Tuesday 1 August 2017

Best Trip Ever!

It's been a few weeks since my trip to Yogyakarta.
I was there for period 23rd June 2017 till 04th July 2017, a whopping 12 days.
Damage? Hardly any except for a few bruises and a badly bruised up toe on my right foot.
More on that later...

Singapore to Yogyakarta takes only 2 hours by flight.
From Yogyakarta Airport to where I'm going to stay (friend's house), it takes a gruelling 4-6 hours car ride. Before you think it's bad, do remember that 25th June 2017 was a public holiday in Indonesia - Hari Raya Puasa. Hence, bad traffic is to be expected.
Anyway, we did stop half-way to have a quick lunch of Mee Bakso. Love it!
So hungry I failed to take any photos. I just devoured the entire bowl and regretted not ordering another bowl later.

Along the way, I saw this:

What are they you may ask. Tobacco plantation.
The air was fresh and crisp, cooling to the touch and just fabulous.

I got real excited when I saw huge cabbages such as these.
Be kind with your words. I've lived in the city for more than 3/4 of my life.
Hence, my excitement when I get a chance to lead a Kampung lifestyle.

I finally reached my friend's house.
The people there are all so friendly and just as excited to see a foreigner in their Kampung.

Fancy seeing this for the 1st time in my life!
All along, I've seen dead ones on my table during Christmas.

Tried making pulut or whatever they are called.
Glutinous rice with beef floss inside.
My favourite food - Glutinous rice!
Back home in Singapore, we have spicy prawn filling.

The 2 main reasons I want to spend some time in Yogyakarta were:
1. I made a promise to visit my friend during this period.
2. I want to experience the atmosphere of spending Hari Raya Puasa in a Muslim country.
Pardon me but Singapore is pretty much dead when it comes to the celebration of festivals. 
There's hardly any atmosphere to begin with. Not criticising here but Singapore has many other good points, just not when it comes to celebrations. I just can't feel it...

On Hari Raya Eve, there's fireworks and lots of it. You might think celebration in Kampung is going to be quiet and boring. In fact, It's very happening! Fireworks, one after another. People setting lanterns (those you see in Taiwan) up into the sky. It's really a lovely sight. People gathering all around you. Not so crowded till it makes you want to gasp for air (I experienced that once when trying to get home from watching National Day Parade) but not that scarce till it makes you want to cry either. In other words, a good amount of people.

Went visiting on Hari Raya Puasa itself and was really happy to see cows standing right in front of me! I've not seen real ones before mind you...except the ones in the Zoo. Wait... do we even have cows in the Zoo in Singapore? Lol...

I usually go for a walk in the morning.
I love the fresh cool air and the peace and quiet the Kampung has to offer.

Saw a kitten on one of my walks

Ducks? Goose? I don't know... But they were really adorable

Mount Sindoro or Mount Sumbing, I cannot quite figure out

Went to visit friend's eldest sister Kampung and this is her plantation

Chilli Plantation

Went to Dieng and saw this bird
I realized that people in the Kampung love keeping birds

One of my favourite flowers - Hydrangeas

Well, I wouldn't say it's a bed of roses living in the Kampung but it all depends on what you can accept and what you can't. Some people simply cannot tolerate the toilets in Kampung but I take it in my stride. It doesn't bother me at all. Some very much prefer their 'fancy' food but again, it doesn't bother me so long as they taste good.
I kid you not. I was down with diarrhoea the next 4 days at the end of visiting on Hari Raya Puasa but it didn't dampen my spirits at all. Did I bring medication along? Sure I did but they didn't work. I believe what I had was food poisoning as I vomitted as well. The young leaves from a Jambu tree did the trick for me. Homeotherapy. Didn't believe in the past, now a believer.

I simply love my time in the Kampung. Sure, it's not as systematic, not as clean but the air and the people does it for me. Hence the subject. This is REALLY the best trip of my life, where I've nothing planned, where I enjoyed lots of peace and quiet, where I experienced love from people around me, where I see friendly faces all the time (genuine or not, I don't really care. At least they bothered to smile), where there's plenty of mountains (I ended up climbing a small one which I believe is called Gunung Lawang).

Talking about climbing Gunung Lawang, I was inexperienced and wore the wrong kind of shoes - Nike Running Sports Shoes. I did not train at all for the climb. It should be around 1,102m in height. I'm not quite sure as I can't find it on trusty Google but it took me 3 hours to climb up.
Up I climb with my legs and down I go with my butt.
I was so tired after reaching the top, I have absolutely no appetite to eat!
The light rain last night before my climb didn't help at all.
Silly me, I wanted to see the sunrise and set out during the wee hours of morning.
Bad idea...
Ended up not seeing the sunrise but the view on top is worth it all.

A video for better understanding...

I'm starting to love climbing mountains.
I was a bit disappointed to know that Gunung Lawang is only 1,102m in elevation.
I'm going to start training by climbing stairs. 
I shall attempt a higher mountain come December this year. =)

Have a great one Peeps!

Dreamy C

Monday 6 February 2017

Selamat Datang to Jakarta!

Jakarta baby... my 3rd!
Love the people
Love the food
Love the currency
Love the cheap airfare
Love the cheap hotel
Love the short duration on air
Love the language - people there can manage simple English and they are ALWAYS helpful

In fact, I've not met an unfriendly Indonesian in Jakarta.
I've not visited Glodok and Taman Mini.
What better chance to do it now?

My 3rd time to Jakarta and it's the 2nd time that my flight got delayed on route SIN to Jakarta.
Luckily, it land just in time for me to catch a Damri bus to Gambir.
I decided to walk to Mercure Sabang Hotel from Gambir this time.
It took me about 10 - 15 mins and it's pretty safe, considering I did it at around 11 plus at night.
The journey is well lit and even this late in the night, there's traffic and people.

Reached the hotel and decided to do a mask before I sleep.
Come the next morning, I showered right after I woke up and headed to Glodok.
Took the Transjakarta bus from Bank Indonesia to Glodok.
Upon exiting Glodok station, turn right and walk straight down.
Turn at Pancoran Street and just explored.
I had a really enjoyable time at their Wet Market as it brought me to the 'olden' times.
The whole street is a mix of clothes sellers, fish sellers, crab sellers, sellers of food carts, chicken sellers (I can even hear the sounds of chicken like they are being slaughtered), frog sellers, bird sellers, flower sellers, Chinese temple, medicinal halls, provision shops, shops selling worship stuff, food shops, ice-cream seller etc. Mix in people, motorbikes and cars and you think there might be chaos but trust me. It all goes hand in hand. It works beautifully.

In Glodok, I had Bak Mee, Sio May and Dumplings for brunch.
I also had the sweetest sliced Guavas.
I enjoyed my stay more and more every time I visit Jakarta again.
Always something new to eat and explore.

From Glodok, I took a cab to Taman Mini.
The trip cost me 150K rupiah.
2 tolls set me back by another 12,500 rupiah.
I was tired by the time I reached Taman Mini.
I took their tram which wasn't a good experience.
The houses in different states of Indonesia are very interesting.
The next time I visit again, I'll make sure to come early in the morning and explore by walking.
I took a cab from Taman Mini back to Kota Tua as I was craving for Sop Buntut.
It cost me around the same amount.

I reached Cafe Batavia and was surprised to see a live band there.
Enjoyed my late lunch there even though somehow, the Sop Buntut didn't taste as delicious this time.
From Cafe Batavia, I took a Transjakarta bus back to Monas where I alighted and walked to Indomaret where I bought instant noodles, milk and Ko Ko Crunch as my breakfast the next day.
I also bought some snacks before returning back to the hotel.

Back in the hotel, I showered (weather was so hot), did a face mask and basically just chill.

I'm thinking of making another trip to Jakarta.
For my 4th time in Jakarta, I'm thinking of staying at Grand Mercure as it's very near to Sawah Besar Transjakarta stop. You'll be thankful for a near bus stop given the weather in Jakarta.
On that trip, there's a few food I would like to try. Nasi Tim, Nasi Uduk, Kerak Telor etc.

Never enough for Jakarta!

Have a great day Peeps!

Dreamy C

Wednesday 25 January 2017

5D4N Trip to Bangkok - Day 5

Day 5 being the last day, I brought The Dowager to Rung Reung for some Tom Yum noodles.
Both of us had the soup version. We ordered the same thing, just different noodles.
We were given 1 x Tom Yum soup and 1 x clear soup. Wrong order!
Not complaining since it taste good.
Portions were small as expected. I ordered the dry version to try and in conclusion, I preferred the dry version whereas The Dowager preferred the soup version.
Please add in lime juice and dry chilli according to your taste.
Add a little dry chilli at a time. They are potent! Trust me on this.

Walked a little to Phrom Phong BTS and also ate a little along the way...
Ate Mee Jiang Kueh only that the filling is shredded coconut, corn with a little bit of sugar.
Hmmm... real nice! 15 Baht nia... which is around 60 cents?

Went back to the hotel and chill.
Checked out and took the Mercedes cab which was arranged by the hotel.
600 Baht is a little steep but hey! Anything for comfort on the way back...

I will DEFINITELY be back Bangkok! Wait for me...

Dreamy C

5D4N Trip to Bangkok - Day 4

I was unhappy with how Day 3 ended.
I told Mom I'm going to bring her to Yaowarat at night but she slept the night away.
Oh well... an excuse to visit BKK again!

We had breakfast at the magazine lane.
I had the same thing i.e. pork rice and Cha Yen.
Mommy a.k.a. The Dowager had roast pork rice this time.

We went to Pratunam Day Market where The Dowager unleashed her powers!
This woman bought till she almost went broke! Kept saying she's got to stop but kept on buying!

Went back to the hotel to put our stuff which was mostly Mommy's & brought her to Central World.
There, I bought 3 x workout capri pants from G.A.P. and a black sheer top from Mango.

We headed to Big C next where we bought titbits and pomelo.
Fruits are aplenty in BKK and they are sweet! Once we came out of the supermarket, we saw many people trying to seal up their carton boxes with packing tape. Frankly, that was quite a scene...
Secretly, I'm glad The Dowager isn't a snacks hoarder.

We devoured the pomelo back in the hotel.
Dinner was at a Gyoza place within the food court area.
We also ate some Fried cuttlefish which was really huge.
Lastly, I brought Mommy to After You since she didn't join me and it would be such a waste to step into BKK and not have a taste of their Honey Shibuya Toast. It would be a sin in my opinion. Lol...
We packed some food back to the hotel. Just some little bites like 2 x small Mochi, 1 x Ikura Onigiri and Khanom Bueang (I love these little crunchy fellas).

Mommy went for 1 hour foot reflexology at Lek Massage while I went back to the hotel to pack.

Dreamy C

5D4N Trip to Bangkok - Day 3

Brought Mom to ROAST at Thong Lo for some Brunch.
Ang Mo food. Not bad. I had rosti and it was good!
Mom had ROAST breakfast and it was good and filling.
I suggest just getting one dish here and share as there's lots to eat in BKK.
Then again, it's really hard to choose just one so make more trips to BKK then! Ha ha...

After a big meal at ROAST, we went to Audrey's which is just a short walk from ROAST.
We had their Milo Crepe Cake and it was light and lovely. I downed it all with Fruit Punch.
Mommy didn't take any as she was still full from brunch. This woman has limited capacity and a small one at that!
The deco was nice but somehow, I preferred the one in a shopping mall. Was it Siam Paragon?

From Audrey, we took a cab down to Terminal 21.
Late lunch was at Tim Ho Wan.
Thereafter, back to the hotel we go! Mom was still tired from the effects of her medicine.
This woman has been sick since Day 1!
She bought some pineapple after her smoke break near our hotel.
Again, pale looking but oh-so-sweet.

Night was uneventful since Mommy slept through the night.
My tummy started to rumble at 7 plus, local time.
I went to Nuer Koo at Siam Paragon, level 4 and had some yummylicious Kobe beef noodles!
The Cha Yen sucks here. Not as thick as the one at the magazine lane.

There was a charity going on and I bought a leather coin purse along with a Pink Amethyst ring.

I ended the day with Honey Shibuya Toast at After You.

Dreamy C

5D4N Trip to Bangkok - Day 2

We had breakfast near the magazine lane which I talked about in Day 1.
I had really good pork rice and Cha Yen here.

After that, we went to Siam Paragon and Siam Center.
Tried cheese tart at Pablo which was really delicious! Preferred the original to their Matcha.

Late Lunch at Siam Paragon where we had Mango Sticky Rice and really delicious Beef Noodles!
Remember to buy a card at the counter before you go and order your food at the food court of Siam Paragon.

Went to Chatuchak Night Market where Mommy went crazy with shopping again.
We had some yummy Coconut Ice Cream, Banana Prata which Mom finds it overly sweet but good for me (I have a sweet tooth) and Moo Ping.

Ended the day at Ban Khun Mae where we had some really lovely Papaya Salad, Lime fish (huge fish!), Tom Yum Goong (boy was this yummy!) and not fantastic tapioca and water chestnut as dessert.

During the day, we went to Lek Massage where we had 2 hours body massage with oil.
Good in my opinion. In The Dowager's opinion was so-so.
So good, I gave 400 Baht to the lady attending to me.

Dreamy C

5D4N Trip to Bangkok - Day 1

When in Bangkok, Shop and Eat!

I went with a Pacsafe Carry On Bag and a foldable bag from Timberland.
I also brought along another Pacsafe sling bag which I've grown to LOVE after this trip.
Mommy went with a huge luggage and a foldable bag.

Bought air tickets from Jetstar Asia and the Hotel that we're going to stay is Novotel Siam Square because of its convenient location. It's conveniently located near Siam BTS.
From Siam BTS, you want to exit at the one opposite Siam Paragon.
There's Siam Center, Siam Paragon and Siam Square nearby.
Walk for about 10 - 15 mins, you'll get to Central World, Platinum Mall, Big C.
Lek Massage, Chang Massage & Smile are just across the hotel's side entrance.
Exit from the side entrance, turn left and walk straight and you'll reach Siam BTS.
Along the way, you'll see a little shop selling magazines and newspapers.
Inside that stretch holds quite a number of food and drink stalls. I shall call this the magazine lane going forward.
I had really good pork rice (better than the one at Soi 9 with that 'famous' wanton noodles) and Cha Yen. Photos can be found on my Instagram.

From Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can take the Airport Transfer to Phaya Thai Station where you can switch to BTS. I didn't take that as it's really inconvenient travelling with Mom's HUGE luggage.
We ended up taking the cab. Right outside, you can stop the taxi queue. One must get a taxi ticket from the many automated machines and they'll just tell you which lane to go.

Having reached at an odd hour in the afternoon, we went to Som Tam Nua to grab some grub.
We were slightly disappointed to know that a few of their salads were no longer available.
We also ordered their noodles which weren't delicious and their fried chicken. Now for the chicken, where it lacks in crispiness, the flavour of it makes up for it. So flavourful, I ate more than 1/2!

We walked around for a bit and bought some fruits back to the hotel.
I've come to realise that their fruits though pale looking, were in fact sweet and yummy!

Later that night, we took a boat ride to Asiatique where we shopped more.
I really enjoyed Asiatique as it's where I bought 2 lovely pairs of leather flats!

We ended the day with an hour foot reflexology at Chang Massage which turned out to be a really BAD idea. We left with bruises come the next morning.
Bad experience! NEVER going back there EVER!

Dreamy C