Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bandung - Sundanese Food "Raja Sunda"

Having family dinner here on 19th December 2013.

Raja Sunda Restaurant is ranked at no. 28 out of 391 by the Tripadvisors. It is strategically located at Jalan Terusan Pasteur No. 63, Bandung, West Jawa. We would recommend this place to all as the food serves here are worthy for money.

After dinner
Indonesia is a multicultural and a wide nation. The central of Indonesian culture is Java Island which also separated into some region such as Sunda. Sunda is part of West Java of Indonesia and has a culture distinct from the rest of Indonesia. Sundanese food is quite famous in Jakarta and Bandung. We’ve been to Ampera, house of Sundanese cuisine when we were in Jakarta and in Bandung, the taxi driver recommended a place called “Raja Sunda” of which, we love it way too much.

This Raja Sunda restaurant satisfies our cravings for local Indonesian cuisine when one is in Indonesia. We would recommend this restaurant as one of a must-visit place whenever you are in Bandung (repeated sentence).We tend to love the traditional favourites such as deep-fried gurame fish (crispy to the bone), sayur lodeh (curry vegetables) braised till meltingly soft, and the tahu telur (fried beancurd with egg and drizzled with sweet, thick gravy). I recommend you with any menu item that’s on charcoal-grilled, their specialities.

Photo tells a thousand story, hence, I'm sharing here with you what we ordered that night. The food charged that night slightly above RM100, cheap for our taste.

Strawberry fresh juice

Serving rice in a special bowl

Crispy fried cuttlefish

Prawn fried in a special sauce

Fried Kangkung with Tauhu Bakar

Gurame charcoal grill in a special Raja Sunda recipe - must try!

Deep fried "Flying Gurame" 

Ayam pop and mangoes salad

Friday, December 27, 2013

The itinerary of Jakarta - Bandung, 2013

Family photo in Tangkuban Perahu Mountain, Bandung

As soon as the flight ticket was booked via "KLM" in October, I had prepared an itinerary of 3 days 2 nights in Jakarta, boarded a train to Bandung on 3rd days, spent 4 days 3 nights in Bandung and return to Jakarta for remaining days till we departed from Jakarta on 24th December 2013. Hotel was therefore booked via "". In November, the itinerary has to be modified due to Nazhif's examination schedule.

The schedule (in italic) and actual event of our trips are as follows:-

Day 01: Arrival Jakarta, 16 Dec 2013 (Monday)
2.05pm                 Naim to send us off to KLIA
3.05pm                 Arrived at the airport
5.05pm                 Departure at KLIA via KLM flight no. KL 0809
6.10pm                 Arrival at Soekarno Hatta Airport
6.30pm                 Transferred to the hotel for check in (*Transport to be arrange by Hotel 55).
8pm                       Dinner 

Remarks: Hotel 55 did not arranged any airport pick-up, hence we took airport taxi at Rp.180,000 to Mangga Dua from Soekarno Hatta airport. We had local cuisine, "Nasi Padang" that night at Mangga Dua area just outside the hotel compound.
2 nights stay in Hotel 55 located at Mangga Dua, read the review by Tripadvisor here

Day 02: In Jakarta, 17 Dec 2013 (Tuesday)
After breakfast (provided by Hotel 55), to visit the following places by taking Jakarta Commuter @ city trains:-
  1. Sunda Kelapa Old Harbour - undoubtedly the most historic site in Jakarta - an old Dutch port;
  2. National Museum - (Monas);
  3. Istiqlal Mosque; and
  4. Jakarta Cathedral 
Actual event: Syahirah and I took a commuter ride with assistance offered by the hotel staff from Jayakarta Station (seated right in front of the hotel) to Juanda Station at about 11am. From Juanda Station we took "Bajai" a motorbike similar to tuk tuk to Gambir Station to purchase a return train ticket to Bandung. We safely back to the hotel by lunch time. All 4 of us went out by taking a commuter train and stop at Gongdangdia Station thinking to shop at the biggest mall in Jakarta "Grand Indonesia". We had "Nasi Padang" lunch at Sederhana Restaurant located next to the Gondangdia station. While eating, we received a phone call from Dilla, my good friend who are now working in Jakarta. She sent her driver to take us to MONAS and for dinner at Ampera Sunda food house. Later the night, we made a quick stop at her place, met her children's and the driver sent us to Cikini Station that brought us back to hotel without any hassle of the traffic jam.

Remarks: We passed by Istiqlal Mosque and Jakarta Cathedral but did not stop for picture. A waste!

Most convenience way to avoid traffic is taking train when in Jakarta

Day 03: Jakarta, 18 Dec 2013 (Wednesday)

Plan to visit:
  1. Mangga Dua Shopping Complex;
  2. Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, miniature of Indonesia (#maybe);
  3. Ancol Dreamland (#maybe); and
  4. Booking 1 day transportation to fetch Nazhif/Naim from airport

Actual event: After breakfast, 3 of us left hotel heading towards Sunda Kelapa Old Harbour by train. We were advised to take a train to the last station, Jakarta Kota and take a taxi to the harbour. However, massive jam made us took a local mini bus and stuck in the middle of congestic traffic. It was unlucky event that forced us back to the train station and thereafter straight to hotel. We checked out from Hotel 55 to Hotel Aryaduta located in Central Jakarta at Tugu Tani, Menteng. After checked-in at 2pm, we just relaxed and enjoyed a movie without getting out anywhere, due to the facts of scary traffic experience in the morning. Hubby called the 2 boys who scheduled to arrive that evening to take airport taxi. We left their room key & notes with the reception when we went out for dinner with Dilla. They were at the swimming pool when we get back. 

City getaway in Hotel Aryaduta

Day 04: Bandung, 19 Dec 2013 (Thursday)

Train ride via "Argo Pranhayat", a direct train from Jakarta to Bandung. This train departed from Gambir Station in Jakarta and  stopped at Bandung Station. 1 way ticket was at Rp70,000 but a return was charged at Rp90,000 for each person. All coaches are air-conditioned and ours are classified as an Executive Class. We get a small pillow to use during the ride. Foods can be purchased on board. It takes about 2.5 - 3 hrs journey. 

Actual event: It was a perfect itinerary excepting a fact when I was ingested with a stomach ache after breakfast at the hotel and was in pain until we boarded a train to Bandung. We chose 10.50am ticket and safely arrived at around 2.30pm. We took a taxi to Hotel Majesty at Rp75,000 from Bandung train station. Later in the afternoon, we took a taxi to Trans Studio Bandung (again facing a massive traffic jam) and a nice dinner at Raja Sunda restaurant. Remarks: We stayed in Hotel Majesty for 2 nights.

Majesty Hotel, Bandung

Day 05: Bandung, 20 Dec 2013 (Friday)

Place of Interest (POI):)
  1. Visit Tangkuban Perahu Mountain;
  2. Sari Ater Hotspring which is very good for skin treatment;
  3. Shopping at Cihampelas Jeans Centre and Factory Outlet such as Rumah Mode, The Heritage, Summit,etc.
Actual event: We booked a hotel transport (Innova) for 1 day at Rp650,000. We first visited Tangkuban Perahu Mountain, second to Sari Ater Hotspring but 5 voted that I should go alone (sigh) while they waited for me in the car and later to the famous factory outlet spots at Gado. We had a nice Sundanese lunch at "Sambara" after finished shopping at Polo. The last stop after Pasar Baru was at the men's clothing (Jeans & T-shirt) before we headed back to the hotel at around 8pm.

Most recommended place to visit when in Bandung-Tangkuban Perahu Mountain

 Day 06: Bandung, 21 Dec 2013 (Saturday)

After breakfast at the hotel is to shop at Pasar Baru Wholeseller Market to buy Batik, Silk, Telekung & Sarong and local food products like Tempe Oncom,Sale Pisang,Keripik etc. I planned to walk in the park in the afternoon.

Actual event: During breakfast, ever body chatting non-stop about shopping heaven a day before especially when they were at Polo/Nike/Jeans etc Factory outlet. They were determined to continue the shopping spree at Jalan Riau where we  were going to stay for a last night in Bandung, at Hotel Amaroosa. As we were allowed to check-in at 2pm, we proceeded to the Heritage (another factory outlet within a walking distance from Amaroosa) for shopping. I had an opportunity to try a local street food (Bakso) after they called it off to rest while continued later after swimming session and Maghreb prayer. Later the night, we had lunch at Kodomochi Kitchen at the bowling centre just opposite the hotel. We got back to the hotel after the factory outlet was about to close the shop.
Nike factory outlet at Gado
Day 07: Bandung – Jakarta, 22st Dec. 2013 (Sunday)

Check out at the hotel at 12noon.
Get a train station, maybe via train schedule at 1425-1710 hours.
Late check-in at hotel in Jakarta (to book)
Dinner at Dilla’s place

Actual event: The boys decided to continue shopping, hence, I offered to pack our belonging and arranged for check-out. Told the boys to be back SHARP at the hotel by 11am. When we get down with the luggage, Naim is the only 1 waiting at the lobby whilst the other 2 were no where in sight. I was freak out as the train to Jakarta was leaving at 12.05 noon time. Considering the traffic, I would not gamble with anything. After the payment was cleared, hubby arrived and arranged for taxi. We told Naim to look for Nazhif. God bless, both of them turned up shortly after. We arrived at the train platform with ample time. Dilla was very kind in offering her place to accommodate our last 2 nights in Jakarta. The driver came to picked us up and later we went to a local area to survey the bikes and shopping 3 pairs of shoes (men) at only Rp950,000. Good bargain and thank you my friend, Dilla for being so thoughtful and considerate to entertain 6 of us.
Comfortable train ride in executive coach Bandung to Jakarta
Day 08: In Jakarta, 23 Dec 2013 (Monday)

Country Side & Safari Park Excursion to Puncak/Bogor
Duration: Approximately 8 hours include Lunch, Daily Departure.
Driving through one of Jakarta's suburbs and lovely countryside to Bogor, 60 Km south of Jakarta. Visit the famous Botanical garden, a pleasant drive to Puncak and visit Indonesia Safari Park. 

Actual event: The above was a dreaming place. Nobody wanted to accompany me to my dream place, hence, we stayed on at Dilla's with her 3 lovely children's at the pool. After lunch, we took a cab to "Thamrin City Mall" and "Grand Indonesia" for more shopping. We had dinner at the famous restaurant, "Natrabu" that night with Dilla.

Having great time with beautiful girls
Day 09: In Jakarta, 24 Dec 2013 (Tuesday)

12.00 noon Check out
Spend whole afternoon at Dilla’s place
Flight to KUL at 1925, to be at the airport at 1725
Remarks: To book taxi to airport.

Actual event: The boys again wanted to have a last minute shopping. I let them go as I wished to have a nice time for massage and packing our luggage to the airport. Dilla had booked 2 cabs at 3.30pm. The boys came back at 1pm with more shopping bags which allows enough time for them solat, lunch and changed. The cab came slightly late due to Christmas eve traffic and after a tremendous traffic drama, we barely arrived at 5.30pm to catch our flight at 7.25pm to Kuala Lumpur.

Selfie with the boys at KLIA

I'm so relieved and thankful when we arrived home after midnight. As a conclusion, I was not really 100% happy with the vacation as a lot of my itinerary being slashed by groups voting. It was annoying being a loser to the boys. In addition, the city is similar to Chenai, to Mumbai and more or less Karachi in terms of cleanliness and safety.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fly to Jakarta with KLM

Arrival: 16th December 2013
Departure: 24th December 2013

It was the first time we booked and fly with KLM  Royal Dutch Airline. KLM is a short form of Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V., the flag carrier from Netherlands. The airline offered the cheapest rate in comparing with our low rate carrier, Air Asia or Malaysia Airlines to Jakarta as they dropping off passengers at Kuala Lumpur before proceeding the last stop in Jakarta. We flew with aircraft Boeing 777-300 ER on 16th December 2013.

The booking was made and confirmed on 17th October 2013 when Nazhif's final exam schedule was  not even out. Unfortunately the ticket clashes with his last paper at 2.30pm on 17th December 2013, hence, we had to change his flight to 18th December 2013. Naim has to accompany him which allows him attending few more days classes in MSU. It's difficult nowadays to plan a family vacation when the children's are already in their college year, except for Nasrul. The fare for all six of us is reasonably cheap at RM2,178.

2 check-in and 1 cabin baggages for 9 days vacation
With the e-ticket in hand, we went ahead to self check-in machine placed right in front of a usual check-in counter (J is for other airlines including KLM) by Malaysia Airport Berhad. Thereafter, baggages for check-in will be drop off at the dedicated check-in counter.

Queu for baggage drop after self check-in
Off we go to gate C02 on the main terminal at 3.45pm. We thought of having our late lunch there but time was not permitted for us to do so. We ended having a vegetarian snacks on the plane serves by KLM steward. KLIA is pretty much quite if to compare to their old glory days before Air Asia's existence in the industry. The airport is no longer as noisy as before. Maybe it is wise to go for merger like what KLM and Air France gone through in 2004. 

In Airport train to the main Terminal 

Syahirah posed with the unbelievable RM3,400 scotch whisky at the free duty shop.
Nazhif will pack his thing and hand over the place that he occupied in GMI hostel for the last 3 semester after his exam today. Next year until he completes his diploma (another 3 semester to go) he need to stay outside, being a senior himself. We left Rp1 million, their passport, e-ticket and cabin baggage for both of them to manage the airport hassle tomorrow. Hope all is well.

A-ticket, passport and Rp1 million cash for the 2 boys on 18th Dec. 2013

The plane departed KLIA to Jakarta at 1705 (5.05pm) and arrived 1810 (6.10pm) with an hour time difference. I watched in flight entertainment, "Les Miserable" during the short travel period just to kill time. Soekarno Hatta International Airport is not a modern airport like ours but it's very unique resembles a cultural Indonesian heritage. We paid Rp180,000 for a taxi to a hotel located in Mangga Dua area.

View from Economy class, seats 18

Beautiful lamp shades at arrival hall captivated my attention

Heading towards Immigration lanes

I shall continue with our proposed itinerary in this 9 day family vacation plan. Stay in touch!

Monday, December 9, 2013

National Zoo of Malaysia - IJM Give Day Out

Event date: Saturday, 7th December 2013

Our employer, IJM had a yearly charity works activities laid out to all staff's participation as part of the company's commitment to the community. The programme is called IJM Gives Day Out @ GDO. This year, the headquarters staff were assigned for 3 different volunteering works. I was in Zoo Savanah group for a voluntary services at National Zoo of Malaysia, another group were transplanting trees in Selangor and the Finance group were arranging goods to the affected typhoon Haiyan people in Philippines. The project site will have their own activities. 

At the side entrance, meant for the workers
I came back late from giving a talk to Master of Science In Integrated Construction Project Management at the university where I was graduated, a night before. Though an alarm clock was set at 6.30am,  I was so freaking out when only at 7.05am I got up from the bed. I was supposed to be at the zoo entrance by 7.45am. Alhamduillah, by 7.25 I managed to starts the car engine and headed to the destination. Unfortunately I missed a turn to Ampang/Hulu Kelang Road as I was too anxious looking at the clock ticking. Deciding to gamble and follow the unfamiliar route, I lost about 8 minutes to get back on the right road direction. 

Thank God it was a Sunday morning with no traffics. Even I myself cannot figured out how I managed to arrive at 7.49am, maybe the One up there is watching me and helps to slow the clock. Large group of us gathered at the Zoo Entrance right to receive briefing at almost 8am and reported to the Zoological staff for assignment shortly after. Iskmahani, Ikmalar (both posing at the Customer Relation Office in below photo) and I were assigned to the Customer Relation section.

Our duty are to receive tourist and assisted them to place a tag after an entrance fee has been paid. It was not a bad assignment but we weren't expected a simple work. We thought that we would be able to feed the animals, clean their cage and play with them. Therefore, when Hafiz and Abang Jack arrived late, we thought we could switches our duties with them. However, all 5 of us ended up serving customers. 2 memorable pictures below how busy and how glamorous our job's are. Hehe...  

It was monsoon season, hence, the weather was not that good to visit the zoo. While waiting for the drizzling to stop, a groups of children's from kindergarten pose for picture with Hafiz included.

The National Zoo occupied on 110 acres of prominent land in Ulu Kelang, near Taman Melawati in the north east of Kuala Lumpur. It was officially opened on 14 November 1963 by the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman. It was originated from a miniature zoo opened in 1957 by the Malayan Agri Holticultural Association (MAHA). With a support of Federal Government, the zoo was located at it's present location.


The zoological park is managed by the non-government organization known as the Malaysian Zoological Society, hence, it relies on gate collections and support from donors and sponsors for it's funding. Zoo Negara is home to over 5000 animals of close to 460 different species. Over the years, the zoo has transformed itself to an open concept zoo. Majority of its animals kept in spacious exhibits with landscape befitting its nature.

At 9.40am, we were relief for 20 minutes from our duty for breakfast at the nearby canteen. But the foods were taken to another restaurant, where we supposed to have our lunch. We saw our colleagues on our way there. They seems to really have fun in the cage. How envious!

After breakfast, we wandered around thinking that it will be no harm saying hello to the animals on our way back to customer service desk. However, the opposite direction took us longer than expected. The adorable animals attracted our attention and commitment from work, hence we took break for close to an hour. The zoo keeper assigned as our supervisor refused to accept our nondisciplinary manners, hence, we were told to report to the office. It seems everybody there heard the complaints, how embarrassing!!!

3 photos evidencing that, true, we wandered around 
Blame the white tiger, please.. they are all so adorable
Some of the animals photo snapped during "wandering period" are shared here. We truly apologize to the zoo keeper. It's hard to resist admiring the beautiful creation by the Almighty.

More than 700 Milky Stokes settled down in Zoo Negara
2nd largest turtle in the world, from Africa

3 of us were then sent to the tree planting at Savannah zone area. We joined the rest of the Tree Planting group, who seems working so hard under the drizzle of rains to form a beautiful landscape. How bless we are to finally contribute some hard works. We had lunch with a large groups of IJMer's at end of the of the session, slightly before 1 noon.

I truly have fun with best buddy, Iskmahani & Ikmalar. Hope we 3 shall participate again for next year's GDO :)