17 October 2016

Review: Zamzam Hotel in Batu

During our vacation in Batu we were staying in Zamzam Hotel, a big 3-star hotel. Big, but not too famous among Malang taxi drivers (while Batu taxi drivers know it), because our driver from Malang Train Station did not know where it was. So we relied on Google Maps, which took us passing very small streets, and we got lost. Apparently the best way to go there was follow the road to Kusuma Agrowisata; almost every driver knows that touristy place. Just 200m before reaching the place, turn right for about 50m and voila... we arrive at Zamzam Hotel.

The location is quite good in the middle of Batu, near Museum Angkut and very near Kusuma Agrowisata. We walked to both places. From other attraction places are not far either, less than 1km to Jatim Park 1 and Jatim Park 2, and 1km from Batu Night Spectacular.

I booked 1 room for 2 nights via Traveloka around IDR750,000. I chose this hotel because it had swimming pool and aircon, but in the end we didn't really use the pool and aircon because the air was so cold! We only dipped our feet into the pool in the morning, while enjoying the beautiful hill view. After staying in Prime Royal Hotel in Surabaya, we again got a room in the first floor with a back terrace directly connecting to pool area.

The Pool

The standard room itself was very spacious. Wifi connection in the room was good. The amenities and toiletries were complete. There were a cooler and water heater as well. But my husband did not like the bathroom where shower area were not closed, so all parts of the bathroom were wet. Other than that, the room was fine.

Hotel decoration was quite old and classic dominating with yellow brownish color. Drop off and pickup area for car was not really covered by a ceiling, so if it was raining we could still got a little drop of rain when we alighted from the car. On 2 mornings we stayed there we had breakfast in a restaurant on the first floor near lobby. I heard there was another restaurant upstair with a nice view of the hill, but unfortunately at that time it was booked by a big group of university alumnus who were staying there too. Nevertheless, the staffs in the first floor restaurant were very friendly.

The Restaurant

Nothing went wrong and nothing's too special either. Overall it was a nice stay in Zamzam Hotel.

07 October 2016

East Java Tour: Batu

There are many ways to go to Malang/Batu, and I chose by train from Surabaya because I hadn't been to Surabaya before, and my daughter hadn't taken train before. When the train started to walk, she stared blank and tried to process that new experience. We then sang a famous Indonesian children song "Naik kereta api, tut.. tut.. tut.." (The Train Ride). Since we're new in this Penataran Train, we didn't know how the seats and carts condition. One cart has 4 aircons so economy train is not hot anymore like it used to be. Each row has 5 seats: 2 and 3 seats divided by aisle. Thanks God we got the 2 seats row, because it looked more comfortable and spacious than 3 seats one. Every two rows facing each other, so not all rows facing to the front of train. Unfortunately we got a row facing backside. I couldn't really enjoy the view (not much to see tho) because it made me dizzy. In the first half of the journey we got the comforts to occupy 4 seats because the 2 seats in front of us were still empty so I could sit on the seat facing in front. But after several stops, the passenger who sat on that seat came, so we should sit back to our original seats. Because of the packed seats, it was not comfortable to open up our meals that we have prepared from Surabaya (Lontong Balap and Grilled Chicken), so we ate snacks instead. The fare ticket was very cheap, only IDR12,000 ($1) per person. If we knew the seat arrangement was like this, we would have bought tickets for 4 seats instead.

Naik Kereta Api, Tut.. Tut.. Tut...

Arrived in Malang, the city was very crowded because of Arema anniversary, the famous football club from Malang. The station is located in front of Alun-Alun (central open squares) filled with vehicles and people paraded in blue (the color of Arema). Fortunately there was one taxi passed by to drop a guest to the station, and we got on directly, off to Batu, about 1 hour going up from Malang by car. It cost around IDR100,000 to reach our hotel in Batu, should be cheaper if there was no Arema traffic. First thing to do after check in our room was having very-late-lunch (at 4pm). Since we were so hungry, our cold packed meals still tasted delicious!

After taking shower, at 5pm we walked to Museum Angkut (Transportation Museum), which was just 10 minutes walking distance from our hotel. The entrance fee is IDR 80,000 for the museum only, and IDR 90,000 for museum + flight simulator. I bought tickets with flight simulator one, because my husband likes airplane (you could also buy additional ticket for flight simulator inside the museum). Entering the main gate, we came to Main Hall Zone where displayed collection of antique cars and horse-drawn carriages. Going to the second floor, we entered Education Zone where displayed history of all kinds of transportation such as trishaws (which we could ride for taking pictures), bicycle, trains and ships. The third floor was an outdoor area for 3 flight simulators. Unfortunately it started to rain, so we ran from one plane to another plane, from private jet to helicopter.

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.

The Pool

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 Restaurant

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.

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.