Monday, September 30, 2019

Vihara Budhi Bhakti - The Buddhist Wing of Tua Pek Kong Temple @ Nagoya District, Batam Island [Indonesia]

Back in 2015, i noticed a new structure at the back of the popular Tua Pek Kong Temple in Batam but didn't venture further to check it out.  Fast forward to 2019; with plenty of time, why not climb up the stairs and see what's up there.

Stone decoration taking the center spot in the middle of two staircases; with its red and orange goldfishes contrasting with the green lotus leaves, they were eye-catching even from far away! 

Rules and regulations; the Chinese version is way better than the English translation which is contradicting sometimes. For example, no eating and drinking is already rather straightforward and it's confusing when you have to add in "include non-vegetarian food". 

Stepping into the main hall; one word, sparse! 

However, there's more to the Buddhist hall. Like the super high ceiling and the beautiful, wooden roof; given its layout, the top appeared to be supported only by the four corners of the building.

Another interesting thing; the panels with portraits of what seemed to be Buddha's disciples, Bodhisattva and the arhats. Strangely, the Chinese words accompanying them don't make any sense to me. Shame on me as i always identify myself as Buddhist rather than Taoist.

Given the elevation, we had a pretty good view of the surrounding.

Compared to my first visit to Batam about 25 years ago, the Indonesian island had developed a lot with numerous tall buildings spotted in my recent trip! I still remember my shock in the 1990s when there was only one traffic light in the whole island.

Long glass display on the ground floor.

Turned out it housed the statues of deities, gods from both Taoism and Buddhism and there were so many! I believe they were abandoned statues when a family decides to forgo their faith or had too many in the first place. 

As it is considered sacrilegious to destroy a religious artifact; sending the statues to a religious compound is a more palatable option. 



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Address
Lubuk Baja Kota, Lubuk Baja, 
Batam City, Riau Islands 29444, Indonesia

Operating Hours
Normal Days: 6 am to 6 pm
1st Day of the Lunar Month: 6 am to 10 pm
15th Day of the Lunar Month: 6 am to 10 pm



Sunday, September 29, 2019

Travelodge Batam (Formerly Novotel Batam) - Edge of Nagoya Hills @ Indonesia #travelodgebatam

Formerly known as Novotel Batam, i wouldn't have the chance to stay in Travelodge Batam if i weren't with my family as the usual me would have chosen somewhere that's more convenient with plenty of nearby amenities.

Thankfully, its location wasn't exactly that bad and it's a matter of crossing some busy roads to get to a nearby local morning market and harbour bay (a quieter ferry terminal). So, i guess what matters most now is our review on the hotel.

Our entrance via the ground floor as the ceiling for the main drop off on the second level wasn't high enough. It felt kind of strange as the place was devoid of any reception but we were already pre-informed that we should proceed to the 1st level.

The photo booth and props for photo taking! More for the kids and glad to have the kids around as the pre-teen them are still relatively game to strike some poses for the camera.

Main lobby and reception; bright and welcoming, there's even a grand piano should you decide to work your fingers. Problem is you must have a certain level of caliber; Jovyn attempted and it was torture for our ears! Maybe we should send her for piano lessons.

Complimentary fruit infused water! I think this healthy, calorie-free beverage is quite the norm for Indonesian hotels as i recalled such arrangement in other hotels like Bandung's Best Western Premier La Grande Hotel.

Proceeding to the accommodation wing! The open compound would be where the weekend BBQ night is held every Friday and Saturday.

Costing just 149,000 rupiah (about S$15) a person, the deal sounded so good but we didn't manage to check it out as we had either planned for dinner at other places or were too full for dinner.

A picture of how the compound looked like a weekend night.

Corridor that wasn't eerie! As always, i am a bit sticky when it comes to hotel corridors as more often than not; they often gave me the creeps!

Accommodation
Room 238 - my room or i assumed to be the room assigned to me and my dad. We were forced out shortly after as the kids wanted a bathtub and theirs didn't have one!

Since my dad and i don't mind not having a bathtub; we gladly exchange the room with the kids. To us, it's really just a place to wash up and sleep. That's the reason why i usually don't like to pay top dollars for accommodation.

Room 246 - compared to 238, it's much bigger and i think my dad and i got a better deal for just the two of us since the kids would have to bunk in with my mom!

Old school, resort style decor; loving the spaciousness and honestly nothing much to complain about except for maybe one bedside lamp that i think had a blown bulb.

Would be good if the space near the door had some benches or something as it just seemed so empty!  Alternatively, the toilet can be expanded although i wouldn't suggest that after having a first-hand experience after a shower. Shall explain later.

Our balcony! Facing the central compound where the weekend BBQ nights were held; there's seriously no reason why i would be outside to feed the mosquitoes and people-watch.

The pretty large washroom - did you notice anything amiss? Well, there's the sink, the toilet bowl, the toiletries and the shower curtain. Why was there a metal bar seat?! Honestly feels like i am in some hospitals.

Furthermore, it's missing a kerb to separate the shower area and due to the gradient, the water would flow towards the sink area; resulting in the whole area being flooded with water! Don't bother putting the floor mat there as it will be soaked and it's actually less challenging for you to change to a new set of clothes outside the toilet!

Breakfast Buffet
On a happier note, let's now proceed with the complimentary breakfast. Spread was decent and knowing Indonesian cuisine now, there are many sauces and condiments you can use to enhance your food.

I used the sweet sauce, fried onions quite liberally on my fried eggs, omelettes and porridge; thanks to Joyce's training at Best Western in Bandung! In general, i was unimpressed with the rest of the offerings.

Gym and Pool
Spacious gym that appeared to be good enough for classes to be held. Without Alex around to motivate me, i didn't even attempt to exercise even though i thought the equipment was a bit dated.

Thinking there would be more gym equipment on the second level, the kids and i proceeded up the staircase. The irony as i think they do require more exercises.

It's the sheltered pool; 1.75 meters at its deepest!

I didn't realize it was just right beside the restaurant where we had our buffet breakfast for two days! As no smoking is allowed within the restaurant, many smokers converged at the poolside to light their sticks instead.

Spa and Massage
Those who are too lazy to get out of the hotel can relax at the in-house spa and massage parlour! For me, my parents would become too bored if i ask them to stay in the hotel the whole day. In addition, i the parlour was located in a rather obscure area in the hotel and i got to check it out on the day of my departure!

Prices were only a bit more expensive (i am referring only to the one-hour massage) and you may refer to the price list as indicated above.

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Address
Jl. Duyung Sei Jodoh, Sungai Jodoh, Kec. Batu Ampar, 
Batam Kota, Kepulauan Riau 29432, Indonesia

Location Map

As above.

Website



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