​Another Weekend Getaway to Bandung (1)

It’s another weekend getaway with colleagues to Bandung. In 2012, my colleagues and I had family gathering at Lembang but the company only paid for a day trip to Kampung Gajah then I extended it to 2D/1N for more fun at Tangkuban Parahu and De Ranch.

https://perjalananbunda.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/weekend-in-bandung/

With a generous help from my old friend who help VP position at KAI, Indonesian state rail company, I could book one whole car of 50 seats of executive class (as extra to regular 8 cars set) @Rp.125,000 or US$9.25 for 3 hours trip from Gambir Station at Central Jakarta towards Station Hall at Bandung then enjoyed pre-arranged activities that my team planned since few weeks ago.

The train arrived at Gambir on schedule but there was miscommunication then our extra car didnt get electrical power connection means no light/AC. I walked to see the train driver on duty, then he contacted mechanical/electrical engineers. It took almost half an hour to connect the power source, then our train departed 40 minutes late than scheduled 5:05 AM.

Indonesian trains managed by KAI had been improved greatly since Ignasius Jonan became CEO (2009-2014). Comfortable reclining seats and there were electric power outlets for each passenger to charge their electronic devices. Same like airplanes, there were cabin crews offered refreshment at reasonable price.

Our trip was nice and smooth passing beautiful mountainous views of Karawang-Purwakarta districts.

Damn. I really love this evergreen Indonesia where spring never ends.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Advertisements

Berlibur ke Lampung

Lampung adalah provinsi di ujung paling selatan Pulau Sumatera, bolak balik sering saya lewati setiap kali mudik dari Jakarta/Depok ke Palembang/Baturaja, namun belum pernah saya berlibur di daerah ini.

Akhir pekan di ujung bulan September 2017, akhirnya liburan juga saya ke Lampung. Tujuannya tentu saja yang lagi ngehits: Pahawang dan Kiluan.

Selain pertama kali jalan-jalan ke Lampung, ini juga pertama kalinya saya mengajak Alif travelling dengan arranged tour setelah bertahun-tahun selalu jalan-jalan mandiri dari Palembang, Bali, Makassar, landtrip ziarah makam Walisongo, Hong Kong-China-Macau dll sampai keliling-keliling di Turki. Dulu dia masih kecil, kuatir merepotkan kalau ikut rombongan orang dewasa berhubung kekuatan fisik dan jadwal makan/istirahat/rutin hariannya mungkin sulit menyesuaikan.

Karena anak ini senang olahraga air, saya memilih paket snorkelling ke Pulau Pahawang dan Pulau Kiluan bersama Permata Wisata. Published price = Rp.599,000 per pax. Discounted price = Rp.545,000 per pax. Inclusion: Tiket bus dan ferry, sewa APV bolak balik dari Pelabuhan Bakauheni ke Ketapang, penginapan di Pulau Kiluan, 2x makan siang, sewa kapal untuk snorkelling dan dolphin watching (termasuk life jacket), retribusi lokasi-lokasi wisata, local guide.

https://mypermatawisata.com/opentrip/detail/OPK-0034SPJ/open-trip-pahawang-kiluan-episode-34-super-promo-start-jakarta

HARI PERTAMA (29/30 September 2017)

Dari Rawamangun pukul 20:00 WIB naik Go-Car, kami tiba pukul 21:10 di meeting point (gerbang keluar Terminal Kampung Rambutan). Setengah jam kemudian, bus bergerak.

Perjalanan menuju Pelabuhan Merak ditempuh dalam waktu sekitar tiga jam. Ongkosnya Rp.35,000 dengan bus AC itu.

Tiba di pelabuhan sebelum pukul 1 dinihari, kami berkumpul sebentar untuk briefing dan menunggu peserta yang lain. Tour leader kemudian membagikan tiket elektronik untuk naik kapal. Harga tiket dewasa = Rp.15,000 atau anak-anak = Rp.8,000. Sejak 19 Juni 2017, tiket bisa dibeli online melalui https://tiket.indonesiaferry.co.id (pembayaran di ATM BRI dengan biaya administrasi Rp.1,000).

Pelabuhan Merak cukup bagus, tersedia ATM dari bank-bank pemerintah (Mandiri, BRI, BNI) di dekat pintu masuk. Ada Dunkin Donuts yang melayani sarapan mulai pukul 6 pagi, Alfa Express yang buka 24 jam, dan tentu saja deretan pedagang asongan khas Indonesia yang menawarkan aneka hidangan/minuman dingin maupun panas dengan harga wajar. Ada banyak toilet umum gratis (berdesain modern walaupun bau juga sih) di dalam pelabuhan setelah gate in, saya jadi menyesal buang air di wc umum yang “gitu deh” di area parkir, bayar pula Rp.2,000.

Naik KM Farina Nusantara pukul 2:00 WIB, kami memilih upgrade ke ruangan AC (menambah biaya Rp.10,000 per orang) supaya perjalanan lebih nyaman sambil dihibur tayangan film Warkop DKI yang legendaris. Kapal baru mulai berlayar pukul 3:00 WIB dari Pelabuhan Merak, tiba di Pelabuhan Bakauheni 1.5 jam kemudian.

Badan sudah pegal semua, perjalanan dimulai lagi pukul 5:00 WIB naik APV menuju Pelabuhan Ketapang, 2.5 jam perjalanan dari Pelabuhan Bakauheni.

Sarapan sudah tersedia di Ketapang, kami bisa beristirahat sambil makan dan minum santai, lalu membersihkan diri dan berganti pakaian sampai pukul 9:00 WIB sebelum memulai kegiatan utama hari ini: Snorkelling.

Hujan sempat turun saat kapal kami beranjak meninggalkan Ketapang, untungnya segera berhenti sehingga destinasi snorkelling hari ini (ada tiga lokasi) bisa berlangsung sesuai itinerary.

10:00 – 11:00 = Snorkelling pertama di sekitar Pulau Kelagian Besar

11:30 – 12:00 = Snorkelling kedua di sekitar Pulau Pahawang Besar

12:30 – 13:00 = Bersantai di pantai di Pulau Pahawang Kecil

13:30 – 14:00 = Snorkelling ketiga di Taman Nemo

14:30 – 16:20 = Bilas, bersih-bersih dan makan siang di Tanjung Putus 

16:20 – 17:30 = Perjalanan menuju Teluk Kiluan 

17:30 – …. = Tiba di Teluk Kiluan dan check-in ke homestay, acara bebasAlif langsung terkapar begitu mendarat di kasur di homestay kami. Wajarlah, babak belur juga rasanya menempuh perjalanan dari Jakarta ke Ketapang selama 12 jam, lalu berolahraga air pula selama 5 jam, plus sakit semua badan karena jalanan yang kondisinya buruk (sebagian sedang dalam proses pengecoran oleh PU) menuju Teluk Kiluan.

Tour leader kami menawarkan menu makan malam BBQ ikan Rp.25,000 per kg tapi saya sudah terlalu capek…pengen cepetan tidur. Alif pun pastinya kenyang karena sehabis makan siang tadi dia tambah satu porsi Pop Mie.

PS. Tidak ada layanan internet melalui jaringan telekomunikasi seluler di Pahawang, cuma Telkomsel yang 4G-nya kencang di Kiluan.

HARI KEDUA (1 Oktober 2017)

Kami bangun pagi-pagi, langsung bersiap-siap di dermaga, tapi ombak yang tinggi dan angin yang kencang membuat kami harus menunggu hingga pukul 6:30 WIB sebelum melaut. Berbeda dengan kapal motor yang kami tumpangi di hari sebelumnya (berkapasitas 15-17 orang), Minggu pagi itu kami naik kapal jukung yang berukuran jauh lebih kecil (hanya mengangkut 4-5 orang).

Sayangnya, dua jam lamanya rombongan kami mengitari Teluk Kiluan, laut yang bergejolak sepertinya membuat kaum lumba-lumba memilih berdiam jauh di kedalaman laut ketimbang bermain-main di permukaan. Seekor pun tak ada yang tampak, tour leader kami berseloroh: “Ke Kiluan nggak ketemu lumba-lumba gini sama pedihnya dengan mendaki ke Dieng tapi gagal lihat sunset (karena mendung)…”

Pedih, memang. Jauh-jauh extra days menginap di Teluk Kiluan (6 jam perjalanan dari Pelabuhan Bakauheni), eh yang mau ditemui malah ngumpet, hiks…hiks…

Anyway, life goes on. Semoga kapan-kapan ada rezeki ke Kiluan lagi dan menikmati “Kiluan dolphins” beratraksi.

Pukul 9:00 WIB, kami menikmati sarapan di Pulau Kelapa. Over priced untuk menu yang biasa-biasa saja: Nasi goreng seporsi Rp.15,000 (pre-order melalui tour leader) atau mi instan plus telur Rp.12,000 per porsi. Segelas teh manis hangat bandrolnya Rp.5,000.

Hanya setengah jam di Pulau Kelapa, kami kembali ke dermaga Pulau Kiluan lalu memulai petualangan terakhir dalam trip ini: Trekking ke Laguna Gayau.

Katanya “hanya 700 meter”, tapi track yang cukup challenging membuat perjalanan mendaki perbukitan itu terasa lumayan berat buat emak-emak berkelebihan berat badan seperti saya. But really worth it. Lagunanya bagus dengan pemandangan indah ke Selat Sunda, ada bagian di antara batu-batu karang di mana kadang-kadang ombak masuk menghantam sehingga kelihatan seperti air mancur.

Alif senang sekali berenang-renang di laguna itu, sedihnya ada kecelakaan kecil: Telapak kaki kirinya luka tergores batu, jempol kaki kirinya menginjak bulu babi. Terpaksa saya harus langsung membawanya ke UGD untuk mendapatkan suntikan anti tetanus/infeksi begitu sampai di Jakarta.

Pukul 12:00 WIB, kami kembali ke homestay untuk mandi dan bersiap-siap check out. Backpack saya terasa lebih berat karena hampir seluruh isinya adalah pakaian basah.

Makan siang sudah tersaji, nikmat sekali menyantap nasi dengan sayur asem, sambal, tempe dan ikan goreng di teras belakang homestay yang menghadap langsung ke teluk. Alif sempat bersantai di hammock, sejuk di bawah rindangnya pohon walaupun matahari masih terik.

Perjalanan kembali ke Jakarta dimulai pukul 14:00 WIB. Mobil kami berhenti sejenak pukul 17:00 WIB di daerah sekitar Pelabuhan Panjang (yang lucunya juga menjual oleh-oleh “khas Cianjur” juga “khas Bandung”), saya membeli beberapa bungkus keripik pisang dan kopi bubuk khas Lampung.

Waktu menunjukkan pukul 19:30 WIB saat kami tiba di Pelabuhan Bakauheni. Kebetulan Septi dkk yang semobil dengan saya juga berdomisili di Rawamangun, Jakarta Timur. Jadilah kami sama-sama naik bus dari Pelabuhan Merak ke Pulogadung sebelum berpisah naik taksi ke rumah masing-masing.

The trip had just ended. Tapi saya langsung pengen balik lagi, masih penasaran euy sama lumba-lumbanya!

Jakarta Street Food Guide

Living in this capital of Indonesia is best for few reasons. One of it: Food sellers walk around my neighborhood with their pushcart or bicycle to offer and deliver meal or beverages directly to the front of my door starting from 5am until11pm. Here is my chronicle.

*5am = BUBUR AYAM

Indonesian main staple is rice. This dish of “bubur” is made by cooking rice with extra amount of water, garnished with fried soy beans and shredded fried chicken plus some other things on top of yellow curry broth. Not vegetarian friendly.

Price = Rp.7,000.

*7am = KETUPAT SAYUR

This dish is combination of small cuts of rice cake (ketupat made by cooking rice is coconut leaf wrappings), a piece of fried soy cake or tofu (tahu goreng) and vegetable curry made from shredded chayote (sayur labu siam). Non vegetarian can add hard boiled egg.

Those shrimp crackers (kerupuk udang) is not vegetarian friendly, you can skip it.

Add red chilli paste (sambal) to get more spicy and hot taste.

Price: Rp.8,000 (basic) or Rp.11,000 (with additional egg).

*9am = KEMBANG TAHU

Kembang Tahu in a bowl consists of soft tofu chunks with hot ginger syrup. Perfect for snacking. 100% vegetarian.

Price: Rp.6,000.

*9am = TAPAI SINGKONG

Tapai is Indonesian dish made by inoculating carbohydrate source with the required microorganisms starter culture (a kind of yeast) to generate fermentation. My mom often bought fermented casava (tapai made from singkong or cassava), soft with sweet and sour taste plus a bit alcoholic aroma sensation. Sometimes she mixed it with flour then deep-fried became “rondo royal” (tapai cake).

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapai

Price: Rp.7,000 for 500 grams (enough for 2-3 persons as tea-time snack).

*11am = KETOPRAK

It’s also a dish of rice cake cuts and fried tofu chunks like Lontong Sayur, but this one got peanut sauce (with heavy garlic aroma) plus vermicelli (bihun) and boiled bean sprouts (tauge) for lunch. Vegetarian friendly without shrimp crackers.

Choose your spiciness level when order:
– Plain (gak pedas) = no chilli.
– A bit spicy (pedas dikit) = one chilli.
– Spicy (pedas) = two chillis.
– Very spicy (pedas banget) = three chillis or more.

Price: Rp.12,000

*1pm = BASO TAHU

This steaming hot dish is good for lunch. Noodles, vermicelli, meat balls (baso) and tofu with ground meat filling (baso tahu), doused with beef broth and garnished with celery leaves also tomato sauce and red chilli paste. There is no vegetarian option.

Price = Rp.12,000

*3pm = OTAK OTAK IKAN

Otak means brain in Bahasa Indonesia but otak otak means grilled fish cake (ikan = fish), served with peanut sauce dipping.

Price = @Rp.1,500 or Rp.20,000 for 15 pieces.

*5pm = SIOMAY

It’s a kind of Chinese dimsum. There are boiled/steamed potato, cabagge, egg, fish cake, also pare (Momordica charantia, known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash, or balsam-pear) with peanut sauce, chilli sauce plus few drops of juice of squeezed key lime.

Price = Rp.10,000 for a dish consists of 10 small pieces.

*7pm = SATE AYAM

It is grilled chicken chunks on wooden skewer, garnished with peanut sauce, can add chilli paste for hot and spicy taste. Usually eaten with lontong (long rice cake wrapped in banana leaves) or plain steamed rice.

Price = Rp.15,000 for 10 sticks and @Rp.2,000 for lontong.

*9pm = NASI/MIE/KWETIAU GORENG

Nasi means rice, mie means noodles, kwetiau means wide thick Chinese noodles (Hanzi: 粿條). Goreng literary means fry but actually Nasi/Mie/Kwetiau Goreng is stir-fried rice/noodles/kwetiau with egg, spices, shredded fried chicken and meatballs, cabbage, lettuce, also chilli paste (when customer wants it hot spicy).

The serving is garnished with cucumber, pickled carrot and green chillis, plus shrimp crackers.

To get a vegetarian version, tell the seller:
– Gak pakai telor = no egg.
– Gak pakai ayam = no chicken.
– Gak pakai baso = no meatball.
– Gak pakai kerupuk = no shrimp cracker.
– Sayur aja = just vegetables.

To request spicy level:
– Gak pedas = not spicy.
– Pedas dikit = a bit spicy.
– Pedas = spicy.
– Pedas banget = very spicy.

Price = Rp.12,000.

*11pm = SEKOTENG


This cup of hot ginger ale is perfect to keep our body warm at midnight. A kind of snack not just beverage because there are mung beans, croutons, tapioca pearls then added with sweet condensed milk (high calories not good for people who wanted lose weight like me, hehehe…).

Price = Rp.7,000.

NOTE:

  • Exchange rate (end of April 2017): US$1 = Rp.13,300. Means Rp.121,000 or US$9.10 for all above meal in one whole day, eating/snacking every couple of hours.
  • Prices are 2x more expensive at food courts, 3x at restaurants.
  • I had above meal and snack not in one day but within three weekends.

Snowbay, Polar Sensation Under Tropical Sun

Snowbay is a waterpark located in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia Mini Park, http://www.tamanmini.com). Inaugurated in 2009, it provides polar sensation with themed decoration of snowy mountain with polar bear and penguins. But nothing cold under Jakarta’s tropical sun, visitors can enjoy the facilities all year long. Open daily, 9:00am – 6:00pm.

Google maps location: https://goo.gl/maps/ZeqiSNiL26r

Public transport: TransJakarta bus towards Pinang Ranti (route no. 9), get off at Garuda Taman Mini (stop no.9-2), then walk to Snowbay (1.6 km or 1 mile). Save energy by taking “angkot” (red minivan) no. S05 until entrance gate (Pintu 1) of Taman Mini then walk 10 minutes to Snowbay. To see this route, visit https://goo.gl/maps/UqfAJUBcJFs

Visitor must pay Rp.10,000 at entrance gate before entering Taman Mini. Its actually an interesting national park that hosts real size building of traditional houses of all 34 provinces in Indonesia also bird park, komodo park, flower garden, museums etc. On some weekends, there would be traditional at performances,  check http://www.tamanmini.com/pesona_indonesia/ for more details.

Snowbay entrance tickets = Rp.140,000 (weekdays) or Rp.180,000 (weekends and public holidays). Half price for “last minute” (visit after 4:00pm). Holders of some credit/debit/membership cards can get 30-45% price reduction as detailed on their official website http://snowbay.co.id

I bought my tickets from https://myfave.com then only paid @Rp.79,200.

Not much crowd when we arrived at 10:00am. Its wave pool was quite empty.

Lots of fun! I always love to float along Lazy River.

Alif wanted to make these underwater poses.

Notes:

  • Storage locker was Rp.30,000 per access. This fare for one time unlocking means visitor must repay some amount when open the locker then want to lock it again. That’s overpriced, better keep your valuable belonging in your vehicle (I went there on motorbike then kept my wallet and phone in storage space under the seat). 
  • Visitors are not allowed to bring any food/beverage, must buy from sellers in park area when hungry/thirsty. Because everything was overpriced (3x than normal price) then better leave your own food/beverage outside the park then get out whenever you want to eat/drink.
  • Gazebo rent was Rp.120,000 per 3 hours (weekend) or Rp.100,000 per day (weekday). Just leave your toilettries on available benches under umbrellas to save money.
  • The parking lot was securely supervised by park staffs. However, annoyingly they would ask for tip (which I refused to give because I paid Rp.6,000 at entrance gate already…I just didnt like to pay for illegal charge).

After fun four hours, Alif and I left Snowbay, went around Taman Mini for another hour before go home. See you again later, penguins!

The Philippines Itinerary for A Friend

A British friend asked me about how to spend nine days in The Philippines. Here is what I could think of awesome vacation in that archipelago.

philippines

Monday – January 9, 2017

Arrive at Manila.

Tuesday – January 10, 2017

Morning: Visit Malacanang Presidential Palace, join 2 hours of guided tour. My notes: https://perjalananbunda.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/malacanang-palace/

Noon: Take jeepney ride to Quiapo Church (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/philippines/manila/attractions/quiapo-church/a/poi-sig/391357/357305). I planned a walking tour but didnt work because there was major religious event on that day (https://perjalananbunda.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/a-day-in-quiapo/).

Evening at Quiapo Muslim Town would be a great experience (http://www.pacifiqa.com/culture/9-things-to-do-in-quiapos-muslim-town/).

Wednesday – January 11, 2017

Book a day tour to Corregidor Island (https://perjalananbunda.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/corregidor-island-the-philippines/).

Night: Go to Makati to get a massage?

Thursday – January 12, 2017

Morning: Intramuros.

Noon: Rizal Park.

Afternoon: Ocean Park (dont miss that awesome nightly show at 7pm)

https://goo.gl/maps/UdAzQePUaPN2

intramuros-rizal-park-ocean-park

January 13-16, 2017

MINDANAO ISLAND

Start your journey with Cebu Pacific’s first flight from Manila to Cotabato (ETD 4:55/ETA 6:40). It would be only £50 including tuna meal package.

manila-cotabato

After Shalat Jum’at at Masjid Hasanal Bolkiah (http://www.choosephilippines.com/do/history-and-culture/479/Golden_Mosque/), then start exploring the island.

Top 10 Attractions in Cotabato

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g294252-Activities-Mindanao.html

Explore the Diving and Snorkeling Sites of Mindanao

http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/travel/ph-travel/89575-beautiful-beaches-waterfalls-lakes-mindanao

Top 23 Amazing Destinations in Mindanao

Top 10 Tourist Spots in Mindanao

January 16-19, 2017

PALAWAN ISLAND

Get Monday morning flight from Mindanao to Puerto Princessa (via Manila because no direct flight), then explore Palawan Island.

Favorite Tourist Attractions in Palawan, Philippines

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g294257-Activities-Puerto_Princesa_Palawan_Island_Palawan_Province_Mimaropa.html

https://www.buzzfeed.com/isabellelaureta/feelin-like-a-princesa

12 THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO PRINCESA

https://nature.new7wonders.com/wonders/puerto-princessa-underground-river-philippines/

Thursday – January 19, 2017

Morning flight from Puerto Princessa to Manila, then fly back to London.

China Itinerary for A Friend

A Muslim friend asked me to make an itinerary for 10 days in China, enter/leave from Beijing. So, here is what I drafted for him.

china
https://goo.gl/maps/sTN68LpDQEp

Saturday – December 31, 2016

Arrive at Beijing, visit Niujie Mosque in the afternoon. It’s the oldest mosque in Beijing, originally built in 996 during the Liao Dynasty and was reconstructed and renovated in successive dynasties. The mosque has had three big renovations since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Located in the largest muslim community in Beijing, it takes an area of approximately 10,000 square meters. Its architecture is a blend of Islamic and Han Chinese cultural and architectural influences. Address: No.88 Niujie St, Xicheng District, Beijing.

Sunday – January 1, 2017

Stroll across the world’s grandest city central square, Tiananmen Square. With a history of more than 500 years, the square has witnessed many historical events and significant celebrations, such as the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the dignified military parade on National Day. Then you will enter the Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex, from its south gate. It is said that the palace has 9,999.5 rooms where the emperors and his family had once worked and lived. You can explore the Summer Palace in the afternoon. Once used as a luxurious royal garden by the Qing royalty, the delicate scenery and ingenious layout inside earned it great fame from both home and aboard.

Monday – January 2, 2017

Buy train ticket from Beijing West to Xian on https://www.chinaticketonline.com/trains/ (ETD 20:40/ETA 8:31).

Visit the Great Wall at Badaling section. Initially set up as a fortification more than 2,000 years ago, the Great Wall is an amazing product of diligence and intelligence of ancient Chinese people. On the way back to downtown, we will drive by the Bird’s Nest (Olympic National Stadium), where the 29th Beijing Olympic Games were held. You can take some photos of its external features. In the afternoon, explore the Temple of Heaven. Once a site where the emperors offered sacrifices to the heaven, it is even larger than the Forbidden City. Its main buildings progressing from south to north are the Circular Mound Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.

Overnight train to Xian.

Tuesday – January 3, 2017

Morning excursion to the world’s largest underground martial museum, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The significant underground terracotta army in battle formation is actually the accessory pit beside the first emperor’s mausoleum to guard his afterlife. The unearthed life-figured terracotta warriors and horses as well as the chariots and weapons exhibit the sovereign power and incomparable wealth of Emperor Qinshihuang 2,200 years ago. In the afternoon, visit the Shaanxi History Museum, which exhibits numerous cultural relics from one million years ago to the present. Then see the Xian Museum and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. This is a 13-story brick pagoda in a shape of square pyramid, built in Tang Dynasty and used to collect the Buddhist materials brought from India. Here, you will also have an opportunity to appreciate a variety of valuable historical relics at the museum.

Wednesday – January 4, 2017

Visit the Xian City Wall, which is the largest and most integrated existing ancient city wall all over the country. Once acted as a huge and precisely designed military defense system, it is now a famous attraction. Enter from South Gate of City Wall, climbing up the wall, you can either walk or ride a bicycle on it. Then walk back to the city center area. The attractive Bell Tower and Drum Tower a few steps away can be your next stops. Also pay a visit to the Muslim street behind the Drum Tower. Muslim street is a residential zone of Hui people in this city. Strolling around the street, you will not only taste the delicious local flavors, but also get an insight into the religious tradition and living habits of Hui people.

Train from Xian to Guilin will be 26 hours 16 minutes refer to https://www.chinaticketonline.com/trains/ (ETD 19:08/ETA 21:24), you might want to get plane tickets to arrive earlier at Guilin, book it from http://chinatour.net/flight/

My suggestion: CA1225 (ETD 18:40/ETA 20:55). Fare was US$70 this morning when I wrote this itinerary, might change anytime.

Thursday – January 5, 2017

Guilin is a cultural city with a history of over 2,000 years.

Get morning cruise along the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo, then have a stroll along the famous West Street. This is a vibrant place alive with cafes, pubs, restaurants and where many westerners gather. Then, you can take an electric car to travel around the villages of Yangshuo to enjoy the breathtaking countryside scenery. Today’s cruise experience along with the countryside trip will be one of the most memorable parts of your journey.

The earliest cruise is 9:00-14:00 (5 hours on boat), ticket must be purchased at leasr one day in advance (refer to https://www.travelchinaguide.com/package/guilintour7.htm) and no cruise ship available from Yangshuo back to Guilin (must take 1.5 hours land trip by bus), then you might want to consider Merryland Theme Park (http://www.guilinchina.net/attraction/merry-land.htm) as alternative to enjoy the whole day (opens 9:00-17:30).

Friday – January 6, 2017

Shalat Jum’at at Guilin Ancient Mosque, first built in Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368). It was rebuilt for many times after destroyed in wars. Now it covers an area of 984 square meters. The temple is a quadrangle courtyard. The Bunker building is in the center. The left and right side of the building are the teaching rooms. The main hall is in the back of the Bunker building. The temple was used as a school, which is a treasure place for teaching and educating. In addition the local Muslim people, many other Muslim people come to the Masque to do prayer. Address: 2 Minzu Road, Xiangshan District, Guilin

Walk around the Rongshan Lake, Ancient Southern Gate, Giant Banyan Tree, Jiuqu Bridge, Sun and Moon Pagoda.

Saturday – January 7, 2017

Morning flight from Guilin to Shanghai, ETD 10:50/ETA 13:05 (US$73 on http://chinatour.net/flight/).

Enjoy Huangpu River cruise at the Bund wharf to appreciate the two representative profiles of the city along two sides of the river. It helps you understand the past, see the present and look into the future of this modern city. After that, have a stroll on the famous Nanjing Road in the neighborhood. Built in the colonial period in the 19th century, Nanjing Road has nowadays become one of the most famous shopping centers in the city as well as a popular destination. The well-known stores from home and abroad make it no less prosperous than any other famous business streets in the world.

Sunday – January 8, 2017

Visit Shanghai Museum, a huge museum that exhibits both ancient historical relics and modern artworks of the country, it is definitely worthy of your visit. Then you can proceed to the Yuyuan Garden by taxi (only takes 10 minutes at around CNY15). Yuyuan Garden is one of the representatives of south region classic gardens. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters in the garden all have unique Chinese gardening characteristics. There are many restaurants in its nearby streets, so you can have your lunch there with various choices. Afterwards, it may be best for you to walk to the Bund area, which is no more than 1000 meters away.

Monday – January 9, 2017

Book Shanghai-Beijing flight from http://chinatour.net/flight, ETD 15:10/ETA 17:35 (should be enough time before flight to leave from Beijing ETD 20:00).

Visit Shanghai Tower (http://www.smartshanghai.com/articles/travel/shanghai-tower-worlds-highest-observation-deck-is-open-now). It opens at 9AM, so better go there early to beat the crowd.

The Shanghai Tower is the world’s second-tallest building (after Burj Khalifa). It has 127 stories or 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall then becomes Shanghai’s premier tourist highlight. It has world’s highest observation deck (561 meters), world’s 2nd highest hotel, world’s fastest elevators.

Tourists can enjoy the view from the deck on the on the 121st, 122nd, and 123rd floor. The deck sits at 561 meters and is 6 meters higher than the Burj Khalifa’s deck (555 meters). The observation deck is 5 floors from the top.

The building dwarfs the Shanghai World Financial Center and the 88-story Jin Mao Tower next to it. It will be about 122 meters (400 feet) taller than Shanghai World Financial Center and the Taipei 101 too.

Mitsubishi built the world’s fastest elevators for the structure. They speed up and down at 65 kph (40 miles per hour). You may want to visit just for that experience before leave Shanghai.

Monumen Nasional

Well, many tourists might leave Jakarta without a selfie in front of this landmark…but I wish it could be like nobody would leave Paris without a selfie in front of Eiffel Tower.

MOnumen NASional (National Monument), shortened MONAS by Indonesians, is gigantic obelisk that was once symbol of pride of the nation. Standing tall in the middle of “Lapangan Merdeka” (Independence Square), topped with bronze flame structure that covered with 50 kg of pure gold. This Wikipedia page provided more details: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Monument_(Indonesia)

Google maps location: https://goo.gl/maps/cJKHihvDzMt (easy access by TransJakarta bus from any part of Jakarta).

My son and I arrived at the square around 7:30 AM, but had to walk quite far to the entrance gate of the monument that located at north side.

There were so many people already queued, it took 1.5 hours from waiting for ticket counters to open at 8:05 AM, queued to top up my JakCard, walked through underground tunnel, queued for elevator to viewing deck.

Entrance fee: Rp.15000 (adults), Rp.8000 (college students), Rp.4000 (children). Exchange rate: US$1 = Rp.13000.


Opening hours of elevator to reach the top was 8:00 AM-4:00 PM (limited for 1800 visitors/day) and 7:00 PM-10:00 PM (limited for 700 visitors/night).


Binoculars (free of charge) with displays of explanations of govt building in the surrounding area.


Selfie at 120 m above ground level. :)

 

Presidential Palace at northwest side.


Masjid Istiqlal (biggest mosque in South East Asia that can accommodate 250,000 people) at northeast. That was Jakarta port far away in the horizon, visitors can see ships but unluckily I couldnt captured it with my camera.


South Jakarta panorama, that was Mount Salak at the background.

It was 10:30 AM already when we got back to ground level then proceeded to see displays in diorama hall later went to “Independence Room”.

Diorama hall was nice and clean place for rest, there was adequate musala (pray room for Muslim) but ladies’ room were only 2 units and not really convenient.


My most favorite diorama depicting Indonesian 1st plane made by IPTN, 1995.


Vending machine. Seems like getting softdrink from it amused those teenagers. :D

 

Inside Independence Room.

 

I wanted to listen to that recording of Indonesian 1st President, Ir. Soekarno, reading declaration of independence of this country on August 17, 1945. But it was hourly event, I was too tired to wait another half an hour (would be okay to wait if I brought some snacks, but I didn’t) then we just left.

There were orange “kereta wisata” (touristic trains – free of charge), but I didn’t want to waste time for another queuing.


Interesting diorama of “chasing Pokémon”, hahahaha…


Our selfie, pardon his tired and bored look…should have taken this photo earlier in the morning. :(

It was interesting experience, definitely MONAS is a must visit landmark in Jakarta.

 

TIPS

  • Better go to MONAS on workdays for less queue if you want to go up high to viewing deck, or get there early like 7 AM on weekends/public holidays.
  • Avoid queuing by get your JakCard in advance (loaded with sufficient amount of money) from any TransJakarta bus station.

 

JakCard is pre-loaded pay card (e-money) from Bank DKI, Jakarta govt owned bank. This card also can be used to pay to get a ride on TransJakarta bus and KRL commuter line (electric train system that connects Jakarta to suburban cities), Ragunan zoo entrance, etc.