Category Archives: Vacation Mode

Someday in Land of Lion – Part 4: City Walk

Due to limited time after work (we leave office at 6 PM!!!) I spend several days to do city walk (just walk around the city), and I summary them into this post.

I visit 5 areas of different life/culture (Gee I am surprised I’ve done that much in short time). And here is the story

1. China Town (Day 3)
As its name, it is full with chinese things, especially chinese food. I buy pork porridge and pork (again) rice dumpling (bachang). My first gifts I buy here, they are t-shirts (10 SGD/pack). I think they are cheap at first time, but I am wrong, in other place (Bugis village) the price is even cheaper.

China Town Street

China Town Street

ChinaTown basically contains low level shopping center and street food seller. Low level shopping center is if it’s compared to Orchard Street. You can imagine mall in China Town is ITC, and the Orchard Mall is GI. Although it’s low level, it doesn’t sell pirated DVD, hehehe. I know that because once I go to one movie shop and search it, but can’t find one. When I am about to leave that shop, I take picture of the shop. And then the shopkeeper run into me angrily said something like ‘you should pay to take a picture’… What?!? At the end I show him I delete the pictures.

The other thing you find in China Town is 3 Pray House, each one located in the street which represents it: Mosque St (Muslim), Pagoda St (Hindustan), Temple St (Buddhist).

Temple

Mosque

Pagoda

2. Marina Bay (Day 3)
Walking in Marina Bay is breathtaking. It’s because there are so many interesting things in here.

a. Merlion
The mascot of Singapore. I just know that it’s combination Lion and Fish. I though it’s Lion in chess game.

Merlion

b. Marina Bay Sand Attraction
It’s a laser and water fall attraction, it’s very beautiful to watch it from a far at night. The more beautiful if you can watch it from a boat. In the middle of darkness it’s glowing beautifully.

Marina Bay Sand Laser and Water Fall Show

c. Cool Rest
If there is person stay under it, the fan start moving

Cool Rest Area

d. City View
Marina is a business center, so it is full of high building

City Look

e. Splash Pipe
Since it’s a beach area, it’s hot. That’s why this cooling water sprayer pipe is installed here

Splash Pipe

f. Half Ball Sound Relay
This one is really genius invention, one person can talk in one side of ball and the other one in the other side will be able to hear it. It’s like metal wire phone, but it’s made on a half ball shape from end to end.

Sound Relay

g. Helix Bridge
Wow this one is also great landmark. There is mirror in shape of helix surround the bridge.

Helix Bridge

h. Art Science Museum
A good shape building. You can watch it from the Flyer

Art Science Museum

i. Stadium
This place is a normal bay side stadium.

Stadium

3. Little India (Day 4)
First thing that I catch from this area is traditional market. Yes it’s far from the view of big city of Singapore. I can preview suburb of my city Jember in here. Then I also notice there are many flower booths. Yes in Hindustan’s ceremony, they usually wear a flower necklace on their neck. The last is I smell a fragrance of incense. It’s not bad smell but I can’t stand it, the smell is too strong.

Little India

It seems that Indies in here still use rupee for their daily transaction. That’s why there are many money changer counters here.

And of course I find Hindustan’s Temple, like the one in China Town.

After some walk, I go to a restaurant to buy food. When I see the receipt I find that they put additional 2 items in there. Oh no… They try to cheat. When I ask it, they answer like they don’t understand me. It’s so annoying. So after eating I go as fast as possible leaving this area. Quite bad experience, I will put it on my black list surely.

Little India

4. Geylang (Day 4)
Hohohoho… I don’t expect to get here actually. After unpleasant moment in Little India, I decide to go home quickly, but it’s too early so I plan to explore area which is not listed in my itinerary. And the one I choose to visit (also the closest area from Little India) is,,, Geylang, the Singapore Red District Area.

I hear something about red district area in Europe (Netherlands) and it’s very crazy. So I am curious enough to visit this part in Singapore.

I walk in main road of Geylang. There are mostly chinese restaurant. It’s about 8 PM, when I am at there. The situation seems normal, probably it’s not night enough.

But when I walk further, it become different. There are some bars and night clubs. And also there are many lair with stair which probably go to some place you know :D.

And beside the main street, there are some branch streets. It’s smaller and quieter. And I find some temple in here, a little bit ironic huh… Also there are some flat with probably 10 floors. It’s creepy enough to walk in this area. I am afraid if a mafia/yakuza will get me in this kind area. So I go back to main street as quick as possible.

Finally I arrive at place where I think is the main part of Geylang dark secret. This place is literally dark. There is a big building, I think it is a bar and hotel. In front of it, I find some drug dealer. Not kind of narcotic drug but it’s more like Stamina Drug.

The people in here are vary. The guests who need entertainment are mostly chinese and western. The entertainers are mostly chinese, but I can also see brown skin people like philliphines / indonesian. The guests usually park their cars in the sideway of street. And it make this area is really full of cars.

I leave that area and walk into MRT station. That place is very hot, in connotation and denotation meaning. So I am glad I have left it. Although I don’t think to come back, I get sort of experience of being here :D.

Note: I don’t take any photos in Geylang (or probably I do take but I don’t want to share it hehehhee, who knows)

5. Bugis Village (Day 7)
In the other hand of Little India, Bugis Village is my favorite point. If you want to get something cheap from Singapore, this is the place. You can have 3 t-shirts for 10 SGD, and many other Singapore accessories. It has many stands in one square area. I enjoy window shopping here. I only buy several items since lack of budget hehehe (unfortunately I have spent my money to buy gifts in other places, and go to Bugis Village on the last day). Next time I will surely go to here to buy gift. It saves your money

Bugis Village

6. Other places
a. City Harvest Church (Day 6 – Sunday)
I plan to visit this church. So I am looking for the schedule and the place. Gladly I find that the Sunday Service is held in a Suntec building exactly in front of my hotel. It’s a dilemma for me to choose English Service or Indonesia Service (wow there is Indonesia Service here). Finally I choose English Service because I don’t experience it so often.

City Harvest Church

And I make good decision :D, because I am totally get something new here. First when I sit before the service start, I choose the empty seat at the corner, far from crowd (because I don’t know them, it is normal to sit a bit far from them). But then 5 minutes later, a man comes to me and greets me. He asks me if I am a newcomer. Wooo, how can he know that? He explains that everyone in City Harvest church is sitting in a group, it’s called cell group. So if there is someone who is sitting alone, they can guess that he/she is a newcomer.

A warm welcome really makes me glad, the man’s name is Bryan, he is about my age and we exchange phone number in case we visit each other. He introduces me to other member of his group and they are really nice to me. At the end of service they ask me to have lunch together, unfortunately in my itinerary I need to go to Santosa Island so I politely decline their invitation. I will surely contact them if I visit Singapore next time.

The Sunday service in here is also special that day, because there are guest speakers, YouTube singers but also strong Christian figures: Jayeslee. Well it’s one of the reasons why I think I made good decision. I am their fan. And now I have a chance to watch them by my own eyes in a place I never expected. They give testimony about their mother faith and it’s very beautiful story. They also sing 2 songs,,, another beautiful melody. I feel really blessed by this Sunday service. Thanks God I can experience this moment.

b. National Library (Day 7)
A very beautiful and well organized library. I glad to witness it. But it’s already closed when I arrive there. May be next time I should come before 9.00 PM.

National Library Floors

It has 14 floors. Each floor consists of book, study room, reading room (indoor/outdoor), theater room, and many others. Imagine you are reading a book in the outdoor park in 10th floor, how enjoyable it is.

Outdoor Park of National Library

It has book drop box that will be used to collect book donation from any people. This book drop box available for 24 hours.

Drop Box for Books

c. Golden Village (Day 8 )
Many Indonesian go to Singapore cinemas since Hollywood movies didn’t showed up in Indonesian cinema. So I also feel like to go to the cinema as one of my checklist in Singapore.

I watch Transformer 3 in cinema Golden Village, the ticket is 8 SGD. And I fall sleep inside the cinema, hahahaha. I don’t know why but the studio is almost empty that day, less than 20 people inside the studio. I take the last schedule (10 PM), because I am afraid I have something I need to do in the office so I can’t leave early. The subtitle of the movie is in Chinese. So all those factors are combined to make me sleep inside the cinema (I lost my 8 SGD, hiks)

The ticket is bought online in internet and you will receive booking code, then there is a vending machine in malls that you can use to get your ticket (by input the booking code).

When the show ends, everyone (cinema keeper) have already left. So it’s very quiet. I need use back door to leave the cinema. It’s almost 00:30 AM. I try to go back from the cinema to my hotel. Usually it’s very simple to use underway inside the mall, but now since the mall is already close, I need to find other way through main street and believe me it’s not easy. Finally I manage to reach hotel, thanks God!!!

d. Changi Airport (Day 9)
Although it’s an airport, you can find anything in here. It’s a mall, a supermarket, a park, an internet cafe, a game center, an information center, a restaurant, a lounge. You will never get bored in here. Moreover it’s very big and there are too many things to be explored while waiting you planes.

The interesting parts for me are:
– Free internet box, if you are a geek, you can spend you waiting time in here.
– Parks: bamboo park, rain forest park, butterfly parks, etc. Actually they are small but they are designed beautifully, you can spend natural moment in the middle of crowded airport in here
– There are 3 terminals, and since it’s too far to walk from one to another, they prepare monorail for the transportation between terminals
– Snack to bring back home; of course my choice goes to the most popular snack for non-Muslim: Bee Cheng Hiang, roasted pork meat. Beside that buy some chocolate can be an option here
– Gifts, e.g. key holder, sticker, book separator, t-shirt, etc.

Butterfly Park Changi Airport

It’s quite long story, but I think I enjoy each part of exploring the city of Singapore.

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Someday in Land of Lion – Part 3: Walking Day

I think I miscalculate distance of several places in Singapore. I use google map and in my reading I find that several places are actually near to the hotel I stay.

For example, Orchard road is supposed to be around 1 km in my calculation. Means that it should only take a half on an hour to reach it (because usually when I go to office, it only takes 15 mins for 500 m distance). But I reach it about 1 hour. So I guess it around 2 km far.
And I walk that far…

OK, that makes me really healthy. Gladly I don’t walk alone, I walk with my colleague (I mean my boss during my assignment) in one evening after office hour on day 2.

We walk from the south (my office in Marina Bay area) into the center of entertainment Orchard Road. After several minutes we reach Beach Road. It’s said that in the past Marina Bay is a bay, a sea. The beach line is located on Beach Road. But now Singapore reclamate the bay and make it to be land.

After several minutes we finally reach the most crowded MRT junction call Dhoby Ghaut. It’s like Harmony in Jakarta.

And several minutes later we are welcomed to Orchard Road by the bird chirping. It’s crowded, very very crowded. When see it, I remember about Harajuku, Akihabara, or some crowded place I usually watch in Japanese Dorama. It’s full of huge malls with colorful lamps, but it also has nature touch: bird chirping. Very weird, but it’s real.

Singapore Visitor Centre

I visit my colleague apartment and then we go to food court for dinner. We get into mall, it’s surely even more crowded in here, it’s very packed with human being. So after eating I don’t want to stay too long on place full of carbon dioxide, I go outside and start my own adventure (I and my friend separate in here).

Since it’s mall area, so I can’t find too much interesting things here. But finally I find one, a bookstore, yeay… It’s a big bookstore ‘Borders’. I take a chance to go inside, walking around the bookstore. The place is very wide; there is big space between one rack to another. I also find several sofas so the reader can sit enjoy reading the book. All books in here are uncovered, so if you want you can read every book all day as long as you want. But the book type is mostly a written book, I don’t see too many comic books.

After get bored with so many serious books, I get out and look for something else. I find a part of street side where it has many picture about Singaporean places of interest. Hmmm basically my itinerary (I make itinerary before I go to here, hehehe) has cover some of them, so I am satisfied hehehe.

Singapore places of interest

Big avocado

Now time to go home, it’s already far I have walked, I am very tired. I will take MRT to go home, my colleague has teach me previously how to travel by MRT, even he buy me my first ticket from station near his place (Somerset St). Now I have walked far away from Somerset St, and I find other MRT station Orchard St. But hmmm the ticket is more expensive because the distance Orchard St – Promenade St (my hotel) is farther than Somerset St – Promenade St. I get panicked, what should I do, should I buy other ticket Orchard St – Promenade St? Mean that I will not use the ticket I already have (Somerset St – Promenade St).

MRT Station

In the confusion I decide to walk back to Somerset St so I can use my MRT ticket. After think again, actually I can buy short ticket Orchard St – Somerset St, and then continue Somerset St – Promenade St. But probably it’s destined to be my walking day. In total I’ve walked:
2 km : Office – Dhoby Ghout
1 km : Dhoby Ghout – Somerset (my colleague apartment)
1 km : Somerset – Orchard
1 km : go back Orchard – Somerset
Total: 5 km

Day 2 travel map

Fiuhhh… I need long sleep for sure to recover my walking energy for next adventure.

I get lost in MRT lair after that, hahaha (I still need more walk inside MRT lair!!!!). But glad after that day I don’t anymore trouble using MRT. I finally master it.

Inside MRT, it's very clean!!!

That’s my story on day 2 which I spend most walk. But I glad I can explore this place. There are still 6 days to go. Let’s adventuring!!!

Someday in Land of Lion – Part 2: Singapore Appetizer

OK I admit that I come here in Singapore not for vacation, but for job assignment. But it doesn’t mean that I will not get fun, otherwise I kind of glad since I get paid for semi vacation work, :D.

My first day of work is like work. I don’t need to write about that. But I just want to give some note about it. At my first day I have already realized that Singapore’s people is kind of hard worker. They start by 9 AM and should end by 6 PM, but they don’t. I am very afraid to come home on time at first, so I wait until several people go home. But until 7 PM there is still 50% employee still stay at office. Wow, I am leaving anyway. Probably it’s their natural habit to work hard and become diligent. After all I think this city is very competitive, probably they need struggle to survive.

Now about the kind of people that I meet here. They are vary. Mostly is Chinese, but I also find Indian, Malay, American, Japanese, Korean, and many more. That’s why there is many languages I hear everywhere. Most of it is Chinese and English (Singlish) but some time I hear Malay and Indian. And then I realize that they sometime don’t talk when communicate. For example the food seller a Chinese old man sells his food to American, they don’t understand each other but transaction accomplished by body movement. I am surprised. And having so many language in here make more difficult to listen, since they have different accent. Believe me it’s hard to switch from listening one person to another in this case. Or probably I need more time to adapt.

About the things you may find in Singapore, they’re tons. Almost everywhere you can find landmark, statue, unique building, attraction, etc. You can even see unique things in mall.

I share you here several unusual things I encounter there on my first day. Actually I am not planning to go to specific place, but still I get good object to share

1. Fountain of Wealth
There a circle pipe that shoot the water, so the water somehow can shape like a ball, and then there is lasers shot on it and make a 3D image appear. Very interesting technology. Once it show dragon image moving in 3D motion, it’s very cool.

Fountain of Wealth

Location: on North side of Conrad Hotel, Marina Bay Area

2. A Snaking Ladder

Location: Southern of Millenia Walk Mall, Marina Bay Area

3. Singapore Flyer
The world largest observation wheel. It take 30 minutes to ride it and it’s very beautiful to watch city scenery from the top. At night view is even more awesome, the city, landmark, street, beach, bridge, and the triple tower of Marina Bay Sands.

I ride it on my first day. It cost 29 SGD and there is a museum under it. The museum basically give information about specification of the flyer and gift shop.

Entrance

The tube

Sky Show: Art and Science Museum (left) & Stadium (right)

City View

Interior

The Flyer from the street

Location: Marina Bay Area

Someday in Land of Lion – Part 1: Before the Start

5 July 2011

03.30, Picked up by driver in wrong meeting point. Realizing that at night, many big mouse civilize the street of Jakarta.

04.30, Arrive at Cengkareng, get in line of Immigration check.

05.00, Get rejection from Immigration since haven’t yet check in.

05.00, In Immigration line (again)

05.20, Get panick since the flight is by 05.50 but there is still about 10 persons in line before me

05.30, Asking one person in front me to switch, get another rejection.

05.40, That person finally sympathize and let me go first.

05.45, Run to the plane, interestingly there is many other people also being late.

05.50, Being on board, plane take off 10 minutes later (gee…), but still glad that I can catch up.

06.30, One passenger in front of me complaining about the food.

06.45, One of senior stewardess ask for apologize and offer some compensation, but the passenger get more annoyed.

07.00, Realizing the way to turn on TV in front of me, playing Sucker Punch movie. At the end I fail to figure out how to turn it off.

08.30 (switch to Singapore time), Arrive at Changi Airport. It looks just normal. Get in Immigration line for another 15 minutes.

09.30 Arrive at Conrad Hotel and spend my first SGD money 24 SGD for taxi, Oh no it’s too expensive. Do I being cheated?

09.45 At the hotel room to put luggage before get to office, it’s amazing. It face to the city and I have full wall window. The night view will gonna be very amazing.

So it starts. I am nervous, first time to go by myself. But I will enjoy it… Surely enjoy it 😀

Full Wall Window
Wall Full Window

The view from my room: Fountain of Wealth
Afternoon View: Fountain of Youth

Trip to Phuket – Day One, First Thing We Encounter

Last year on February, I and my office friend make a trip to Phuket Thailand. It’s my first trip overseas and gladly it’s very satisfying.

We plan it since 6 months before. Start by buying the cheap promotional Air Asia ticket. That is the time I start to love Air Asia, it has many promo all over the year; if you plan your trip far enough in the future it’s very cheap. By that time it only cost us IDR 700.000 for full flight.

This time we go by 4. 2 of them are my friend in the office, James and Birru, the other one is Birru’s friend Maro. We depart in the morning and if I am not mistaken it only takes around 2 hours flight.

It’s around noon when we arrive at Phuket airport. The airport is so so. I am not very impress, but it’s okay since I am not here to see airport :D. I want to see beaches and it’s gonna be wonderful vacation.

We need to take around 1 hour trip from airport to the Karon Beach. We go there because we find backpacker hostel there, and we choose it since it’s close to famous beach like Patong and Kamala but it not too famous itself, so hopefully it’s a little bit quite so we can own the beach by ourselves hehehehe

The first thing we do when we arrive at the hostel is to find food. It’s already late since+ lunch time. So we walk around the place, try to find food. And it ends to an arabian resto… Actually in Phuket, pork food is allowed, even recommended, so we have difficulties to find non pork meal. But now as we eat from Arabian resto, we can be sure that it safe.

(Actually I eat pork, but Birru and Maro can’t, so we try to find halal food, but when Birru and Maro aren’t around I and James going crazy to try any pork snack, it is a must!!!)

After eating, it’s about 4 PM, so we still have time before the show ‘Simon Cabaret’ we will attend at 7 PM, a lot of time actually (we buy the ticket when we are at airport, Phuket people is really smart I think, they catch the ball; we are also happy, we don’t need to put much effort to buy ticket).

So that afternoon, we play at the beach. Karon beach is very close to our hostel, probably 5 minutes walking. And it’s not packed, there are several tourists, but not many if them so we can enjoy the moment of privacy. And that is the first beautiful sunset we have in Phuket. I am amazed….

It’s getting dark, so we come back to hostel and prepare for ‘Simon Cabarets’ show. I think you can guess, yes it is lady boys show. They have many in here. And they are actually beautiful, even more beautiful than real Thai girl LOL….

They car pick us, the show is in Patong Beach, around 15 minutes from our place. I am very amazed by the tourism service in here. They are so understand us; they pick us in our hotel just for watching the show, so we don’t need to worry about transportation.

The bad thing is that we are late to get out the hotel, and since in the minibus there are several other people, they are getting upset. I think the culture of rubber time is only working in Indonesia, hehehe… At least they know now where do we come from… (not very proud of it, but let see everything positively ;)).

Now is the interesting part, ‘Simon Cabaret’, lady boy performance show. It’s very full pack. I am surprise that this place have these many tourists. And it’s very secure, I mean they guard it so that there no possibility of any body to take picture or video. So their show will be genuine, people can’t get its video, they need to go to this place to enjoy Thai lady boys.

The show itself is very interesting. In my life it’s the first time for me to watch live cabaret. I just about know that it’s a mimic performance, I mean they mimic the famous artist and sing or act like them. For example, they play like Madonna, Wonder Girl with ‘Nobody but You’, Marilyn Monroe, and several other (they play artist, not actor :p).

The second think of cabaret show is about great fashion show. It shows short play about world legend/historic/culture. Egyptian, Korean, Chinese, etc. They wear the traditional costume and entertain us with their beautiful movement. Also not forget that they are actually beautiful, sorry I should admit it, hohoho.

The most interesting part is when one of the performer, an old lady (old boys I mean), come down the stage and seduce the audience. And then one of the audience get honor to be plugged into her (his) boobies…. Yieksss…. I can’t imagine how the silicon boob taste, the more of it to aware that he kiss man chess. But I see that the victim glad enough while I am trying to find escape route just in case she (he) come and get me.

At the end of show, there is photo session, and it pay around 40.000 IDR to take a photo with them. Sorry, if it’s free I might consider to take picture with them, but with that fee there is no way I will go for it. And actually they cheat on it. They just force us (grab our hand) and make us take picture with them and then they make us pay, it’s dirty huh… They are bad boy after all.

And that is the end of day one. We go home and take rest. Quite great moment for first day. We need to save our energy. On the next day we will go for island hooping and snorkeling (we have buy the tour package in the airport before). Tomorrow will be quite busy day but I am excited 😀

Bonus: Phuket Tourism Map
Phuket Tourism Map

Vacation Mode Guidel Line

There are 2 reasons I start to write about my travelling story here:
1. Because I have long term memory loss sometime, so hopefully when I write it here it can help me remember about these beautiful stories in the future
2. I am inspired by another blog about traveling. There is many blog write about travelling, but there is one inspires me, so I will try to have same thing in here

There is several things change in my style of writing when I go to vacation mode:
1. I will state the date, so the story I write is clear when it happens, also I will state any information so hopefully it can be useful later
2. I will language more free style, don’t thinking too much about grammar and vocab (means that I will let the red/green line on the editor :D)