Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

I was traveled (again) for almost 8 months searching for new job, here I am, a fresh graduate from university. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is in southern part of Vietnam, since the Hanoi (capital city) is in northern part of the country. The currency they were using is Vietnamese Dong (VND) which 100,000 VND equal to 4,73 USD (per September 20, 2013). A unique ambience was offered by the city since it was part of American (?) colonialization back then. The main tourism attractions will be focus on historical sites and buldings.

Tan Son Naht International Airport (SGN)

The airport located within central of the city, it tooks about 20-30 mins to reach District 1 of HCMC. It is a good and neat airport, since HCMC is not a capital city. The taxi fare was displayed on the board, and it costs around 140,000 VND from airport to District 1 (and additional 100,000 VND when exitting the airport, I really don’t know what was this fee for, since the driver didn’t speak english at all). Make sure the taxi you were using is metered one, since they still using the double-layered price for tourist and local.

Taxi in HCMC

Taxi in HCMC

Vietnam Dong Banknotes

Vietnam Dong Banknotes

Tourism Attractions

I was staying at District 1. My main transportation was by walk. I was considering the time I got is quite much to explore the city without take cab, which is consider as expensive for backpacker or taking the bicycle taxi or whatever the name is. The great barrier here was the people outside the hotel was not used to English, so it’s kinda difficult to communicate. However, it’s really possible to explore the main tourism attractions by walk.

  • Jade Emperor Pagoda (it’s the farthest from District 1 where I stay, took about 1 hour walk)
  • Ben Thanh Market (be wise for bargaining up to one-fourth given price)
  • Pham Ngu Lao area (area for tourist and backpacker)
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Saigon Post Office (right across the cathedral)
  • Saigon Opera House (central of tourism spots, there was a tourist information center)
  • Tao Dan Park (across the Reunification Palace)
  • Huyen Sy Church
  • Reunification Palace (entrance fee 30,000 VND)
  • Saigon River (it’s a hub to Mekong River, which considered as one of the biggest river in Asia)
  • Bitexco Financial Building (it’s an office building, claimed as one of iconic building in town, with 5-storeys of mall (Icon 68) and a spot for paid-skyview, there’s a special entrance for this skyview tour)
  • Ordinary Buildings and another city’s infrastructure
Street food - Pho (costs 50,000 VND)

Street food – Pho (costs 50,000 VND)

Tao Dan Park

Tao Dan Park

Reunification Palace

Reunification Palace

Saigon Central Post Office

Saigon Central Post Office

Restaurant food - Beef Pho

Restaurant food – Beef Pho (costs 54,000 VND)

Traditional drink - Mixed Cho

Traditional drink – Mixed Cho (costs 15,000 VND)

HCMC City Hall

HCMC City Hall

Bitexco Financial Tower

Bitexco Financial Tower

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market

Jade Emperor Pagoda

Jade Emperor Pagoda

Favorite Beer (costs 10,000 VND)

Favorite Beer (costs 10,000 VND)

Huyen Sy Church

Huyen Sy Church

Saigon River

Saigon River

State Bank of Vietnam

State Bank of Vietnam

Pham Ngu Lao area (tourist area)

Pham Ngu Lao area (tourist area)

Notre Dame Cathedral (another view)

Notre Dame Cathedral (another view)

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

SGN Airport

SGN Airport

That’s sort of tourism attractions which captured within my travel in Ho Chi Minh.

Other Suggestions

  • There are a lot of motorcycle rider on the street, be really careful. It’s very original your nearly-hit by any vehicle experience in HCMC.
  • People also suggested Chu Chi Tunnel which is very historical, the DMZ, demilitarized zone. But, it took about one hour to reach the area.
  • People are still developing themselves to face tourists. They are growing communities.
  • The language is difficult to understand.
  • Some areas like Pham Ngu Lao already accomodate tourist needs.
  • Indonesian Rupiah are accepted in HCMC money changer.
  • Mobile SIM Card could be found in airport costs 100,000 VND include one-week mobile data for smartphone.
  • Taxi is considerably expensive for backpacker.
  • HCMC is really suit for tourist of historical objectives.
  • Daily expenses is range from 150,000 VND – 300,000 VND (only for meals and beverages). 3-star hotel is 45 USD, with good quality and service.

Aye Cinte Jakarte

Image

Perjalanan dengan seorang teman, kemarin, sejenak menyadarkanku. Obrolan ringan, yang bermula dari gurauan semata tentang negeri ini, Indonesiaku.

“Ah, udah gak ada harapan deh tinggal di Jakarta!”

Ngarep gak macet di Jakarta? Mimpi kali ye..

Kalo gue udah banyak duit, gue bakalan pindah ke luar negeri!”

Tidak jarang aku mendengar celotehan miris tentang ibukota yang sudah membesarkanku. Juga, tidak jarang aku turut melontarkan betapa kota ini sering membuat kepalaku penat. Sesederhana itu, aku juga suka mengeluh, kok. 

Ada yang punya semangat besar dan mimpi yang mega untuk perbaikan Jakarta di masa depan, ada yang mulai acuh “yang penting gue bisa makan, tidur, hidup tenang”, ada yang bahkan sudah mulai berpikir untuk tidak peduli dan meninggalkan kepenatan ini.

Hidup.

Jakarta, merupakan bagian yang tak terpisahkan dari hidupku, setidaknya. Berapa banyak pelajaran yang dulu, waktu kecilku, ingin kupelajari dari kerasnya hidup Jakarta. Aku pernah berpikir untuk pindah ke Jakarta, merasakan kerasnya hidup Jakarta, biar aku “ditempa” menjadi manusia yang siap-bertarung. Sekarang, aku sadar betul bahwa “pelajaran hidup” yang Jakarta sedang coba berikan padaku, bukan sekedar mengenai bertahan hidup.

10,1 juta penduduk Jakarta, belum lagi ditambah dengan jumlah yang sama tiap harinya datang-pergi untuk mengadu nasib di ibukota, dengan luas kota yang hanya 740 km persegi, bahkan lebih luas daripada negara Singapura. Yang kuharap hanya, coba bayangkan, betapa kompleksnya kota Jakarta di waktu siang. Penduduk Singapura, hanya setengah penduduk Jakarta.

Lupakan data itu.

Sesederhana matahari yang tetap akan terbit di timur, tidak ada lagi yang bisa kita perbuat untuk kota ini, selain taat.

Taat pada seluruh peraturan, taat pada norma kemasyarakatan yang berlaku, taat pada hati nurani yang sama-sama menginginkan Jakarta yang lebih baik. Sebentar lagi, 486 tahun umur Jakarta. Moral penduduk yang semakin memburuk, membuat Jakarta semakin kesakitan.

Sesederhana tidak membuang sampah sembarangan, tidak menerobos lampu merah, tidak merusak halte busway, menjadi pengguna jalan yang memiliki hati nurani, sesederhana itu. Jakarta tidak mungkin menuntut lebih.

Yang biasa menjadi benar, yang tidak biasa menjadi salah.

Kita memanggul tanggung jawab untuk masa depan anak cucu kita, biasakanlah berbuat yang benar menurut ketaatan kita.

Cuma kita yang bisa bikin Jakarta lebih nyaman lagi. Gak usah liat orang lain. Mulai dari diri sendiri, yah?

Ah, aye cinte Jakarte.

Хало, Serbia and (accidentally) Merhaba, Turkey!

THE ITINERARY

Day 1: [Jakarta] Soekarno-Hatta International Airport [Singapore] Changi International Airport
Day 2: [Istanbul, Turkey] Istanbul Atatürk International Airport and Klassis Resort Hotel
Day 3: [Belgrade, Serbia] Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Hostelche, Kalemegdan Park, KFC – Studenski Square, Usce Shopping Center, Mikser Festival 2012, Ada Ciganlija, ‘?’ Restaurant
Day 4: Belgrade Fortress, Military Museum, Gyropolis – Knez Mihajlova, Nikola Tesla Museum, Danube Riverside
Day 5: Zemun, Danube and Belgrade Fortress ‘Crazy’ Walkside, Pizzeria Trg – Republic Square
Day 6: IGSC Day 1, Glumac Food Shop, Red Bar – Skadarlija
Day 7: IGSC Day 2
Day 8: IGSC Day 3, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport
Day 9: [Istanbul, Turkey] Istanbul Atatürk International Airport [Singapore] Changi International Airport [Jakarta] Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This is the time for 3rd AAPG/SEG/EAPE International Geosciences Student Conference in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia. I’ve been invited by the committee through my scientific paper “Geophysical magnetic method for detecting intrusion body and lithology ucomplex in Parang Mountain, Karangsambung, Central Java, Indonesia” which also composed with Dimmas Ramadhan (@dimramad).

For any Indonesian citizen who planned to go to Serbia, I’ve got some tips for tourist visa application:

  1. Prepare all documents needed to support your application. There will be application form (asked through email:embjakarta@serbian-embassy.org) attached with a 3.5 x 4.5 cm photograph, proof of sufficient funds (bank statement, credit cards, etc), invitation or sponsor letter from recognized institution or organization in Serbia if any, hotel booking, and flight ticket.
  2. Send all the requirements through email. It actually already ease your job without having to submit it directly to the embassy in Jakarta.
  3. Pay the nonrefundable visa fee (Type C €60 paid to the embassy’s bank account). For you whose live in Jakarta and nearby, I suggest to debit your Rupiah cash directly through the Deutsche Bank in Jl. Imam Bonjol, not far from Bunderan HI. Don’t bring original money (euro) to the bank or else you should pay service fee ($10 or €10).
  4. Send the bank payment proof also to the embassy’s email.
  5. Make sure you are having sufficient time before your departure to Serbia at least 3 weeks after applying visa. They need to send the documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affair in Serbia, got authorization, then come your visa is accepted. Don’t take a risk applying visa in a short time before departure, it may caused visa rejection.
  6. Visa approval or rejection. If your visa is granted, you may directly take your visa sticker to the embassy after paying (€2) through the bank, or you may send additional fee together with the sticker fee(€30) so the embassy send it to you by DHL.
  7. Have your trip to Serbia!

Flight Turkish Airlines from Jakarta – Singapore – Istanbul

This trip would be my first Europe Solo Trip. Turkish Airlines TK067 plans to depart on 19.50, but there were 30 minutes late, may be caused by the heavy traffic in Jakarta’s airport. The flight to Singapore were about 1:20h and leaving the aircraft for an hour in transit room. Singapore to Istanbul were taking 10:30h with one time inflight snacks, one time dinner, and one time breakfast. 13:00h total. The flight attendants were not really helpful, since they comment too much on anything that they was not supposed to. The meals, so so.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Istanbul Atatürk International Airport

After arriving in Istanbul Airport, I was checked the gate number for connecting flight to Belgrade in the giant screen. Second check, third check, later I asked the information officer. My flight was not on display. He told me to go to the transit desk. Officer in transit desk told me that the 07.45 flight to Belgrade was cancelled, so I transferred to the next flight in 18.45. I heard a man beside my line, he was delayed until next 2 days. This was my first time having a cancelled flight. The airlines told me that they were gonna give me a hotel until my next boarding. But, the weird part is that I have to pay the Visa on Arrival ($25) on my own. It may caused of my passport. Indonesian passport needs to pay the visa on arrival fee. After getting the visa, I went to the passport control, stamped, and moved to the Turkish Airlines Hotel Desk. Again, they kept us waiting for about 30 minutes after they made the reservation for the hotel. There were about 20 persons whose flight was cancelled and brought to the hotel with me.

Klassis Resort Hotel

The trip to the hotel was an hour and a half, long trip. I was hoping that the hotel in the central town, so, I can make a short explore around the city. But, what I got was different, the hotel was having their own beach and like nowhere-to-go. Yet, the hotel was incredibly huge, but old-designed. I have never been in such a huge hotel like this. I also having my lunch here, buffet. Thanks to Turkish Airlines, at least, I got a chance to taste expensive food before many days ahead which has been planned to be in a very tight outcome. Using a van, they dropped us to the airport whose got a boarding time in the afternoon.

Klassis Hotel Resort, Istanbul

Klassis Hotel’s beach

Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, again

I still have 2,5 hours before my boarding time. I looked around duty shop, bought some Turkish Delights and collectible items, and grabbed some early dinner in food court. I thought the price in Turkey a little bit pricey. But, I don’t know about the outside’s condition. I continued my flight using TK1083 to Belgrade in 18.35. It delayed for about 20 minutes. The flight to Belgrade were about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport

Finally, after a long trip, I landed in Belgrade! The airport was not really big, many parts of it still under renovation. Most of Serbian people was tall, if its compared to me, and they walked really fast. Most of the girls and boys were good-looking, so, what are you waiting for? HAHA. For you who first come to Serbia, they got tourist information desk near the baggage claim area. The officer was very nice and helpful.

Some important info might be useful from me:

  1. Make sure you have a valid visa to enter Serbia.
  2. In the airport, you might a little confuse of queue line in passport control. They have the line special for crew, for EU and not requiring visa passport, and other passport. But they were not really into it, just in line which the officer existed. Doesn’t matter.
  3. Currency in Serbia is Serbian Dinar (RSD), make sure you have it. The rate in airport and city is almost equal.
  4. For cheapest travel to the city, I used bus no. 72 from airport. They come every 30 minutes, and fortunately, I just need to wait about 15 minutes. You need to have the BusPlus card, the topup card for paying fees, or else just pay cash to the driver. The fare is RSD150 (about €1.3 or IDR15,000). I met a very friendly driver and asked him to drop me in the area which I point from the map given in the airport. You may use taxi, a little bit expensive, but, make sure you ride the authorized taxi from the taxi counter near the baggage claim also. The taxi to the central will be around RSD2000
  5. Around end of May, daily temperature was 8 C – 28 C. So, bring your jacket.

Hostelche

I finally used the bus no. 72 and dropped of at the last stop, Zeleni Venac. Took a walk, and a litlle lost. Most people I met around there ever heard the name of the street, but they forgot which street it is. Because, finally I recognise, the Kralja Petra street is connected with the famous pedestrian area, Knez Mihajlova, which many of another street were also parallel connected just like Kralja Petra does. But, at last, I found the street. The thing you must take note, is “Ulica” is Serbian language for “Street”, and they did not write the street’s name in latin alphabetical. So, very careful.

The girl at receptionist were very nice, Bojana was her name. She asked me whether I’m going to take a rest or grab some meal, but I choose to sleep, yeah, because you know, it took almost 2 days trip from Jakarta until i finally arrived at Belgrade’s hostel.

Kalemegdan Park

This famous and must visit park is located very close to my hostel. Only about 5-10 minutes walk. In the morning, most of the people used to take a walk with their dog, while the others may sit down to relax and chat, or read the newspaper. At some border, you may find the famous Belgrade Fortress, but I haven’t planned to enter it, so, next day would be okay. The fortress from the outside actually making me goosebumps. An old historical building, as the part of Serbian’s history is in front of me. I must go inside. At another border, there was also many bench right to see the beautiful scenery of New Belgrade and also the junction of Sava and Danube River. This was amazing, I shouted many times, “This is amazing! I love this city!”

So, ended up, I took around, the Belgrade Fortress from the outside, Monument of Gratitude to France, Great Staircases, Belgrade Cathedral, walk along Knez Mihajlova to find a food, and finally went to the KFC.

National Bank of Serbia

Belgrade Fortress

View of Danube River and New Belgrade from the Kalemegdan Park

KFC Studenski Trg (Students Square)

The menu was totally different with another KFC I have ever met. There were mostly chicken wings, chicken strips, and another specialties. I ordered chicken fillet burger RSD220 (Filet sendvic), a mixed-berry pie RSD150 (Tortica), and a cup of hot chocolate RSD105 (Topla cokolada). Total of RSD475 for my breakfast. The pie was so delicious.

Usce Shopping Center

It’s actually quiet far from the Students Square, but I took a walk from there. In the map, it may look like only 1 or 2 bus stop, but if you really walk, it may took almost 30 minutes to get to Usce area. So, this shopping mall is one of the biggest and most modern shopping mall in Belgrade. Yea, shopping time! The way back, I took the bus. Oh, I almost forgot, if you pay using BusPlus card, it only cost RSD60, for all trip, half cheaper than pay cash.

Mikser Festival 2012

It a long walk since the morning I left the hostel. I went back to the hostel, took a rest, and not long after, my roommate was came back and ask me to join him and another friends. So, there are five of us. Two of my roommates coming from Germany and Hungary, and there are also another two Scottish brothers Rob Huntley (Canada) and Seoras Speirs (Ireland).

So, we were going to Savamala, to see the festival. It is the Biggest Regional Festival of Creativity. So, there were an almost-demolished-and-old building filled with an art materials, there were also “recycle” area just to remind us to always be care with these things, also creativity workshops by Chevrolet, etc. They had like 38 buildings which joining the festival showing their own creativity of each building.

My Hungarian friend came back to the hostel, while me and the rest continued to the lake, like the plan at the first time.

Remake Recycle Rethink Recreate Reset

Mikser Festival 2012. Find the yellow in Savamala, Belgrade

Ada Cigalinja

Stephen was right to took a cab to Ada Ciganlija. It was cheaper and much faster. We paid the cab RSD408, divided by 4 persons, so per person wouldn’t be more expensive than took a bus.

It is an artificial lake in the middle of the city. City’s people called it Belgrade’s Sea. The river was dammed so it looks like a lake. The beach from the far, it may looks like sands, but after you see in closer, it was gravels, actually.

We had a chat in the lakeside bar, talked almost about everything, social, religion, damn-politics, in our own country. Nice time, actually.

I drank water for RSD260, while the others’ beers just RSD180. Yeah, beers are just cheaper than mineral water. We went back to the Republic Square, so we can split easily to the nearest point back to our hostel. Stephen and me were heading back to the hostel. Taxi from Ada Ciganlija to Republic Square was RSD560.

Ada Ciganlija

‘?’ Restaurant

Yes, blame me to be too lazy to walked out the hostel. Today was very tiring. This famous ‘?’ Restaurant was fortunately located just next to my building (Kralja Petra Street 6).

I ordered ‘Serbian Beans with sausage’ and water. Aaannddd, it’s my another bad not to rechecked it, I forgot about most of the sausage were pork, while I don’t eat pork. The waiter was very nice so they change my meal to Beef stewed goulash. The taste was delicious, and worthy. It all costs RSD750.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Residence of Princess Ljubica

Bajrakli Mosque

Serbian National Assembly

Belgrade City Assembly – Old Court

Belgrade Fortress

As I noted in the previous day, I must get in to the fortress. This a free of charge entry. All I can say is Amazing! Just like fortress in movies, with double gates, tanks, and friends. You will be in the Upper City, if you entered from Kalemegdan Park, and obviously, you would be able to stare the beautiful panorama of Lower City and the junction of Sava and Danube River, as I previously mentioned. The pictures will tell you more.

Belgrade Fortress 2nd gate

Belgrade Fortress (Upper town’s view from Lower town)

Monument of Gratitude to the France

Military Museum

This museum is located just in the area of the fortress. Pay RSD150 and explore the history of previous Serbian war, since they were with Yugoslavia, Turkish invasion, Montenegro separated, etc. A total complete of piece of history you could find in ordered number and sign. It was also good to see the silent witness of the Serbian history.

Military Museum

Gyropolis – Knez Mihajlova

Not really far from the Kalemegdan Park, and very close to Kralja Petra Street, i found the food shop. The meal was named Gyros, I thought it were originally come from Greece, yeah, let me say it was a Greek Wrap or Kebap. The price was only RSD250, why I said it ‘only’? It is a perfect fast food lunch. With much fries and chicken meat, it’s worthy. You can pick the mayonnaise, while the man offered me the traditional one because I was confused of many options, you can asked whether you like tomatoes, onions, etc, and you can also pick the meat, pork, chicken, or mixed. Just asked them!

Chicken gyros

Nikola Tesla Museum

I was told by Stephan from Germany that I should visit the Nikola Tesla Museum. From the very beginning, I was wondering, Tesla should be very important to the country, besides, yes, I know, Tesla was a world’s great scientist and inventor. So, I got to the Tourist Information Center in Knez Mihajlova, and fortunately the officer was really nice and helpful. He’s speaking english very well. He told me to go straight on to the museum, and for easiness, he suggested me to take a walk instead of having bus. I walked about 30 mins to the museum.

I got to the museum around 1 pm, the ticket officer told that in that time, they had guide with Serbian language, while the English-guided tour will be on 2 pm. I was waiting in the park not far from the museum, until it’s rain, I wait in the lobby. The museum fee was RSD500 with or without the guide, included the movie.

The guide was explained it very well, attractive, and informative. The most important inventions made by Nikola Tesla was the motor (stator and rotor) which generate the magnetic field from inducing metal, if I’m not mistaken.

There were also an attraction which also the part of the invention. So, some people in the groups were holding the neon bulbs, standing around the appliances which generate 250,000 watt of electricity and also great lightning. Without touching the bulb to the appliances, the bulb will lighted on, because of the magnetic field happened by the rotating metals around the generator.

Another show, the lightning which could generate wireless electricity for the model so the model could moved, was not conducted through our body, but our skin. This called ‘skin effect’. I felt it, a little shocked, but not killing or hurting at all.

They also got the bed, drawers, and room-stuff which occupied by Nikola Tesla together with his personal belongings. This things is regularly moving around the worldwide. So, we were lucky to having seen it today in our trip. What a great experience, the worthy one.

The bulb is on!

Nikola Tesla’s room

Danube Riverside

I met with this nice Albanian-Croatian friend, was lived in Serbia also Montenegro, now used to live in Netherlands, named Goran Zekaj Tarik (www.goranzekaj.com). He is an graphic designer, photographer, web designer also his cat was also a moviestar. He was organizing his exhibition in one of the building in Mikser Festival which I attend yesterday. Yeah, finally I got someone to asked many things about the country. We talked alot, exchange the information about both country. We went to the cafe in the side of Danube River. Goran was taking me through the shortcut from Kralja Petra street, using stairs downwards, and voila, here we are in the riverside of Danube River.

I just knew that most of the building in the riverside are clubs, cafes, and restaurants. But, I haven’t took any pictures, so sorry 😉 Anyway, thanks Goran!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Today, I was almost running out of plan. So, let anything happened as it could be. I first planned to go inside the National Bank of Serbia which located near my hostel. They told has a visitor center and modern gallery which opens Mon-Fri from 10-16h. When I was about to leave the hostel, XXXX from the hostel suggest me to go to Zemun. I was thought ‘How could I did not ask her how to there. I already planned to go there, but too lazy to ask. So, she explained me a little history and the way to get there. It’s not really far, so I just let my feet took me there. I grabbed my lunch in Usce Shopping Center, in New Belgrade (Novi Beograd), so I don’t think you guys want to read about it anymore. 😀

Zemun

I took the bus no. 84 from Brankova Bridge down the Glavina Street in Zemun. Once again, the bus fare was flat everywhere RSD60 if you’re using your BusPlus card. Less than 15 minutes by bus, I got there. On the way, just seen the Palace of Serbia on the left, the old Hotel Jugoslavija which is not operated anymore, I thought some part of the hotel were changed to be a Grand Casinoe, but the rest of the hotel seems never been touched, kinda spooky anyway.

So, hop off in Glavina street, I felt the different atmosphere of the city. Yeah, Zemun was the only city which existed in the war time, while the other part of New Belgrade was swamps. So, you can imagine, while the Old Belgrade occupied by Turkish, then Zemun was the only area of Yugoslavia to fight the Turkish directly.

I walked down along the Danube River, found a group of iBikeBelgrade (www.ibikebelgrade.com), pictured some churches (Church Sv. Nikola, Haris’s Chapel of St. Demetrius, Roman Catholic Church of Blazene device Marije), Remnants of the Medieval Fortress and Millennium Tower on Gardos Hill, Zemun Cemetery.

Actually this was a small town, which still occupies by the the people. Most of them are not English speaker, even a young man. The area somehow complicated even you with a map, so, be really well prepared with enough information or guide.

Zemun

Gardoš Tower, Old Zemun

Danube and Belgrade Fortress ‘crazy’ Walkside

View of Danube River and New Belgrade (Novi Beograd)

So, at night, Goran was made his promise to accompany me on the other night, so tonight was the other night. We chatted alot, talking almost about everything, up and down the hills, walked through railway, went to the ship factory, trashes’ final station, and many other part which wouldn’t be seen by tourist. Another thank to you, Goran. We walked like about 3 hours, yeah, three hours. That’s somehow amazingly a long time to walk and chat nonstop. I thought the way Goran chosed was almost equal to my orientation time in campus, just for you who understand the situation. *Right, TERRA?*

Until I gave up and hunger to the fullest, finally we went to Pizzeria Trg, a pizza and pancake store around Republic Square. I went to eat the pancake with Nutella and Banana’s topping. But, the pancake here was more like crepes in Indonesia, but the crepes itself was thicker and softer, not crispy that way. It costs only RSD130, and somehow, because I miss the sweet meals, it was like the best meal I ever eat, so far, here, in Belgrade. *too much*

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Belgrade Cathedral

I thought the conference would be started on 9. I came to the hotel before 9, and everybody just like don’t know about the conference. Until, the very kind Prof. Snezana came to me. She was very warm and gladful to welcome me to the city. She also already knew my name! So, she explained about the schedule and took my poster which would be my presentation’s media for tomorrow.

I went back to the hostel for awhile. I grabbed my lunch in Gyropolis, yes, it also one of my favorite.

(I will make separate post regarding on the 3rd International Geosciences Student Conference)

After the conference, I, again, met Goran in Republic Square. He was just watching a theater play with his family in National Theater. I asked him to eat yesterday’s pancake, because I really like it. We went to another food stall, and I tried different toppings. Now, with traditional chocolate cream, banana, and cherry. Btw, thanks Goran for the treat!

Republic Square (Surrounded by National Museum, National Theater, and National Art Museum)

Skadarlija

Like he always ‘did’, he took me around like don’t-know-where-to-go. He supposed to find his favorite bar, but he didn’t remember the place since he always went there by car. Finally, we went to Skadarlija Street, which acclaimed as the oldest street in Belgrade. This street was another atmosphere of the street side cafes. Along the street, and area, you would easily find restaurants, cafes, or bars. People like to spend their time here. Just get here if you’d like to feel different atmosphere. People here until the late of night. We went to Red Bar, nice bar. Quiet full of people, but still nice.

Skadarlija

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today is the second day of IGSC. As I have mentioned before, i will make another post about it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just grabbed a quick dessert in a building’s cafe, in Milentija Popovica 5B, Smokvica, and ordered Cheese Cake RSD260 and Orange Juice RSD230.

After the halfday-skipped’s conference, I went back to take my luggage at hostel. Yeah, Hostelche was very nice to let me put my luggage even I have checked out. I met Bojana, the nice girl who received me at the first day, and then it’s her shift when I left the hostel for the last time. I like Bojana very much, because she is very nice, informative, and I thought we have something in common, right, Bojana? 😉 See you, when I see you. Thanks Hostelche, for giving me such an experience, the very new one. Now, I understand why do people love to stay in a hostel, the one like Hostelche. Full of kind people, we can have roommates from all over the world to share everything, and that’s worth more than the price you have paid for the room. Priceless.

Brankova Street. Old building.

Friday, June 1, 2012

So, just for anyone information, I got a kinda long trip back to Jakarta. Belgrade – Istanbul for 1:45h, transit 0:30h, Istanbul – Singapore for 10:15h, transit 0:45h, and finally Singapore – Jakarta for 1:30h. Fiiiuuhh, looonnnng waaay. But, finally, I’m hooome from my first solo trip!

Hello, Singapore!

THE ITINERARY

Day 1: [Jakarta] McDonald’s Alfa Indah Joglo, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport [Singapore] Changi Airport International Airport, Ibis Bencoolen Hotel, Sentosa Island (Around Universal Studios Singapore, Siloso Beach, Sentosa Skyride & Luge), Vivocity, Clarke Quay, Raffles Place, Marina Bay, and Orchard

Day 2: Marina Bay (The Shoppe at Marina Bay Sands and ArtScience Museum), Cineleisure Orchard, Bugis Market, and Hooters Clarke Quay

Day 3: Singapore Science Center, Bugis Market, and Changi International Airport

Monday, April 9, 2012

After some academic business during last months in campus, I consider myself to take a short refreshing. In a sudden plan, me and my friend, Asyharul Fityan, which I already mentioned in my post titled “2 hours in Trans Studio Bandung“, went to Singapore.

McDonald’s Alfa Indah Joglo

The departure time is around 6 am, so we have to take a morning taxi to the airport. Shortly, we grabbed breakfast near my house, McDonald’s Alfa Indah. The store was relatively new and open for 24 hours. I got a bad experience here, I’m ordering the meals and beverages through the dine-in cashier. And the conclusion are:
1. My milo (beverage) was too much water. I can deal it. It’s normal.
2. The spaghetti was not warm, or at least well reheated. I still will tolerance it.
3. The fried chicken was like many times refried, not fresh. I will take it easy.
4. The cashier did not put my order in the screen in front of me. When my friend asked, “why don’t you put our order in the screen?” the cashier remained silent.
5. In invoice receipt, my order printed as delivery not dine-in for total amount of IDR58,455 but i paid for IDR68,500. We recognized it as their fool trick, so they no need to include our order in the report. Shame, McD.

Another first time, we used Jetstar Airlines JQ114 in terminal 2E Jakarta’s airport. The plane and flight was just okay. The flight to Singapore was only about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Changi International Airport, Singapore

We took a cab to the hotel in Bencoolen Street, the fare was S$18,50 including the ERP (Electronic Road Picing) Fee. Took a very short rest, we continue the trip to Sentosa Island using MRT. The Harbourfront station was the last, connected with the Vivocity, and we took Sentosa monorail (S$3 for roundtrip).

Sentosa Island

View from monorail to Sentosa Island

For Sentosa monorail, there were 4 stations:
1. Sentosa station (Vivocity)
2. Waterfront station (Sentosa Resort World and Universal Studio Singapore)
3. Imbiah station (Imbiah Lookout)
4. Beach Station (Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, and Tanjung Beach)

Sentosa monorail’s stations

Differ from MRT, we shouldn’t have to pay any cost while having many stops using Sentosa monorail.

In Waterfront station, we were stopping by and taking pictures around Universal Studio Singapore. Bought some snacks from Hershey’s store and took a tour around Resort World.

Moving to Beach station, we were continuing the trip using tram to the Siloso Beach. I don’t have much thing to say, Bali’s beach is much better, but in a small and compact country like Singapore, they got almost every leisure you probably need to escape.

Siloso Beach

Sentosa’s trem

Still using the free of charge tram around beach area, we moved to one of the thrilling ride in Sentosa, Luge & Skyride. The admission for single trip of skyride and 1 luge is S$12,50. It was affordable and so much fun, more than that.

Ready for Luge Ride!

Not really far from the Luge, we got to see the iSky, the largest indoor’s skydiving in the world. Unfortuntely, it costs S$89 for 2x dives. We didn’t prepare that much for the fun. Seeing the attraction from the outside, was a good idea. Make sure you booked the time and the instructor, otherwise you should find the fitted time.

Vivocity

Vivocity

A huge mall connected the Singapore and Sentosa Island. We grabbed the lunch in Food Republic (food court on the top level). I ate Grilled Dory Fish with Tartar Sauce costs S$5. Nice lunch.

Grilled dory fish with tartar sauce

Clarke Quay

Famous for their riverside sightseeing, river taxi, restaurt along the riverside, nightlife, and fun in later night. We just walked along and took pictures.

Restaurant row along Clarke Quay’s riverside

Raffles Place

Cavenagh Bridge

Between Clarke Quay and Raffles Place, we found the historical Cavenagh Bridge and The Fullerton Hotel. The hotel was old but amazingly well preserved and still attracting people.

We found snack, block of flavoured ice cream layered with wafers or bread, costs S$1,20.

S$1,20 Ice Cream Wafer Snack

Marina Bay

Moving forward to Marina Bay, you would easily find The Merlion, half-a-man and half-a-lion, symbol of Singapore. The Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Flyer, and Esplanade would be happy becoming the background of your photo. Most of the tourist got around here. The mid-hi level restaurant would be easily found along the river from Clarke Quay until Marina Bay.

Merlion Park

Singapore Flyer, ArtScience Museum (Lotus building), and Marina Bay Sands

Orchard
At night, we spent the time to explore the famous Orchard Road. Many malls, many superbranded brands, many shops would easily found along the street. The heaven for shopping.

Orchard

We grabbed the dinner in ION Orchard, one of the mall. You would heard about the chicken wings from Korea, 4Fingers Crispy Chicken. I ate a package of crispy chicken burger, fries, and soft drink costs S$9,95. Yummy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today is another day for me exploring the city. My friend, Jawa, is fortunately having his training programme. I just called up my high school friend, whom study here, his name is Rahmat Ikhsan Saputra Manday, I called him Manday. In the middle of our way to finish our final project and thesis, we took a rest, met up, and went around the city. Manday accompanied me to some places. We met in Bugis Street, before we arranged the next destination. After some chats, we decided to go to the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay. We took MRT down to the museum.

Marina Bay

Took a walk in a huge mall The Shoppe at Marina Bay Sands. It is a very brilliant idea. They got an “indoor Venice” inside, called Sampan Ride, for S$10 per trip per person, you will enjoy the sensation of having your boat in the mall. Just try it!

ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay

Not really far from the mall, we got to the ArtScience Museum. For anyone whom already recognized the signature photographs of Singapore, you would easily found the building of the museum, Lotus Building.

The 5-storeys building is organized to held typical exhibition depends on the moment. At that time, the artifacts of the legendary giant cruise, Titanic, was exhibited in one of the storey. On the admission floor, just pay the S$24 for Titanic museum, or S$15 for “pop art” Andy Warhol, or the package of S$28 for both exhibition. Another S$6 for deeper understanding about the stuffs through the sound guide is rented.

Titanic Museum

Information about the famous Titanic which i got from the museum.

In the past, first-class passengers should pay $4,500 (nowadays is as equal as $103,000). While the third-class passengers should pay $40 (equal as $900 nowadays). From the movie, we could see how luxurious the facility provided by the cruise to the first-class passengers. The third-class passengers is located in 4-bedded room. In that trip, they were around 700 third-class passengers, and provided ONLY with two bathrooms. So, once in a week shower is enough, they said.

In the museum, you will also find the replica of main staircase, first-, second-, third-class’ corridor, balcony, and every remaining stuffs of the Titanic (passengers’ toothbrush, plates, spoon, cruise’s spare parts, etc).

Titanic was discovered in 1912. So, in this year, they were celebrating their 100th anniversary in the museum roadshow.

All museums worldwide rules: No pictures were allowed to be taken inside.

Orchard

We went to the Orchard, using MRT. Having lunch in Cineleisure’s food court on the basement floor, people usually called it Cine.  I ate Pad Thai from Sawadee Cuisine’s stall for S$4,50 and watermelon juice from the drinks counter for S$2. Delicious.

A few blocks from Cine, we took a prayer in a mosque. Nice, but I forgot the name of the mosque. Manday got another appointment, so here we dismissed.

Bugis Market

After we dismissed, I took my own way back to the hotel. I took a short view to the market. I concluded that this market should be really well-known by tourist. They sell many souvenirs (shirts, keychain, etc) also food &  beverages. Again, I bought the durian pancake and S$1 watermelon juice. Hmm, yummy! I went back to the hotel, and took a rest for a while.

Bugis Market

S$1,50 Durian Pancake!

Clarke Quay

Night at Clarke Quay

At nightafter Jawa came back from his programme, we grabbed dinner in Clarke Quay. As I have previously mentioned, this place is very well-known for its nightlife and restaurant row along the riverside. We took a cab from the hotel (Bencoolen), it costs S$15,00.

Chicken wings, fries, and drinks at Hooters

We ate chicken wings in Hooters.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Last day. Not really much to do. I almost out of plan, what should I visit next? So, I planned to visit the Singapore Science Center. Yes, it is not for my age, actually. I went there when I was kid, just planned to revisit it.

Singapore Science Center

Self-taken picture in front of Science Center

Located on Jurong East area. No direct MRT from Bencoolen to SSC. So, I took MRT to Jurong East station, and continued using the bus from Jurong East Bus Interchange connected with the MRT station. You just need your EZ Card to pay all of the transportation mode.

The entrance fee for adult to SSC is S$9 and another S$10 if you wish to watch the movie in IMAX Theater. I explored the science center, which mostly visited by kids, groups of younger children, a pack of family, etc.

I learn the things in many parts, Mathematics, Kinetics, Electricity, Physics, Sounds, Breedings, etc.

Bugis Market

Bought some souvenirs for friends in hometown, looking around, durian pancakes for many times, and having fun in the market.

That’s all my trip in Singapore. More or less, hopefully there would something be able to be learned from my trip. Thank you guys! 🙂

Halo, Central Java!

THE ITINERARY

Day 1: [Jakarta] Soekarno-Hatta International Airport [Semarang] Ahmad Yani International Airport, Soto Bangkong, Whiz Hotel Semarang, Tahu Pong, Paragon Shopping Mall, Lawang Sewu, and Simpang Lima

Day 2: [Semarang] Semarang Souvenirs [Pekalongan] Gren Mandarin Hotel, Museum Batik Pekalongan, Fashion Show, and Craziest Durian Time

Day 3: [Semarang] Official Residence of Vice Mayor of Pekalongan, Kampung Batik Pesindon, Kampung Batik Kauman, and Pekalongan Railway Station [Jakarta] Gambir Railway Station

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Hello guys, what a happy weekend. I hope you all are having a good plan for your days ahead. Another trip with my lovely Putra Putri Batik Nusantara fellas, from Jakarta are Asran Aga Shady, Mia Ismi Halida, Sydney Amanda, Anastasia Praditha, Iqbal Nurman, and me; from DI Yogyakarta we got Tedy Setiana Muslich; from East Java is Jean Friska Andini; and from Central Java we have Ali Assegaf and Sigit Pramono joining. We also accompanied by Mrs. Tantie Koestantia and daughter, Mrs. Ayu Dyah Pasha, some relatives, and people from Focus Convensindo Event Organizer (Ms. Henni, Ms. Ditta, Ms. Rida, Ms. Naomi, Mr. Andre, and Mr. Dana). The main purpose of this trip was to get us closer to the central of Indonesian Batik, Pekalongan. This trip was one in many trips which I already waiting for, I could learn and experienced real things of these cultural heritage directly, from the source.

We gathered in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport around 7.30 am, because the flight supposed to be on 10.00 am (after previously resechuled, 8.00 am). We were waiting for some moments, playing cards; the flight was delayed for 2 hours. The plane will take off on 12.05 pm. This was my first time flying with Sriwijaya Air and experienced the delay for this long. On board, I sat next to Aga and found the aircraft was not really comfortable, after all. I flew SJ224 destination to Semarang, the flight was around 50 minutes. It was not the best of my flight, may be the worst. However it was, I finally arrived in Semarang, thank God.

Just arrived in Ahmad Yani International Airport, Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia

We picked up by the bus, and went to Soto Bangkong. Actually, you would easily found Soto Bangkong outside Semarang, like in Jakarta. But, this was the original, since the location was in Bangkong area. It located on Brigjen Katamso street, beside Bangkong Post Office. I ate Soto Ayam (Chicken Soup). Tasteful.

Soto Ayam Bangkong

PPBN + Mrs. Tantie + Mrs. Ayu – Iqbal in Soto Bangkong

Then, we checked in to the hotel, and took a short rest. We stayed in Whiz Hotel Semarang, a new-look, minimalist but modern, and located in the central of Semarang city. Unfortunately, or it could be the very fortunate of us, that this month, Semarang got so much rainfalls, and it comes with terrific flooding all around. Semarang people should really concern about this problem. Without no serious handling, It will turns to become huge disaster to the city.

Whiz Hotel Semarang

We got the city tour from the bus, thanks to Ms. Febi as our tour guide, which haven’t took any short break to explain us about the city. She knows a lot about the city, history, places, and any interesting parts of it. Two thumbs up for you, Ms. Febi.

So, I’d like to share you what Ms. Febi has just shared to us.

So, actually the word of ‘Semarang’ came from ‘Pohon Asem, daunnya jarang’ (Tamarind trees, rare leafy), then people got used to know with ‘Asem Jarang’, then futher shortened to (a)sem-(j)arang.  They got most of tourism interest, except natural site. In past, Semarang was hilly surrounded by the sea. Today, people called Upper Semarang and Lower Semarang as they called it in regular basis, which the boundary was the margin between the sea and the land in the past.

Moving to Sam Poo Kong’s Temple (or Warlord Cengho, or Commander Ming Dynasty). Some people believed that Kong was the Islamic missionary in Semarang, while the other still believed that he as the ancestor of Kong Hu Cu. This two different belief is growing, but does not interfere one another. There were 3 main temples, which individually developed by Tionghoa people in Semarang. They also have Ciam Si, a traditional and unique forecasting by the Biokong (temple guard). The entrance ticket is IDR3,000 and additional IDR20,000 for entering the temple.

Sam Poo Kong Temple

The only thing we can see during the rainfall is keep looking from inside the bus, or else, culinary time! Yes, not long after the city tour, we stopped to a food stall aside the street, Tahu Pong (‘Tahu’ means ‘Indonesian tofu’ and ‘Pong’ means ‘empty-filled’). They served tahu pong, tahu gimbal, and other Semarang specialties. Yummy!

Tahu Gimbal

After the city tour and culinary things, we decided to stay on hotel. Really, the flooding got us crazy; the bus can’t access many ways since it’s flooded. The group came back to the hotel. At night, we just hope for visit Lawang Sewu in dry, the well-known spooky tourism site.

Around 10.30 pm, we departed to Lawang Sewu. What is Lawang Sewu? Lawang Sewu means thousands window. Why? Because the size of the windows and the doors almost the same. The A building, was build on 1904 – 1908, and B building in behind, was on 1916 – 1919.  It used to be a railway office in Dutch colonial time, consist of 2 main storeys, and an additional lower and upper the main. The additional level was used to be an air-conditioner level, so it kept the main storeys cool. After Japanese ruling the nation, the building was turn over to become headquarter of Japanese’s commander. The building became a place for torture, massacre, and dungeon. The level -1 and +2 (basement and ceiling level) turns to be the place for torturing Indonesian war’s prisoners. You can imagine, a box of 2x2x0.5 m (width x length x tall) to kept 15 persons in squat position, then the top covered by iron bars. Another 1×1 m room for 6 persons has prominent bullheads so the prisoners couldn’t lean to the wall. If lean, they stabbed, and died. So heinous!

In -1 floor (basement) Lawang Sewu. Very sppooookkkyyy.. You should wear boots

“Squat” room, one box for 15 persons, could you imagine?

“Standing” room, for 6 persons

Second storey. Balcony of Lawang Sewu building.

We tour about an hour in Lawang Sewu, started on 11 pm and ended at midnight. Grrr. They have many spooky stories about the place. You know, many lives were gone in the place, no wonder, it could be the scariest place ever in the city.

It’s 12 o’clock, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mrs. Ayu Dyah Pasha! We went to the Simpang Lima and ate Nasi Ayam (Chicken Rice) in lesehan (traditional style, no chair, on a mat).

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Ayu Dyah Pasha!

Me and Ditha on lesehan at Simpang Lima, Semarang

A very long and tiring day, but was so much fun. Thank and see you tomorrow!

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

We departed around 7.30 am to the souvenir center. Bandeng Presto, Wingko babat, Mochi are the things people usually bought from Semarang. All of these specialties were not originally coming within the society; it originates from outside Central Java.

The trip to Pekalongan using bus took around 2,5 hours. We arrived at Gren Mandarin Hotel and were welcomed by the people from Pekalongan Dept. of Tourism, Duta Wisata Kota Pekalongan (Pekalongan city Tourism Ambassadors), and Putra Putri Batik Pantura (Northern Coast Batik Tourism Ambassadors). We had a photo session around the hotel by local media, and then had a welcoming ceremony by the Vice Mayor of Pekalongan city during our lunch. Mia from PPBN was entertained us with her beautiful voice.

Putra Putri Batik Nusantara 2011 with Duta Wisata Kota Pekalongan

We immediately get ourselves ready for the next trip to Museum Batik Pekalongan, the biggest batik museum in the nation. Everything seems so close in the city, in less than 30 mins we arrived in the museum. We had a short tour regarding on Pekalongan batik pattern, which explained by the guide, then tried some technique of making batik, and welcomed by the official of the museum for short intro. Some of us were trying the stamp method of making batik, and then let the museum’s staff colored it.

Making Batik using Copper Stamp

Another itinerary was waiting for us, the only one first and last rehearsal for tonight fashion show. We were gonna have fashion show for opening act in Ari Lasso’s (famous Indonesian singer) concert in Dupan Exhibition Hall, near our hotel. Together with the local tourism and batik ambassador, we were trying to practice our best. Then coming the show time!

Show time!

After the fashion show, we went to explore another crazy part of Pekalongan, located in Batang area, which famous for their tropical fruit, Durian. Yes, this time for us to getting crazier! Cheap, delicious, and local fresh durian, 15 durians in less than 1 hour! I may be the winner of tonight’s durian eating. 😉

Duriaaan!

Hufft, another fun day in Central Java and we still have tomorrow’s last day here. It’s almost midnight and we should take a rest. See ya!

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Our morning breakfast in the official residence of Pekalongan’s vice mayor, we served with local meal. I am sorry for forgetting the name, but it was delicious, made from young jackfruit and coconut.

After short chitchats, and waiting for Duta Wisata and Putra Putri Batik Pantura coming to the house, we went to Pesindon Batik village and Kauman Batik village. In batik village, they usually have batik’s business starts from the very beginning process of making batik until final sales also in their house. You will find many batik shops here. The price was much cheaper than in the city, moreover in Jakarta; because you buy it directly from the source. Pekalongan has an unique and colorful batik pattern, Buketan and Jlamprang, but they still have another nationwide batik pattern ready on their store.

Kampung Batik Pesindon

Their spirit making batik tulis were really amazing.

This is silk. The materials is absolutely more expensive, harder to stamp it.

After crazy shopping because of the cheap price, we went to the railway station took Argo Anggrek train to Jakarta. The trip Pekalongan-Jakarta was around 5 hours.

Good bye, Pekalongan!

Hmm, that was my trip to the cultural Central Java. As the previous purpose of the trip, I hope that our knowledge about batik will expand and bring a good impact on young generation to love Indonesian batik more than we should.


Halo, Yogyakarta!

THE ITINERARY

Day 1: [Jakarta] Soekarno-Hatta International Airport [Yogyakarta] Adisutjipto Airport, Prambanan Temple, Makam Raja-Raja Mataram, All Seasons Hotel

Day 2: Ullen Sentalu Museum, Mirota Batik, Vredeburg Fort, Yogyakarta Batik Monument, Oseng Mercon Ahmad Dahlan, and Yogyakarta City Tour

Day 3: Malioboro Street and Kraton Yogyakarta

Friday, January 13, 2012

Indonesia AirAsia Aircraft Airbus A320

This was my very first experience fly through Terminal 3 Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, it’s new and modern building. I was using Indonesia Airasia Airlines heading to Yogyakarta QZ7556, also my first. The boarding was on the time, and the take off also. The aircraft was surprisingly comfortable, without none of expectation before. I arrived in Adisutjipto Airport, Yogyakarta about 7 am. The flight only took around 1 hour from Jakarta. Overall nice flight.

Adisutjipto Airport, Yogyakarta

I took TransJogja, a shuttle-to-shuttle bus provider, first heading to Prambanan Temple in Sleman area. Prambanan Temple was located in the border of Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Special Region) and Surakarta (Central Java). The TransJogja was actually the same with TransSarbagita in Bali island, because they have no special way, like TransJakarta. The ticket fare is IDR3,000 for all destination, one-time travel.

TransJogja bus and shuttle

This is what I called development, I feel proud of my country which every city has concern about their each development, so they could afford the convenience of tourist both domestic and international. I found it started many international tourists coming to Yogyakarta, since I believe Yogyakarta offered different specific tourism objects.

Entrance info in Prambanan Temple Complex

Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta

Prambanan Temple was one of Hinduism temple constructed in 850 CE by Rakai Pikatan. The temple should be in many numbers, since the giant earthquake shoke Southern Yogyakarta in 2006, Prambanan collapsed. Less than 10 biggest temples were remained. Now, they still reconstructed and I really don’t get how could they probably make the temples back to their origin.

Me in Prambanan Complex

After my super tired and tanned journey to Prambanan temple, I was picked up by Sekar, my nice friend, also with his brother, Adi. They took me around, and first destination was Bakso Sido Semi in Kotagede area. ‘Bakso’ means meatball. I ate a bowl of meatball and also a mungbean porridge, their specialties. The price for a bowl of meatball is IDR6,000 and the mungbean porridge is around IDR4,000. The kiosk building was old, located not really far from the complex of Mataram Kingdom Gravery Complex.

I did my Friday Prayer in Mesjid Besar Mataram Kotagede (Mataram Big Mosque, Kotagede). After the prayer, we continued our religious tour inside the gravery complex. So, Mataram Kingdom was ruled all Java until Nusa Tenggara Island, in the past. You could imagine, how big the kingdom was. Before entering the complex, we should obey some rules, including not allowed to take any picture inside the complex plus we should wear a traditional costume. Here they are.

The uniform you should wear before entering the complex. Sekar with me.

In this complex, they were all of the important person of Mataram Kingdom, so, the people in the area were supposed to be very respect the soul buried here, so the rest of the visitors coming. The ceremony were took about 45 mins to be done. So, if you would like to find inner peace by praying for the ancestor soul which you adore most, go get here.

The ceremony entering the graveyard

In front of the building. Very spooky. 😉

After all first interesting destination visited, I checked in to the hotel in Dagen Street, 10 mins walk from Malioboro area. The room was nice, new, and modern.

All Seasons Yogyakarta

That’s all for my trip for today, Have a nice day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

So, today was another part of my journey. I took almost an hour TransJogja from the Malioboro shuttle to Kentungan shuttle, northern side of the city. Then continue my travel to Kaliurang area, which the Ullen Sentalu Museum located. I took a minibus as a public trasnportation route Yogyakarta-Kaliurang, the fare was really flexible, depends on the distance. From the Kentungan to near the museum, about IDR7,500. You need to take about 800 meter walk until you reached the museum. So, from my experiences, if you want to travel conveniently to the museum, you should rent a car or at least a motorcycle.

Public minibus

Inside the public van

This is the entrance gate, the domestic tourist fee is IDR25,000 included a museum guide (it’s really recommended for you to hear the explanation so you would understand everything clearly), 50 mins museum tour, and a special drink. For international IDR50,000 is needed to pay, so the guide will use English during his/her explanation.

Ullen Sentalu Museum Entrance

Ullen Sentalu Museum is a private museum that was initiated by Haryono family and now is managed by Ulating Blencong Foundation. It was established in 1994 and officially inaugurated on March 1, 1997, coinciding with the date commemorated every year as a historical day for Yogyakarta City. The inauguration was done by KGPAA Paku Alam VIII, who was at that time the Governor of Yogyakarta Special Province. (Ullen Sentalu Museum)

No picture taken allowed inside the museum, but you could find many memorable things related to the story of Mataram Kingdom story. The details you haven’t understand before, should be asked to the guide, they should really know about it. The other name of the museum is Javanese Culture and Art Museum. This museum is privately organized, but the quality is beyond most of the public museum I ever visited in Indonesia. We should be proud of it. World-class museum, really.

The trip to the museum which really hard was all worth. A-half-day trip was gonna be something left in your life experience. So, I went back to the hotel for a moment rest, then continued to explore Malioboro street. I just take a look at some things along the street, and then entered one of the store which was well-known, Mirota Batik. It sells many handicraft as Yogyakarta’s specialties souvenirs. So, everything you’d like to find, will be found here, and it’s cheaper.

Ambience of Malioboro

I met a woman who making batik in the store, and what a WOW. She did it very fast and neatly. I adore her.

WOW!

As my walk along the Malioboro street was heading to the Vredeburg Fort, I visited it. But unfortunately, they already closed. The entrance fee was just IDR2,000 (also while all the buildings opened), so I just explored the park, and the things outside the showroom.

Vredeburg Museum Entrance

Around the Vredeburg Museum

Not really far from the museum, I visited Yogyakarta Batik Monument. The monument explained each pattern of batik that Yogya has. You could easily read each pattern together with the explanation.

Yogyakarta Batik Monument

At night, I was picked up by my very nice friend, Tedy Setiana Muslich (@TMuslich). He is a famous radio announcer in Yogya, Swaragama FM. He took me to Oseng Mercon in Ahmad Dahlan street. It’s a very hot and spicy. For anyone who like the hot and spicy meals, you should try it. Chicken, Dove, Duck, in fried or grilled.

After the dinner, Tedy took me to take a short city tour. He explained some of the important  till unimportant places around Yogya. Anyway, what a day. I love Yogyakarta. 🙂

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today was my last day in Yogyakarta for this trip. I went exploring the Malioboro street. All I found along the street was the gift; shirts, keychain, bracelet, many thing which are very unique related to the city. Repeated items for different sellers would be find along the street. Don’t forget to try Yogyakarta Becak. A traditional vehicle.

I visited Kraton Yogyakarta, a place for Sultan lives. Not really much to say, because I didn’t pay for any tour guide. But the picture will tell you my visits.

Part of Kraton. Place for gathering.

A room which consist of personal infos of each Sultan

The gate of Alun-Alun Selatan

That’s all my trip for this time. I left Yogyakarta using Indonesia AirAsia QZ7557. The flight was arrived earlier in Jakarta. Only 45 mins.

So, Yogyakarta was a destination for cultural sights. If you interested in it, Yogyakarta has more and more tourism destionation to explore. Because the time limit, I just visited the place ever mentioned before in my post. Once again, thank you so much Sekar, Mas Adi, and Tedy for accompany me during my trip.

See you, real soon. 🙂

Spain Day 8: [Madrid] Aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas [Doha, Qatar] Doha International Airport and Retaj Al Rayyan Hotel

Sunday, December 4, 2011

We went to the terminal 1 Madrid-Barajas International Airport to back home to Indonesia using Qatar Airways. We had last good bye from Mr. and Mrs. Theo, Mr. Fahmi, Sandra and Malindra, and Mr. Herry, the proud family of Indonesian Embassy in Madrid. Once again, thank you so much Señor y Señora for having us as part of the family while our stay in Spain.

Sandra, me, Alin. Thanks!

Ah, how could I possible to describe my feeling of leaving this beautiful country. I am having many good times during my stay and visit since my first day in Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo. This trip will be my biggest motivation to pursue another dream, that the country has taught me. The beautiful buildings, the friendly freezing weather, the Spanish people, the mollejas, the Metro train, were all memory would never been forgotten. The Batik Workshop which has been successfully delivered will be the real thing I could do as Indonesian people in the name of Putra Putri Batik Nusantara, together with my super partner, Sheila Purnama Bulan, to promote and to spread the amazing history behind Batik and the technique.

I left Spain with full-glad-hearted, and hopefully it won’t be my last time visit Spain.

The flight QR070 to Doha were ready to board. Adios y Muchas Gracias, gente!

I arrived in Doha International Airport after 6 hours flight. The connecting flight to Jakarta were on tomorrow morning, at about 8 am. Fortunately, Mrs. Molly from ministry already booked a night hotel in Doha, so, finally I stepped on Doha’s land. My passport was stamped also, yeah! The hotel named Retaj Al Rayyan Hotel located on Dafna, Diplomatic Distric, about 20 minutes from the airport.

Arrived in the hotel, we were dinner a super delicious Arabian and Asian food. How I love being in Arabian hotel because of their food served.

Retaj Al Rayyan Hotel Lobby

The room was suite, another luck.

Suite room; living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom.

This was my another first time in the city of Doha, no matter I couldn’t explore the city very much, but at least, I could see the night city wonderful view of Doha. Asalamualaikum, see you tomorrow!

Doha in the Morning