Dec 10, 2012

Bandung, Indonesia

09 (Sun) - 10 (Mon) Dec 2012

Lodging: New Sany Rosa Hotel, Jalan Hegarmanah No.2a Bandung

* This blog entry is a sequel of the previous one - Jakarta, Indonesia

Day 1

New Sany Rosa Hotel
6am from Grogol Cipaganti agency, we took the bus, which is actually a van, to Bandung Cipaganti agency, that took around 2 hours. We made a booking from the agency at Bandung for our return trip back to Jakarta before we grabbed a taxi (IDR40,000) to our hotel.

While waiting for check in, Calvin requested to hire a taxi driver for 12 hours directly through the hotel receptionist, and we managed to hire a taxi driver from 9:30am to 9:30pm @ IDR550,000, tried to negotiate, but that's the least they could go with, too bad. We didn't have to pay for the petrol but we have to pay the IDR2,000 compulsory parking fees and a few ten thousand rupiahs to the taxi driver for his meal.

Four of us stayed over one night in a twin bedroom with two single size beds @ IDR550,000 ― 25% = IDR412,500 (somehow there's a 25% discount, we don't know why), so we had to share the beds.

We actually had only one day in Bandung so we had to decide either to visit the Kawah Putih (White Crater) at the southern region or Tangkuban Parahu at the northern region. We made up our mind to visit the northern region as it is said to be having more stuffs to see.

Bandung's weather is like Cameron Highland, with an average annual temperature of around 23°C, thus allowing strawberry plantation in it. That's what really 'cool' about Bandung.

Tangkuban Parahu
Tangkuban Parahu is the spelling of Tangkuban Perahu in the Sundanese dialect, which literally means upturning of a boat, is a dormant volcano with a few volcanic craters in it. There's entrance fee and it differs for Indonesian and non-Indonesian.

At the top of it we can see Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater), the biggest crater in Tangkuban Parahu.
It looks pretty artificial in the picture due to its natural beauty. To me, it's the most stunning view I captured in Bandung.

Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater)

We got a guide from the office at the top of the hill to walk us across the jungle down to Kawah Domas (Domas Crater) where there's hot spring and awfully smelling sulphur.

During the walk at the jungle, the guide tried to speak in Malay instead of Indonesian since most of us are Malaysian. However, my reply in Malay really couldn't make it, as my proficiency in Malay is rotten ever since I came to Singapore. Listening and reading are fine, but it takes me too long to recall the words that I wanted to use in Malay.

The walk at the jungle was tiring, owing to the sloppy and slippery ground that we had to go through.

The cavity of a tree trunk that can fit a person

A seismic detector planted 7 m deep to detect volcanic activity

A resolution to Calvin's broken flip flop

Kawah Domas (Domas Crater)
We're down there at Kawah Domas (Domas Crater), a place that you're able to sweat in the chill weather.

Some of the hot spring which are boiling like, you can tell by your naked eyes judging from the splash, apparently are not for you to soak your legs in. So what are they for? We made up a purpose of that by buying four eggs, one for each of us, to be boiled and yup, eaten, which was actually suggested by our guide when we're up on the volcano.

One must be careful while walking around the crater as there're tiny spots with boiling hot spring that you might not notice and if you're wearing slippers, which most people do, you might get burnt sometimes.

Don't judge me wrongly for wearing the girly-looking sunglasses as I had to borrow from Emilia to have them worn at extremely bright places like the crater because my eyes were insusceptible to aggressive light exposure, ever since I had applied the eye drop prescribed by University Health Centre (UHC) to my left eye due to eye redness and itching. Thanks Emilia!
*UPDATE: My left eye was diagnosed with loosen thread used to sew my transplanted cornea (which preferably has to be cut by my surgeon in Singapore), causing the itchiness.

While waiting for the eggs to be boiled, we had our legs soaked in another non-boiling hot spring. It really took me quite a while to have my legs got used to the high temperature of the hot spring.
腳不能涼,頭不能熱。At least it's okay to have the legs soaked into hot medium, if they were heads, gosh, don't even try to think about it.

In the meantime, we had volcanic mud massage service from the guide, yup, it's part if the service. It seemed to be gross but it's said to be healthy to skin and this is what tourists usually do.

Eggs are boiled and we're ready to eat them. They're actually hard boiled like a typical hard boiled eggs. Also, they do taste like ordinary hard-boiled eggs.

I'm not sure whether they're clean but you know, let the spicy food in Indonesia does the job for you.

We're supposed to clean our mud-coated legs by soaking them and splashing on them in the hot spring again after the volcanic mud got dried up, turning into less saturated cement-like grey colour. Well, is that part of the nature or contamination of the hot spring?

After soaking our legs, we're brought to the other side of the crater to take a look at the sulphur stalactites. They're not as big as the usual stalactites in a cave, but rather are small yellow crystals in a pit. They're not to be touched due to their high temperature.

Sulphur Stalactites

We took the jungle path out to halfway up the mountain and when we're gonna pay the guide IDR40,000 each person as negotiated on the top of the volcano but he insisted that we had a deal for IDR50,000. We knew these people will never keep promise if you're paying them only after the service, so in the end we're fine with paying him IDR50,000 each person as we recognized his effort of guiding us through the jungle and trying to tell stories to us, and took so many group photos for us.

We had lunch at a roadside stall while going down hill from Tangkuban Parahu. It's quite a carnivorous lunch as we ate chicken, goat and rabbit satays. Three animals, just on satays.

Sate ayam (Chicken satay), Sate kerinchi (Rabbit satay), Sate kambing (Goat satay)
All food @ IDR111,000

Having felt guilty after being carnivorous didn't stop us for out next meal as high tea at Kedai Teteh Indorasa, Jalan Maribaya No. 9, Lembang, Bandung.

Nasi Pelangi, Ayam penyet @ IDR15,000 each, Tempe @ IDR8,000

Gurame Indorasa @ IDR80,000, Jamur Ongseng Pedas @ IDR18,000

Carrying our bloated stomachs like Santa is the result of having eaten two meals in an afternoon, but we felt really contented.

Bandung is famous for its abundant factory outlets with clothes sold at relatively cheap price. It's definitely a paradise for the ladies. So we hung out a few hours at a district full of factory outlets, just like the Orchard Road in Singapore.

I didn't buy lots of clothes because for almost all outlets, the smallest size they have is M, and M is too big for me, moreover the waist cutting for M can fit a tyre. Furthermore, I don't really like some of the design whenever I managed to find the S-sized.

I ended up buying an Evisu T-shirt, an Espirit shirt, two pairs of flip flops and a cap, which I took a photo and it's in my Jakarta, Indonesia blog entry.

Bebek Ali Borromeus, Jalan Hasanudin
Dinner was fried duck at Bebek Ali Borromeus. It's along the road, Jalan Hasanudin, with a hospital (Rumah Sakit Santo Boromeus) nearby. No cutlery set, but we're given a bowl of lime water for hand wash, meaning that we had to eat with our hands, I mean, to transport the food with our hands, like Malays.

Bebek Goreng (Fried Duck) @ IDR77,000 in total including Teh Botol

Dinner was followed by purchase of local snacks like cheese sticks from a souvenir store. I bought two cans of cheese sticks and a packet of telur gabus keju @ IDR16,000.

After that we had surabi, the Javanese pancake for supper. That's our last destination our driver drove us to because it's 9pm and it's gonna take some time for supper. We had some bloody cheap pancakes and drinks at Waroeng Setia Budi, Jalan Setia Budi No.175.

Surabi Keju Susu (Cheese with Condensed Milk Pancake) @ IDR6,000

After finishing our supper, we flagged for a taxi for IDR20,000 to get back to the hotel, and called it a day.

Day 2

Rumah Mode
There's hotel breakfast for two pax as supposedly the hotel room is for two persons, which we shared, so we let the girls have the breakfast.

After breakfast we checked out our room, left our luggage bags at the lobby counter and walked to a nearby famous factory outlet - Rumah Mode. Perhaps due to its popularity, clothes are slightly expensive there, again without the size or good design that I wanted.

A few more factory outlets nearby were visited but still I didn't shop anything.

Restoran Sangkuriang
Restoran Sangkuriang, located at Jalan Karangsari No.5 will be the place we have our last lunch in Bandung before leaving.

This place has this very village-like layout with the huts where we're seated, surrounding the antique lamps, greenery and ponds.

Our last lunch there was our most sumptuous meal in Bandung, judging from the portion and variety from the photo below.

We managed to buy some key chains as souvenir at the entrance of the restaurant after our meal.

Sup Ikan Gurame (5 oz) @ IDR54,250
Nasi Timbel Komplit Ikan @ IDR22,750
Nasi Timbel Komplit Ayam @ 27,250
Iced Moccacino @ IDR7,500

We took a taxi (IDR40,000) from the hotel to the Cipaganti agency at Bandung and from there, we took their van once again back to Jakarta (IDR80,000 per person per journey).

* Please continue to read my blog entry - Jakarta, Indonesia

For more photos, please check out my photo album Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia on Facebook.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.

Dec 7, 2012

Jakarta, Indonesia

07 (Fri) - 11 (Tue) Dec 2012 (One night at Bandung on 09 Dec)

Lodging: Calvin's house @ Pluit Muara Karang, North Jakarta

The decision of traveling to Indonesia was in fact based on my suggestion to Calvin, my Indonesian friend
• who started his primary education partially in Singapore
• whose hometown is in Jakarta
• who was one of my group members in ME3101 Mechanical System Design I
• whose final year project supervisor is the same as mine
His ethnicity is Chinese, with subdivision of Hokkien, despite his official name Calvin Sutiono, he has a Chinese name of course - 葉科鱗.

The next step is none other than inviting friends to this random trip. The one who came into my thought first was the adventurous and traveller-wannabe Emilia. Her acceptance to the invitation was a surprise for me, as normally a not very maturely decided or planned trip doesn't attract much participation, which eventually leads to cancellation - well, numerous cases like this, you and I know.

Wilsen couldn't make it unfortunately because he's on his family trip to Taiwan. Susan joined at a latter time prior to the exam period after Emilia's invitation. I like this kind of 爽快-ness.

Day 1

We took Tiger Airways (SGD134.86 each for a return ticket) to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) and Calvin took the same flight but exactly 24 hours earlier than ours to make sure that he'll be there before us.

Jakarta is 1 hour behind Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia, and we reached Jakarta at 7:20pm local time. Calvin and his mum picked us up at the airport, located at the west part of Jakarta. His mum is quite pretty, young and cute, commented by Emilia especially.

They bought us noodles (bakmie) and some snacks (fried tofu and fried lard) for dinner to be eaten at their house.

That house that we're gonna staying over for nights is a double storey terrace house with contemporary layout and modern kitchen design with dining seats sticking out surrounding the kitchen itself.

We'll be sleeping upstairs at the living area as the house is newly furnished and they don't really have guest rooms.

Their local way of eating the fried tofu is the repetition of taking a bite of the tofu followed by a bite of bird's eye chili (cili padi). Well, I never touch chili, and so I only tried to have my first tofu the authentic way but for the subsequent ones, sorry, no more chili bites.

I am the only one among people who has extremely low tolerance against spiciness - the irony of being a Penangite.

After getting his car from his dad, Calvin brought us to Pantai Indah Kapuk for supper and after strolling a few rounds there, we settled at Sate Khas Senayan for some local delicacies.

Calvin actually warned us about the myriad number of mosquitoes in Jakarta.

Whenever we're outdoor with shorts, we always had to slap our legs.

Sate Lilit (3pcs) @ IDR20,000 and Sate Ayam/ Kulit Bumbu Blora (10pcs) @ IDR38,000

Otak-otak Jakarta @ IDR31,000 (Their otak-otak is white instead of brownish-orange)

We thought of doing massage after that as we heard from Calvin that it's cheap. Unfortunately, it's too late for the two massage centres that we visited (Nano Healthy Family Reflexology and Happy Feet Reflexology) to serve 4 of us, guess we have to wait until tomorrow.

Martabak Bangka Jaya
Calvin's mum bought us Martabak and so we had a second round of supper after reaching his home. I wished I had an emptier stomach, the cheese Martabak was really awesome! If you experienced the saturated taste of Garrett Popcorn, you'll understand the dense 'cheesiness' of the cheese Martabak we had, simply yummy.

We should call it a day as we've traveled out for a while despite our arrival at night.

Day 2

Teh Botol
Good morning Jakarta, and we went for breakfast at Nasi Tim Pasar Pagi in the nearby district.

By the way, there's a compulsory fee of IDR2,000 to the parking attendants no matter they're legal or not, and to the freelance traffic-officer-wannabes on road, who's to me like highway tyrants.
「此路是我開,此樹是我栽,要從此處去,留下買路財。」, this is exactly what I read from their mind. Haha...

So Calvin has to ask his mom whether there's a hike in the fee everytime he goes back Jakarta and so he can stock up the correct amount of notes in his car.

Teh Botol is a very popular drink in Indonesia and widely available among coffee shops. To me, it tastes exactly like Pokka Jasmine Green Tea, in fact, Teh Botol is a sweetened jasmine tea.

We had steamed rice with eggs as breakfast.

We spent a little time patronizing their market (Pasar Muara Karang).

Indonesian auto rickshaw - Bajaj, like Thailand's tuk-tuk

Another stop for Pempek Palembang @ IDR48,000

Camwhoring at Calvin's house before heading to Central Jakarta.

Monas is an abbreviation for Monumen Nasional (National Monument), it's an obelisk monument standing at 132m tall topped by a flame covered with gold foil.

Previously Calvin has told that Jakarta is a city and there's actually nothing interesting in it, for not much sightseeing stuffs to visit, so one might wanna consider visiting this symbolic attraction of Jakarta, located at the center of Merdeka Square.

The flag bearer statue is on one side away from Monas, at the Merdeka Square.

Our next destination will be Mangga Dua Mall, a famous shopping mall in Jakarta.

Calvin explained to us how terrible the traffic is in Jakarta while driving. Traffic jam happens every single day at least until late night in Central Jakarta, according to him. So I wouldn't recommend anyone to visit Central Jakarta as you're gonna waste your hours in the middle of the traffic jam with random scary strangers trying to sell stuffs outside your vehicle. That's not only annoying but terrifying, as he also mentioned cases like breaking car windows to rob during the jam as the car can't move either way in the jam - smart and cunning robbers.

"The drivers have good reflex", said Emilia and ya probably. Do you know how much shunning we've gone through on his car? And how many times people's car almost hit his? Sometimes road has no lane divider, and to avoid bumping it sort of takes experience and skills. Indonesian makes ful use of car horn, and at least they don't stare at you with anger after driving away because they understand the necessity of honking and sudden overtaking, unlike Singaporean and Malaysian, who follow the traffic rules except for speed limits.

Mangga Dua Square
We reached Mangga Dua Mall in about 45 minutes from Monas.

Ohya, and for KL people who know what double parking is, Jakarta people have slightly more 'courteous' way of doing it - they leave their car gear neutral, so that if a driver's trying to get out but obstructed by a car behind, he/she or the parking attendant can just push the car(s) away. That's just epic.

And then we had lunch at Kolam Medan in the mall before shopping spree.

Gado-gado, Iga Penyet @ IDR40,000

Ayam penyet, Buntut bakar @ IDR43,000

After lunch we split up to girls and guys group and shopped on our own and meet at A&W at 3pm. I didn't find anything that particularly interests me and have extraordinary low price, and hence I didn't buy anything there, but Calvin bought a few T-shirts to be worn in the next few days, rich guy. It's just another Sungei Wang Plaza to me actually.

Girls never make it on time when they're shopping, and we waited them for a while at A&W, before getting back home to North Jakarta.

Driving back home is a pain in the ass for Calvin. It took two freaking hours and you know what, Christina Perri's A Thousand Years was played trice by two different radio stations. Thanks to the outrageous traffic, I got to fall asleep in his car. We would hereby like to extend our gratitude to Calvin who drove us for so long, his right foot must be having spasm.

On the way, Calvin helped us to book a massage session for 4 of us at Happy Feet Reflexology, yeah, gonna have soothing massage for the night.

After getting back to North Jakarta, we had dinner at Pantai Indah Kapuk again, but at a different food chain, called Tekko, which Calvin assured, has better Iga Penyet than Kolam Medan in Mangga Dua Mall.

Paket 1 (Ayam Penyet, Tehu Goreng, Tempe Goreng, Iga, Nasi Putih) @ IDR37,000
Jamur Goreng (Fried Mushroom)

Caramel Adventure (Coffee Snow Ice, Caramel Syrup, Cashew Nut) @ IDR12,000

Happy Feet Reflexology
We're lucky that we reached Happy Feet Reflexology before their premium hour (9:50pm) and we paid a cheaper price for that. Calvin and I went for foot + full body massage @ IDR60,000 while the girls went for Javanese full body massage where they had to strip to only their undies.

I requested my massage to be done by a masseuse instead of a masseur because, erm... that makes me feel less gay? And I think lady should have better skill.

The massage lasted 1.5 hours, with 1 hour of foot massage and 30 minutes of body massage. It's my first time really having my body parts massaged by another person, which made me feel so good, when I can just close my eyes and enjoy the service.

It's common to tip the masseuse/masseur but I didn't just because I was trying to be a little cheapskate, but realizing the the rest of them actually tip made me feel quite embarrassed, so I hope I won't be coming back here again.

Day 3

J CO Burger
It's 5am in the morning, sleepy us having breakfast before departing for Bandung at 6pm from the Cipaganti agency in Grogol. It's IDR80,000 per person per journey.

Please read my blog entry Bandung, Indonesia.

Day 4

After a long journey back from Bandung to Jakarta, we had dinner with Calvin's family at a place near to the bus agency in Grogol.

We went for Happy Feet Reflexology again after that since Nano Healthy Family Reflexology was still fully booked.

Chicken Soto, Beef Rawon and Jamur (Mushroom)

My goodness, just when I thought I won't be at Happy Feet again 2 days ago which I wished to because I didn't tip my masseuse the last time, but this time it's a masseur for me because they're running out of masseuses. However because it's past premium time so we had to pay IDR10,000 extra (→IDR70,000). Nevertheless, I tip my masseur this time.

I prefer being massaged by my previous masseuse as she pressed softer and she did massage my thigh and stretch it. The masseur this time was just forcefully pressing, there're a few times when I need to actually tolerate the pain.

Day 5

Beef Soto for breakfast
It's our last morning in Jakarta, and upon my reminder, we got to taste Kopi Luwak (civet coffee). The coffee beans are initially ground with a coffee grinder and the ground coffee powder was boiled with the coffee maker comprising of two compartments interconnected by a vertical tube. When it's boiling, the coffee moves upwards through a tube inside and when there's no more coffee in the lower compartment, the fire is removed and the coffee from the upper compartment flows down again.

After this is repeated for a few times, the coffee is ready to be consumed. Calvin's mum asked us not to put creamer or milk as that defeats the purpose of drinking an authentic cup of kopi luwak. So we're only allowed to add brown sugar.

I usually drink sweet coffee or 3-in-1 coffee therefore I'm not at coffee tasting, so perhaps to me it's just kopi-o with unreasonable amount of sugar. :)

Calvin brought us to Emporium Pluit Mall to buy some cheap groceries, snacks and particularly, Polo T-shirt. I'm not a Polo T-shirt frenzy and I don't even like to wear that kind of shirt because, well, not fashionable. And so I didn't realize that Polo Ralph Lauren is actually considered branded.

Since there's a 50% discount using Calvin's mum's credit card, I bought one piece for my dad. And you don't know how overjoyed Emilia was, after getting her dream Polo dress, that fits her curvy body figure so well with reasonable price. ^^
Had a little break at Sour Sally.

Last lunch at Nasi Padang Sinar Jaya @ IDR184,000, which was quite expensive. Plus, the least spiciest dish on that table was spicy for me, not really my favorite.

We initially wanted to take photo with Calvin's mum, too bad she has left at that time so we took photo with his stepfather in replace.

Calvin dropped the broken-hearted us for having to leave to the airport for our 8:05pm flight back to Singapore.

We really would like to thank Calvin for hosting 3 of us, not only we saved for lodging, but it's so much safer and more convenient for a local friend to bring us around and speak on behalf of us, as Indonesian language differs from Malay a lot, conversational-wise.

I guess Calvin's fluency of Indonesian language comes from his constant Indonesian speaking with his mum, else, growing in Singapore would eventually make him forget how to speak Indonesian. Further, we understand the Indonesian spoken by the radio DJ in the Indonesian radio stations but only partially from his conversation with his mum, perhaps that's the difference between formal and colloquial Indonesian. Furthermore, he has different accent and he replaces some common words to the Jakartarian style ones (eg. tak boleh becomes ga bisa).

Also, there are some common words that we Malaysians don't mind the relativity of the usage, which Indonesians do (eg. warm is hangat instead of panas, cold is dingin instead of sejuk).

Besides, I supposed due to Dutch colonialism, some words are from non-English European language (eg. free/complimentary is gratis instead of percuma, pharmacy is apotik instead of farmasi).

Once again, thanks Calvin. And it's time to go back not for vacation, but to continue with our respective final year projects. Oh dear...

For more photos, please check out my photo album Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia on Facebook.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.