starbucks reserve

Starbucks Reserve Dewata, Coffee House and Sanctuary on the Island of Gods

FIRST DESTINATION SINCE PANDEMIC STRIKES

Perhaps it sounds a little bit strange to make Starbucks as my travel bucket list, where I can find its branches in every shopping mall, shop in shop inside big supermarkets and even there’s one nearby my house in Jakarta.

Nonetheless, Starbucks Reserve Dewata in Bali is exceptional because it’s the biggest Starbucks outlet in Southeast Asia and the second biggest in the world. Operating since January 12, 2019, it has become one of the most happening places to hang out. In the same year, it was the last time I came Bali, yet somehow I didn’t a chance to visit Starbucks Reserve Dewata. Then, as you know, COVID-19 pandemic strikes.

starbucks reserve
almost Christmas

I finally returned to Bali in December 2021, a few days before Christmas. The virus was still there, though, but at least travel restrictions were less intense than before. The situation was under control before Omicron screwed up everything we’ve been fighting for. To be honest, it was my first time to travel outside Jakarta since pandemic strikes in Indonesia and the rest of the world. So yeah, I was more than excited to spend a Christmas holiday far from home.

main entrance

Having arrived in Ngurah Rai International Airport, we directly headed to Starbucks Reserve Dewata on Sunset Road no. 77 because it’s not too far from the airport, approximately 15 to 20 minutes by car.

COFFEE SANCTUARY, NOT JUST CAFE

starbucks reserve
reception counter

The wave-patterned red brick façade with Starbucks logo looked eye-catching, but it didn’t show enough how gigantic Starbucks Reserve Dewata was until we walked into the store. As the reception desk official greeted us, it felt like being in an exclusive lounge.

Luxury is part of the charm, that’s for sure. However, the main added values lie in the concept of coffee sanctuary and local wisdom in the details of the store design. Starbucks also would like to educate their customers on where their favorite coffee drinks comes from and how they are made, as well as informing them about its participation in sustainability in fun and entertaining way.

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coffee plantation and mural

The reception counter was linked directly to the courtyard with 10 by 10 sqm arabica coffee plantation, representing an example of coffee plantations owned by farmers in Indonesia that usually come in that exact size. Starbucks doesn’t harvest coffee from the plantation inside the store, though, especially coffee doesn’t grow well in hot weather places.

girl playing zoetrope

Make sure you don’t miss the bright-coloured mural of farmers harvesting coffee plants and and a zoetrope, an animation device showing phases of the growth of coffee tree, situated in the middle of the plantation. If you love being surrounded by something close to nature, the courtyard will be the best spot to sit down and zip some coffee. You can sit on a rattan swing, too.

starbucks reserve
rice terracing bar table and rattan coffee smoke

Since we were looking for an aircon room, we preferred being inside the two-storey glass building with very high ceiling. Not only does the American-based coffee house look lavish, extravagant, modern and hype that attract visitors around the world, but also the infiltrated traditional elements make it unique, distinctive and unforgettable.

starbucks reserve
access to the aircon room
starbucks reserve
closer look at the wood sculpture

Among others, the impressive 9-meter-high wooden sculpture on the wall depicting coffee culture and coffee producing regions in Indonesia, a giant woven bamboo hanging decoration representing fragrant coffee smoke, a terracing rice field shape bar table made of teak wood, wooden cart and a wooden door handle with the engraved mermaid’s tail, which is part of the Starbucks logo.

starbucks reserve
view of the 2 storey outlet

There’s also a digital wall, showing the process of making quality coffee, by pressing, turning and sliding buttons. Suppose you can’t get enough with coffee plantation, go to the 2nd floor to see coffee seedling under the glass roof showing coffee trees from 1 month old until 1 year. Additionally, there’s a theater specifically giving information about Starbucks Farmer Support Center, emphasizing on how Starbucks collaborate with farmers in Indonesia.

starbucks reserve
the bar

Well, even though coffee lesson wasn’t my main intention of visiting Starbucks Reserve, I was glad to know that Starbucks doesn’t only focus its business on profit, but also helping farmers to reach more prosperity by purchasing their coffee beans, providing farming tools, education and high quality fertilizer.

PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION?

starbucks
Dewata Latte

Basically all food and drinks are just the same in both varieties and price as those at other Starbucks outlets, except Dewata Latte or Pear Tea, that are only available at Starbucks Reserve Dewata. We finally tried a grande cup of Dewata Latte, simply described as coffee milk with original Balinese brown sugar or “kopi gula aren” in Indonesian. It was pretty good, we loved the bittersweet balance between coffee, milk and brown sugar.

starbucks reserve
souvenirs

Polo shirts, umbrellas, mugs, tumblers, teddy bears with either printed or embroidered lotus logo and the word “Dewata” are typical Starbucks Reserve Dewata souvenirs you won’t get in any other Starbucks branches. They are nice memorable things to go, all you need to have is a willingness to spend more. I personally think it’s pricey for local standard, like a polo shirt over Rp. 500,000 ($ 37) per piece. But I think it’s quite normal for develop countries’ living standard.

THE REVIVAL OF TOURISM IN BALI?

It was almost 5 pm when we got there, and nearly all seats were full despite its huge capacity. We were expecting to get comfortable sofa seats to chill out longer, yet we didn’t get any, as everybody at the store thought the same way. The situation was understandable, though, considering it was coffee hour in high season. Only an hour later did we finally get our turn to occupy the cozy sofa.

starbucks reserve
cozy sofa

Considering that COVID-19 still strikes and has made tourism industry tumbling down, it seemed that tourism in Bali has started back on its feet. However, I noticed that there was a slight different kind of crowds compared to the last time I visited the island in 2019.

starbucks reserve
rattan sofa

Since the spread of the virus is usually more intense during holiday season, the government made travel restrictions to keep the situation in control. Bali postponed accepting international flights at the airport. Indonesian tourists had a difficulty to travel overseas due to restrictions and quarantine policies in destination countries.

Therefore, the result of this situation was obvious. The crowds we saw were dominated by local tourists from different cities in Indonesia. Only less than 10 percent of visitors were foreigners under specific conditions, either have a temporary residence permit for foreigners (KITAS), married with an Indonesian spouse and have a family or can’t return to their homeland due to multiple times of lock down.

starbucks reserve

A senior waiter, who has been working since the first days of Starbucks Reserve Dewata opening, mentioned about a Russian guest he served who once told him on how he can survive financially when he can’t go back to his hometown and work for unexpectedly longer period. From what I understand, it turns out that the recent policy related to pandemic in Russia gives him an opportunity to work online for the government.

I thought to myself that Putin has made a great job about this policy. At that time, he had not started the war with Ukraine. FYI, long before pandemic strikes, there have been a lot of Russian people doing business, working or spending their retirement time in Bali.

ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE MATTERS THE MOST

starbucks reserve
counter

When luxury and relaxation collide, that’s how I felt when I was hanging out at Starbucks Reserve Dewata. The grandiose store has mesmerizing local wisdom implementations with modern atmosphere to awe you (and very instagrammable), but there’s no need to be intimidated because it’s still Starbucks, that basically a coffee house for everybody in relatively affordable price, so you can be yourself and no certain dress code needed to be there. It’s also sort of a cafe museum oriented where you can learn something out of it if you want to with interactive tools. In short, it’s an edutainment destination.

Final verdict? It was a wonderful experience and I didn’t regret making Starbucks Reserve Dewata as a travel destination.

secret garden bali

Secret Garden Village: Edutainment Destination of Indonesian Heritage

When I heard about Secret Garden Village, it reminds me of a classical novel called Secret Garden (adapted into a movie several times) about an orphan girl who unlocks her uncle’s hidden garden with tons of flowers blooming everywhere in his estate. Nonetheless, the Secret Garden I visited in Bali is not literally a garden.

Situated in Luwus Village in Bedugul, the mountainous province in Bali, Secret Garden Village consists of beauty store, cafe, restaurants and rice field under one roof, with an added value: educational-oriented destination, focusing on introducing Indonesian heritage in beauty products and coffee.

secret garden bali
modern minimalist

The building facade of Secret Garden Village wasn’t something I expected at first, blending contemporary and minimalist style with elements of nature, such as some shrubs on the roof, palm trees, grasses and fish pond. But it still impressed me in some way.

secret garden bali

BEAUTY TOUR

Founded in 2016 by Billy Hartono Salim, the entrance ticket to Secret Garden Village was Rp. 50.000 ($ 3.50) on weekdays and Rp. 100.000 ($7) on weekends, including Beauty Tour. Overtime, the management found out that there are only a small percentage of visitors who really want to spend time for the 20 minute Beauty Tour in reality. Therefore, the policy has changed into free of charge entrance. An additional Rp. 25.000 ($ 1.70) per person is available for anybody interested in joining Beauty Tour. Well, that sounds more flexible and fair, I think.

secret garden bali
the heritage museum

As the first timer, I believe there’s no harm to take the Beauty Tour. Beauty tour is a guided tour of basic knowledge of beauty product ingredients of Herborist, a Balinese brand of face and body care, including coffee cupping at Black Eye Coffee Shop.

The first part of the tour is the Beauty Heritage Museum, exhibiting some best-selling Herborist products, followed by benefit of the plants used to create the products, among others are lemongrass, olive, frangipani, rose, aloe vera and many more. Nearly all the plants harvest in many parts of Indonesia, some of them from its own plantation. Olive is the only imported ingredient because it doesn’t grow well in Indonesia.

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photo spot at the museum

Apart from that, there are displays of traditional tools used for processing and storing spices and plants, such as scale, mortar, pestle, vase etc, merely for aesthetical purposes and not used for Herborist production process. A rickshaw and an old bike at the corner of the museum are nice photo spots, too.

The second part is watching the production process at the factory, where all guests must use a lab coat, shower cap and shoe coverings provided. This is where the curiosity goes the most, yet unfortunately its not allowed to take pictures inside, except on the photo spot with chemistry-themed background. The factory at Secret Garden Village is the smaller scale of the bigger one in Semarang, Central Java, since it’s only to fulfill the needs at the store. From weighing, mixing ingredients, soap moldings until placing products in bottles are by machine, except labelling, which is still by hand. Instead of using paraben, Herborist uses sodium benzoate as a preservative, which is saver.

The last but not least is the 5 minute theater explaining the history of Herborist products and Secret Garden Village facilities. A soap making class is also available for another Rp. 125.000 ($9) per session.

SHOPPING AT OEMAH HERBORIST

Trust me, don’t skip this part if you love skin care and beauty products! Oemah Herborist beauty store is huge, offering multiple brands from PT Victoria Care Indonesia, Tbk., from Herborist, Miranda Hair Care, Victoria, Nuface to CBD. There’s also Secret Garden, although it’s doesn’t belong to the corporation. Of all the brands, my attention went to Herborist and Secret Garden.

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secret garden products on sale

Herborist has a wide range of beauty products, from skin care, body care, essential oils massage oil, bath salts etc, with various scents, such as olive, frangipani, rose and lemongrass offered starting only from Rp. 20.000 ($1.50). Moreover, there are fancy shape soaps from fruit to flower shapes, that are nice for gifts.

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fancy soaps

On the other hand, Secret Garden is the more premium brand for body care products, such as soaps, scrubs, hand lotion, body butter, body mist perfumes and room fragrance, yet less variety of (facial) skin care line, except fresh face masks. Compared to Herborist, Secret Garden contains more natural ingredients and the scents tend to be more natural. For instance, the honey body lotion smell is pretty much similar to natural honey in supermarkets. The frangipani body lotion from Secret Garden has more subtle smell than that of Herborist. For sure, the more premium the products, the more price they have. The lowest price starts from Rp. 60.000 ($ 4.30).

Since Covid-19 strikes Indonesia and the rest of the world, Oemah Herborist sells hand sanitizer and disinfectant in many sizes and fragrances, from travel size to large bottles whose contents are more than a liter.

I ended up buying 7 soap bars, shampoo, traditional body scrub (lulur), 3 bottles of body lotion and 2 shower gels. Most of them were on sale, some were even half price. So why not? Now I have more than enough stock to bathe all year long.

COFFEE CUPPING

The coffee cupping session is unguided and feel free to go to bar section inside Black Eye Coffee Shop if you want. The barista will give you some basic knowledge about coffee. When it comes to tasting, I chose Bali Kintamani coffee. It was lightweight, not too bitter with fruity after taste. I’m not a coffee drinker myself, except lattes, but I still could enjoy it.

secret garden bali
the bar
coffee cupping

Apart from coffee, it also offers approximately 20 flavours of ice cream, croissants and cakes. The vanilla ice cream was pretty good and not too sweet, anyways. There are souvenirs as well, from whole bean coffee, t-shirts to wooden cutlery. But for me, the number one reason why you should hang out in this coffee shop is the picturesque view of rice field right in front of you. Zipping a cup of coffee doesn’t only awaken you, but also peaceful and relaxing by just looking at the greenery.

souvenir shop

RICE FIELD

Yes, the real “secret garden” is the rice field, where you can see it from Black Eye Coffee Shop. The best way to enjoy it is to explore on foot for about 15 to 20 minutes walk. The path is super easy, comfortable and safe for all ages. There’s no way to get lost because it starts and ends from the same spot. It is of course instagrammable in every angle and a lot of fine spots for selfie.

secret garden bali
rice field
secret garden bali
secret garden bali

DINING EXPERIENCE

The only thing I didn’t have a chance to experience is the dining part, except ice cream at Black Eye Coffee Shop. The specialty is bebek timbungan at Bebek Timbungan restaurant (yes, the restaurant is named after the food), the aged-duck traditionally cooked for 12 hours with lots of spices. This is one of the rarest food you can find in restaurants on the Island of Gods because the cooking method is complicated and time-consuming. Half a day for one dish, are you kidding me? However, just to remind you that bebek timbungan is enjoyed best when you can handle (very) spicy food. Since I know I can’t stand spicy food, I decided to take suckling pig nearby instead prior to the visit. As an option, you can try Indonesian food buffet for more variety at The Luwus inside Bebek Timbungan restaurant.

secret garden bali
Bebek Timbungan Restaurant

Both Bebek Timbungan and The Luwus Restaurant are situated on the same row as Black Eye Coffee Shop, although in a different building, where you can see the rice field. There’s also a juice bar on a separate counter close to Bebek Timbungan.

INTERNATIONAL BEAUTY STORE DESTINATION?

Overall, Secret Garden Village is relaxing, entertaining tourist attraction with educational value at the same time. On educational thing, however, I would say that it’s up to visitors. To be exact, you have a freedom to create a purpose of your visit. Completing a guided tour to the heritage museum means you have made it an educational oriented destination. The more you ask, the more knowledge you get. Tasting the rare cuisine of bebek timbungan and zipping a cup of coffee means you want to achieve ultimate culinary experience, and so on.

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Oemah Herborist Store

It’s a bit unfortunate that most visitors tend to skip the educational part, unless you have visited the place for more than once. Although the beauty tour entrance fee doesn’t generate the income that much compared to dining at Bebek Timbungan restaurant and shopping at Oemah Herborist, I believe the tour is a great opportunity to popularize Indonesian products, to both local and international tourists, by introducing the richness, diversity of Indonesian spices and how they benefit health and wellness when used in products.

Somehow it reminds of my holiday to Korea years ago, where buying Korean skin care and cosmetics were my main purpose of the visit because the collection are much more complete and they cost 50% cheaper than those in Indonesia. I mean, it’s not really about price comparison in the end. It’s more about how Korea promotes their local beauty brands to the world, that their products are not only more internationally known, but also trigger western beauty brands to launch K-beauty inspired products, such as BB cushion, lip tint, cooling eye stick balm etc.

It’s still a long way to go, but as an Indonesian citizen, I really hope that someday Indonesian brands will be able to follow Korean footsteps in the sense of popularity and inspiration for major players in beauty business, as well as others types of industries. Secret Garden Village could be a starting point to make it happen!

fried noodle

6 Most delicious food in jakarta chinatown: Kalimati Alley

https://goo.gl/maps/KK5Xfx6Ve2sy438n8

Remember about the first part of my culinary adventure in Gloria Alley in the oldest Chinatown in Jakarta, Glodok? The saga continues to the second part of the food tour, which is in Kalimati Alley.

Situated about 300 meters from Gloria Alley, Kalimati Alley is reachable on foot. Nonetheless, a newbie (like me) will have a difficulty to find one. Leaving Gloria Alley, my fellow tour members and I passed through winding streets that didn’t seem to have any single clue where it ended. Fortunately, we only only needed to follow wherever our tour guide lead us without thinking too much.

Finally, we found Santa Maria de Fatima Church, the only church with a Chinese influence architecture, and Strada Ricci School, where my mom used to study when she was a child. Then, we headed straight to the dark alley in the end of the street. I was wondering whether it was another winding path to our destination or…

“This is Kalimati Alley!” the guide said enthusiastically.

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Kalimati Alley

Okay, so the dark alley was indeed Kalimati Alley. Assuming that Gloria Alley was already narrow and busy, it was nothing compared to Kalimati Alley. Kalimati Alley was so narrow that only a motorcycle can fit in the lane. Shophouses on both sides had canopies almost “touching” each other. As a result, the sun has a difficulty to shine our way and the alley looked dark from the distance. Nonetheless, the real temptation remained from free smells and curious appearance of the food everywhere we went.

  • PD. Jaya Abadi

PD Jaya Abadi is the oldest convenient store in the area, whose building is still well-maintained in its original design since 1907. The original name of the store is Tjang Thjang Sen, referring to its first owner, now run by the 4th generation of the family. It sells a lot of things, including various imported snacks, sauces and spices from China and dried plants for medication purposes. If you take a look at the rear side of the store, you’ll see imported eels commonly used for unagi sushi in Japanese restaurants and turtles for pioh (turtle meat soup). These animals are sold alive to guarantee their freshness. Honestly, I just don’t have the heart to watch the turtles chopped alive for customer’s order.

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PD Jaya Abadi
  • Cempedak Goreng Cik Lina

In western countries, cempedak is considered an exotic and rare fruit with pungent smell, although the intensity is less than that of durian. Being similar to jackfruit, cempedak has stronger smell, yellowish skin when ripe, smaller size fruit and softer meat texture.

Cempedak is no strange for Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, but it’s not very easy to find compared to jackfruit. How about fried cempedak? Yep, it’s even harder. If fried bananas and jackfruit chips are everywhere, cempedak isn’t. Suppose you want to try one, make sure you get it from the best, like Cempedak Goreng Cik Lina (literally meaning Sis Lina’s Fried Cempedak).

The process of making fried cempedak seems very simple and nothing more than deep fried with flour. Nonetheless, the secret weapon of the great taste lies on the preferred cempedak fruit itself, that has to be ripe, soft texture, orange color and sweet taste. Cik Lina inherits the business from her mother who started it in 1990s. Sold for Rp. 15.000 ($1) per piece, the size is as big as your palm. The crunchiness and sweetness of the fried cempedak is addictive, I’m telling you! No wonder there are many loyal customers (and still counting) after more than 30 years in the business. Watch out, as you may be the next “victim” after tasting the mouthwatering fried cempedak!

cempedak goreng
Cik Lina’s fried cempedak
  • Pia Lao Beijing  (Lao’s Beijing Style Pia Cake)        

Pia is originally a Chinese-style cake made of mung bean and sugar wrapped with dough. Nowadays, pia cake has more varieties of filling. At Lao’s, pia cakes are available with choices of durian, cheese, chocolate and red bean. Lao referred to the owner’s name, who comes from Beijing and now an Indonesian resident.

What I love the most from Pia Lao Beijing is the cake is served fresh from the oven, so the dough is warm and crunchy while eating on the spot. However, the main reason why it’s baked directly at the stall is to prove that the pia is halal and doesn’t use lard in the baking process. This tactic works very well, especially in the Chinatown situated in the country whose 94% of its inhabitants are moslems.

The best seller is the mung bean flavor, yet I prefer the cheese one because I like cheese much more than any other flavors. The filling is abundant yet balanced with the amount of dough covering the content. The shape and size of Lao’s pia is easily recognizable because it’s wider, flatter than any pia in other stores and sprinkled with sesame seeds (while others aren’t). It’s so affordable as well, only Rp. 6000 ($ 0.40) per piece.

pia beijing
Lao’s Beijing style pia
  • Vegetarian Ko Handi

Not far from Pia Lao Beijing, Ko Handi Vegetarian restaurant is the only vegetarian food at Kalimati Alley. Rendang (Padang-style stewed beef in coconut milk and spices) and roast pork are the most wanted ones. Using mushroom and flour as main ingredients, the taste is surprisingly very similar to the original meat flavors. The only difference is vegetarian meats aren’t as fibrous as real meat, therefore they lessen the chance to stuck between teeth when chewed. That’s what I love the most about fake meats, anyways. And the price? No worries, its just Rp. 8000 ($ 0.50) per piece.

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vegetarian Koh Handi
  • Mie Baskom

Mie Baskom means “noodle in a big bowl”. The stall is called that way because the fried noodle as the main menu is placed in a big stainless steel bowl, which choices of fried kwetiau (wide-shaped noodle) and fried vermicelli. It also offers deep fried snacks. The big bowl noodle business has been running for 2 generations and my parents were one of the main customers during their childhood. For Rp. 18.000 ($ 1.30), it’s served in quite a large portion and fit for 2 persons when not too hungry. The taste is pretty good and the noodle is in the right al dente texture that I like. Apart from that, my parents said that the distinctive flavor hasn’t changed since 1960s.

fried noodle
mie baskom
  • Lao Hoe

Operating since 1980s, Lao Hoe restaurant is famous for its Belitung style noodle and laksa (vermicelli in coconut milk soup). I instantly chose Belitung style noodle because I didn’t have any clue of what it’s like. Belitung style noodle consists of noodle, prawn, bean curd, potato, cucumber and prawn crackers. The soup was thick and tasted a bit sweet, that reminds me of another noodle soup called lo mie. One day, I’d like to try the famous laksa!

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Mie Belitung at Lao Hoe

Anyways, there was something really special about the prawn cracker. Not only because it’s home made, but also has an intense savory taste of prawn, thin dough and very crispy. To be honest, it’s the best prawn cracker I’ve ever tasted! Offered for Rp 25.000 ($ 1.50), the portion was not that big. Very suitable for those who want to take it as a “snack”. Don’t skip the big-sized deep fried snacks in front of the restaurant looked very eye-catching as well, sold for Rp. 10.000 ($ 0.80) per piece. Last but not least, Lao Hoe restaurant never uses MSG and preservatives in their cooking.

Of all the abundant choices that you may not be able to try all of them at once, which ones you wanna try in the first place? Suppose you don’t have all the time in the world to return and its too much for your tummy, you can have some of them to go as well. I guarantee, you wont be sorry!

pork dumpling

6 most delicious Food in JAKARTA CHINATOWN: Gloria Alley

https://goo.gl/maps/5RkAhUQwWmsX5S3T8

The largest Chinatown in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is Glodok area. Situated in the west side of Jakarta, to be exact, Glodok has been the silent witness of cultural diversity and long history of Chinese ethnics settlement since the 18th century. The name Glodok is derived from the sound of shower from a small building in the Townhall courtyard, whose sound is like “grojok… grojok”. Then, the locals pronounce it as “glodok” since they have a difficulty in pronouncing straight and sharp “r” sound.

Not only is Glodok a melting pot for Chinese descendants’ community, but also foodies’ favorite spot. Although culinary business is very competitive nowadays and Glodok is not as busy as it used to be back in the 80’s and 90’s (aka the year of my childhood), it doesn’t mean that the oldest Chinatown in Jakarta completely lose its vibe because it offers unique food varieties in a shoestring.

Therefore, I decided to join Glodok Food Tour organized by Wisata Kreatif Jakarta, a walking tour specifically for culinary experience in Glodok area. Although I live not very far from Glodok, it doesn’t mean I know everything about it. To be honest, I seldom explore the area by myself and I feel like being a total stranger in my own city. I’m not only bad at road directions in general, but also I become worse when I have to memorize a winding road with densely populated shophouses along the way. So there I was with 2 other participants and a licensed guide.

There are 2 main alleys to get mouthwatering Chinese street food: Gloria Alley (Gang Gloria) and Kalimati Alley (Gang Kalimati). At first, let’s take a closer look at Gloria Alley. When you walk around Gloria Alley, you need to be aware that most transactions are cash only and don’t accept credit cards. If you’re lucky, you can use a debit cards, though not always. Besides, you need to share the lane with workers bringing huge and loaded goods for the stores or stalls. It’s also a public secret that narrow and crowded streets are usually a place where pickpockets do their job as well.

In my opinion, these are culinary spots worth to try:

  • Pork Dumpling

The pork dumpling are sold on an old-fashioned bike so-called sepeda ontel without a permanent stall and brand. Using peanut sauce as a dressing, the dumpling is offered for Rp. 20.000 ($ 1.50) for 10 pieces, with the choice of dumpling, potato, egg, bitter gourd and pork skin. Since most buyers consume it on the go, there’s a satay stick so you can eat it easily without making your hands dirty. I love it for its balanced taste of the meat and flour altogether without draining my money.

pork dumpling
pork dumpling
  • Mi Pan

Literally meaning rice flour in Hakka dialect, Mi pan is a snack from Kalimantan (Borneo) made of rice flour, garlic oil, fried minced garlic and sweet black sauce for merely Rp. 7000 ($ 0.50) per piece. My fellow foodies advice me to ask for more fried minced garlic to make it more fragrant and savory. They’re completely right about this as fried minced garlic also harmonizes the sweetness of the black sauce. Just like the pork dumpling seller, he doesn’t have his own stall and just sitting in front the wall separator of shophouses.

glodok
mi pan
  • Kopi Es Tak Kie

Established in 1927 oleh Liong Kwie Tjong, Kopi Es Tak Kie (Tak Kie Iced Coffee) is nowadays managed by the third generation of his family. I tried the iced milk coffee, for Rp. 25.000 ($ 1.70) and I think it has an old-fashioned taste by only using a dark roast robusta coffee and condensed milk without creamer. It’s definitely a strong coffee to keep you awake.

kopi tak kie
iced coffee milk

Although it’s called kopi es (iced coffee), Kopi Es Tak Kie also has its signature mixed pork rice, consisting of cha sieuw (roast pork), crispy pork, lap chiong sausage and Javanese style braised egg. You’d better come in the morning, because the coffee house will run out of it instantly after lunch. For a Rp 55.000 ($ 4.50), it’s not very cheap but still worth it for a great taste.

Nowadays, Kopi Es Tak Kie has some branches at the food court in some shopping malls. It also participates in culinary bazaar events, yet unfortunately, the portion is not as big as that in Gloria Alley for the same price, most probably because it has to compensate with a quite large amount of revenue sharing or expensive rental cost.

  • Sek Ba 77 Bek Tim

There are several food stalls selling sekba and bektim, steamed pork innards immersed in soup made of Chinese herbs and sweet soy sauce, in Glodok. The difference between 2 of them is that sekba is served dry. On the other hand, bektim is served with the soup. Sek Ba 77 Bek Tim, situated in front of Kopi Es Tak Kie is one of the popular stalls. Despite selling in a modest cart, the business has been running for 2 generations and still counting. Sold for Rp 20.000 ($ 1.50), the herb soup tastes amazing although I don’t like most of the contents, except intestine, tongue and the meat attached in pork belly and skin.

sek ba
sekba and bektim
  • Pioh Tim Tauco

Suppose you are adventurous enough and feel lie trying something unique, pi oh could be perfect choice for you. Pioh is steamed turtle meat (so-called bulus in Indonesian, to be exact) served with soup made of turtle broth. Still situated in front of Kopi Es Tak Kie, there’s Pioh Tim Tauco, whose soup is mixed with tauco, fermented soybean, resulting with more savoury taste. This is the only food I haven’t tried since I’m usually not really a fan of soft and chewy meat. I feel so pity for the turtle, anyways.

pi poh tauco glodok
pi oh tim tauco
  • Snack Shop

Assorted sweets from chocolates to candies, snacks, dried fruits, sweetened fruits sold in giant glasses jar is the signature look of snack shops in Glodok, that I think they are instagrammable enough to capture. Besides, it has old-fashioned and less known candy and chocolate brands not provided in modern supermarkets. I can guarantee that binge eaters will have a lot of fun exploring this shop. You can purchase them in a small quantity since the price is per 100 grams.

snack shop

Apart from culinary experience, Gloria Alley also offers Chinese New Year attributes, Buddhist related prayer tools, accessories, convenient store, fruit market and butcher shop. Our tour didn’t just end there because we were about to visit 2nd alley: Kalimati Alley (Gang Kalimati).

It’s getting more excited, I promise you. So stay tuned for my next post on culinary adventure in Kalimati Alley!

ramen

Cup Noodles Museum, Revealing the Birth of Instant Noodle

https://goo.gl/maps/f59ZpqMi1RAcL1NAA

Instant noodle has been part of many people’s life, mostly Asians, in terms of practical and cheap solution when hunger strikes. In my hometown Indonesia, there are even warung Indomie, food stalls serving noodle menus using Indomie (Indonesia’s number 1 instant noodle brand) as the main ingredient (check more on my previous post about my visit to one of the warung indomies.)

But actually, instant noodle has a long history long before becoming worldly known like these days. It all began from the recession in Japan after World War II when everyone in the country was at the peak of poverty, and an entrepreneur like Momofuku Ando was not an exception. After he regained success from bankruptcy, the Ministry of Agriculture called him to help the government to maximize the wheat flour consumption for public. At that time, wheat flour was one of the main aids from the US.

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ramen history in chronological order

Having witnessed workers who spent hours just for a cup of ramen (Japanese noodle), he had an idea to make the instant version of that staple food. In 1958, he created his first instant noodle, Chicken Ramen, by steaming the spiced noodle and dry it in hot oil. Then, he founded a food industry called Nissin Food Products.

chicken ramen
chicken ramen celebrates halloween

His invention was sensational since cooking a cup of noodle has never been easier, only by adding hot water and leave it for less than 2 minutes, then voila!

Since then, instant noodle has changed the diet of people around the world and it’s getting easier to find in other Asian countries, as well as Europe, America and Africa.

cupnoodles packaging around the world

Over time, instant noodle has experienced some developments, from additional taste enhancer, varieties of flavor until expiry date notification in the packaging. In 1971, Nissin launched Cupnoodles, whose cup was made of styrofoam, served with dried vegetables and fruits, such as prawn, beef, chicken and pork.

Nowadays, the documentation of the first instant noodle in the world is displayed in Cupnoodles Museum in Ikeda, Osaka. Besides Osaka, the museum also has another branch in Yokohama. The invention chronology of instant noodle is shown with modern and attractive visuals, including games, simple quizzes and a movie on theater. Visitors also can see the path of Momofuku Ando’s success story, for instance the awards he received, his quotes on his principles of success and the replica of the wooden warehouse where he did the one year experiment of instant noodle creation.

wooden warehouse replica

At a glance, the museum exterior looks banal and serious with red brick walls and Momofuku Ando’s statue standing on a giant Cupnoodles bowl. Nonetheless, I was pretty shock that most visitors are kids and toddlers accompanied by their parents and a bunch of teens. This is absolutely not a typical national history museum kind of thing run by government.

ramen tunnel
ramen tunnel

One of the main attractions in Cupnoodles Museum is the Instant Ramen Tunnel, exhibiting over 800 packaging designs, starting from the first Chicken Ramen in 1958, Cupnoodles in 1971 until the latest ones. The Doraemon packaging is undoubtedly my favourite!

cute, isn’t it?

On the other side of the wall, there are hundreds of Cupnoodles packaging designs from all over the world, followed by information on the amount of annual instant noodle consumption in each country. It comes to my surprise that Indonesia is the 2nd largest amount of consumption, reaching 130.1 million portion per year. It beats Japan as the birthplace of instant noodle, with 56.6 million, and the China is the only country who wins over Indonesia, with 385.2 million. Inhabitants in the US and Russia are in fact the most instant noodle eaters in western countries, with 41 million and 16.2 million.

Another unique experience no one should miss is to concoct your own Cupnoodles and design its packaging. At first, get a styrofoam cup from the provided vending machine for 400 Yen ($ 3.60) and use assorted colour markers in the drawing room to beautify the plain cup with your own creativity. This was fun, yet challenging at the same time since I’m not good at drawing.

ramen
ramen packaging process

Then, you can bring the cup you designed to be filled with a portion of instant noodle and choose the soup flavour and topping. You are free to choose 1 out of 4 soup flavours, either chicken broth, seafood, chili tomato or curry. For toppings, you can choose 4 of 12, such as crabstick, cheese, prawn, garlic, green onion, roast pork, egg, kimchi, green beans, chicken ramen mascot printed fish sausage, and a special topping available on certain occasion only, like pumpkin in October for Halloween during my visit. While waiting for my noodle to be ready, I watched the packaging process until my Cupnoodles arrived in my hand.

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my ramen creation!

Additionally, you will receive a free bag made of a swimming tire material. This bag doesn’t instantly function, however. In short, all you have to do is to put the Cupnoodles inside the bag, then blow it like a balloon. The balloon-shaped bag is immediately locked and protect the styrofoam cup from breakage. What an idea, isn’t it?

For those who like cooking, Cupnoodles Museum provide Chicken Ramen Factory, where you can learn the process of making an instant noodle from the expert. The class costs 800 Yen ($ 7.03) for adults and 500 Yen ($ 4.50) for kids. Since it has a limited spot, it is recommended to have a reservation prior to the visit.. Too bad, I didn’t make it because if was fully booked.

Chicken Ramen Factory

Last but not least, don’t miss the cute chicken ramen mascot in towels, pins, aprons, dolls, t-shirts, bags and many more at the souvenir shop. Besides, instant noodle addicts can get limited edition Cupnoodles packaging and the first Chicken Ramen classic packaging design from 1958.

Although Indomie dominates Indonesian instant noodle market, I still can find Cupnoodles in supermarkets in small amount of varieties, such as Nissin seafood, chicken flavoured noodle and Cupnoodles UFO Japanese style fried noodles.

giant cupnoodles

The visit to the museum is free of charge, except participation in concocting and designing your own Cupnoodles packaging by getting the styrofoam cup and learning to fabricate instant noodle from Chicken Ramen Factory class.

Cupnoodles Museum proves that learning history doesn’t have too be boring and too serious. I like the way it educates people in interactive and entertaining way, that enable to attract children because it tends to look like a happy playground rather than a common ancient museum. I can understand if the colourful presentation dominated by Chicken Ramen cartoon mascot may seem too childish for some adults, but I love it anyways although I’m 40 something.

Personally, Cupnoodles Musuem doesn’t only broaden my horizon on the knowledge behind the mainsteam culture of eating instant noodle, but also reminds me of a happy childhood.

The original article has been published on https://telusuri.id/cupnoodles-museum/ (in Indonesian only)

upside down world bandung

Who and What is Galontrip?

upside down world bandung

My name is Nydia, the writer of Galontrip travel blog. I’m the proud citizen from Jakarta, the hectic Indonesia’s capital city with one of the worst traffic jams in the world. I’m a drop out design student, a fashion management graduate and an employee who happen to enjoy travelling.

Suppose you wonder what Galontrip means, here it is. Galontrip is derived from 3 words combined in one: Gal on Trip. The Gal, it’s me, who else? It simply means this blog is all about my journeys around my own city and the world.

Galontrip is a blog about travel, culinary destinations, and occasionally some hotel stay experience. Every post written in this blog is unbiased, as honest as it is without any pressure from the owner or the GM of the destinations.

Several articles in this blog are featured on gpsmycity.com, a self-guided app for travelers where you can convert an article into a map. So cool, huh? For more information, click here. My works are also featured on travel-oriented websites (written in Indonesian only), such as telusuri.id, idntimes.com, travel.detik.com, Sayang Perut Facebook Page and travelingyuk.com.

Perhaps you don’t always second with what I think, but I hope you enjoy what I write. If you do, feel free to follow my blog, so I’m getting more and more excited to post more great contents. Thank you!!

tpu petamburan

Petamburan Public Cemetery and the Overlook Cultural Legacy

Situated on Jalan KS Tubun, Central Jakarta, Indonesia, Petamburan Public Cemetery is not only the last resting place of Jakarta residents, but also houses the largest mausoleum in Southeast Asia and the silent witness of cultural diversity in Indonesia’s capital.

OG KHOUW MAUSOLEUM

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OG Khouw Mausoleum

OG Khouw, whose originally name was Khouw Oen Giok, was the landlord from Tambun, an entrepreneur who owned cane sugar plantation, Than Kie Bank and a philanthropist. He once donated his wealth to Jang Seng Ie Hospital, now Husada Hospital, and 40,000 Dutch Guilders for Dutch Red Cross. Therefore, he earned Dutch Citizenship from Queen Wilhelmina and his name was written in Western style, OG Khouw.

Besides, he was also the cousin of Khouw Kim An, the last Majoor der Chinezen (Major of the Chinese) of the Dutch East Indies and the owner of the mansion called Candra Naya on Jalan Gajah Mada in West Jakarta, which is now a museum.

OG Khouw and Lim Sha Nio’s graves

After OG Khouw’s passing in 1927 in Switzerland, his wife Lim Sha Nio built a 9-meter high-mausoleum made of imported black marble and statues from Italy to keep the ashes of her husband. Designed by G. Racina from Ai Marmi Italiani, an Italian architecture firm, the foundation cost extremely high, about 500,000 Dutch Guilders and finished in 1932.

The luxurious mausoleum even has a bunker below it to accommodate mourners and a room in the middle, which is permanently closed by the family. The last OG Khouw’s family visit to the mausoleum was in 1980’s.

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inside the bunker
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praying table with engraved images of OG Khous and his wife
additional metal door to the bunker

Nonetheless, the wealthy couple didn’t have any children. Therefore, after Lim Sha Nio passed away in 1957 and buried next to her husband, nobody took care of the mausoleum, whose luxury beats that of Rockefeller, the king of oil from the US at that time. Many years of neglection results in vandalism, theft and aging condition, e.g. broken nose on the angel statue in between the tombs, cracked marble inside the bunker and pillars.

an angel with broken nose

And that’s not it. A couple of high school students were also suspected of doing indecent acts inside the bunker. Since then, the mausoleum has an additional metal door in order to avoid similar incident.

Nowadays, Petamburan public cemetery management and Love Our Heritage community take care of the biggest mausoleum in Southeast Asia. However, both parties still need government support to finance the renovation expenses. If OG Khouw mausoleum is a cultural heritage, government will pay more attention to it, leading to an initiative of the renovation project. One of the reasons why it is not stated yet as the cultural heritage is probably because OG Khouw was a Dutch resident. Too bad.

OTHER KHOUW FAMILY MEMBERS BURIED IN PETAMBURAN

Those days, the land of Petamburan Public Cemetery was owned by Khouw family, who rented it for 80 years. But in fact, only 4 members of Khouw family were buried there, such as Khouw Kim An and his wife Phoa Tji Nio, WS Khouw and Khouw Kok Lie. Their graves are also mausoleums, although not as grandiose as that of OG Khouw.

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Khouw Kim An and his wife’s mausoleum

PUBLIC FIGURES AND BLACK MARBLE INSPIRATION

Djojo Muljadi’s grave

Black marble used on OG Khouw mausoleum was a “fashion trend” for other tombs. For example, the tomb of notary Djojo Muljadi uses black marble on the entire surface. On the other hand, Ibu Aju Agung’s tomb, the wife of Gunung Agung bookshop owner, only applies it for the name plate.

Ibu Aju Agung’s grave
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not a black marble, but this Asian Games athlete’s grave is kinda unique

FROM JAPANESE COLUMBARIUM TO JEWISH GRAVE

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traditional Chinese tombstone

If you wander the old complex of Petamburan Public Cemetery, situated on the front side a few meters from the entrance gate, you’ll find more varieties of grave. Traditional Chinese tombstones and European style graves with angel statues are some of the proves of cultural diversity that still stand gracefully and beautifully among modern ones.

European style grave

There’s also a columbarium housing the ashes of Japanese government officials during Japanese occupation in Indonesia. It is forbidden to take pictures inside and not all visitors are allowed to enter. Each year, members of the staff from Japanese Embassy have a visit to pray for their souls.

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Columbarium
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From all the graves, Jewish graves are the most uncommon ones in Petamburan with a triangle shape and engraved in Hebrew letters. I don’t think the history lesson in my high school has ever mentioned about Jewish settlement in Indonesia. Those days, Jewish people came to Indonesia for trading. But the locals often wrongly identified them as Arabic people because of their look.

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Jewish grave

Unfortunately, most of Jewish graves are not treated and and vandalized. Since families of the deceased don’t visit those graves any longer and don’t pay any maintenance fee, they are replaced by others graves. From 25 graves when found for the first time, now there are only 7 left, thanks to the renovation for the sake of cultural preservation. Otherwise, they will be completely gone forever.

I believe it’s time for government to see the potential of Petamburan Public Cemetery as a historical and cultural destination to boost tourism in Jakarta, starting from financially support the preservation of the luxurious OG Khouw mausoleum. Besides, it also diminishes the local’s stereotype about cemeteries as a dodgy and haunted place to visit.

upside down world bandung

Upside Down World Bandung: Photoshoot in the World without Gravity

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3960.9523756716785!2d107.61481131477272!3d-6.896299995016838!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x2e68e65212a87041%3A0xcd6e130647905f56!2sUpside%20Down%20World%20Bandung!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sid!4v1609848142654!5m2!1sen!2sid

Could upside down world on earth happen for real, or nothing more than just Hollywood movies? Actually, if you go to Upside Down World, you don’t have to be out of space to experience the world without gravity.

ABOUT UPSIDE DOWN WORLD

Upside Down World is a photoshoot destination, using a residential house as its main concept. Just like houses in general, it consists of rooms aka studios with various themes, such as bathroom, living room, bedroom, study room, dining room, pool room, kitchen, yard and warehouse in upside down position. In other words, all furniture and its attributes are hung on the ceiling.

ups
the original look of the studio without editing

Inspired by Upside Down World movie starring Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess in 2012, a Malaysian entrepreneur visualizes the idea into life. Finally, Upside Down World opened for the first time in 2016, having flagships in Bandung, Bali, Medan, Alam Sutera and Yogyakarta. At that time, it was a big hit following the emerging trend of posting selfies on social media and craving for more “likes”. Nowadays, unfortunately, most of them are already closed for good, except those in Bali and Bandung. In Malaysia itself, Upside Down World operates in Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.

To be honest, a photo studio is definitely not my first choice to be a travel destination no matter how instagrammable it is. Nonetheless, I decided to make it as a meeting point with an old friend of mine since its close to Dipati Ukur station, where the Jakarta-Bandung mini bus I took parked there. I was pretty sure that we would like to take pictures together after not seeing each other for years. Upside Down World seems like a unique location to do that.

I’d to ride my bicycle
shower time

The entrance fee to Upside Down World is Rp. 80.000 ($6) on weekdays and Rp. 100.000 ($8) on weekends for adults, and Rp. 50.000 ($3) for kids. For Indonesian standard, the rate is quite high, especially the building is not that big and has lack of lighting, in my opinion.

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glued in the kitchen – my favourite pic!

However, hiring an experienced interior designer for a challenging project and the difficulty in executing the project to ensure the safety of its visitors contribute higher construction costs. Heavy furniture, a bed for instance, requires an additional thick and very strong rope to attach properly on the ceiling.

hello kitty bedroom. cute huh?
upside down world bandung
doraemon inspired study room

LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD

Situated on H. Wasid No. 31, Lebak Gede, Coblong District, our visit started with doubts when we arrived at 10.30 am and no one was around. Well, there were a couple of foreigner entering the studio before us, but moments later they left. Fortunately, the ticket counter staff managed to convince us that the best visiting time is when it’s still quiet because there’s no need to be in line to move from one studio to another. Also, there will be plenty of time to improve our poses to get good results without being distracted by other visitors, who may impatiently wait for their turn.

It took some creativity to create poses that match various scenes. We could have used the same pose for different spots, yet it wouldn’t turn out as dramatic as we expected. And honestly, we started running out of ideas after the 4th scene. Fortunately, the reference from previous visitor’s pictures placed on wall helped us finding suitable poses. We also asked for an advice from the staff to orchestrate more poses other than what they normally do.

thrown to trash

I was happy with the final results of the photoshoot, as they look unconventional and surreal! To achieve such results, you only need to do some simple editing before posting them on social media by using basic features, such as rotate, crop, brightness, contrast and saturation as a finishing touch. No worries about my remark that the studio has lack of lighting because you can make a few adjustments as easy as one, two, three into perfection.

FACILITIES

Upside Down World provides photo printing service, mirrorless camera and costume rental, e.g. a kimono to match with the Japanese style dining room as a background, with additional price apart from entrance fee. I personally don’t think you need a specific costume to get good pictures. On the other hand, you really need the studio’s camera if you have a pretty bad (smartphone) camera.

upside down world bandung
printing center and snacks
Japanese style dining room

It’s recommended to keep all your personal belongings inside the locker provided during the visit, which is free of charge, so you don’t have to watch them all the time. It’s also can safe you from theft when it’s crowded inside. FYI, you need to take off your shoes prior to entering the studio and put them in a designated shoe rack.

lunch time

THE MORE THE MERRIER

Although posing in front of camera is not really my thing, I had a great time during the photoshoot. It gave me freedom to be as playful as I can, using my imagination of what I could do if I lived in the house without gravity. With a little help from the staff, who served us sincerely, and a close friend, who lighted up my day with laughter, anything’s possible.

All I can say is that Upside Down World is one of the destinations which is not so fun and memorable to visit without friends and family. And there’s no need to fly to the moon to experience zero gravity, at least in pictures.

Warung D’Bishe and Fantastic View of Rice Fields

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d65332253.26636864!2d78.18305220225601!3d-1.9260242728351253!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x2dd220ebccafea0b%3A0x9545988e1e41c5a1!2sWarung%20D-bishe!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sid!4v1607630544278!5m2!1sen!2sid

On the way to Ubud, we took shortcuts passing some villages and rice fields in Petang Village. Unexpectedly, we saw a food stall on the side of the street that managed to drive our attention called “Warung D’Bishe”. I love how the warung transforms used materials, such as slabs of wood and containers, into seating.

Honestly, I don’t wanna brag that I know everything about this warung. In fact, what came first to my mind when I got there was that I only wanted to chill out, enjoy the view, do some small talk and no intention to dig some more information about this place. I didn’t even think to share about it in this post. However, it would be kinda selfish if I know a great place but not telling you guys. So, I did.

Basically, Warung D’Bishe offers typical warung style light bites, such as Kacang Garuda (Garuda peanuts), Beng Beng chocolate snack, Taro Snack, as well as traditional coffee so-called kopi tubruk (unfiltered coffee) and tea. Not to mention Indomie, the nation’s best selling instant noodle, served hot on the table. From this point of view, Warung D’Bishe is like any other warungs.

Nonetheless, the picturesque view of rice fields is something you should not miss, as it is very refreshing for your mind and soul. I instantly could forget about hustling and bustling life in a big city like Jakarta with its concrete jungles. Besides, the warung has a swing, a sky tree and a cute hut with an attic you can climb on, that are instagrammable. I haven’t tried, but I hope the safety’s good.

If the warung is so instagrammable, how much does it cost?? Fear not, Warung D’Bishe is not the kind of so-called warung only by its name that charges you like an upscale restaurant. A cup of coffee is about Rp. 4000 ($ 0.30) for locals and Rp. 10,000 per cup ($ 0.80) for foreigners. But still, it’s less that $1 for great Balinese coffee, magnificent landscape right before your eyes and a small playground where you can have more fun with.

By the way, I recently check their Facebook Page and they actually have chicken feet soup served with rice noodle for heavier dish. Even there was a couple doing a pre-wedding shot in this warung and the result was incredible!

Last but not least, my advice is spend more time with friends and family, don’t stare too much at your phone screen. Enjoy the nature as long as you can, that’s for sure. Anyways, great view doesn’t have to be pricey.

fun quotes
snacks
outdoor seating
a cup of coffee
seating made of slabs of wood
do more social interaction instead

Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall: Hidden Paradise in Wanagiri

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3948.8998221414954!2d115.12003841478094!3d-8.21282899408958!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x2dd18f0a0b36a42f%3A0xf64c6ae42a96c645!2sBanyu%20Wana%20Amertha%20Waterfall!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sid!4v1603743998005!5m2!1sen!2sid

Wanagiri may not be the first place popping up in your mind when you’re talking about Bali. Especially, it’s merely a small village in the mountainous area of north Bali, situated 2 hours from all-time tourist destinations on the island, such as Kuta, Seminyak and many more, where all of them are located in the south.

Yet believe it or not, the news about the picturesque view of Wanagiri village has widely spread overseas. There are even more foreign tourists than local ones. Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall is one of the must-to-see destinations in the village.

4 WATERFALLS IN ONE PLACE

The best part of visiting Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall is that by paying merely Rp. 10,000 ($ 0.80) for locals and Rp. 20,000 ($ 1.50) for foreigners, you automatically have an access to 4 waterfalls since all of them are located close to each other.

NON-TOURISTY, PRESERVED NATURE

If you embrace tranquility and purity, Banyu Wana Amerta Waterfall is the right place for you. You won’t feel any touristy atmosphere, from overcrowded traffic to loud chit-chats, shouting and all that. Another advantage for not being a touristy place is that there aren’t too many trashes and less chances for nature destruction.

Moreover, there’s no such thing as burning heat in Wanagiri. If hot and sun is the first impression about the weather in Bali, it’s time to broaden that perception. Generally speaking, the afternoon temperature in Wanagiri is approximately 25 degrees with the real feel of 22 degrees because of the breeze.

I personally love the mild weather in Wanagiri, that affects me for not being too sweaty and too exhausted during the hiking activity, thanks to the refreshing mountain breeze.

PERFECT FOR DEBUTANT HIKERS

The way to the waterfall is quite steep and narrow, but still safe for cars and motorcycles to pass by. The asphalt street has a very good condition with an even surface. What you need to do is to control the speed while driving.

If you love to explore the beauty of nature but afraid of falling, getting slipped, getting lost and ending up in the middle of nowhere? Fear not! The trails are suitable for all-level hikers. The safety is pretty good, too.

At first, you will pass residential houses after passing the ticket counter. This confused me in the beginning, thinking that I took the wrong way to the villagers’ house complex. Nonetheless, a wooden board saying “waterfall” with an arrow sign implied that I was on the right track.

You will step on paving blocks along the way to the main destination, surrounded with greenery and some flower. It’s completely an easy and save trail for everyone.

on the way to the waterfall

Within 20 minutes walk, you’ll find an intersection with a big board mentioning the direction and duration spent to all 4 waterfalls. Each waterfall are simply named “BWA Waterfall”, “One Waterfall”, “Two Waterfall” (without “s”, probably because of grammatical error) and “Spray Waterfall”.

an intersection

Starting from here, the trail starts to be “closer to nature”, aka a bit challenging, and no pavements like the previous one. But still, it is suitable for those who are not used to hiking. There are some slippery paths you need to pay attention, though not too many. The risk of being slipped is lessened by used tires implanted on the soil. Steep surfaces are modified into stairs in accordance with the contour of the soil, completed with handrails made of bamboo, wood or twigs to support safety, while maintaining the original landscape as it should be.

BWA WATERFALL AND ONE WATERFALL

banyu wana amerta waterfall
one waterfall

If you don’t have all the time in the world, just visit One Waterfall and BWA (abbreviation of Banyu Wana Amertha) Waterfall. Both waterfalls are on the same location that takes only a minute walking distance from the intersection, separated by a wooden bridge. The difference between them is that One Waterfall only has 1 spring water, whereas BWA Waterfall has several sources of spring water in one place.

banyu wana amertha waterfall
the bridge to BWA waterfall

The view is not only magnificent for taking pictures, selfie or wefie, but also great for swimming and bathing. So don’t forget to bring a swimsuit to enjoy the fresh and unpolluted water. It will re-energize your body and mind to continue your journey. Not far from the waterfall, there’s a changing room that looks like a hut at a glance.

BWA Waterfall

TWO WATERFALL AND SPRAY WATERFALL

These waterfalls are also spots you should not miss during the visit. Starting from the same intersection, it takes 5 minutes to Two Waterfall and 7 minutes to Spray Waterfall. Bear in mind that these waterfalls are in the opposite direction of BWA and One Waterfall.

Two Waterfall and favorite photo spot

Most visitors love capturing themselves standing on the wooden bridge with a waterfall background in Two Waterfall. On the other hand, there’s no bridge in Spray Waterfall and the water stream tends to be heavy. You also can bathe and swim in both waterfalls, however they are more popular for photo spots and no changing room provided.

banyu wana amertha waterfall
spray waterfall

TIPS FOR VISITORS

The best time to visit is in the morning because it often rains in Wanagiri in the afternoon, and the paths are getting more slippery as well. Bringing a raincoat to anticipate the weather is highly recommended. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and non-slip shoes or sandals. To maximize the experience at the waterfall, bring a swimsuit if you wish.

There’s only one traditional food stall or so-called warung inside the area with limited options, such as Indomie instant noodle, coffee and snacks. It’s completely a traditional warung, nothing commercial and very cheap. Just $ 0.30 for a cup of coffee, who can’t afford that?

The other warung is outside the waterfall complex, facing the street. Selling more or less the same thing, they have an $ 0.80 rice noodle with meatballs, that unfortunately the meatballs are not good and too floury. So, I suggest you to get an Indomie instant noodle instead, since it already has a sort of “standard” taste regardless who cooks it. Though still, some say that eating Indomie at any warung tastes better than you cook it at home.

this looks good, but the taste isn’t

If they don’t suit your taste, bring your own food and don’t litter. I advise you to bring a paper or a plastic bag to collect trashes and throw them away after returning to the hotel.

Bali has so much more than just beaches and sun. To feel the new sensation of Bali with waterfalls and colder weather, that could be 10 or even 6 degrees at night, it’s time for you to visit north Bali that includes Banyu Wana Amertha waterfall on your bucket list.

gps

Turning a Travel Article into a Personal Guide with GPSmyCity – 2020

Indeed, it’s possible! But, what is GPSmyCity and what are the benefits for travelers?

GPSmyCity is an app providing articles covering over 1,000 cities worldwide. Once you install the app either on iOS or Android through www.gpsmycity.com , you can download each article for free and read it in the future without internet connection.

All articles are embedded with GPS map that will function after upgrading with a small amount of fee. There’s no need to ask anyone for a direction or read a conventional map on your own any longer to find a place you want to go, that will save a lot of time and cut the hassle during your journey. The best thing about it is that the GPS works even when you’re offline. Isn’t it great?

gps

After traveling for many years, I realize that wi-fi connection is one of the essentials you don’t always get easily when you’re abroad, except depending on hotels and cafes or data roaming packages that may break your bank account. So, I believe that GPSmyCity is a breakthrough app for travelers like us.

Therefore, I’m happy to announce that my articles:

Gokayama and Two UNESCO Heritage Villages – https://www.gpsmycity.com/blog/6657, Ereveld Menteng Pulo, Historical Cemetery in a Jungle – https://www.gpsmycity.com/blog/6655, 6 Attractions in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta – https://www.gpsmycity.com/blog/6579

are ready to launch on GPSmyCity.

During the first week of the launch, GPSmyCity will give away one of my articles, Gokayama and Two UNESCO Heritage Villages – https://www.gpsmycity.com/blog/6657, and users will be able to upgrade the app for free.

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Kishigawa Railway Line Tourism: Saved by the Cat!

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Kishigawa Line is a railway line under Wakayama Electric Railway in Wakayama, Japan. Departing from platform 9 in Wakayama Station, the train serves trips to 14 stations, that ends up in Kishi Station, Kinokawa, in 30 minutes.

By the way, what does a cat have to do with a railway line?

ALMOST BANKRUPT

strawberry themed train

The lack of passengers and financial problems in mid 2000 threatened Kishigawa Line to its permanent closure due to bankcruptcy. The locals urged Mitsunobu Kojima, the president of Wakayama Electric Railway at that time, to revive the railway line.

One day, a grocery store owner near Kishi Station begged the railway company to take care of a cat called Tama. Okay, that may sounded odd, but Tama wasn’t just any other cat.

He’s a calico cat that the store owner took care of. Tama often waited in the neighbourhood of Kishi Station and had paid attention many train passengers and inhabitants in town since the end of 90’s because of its tameness and cute-looking for pictures. He was later nicknamed “Kishi station master”.

After meeting Tama in his own eyes, Kojima was touched and finally agreed to adopt him.

TAMA, KISHIGAWA LINE ICON

To boost an image, Kojima created a branding for Kishigawa Line by making Tama as an icon. Accessorized with a conductor’s hat, he officially turned his beloved cat into “Kishi Station Master” in 2007. It was the first time in Japanese history to have a cat as a station master.

Tama illustrated

Apart from that, Tama appeared in multiple publications, social media, greeted passengers and became a model. Tama even had his own office in the form of a modified ticket counter.

Kojima’s efforts finally paid off. The amount of passengers increased about 55,000 people, who were mostly very enthusiastic to meet the cute and cuddly Tama. The ticket sales was not only enough to finance Tama’s food all year long, but also to boost the economic growth in Wakayama.

After Tama’s passing in 2015 in the age of 16, his position is replaced by another calico cat named Nitama or Tama 2, who is in charge in Kishi Station. There’s also Yontama or Tama 4 in Idakiso Station.

THE FOUR-THEMED TRAIN

inside strawberry themed train (ichigo densa)

The trains operating in Kishigawa Line are very easy to recognize because of their attractive design created by Eiji Mitooka. Basically, they have 4 different themes, such as strawberry (Ichigo Densa), toys (Omoden), plum pickles (Umeboshi Densha) and last but not least, Tama Den, which is no other than Tama cat theme. This train even has “ears” too in its front look.

You’ll never know what day and time the particular theme will appear right before your eyes. You may get Tama theme if you are lucky.

tama den, or cat themed train

IDAKISO STATION: YONTAMA’S OFFICE AND TEMPLE

super station master room or Yontama’s office

Idakiso station is one of the busiest station because it’s where super station master room aka Yontama’s “office” is located. Yontama’s room is a modified ticket counter, completed with a bed, litter tray and cat ladder.

Yontama is in service from 10 am to 4 pm, except Monday and Friday. Suppose you don’t see Yontama, perhaps he’s in deep sleep. I found him under the ladder, curling his body while sleeping. He didn’t notice me watching him.

Visitors are not allowed to knock the glass and take pictures without permission or carelessly while the cat is resting to avoid disturbance and stress.

Itakiso Temple
Itakiso Temple

Don’t come the station just to see the feline stationmaster. Leave the station and visit beautiful Shinto temples, such as Itakiso, Ashigami and Kimiidera, which are reachable on foot. Nonetheless, suppose you don’t want to walk too far, the closest temple is Itakiso Temple that takes 7 minutes walking distance.

empty street along the way

Trust me, walking to Itakiso temple is a fun and relaxing activity since trees, gardens, classic Japanese houses will greet you along the way. Moreover, the street is wide with less cars passing by and its surroundings is very quiet.

KISHI STATION: TAMA MUSEUM AND CAFE

Tama Museum and Cafe

The final stop of Kishigawa Line is Kishi Station. The station houses Tama Museum and Tama Cafe. Also designed by Eiji Mitooka, pay attention to some unique details of the building, from a cat head-shaped roof with ears in both edges to 2 oval-shaped windows resembling cat’s eyes.

And that’s not all, folks. You will also find cat-themed chairs inside the cafe, accentuated with the silhouette of a cat’s head, ears, cat whiskers illustration and a bell, associated with a pet’s (cat) accessories. Tama Cafe offers light bites, such as cakes, crepes, ice cream, french fries and drinks, from coffee, matcha latte to hot chocolate.

Tama Museum is where you can see memorabilia of Tama and get some lovely Tama merchandise in the souvenir shop. Mugs, t-shirts, notebooks, towels, key chains, posters and fridge magnets are among others.

Tama souvenir shop

One thing for sure. You are able to meet the station master Yontama every day, except on his day offs on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

TICKET INFORMATION

Kishigawa Line ticket is available in Wakayama Station. I recommended you to take a day ticket as a tourist since it’s valid for unlimited return trips and you can stop in any station you like within 24 hours. It costs 800 Yen ($ 7.50) for adults, 400 yen ($ 3.80) for kids.

Wakayama Station

Please note that Kishigawa Line is not part of JR Pass you’ve already bought in your country of origin. So, you have to get it separately. Just to be clear, all JR passes are only sold overseas, destined for foreign tourists to explore Japan in more affordable rate. However, Kishigawa Railway Line tickets are only obtainable in Wakayama, Japan.

I have to admit that Japanese people are great at developing a tourist destination in inspiring and unthinkable way. The story behind Kishigawa Line proves that a cat doesn’t only have 9 lives, but also able to save people from bankruptcy and revive tourism in unconventional way.

Now you can download this article through the following link: https://www.gpsmycity.com/gps-tour-guides/wakayama-6480.html