Monday, January 30, 2012

Riau Trip - Extended

After an approximately 1 hour ferry ride, we reached the Harbour Front. We were welcome by a quite intense rain. After finishing the custom stuffs, we headed to search for a hotel since we did not book our rooms in advance. We decided to stay in the Novena area, quite distant from the places of interest but hopefully a serene area. Due to the downpour, it was hard to find a suitable hotel for us. But finally, we got our rooms at Fragrance Hotel in Balestier Road.

Since the sun was already set, our itinerary for the rest of the day was visiting Orchard Road. We used taxis to get there and a little bit halted by the traffic jam along the Orchard Road, since it was near Christmas and everybody went shopping a lot.

Strolling along the Orchard Road was quite tiring and we headed back to the hotel at 10.30 p.m.

The morning after from our windows looked like this.

Since the hotel didn't serve breakfast, we strolled to a food court near Balestier area, the Whampoa Food Center.

Then we proceeded to our itineraries for the day.
First stop, The Merlion Park and Fullerton One.

Second stop, Bugis Street and Bugis Junction.

Third stop, Sentosa Island.

And then our short trip had to end. We checked out and headed to Harbour Front to catch our 8 p.m. ferry to Batam Center. We spent the night in Batam.
The next morning, December 18, we flied back home....

There was something unusual about my Singapore trip this time. We experienced the glitch on the MRT system!!! Some said that they had problem on the electrical system at the North South Line route (the one that pass through Orchard Road area).

A couple of times I visited Singapore, I couldn't help but to wonder how they managed to run the MRT system so smoothly, reliably on time, and comfortably neat. People seemed to move so fast and confident. I even found the escalator underground were faster than our average escalator speed back at home.

And there we were, jamming and struggling for space on the train, because of the accumulation of people lining up waiting to be transported.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Riau Trip - 3

Getting around in Selatpanjang mostly done by becak-motor. Here is a snapshot of our multitasking becak-motor driver, Bang Sam. He helped us a lot while we were there. His task were quite abundant, from delivering files and document, tourist guiding, ferry ticketing, to durian tasting.

Then, it was December 16 Friday morning and we had to bid goodbye to this unique city. He headed to the port and took the 8.30 a.m. ferry to Sekupang Port of Batam.

And this is a picture of our 2nd stop between Selatpanjang and Batam, Port of Tanjung Balai Karimun.

And after approx. 4 hours ferry ride, we reached Sekupang Port of Batam.
Actually, while Selatpanjang is 4 hours, Singapore is only 1 hour travel by ferry from Batam. So we have decided beforehand that we will take the opportunity of being in Batam to do a short visit to Singapore after Selatpanjang trip. And of course we have prepared our passport in hand. The international departure terminal building to Singapore is just next to the domestic terminal, so technically we only need to walk to get there. And of course the building is fancier than the domestic one.

But due to a lot of circumstances, including the need to withdraw some cash from several different ATMs, we decided to take the ferry from another port in Batam, the Batam Center. Only 8 of us decided to go to Singapore while the rest went directly to Bandung.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Riau Trip - 2

We stayed at Grand Meranti Hotel, a nice hotel in town. It was a morning after the rain, a view from my window...

Soil condition of Selatpanjang makes the water absorbed in a longer period of time than it usually does in cities of Java. It's called peat soil, I think...

The project presentations that the teams had to conduct started at 9 a.m at Bappeda office and Head of Regency office. It went quite well and we received many praises and inputs towards the project presentations. Then it was 4 p.m., time to call it a day...

Since the sun was still smiling, I decided to take a stroll. The last time I was here, I haven't had a chance to visit the famous oldest temple in Kepulauan Riau Province, the Hoo Ann Kiong temple.

Chinese culture has a strong impact on Melayu/Malay culture in Riau islands and Riau mainland. That's why we can see many Chinese temples and events in most regencies of Riau (mainland) or Kepulauan Riau (islands) Province.

And of course, visiting Riau would be incomplete without durian-hunting. So there we were at the night market, choosing the best durian there were. My friend Desi was in-charge for the bargaining and tasting.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Riau Trip - 1

Last month, I had to do a work trip to Selatpanjang, Regency of Kepulauan Meranti, Kepulauan Riau Province. I went with several work-team with a total of 12 persons. It was a long trip from where I live and we had to take various mode of transportations to get there.

The first part of the trip was from Bandung to Jakarta (CGK airport) on Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011. We took rented car and departed from Bandung at 2 a.m. to catch an early flight at 6.30 a.m. We arrived at around 5.30 a.m. at the airport.

The second part was from Jakarta (CGK) to Batam (BTH) by 6.30 a.m. Lion Air flight and we arrived at around 8.15 a.m.

The third part was from Sekupang Ferry Port to Selatpanjang by ferry. We took 3 cabs from the airport to reach the ferry port. There are several ferry ports in Batam that serve the routes from Batam to other islands in Kepulauan Riau Province and some other destinations. The one served the route to Selatpanjang departed at 11.30 a.m. The journey had 2 stops, Tanjung Balai Karimun and Tanjung Samak.

The ferry ride took almost 4 hours along the Malaka Strait. Then we finally reached our final stop at Tanjung Harapan Port of Selatpanjang. Getting around the island mostly conducted by becak-motor. It's actually a motorbike which modified by adding extra seat just like a becak/tricycle in most Java cities.

Since it's already late in the afternoon, we were heading straight to our previously-booked hotel.

We joined the rest of our team who had arrived two days before us for dinner. There are a well-known seafood restaurant in town but since we were quite exhausted from the journey from Bandung to Selatpanjang, we decided to have dinner at a Melayu/Padang restaurant near the hotel.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Welcome 2012

Happy new year to all of you...!
Wishing you all health and happiness.