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Bali.

Let me count. 3, ok so I’ve been to Bali 3x.

Just almost 3 hours away from Singapore. 2h 50mins to be exact. And there you have a laid-back lifestyle island, bobbing with life, plenty of beaches and also mountains. So you choose where you wanna hang out in Bali.

The accommodations are rather extreme on the spectrum; you can get as low as SGD 8 to cleaning your wallet at SGD 4,000 per night!

Bali adalah di antara destinasi pertama yang saya kunjungi setelah mendapat pekerjaan tetap. The factors that I considered important at that point of time were cost of flight, accommodation and general expenses. Back then I didn’t earn very much so I had to be very careful.

Where did I stay?

  1. Harris Resort Kuta
  2. Mahogany Hotel
  3. Citadines Kuta Beach
  4. Pondok Sebatu Villa

pondok

My humble stays while in Bali.

Takde pape kot yang terlalu wow untuk dipost.

OH YASSS ada ada ada!

In Bali, please please please pop by Ayana. Rock Bar is amazing. However it is always full of people and if you must wait, be prepared to join the snaking row. I suggest you go up and have a bite at the other restaurants like Sami Sami Bar which is situated at the cliff. Try their Banana Fritter with Ice Cream. Heaven!

Yogyakarta (Jogjakarta)

Now, what I did not tell you in the earlier post was: Dubai was our 2nd honeymoon destination. Before we spent our 5 days there, we did a full 7 days at Yogya.

Your Question: Why Yogya?

My Answer: Why NOT Yogya?

Hahh meh sini saya cerita.

Actually, we were forced to cancel a booked trip to Bangkok as they were having some riots so near to the dates we were due to go over. Nasib beli travel insurance. Never say no to travel insurance k guys. Riots ni pon di-cover. Alhamdulillah Singapore Airlines refunded us full amount. And because we were short of time, the next place on our mind was Yogya. Airasia waktu tu menawarkan harga SGD 600 for a pair of 2-way return tickets. Samalah price tu dengan Bangkok via SQ.

Saya ni sebenarnya memang hantu negara Indonesia. Asal usul pun memang ada darah di situ. Kedua-dua Embah (atuk nenek) saya adalah orang Wonosobo, Jawa Tengah.

Di Yogya, memang best. Sangat santai, plenty of food and super easy to communicate. I suppose it was my 3rd visit there.

Highlights:

  1. What I remember very vividly was taking the beca (trishaw ride) in the opposite direction of moving traffic. Rasa macam nak kena accident berkali2! Thrilling! Tapi pemandu beca tu memang power. Of course he was used to the traffic and clearly knew the selok belok of the road, shouldn’t he?
  2. Malioboro 
    Whole stretch of street shopping. Biasalah, bag kulit, kain batik and the whole night market jazz. If you are someone who enjoys bargaining in the heat and inhaling sweat, you will love here!
  3. Wonosobo
    It’d be rude not to visit my relatives whilst in Yogya. So my uncle drove us all the way to his home in Wonosobo, which is about a good 3-hours drive. Rumah kampung or villages are aplenty on the very cooling uphill housing estates. Masya’Allah, kalau waktu pagi, jangan cakap air. Duduk je kat jamban yang kering tu, MAK OIIII. You would be instantly jolted by the sheer coldness! Belum kena air lagi tu. Oh hey, here’s an interesting information: the house didnt have any water heater. Mandi ala bujang lapok je lah.
  4. Mount Dieng
    Berpusing-pusing nak naik ke puncak Gunung Dieng ni. Gunung Dieng terletak ditengah (or something like that) Mt. Sindoro and Mt. Sumbing. Along the way, there were so  many tiny food stalls selling fresh local produce. We tried Krispi Jamur. Basically it is either enoki or oyster mushroom that were freshly picked and fried with tempura coat before getting sprinkled with condiments of your choice. We chose chilli powder. When you bite into that piping hot crunchy thing, you’d ask for more. Back about the mountain itself, until today, I am still amazed at God’s creation. We were at the peak where clouds were shoulder-to-shoulder with us, and top it off with a rather heavy rain. There in front of us, on the ground, was the volcano boiling with steam and all. How on earth is that? I mean, we were experiencing extreme cold and hot environment simultaneously. Subhanallah Allahuakhbar.

Jadi di mana kita stay ye di Yogya?

We had 3 different accommodations:

  1. Grand Aston Yogyakarta
    A clean, modern and strategic hotel. The lobby is huge and plenty of seats for you to wait if you need to during checking in/out. Harga untuk 4h3m: IDR 3,600,000 = SGD 380
  2. Sheraton Yogyakarta
    A hotel that boasts traditional and authentic Javanese feel and details. Huge property. Near to airport – plus point if you need to catch an early flight out. 2 nights here cost us a very reasonable IDR 1,700,000 = SGD 180
  3. At my uncle’s home in Wonosobo. Brrrrrr.

I seriously need to rummage all my SD cards to retrieve my honeymoon and all other vacation pics man!

Honeymoon ya habibie.

*I couldn’t find our 99% of honeymoon pics due to the fact that I kept changing phones over the years. CRIESSSSS*

We took to Dubai for 5 days in Jan’14. Pretty much my 1st ever long haul flight. Haaaahh come on give me a chance to call it ‘long’, for I know it’s only a mid haul!

Flight: Snagged a great deal from Singapore Airlines, paying only S$1200 for a pair of return tickets!

I remembered we landed about 7pm in the evening and boy was the airport so crowded. It is a modern infrastructure with shopping stores and food places. After about 1h queueing just to get our passports stamped, baru lah kita pergi cari driver yang seharusnya fetch kita. Nasib tak susah, depan mata berdiri tegak. He took us straight to the hotel.

We stayed at the Traders Hotel Dubai, rasanya dah closed down or maybe taken over by a different brand kot. Memandangkan kita on honeymoon, I thought we should treat ourselves so we booked the Club room. Jadi paham2lah kalau trip ni bukan budget ye. Hehe~ The hotel knew it was a special occassion for us so they surprised our room with some chocolates and a bottle of wine. Wine tu we gave it away.

Early January was still within Dubai’s winter season so.. homaiiiii sejuk bebenor! Keluar je dari hotel tu, angin sejuk menyelimuti kita dengan serta-merta. Bone-chilling cold! Tapi syiok lah. I likeeee!

Highlight for us:

  1. Evening Desert Safari 

    duubai
    We engaged the services from Platinum Heritage after bumping into great reviews through TripAdvisor. <– Please baca untuk convince yourselves! Memang cukup baik sekali dari segi service dan acara. Apa bezanya dengan lain2 providers? Bezanya yang sangat distinct is that they offer a gentle wildlife drive over the sand dunes instead of the usual term we hear ‘dune bashing.’ Jadi kalau sesapa yang macam saya suka releks menikmati tiupan angin sepoi2 ke muka sambil meng-flips hair tu, sila lah cuba Platinum Heritage. Untuk you all yang lebih adventurous suka enjoy perasaan seperti nak muntah pasal pusing2 macam naik ground rollercoaster tu, hang pi pilih lah ye providers yang lain. 🙂 Back then in 2014, harganye untuk 2 dewasa ialah AED 990 = SGD 350. Maybe sekarang harga dah naik. What made me decide to choose Platinum Heritage was that apart from gentle sand drive, they provided intimate number of persons in a group i.e. 60 max, with 4 adults in a 4WD each. And oh yes! Toilet sangatttt proper. A proper separated gender toilets, clean one at that! Alhamdulillah. Takde lah nak kena sembunyi di belakang pohon ketot2 (al maklum kat desert, no pokok okay). Ataupun silap2 sembunyi belakang rimau!

3. Dubai Creek, Souks and Malls

Part ni, all I can say is.. hmm, di Dubai Creek, you naik ‘abra’ which is a boat or water taxi that takes you from one end to another. Cheap thrill but amat nyaman. Murah, just AED 1 =  SGD 0.40. Souks pula are equivalent to sheltered pasar. Depends souks mana yang you visit, ada spice souks (menjual rempah ratus), jewellery souks (menjual barang kemas) etc.  Yang saya naik tocang ni, belambak-lambak abaya dijual semua harga AED 70 – 80 = SGD 30 – 40. Tapi bila barang yang sama dijual di Singapore ni, aik! Harganya kok SGD 100++?! Ape lagi, saya ngappp terus 10 pasang abaya untuk diberi kepada ibu, MIL dan sewaktu dengannya. Malls, rasanya I don’t have to elaborate kot. Shopping centers mereka semua ada up ok. Besar sangat dan very high end. Of course, there are malls slightly out of the city that sell local goods.

2. Dinner at Burj Al Arab

           bab al yam
Say whatttt? Uhuh. We managed to book a dinner di Burj Al Arab. Nama restaurantnye adalah Bab Al Yam. International buffet. Quite honestly, rasanya biasa2 saje. Nothing yang blow our minds. However, the views facing the Arabian Gulf was amazing. You would not missed noticing the guests visiting the Burj were all very very well-dressed and seemed to flock from all over the world. Waktu itu, harga per dewasa untuk menjamu di restaurant ini ialah AED 350 = SGD 140. Memang mahal. Tu harga baru sorang, belum kali dua. It’s even more expensive than having to dine at Carousel Royal Plaza on Scotts! But like I mentioned earlier, demi honeymoon, kita splurge je lah. Nak share, I sebenarnya geram jugak dengan yang bernama ayahku. Adakah patut bila ada orang tanya/comment kat dia yang anak dia and menantu dia ni kaya sangat ke sampai ke Burj Al Arab sume, ayahku jawab, “Oh Boss dia kan Arab (read: Boss yang belanja.)” HELLO?! How I wish! I ingat how we saved up like mad for our wedding and honeymoon. Memang pun saya akui saya langsung tak kaya, miskin pun tidak. Allah dah berikan saya kehidupan yang sederhana. Cukup sederhana, semoga berkat hendaknya. Duit gaji dan bonus, semua kita planned elok2. Alhamdulillah, Allah permudahkan and eventually vacation ni went very smoothly and sungguh worth it.

Tips: Awal2 and rajin2 lah research/survey sebelum get on the trip. So budget tak lari dan you pun happy! Gitewwwww!