First Visit to Melaka: Always Look for the Food

Last March, I and RM once again traveled around Southeast Asia for about one month. Well, not exactly the whole Southeast Asia as we actually went to only three countries (Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand) mainly for work, because we wanted to produce some artworks at two printmaking studios, one in Singapore and one in Bangkok. So, we thought why not making it a holiday trip as well since we were also planning to watch John Mayer’s concert in Bangkok anyway!

There were six cities that we visited: Singapore (of course, our first landing), Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Hua Hin, Phetchaburi, and Bangkok. Of all six, I’ve never been to Melaka, Hua Hin, and Phetchaburi so it was exciting! For this post, I’d like to focus on Melaka as I was quite amazed with this city and would love to go back to find out the other side of it.

How to get there from Singapore

I and RM are a fan of slow travel, which means we tend to choose slower form of transport rather than simply flying. We don’t want to just visit every hotspot that people talk about but missing the experience of reaching the place just for the sake of arriving there as fast as we can. For that reason, we started the journey from Singapore.

Unlikely my previous Southeast Asia trip in 2016 in which I didn’t choose and buy all the transportation tickets to move from one city to another until one or two days before, this time I had booked almost all the tickets in advance, except for some tickets in Thailand because they didn’t provide online booking. We did this because we had one fixed schedule, which was John Mayer’s concert on April 3rd in Bangkok, so we didn’t want to ruin that for sure.

I arrived in Singapore on March 21 and went to Melaka on March 24 by bus. I traveled using Starmart Express bus (bought via departed from Golden Mile Complex at 10.30 AM. It was 30 minutes late as the bus was supposed to depart on 10.00 AM. Nevertheless, Starmart Express was nice and spacious. Recommended!

The bus crossed the border from Singapore to Malaysia by the Second Link Expressway, Tuas Checkpoint. It was my first time crossing this checkpoint and the place was soooo empty! There were only a few people and most of them came from the bus I was using. Later I found out that it was an alternative route as the usual Woodlands checkpoint was always super packed.

The whole journey took around 4 hours so I arrived in Melaka Sentral at 2.30 PM. Since I wasn’t sure about the public transportation in Melaka, I decided to order GrabCar to my hotel that was located near Jonker Street, the main tourist attraction.

Food is where the heart is

I think most people will agree when I say that the easiest way to experience a culture is through its food, therefore I and RM really immersed ourselves in by trying a lot of food offered here. A lot, really.

RM watches so many YouTube videos every day and he follows some travel vloggers. One of them is Mark Wiens, a Bangkok-based travel writer, journalist, and street food connoisseur. The reason why I ended up visiting Melaka was because of, among others, Mark Wiens’ videos trying some food in this city. I admit that the way he explains all the food he’s tried looks very convincing, appealing, and details, it makes me drool.

So there I was, in Melaka, staying within-walking-distance-but-not-really close-to-hear-the-hustle-and-bustle of the most populated and crowded area that never sleeps: Jonker Street. I stayed for three days and two nights and managed to check so many food on the must-try list around Jonker Street. Some were awesome, some were so-so, but all in all it was a great experience.

Want to try? Here’s the list!

Jonker Street Night Market

Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opens from 6 pm till very, very late

If you don’t stay long enough to wander around Melaka, look no further than Jonker Street. The street is rather empty and wide in the morning and afternoon. People just wander around to eat at a restaurant or cafe, or to enjoy the beautiful old buildings. But when the dusk comes, the street turns into a super crowded and incredible night market, offering a wide array of local and international cuisine and a lot of interesting knick-knacks!

Taste Better’s durian puff

The most memorable food I ate here was Taste Better’s durian puff. The pastry is so soft and the chilly durian filling is scrumptious, not smelly at all. The combination of those two will melt in your mouth when you bite. Very delicious one is never enough. I also tried coconut shake, which is basically vanilla ice cream + coconut water, lychee yogurt ice cream, and popiah (believe me, lumpia Semarang tastes waaaaay better).

Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball

18, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opens at 9 am (I don’t know until when)

I and RM went to this place because of Mark Wiens and apparently Chung Wah was one of the most visited restaurants in the area. It was around 11 am in the morning and some people were already queueing for lunch. Since there were only I and RM, the waiter put us with two more people because the place was full. There were only two menus here: chicken rice ball and steamed chicken. Please note that you can only order half or whole chicken with five rice balls; hence sharing is caring.

To me, it tasted okay. The chicken rice ball was quite savoury but the texture was too soft for me. The steamed chicken was a bit bland compared to some other similar food I’ve tried in Jakarta. Mind you, I think Jakarta’s non-halal Chinese food is among the tastiest.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball

468, Jalan Hang Jebat, 72500 Melaka, Malaysia
Opens at 9 am

I and RM tried this place because we wanted to compare the taste and texture. Basically, Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball is the same as Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball but less crowded (no queue!) and has better interior (perhaps newer). I ordered the same food, which was chicken rice balls and steamed chicken. The result? The rice ball texture was better but less tasty (for me) while the steamed chicken was more tasty. That’s all.

Sri Kaveri Catering

115, Lorong Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opens from 7 am till 10 pm

Still located around Jonker Street area, it was the only Indian restaurant I tried in Melaka. I’ve tasted better Indian food in Kuala Lumpur, but this one is also pretty good! Not a vegetarian restaurant, so beware of that.

Since I arrived there in the morning and was so hungry, I couldn’t objectively judge the food! BUT, their veggie mutton was very tasty it beat their real mutton. Seriously. I also tried two pieces of laddo, which apparently means sweet (or dessert?). The restaurant had various kinds of laddo but it seemed the owner didn’t speak English really well so I couldn’t find out the ingredients of each of it. He just kept saying, “Sweet, sweet!” while waving his hand.

Round-shape laddo. It tastes like nuts and palm sugar. Delicious, tho!
This laddo looks like a bar soap. It tastes like dense-and-not-rising-enough bread dough and has texture like chocolate fudge.

Nyonya Dumpling at East & West Rendezvous

52, Lorong Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opens from 9.30 am

I didn’t know earlier that Nyonya Dumpling was actually bachang. But what makes it a wee bit more special is this sticky rice dumpling with pork (and mushroom, I think?) filling has a touch of lovely blue colour. I kinda like it, although it was not more than that because I already had my favourite one in mind.

I haven’t mentioned all of the food I’ve tried in Melaka because I wanted to focus on Jonker Street first. It is the most touristy place and must visit area for every first timer. Three-day-and-two-night stay was never enough and I am sure I have yet to see the real face of this city. Hope to post another story of Melaka!


A Trip to Cirebon Part 2: The Unforgotten Part of the Not So Memorable City

I’ve mentioned in my previous post that three days in Cirebon were enough if you want to explore the city as a tourist. Cirebon still needs a lot of improvement, although it is now easier to go to this port city (thanks to Cipali toll road and the existing train route). Cirebon may not leave a memorable impression as a city, but I’ve had one most memorable moment there.

Before we get into that part, I’d like to recommend some tourism spots that are worth your time.

Sunyaragi Cave

Sunyaragi Cave

Sunyaragi comes from the Sanskrit words “sunya“, which means “silence”, and “ragi“, which means “body”, hence this cave used to be used by Cirebon’s royal family for meditating. Based on what I’ve read, Sunyaragi Cave was built by the great-grandchild of Sunan Gunung Jati, namely Prince Kararangen. Its structure look similar to coral reef and it consists of a lot of caves that serve various purposes, including for the servants to guard and provide supply while the royal families were there (the caves are so small, I can’t imagine how they did that). The architecture is very beautiful and this cave is my favourite part of Cirebon.

Sunyaragi Cave

Sunyaragi Cave

Sunyaragi Cave

Sunyaragi Cave is open from 8.00 AM to 5.30 PM and the entrance fee is IDR 10,000/person. You may want to hire a local guide for IDR 50,000 to hear the history of this place. Just be aware that Cirebon is a port city, hence the weather is extremely hot at noon.

Address:  Jalan By Pass Brigjen Dharsono, Sunyaragi, Kesambi, Kota Cirebon.

Keraton Kasepuhan

Keraton Kasepuhan

There are two most-visited royal palaces in Cirebon: Keraton Kasepuhan and Keraton Kanoman. However, I’ve read somewhere that it is best to just go to Keraton Kasepuhan because it is bigger and more beautiful, and the latter is rather untreated. I went to Keraton Kasepuhan using public transportation (angkot) and becak. Don’t expect the angkot to stop at an angkot stop (as if there’s any!). They will stop anywhere you want and you have to ask for their route first otherwise you may get lost.

Keraton Kasepuhan is one of the biggest and the oldest palaces in Cirebon. The architecture is so beautiful, a fusion of Islamic, Chinese, Javanese, European, and Hindu architectural styles, even though this palace was once the oldest Islamic ancient kingdom in Indonesia. What fascinate me were the details of the doors and the gates, and the thick brick wall that was decorated with gorgeous Chinese-style plates.

How can you not love the details?

Lovely, lovely gate

There are some museums inside this palace, including Pusaka Keraton Kasepuhan, Benda Kuno, and Kereta. Too bad, Pusaka Keraton Kasepuhan Museum was not yet available during my visit, while Benda Kuno and Kereta Museums were under construction at that time.

One of the gorgeous doors

This kind of plate is everywhere around Keraton Kasepuhan

Keraton Kasepuhan is open from 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM and the entrance fee is IDR 10,000/person.

Address: Jalan Kasepuhan No.43, Kesepuhan, Lemahwungkuk, Kesepuhan, Lemahwungkuk.

Kanoman Market

On our way to Kanoman Market

I love exploring traditional markets when I arrive at a new city. They are like a melting pot where you can see people from many backgrounds gather together to find the best food the city has to offer. Kanoman Market is no different. I found a lot of fresh seafood and many other ingredients at the market. Not only that, there are some stalls that sell gourmet gift and even pork meat. Thanks, acculturation! I’ve also heard that recently a paint company decided to paint the market colourful, making it more attractive to visitors. You can read the news here.

Interested in exploring Cirebon backpacking style? Here are some tips:

  • Conventional taxi is available, but most of them don’t use meter, so don’t forget to settle the fare in the first place!
  • Online taxi apps, Gojek and Grab, are available in Cirebon.
  • Don’t rent a car, it’s freaking expensive (around IDR 400,000 for Avanza/Xenia for 1 day, city only – with driver).
  • Cirebon is very small, if you don’t mind sweating, you may want to try local angkot. It’s only around IDR4,500 for one trip no matter how far.
  • You may want to use becak if you go somewhere near the traditional market, because the traffic is so bad. Remember to settle the fare first.

Unexpected, Unforgotten

One day before I and RM had to go back to Jakarta, we really had no clue of what to do.

  • All must-visit-tourism-places-for-the-first-timer: checked.
  • Coffee shops: checked.
  • Food: checked.
  • Mall: nah.

Luckily, at one moment, RM found out from his friends that there were some crystal clear lakes in Kuningan. It wasn’t not too far from the main city but we had to go by car to reach it.

Our initial plan was to rent a car, but after contacting several car rental in Cirebon, we thought the price was way to expensive. So, out of nowhere, RM stopped an angkot right after we had lunch and he asked the driver whether he was available for half-day charter to the lakes. Surprisingly, the driver, Pak Badawi, said yes and asked us to hop on. So we did! It was quite crazy, the whole angkot for ourselves. Yes, it was pretty hot inside because we started in the afternoon and, of course, there was no air conditioner. But, we could play music as loud as possible (we brought portable speaker, thank goodness). The driver was also very nice, he was so proud of his city and told us many great stories about Cirebon (which I couldn’t hear because I sat on the back).

So, our destination was Nilem Lake and Remis Lake. A friend of RM had been there. We saw the photos on her Instagram and it looked promising with its crystal clear water and like-out-of-nowhere location somewhere in the jungle. But… it is no secret that Instagram photos can often be deceiving, right? When we finally arrived at Nilem Lake… what we thought as a lake in the middle of nowhere turned out to be another local attraction. The lake was surprisingly tiny and surrounded by small cottages. The jungle that we saw in the picture? Apparently that was just one side of the whole 360 degrees view.

Remis Lake

Remis Lake

Remis Lake

We didn’t spend too long at Nilem Lake because there was nothing much to do and Remis Lake was located not too far away from the first, so we headed on to the latter right away. To my surprise, I enjoyed Remis Lake much more than Nilem Lake. It was huge although the water was cloudy and people couldn’t swim there. BUT, the good thing was there were duck boats for rent. It costed us IDR 20,000 for 10-15 minutes rent, not bad.

Situ Cicereum

The last (and additional) “lake” we visited was Situ Cicereum, which apparently wasn’t really a lake but a reservoir. The good thing was the water was completely clear and cold, I could see fishes swimming around. The bad thing was, again, it was not really a lake and surrounded by small shops. Again, this experience is a good reminder that pictures can be deceiving.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson

Beautiful view on our way to Nilem Lake

Beautiful view on our way to Nilem Lake

I couldn’t say great things about the three lakes, but I’ve found an unforgotten memory during the trip. It was our first time charting an angkot for a trip and I couldn’t ask for a better option (it costed us IDR 250,000 only!). The view on the way to the lakes were gorgeous: paddy fields, mountains, greeneries, or, in other words, things someone who lives in a big city rarely see. Pak Badawi also gave meaningful insights about people of Cirebon:

“People in Cirebon are very tolerant of differences. You can see that the architecture of our buildings (including mosques and keraton) have, among others, Islamic and Chinese influences. We live side by side in harmony. Even in the traditional market (Pasar Kanoman) Chinese people are selling pork next to Muslim stalls,” he said.

The one that made our trip unforgettable!

He acted like our local tour guide and told stories we might never heard of if we were sitting comfortably in a private car.

Oh, Cirebon. You’re so lucky to have him!

In Between Traveling and Vacation

Setelah puasa melayangkan kaki dari Jakarta selama beberapa bulan (6 bulan tepatnya, dan dinas luar kota nggak dihitung ya!), akhirnya saya berkesempatan untuk pergi sejenak dari kota yang sangat padat ini menuju Pulau Bali. Berbeda dari kegiatan jalan-jalan sebelumnya, di mana biasanya saya pergi hanya bersama suami, atau seenggaknya bersama tambahan 1-2 orang teman saja, kali ini saya pergi bersembilan! Bisa dibayangkan kan betapa sulitnya menyatukan sembilan pemikiran untuk membuat satu keputusan?

Yang biasanya terlintas di benak saya saat akan pergi jalan-jalan (walaupun agenda utama kali ini adalah menghadiri pernikahan teman) adalah jarang berada di hotel alias seharian mengunjungi tempat-tempat baru, menjelajah sisi-sisi wilayah yang belum pernah saya injak, dan mendapatkan pengetahuan baru tentang masyarakat atau budaya setempat. Umumnya selalu seperti itu. Tapi, kali ini ternyata cukup berbeda.

2018-05-14 10-315154131..jpg
Villa Ava 2

2018-05-14 10835454151..jpg
Villa Ava 2

Kalau selama ini saya dan suami memilih untuk menginap di hotel dengan harga terjangkau dan menyimpan bujet lebih besar untuk segudang aktivitas lokal di sebuah tempat, kali ini kami, bersama-sama dengan tujuh teman lainnya, menginap di sebuah villa cukup mewah di daerah Umalas. Sebelum berangkat, premis utamanya memang sudah ditetapkan sebelumnya: ingin bersantai. Jadi, sebagian besar waktu kami dihabiskan di dalam villa untuk mengobrol, berenang, dan minum-minum santai menghabiskan waktu. Ada sesekali waktu kami pergi ke luar villa hanya untuk makan, pergi ke cafe atau bar, dan menikmati pantai. Pernah juga sekali waktu saya dan suami akhirnya menyempatkan diri untuk mampir ke Sunday Market di Samadi Bali di daerah Canggu untuk melihat-lihat ada keriaan apa di sana.

2018-05-17 10-1029657392..jpg
Penjual buah di Samadi Sunday Market

2018-05-17 10-2039051689..jpg
Tomato Tapenade ini enak banget guys!

2018-05-17 10-885041646..jpg
Kucing nyolong ikan. Duh!

Saya sudah hampir lupa dengan gaya berlibur semacam ini hingga suami saya yang awalnya sama canggungnya dengan saya mengatakan, “Mungkin ini yang dimaksud dengan perbedaan antara travelling dan vacation.” Entah siapa yang pertama kali mencetuskan perbedaannya (yang pasti bukan Rangga-nya Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 dong ya?), tapi saya setuju. Dari berbagai sumber yang saya baca, dan setelah mencoba berpikir dalam-dalam, meskipun traveling dan vacation sama-sama berarti mengambil “istirahat sejenak” dari rutinitas sehari-hari, yang bermakna dari traveling adalah perjalanan dan pengalaman berbeda yang nggak didapat di tempat kita berasal, sementara makna dari vacation adalah mengambil waktu santai jauh dari realitas hidup di mana kita bisa menenangkan pikiran dan melupakan sebentar keburu-buruan yang terjadi dalam keseharian.

2018-05-17 10-778372551..jpg
Rekomendasi dari teman di dunia kopi, lokasinya di dekat villa dan memang enak!

Nggak ada yang lebih baik dan lebih buruk dari traveling maupun vacation. Saat traveling, hati saya terasa penuh (dalam konteks positif) karena selalu mendapatkan pengalaman baru, entah itu dari hasil berinteraksi dengan masyarakat setempat, mencicipi makanan khas daerah itu, mempelajari budaya lokal di tempat tersebut, mencoba transportasi umum yang terdapat di sana, ataupun mengunjungi tempat wisata, tempat budaya, dan acara menarik yang ada. Kegiatan ini nggak selalu menawarkan kemewahan dan kemudahan, tapi justru itu menjadi tantangan yang menyenangkan. Ketika pulang, tentu saja ada rasa lelah akibat mendapatkan informasi yang sangat banyak, tapi bahagia karena mendapatkan pengetahuan baru. Saat vacation, saya merasa rileks dan tenang karena nggak diburu-buru untuk melakukan satu hal ataupun memperoleh sesuatu. Ketika pulang pun saya nggak merasa lelah, karena ketika vacation itulah saya sebenarnya sedang beristirahat dan mengambil waktu untuk memanjakan diri sendiri.

2018-05-14 102020267783..jpg
Pantai Batu Belig

2018-05-14 102053485564..jpg
Pantai Batu Belig

Karena sudah lama sekali nggak melakukannya, awalnya saya agak kurang sreg dengan liburan bergaya “vacation“. Saya sempat berpikir, untuk apa pergi jauh-jauh kalau hanya ingin bersantai dan nggak mendapatkan hal baru dari tempat tersebut? Tapi, ternyata saya tetap mendapatkan hal baru kok. Merilekskan diri di luar tempat yang sering kita kunjungi bisa membuat pikiran jadi lebih santai, walaupun sepertinya jangan lama-lama ya karena bisa membuat diri jadi semakin malas untuk kembali ke kenyataan hidup.

Jadi, yang berbeda dari traveling dan vacation adalah pengalaman apa yang akan diperoleh sesudahnya. Mau traveling atau vacation itu sebenarnya semua balik ke kebutuhan kita masing-masing. Mana yang lebih kamu perlukan saat ini?

PS: Sekadar info, padanan kata traveling dan vacation dalam Bahasa Indonesia adalah “wisata” dan “berlibur”, tapi sepertinya dalam sebagian besar penggunaannya kedua kata ini masih dipakai berbarengan tanpa ada perbedaan makna.

A Trip to Cirebon Part 1: Tasting Some of the City’s Most-Loved Foods

Cirebon railway station

I’ve heard people said that Cirebon was one of the must visit destinations in Java Island, especially if you were searching for great local dishes. This small port city is only three hours from Jakarta by train and located in the middle of Jakarta and Yogyakarta. I’ve been to Yogyakarta so many times yet I hadn’t had a chance to visit this city until I and my husband decided to go to Cirebon on our way home to Jakarta from Yogyakarta last June.

I went to Cirebon by train from Yogyakarta for about four and a half hours. I bought two executive seats via KAI Access application with the price around USD 18 each. I’ve read somewhere that so many taxi drivers would offer you a ride once you stepped out of the Cirebon station and that was true. They offered me a ride with a fixed and expensive cost (no meter!) even though the distance from the station to my hotel was actually quite close. So I walked out a little bit out of the Cirebon station, found Bhinneka Taxi, and used them because they charged us based on the meter.

I spent three days in Cirebon and, in my opinion, that was enough because this city still needs a lot of improvement if they want to keep tourists stay longer. The first thing my husband and I searched for when we arrived in Cirebon was no other than its local cuisine. Here’s the summary of our culinary trip:

Food was great, but not that great. I was more exciting to find new local dishes in Yogyakarta rather than in Cirebon. As a first timer, of course I tried some dishes that have been recommended by my friends and most blogs/media.

Nasi Jamblang Ibu Nur

The stingray was delish!

Most blogs I read suggested their readers to try this place, so I tried. Nasi jamblang is actually white rice served on a teakwood leaf that you can combine with various side dishes. It is like a all-you-can-eat buffet, but in here is you-pay-what-you-eat buffet. The restaurant is very big and you have plenty of dishes to choose. I ate stingray fish, sautéed soybean, fritter, and sambal while my husband ate stingray fish, sautéed small squid, and fritter. Frankly speaking, the stingray fish was delicious but the rest was just okay. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t really like it because most of the dishes were spicy (he was sweating a lot!).

Address: Jl. Cangkring 2 No.34, Kejaksan

Nasi Jamblang Mang Dul

Another nasi jamblang

Since nasi jamblang is one of Cirebon’s specialties, I didn’t want to try just one place. As far as I know, Nasi Jamblang Mang Dul is known to be the second famous nasi jamblang in Cirebon, so I went to this place too! The place was smaller compared to Nasi Jamblang Ibu Nur, but to me it felt more local (not too touristy). The price was half cheaper than that of Nasi Jamblang Ibu Nur, unfortunately the side dishes were just so-so.

Address: Jl. DR. Cipto Mangunkusumo No.8, Pekiringan, Kesambi

Empal Gentong & Empal Asem H Apud

The highlight of my culinary trip

Empal gentong is one of Cirebon’s typical foods and I very recommend you to try this one. This dish is a coconut milk meat soup boiled in a huge pot we called gentong. I tried one of the most famous empal gentong restaurants in Cirebon named Empal Gentong & Empal Asem H Apud. Just like its name, I ordered empal gentong and empal asem (sour empal). The meat chunks were so soft like it melted in my mouth. The soups were very tasty and rich in flavor. I could eat a lot in here!

Address: Jl. Raya Ir. H. Djuanda No. 24, Battembat, Tengah Tani, Battembat, Tengah Tani

Panggang Babi Apun

Yummy durian, happy face!

Honestly, I couldn’t find other restaurants in Cirebon that served pork than Panggang Babi Apun. The restaurant was located just outside of Kanoman traditional market. I visited Panggang Babi Apun on the first day I arrived in Cirebon and the food was already sold out (it was around 3 or 4 pm). Luckily, there was a roadside durian stall right in front of Panggang Babi Apun to ease our disappointment. It was actually my husband’s idea since I’m not really fond of this fruit but apparently I quite liked it because the fruit chosen by the seller was quite sweet and very creamy.

The one and only pork dish in town

And wait, I didn’t give up just yet. On the next day I visited Panggang Babi Apun (at around 12.30 pm) and they were still open, yeay! I ordered their roasted pork and crispy skin pork with rice. It tasted delicious and the sauce was quite different than the ones I’ve tried in Jakarta. The owner also mentioned that she delivered the roasted pork to Jakarta and Bandung regularly. Wow, I wonder where…

Address: Jalan Kanoman No. 1, Kanoman, Pekalipan

Petik Merah Coffee Roaster

I never forget to try local coffee shops whenever I visited a place. It is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening after hopping tirelessly from one tourism spot to another. I went to Petik Merah Coffee Roaster and had a short chitchat with one of the baristas there. The coffee was good and the place was quite nice. It was quite difficult to find at the beginning because the place was located inside a cafe named Adipati. However, the barista told me that they were planning to move somewhere not too far in a few months.

Address: Jl. Wahidin No.81, Sukapura, Kejaksan

Baraja Coffee

I found this 24-hour coffee shop after chitchat with the Petik Merah’s barista. He said this coffee shop was one of the pioneers in Cirebon and very popular amongst young people. I was there at around 10 pm (I went there after paying a visit to Petik Merah Coffee Roaster because the location was near) and the space was still quite pack. My husband ordered black coffee with coffee beans from Garut and the barista made the coffee using V60 on our table. It was quite interesting to watch while waiting for him to brew the coffee.

Address: Jl. Tentara Pelajar No.107, Pekiringan, Kejaksan

There were actually two more coffee shops that I wanted to try but too bad they were closed during my visit to Cirebon. Just in case you’re interested, here they are:

  • Coffeelieur (located next to Cirebon railway station)
  • Blind Bottle Coffee Store (Ruko Harjamulia Indah Lt.2 Blok AU 6, Jalan Brigjen Haji Darsono, Tuk, Kedawung, Tuk, Kedawung)

Price wise most foods in Cirebon were quite affordable so you won’t spend so much. However, the variation was less compared to dishes you’ll find in Bali or even Yogyakarta. If you happen to be in Cirebon, just don’t forget to try its empal gentong. I’d like to taste this dish in any other restaurants in Cirebon, just to compare.

Oh, someday!

My Last Trip to Mount Bromo in 2016

I still can remember vividly the astonishing view of Mount Bromo during my first visit back in 2009: the beautiful sunrise and that apocalyptic feeling when you saw the sun appeared on the top of the mountain. It was crowded, obviously, because I was there on high season. After enjoying the sunrise, people walked towards the mountain to climb the 450 steep stairs that lead to the crater and stayed there for awhile to be once again mesmerised by the view.

It was beyond beautiful, and I thought I could take a trip down memory lane once more in 2016 (It’s 2017 now, I know. How late!)

I visited Mount Bromo for the second time during my road trip from Bali to Jakarta earlier last September. It was a sudden plan and neither I nor my husband brought a coat to cope with the cold temperature. But we went anyway.

Relying on Google Map, we arrived at the entrance of the Mount Bromo National Park. A man asked us to park the car at the given parking space and continued the journey using a jeep provided by them (not for free, of course). It was low season, so I saw only a few tourists, both locals and foreigners. I paid IDR450,000 for a jeep and a drive to take us to three places (Whispering Sands, Savannah, and Mount Bromo). I didn’t know if the price was okay or too expensive, but we didn’t have a choice anyway. We weren’t prepared to take a walk to Mount Bromo.

The Whispering Sands, my favourite spot!

In the middle of the Whispering Sands

I could stay here for hours

The Whispering Sands of Bromo was amazing. It was a huge sea of sand and extremely quiet. Being a city girl, I couldn’t remember the last time I stood up in the middle of nowhere and my ears heard absolutely nothing. I thought maybe this was how it felt to be Matt Damon in The Martian. Alone in a huge desert. I could sit there for a few hours just to embrace the silence.

My next journey was Savannah. I came on the dry season, so it wasn’t as green as it usually does during the peak season. Still, the place was great to take photos!

Pardon my face, it was a little bit raining.

It was dry season so the scenery was not as flowery as usual, the guide said

We were allowed to climb the hill if we wanted to

After the Whispering Sands and Savannah, my last journey was to climb the Mount Bromo itself. I thought it was going to be more or less the same as the Mount Bromo that I visited years ago but I was wrong. The eruptions changed its look. To reach the top of the mountain, I had to walk through the sea of sand (not the Whispering Sands), bypassed the Hindu temple, and climbed up a set of stairs to reach the crater.

In front of the gate to the Mount Bromo

The Hindu Temple on the way to Mount Bromo

Near the climbing route


Here it is, the chilling stairs

The crater. My hubby took this photo while he was sitting too

There I was, at the top of Mount Bromo and all I could do was sit

The scenery was more or less the same as my previous experience until I had to climb the stairs. The stairs were chilling, ladies and gentlemen. And on top of it, I didn’t dare to stand up when I reached the crater opening because the ground was too rough and I was too afraid to fall to the crater. Yep, I have a fear of heights if I don’t use any safety tools. The stairs’ structure used to be neat, and the area around the crater opening used to be flat and clean.

I remembered my dad once said that back when he was a child (flashback to around 50 years ago), he was always mesmerised by the magical view of Mount Bromo. It used to had a pure-white sea of sand and was surrounded by stone walls that soared up above the sky. Imagine the Rocky Mountain but waaaay more beautiful.

The eruption gradually changed Mount Bromo since then, but I still think that it never loses its charm.

First Road Trip Ever: Jakarta – Bali

Earlier this September I and my husband decided to go on a road trip from our home in Jakarta to Bali because we were going to hold two events in the Island of Gods. It meant we had to stay quite long (about 3 weeks) and bring a lot of things. It turned out that one single car saved us a lot of money but costed us quite an energy. But it definitely was worth the journey.


I took the northern route (Pantura) from Jakarta to Bali and the southern route from Bali to Jakarta. I fully relied on Google Maps to guide us through from city to city until I finally arrived in Bali. These were the cities I passed (and visited some of them) during the journey:

Jakarta – Bali

Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 11.58.26 AM.png

Jakarta (enter the Jakarta inner ring road) – Bekasi – Cikampek – Tol Cikopo-Palimanan (known as Cipali) – Tol Kanci-Pejagan – Tol Pejagan-Pemalang – (exit the toll road) Tegal – Pemalang – Pekalongan – Batang – Kendal – Semarang – Demak – Kudus – Pati – Rembang – Lasem – Tuban – Badad – Lamongan – Gresik – Surabaya – Sidoarjo – Bangil – Pasuruan – Probolinggo – Situbondo – Ketapang Port – Gilimanuk Port – Bali

On the way to Bali, some unexpected things happened and delayed the journey. I departed from Jakarta on August 30 at 12.30 pm and planned to stay for a night in Semarang (hotel – booked!). However, when I arrived in Batang area the traffic was so bad due to a fallen tree on the road and it was already around 10 pm so I had to stay for a night at a sketchy hotel around there.

Cipali toll road

I then continued the journey at around 7-8 am in the next morning to Surabaya and stayed in the city for a night as planned. My journey from Surabaya to Ketapang port was quite a challenge too. There was a celebration of the Independence Day of Indonesia in Probolinggo and Situbondo where people marched on the main streets while singing, dancing, and wearing costumes (seriously, I thought it was Jember Fashion Show since what they wore were similar) and it caused a very bad traffic jam because no police officers managed the traffic. I expected to arrive in Ketapang Port at around 4 pm but the reality was I arrived at 7 pm.

A view in Tuban

However, in Situbondo I passed through the access road of Baluran National Park and the view was so amazing! Trees were everywhere on the left and right sides of the road and soft warm rays of sunshine beaming through them while monkeys were sitting and walking everywhere. Simply mesmerising.
Back to the Ketapang Port, the trip from Ketapang Port to Gilimanuk Port was around 45 minutes and I didn’t know that it took about 4-5 hours from Gilimanuk Port to the city (Denpasar). The road from Gilimanuk to the city was total dark at night and there were too many trucks (and hubby was very exhausted as well) so I had to call it a night and stay at the nearest hotel I found (after maybe 2 hours of driving). Luckily, the hotel was okay this time. The next morning, it took around 2 hours of driving to get into the city.

Bali – Jakarta

Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 12.01.18 PM.png

Bali – Gilimanuk Port – Ketapang Port – Banyuwangi – Genteng – Jember – Probolinggo – Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park – Pasuruan – Purworedjo – Lawang – Malang – Batu – Malang – Blitar – Tulungagung – Trenggalek – Ponorogo – Wonogiri – Klaten – Yogyakarta – Wates – Kebumen – Kebasen – Banjar – Ciamis – Tjiawi – Nagreg – Cicalengka – Tol Padaleunyi – Bandung – Tol Cipularang – Bekasi – Jakarta

Entering the Gilimanuk Port

I checked out from the hotel at 12 pm and went straight to Gilimanuk port. Apparently the view on the way to Gilimanuk was breathtaking in the afternoon. I don’t know why but Bali is filled with beautiful trees along the road. Approaching Gilimanuk Port, you will find scenic sea views on the left side.

Somewhere around Banyuwangi

When I arrived in Ketapang Port, I went further south to Banyuwangi and stayed there for a night. I actually was quite curious about Banyuwangi because people said its beaches were worth the visit. However, the beaches were quite far from the main road and I couldn’t stay for long in this city because I had a plan in Malang. So I continued the journey to Malang via Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and headed to Malang and Batu for a few days and ended the trip as the written route above.

How was it?

  • Both the northern and southern routes have positive and negative sides. The northern route is more developed in terms of the road since there are a lot of big factories there. The road is huge and great but you have to race with trucks and buses along the way. It takes a lot of confidence to be able to cut off huge trucks and buses. The views are okay, either you see houses, factories, paddy fields, or sea. Meanwhile, the southern route is more laid-back. The road is narrower and sometimes a little bit rocky compared to the northern route but less trucks and buses. The views are more beautiful because you will pass through mountains, reservoirs, forests, paddy fields, and cities.
  • If you are not in a hurry, going for a road trip is worth the try. You can visit a lot of places on the way to your destination. Spare some times to explore each interesting city bit by bit.
  • Driving on your own means less communication with local people. I found myself knowing much better about the local culture when I travel using public transportation because I can interact with them anytime I want.


Aside from preparing your car and money for a long trip (of course that should be the number one on your to-do-list), these are things that you need to prepare based on my experience:

  • Playlist. I downloaded hundreds of songs from Spotify to accompany the journey. But it also was interesting enough to hear local radio stations when I entered the cities.
  • Fully charged power bank or USB charging station. You’re gonna need it to keep your GPS (read: smartphone) on.
  • Drinks to keep you dehydrated all the time. There are a lot of mini markets on the road.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Vitamin and medicine. A tiring long trip makes us more vulnerable to cold and fever.
  • Always have breakfast before you start the journey. Big or small, doesn’t matter.
  • Be amazed with your surroundings, because there are so many beautiful things to see and find out.
  • Try the local food and visit some cultural places whenever you have time. Make an effort to google some interesting places along the way.

Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by Train or Bus

Sebagai anak perempuan yang mempunyai bapak berbintang Virgo, dari kecil saya sudah dibiasakan untuk selalu tepat waktu di segala kesempatan (meskipun istilah fashionably late tetap berlaku untuk saat-saat tertentu, karena saya bukan Virgo). Makanya, saya cukup kaget waktu telat ketinggalan kereta saat mau beralih dari Singapura menuju Kuala Lumpur. Pertama kali dalam hidup.

Jadi, gimana caranya untuk pergi dari Singapura ke Kuala Lumpur menggunakan kereta? Pertama-tama yang harus diketahui, rute keberangkatan dari Singapura ke Kuala lumpur adalah sebagai berikut:

Woodlands Train Checkpoint (Singapura) – JB Sentral (Malaysia) – Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

Woodlands Train Checkpoint (Singapura) – JB Sentral (Malaysia)

Ada dua cara untuk menuju JB Sentral dari Woodlands Train Checkpoint:

  1. Shuttle Tebrau: kereta transit baru yang hanya butuh waktu 5 menit perjalanan saja
  2. Shuttle Bus: butuh waktu sekitar 15-20 menit

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.18.54 PM.png
KTMB online ticket website

Karena tanggal keberangkatan menuju Kuala Lumpur sudah pasti, saya membeli tiket Shuttle Tebrau di situs resmi Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) yang ada di sini. KTMB ini milik Malaysia, dan beroperasi mulai dari Woodlands Train Checkpoint ke seluruh wilayah di Malaysia. Tinggal daftar, lalu cari jadwal keberangkatan dan bayar tiket menggunakan kartu kredit. Waktu itu saya beli dengan harga MYR16/orang + biaya kartu kredit MYR4 per transaksi.

Dari Singapura sebenarnya ada beberapa stasiun MRT yang bisa dilalui kalau mau pergi ke Woodlands Train Checkpoint, tapi waktu itu saya memilih stasiun MRT Woodlands. Jadi, dari tempat menginap di wilayah downtown saya berangkat menuju Stasiun MRT Woodlands. Sampai di stasiun MRT Woodlands, saya turun satu lantai menuju terminal bus untuk pergi ke Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

Ada cukup banyak bus yang bisa dipilih untuk ke Woodlands Train Checkpoint: 911, 912, 913, 856, 903. Saya lupa tarifnya berapa karena menggunakan kartu Transitlink. Oh iya, jangan lupa perjalanannya cukup memakan waktu. Saya hitung kurang lebih sekitar 15 menit karena bus berhenti di beberapa bus stop.

Sesampainya di Woodlands Train Checkpoint, saya naik ke lantai dua menuju pintu masuk ke Shuttle Tebrau. Tapiiiiiiii, karena telat (akibat nggak memperhitungkan perjalanan naik bus ke Woodlands Train Checkpoint yang cukup lama), akhirnya saya ketinggalan kereta. Untuk mengejar kereta dari JB Sentral ke Kuala Lumpur yang hanya berselang 40 menit dari sejak Shuttle Tebrau berangkat, akhirnya saya naik shuttle bus.

Untuk menuju shuttle bus, masuk ke dalam gedung Woodlands Train Checkpoint lalu naik ke lantai dua. Pertama-tama kita akan diarahkan ke pintu menuju Shuttle Tebrau. Di depan pintu menuju Shuttle Tebrau ada lorong ke kanan, ambil jalan tersebut ikuti saja nanti akan langsung diarahkan menuju shuttle bus. Harga busnya saya lupa karena (lagi-lagi) memakai kartu Transitlink.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 6.34.44 PM.png
Shuttle bus menuju JB Sentral

JB Sentral (Malaysia) – Larkin (Malaysia)

Usaha untuk mengejar kereta menuju Kuala Lumpur ternyata gagal karena saya telat 5 menit untuk sampai di pintu masuk menuju kereta! By the way, sebelumnya saya juga sudah memesan tiket kereta dari JB Sentral ke Kuala Lumpur terlebih dahulu di situs KTMB yang saya sebutkan di atas. Kalau lancar naik kereta, dari JB Sentral kita akan langsung diarahkan menuju KL Sentral.

Karena malas harus menunggu sekitar 8 jam untuk kereta selanjutnya, akhirnya saya memutuskan untuk naik bus dari JB Sentral. Ternyata, nggak ada bus yang berangkat langsung dari JB Sentral menuju Kuala Lumpur. Jadi, saya harus naik bus lagi dulu dari JB Sentral menuju Larkin. Caranya bisa tanya-tanya petugas di sana, mereka memberikan informasi yang cukup jelas. Biaya untuk naik busnya MYR1,7/orang. Perjalanan dari JB Sentral menuju Larkin tidak terlalu lama, kalau nggak salah sekitar 15-20 menit juga.

Larkin (Malaysia) – Terminal Bersepadu Selatan Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 6.35.27 PM.png
Bersiap naik bus di Larkin

Begitu turun bus di Larkin, saya disambut oleh orang-orang yang menawarkan jasa bus. Karena nggak tahu sebaiknya naik bus yang mana, saya memercayakannya kepada salah satu orang di sana dan mendapatkan harga tiket bus MYR40/orang. Durasi perjalanan dari Larkin menuju Kuala Lumpur sekitar 4 jam.

Bus dari Larkin menuju Kuala Lumpur nggak berhenti di KL Sentral seperti halnya kereta, melainkan di Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, yang lokasinya agak ke selatan Kuala Lumpur. Tapi sebenarnya sama saja kok, tinggal lihat map kereta Kuala Lumpur dari terminal mau pergi ke daerah mana.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 6.36.14 PM.png
Terminal Bersepadu Selatan di Kuala Lumpur

Walaupun agak penuh drama akibat ketinggalan kereta, saya dan suami bisa tiba sesuai jadwal di Kuala Lumpur. Yeay!

Lesson Learned: Some Things We Take for Granted

Berkali-kali ke Singapura, saya selalu menyimpan kekaguman pada negara ini. Negara mungil ini sadar kalau pada dasarnya mereka “miskin”, makanya mereka mencoba untuk memperkaya diri agar terlihat menarik di mata orang luar. And they are good at it, I mean, at attracting people to come and visit their country.

Okelah, mereka nggak sempurna. Sudah bukan rahasia lagi kalau negara mereka memang memberlakukan hukum yang cukup membuat semua penduduknya harus menuruti peraturan. Bikin nggak enak sedikit, kena denda. Melanggar aturan sedikit, ada hukuman. Mata-mata di mana-mana, dan mungkin warganya juga sudah terprogram untuk mengikuti apa yang pemerintah arahkan.

Because we only have the people,” ujar salah seorang warga Singapura yang kebetulan waktu itu saya ajak ngobrol bareng. Topik obrolannya bukan tentang politik, sebenarnya, tapi entah gimana jadi sedikit nyerempet ke situ. Dan waktu sedikit saja ngomongin tentang negara, spontan volume suara langsung mengecil.

Sepertinya Singapura sadar kalau mereka nggak punya sumber daya lainnya selain manusia. Jadi, satu-satunya cara untuk membuat negara ini maju adalah dengan meredam emosi-emosi yang bisa muncul akibat ras, suku, agama, dan lainnya melalui peraturan super ketat. Meskipun, tentu saja, ketegangan antar suku bukan sama sekali bisa menghilang begitu saja. Sebagai gantinya, warga mendapatkan kenyamanan dari berbagai sisi. Mereka yang kurang mampu diberikan bantuan dana agar bisa hidup cukup layak. Sementara itu, pemerintah sering banget memberikan kucuran dana untuk perseorangan maupun kelompok, selama apa yang mereka buat nggak menyinggung SARA, mengusung sejarah lokal, dan seksi di mata wisatawan. Kedengaran cukup kulit, ya? Iya sih. Tapi sepertinya itu memang trik mereka untuk mendatangkan orang banyak dan menyenangkan turis.

Di bidang seni, misalnya. Walaupun rasanya nggak banyak seniman Singapura yang namanya mendunia, mereka bisa mengadakan art fair kelas dunia, seperti Art Stage Singapore (yang ternyata kuratornya ada yang berasal dari Jogja) dan Singapore Contemporary Art Fair bulan Januari lalu. Di bulan April dan September ini mereka bahkan akan mengadakan Affordable Art Fair karena konon penjualannya laris manis.

Karya Yayoi Kusama di Art Stage Singapore

Karya Ee Shaun di Singapore Contemporary Art Fair

Belum lagi National Gallery Singapore yang baru beberapa bulan dibuka. Di galeri yang megah dan mewah ini ada banyak banget karya seniman Indonesia yang menjadi koleksi National Gallery Singapore, salah satunya lukisan terbesar karya maestro Raden Saleh. Senang sih, karena karya lokal mendapatkan apresiasi internasional di tempat yang sangat bagus. Tapi, bukannya harusnya justru bisa kita melihat karya maestro lokal di negeri sendiri ya? Well, that’s just my two cents. Anyway, tiket masuk ke National Gallery Singapore ini SGD20 per orang untuk turis, dan galerinya luas banget. Jadi mendingan datang dari pagi supaya bisa lihat semua karya dan menikmati arsitekturnya dengan santai.

National Gallery Singapore

Interior National Gallery Singapore

Lukisan terbesar Raden Saleh, Kebakaran Hutan

Taman juga menjadi salah satu hal yang saya suka dari negara ini. Di samping menjadi tempat yang enak banget untuk piknik dan berolahraga, taman juga menjadi tempat yang pas buat para pencinta anjing. Beberapa waktu lalu, saya dan suami khusus mampir ke Botanical Garden karena ingin melihat anjing yang dibawa jalan-jalan. Kami mendatangi beberapa pemilik anjing untuk sekadar bermain dengan anjingnya. Kalau saja ada istilah “pedogfil”, rasanya kami salah satunya. 😀

Can you say no to those eyes? I can’t!

Banyaknya turis yang bisa dengan mudah lalu lalang di jalanan kota juga salah satu faktor yang membuat industri pariwisata di Singapura sangat baik. Saya sempat mengunjungi sebuah sinema alternatif bernama The Projector yang menampilkan film-film yang mungkin nggak diputar di sinema pada umumnya. Sebut saja What We Do in the Shadow, The Danish Girl, Taxi Tehran, dan lain sebagainya. Melalui crowdfunding, The Projector berhasil membangkitkan kembali dan mempercantik lokasi sinema lawas di kawasan Beach Road. Kalau di sinema umum harga tiket film sekitar SGD8, The Projector menaruh harga SGD13. Jumlah yang nggak murah, sebenarnya. Tapi, saya melihat ada cukup banyak warga lokal dan turis yang tertarik dengan tempat ini.

Tampak depan lift menuju The Projector

Interior di Dalam The Projector

Sebenarnya, apa yang dimiliki Singapura sangat jauh lebih sedikit dari apa yang kita miliki. Indonesia memiliki keragaman budaya, kekayaan alam, dinamika menarik, dan masih banyak lagi. Tapi, mungkin memang dibutuhkan lebih dari memiliki secara cuma-cuma untuk seseorang bisa menghargai apa yang dipunya.

Mengutip acceptance speech mas Leonardo Dicaprio untuk Oscar 2016, “Let us not take this planet for granted.” 

Yup, we shall not take what we have for granted.

Singapore, How It Public Transportation Works


Of all Southeast Asia countries, I guess everyone would agree when I said that Singapore had the best public transportation system. You can go anywhere safely and easily using MRT, LRT, and buses, then voila! Almost each area is reachable within walking distance. 

Whether you are a first timer or frequent visitor, the only one key to not get lost in Singapore is internet connectivity. If you have connected to the internet and still get lost, I don’t know what to recommend. 😸

There are three apps that I rely on when I visit this country:


You can find direction to any places in Singapore, and the app will tell you how to go there using MRT, bus, taxi, or car. Just follow the steps, it is very easy to use. I can assure you that the app is really accurate. If you can’t find the name of the venue, just type in the street name. 

However, recently I can no long  use the lite version and it suggests me to buy the full version. I don’t bother since I’m not staying in Singapore. But if you are planning to stay for quite a long time, the full version should be okay. It costs only IDR59,000 (about US$4) and maybe it comes with more features.


I actually prefer using as it is more straightforward, but Mytransport is also great because it is very complete and informative. You can search any bus stops and find out which buses stop at which terminals (including the estimation time of arrival, and it is very accurate, by the way). You can also estimate the MRT fare and travel time.

The app comes with an internal map. So when you get on a bus, just search for the bus number and check on the map then you can see each stop as the bus moves. Cool, right? If you prefer to use buses than MRT/LRT, this app is really recommended.

Google Map


Well, this map is not only handy in Singapore but also other countries, for sure. You can search for any directions to anywhere in the country, but I find Google Map is sometimes not that accurate (especially when I was in Bangkok, the buses there were quite unpredictable!). 

On travelling to some of South East Asia regions (again)


Setelah setahun lebih berdiam di Jakarta demi mencari sesuap nasi dan seonggok berlian (well, sempat sih ke Jogja tapi cuma untuk perjalanan singkat demi melihat ART|JOG), akhirnya saya berkesempatan untuk sedikit pergi keluar Indonesia selama kurang lebih sebulan terhitung dari akhir Januari sampai akhir Februari! Exciting? Much!

Beberapa destinasi perjalanan kali ini sebenarnya bukan tempat tujuan baru, bahkan negara yang dikunjungi lebih sedikit dari yang pernah saya kunjungi di tahun 2009. 

Enam tahun lalu, saya bersama beberapa teman memulai backpacking trip selama kurang lebih dua minggu dari Jakarta – Singapura – Kuala Lumpur – Phuket – Bangkok – Siem Reap – Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville – Ho Chi Minh – Jakarta. 

Kali ini, rute backpacking trip saya sebagai berikut: Jakarta – Singapura – Kuala Lumpur – Penang – Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Bangkok – Ipoh – Singapura – Jakarta. 

Walaupun rutenya mirip, ada banyak sekali perbedaan yang saya rasakan. Pertama, tentunya di perjalanan kali ini saya pergi bersama #foreverpacar alias suami. Kedua, rencana perjalanan yang semula ingin mengunjungi Kamboja dan Vietnam batal karena kami harus pulang lebih cepat (rencana awalnya trip ini mau berlangsung selama dua bulan!), jadi kami menggantinya dengan mengunjungi Ipoh sebentar sambil jalan balik ke Singapura lalu ke Jakarta. Ketiga, ini pertama kalinya saya (dengan bantuan suami tentunya) membuat itinerary perjalanan (walaupun di tengah jalan masih tetap berubah-ubah) dan benar-benar menghitung bujet untuk pengeluaran apapun. Nasib punya suami Aries yang kelakuannya campuran Virgo, walaupun nggak terencana tetap harus terencana. Biasanya saya selalu terima jadi itinerary alias pasrah. Keempat, trip ini sebenarnya bukan hanya sekadar liburan, tapi juga riset seni-senian demi masa depan kerjaan (halah). We met a lot of great people along the way! Kelima, kami sebisa mungkin mencoba memanfaatkan transportasi publik yang ada supaya benar-benar merasakan kota dan negaranya. Kecuali terpaksa, seperti waktu di Ipoh, kami harus menggunakan Uber karena transportasi umum di sana benar-benar kacau.  


Meskipun judulnya riset berbalut liburan, layaknya turis kami tetap mengunjungi beberapa tempat wisata kok. Some were great, some were meh. But all-in-all, it was awesome! 

Buat yang lagi mikir-mikir mau jalan-jalan ke negara-negara di Asia Tenggara, semoga tulisan-tulisan saya bisa membantu nantinya. I’ll share my experiences, including how to use local public transportation, where to stay, places to visit (my posts will definitely not cover all areas but use it as your additional information), local culture, and others!


  1. Membuat itinerary itu penting banget. Seenggak-terencananya sebuah perjalanan, akan lebih baik kalau kita bisa menentukan lebih dahulu mau pergi ke mana di tanggal berapa, menginap di mana dan berencana untuk mengunjungi apa saja. Jadi, sebenarnya yang paling baik adalah tentukan jenis perjalanannya. Apakah trip ini akan menjadi trip budaya, wisata, kuliner, seni, atau lainnya supaya kita bisa menentukan prioritas tempat yang dikunjungi berdasarkan bujet yang ada.
  2. Kalau akan mengarungi berkali-kali perjalanan darat dalam waktu lama, jangan lupa membawa buku atau buku catatan. I found e-book easier so I didn’t have to put more weight in my bag.
  3. Minum vitamin setiap hari! Ini penting banget. Waktu tahun 2009 saya sempat sakit demam dan flu karena perjalanan nggak menentu di bus dan kereta yang memakan waktu berjam-jam. Perjalanan kali ini saya bebas dari sakit flu dan demam karena selalu minum vitamin C setiap pagi, dan kadang-kadang juga minum Antangin. Kalau sudah merasa sedikit nggak enak badan, jangan ragu untuk minum obat supaya sakitnya nggak semakin panjang. Jangan lupa juga untuk membawa Counterpain (atau sejenisnya), karena yang pasti akan banyak jalan kaki.
  4. Ada orang yang lebih menyukai AirBnB daripada Agoda karena (harus diakui) AirBnB menyediakan lebih banyak penginapan dengan interior lucu-lucu. Tapi, kalau lagi last minute alias kepepet saya lebih mengandalkan Agoda karena nggak perlu menunggu lama untuk mendapatkan konfirmasi pemesanan. 
  5. Pelajari dengan baik jalur transportasi umum sebuah kota, lalu cari tempat tinggal yang nggak jauh dari jalur tersebut supaya memudahkan kita saat tiba di kota tujuan. Jadi nggak perlu lama-lama di jalan untuk sampai ke tempat menginap.