Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 2: Universal Studios

We played all day long in the Universal Studios Japan on our second day in Japan. It is the world's greatest theme park inspired by blockbuster Hollywood Movies, which is located in the heart of Osaka.
As for me, the attractions are standard but the shows are interesting. However, the atmosphere there is full of joy and fun and the old buildings as background makes taking photos more exciting :)
Since pictures worth thousand words, here are some for you to enjoy :)

The famous Globe

4D Cinema featuring Spiderman - great attraction!

The old buildings as background

View from the bridge inside the theme park

There you go! Please make sure you try the cute snoopy-shaped bun and other fancied snacks there!



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Japan Trip: Day 1

As I told you last time, I was going to Japan and here i am telling you stories about my unforgettable visit. First day, we were in Osaka, we visited Osaka Castle.
Osaka Castle is surrounded by water as the barrier from enemies during war. Osaka Castle has many beautiful gardens and parks, which is free of charge to enter. You may see sakura trees in the park and some local japanese who sits or picnics at the park. About 10 minutes walk from the parking lot, you'll arrive at the entrance gate of Osaka Castle.
Behind the gate, you'll see wide open park with an old historic building at one side and a high antique castle on the other side. The old historic building was once a museum, but no longer used. While the antique castle is the Osaka Castle Museum, which asked for fee if you want to enter.

Even though you are not going inside the museum, Osaka Castle is still interesting to look from the outside. You can even enjoy the park, alone. There are many wild birds gathering at the park, waiting to be fed by the visitors. My tips: give the birds popcorn, they'll love it and you can even take pictures with the birds on your hand.
There are some Japanese stalls and restaurants located at the park, you can have lunch there to taste Japanese foods, which I said are a little bit pricey. However, you must try the slush ice and matcha (green tea) ice cream.
After lunch, we went back to Osaka town and visit Shinsaibashi, the shopping area at Osaka, which is like a long alley filled with small shops and department stores. They have various things from fashion to music and including cafes and restaurants. The place is very crowded with people and you must walk quite far (cars are prohibited), yet the shops are very interesting to look at.
When you go through Shinsaibashi, there is one famous bridge, named Dotombori, which has many big and colorful neon signs. Dotombori has been used as shooting location of big movies as the colorful signs makes the bridge a fascinating photo spot, especially at night.
Near Shinsaibashi, there is building specialized in selling electronic goods, named Bic Camera. If you are a fan of gadgets, I suggest you to go there, as Japanese also buys electronic goods there. If not, at 8th floor in Bic Camera, there is 100 yen shop, which sold everything from home appliances to fashion accessories at 100 yen. This place is recommended if you want to buy cheap souvenirs as souvenirs at other places in Japan may be very expensive (yes, they are! believe me!). When shopping at 100 yen shop, you must be aware of chinese and low quality products.
Shops in Japan mostly are closed at 7pm but cafes and restaurants are opened till night. As for me, prices of goods sold in Japan are very expensive, for example, prices of shoes are 5,000 yen, for the type of shoes you'll find at ITC (not branded shoes). That's why I almost didn't buy a thing at Shinsaibashi, however I found Japan's stockings and make up at very reasonable price, happy! :)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Honey, I'm Off to Japan!

Hi all!
After counting the day, finally the holiday is coming. I'm currently waiting at the airport for my flight at 13.35. Yes, I'm off to Japan to see Disneyland, temples and sakura in autumn! Don't get jealous because I'll tell you the full report as soon as I get back to Jakarta.
I'm taking China Airlines and using the tour from Gloria Gemilang. We are going for 8 days and 7 night. We will transit at Taipei and stay for 1 night. Places we visit?

Day 1 Osaka Castle and Shinsaibashi (shopping district)
Day 2 Universal Studio Japan
Day 3 Kyomizu Temple, Nishijin Kimono Show, Heian Shrine
Day 4 Gotemba Factory Outlet, Mt Fuji, Odaiba Tokyo Bay
Day 5 Asakusa Kanon Temple, Tokyo Disneysea
Day 6 Tokyo Disneyland

See you soon!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bad News: Euro Trip is Postponed :(

As seen on the title, my Euro Trip must be canceled due to problems in applying the Schengen Visa. We waited for hours outside the Swiss Embassy just to receive this bad news, here is the detail of what happen there:

1. The travel agent has registered us early in the morning to get the queue number. The registration open at 6am. We got number 9
2. At 9am, the interview was started. We got number 13 due to there are 4 applicants which didn't get the chance for interview from yesterday's queue.
3. At 10am, the security told us that the interview is postponed until informed again and due to reason which is not informed to the security. That's suck! We were waiting on the streets, under the heat and polluted air and they just informed like that, which is very unclear. Ow, and moreover, the last number who just got in is number 7 and the interview closed at 12pm.
4. At 11am, finally the interview was started again and the security called for number 8 - 12. Ouch, i didnt think we'll have enough time before our turn. Luckily, the number 11 was looking fo r exchange queue as the person was not ready.
5. Not very long, we met the madame, and she told us that we cant apply visa through Swiss Embassy as we will arrive at French first. Later she blame us as we used unfamous travel agent and the travel agent should inform her first to make interview schedule with us (how come most travel agent, not just mine, dont know any of that?).
And just like that, we can't continue this trip, as the interview schedule at French Embassy is fully booked until Sept 9, 2009; which means not enough time for the visa to be processed (10 days). But as I promised you before, I'll post here the requirement for applying Schengen Visa:
  • Passport, which has valid date more than 6 months from arrival date and old passport.
  • Color photo size 4x6, 2 sheets, with white background and clear appearance.
  • Sponsored letter in English, printed in the Company's letterhead from the company you work. Also mention the name of others/family member which travel with you.
  • If you were General Manager, Director, President Director or Commissioner, you must provide a copy of NPWP and SIUP. If you have your own business and do not have company's letterhead, then letter is printed on white paper and stamped by company's logo.
  • If you were sponsored by your child, then provide the birth certificate. If sponsored by son-in law, provide the marriage certificate also.
  • If you were a retirement, provide a letter stated your status and signed.
  • Copy of savings account from the first page to the last page of transaction (minimum Rp50 million/ person)
  • Reference letter from Bank (original). Must be the same bank of your savings account. The letter must mention the name, savings account number, amount and the first date of transaction.
  • Copy of credit card
  • Copy of family cards
  • Rename letter, if any
  • Marriage certificate, if your spouse is travelling with you.
  • If your children are travelling with you, provide: student card, birth certificate and school reference letter
  • Print out of ticket reservation / original ticket (fyi, they trusted original ticket more, the madame told us that printed electronic ticket is not acceptable).
  • Hotel confirmation during your stay in Europe (all hotel, if you miss 1 night, they will ask it)
  • Travel insurance during your travel in Europe with total amount of US$50,000 or 30,000 euro.
  • Visa Application form, which has completed and signed.
  • You must come to the embassy to perform interview. Attach the passport with the supporting document and separate per person.

Basically that's what you have to prepare before you applying Schengen Visa. You must pay fee of Rp890,000 and the money will be gone if your visa is rejected, unless you are rejected during the interview, you dont have to pay.

Sadly ones,


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trip to Umang Island (Pulau Umang)

I once wrote about Umang Island in Bahasa at my previous random blog. I rewrite it and put more infos here :)

Umang Island is located at Sunda Strait, from Jakarta you must take the Kebon Jeruk highway and out at Serang Gate, and take the road to Pandeglang. Basically it is the same route to Tanjung Lesung or Ujung Kulon. The trip with car needs approximately 5 - 6 hours from Jakarta, a very long and boring route. Below is the map you might need.

To arrive at Umang Island, we stop the car at a village called Sumur. From Sumur, we cross the sea with wooden boat, it only take 10 minutes to get there. The charge of boat is already included in the package when you make reservation to stay there.

the pier at Umang Island

Once you arrived, you'll see a beautiful glass house which is headed to the beach. The pool is in front of the glass house and there is a patio near the pool site for guests to enjoy sunrise. The glass house is the place where lunch and dinner are served. Fyi, lunch and dinner is included in the resort package as there is no other restaurant in the island and you are not allowed to bring food on your own. According to my last visit on June 2008, the food rating is poor so you better bring some instant noodles in case you are not pleased with the food. However, during dinner you'll be entertain by live music and guests are invited to participate, which is quite entertaining.

the glass house and the pool

the patio

The villa is two floor villa, where the bed is upstairs (for 2 people). If you bring more than 2 people, you could rent another villa or ask for extra bed. The extra bed is quite comfortable though. There is only 1 bathroom in each villa, which has nice design and half open air. The room is wide and comfortable (with AC), although not very clean. In front of each villa, there is a gazebo, which is suitable for chatting or enjoying the beach.

the bedroom

The beach in Umang Island is not very nice to be played as there is many rocks, but you could enjoy both sunrise and sunset in this island. If you love water sports, you can ask the local guide to transfer you to Oar Island, which is only 5 minutes from Umang Island. At Oar Island, you wouldn't find any villas, there is only white sandy beach surrounded by bluish water, which is perfect for playing water sports or just enjoying the clear beach. You can play banana boats, jet sky or go snorkeling. Just arrange it with the local guide. They might be a little pricey, so you must bargain!

Beach in Umang Island

Beach in Oar Island

One thing I'm impressed with the Umang Island is the welcome and friendly officers. They always smile and gladly help you with informations. The warm attitude is not just on our arrival, but it lasts until we depart from the island. Based on my chit-chat with the resort officers, the 5 hectars island and also the Oar Island are owned by Indonesian businessman named Christian William.

Back in 2008, the price per person is Rp600,000 per night, which is already included the accomodation, the boat transfer from Sumur and the food (lunch+dinner). For transfer to Oar Island, snorkeling and banana boat you will be charged extra money. However, based on my research in the website, they have holiday package for 4 adult, where the price is Rp1,200,000 per person, but already included the trip to Oar Island and snorkeling.

In my opinion, the beauty of this place is lessen due to the fact that the nature is not original. However, this place is recommended for Jakarta's people who are searching for places to relax and loves beaches and luxury. Compared to Anyer or Carita, in which the beach is dirty and too many hawkers, Umang Island is clearer and more quiet. Nice place to getaway from noise and for daydreaming.

Interested? you can call PT GSM Griya Sukses Mandiri on +6221-5315-3008 or send message to +628567160999. Have a nice trip, all!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Next Destination: Europe

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything lately since I was busy preparing for my next trip: EUROPE! Yeay! I'm planning to go on September 16 - 27, 2009 with the whole family except my biggest sister. We decided not to take a tour as most of the tour schedules are not fit to ours. Luckily, by arranging all of the trip by ourselves, I have plenty of things to share with you :)

For a start, I'm gonna give tips of what to prepare when you plan to go to Europe on your own:

1. Determine how many days you have and what countries you would like to visit.
  • Be rationale, having too many countries to visit while you only have few days means you will be very tired and not enjoying the trip.

  • Use google or trip advisor to do your research.

  • Make a list of every countries to visit and places to visit in each country.
2. Open the map and arrange the sequential of countries to be visited. For each country, arrange the sequential of places to be visited.
  • Try google map!

  • When you already knew the starting country and the final country, arrange the flight and book. Try Emirates or Etihad; or look for bargain prices from other airlines' promotion.

3. Considering the visited places in each country, determine how many days and night you would spend on each country.

  • By doing so, now you would be able to search for hotel and train schedule.

  • For hotel, I prefer to read the review on tripadvisor because it is very detail and including rank from the most recommended to the least.

  • For train, you could open the euro rail website to check schedule and fares. The website has just renovated, unfortunately i think the previous one is easier to use than the new website.

4. Book your hotel and train once you are sure about the schedule. Obtain confirmation of hotel booking for your visa application purposes.

5. Prepare for visa application purposes (I will listed down all documents need for visa Schengen application in my next posting). You will have to come to the Embassy by yourself to submit the documents and perform interview with the embassy officer.

6. List down your itinerary, write down the addresses as well as the timing to prevent from getting lost and late.

7. Pack your belongings

8. Go have fun in Euro Trip!



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Visiting Hongkong

Hong Kong is situated on the southeast coast of China at the mouth of the Pearl River facing the South China Sea and it consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. As a cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong is famous for its skyscrappers and shopping centers. Here are some of must visit places in Hongkong:

1. Hong Kong Disneyland
As always, Disneyland succeed to bring us back to our childhood memories. You can enjoy the rides, attractions, Mickey's show and stay until night to watch the fireworks performances. I recommend you to stay at one of the Disneyland's hotels. Believe me, you'll feel like you're living in a real Disneyland. Too cute to be true :) Disneyland can be accessed by train from the city. You should spend a day in here to enjoy the whole attractions. Visit this website for more info of tickets and hotel booking. I uploaded here some photos taken at Disneyland Park and Hotel.
Fireworks at Disneyland

Disneyland Hotel Room
2. Ocean Park
Ocean Park is a theme park located in Hong Kong Island, featuring rides, exhibits and conservation facilities. There are three attraction areas, which are the Lowland, the Headland and Tai Shue Wan. The three areas are connected by a cable car and an outdoor escalator, which is the second longest in Hong Kong. You may see pandas, spectacular jellyfish, sea lions and dolphin show, here. Visit here for more info of Ocean Park.

From left to right: sea jellyfish aquarium, sleeping panda, and dolphin in action at Ocean Park

3. Victoria Peak

To go to Victoria Peak, we must use Peak Tram, special tram which rises to 396 metres (about 1,300 feet) above sea level. The railway is so steep that the buildings you pass look like they are leaning a gradient of between 4 to 27 degrees. From the Peak, you may see panoramic Hongkong's skyscrappers. It is a great experience to have a trip using the old-fashioned tram yet so steep railway; and of course you'll also enjoy a great view from up there. Inside the Peak, there is also Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, where you could take pictures with hundred famous people around the world.

Tram ticket fee is about HKD33, while package Tram+Madame Tusaud entrance fee is about HKD170. More info, visit here.

4. Repulse Bay
Repulse Bay is one of the most beautiful beach in Hongkong, surrounded by luxurious houses owned by Hongkong's riches and celebrities like Jacky Chan.

View from the beach in Repulse Bay

5. Victoria Harbour
Best places to photo Hongkong night view and skyline at night is in Victoria Harbour. The harbour is located between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. Also located in the harbour, there is Avenue of Stars, built along the promenade outside the New World Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. Modeled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it honours the most illustrious people the Hong Kong film industry has produced over the past decades.

6. Shopping Paradise
Hong Kong has many famous shopping areas, such as Causeway Bay and street markets. For branded items, you may securely find them at Causeway Bay. Here, you can be sure that the brand is original and not fake. Some stores in Kowloon may sell the same item with lower price but the originality is not guarantee. For cheaper shopping, visit Hongkong's street market; such as Ladies Market in Mong Kok.

As I joined a tour for my trip, the visited places are arranged by the tour. Unfortunately, we did not visit Victoria Harbour and Ladies Market at Mong Kok, so I can't provice you with pictures and detail budget :(

Holiday Tips #1: Photos are The True Holiday's Memories

It's important to take photos of your holiday moments and places as after holiday is over you have no memories left except the one in your brain. Here are some few tips from me:

1. Bring your camera everywhere you go, because you'll never know what you'll see or meet on your holiday. SLR is recommended but camera pocket is lot more easier to carry.

We were at Regal Hotel in Hongkong and we were about to swim when I decided to bring my camera along instead of leaving it in hotel room. Amazingly the color of the sky was breathtaking. So glad that I did not leave it in the room.

2. Don't take only narcissm faces pictures, expand your photos to your surroundings. No one interested that much to see faces in the whole holiday pictures. Showing the place is more essential.

Photo is taken at Disneyland Hongkong, the city looks colorful and bright contrast to the dark night sky.

3. Take unordinary photos such as jump shot or model-alike pose! Ask your holiday's friends to be creative. It would be so fun!

Their ridiculous faces and poses brings smile to everyone who sees it.

4. Find interesting spot to take photos so your photos would be memorable.

5. Forget about photography technics, just push the button wherever and whenever you like. Just remember to bring extra batteries and memory cards.

So, what's your best holiday photo? Let's share!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu)

As describes by the name, Thousand Island consists of several islands such as Pulau Pramuka, Pulau Ayer, Pulau Bidadari, Pulau Sepa and etc. The islands have white sands, clear water and nice corals, which you may rarely find in other beaches near Jakarta such as Ancol or Anyer.

How to go there?
Thousand Island is located at North Jakarta and can be accessed through Marina Ancol or Muara Angke Pier. To go to Marina Ancol, you must go inside the Taman Impian Jaya Ancol. While for Muara Angke Pier, you must go to Pluit first, then when you found Megamal Pluit on your left, you follow the street and turn right, go straight until you see sign of Muara Karang, then you must turn right, go straight until you found fish market on your left. Enter the fish market and follow the road until you found the gas station. The pier is on the left of the gas station.

For a cheaper holiday, I suggested you took the boat in Muara Angke as the price is only Rp30,000 per person while in Marina Ancol Pier the price is Rp75,000. However, as money talks, the boat from Muara Angke is not speed boat like in Marina Ancol, so if you’re looking for comfort, you better take the boat in Marina. The boat will transfer you to Pramuka Island within 2 up to 3 hours depend on the weather and the boat. Based on information I’ve got, Radja Express is the fastest one to go to Pramuka Island. The boat may also stop at Pulau Untung Jawa and some other islands; you must check them before you depart. There is no ticket seller to enter the boat, you just seat and put your bags near you. During the way, the boat fee will be collected.
1. You can sit above or below on the boat. If you afraid of sun heat, you better choose to sit on the below, but beware of sea sick and water splash.
2. Arrive maximum at 7am in the Muara Angke Pier to avoid missing the boat. Regularly, there is two boats depart in the morning, and the next departure is 1pm.

Where to stay?
Pramuka Island has several places to stay and even some local people opens their houses for tourists (homestay). I stayed in Wisma Dermaga on my last holiday and it is recommended for it’s cheap price and cleanliness. Price per room is Rp300,000 and the bed is king size so it can be shared for up to 4 persons. For extra bed, you are charged Rp25,000 each. The room size is quite large it can fit for 2 extra bed. The facilities provided including AC, TV and bathroom inside. Another recommended places are Wisma Taman Laut Nasional and Villa Delima (same price and facilities as Wisma Dermaga).

Take more people on your holiday to minimize accomodation cost by sharing the room.

What to do?
Thousand Island is perfect holiday destination for you who loves swimming, snorkeling, diving and playing on the beach. At the island, you can rent a boat for Rp300,000 a day (maximum for 20 persons) and snorkeling equipment (including fin, goggle and life jacket) for Rp30,000 per person.
Best location for snorkeling is Karang Lebar and near Pulau Air. Near Karang Lebar you may find small land with white sand surrounded by the blue sea. The view was amazingly beautiful. You must be careful when snorkeling in Karang Lebar as the coral are not so deep and there are many sea urchins (bulu babi).
After that you may visit Semak Daun Island to have lunch and take a rest. Unfortunately, Semak Daun does not have restaurant or food stall, therefore you must bring your lunch from Jakarta or buy them in Pramuka Island before you go. Semak Daun Island is perfect for playing sand and learning snorkeling. It also has many great spots to take wonderful photos.
Before you go back, don’t forget to go snorkeling near Air Island. The coral is deeper so more various types of fish live there. If you are a good swimmer, go deeper to see lobster and touch the fish.
You may ask the boat driver to take you around the Thousand Island, there is lagoon look alike, Karya Island with its white sand and other amazing islands. During the sunset, you may stop at Nusa Kerambah to enjoy the sunset and have dinner in the Nusa Restaurant. The restaurant is not very expensive, around Rp30,000 per person, subject to your own choices, of course.
The next morning, you may visit Conservation of Sea Turtle and Teripang in Pramuka Island or just playing on the beach before you go home. If you want to buy fresh fish to bring home, you may ask local people to take you by boat to Panggang Island.
1. Wearing sunblock to avoid sunburnt.
2. Bring some snacks, you may feel hungry after snorkeling.
3. Bring towel dress for ladies and towel for man, you'll get wet and the wind is hard.

The Budget
Boat transfer from/to Muara Angke – Pramuka Island: Rp30,000/person.
Accomodation: Rp300,000 per room (max 4 persons) + extra bed Rp25,000.
Boat transfer for snorkeling: Rp300,000/day
Snorkeling equipment: Rp30,000 (fin, goggle and life jacket)
Food: at Nusa Kerambah (around Rp30,000 per person), at Pramuka Island around Rp10,000-Rp20,000 per person)

Contact person:
Wisma Dermaga: Hermanto / 021-33095523 / 0818779990
Villa Delima: Untung / 021 54373149 / 0813.19551955

Hot Tips: Feel free to ask them to arrange your accomodation, snorkeling and boat trip on your budget!

All photos are under Travellicious copy right so if you wanna use them please ask my permission or make a link to my blog.



Hello You!

Who does not love holiday, right?
I believe we agree that holiday is the best time of the year! Even more than our own birthday. That's why I created this blog, to share my holidays and gives you information you need to plan your holiday.
Please feel free to drop your comments or questions when visiting my blog. Just don't forget to put your name! I promise I'm gonna reply ASAP.

Be ready for the launching of my first holiday report!