Saturday, December 31, 2016

Day One of My 5 Days, 4 Nights Itinerary to Bandung, the Paris of Java @ Indonesia

It has been a while since i last woke up so early to take the flight; to be exact, it was 4 am when alarm rang and by the time i wheeled my luggage to my parents' place to hail a cab, it was about 5.10 am.

Boy was Changi Airport crowded with people dropping off at the departure floor and it wasn't even 6 am! I was more concerned with the rain as it could result in flight delays.

Terminal 2 - we had arranged to meet up with Joyce (who doesn't live in Yishun) at the airport directly and she had not arrived then. To be fair, our time-to-meet- was 6 am, two hours before the plane was scheduled to take off.

She was late and we proceeded with the printing of luggage tags ourselves so that we can check them in to the plane first. Passengers' check in had already been confirmed online by Louise, official planner for the trip. 

Make It Your Singapore - even as a local, i was drawn by the words to check out what's the above about. There's a reason why Changi Airport is often voted the world's best and it's creative touches like this that impress.

An icon for you to guess what it is and for you to turn it around to find the answers - in this case, "quality of a restaurant is directly related to the length of the queue - a mathematical equation that holds true in food-obsessed Singapore". I beg to differ as my personal opinion is that the equation holds true for about 75% of the time; one classic example is here

The Boeing 737-800 SilkAir plane bringing us to the Paris of Java - MI 192.

Getting ready the boarding pass and passport - with the increasing popularity to print your own boarding passes from the self service kiosks, my only grouch is that the paper texture is no longer as good as before and we couldn't keep it very long for memory sake; the ink tends to fade out. 

Boarding the plane - i couldn't remember the layout of the Silk Air plane i took the last time which was more than ten years ago but this time, i noted similarities in the layout with planes from budget airlines! 

However, the tickets for SilkAir flights don't cater to the booming budget market and there are differences from the budget airlines that made up for the price differentials - like complimentary newspapers, provision of wet tissue, meals etc. 

I was more appalled to find an empty screen in front of my seat - i derived much happiness from catching recent blockbusters when i am on full-service airline and this was a major disappointment. 

With the proliferation of portable media devices, it's not too hard to download and catch some dramas / movies using iPad, iPhone and even mum made do with the lack of a personal in-flight entertainment system by making use of the slot in front as a holder for the iPad. p.s. there's actually a wireless inflight entertainment system called SilkAir Studio provided by SilkAir and you may click here for more information. 

Announcement was made on the delay as luggage was still being loaded up to the plane; i could actually see my sister's luggage in that container. 

Waiting in queue as it's the busy December period! 

A shot of us three siblings in the family; Korea was the last time the teo siblings travelled together and that was also the time i got into a car accident.

With rain still drizzling down from the sky, it's finally "our turn" to take off from the runway!

Up and away - i think i can slowly track the development of the new terminal five if i continue to travel like a few times a year in the next few years. 

View of Singapore from high up in the sky! I think i can already compile a pretty big album of all the aerial pictures taken whenever i took a plane out of Singapore.

My fried rice with spicy chicken that's sprinkled with a ton of fried shallots! It was overall comfort food to the tummy even though my love had to be that mini loaf of deliciously sweet and warm bread.

Appearance of a land a few thousand feet below would only mean we were nearing the destination! Want to see more photographs of Bandung City from the eyes in the sky, check out here!

Runway of Husein Sastranegara (BDO) airport - it may seem that i was at the cockpit when the photo was taken; unfortunately, i didn't have such privilege and it was shot when airplane took a 90-degree turn to get off the main passage.

Traffic control tower for the airport - it reminded me of another commercial airport in Singapore which is seldom used by many; Seletar Airport!

Firefighting unit - a necessity for any airport!

Main building - as the main aerial gateway to the third largest city in Indonesia, i am surprised to find a relatively small airport. Always make a mental note on the airports that you would be departing from on your last day. In cases where i know i would have nothing to do, i would not likely arrive earlier to check in.

No aero-bridge which was good as i can take a better picture of the plane we took! I am unsure if it is okay to take pictures while on the runway as Singapore is rather sticky; i remember being told off at the now-closed budget terminal which didn't have aero bridges.

Waiting for our luggage at the only luggage belt in the airport!

Bought the ticket from the taxi counter - unlike in places like Bangkok, the counter is legit and can be purchased right before you wheel your luggage out of the arrival hall.

Crossed the road where a long line of blue taxis were waiting; pass your receipt to anyone of them and off you proceed to your designated destination.

Airport main building - it was as long as you can see. There was some renovation and i hope by the time i revisit, there would be a lot more things for me explore.

Best Western Premier La Grande hotel appeared about 15 minutes into the taxi journey; for the review on our choice of accommodation in Bandung, click here.

Since we arrived too early for room check in and there were plenty of time to spare, we decided to leave our luggage with the hotel concierge and explored the shopping centre opposite the hotel; Bandung Indah Plaza!

Super narrow staircase to the overhead bridge; i could have crossed the road as a jaywalker but as a new visitor to the city, it's better to play safe first.

Jalan Merdeka - it's a skill to cross the roads in Bandung and i would envision it to be quite similar to Vietnam. Drivers were generally quite alert and would actually give way to you. As a jaywalker, exercise the same alertness and no matter what happen, don't backtrack!

A separate post on Bandung Indah Plaza can be found here. We also had lunch at Mister Baso on the ground level of the shopping mall where i had my first bowl of bakso; one of Indonesia's national dishes!

Finally checked in to the superior room at Best Western Premier La Grande hotel and was blessed to have been given a room with a fantastic view!

After taking a much needed bath while my roommate took a nap (she can really doze off anywhere), it's time to hit the street. Above shows street vendors selling live animals, including wildlife like snakes and owls. For more photos, click here.

Distinctive building with a rotating windmill on top that housed the Holland Bakery; i stepped in on the last night and bought a slice of bika ambon. The ones at Batam and Medan were better.

Trishaw at Bandung; passengers would be facing the traffic whereas the rider would be riding right behind. It decreases the space required on the road and passengers would be given the advantage of having unblocked view, if it matters.

Riau junction - another shopping centre although it was very much smaller in scale compared to Bandung Indah Plaza. Nevertheless, we actually had dinner there later that evening as it's along the way back. 

Mobile street vendors carrying money-making wares on their shoulder - i am curious to know how they cook but i am hesitant to try out street food as my stomach is highly sensitive and i don't want to spoil my vacation.

Tree with bulging, exposed roots.

There were numerous stores encountered in the over 10-minute walk even though we didn't step in to a single one as we were focused in what we want; Bandung's famous factory outlets

Helium balloons for sale. 

Instead of recyclables and non-recyclables bins, there were organic and non-organic ones. Honestly, it's less confusing and i know exactly where to try my rubbish. 

My virgin factory outlet shopping starts at Secret and i was totally mesmerized by the wide range of men clothing! I have in fact generated a full post on factory outlet shopping in Bandung and you may visit here for more information on the outlets i visited in the five days i was there. 

On the street again with a few photographs showing some of the shops we walked past yet didn't enter / browse through as we were hoping to reach the next factory outlet on our agenda; Heritage

Passion Factory Outlet looked good with busloads of tourists and i thought this could be another place to patronise right after Heritage. Sadly, we spent too much time at Heritage and Cascade, its immediate neighbour!  

Being a jaywalker is a common affair at Bandung.

Arrival at the iconic Heritage; there was a food market (food court) beside the factory outlet and i would have chosen it for dinner except for one reason. There was insufficient lighting at night!  

I thought i was finally done at Heritage and could have an early dinner. But the allure of Cascade beckoned and i spent like another hour shopping there. 

By the time i was done, the sky had darkened even though it was coming close to only 7.00 pm which is Singapore's 8.00 pm!  Now, i heard that Bandung is cooling and i agreed that it was cooler than Singapore; however, don't compare it to the coolness of Cameron Highlands

No more time to shop as mom was famished; she seldom had dinner that late at night and as mentioned earlier, it was about 8 pm Singapore time! We couldn't decide where to have dinner and thought we should just check out the food outlets at Riau Junction, the mall we passed by earlier.

Stop for the Angkot, which was the most common public transportation in Bandung; i didn't have the opportunity to try out as mom was all for comfort and convenience. Furthermore, we don't speak the language which kind of made navigation even more challenging.

An abandoned building by the main road; prime real estate that could yield a lot of commercial spaces. 

Food from Fat Cow Steak House that my mom and sister had at the food court on the top floor of Riau Junction. Wasn't impressed generally even though i was way more disappointed with my mie goreng special from Rumah Makan Sedap Purwakarta

Chanced upon trishaws again on the road again back to hotel where i had an earlier than expected sleep.