14 September 2016

Review: Prime Royal Boutique Hotel in Surabaya

In Surabaya we stayed one night in Prime Royal Boutique Hotel, a 3-star hotel located in the middle of town. I was looking for a hotel near railway station (Gubeng or Semut) and has swimming pool, then finally decided to book this hotel after reading good reviews and the fare fitted my budget. One superior room for one night only cost around IDR360,000 via Traveloka.

We arrived and checked-in the hotel around 8.30pm (see my previous post about Surabaya here). We got a room on the second floor with 2 single beds. I directly called the receptionist because I wanted 1 double bed and I already wrote down that request when I booked the room online. The staff was sorry and very friendly, asking me to wait in the room until someone came to us to deliver the key for our new room. We moved to a room on the first floor which actually also had 2 single beds but they had wrapped them with one double bed linen so it looked like a double bed. Well, that was okay for us, and I like their quick response.

Since we are 2 adults (and 1 infant), they gave us 2 different passwords to login to their wifi for 2 different devices. At around 10pm, after taking shower and getting my daughter sleep, I tried several times to login to the wifi but always failed until I gave up and just fell asleep. I was tired anyway, didn't even have energy anymore for browsing. The wifi then worked fine in the morning.
Our room was located besides the pool, so when we opened the terrace door the next morning we could go directly to the pool, so nice! I thought Surabaya was hot, but not in this hotel. The outdoor pool was surrounded with big trees and plants, made it really cold in the morning. It was really fresh, but we couldn't stand swimming too long. No wonder there was no anybody swimmng other than us (but it felt like our private pool tho). Later on when I passed by the pool again at 11am, it was started crowded, and didn't look hot at all.

The Pool

The breakfast food was not bad, except horrible fried rice. The room and bathroom were clean enough, I did not have any complaint. The location was prime, located in Jalan Kranggan which was famous with traditional food Lontong Balap. There were many Lontong Balap stalls and other food stalls near the hotel, and walking distance to Pasar Blauran which was always crowded at night. Three times we ordered Uber from and to the hotel, and all of them could find the hotel easily and fast (well thanks to GPS too ya). From hotel to Gubeng station only took 15 minutes.

The Restaurant

What a nice stay there. I definitely recommend Prime Royal Boutique Hotel to everyone.

31 August 2016

East Java Tour: Surabaya

The trip started with a chaos. We arrived in Soekarno-Hatta airport at 6.30 to check in Sriwijaya flight 8.05 to Surabaya. Suddenly the staff in check in counter said, "this ticket is for tomorrow flight." WHAT?! I just realized that I'd bought a wrong ticket, and my husband did not check it either.

We then hurrily went to Customer Service (CS) Sriwijaya to change the ticket. The staff said all flights to Surabaya for today was full. There are seats available in flight 7.00 to Surabaya transit Semarang, but unfortunately the plane was already boarding and gate closed. We went to CS Lion in the same terminal with Sriwijaya (1B) to buy a new ticket: the next available flight was at 14.30. We then went to terminal 1C to check in CS Batik: the next available flight was at 14.00. I didn't know where to go anymore because AirAsia and Garuda was quite far (need to take shuttle bus to terminal 2 and 3).

I checked Traveloka app, wondering if I could still book today's flights. Apparently yes, it gave me the list of today's flight starting around 11am. There was Garuda 11.15 and CitiLink 11.55. Ah, I then remembered about CitiLink. I asked Batik staff, where is CS CitiLink? It was in this terminal too, not far from CS Batik. We went there and asked for the earliest flight we could get. In the beginning he said 11.55, same one as in Traveloka but more expensive. I was about to book via Traveloka when the staff suddenly said they found another flight: 7.45. Oh we want that! Fortunately the price was still reasonable: 1.4 times our original Sriwijaya tickets. I could cancel and refund 30% from our Sriwijaya tickets. So total damage to fly to Surabaya was 1.4+0.7 = more than twice our original tickets haha *sad laughing*. Lesson learned: be more careful and detail when you book flight tickets. The damage would be more if I didn't fly today to Surabaya, because I already paid all the hotels and car rentals.

27 July 2016

When In Lhok

Moslems all over the world just celebrated a big holiday Ied al-Fitr (Hari Raya) 3 weeks ago. During Hari Raya holiday, I went to Aceh again to visit my parents with my husband and daughter. Since there was no direct flight to Lhokseumawe (Lhok), my hometown, we needed to transit in Medan first. From there, we could take another smaller plane for about 45 minutes, or take road trip by bus/car for about 7 hours.

On the flight from Jakarta to Medan, my little daughter (who's still an infant) cried the whole flight. She did not want to sit, and asked us to hug her while standing in the aisle of airplane. My husband had to stand up for the half of the trip (poor him). All the toys we brought, that usually could distract her, were not working at all. It was a nightmare for her, and for us who felt so sad seeing her screaming and crying. This was not her first flight; she had taken airplane last year but not as drama as this time. Maybe at that time she was still too little to be afraid. Fortunately, from Medan to Lhok we got in the car together with my cousin who lived in Medan and wanted to go home to Lhok too. No flying, no crying tantrums, but she got carsick and bored on the way. But still better than 2 hours in airplane.

We arrived at home in Lhok around 6pm, just on time before breakfasting. Sunset in Lhok was around 7pm, not 6pm like in Jakarta, so on that day I was fasting 1 hour longer than usual. It was a long tiring day, but we had a long rest the whole next day. It was also extremely hot during the day in Lhok, so we couldn't go out until in the afternoon. During the day I played boardgame with my siblings, and helped to ruin cook Timphan (Aceh traditional cake) for Hari Raya.

We finally went out at 4pm, and it was still super hot, oh my God! Our first stop was Bukit Goa Jepang (Japanese Cave Hill). Been living in Lhok for 15 years, then visiting Lhok 1-2 weeks every year since then, but I never knew about this place before. It was located on the main road Jl. Medan - Banda Aceh between Lhok downtown and Arun. Like its name, this cave was built by Japanese army in 1942, the last Japanese cave before Soekarno declared the independence of Indonesia in 1945. People believe it was used by Japanese army to spy on enemy coming from the sea. The cave is quite small, without bunker, only about 100 metres with some branches and dark scary rooms. Maybe because at that time there was no other visitors except 7 of us, no guards either, so it felt more eerie. It indeed had a scary history, where people involved in Communist Party being killed in 1965. It was also used as a temporary camp for rebels who were being caught by Indonesian army during Aceh Independence Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka / GAM) civil war. This cave is located 100 metres above sea level.

Bukit Goa Jepang, they provided some helmets to use when going inside

24 February 2016

Alive Museum Ancol

Like I said in this post, I LOOOOVE trick arts. When I found out there was another trick art exhibition in Jakarta, I was so excited, and directly purchased the tickets. It is called Alive Museum, which is originated from Korea. It already has 14 branches in and out of Korea including China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and now in Jakarta, Indonesia, yay! I guess this exhibition is a permanent one, opened since 30 October 2015 and located in Ancol Beach City Mall 3rd floor.

This attraction contains 2 parts: Alive Museum which displays interactive optical illusion arts and paintings, and Alive Star which displays wax figures of famous people. Each section has entry ticket Rp.100,000, which I think quite expensive, but they have many discounts if paying with some particular bank cards, and also some websites like Groupon offer a good deal of it. To get inside Ancol complex itself, there is also entrance fee for each person and vehicle (around Rp.20,000).