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Unexpected First Trip of 2013

Well, it's not an unexpected trip anyway cause both Boyfie and I did plan earlier for a trip to Johor just for the newly opened Legoland Theme Park but unfortunately the airfare was extremely expensive. A return airfare from Kota Kinabalu to Johor Bahru for a person via AirAsia cost roughly RM270 plus and we were thinking to postpone until we managed to get a very cheap one. Out of sudden, AirAsia was having this 1Malaysia Integration Programme by offering 10,000 free seats to all Malaysian early of this month. I was just trying my luck and I was so shocked when the return airfare was RM15 only (only had to pay for the airport tax). Without thinking any longer, immediately I purchased as we managed to save at least RM250 per person and for two, we saved roughly more than RM500. Yes, both of us are accountant and auditor, therefore we are quite calculative.
1Malaysia AirAsia aircraft
Newly launched of AirAsia 1Malaysia aircraft version

For this trip, we tried to limit our budget up to RM1,000 for two pax including hotel, transportation, foods and admission to Legoland but this of course, excluded our shopping spending. Who knows that my sister has two Legoland 30% discount vouchers given by KFC Singapore and as for the hotel, I managed to redeem up to RM75 from Agoda.com for the points I accumulated. Hence, for a 3 stars ranking hotel that cost RM420 for 3 nights, I only paid RM345.
Legoland Malaysia
It's scorching hot during our visit but it's better than pouring day. 

The only problem that we're facing throughout the trip was the mode of transportation mode it was kinda inconvenient for both of us. We did check the schedule of the public bus but sometimes it can't guaranteed that we might able to catch the bus. On the day we went to Legoland, we woke up as easly as 6.30am to catch the bus at 8.30am but we didn't see any sign of bus when the time as scheduled arrived. Then, on the other day we tried to catch bus at 10am and we reached 15 minutes earlier, the related party told us that the bus has left earlier cause there was no sparking space for them. Oh my gosh! Some of the bus driver were not even honest and lied to us that we had reached the desired bus stop but turns out to be other bus stop. Kinda hard to believe that this happened in my own country, Malaysia. Shame to say that! Therefore on the last day, we spend almost RM100 just for one way from our hotel to airport cause we worried if we trying to catch a public bus, in returns we might miss our flight due to inconsistency of the public bus.

Handal Indah - JB Public Bus

However, throughout the trip besides Legoland, I enjoyed meeting up two group friends of mine; one was my college classmate and the other was my university housemate cum my travelmate to Japan and Korea. Both of them did offer to bring us around but we rejected cause we got our own plan. Not just travel around Johor Bahru, Boyfie and I managed to go Singapore too for a day trip. From my previous trips to Singapore, I always bypass from Johor Bahru to Singapore by renting a car. This time around, we took public bus, then went through the immigration checking point and went back to the bus again. Seriously speaking, all of these processes were not convenient especially for those who lugging with huge luggage bags and also for those elderly people.

JB Immigration Checkpoint
If you look closely, I was stopped by the officer from taking any photo. No photos are allowed!

Nothing much I can blog about my this travel adventures except for Legoland Theme Park as well as review of the hotel I was staying - 11@Century Hotel, which I will blog in the next few posts.

For more of my travel updates, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
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Castleton, United Kingdom #throwback

Castleton is my first ever trip when I studied in United Kingdom back then and I had never blog about this before. Frankly speaking, none of us had ever heard of this place before but after our senior explained how beautiful and scenery was that place, immediately we signed up with our senior to join for this 1 day tour. Afterall, discover new place wasn't a bad idea and might gain new experiences.

Castleton 01
#1: Castleton signboard

Castleton is a small little village located in the north east of England. The name itself was taken upon a castle which built besides the famous river known by the local. You won't find any high skyscrapers or even public transportation such as trains surrounding this village. All we saw just a row of old dark brown houses and shops without any paint of them, two or three small churches and an art gallery.

Castleton 02

Castleton 03

Castleton 04

Castleton 05

Castleton 06

Castleton 07
#7: Colourful blossom flowers in front of somebody's house

Castleton 10
#8: As we walked further, we saw a flock of white fluffy sheep and it's my first time of seeing them.

Castleton 08
#9: A flock of sheep, a clear blue sky and a lush green field makes this a perfect photo.

Castleton 09
#10:Oh look! Even the sheep know how to look in front of the camera. Amazing!

Castleton 11
#11: Initially I had this naughty thoughts of rolling down the hill but tons of sheeps' poo poo. 

Castleton might seems nothing extraordinary but this place totally gave us the relax feeling and also stress free from keep thinking of the non-stop weekly assignments and presentations. Especially for people like us who living in the big city might not able to enjoy this kind of place back in our own city, this place is incredibly breathtaking and pristine. Castleton, a truly clean and fresh air village.  

Castleton 12
#12: Before leaving Castleton, a group photo with my unimates.
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5D4N Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia Trip Itinerary (2011)

Here is the compilation for all the post relating to my trip to Jakarta & Bandung last two year for 5 days and 4 nights.  

Day 1 (20th December 2011)

- Arrived Jakarta & MaxOne Hotels.com 

Day 2 (21st December 2011)

- Part 1: Leaving Jakarta for Bandung
- Part 2: First Day in Bandung 

Day 3 (22nd December 2011)

- Bandung - Kampung Daun, Tangkuban Perahu, Dago & Riau Street and Rumah Mode
- Superheroes Everywhere in Cihampelas Street 

23rd December 2011

- Back to Jakarta & Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua 

24th December 2011

- Mangga Dua Area & Goodbye Jakarta

Extra Features:

Hence, this post concludes the final travelogue of my Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia which also my final trip for year 2011. I know that I am backdated travel blogger which claimed by one of the blog reader of mine and I did tried my best to blog as fast as I can but it seems that there are too many things for me to blog about. Even my 2008 UK & Europe trip I haven't completed yet and I had been abandoned these travelogue for quite some times. Therefore, I might continue with my 2008 UK & Europe trip in the next few blogposts before starting with my 2012 travelogue.
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My Travel Haul & Expenses of Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia (2011)

It's time for me to share what did I bought from Jakarta and Bandung and how much did I spend throughout my 5 days and 4 nights trip to there.

Most of the blog readers thought I bought and spend a lot since Jakarta and Bandung claimed to be one of the best shopping paradise.

Day 3 - Shopping Haul
Combination of mommy and mine shopping haul.

Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia 2011 Travel Haul 01
But actually, I only bought 3 pieces of top for myself and all bought from Bandung city. The right one is Esprit, but not sure whether it's genuine or counterfeit. I did bought few too but mostly to my sister, Boyfie and also to the top commentator of my blog - check out my post on Top Commentators for Year 2010 & 2011.

Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia 2011 Travel Haul 02
Bought this bag from Harcomas Mangga Dua, Jakarta cause it costs RM18 only. But only last long for 3 months. Like they said, what you paid for is what you got.

Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia 2011 Travel Haul 03
Slipper that cost RM8 from Bandung. Not intentionally to buy this and it was being forced by mom cause my sport shoe was freaking wet due to heavy rain upon arrival in Bandung city.

Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia 2011 Travel Haul 04
These two long necklace were bought in WTC Mangga Dua, Jakarta before leaving the city. I am currently so addicted to these long necklace. Thinking to venture into this kind of business. Anyone of you interested in necklace by the way? 

Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia 2011 Travel Haul 05
Last but not least, fridge magnets is one of the items that for sure I will buy whenever I travel. It's kinda hard to buy fridge magnets in Jakarta and even Bandung too. For the Bandung, I stumbled upon a street seller in Cihampelas Street and thank goodness, we were able to bargain with him but for the Jakarta, I bought in the airport and for sure, it was freaking expensive. Just to add into my travel collection, I had to close my eyes on the price that time.

Well, as you can see, not many did I bought cause I not fond of the fashion in Jakarta and Bandung.

And this is my sharing of the full details of my travel expenses that mommy and I had spend throughout the 5 days and 4 nights trip around Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia. [All except the one I marked with * are the expenses incurred by two persons.]
Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia 2011 Travel Expenses
(The rate as at the time I changed; RM1 : IDR2,810)

  1. It's consider cheap for a return airfare which cost RM165 per pax but we only found out that this doesn't included the airport tax departed from Jakarta. Airport tax cost IDR150,000 per pax and it's compulsory to pay before flying.
  2. Baggage allowance for flight to Jakarta was 15 kg (RM35) and flight from Jakarta was 30 kg (RM70.
  3. Stayed in MaxOne Hotels.com for first 1 night before leaving on the next day to Bandung - post here.
  4. Stayed in Sensa Hotel Bandung for 2 night and gosh, it's one of the best hotel I ever stayed. Highly recommended. - post here.
  5. The hotel that I booked earlier but didn't stayed cause unable the locate the hotel's location.
  6. Therefore, stayed in Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua before flying back home - post here.
  7. Included airport tranfer from and to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
  8. Transfer from the train station to our hotel.
  9. Bought the train tickets and depart from Gambir Station, Jakarta.
  10. Alternative option cause mommy didn't want a train ride anymore. Bought the tickets on the first floor of CiWalk.
  11. Rate for 12 hours per day including the fuel but excluded the parking and entrance fees.
  12. Admission fee for a tourist is IDR50,000 but cause both mommy and I looks like Indonesian (kinda an advantage for us), we were being charged under local fee for IDR13,000 per pax only whereas the parking fee is IDR10,000. We paid on behalf of our local driver too.
  13. Most of my souvenirs and shopping haul are as above photos. 
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Indonesia Day 5 - Mangga Dua Area & Goodbye Jakarta

Date of Visited: 24th December 2011

So on the fifth day, it marked as the final and last day of our vacation in Jakarta city. And because our flight is at night, thus we can have our last minute shopping before depart to the airport. As we stayed in North Jakarta, this is one of the area that offers an interesting selection of wares including bargain clothing, fake designer wear and electronic goods.

There are at least four shopping centers interconnected via bridges to each other offering endless bargain and shopping experience; ITC Mangga Dua and Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua mainly sell clothes while electronics at Mall Mangga Dua and Harco Mangga Dua.

ITC Mangga Dua Jakarta 01
ITC Mangga Dua, the shopping mall we went for 2 days.

ITC Mangga Dua Jakarta 02
Selling all kind of goods especially on garments, bags, shoes, accessories. Absolutely an ideal place for those who adore shopping craze.

ITC Mangga Dua Jakarta 03
With more than 200 shops and 7 floors, this place is so huge, packed and overcrowded at the same time.

HarcoMas Mangga Dua Jakarta
Harco Mangga Dua, mostly on electronic goods and it is directly located in front of our hotel - Hotel Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua. We didn't spend most of our time here cause we more prefer ITC Mangga Dua.

As we walked further down which approximately 8-10 minutes of walking, we came across another mall - WTC Mangga Dua. All the shopping name are almost the same, just the front name distinguished them. Therefore, no surprise might be mixed up their names.
WTC Mangga Dua
By the time we were here, not many shops opened yet. Just spotted a fast food chain restaurant, A&W and small convenience store.

Unique Building in Mangga Dua Area
Some random but unique building that caught my attention while walking back from WTC Mangga Dua to ITC Mangga Dua.

Done with last minute of shopping and check-out procedures, we took taxi from our hotel to the airport. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is the main airport of Jakarta and fyi, the name of the airport was taken upon the first president of Indonesia, Soekarno whereas Hatte is the first vice-president. There are three main terminal buildings and if you are taking AirAsia, it will depart and land in Terminal 3. Be sure to inform the driver cause the 3 terminal buildings are not interconnected. From Mangga Dua area to the airport, the taxi fare is most likely cost IDR90,000 (roughly around RM32).

Shops in Jakarta Airport
Starbucks and J.Co is available in Terminal 3 to satisfy your hunger and wait, CFC?!

Foods in Jakarta Airport
Mommy and I had our early dinner before flying cause we didn't bought the in-flight meals. Kinda pricey but I guess it's normal for every airport. 

Last but not least, do take note that wherever you buy airfare especially from AirAsia, try to check whether airport tax included. Country like Indonesia especially, airport tax is not included in the airfare. Therefore, do not simply use all the money and end up, couldn't flight back to own home country cause can't afford to pay the airport tax. The airport tax depart from Jakarta airport cost IDR150,000 per person (roughly around RM54). So, if you saw a very cheap airfare via AirAsia to Indonesia, don't be so happy first and check whether the airport tax is included or not. Be a smart consumer! Luckily I did a research earlier or else, my mom sure finish all the money by shopping.
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Foodie Friday: Jal Meokkesseumnida in South Korea

I was thinking since I did a food post for my Japan Trip (Itadakimasu in Japan), why don't I do the same thing for my South Korea trip too? Fyi, "Jal Meokkesseumnida" means "Bon Appetit" in Korean language but this is refer before having a meal whereas for after having a meal, the correct phrase is "jal meogeosseumnida".

Frankly speaking, I am not a big fan of Korean foods. I had Japanese cuisines more than Korean cuisines cause it's not my liking. Guess I had Korean cuisines less than 5 times, and one of it was a treat by Nath Singing Coconut. When I was about to go South Korea, I was indeed slightly that I might starve myself but when in one's country, we should at least try to attempt their food, right?

Now, let's enjoy the food I had when I went Seoul & Jeju Island of South Korea back in 2 years ago. Some were authentic Korean cuisines, some were not:

Myeongdong 12
#1: Seong Kee
Some sort of flat but long noodles cooked with soya sauce and filled with lots of chicken, veggies and huge potatoes. It tastes a bit spicy but we absolutely like this and we had two huge plates of this. Thanks to Kyung Hee (my Korean friend which we met during our Europe trip) for introduced this. I'm not sure the exact location of this shop but it's located in Myeongdong.

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Indonesia Day 4 - Back to Jakarta & Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua

Date of Visited: 23rd December 2011

Besides train, the other means of transportation you can choose from is by taking a shuttle transport service from Bandung to Jakarta. Previously when from Jakarta to Bandung, we took train (blogged about this before - HERE) but mommy felt uncomfortable with that. Luckily I did early research before and we decided to take shuttle service. Browse through quite number of blogs and also from Tripadvisor's forum (this is how I did my research in planning a trip), most of them recommended Cititrans

Cititrans Java Indonesia
Luckily for us, one of the pool of Cititrans in Bandung is tucked inside Ciwalk (Cihampelas Walk Shopping Mall), which is located just right beside our hotel - Sensa Hotel Bandung. My mommy and I would also like to thanks to our local tour guide cum driver for his effort of helping find us to find those pools of Cititrans. Once we found the pool, immediately we booked our preferred time at 11.00 am (Indonesia time) that cost IDR60,000 per pax, which similar to the cost of the train too.

The journey from Bandung to Jakarta was smooth and safe all the way but not until upon reach in Jakarta city. The traffic was terrible and massive jam everywhere. It was supposed to be 3 hours ride but turns out to be 5 hours ride. The worst case was we couldn't found out hotel. The driver supposed to stop somewhere in Mangga Dua but we did requested him to drive to our hotel which we booked earlier. The driver could only do so cause there were only 3 passengers; mommy and I and another lonely guy passenger. In returns, he did requested for extra charge of IDR70,000 (roughly around RM25) but turns out to be a disaster. I guess was not his problem afterall as he did his best to ask the local but looks like the location of the hotel was so complicated and confusing. Another disaster was on my mom side where her nature was keep calling her (if you get what I means). Therefore, my last resort to book another new hotel for just 1 night instead of keep searching our hotel for almost 2 hours. Really a disaster in Jakarta city!  

Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua 06
I spotted this Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua Hotel and requested the driver to stopby here to query regarding the availability of the room and the room rate. Luckily for us there are rooms available but for sure, we were out of budget.

One of My Travel Tips:
Please make sure bring along your credit card cause we don't know when we need to use it, especially when comes to unforeseeable circumstances.

Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua 01
Last minute booking and we managed to secure a standard twin room.

Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua 02
The bathroom with sufficient of amenities
Although it looks old, but it was quite clean.

Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua 03
A perfect choice for those who want to shop in Mangga Dua as it located not too far away, less than 5 minutes of walking

Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua 04
View from our room

Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua 05
Another side of the view

For just a night, I could say that I am pretty satisfy with all the comfort and cleanliness especially. Plus, free WiFi connection makes this hotel another plus point.  
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Superheroes Everywhere in Cihampelas Street

If you are hunting for factory outlets in Bandung, there are four main areas which are highly recommended; Jalan Setiabudi, Jalan Riau, Jalan Dago and Cihampelas Street. For this post, I am gonna give more clearer picture of Cihampelas Street. During my 2 days stay in Bandung, my hotel is located right in between Cihampelas Street hence mommy and I were shopping at there like almost everyday.

This street is also well-known as jeans street. There are tons of factory outlets here that are selling various kind of jeans or denim clothes in an affordable and cheap price. You can even request to alter the jeans for free. So if you are planning to go Bandung and looking for jeans, now you know where you should heading to.

But for me, it's not the jeans or denims that catch my attention. Cihampelas Street is totally different from other streets in Bandung especially in terms of their huge and attractive signboards where you can see many superheroes huge statues which are amazingly standing on the top of the buildings such as Superman, Spiderman and more.Therefore, I personally called this street as "Superheroes Street".

Cihampelas Street 01
Can you name of them? Ultraman, Dragonball, Flash, Conan, Terminator & Wolverine

Cihampelas Street 02
The Man of Steel - Superman

Bandung Trip 2011 02

Cihampelas Street 03
Aladdin & Cat Woman

Cihampelas Street 04

Cihampelas Street 05
Iron Man

Cihampelas Street 06

Cihampelas Street 07
You can't find any branded stuff selling here but most of the goods are indeed dirt cheap.

Day 2 - Bandung 04
You can even get a good bargain for the batik clothes.

If you are interested to stay in this area, there are various of hotels which you can choose from; ranging from cheap to luxury hotels such Aston Tropicana and Favehotel Premier Cihampelas. One of the hotel that my mom and I stayed before - Sensa Hotel Bandung is the most sensational hotel I ever stayed.
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