Sunday, May 20, 2018

Coffee Shops in Kelapa Gading: An Investigation

“You live in Kelapa Gading? Wow, you’ll never go hungry.”

We looked at each other real quick and realized that even though Kelapa Gading has been the place we go home to for the past 6 years, we had never really give the place much of a thought. It’s convenient of course, but we’re Southerners by heart, which means we would know more about Pondok Indah Mall than Mall of Indonesia. 



The mall has been our comfort zone for food, coffee and grocery shopping. But the franchise cafés are getting too crowded with families, moms gathering and nannies with the strollers. So we dared ourselves to check what’s outside the doors. Turned out we’ve been missing out some good stuffs. A pity that is, because we spent most of our time on the North side of the city, where tasty food is plenty and homey café are flourishing. So one public holiday weekend, we decided to go down to the Mall of Indonesia’s vicinity and check out what’s available for our date: blogging and homework that is.

Here are three of our findings: TOF Sicacilla, Coffeegasm and Kahvenin, located just right outside the Lobby 8 door.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Let’s go to Korea: Answering the Basic Questions

Honestly, I just blurted the idea out there and never thought it would really come true. So far, I’ve only arranged trips to Singapore and Malaysia. Penang and Bangkok are the furthest away we went on our own itinerary. Well, there was this Western Europe trip half a decade ago, but my brothers took the lead on scheduling. All I had to do was showing up at Heathrow.

So this is a big jump from our regular Southeast Asian traveldates. 


Question #1: WHEN?

The best time to visit Korea is Autumn (or I call it “Fall” cos I studied in the U.S.). The falling leaves, the changing colors and the not-so-cold weather made Korea an ideal destination in September and October, sometimes early November too. So, if you’re not familiar with these scenes, have yet to experience autumn, don’t think twice about when. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s worth the view.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Fun Rides of Legoland Malaysia

We arrived with the assumption that Legoland is for small children and Dudu is too old for the rides. So, we didn’t expect much even after we were there by the gate that morning, especially when we just stopped by Universal Studios the previous day.



But you don’t have to be as cool to be lovable. Universal Studios may be awesome, but Legoland has a different kind of charm. Even for non-Lego enthusiasts like us. We spent half day at the water park and another half at theme park with lunch break in between. It was fun and if Universal Studios is done in a day, this one needs extension. At least one for each.


But before we go into our favorite rides in Legoland, let me share that the theme park online ticketing service is real friendly and helpful. I ordered my tickets through their official website but the e-ticket didn’t arrive in my mailbox. I emailed them and they helped track down my tickets, re-sending them in no time. So we’re able to depart in peace. The price is also competitive. I bought it on the official website because believe it or not, it’s the cheapest I can found after comparing with several travel agents and websites.

According to its official website, 1-day theme park pass is RM156 (or around Rp.480k) if you book 7 days in advance.

The website has also been helpful in providing information regarding how to reach the place from Singapore by bus so I didn’t have to look anywhere else.

Legoland Malaysia is thrilling as well as educational. It’s less crowded than Universal Studios, so we spend more time playing and enjoying the park rather than standing on the line haha. We can play as many times as we want without worrying about the line or the other people. 


Monday, April 24, 2017

The 2 A.M. Big Bad Wolf Book Run

I have a love-hate relationship with my hometown. One of the reasons is that living in Jakarta is never boring. You always have something to do, even in the middle of the night. We have two long weekends in a row where public holidays fall on Monday. And we have that 24-hour Big Bad Wolf Book sale. Perfect.



Despite being not as enthusiastic as when the Big Bad Wolf first came last year with their books, I pushed myself to go. Mainly because last year we found Garfield comics and hoping this year the book collection would be as interesting. But the reviews had come back with long queue reports, especially on the cashier area. The only time to go is hours before dawn. So I threw the offer of “stay up all night” to Dudu and to my surprise, he agreed.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Batik Village of Laweyan, Hidden Treasure Behind Surakarta's Street

In many of our frequent visit to Solo, we found a Kampung Batik (Batik Village) hidden behind the city’s main roads. Solo is dubbed the City of Batik, as written upon arrival at Adi Soemarmo Airport. So one morning, when Dudu is busy swimming at the hotel with the cousins, I went with the moms to Kampung Batik Laweyan.



“Where do you want to go, Ma’am?” The taxi driver asked. Apparently Kampung Batik Laweyan consists of different shops and stores stretched along the long yet narrow street. Because we arrived by car, the driver took us to a shop called Batik Putra Begawan, accessible by car and have several parking spaces. From the store, we can either walk or take a tricycle to different shops in the area. The Batik shops are practically next to one another, selling different Batik items in different shape and sizes. From the air-conditioned modern store like Batik Putra Begawan that we went into, to the one inside a traditional Javanese Joglo houses. Some of the shops are located inside small alleys, fit only for pedestrians and bicycle, right next to Batik workshops. Unfortunately, the workshops are having their day off on Sundays and I was there on Sunday morning. Otherwise, visitors can learn more about Batik’s creation process and watch how the painted ones are made.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hong Kong Beyond the City Lights: Geoparks Dream

Hong Kong is on our bucket list. No, it's not because Dudu saw it on Transformers. It's because my only visit to Hong Kong was almost two decades ago. Needless to say I only can vaguely remember the city. I remember there's a region called Tsim Sha Tsui, there's this train going uphill with a Madame Tussaud on top. I'm pretty sure the happiest place in earth hadn't opened its doors in Hong Kong then.

But that's about it.

So, despite having been to Hong Kong i couldn't write about the places I go. This post is written as a participant to #WegoDiscoverHK blog contest and I'll be taking the outsider point of view, talking as if I've never been to the city.

Back then, it was a standard tourist visit, as I went with an arranged tour group from Indonesia with my aunt and cousin. We probably went where everyone went. Now that I've visited few other countries out there, I realize there's always something more to a destination that what's offered on your local travel agents offered. 



The other day, I was surprised to see this picture on my instagram feeds. I captured the scene before it went away. For me, who always thought that Hong Kong is identical with scrumptious dishes and city lights, something as naturally scenic as this is a pleasant surprise. Especially when my current travelmate, Dudu, is an adventurous outdoor boy. I figured if there's something this pretty, there should be more to Hong Kong than the skyscrapers have to offer. Of course something like Disneyland or Ocean Park is tempting and we do want to spend a day or two there, but we decided to look around. We found this interesting site.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jakarta Toys and Comics Fair 2017

In the midst of Lego Batman craze, let’s just say the Power Rangers stole the Jakarta Toys and Comics Fair weekend. Or at least that’s what we thought. The event at Balai Kartini Jakarta has been a regular date destination. We’d make time for a few hours, checking out toys, and if we’re lucky we’d go home with a few new friends for Dudu’s action figure collection.



The 13th Annual Jakarta Toys and Comics Fair (2017)
When:
11-12 February 2017
Where: Kartika Expo, Balai Kartini, Jakarta
Admission: Rp.50,000 (Presale Rp.45,000)

This year, the event arrived a little early, just few days shy of The Lego Batman Movie premiere on local movie theatre in mid-February. But when I propose the schedule to Dudu, he read on and decided for day two. “I want to see Power Rangers,” he reasoned. A valid one because, well, he’s been into Power Rangers for a while. Plus, the movie is coming out and he’s been watching the trailer dilligently on Youtube. So, when a Power Ranger cosplay/live action is scheduled for day two at 1 PM, there we are.