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29 November 2016

Escape to Bali

In the beginning of last October I had a short business trip to Bali and a chance to walk around Bali for one day. It has been 3 years I never been to Bali. Foreigners might not waste opportunity visiting Bali often if they live in Indonesia. Just take a look at one colleague of mine from UK who went to Jakarta 4 times this year for business trip ALWAYS ended his trip with few days holiday in Bali. Yet here I am going to Bali not even once a year.

I arrived in Ngurah Rai Airport around 10.45AM. I heard that we could not find legal taxi easily in Bali Airport that you have to walk outside the airport to get one. Many rental cars are waiting in the arrival halls but need to bargain; not convenient at all. There are online car services in Bali such as Uber and GrabCar, but they could not easily take guests from the airport because they would be confronted by those rental cars drivers. I tried to order Uber anyway, then the appointed driver told me to meet up in Departure hall, to avoid rental car drivers in Arrival hall. We then safely went out from the airport.

It took about 30 minutes and IDR50,765 to my hotel in Denpasar city. I checked my uber receipt and surprised to see discount IDR50,000 on my trip. I practically paid nothing for that trip. I just found out Uber gave me discount IDR50,000 each for 5 trips on that day! Was that because I used Uber in another city for the first time? I was so excited. Today's journey was gonna be sponsored by Uber, yayyy!

26 November 2016

Review: Swiss-Belinn Hotel in Malang

This was the second time I stayed in Swiss Belinn chain hotel. The first time was in Cirebon, while this time was in Malang. Both location are inside mall complex. Is that the characteristic of this famous chain 3-star hotel?

First impression when entering the lobby: the receptionist desk was so tiny compare to the huge lobby. It was clean and modern contemporary styled, from the lobby to the room. Although the room was small but it was very comfortable. I always like hotel room with fully carpeted floor, like the one we had in this hotel. The room was equipped with water heater, fridge, safety deposit box, tv cables with many international channels, stable wifi connection and necessary bath amenities. We found the exhaust in bathroom was not working. We reported it directly to front desk and then the technicians came straightaway to our room to fix it.

Our tiny bathroom

The outdoor swimming pool was quite big and located outside the restaurant. Not like in Surabaya and Batu, this time we finally could enjoy dipping into the pool longer because the weather was not that cold. After swimming, we had very nice breakfast foods in the restaurant while watching some guests playing games held by the hotel to celebrate Indonesia Independence Day. Maybe because of public holiday, at that day there were many guests that made me almost not able to get a table for breakfast.

The outdoor pool has children pool

This hotel is located in the middle of town, so it's near to go to any tourist places or restaurants in the town. It is about 14km to Abdul Rachman Saleh airport and 5km to Malang train station. It is located just behind Mx Mall and Malang Town Square but fortunately the way to the hotel is separated from the malls so the hotel entrance is not crowded. Even though just walking distance to the malls, we were not interested to visit them.

I booked one standard room for one night from Tiket.com 2 weeks before staying there and it cost around IDR530.000. I think it was quite cheap, with all good facilities this hotel offered.

10 November 2016

East Java Tour: Malang

This is part of my East Java Tour on 13th-17th August 2016 (4 nights 5 days):

  • 13th August: Jakarta to Surabaya by plane, staying in Surabaya 1 night
  • 14th August: Surabaya to Malang by train then to Batu by taxi, staying in Batu 2 nights
  • 16th August: Batu to Malang by taxi, staying in Malang 1 night
  • 17th August: Malang to Jakarta by plane

Back in Malang after 2 nights staying in Batu, we stayed to explore the city for one night. From Jatim Park 2 Batu, I ordered taxi to bring us getting our stuff first in our hotel in Batu, then went we off to our hotel in Malang. The journey takes about 45 minutes. After checked-in and got a rest for a while, we went out to have dinner... in 2 places!

First we went to Toko Oen, an old restaurant in Dutch style that was started since 1930. The furniture inside really pictured the old times such as low chairs made of rottan, plaid table cloth in red and white and Welcome plank in Dutch.The waiters wore a costume used by local people during Dutch invasion. The menu written in Bahasa Indonesia and Dutch. We ordered its specialty ice cream and Oxtongue Steak. Ice cream price varied between 13k to 30k, while steak price ranged between 60k to 70k.There were also other foods such as appetizers and Indonesian dishes. Please note that this restaurant also served pork, so it's not halal. They served quite long and not too friendly, but the Oxtongue Steak was nice tho.

Oxtongue Steak and Ice Cream Oen's Special

Toko Oen is located near Alun-Alun Merdeka. After spending such a fun time in Alun-Alun Batu the other night, I thought we would visit Alun-Alun Malang right after we had dinner in Toko Oen. But when we passed by it, it was dark and quiet, not as crowded and live like the one in Batu. Maybe it was crowded only in weekends and on the day, not in the evening. Hmm didn't know what to do in Malang at night accept dining (and clubbing?). OK then, we went eating again!

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.