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10 January 2017

Footage 2016

It is not too late to say Goodbye 2016, isn't it? As I wrote here last year, I wanted to go to minimum 12 Indonesian cities in 2016... and I made it! I am quite happy with my traveling achievement 2016:
  1. Penang, Malaysia. Just me and husband, much like honeymoon.
  2. Korea, solo traveling ha!
  3. Aceh (Lhokseumawe and Takengon), during Ied Fitri holiday.
  4. East Java (Surabaya, Batu, Malang), for my daughter's 2nd birthday.
  5. Bali, for a business trip.
  6. Lembang, for my birthday.
  7. Singapore, for a friend's wedding. This was my daughter's first oversea trip.
  8. Lembang again, for a friend's wedding.
  9. Central Java (Semarang, Solo, Ambarawa, Dieng, Purwokerto), our first road trip together.
My baby was getting bigger so we could travel more together. All above places were visited with my daughter, except #1, #2, #5. There were many first-time-things happened in 2016, such as her first time on taking train. We made her passport and traveled abroad with her for the first time. We also had our first road trip together, just 3 of us, when going around Central Java by our own car.

On May last year I went to Korea again and did solo traveling again after 4 years, not only to Seoul but also visited few other cities. Some had changed, some were not. The trip was not only seeing new places, but also mesmerizing the old times and reuniting with the old friends. My husband and my kid did not come with me. It was excited in the beginning, but quite painful towards the end of the journey because I could not wait to get back home to my little family. 

That time I realized it's nice to have me-time sometimes, but should be not too long. My life has changed, I am not one person anymore. I was one and then two and now three and God knows how many more will come. My traveling style has changed. Before I go, mostly I would ask myself: "is this place child-friendly? Will my kid enjoy this place?" Maybe I missed some good places (because it's difficult to reach with a kid) but I saw another good places too. Do you know Singapore has some places that can be entered only by adults with kid (for example Jacob Ballas Children Garden)? 

I am still half a type of checklist-ambitious traveler, who's marking all the places I should visit. However half again has turned me into an easy wanderer. Many times during traveling, I spent times on changing diapers, feeding my kid, waiting her sleeping... that I could not finish going all the places I planned to visit. I just enjoy the moments being with loved ones. Like people said, traveling is all about the journey, not a destination, right?

That sums up my 2016 traveling journey. I guess my 2017 will be quite the same with my 2016. Motherhood does not mean you have to give up traveling. Motherhood means traveling is gonna be much more fun.

08 December 2016

Review: Ibis Styles Hotel in Denpasar Bali

During my business trip to Bali last October, i was staying in Ibis Styles Hotel in Denpasar for 2 nights. Honestly Ibis Styles, with its too bright decoration, is not a kind of hotel I'd like to stay. But my business partner, who was already in Bali 2 days ahead of me, was staying there, and I thought it would be much convenient for me to go to our customer together from the same hotel. However, it turned out my experience staying there was not bad at all. My office booked it for me using our regular travel agent. It cost around IDR950,000 for 2 nights.

I arrived before check-in time, but the hotel staff could manage for me to get in the room directly. I like the fully carpeted room. Even though the room was small but looked very comfortable and cozy. It reminds me a little of Swiss-Belinn hotel in Malang except this one was too much colorful in green and purple. They said it makes the customers in happy mood, but seriously it does not! Then I found the shower room light was not working. The tehnician was coming right away after I called the receptionist. Apparently there was no problem with the lights, it's just that I needed to turn on another switch plus that shower room switch (some kind of switch combination?). They provided liquid soap and shampoo 2 in 1 like the ones for baby (and this made my hair very hard). They did not provide slippers and dental kit. When I came down to lobby to go out, I approached the receptionist to ask about slippers and dental kit. He said those were being provided free upon request only, and they would bring them to my room. When I came back later at night, those items were already in my shower room.

The contemporary designed room

Shower room

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.

Read also our journey in Malang.