Thursday, 15 May 2008


Tehbotol in a box

Yet another trip that I made to Indonesia, just 3 months apart from the last time I went to Bali in January this year. I guess I like going to Indonesia because: 1. Its cheap (RM100 = IDR284,000) 2. Language is not a barrier 3. So many things to buy (textiles, handicrafts, even branded goods are cheaper here) 4. The people are nice and hardworking. Just beware of pick pockets and your belongings.

This time around, my sister-in law initiated this trip after her last one in Jan 2008. Basically, this was supposed to be a purely shopping trip for the girls. But we went sightseeing, so at least we visited some tourist attractions. Some tips if you want to go to Jakarta for a trip:

1. Buy cheap airfare
This is always the major chunk of expenditure for any trip, be it overseas or domestic travelling. With the latest fare squabble between this region’s mightily successful low cost carrier AirAsia and the 5-star airline, Malaysia Airlines, the consumers have a very good chance to get the lowest airfare ever to the destinations of their choice (domestic/international). With the Zero Fares promotion, a trip to Indonesia can easily set you back RM200. As Tony Fernandez said it: Now everyone can fly!

2. Surf the internet for cheap accommodation
To save more money for shopping, you don’t need to stay in 5-star hotels. As long as the water runs, the bed’s made, there’s tv and aircond in the room, provide breakfast, then the hotel’s ok. Extra perks if the hotel got additional facilities like free internet or pool. You would only be back to the hotel at night to sleep. So, staying in a 5-star hotel would be a total waste.

3. Transportation
Book a transport to make sure you don’t get ripped-off by taxis. Easy to get MPV’s like Suzuki Arena or Kijang (Unser). Can book this thru a travel agent on the internet. Normally, it can cost you about Rp500,000 per day, minus petrol (about Rp100,000 per day), toll (less than Rp5,000 per toll) and driver’s overtime (about Rp50,000 per day ). Additional charge about Rp200,000 if you want to go to Bogor or Bandung which is about 1 hour out of Jakarta.

4. Shopping
: Tanah Abang complex. It is complete with about 10 floors, ranging from textile (laces by the metres), ready made blouses, kebaya with beautifully intricate sulam, telekung with sulams, tudung, baju batik Indon, suit for work, shoes, curtains. Cheaper to buy the stuff in 3s or by the kodi.
Handbags: Head to Mangga Dua mall if you love designer handbags like LV, D&G, Gucci, Prada but can’t afford the real thing. The place is really like a pasar, but you can get really good bargains and latest designs for handbags, wallets and some designer sandals.
Handicrafts: Jatinegara mall. If you want to buy handicrafts in bulk for weddings or just for giveaway items, head here to buy it in the minimum 100 pcs. Cute batik purses, woven fans, keychains are some of the items.
Branded items: Plaza Senayan or Pulau Indah mall for real branded goods. Case in point: Lacoste ladies t-shirt costs about RM180 in Indonesia, compared to buying it in KL, which is about RM300.

5. Food
: Jakarta people sure like their donuts! Dunkin Donuts shops are practically everywhere. Other local brands like J.Co Donuts, Ring Master, i.crave which offers really soft and creative donut toppings are also available.
Baso: Noodle soup with beef balls are a must have when you’re in Jakarta. Try the Baso by Es Teller branch. Another one is Bakmie, noodle with chicken strips and clear soup on the side.
TehBotol: Indonesian national drink in a bottle. I was hooked on this throughout my stay. Even brought two kotak back, courtesy of my sis-in-law.
Special Roti bakar: thick slices of breaded toasted with cheese and chocolate rice, and a dash of sweetened milk on top. One word: Yummy!

6. Must see attractions
Safari in Bogor
: Superb open zoo where you go thru the animal’s habitat and can even feed the animals with carrots and bananas sold by the peddlers outside the safari. Mind you its illegal to feed the animals, because they are well fed and taken care of. But if you don’t feed the Llamas and the zebras, they’d block your car and you won’t be able to move. Naughty creatures, but I’m sure some conservationist would say that we have spoiled the animals’ natural instinct by feeding them. Same thing like eagle feeding in Langkawi, the new breed of eagles doesn’t know how to hunt for their food. Instead they just wait around Sg Kilim at 10am for their breakfast. Nonetheless, it’s amazing to see wild animals up close and personal.
Puncak in Bogor: The scenery is quite similar to Cameron Highlands where they plant tea and even strawberries. Cool climate to enjoy, but beware of peddlers selling knick-knacks. Its sad, but the peddlers only make about Rp20,000 – Rp30,000 per day, which is only about RM10 ringgit per day.
Taman Mini Indonesia: Life size traditional Indonesian houses for a cultural tour.

7. Tipping
Tipping is a must, it’s a way of life in Indonesia. Our driver have to tip the attendant at parking eventhough we have paid the parking, then another for stopping the traffic. Bell boys should be tipped at all time. Drivers should be tipped by the end of day or for meals (about Rp50,000 per day or whatever amount you think fit. Mind you, each meals costs about Rp10,000). Our driver said he earned as much as a Lacoste t-shirt, which is about Rp550,000 rupiah per month.

Now, to plan for my next trip, for next year……….


Adam said...

Thanks for the information..... it's a nice place to visit. Too love the casinos at Las Vegas.... visited them during my last stay at Las Vegas through Bellagio.


You know, eversince you make it to log down your traventures(travel adventures), I dah malas tengok all those Getaway travel shows on tv!!!*haha*.You punyer source lagi believable!

Ash said...

Excellent post akak, tq! Will definitely come in handy. I am thinking of going there in August... He he he.

Beautiful Life said...

Thanks guys....just glad it'll help your travel plans. Know what, I'm so glad we have AirAsia. Travelling made easy and cheap.

Beautiful Life said...

Hi Adam, thanks for your comment. I find it's easier to write in point forms so I'm more objective about the information that I want to share. I guess this kind of info helps people to travel better.