh dari hotel. Akhirnya, jatuhlah pada pilihan ngopi di Cafe In Hit Coffee Shop. Tempatnya emang enak banget, cocok sih buat yang emang mau ngopi sekaligus hangout atau hanya sembari ‘kerja’ di depan laptop. Dekorasinya lebih menggunakan semen concrete dan industrial, which is emang kekinian dan sesuai namanya, hitz banget! (gimana gaes bahasanya udah anak Selatan banget belum?! Hahaha)

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Barista-nya ramah-ramah & bersedia sharing cerita soal kopi

Oh iya, kalau kalian beruntung, kalian juga bisa nemuin buku bacaan favorit kalian di kafe ini. Lihat aja koleksi buku disini, lumayan banyak kan? Mereka sengaja menyediakan buku-buku untuk bacaan para pengunjungnya, yang sengaja dikumpulkan dari hasil sumbangan para turis yang datang di kafe maupun yang memang gak sengaja ketinggalan di kafe.

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Koleksi buku-bukunya yang juga membuat dekorasinya menjadi lebih artsy. Mereka juga jual kopi asli Flores dan sekitarnya loh, baik yang sudah berbentuk powder maupun masih biji kopi

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Suami yang setia banget nungguin nulis sambil baca buku kesukaannya yang dia temukan di display. Laaavv ❤

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Area toilet tepat di atas tangga. The quotes pun ❤

Untuk soal minuman, variasi menu yang ditawarkan juga lumayan banyak, mulai dari black coffee hingga beragam pilihan minuman frappe. Selain minuman, mereka juga menjual light meal seperti; sandwich, banana cake, muesli, salad, dan sebagainya. Waktu itu saya dan suami sempat mencoba Ice Cappucinno, Ice Coffee Machiato, dan Ice Green Tea Frappe!

Ice cappucinno nya aja udah bedaaaa banget rasanya sama cappucinno yang biasa kita minum di Starbucks ataupun di coffee shop lain di Jakarta. Rasa kopinya…. DUH! Sampe gak bisa berkata-kata lagi deh.. pas ditanya, ternyata kopi yang dipakai kopi Flores dan Manggarai.

Untuk harga sih, relatif sama ya dengan harga kopi-kopi di Jakarta, sekitar 30.000-an keatas, tapi soal kualitas kopi? Gak diragukan lagi deh. No perez ya, ini honest review…

Kalau soal suasana, asik dan lagu-lagunya juga top 40s punya. Untuk area kafe terbagi 2, ada yang indoor area juga outdoor, sayangnya gak terlalu banyak kursi yang disediakan di dalam, karena lokasi baristanya aja udah lumayan memakan tempat. Walaupun tidak terlalu besar, sebenarnya lumayan banget untuk nongkrong sama teman, keluarga atau pasangan yang emang cuma mau sekadar ngopi sambil chit-chat!

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All you need is love and a good cup of coffee, indeed.

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Notes dan testimony yang dituliskan oleh pengunjung

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We are in a paradise, wifi is just a bonus

Jadilah, kita lumayan lama banget stay disana, bahkan sampai hampir sunset! Suami saya asik tenggelam dengan buku yang dia temukan di kafe tersebut, saya juga udah asik sendiri dengan laptop. Dari awalnya kita duduk-duduk di dalam, karena ber-AC dan lumayan untuk ngadem dari panasnya matahari di Labuan Bajo, sampai akhirnya sore-sore kita pindah keluar sekalian cari angin dan ganti suasana.

Oh ya, lokasinya pun berada tepat di sebelah Le Pirate Hotel dan Restaurant yang sudah sempat saya review juga.

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Baca juga: Honeymoon Series #2: Le Pirate Restaurant, Labuan Bajo, Flores – Indonesia (Review)

Address: Jl. Soekarno Hatta, Labuan Bajo, Flores 86554 

Opening Hours: 6.30 AM – 10.00 PM

Estimated price: 20.000 – 70.000 IDR

Honeymoon Series #5 : Why you should choose your honeymoon destination in Labuan Bajo, Flores? (Day 3 – FIN)

Yaaay, finally the last day!

So, early in the morning, we sail our boat to Taka Makassar! Once we parked the boat, I was surprised when I saw another beautiful crystal water, white and pinkish beach sands, a lot of fishes and corals.

Look at this beauty…

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The real Vitamin Sea ❤

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Welcome to the island of sands

The name has no connection with Makassar region in Sulawesi, but Taka Makassar means the island of the sand. It has clear turquoise water and swallows water, which makes big boats aren’t able to get near to the island, that is why they usually ride a smaller boat either from Manta point or Komodo island.

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Who doesn’t love to be here?

Me and my husband had to swim from our boat to the small island, it is very small even smaller than basketball field. It was very good to swim in there because of the wave quite stable, compare to the pink beach yesterday. We were with Italian tourists when we were there and they found giant sea-turtle nearby Taka Makassar.

On this island, I met and got to know with another tour guide which originally coming from Flores. She was very nice and very informative! We shared a lot of things about Labuan Bajo and Flores, include what was happened that time in Labuan Bajo. She told me, she and her friends joined with a demonstration in the centre to fight the construction of big and luxury hotels on Rinca and Padar islands. She looked very stressful because she doesn’t want people ‘destroy’ the real beauty of Labuan Bajo and other islands. But people who have the power, only thinking about their business, how to build a luxurious hotel so they’ll gain more profit without thinking about the impact of it.

“Imagine, if Komodo dragons will lost their ‘comfort’ and origin habitat?” she said.

I nodded but suddenly my mind was full with her voice.

I just cannot imagine what if it really happens.

Deep sighs

Well anyway, after spent a few hours in Taka Makassar, we went back to the boat and went to Manta point which located quite close from Taka Makassar. We had to find a spot in a deep blue sea water to see Manta, and guessed… we found it! I was not brave enough to go to underwater anymore to see the Manta closer, but my husband who always curious to hunt all Mantas we found.

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Look at this big Manta ❤

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He tried to see the Manta closer

Finally, after we saw around 4-5 mantas, we went directly to our very last destination, before back to Labuan Bajo harbour, the Angel Island (Pulau Bidadari). This is a private island which located 20 minutes by boat from Labuan Bajo. It surrounded with beautiful white beach sand and one of a good place to do snorkelling and diving.

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Our Garuda boat, view from Angel Island, Labuan Bajo

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Angel Island, Labuan Bajo – Flores

Surprisingly, when I sat on the beach sands, I saw very clear there was a baby shark swim in the seashore. And after, my husband was curious, so he hunts the baby shark on the other side of the seashore and finally, he found it!

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Baby shark dudu~duu

It was not that big. And our tour guide told us, they also have many sharks on this beach, that is why no wonder if we found few baby sharks in there.

Finally… we went back to Labuan Bajo’s harbour and picked up by the driver, then they dropped us at the hotel.

Well, that could sum-up our honeymoon stories. It might not a romantic one like in a movie, but we really enjoy every moment that we spent together. Even our skin got burnt, 3-days with the smell of salty hair and all over our body, but we enjoyed a lot the beauty of Labuan Bajo and other islands has offered to us! For those who want to have a romantic, fancy and luxury honeymoon, maybe Bali and Lombok will be a better choice. But, for those who want a real life-adventure, full of challenges, build a ‘teamwork’, and lay down in the rooftop under the million stars… We definitely recommend Labuan Bajo is the best choice!

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There’s no sunset as beautiful as in Komodo island ❤

Additional information:

We booked our trips with PERAMA Tours and we chose “Explore Komodo National Park 3D2N” for a private boat, so last time only me, my husband, the tour guide and the boat crew on board. The price for each person IDR 4.000.000 (USD$ 280), so last time we paid for IDR 8.336.000 (USD$ 642, include the administration fee). It was not cheap for me, because actually there is a lot of tour and travel agency who offered a less expensive tour than the price we’ve got, (maybe) also with better facilities. But, we feel good with our tour guide, which we called Mas Goi! He is very nice, smiley, good French (even better than me), helpful and has the talent to take pictures, of course! Hahaha

The Garuda boat was very clean, the boat crew was very nice and helpful, our tour guide was very kind and very informative, oh yes, I almost forgot, the food was delicioussss and rich with Indonesian-taste! ❤

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Bon appétit

Honeymoon Series #4 : Why you should choose your honeymoon destination in Labuan Bajo, Flores? (Day 2)

Born in a big city like Jakarta, has shaped me into who I am today. Living well, went to a decent school and university, got a decent job with… ya, I could say, enough salary. I even don’t have to cross to another island by the boat or to hike another hill only for a living. I am not trying to underestimate people who are doing that way, I even really appreciate what they do.

At least, that’s what I thought last time when I was on Padar island, one of the big islands in Labuan Bajo, Flores. I really appreciate people who are starting to make money in there, that is why no wonder if the price in Labuan Bajo and surrounding island, not much different compared to Jakarta. In some things, the price even higher. As we know, it might not easy for them to get some of the food products in their area, because lack of accessibility and availability to get all of the food products.

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The first night we stayed in the small boat, with limited electricity, no AC or fan, no wifi, even worse no phone signal, makes me realize two things. First, how hard my life was if I have to do it for 7 days without those things. And the last, the positive sides, me and my husband tried to live with those limitations with our own way, we talked and laughed more, we shared stories.

He was the one who always gave me his spirit to support and cheers me up. For example, last time when we hike in long and high stairs in Padar island, he kept patiently support me. He always told me that I can do it to the summit, even I am the one who wasn’t feeling that way. For those who already went to Padar island, I am sure you know how it feels. The hills have a lot of stairs till the peak, some even only have stones step. Our tour guide even told us, a few years ago they even did not have the stairs, so people had to hike with little bit steep and slippery land.

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The struggle was real right?

As you can see, the island is mostly savanna-covered, surreal landscape fringed by bright green-capped mountains. It’s all surrounded by three turquoise bays and each one of the bay’s beaches has different coloured sands; one is more pearly white (the right one), the other is charcoal black and the third is a baby pink one. Which makes it a very rare combination, yet makes it a very unique island.

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Our journey is still long, but can we always hold on to each other hands, no matter what will happen in front of us?

The second day actually was my favourite day! Simply because I finally could see the Pink beach. The pink beach was already in our bucket list, even before we got married. And I can’t believe, after 2 years made the bucket list together, we finally made it there! I was speechless and happy at the same time, I feel like I don’t want to leave the beach. After snorkelling for 15 minutes, then I just sat on the beach, felt the pink sands and the sea water on my skin. That was very PINKISH! The wave was a bit strong at that time, which made me and my husband were carried by the waves a few times.

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Happiest kid on earth ❤

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Pink beach, salty hair, tanned skin

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Every August is my parents’ birthday months, so here we wrote birthday wishes for them ❤

Well, finally I had to face the reality that we had limited times to stay in the pink beach, so we went back to our boat and continued our journey to the Komodo island.

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The road which connects the Komodo harbour to the Komodo National Park entrance gate

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The Komodo National Park entrance gate

For me Rinca island looked wilder than in Komodo island itself, they also have a seashore, I don’t really know if its allowed and safe to swim in the seashore, but I saw there are few foreigners who swim in there in late afternoon. We can also easily found reindeer, monkey, wild boar, and beautiful birds on this island.

Actually, our tour guide already mentioned that we can’t expect to see Komodo dragons a lot in here, because many of foreigners complained that quite rare they could see Komodo dragons in this island.

Because last time it was already a bit late in the afternoon, like around 3 or 4 pm, we decided to take the short trek one. After 5 minutes walk, we found at least 3-4 Komodo dragons which were in the middle of the forest. Foreign tourists were gathered with their groups and exchange to take pictures with the Komodo.

So we did too!

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With a huge Komodo dragon

The sun slowly sets, after accompanying my husband to buy some Komodo souvenirs, then we back to the boat to enjoy our last night in our Garuda boat. We were so lucky that we had a brand new boat with 2 nice crew boat and a very good captain! When we parked our boat on the other side of Komodo island in which a place where the house of villagers lived in, all of sudden came two little kiddos who paddled their ‘boat’ which was only made of thick styrofoam, came close to our boat.

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Look at how they paddled their ‘boat’!

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Yes, they came to our boat to sell their souvenirs. They brought small Komodo dragons, pin and magnetic refrigerator. I was very amazed yet feel pity with them at the same time. After school, they have had to help their parents making money for their lives. With very limited English that they have, they tried to persuade my husband to buy their souvenirs.

When I looked at them, I suddenly had mixed feelings. I still feel so lucky, blessed, grateful with my life but at the same time, amazed by them. They really inspired me to live my life even we have to face many difficulties, obstacles and challenges. I really wish they will always be healthy, growing as smart kids and enjoy their childhood while they can.

Can I get some ‘amin’…?

(to be continued)