Selamat tinggal, I’ll be in Yogyakarta

Translation: Goodbye (to those who are staying) or “So long suckers!” Just kidding.
Malay trivia of the day: Selamat jalan is Goodbye too but you say it to those who are leaving.

By the time you have read this blog, I’d be in Yoygakarta (Jogja, for short). Finally breaking my 7-week trip-less spell. Phew!

I’ll be away for 8D7N. We’ve only booked one night of hotel for the whole trip. That’s the hotel right in the Borobodur complex which also allows us free entrance into the temple grounds.

The decision to visit Yoygakarta (someday) was made somewhere in my last semester. I remember asking an Indonesian from my “stress-less sessions” about the place and she admitted she has not been there.

I’m not even sure where I’ve first heard of Jogja but it must have been from D. Perhaps it was during my Bandung trip that I learned of the place.

At the time of typing (07:51am), there is about 4 hours to our flight. I haven’t packed yet. I have a visual representation of the things I need to bring, just in case. But I’m not terribly worried, since everything can be bought during the journey.

What does Jogja have to offer?

A friend of my mom’s was very curious why I decided to go to Jogja instead of the more popular destinations such as Siem Reap. I couldn’t really answer her then but in case you are wondering, here are some of the things I’ll be doing:

  1. Visiting ancient hindu temples at Borobudur and Prambanan. (Or as I tell my mom’s friend, “Something like Angkor Wat, but smaller.” correction: Jogja is advertised as the largest Buddhist temple on eartj. But, I still have no idea which is bigger.)
  2. Watch Ramayana ballet
  3. Eat lots of Indonesian food
  4. Drink lots of avocado juice with chocolate syrup
  5. Read an Indonesia/Malay book on round-the-world travelling (and review it)
  6. Try to be spiritually connected to the heavens during sunrise at Borobudur (and feel sleepy doing it)
  7. Meet some couchsurfers. (I’m quite terrified about this because my social skills with strangers isn’t terribly good.
  8. Make a travel video of the trip: Very excited about this

Besides Jogja, we’ll be going to Solo/Surakarta, hopefully by train. There are erotic temples around the area. ;) I’ll be there, of course.

I’ll be getting a local SIM when there. Hopefully the microSIM for iPhone 4’s are available. I’ll update on Twitter or even do short posts when there.

See you in 8 days! (I’ll still have two scheduled posts for next Tuesday and Saturday. Stay tuned!)

Have you been to Jogja? Any recommendations?

Visited: Mint Toy Museum, Singapore

I had the chance to visit the Mint Museum of Toys courtesy of a Groupon which made the entrance fee slightly less than half price.

The museum is located right opposite the Raffles Hotel, there’s a sign pointing to it right where the street begins. It’s not that difficult to find since the sign is pretty big.

The place has five floors–entrance on first floor with four exhibition levels. The levels are themed and you start from the top floor: Outerspace, Characters, Childhood favorites and Collectibles.

The floor space is really cramped and half the time I have to wait for someone and their date to finish staring/photgraphing/commenting on the exhibitions before I could politely look at the stuff.
Continue reading “Visited: Mint Toy Museum, Singapore”

Travel contest to Korea

Just when I thought I was missing out on global travel contests, I found out about one for us in Singapore!

Korea Trailblazer Wanted! by Chan Brothers Travel

There’s two stages of winning, it seems. First round is resume sending and they will decide if you are worth for the challenge. After that, you’ll need to come up with a 48-hour itinerary for Korea. Have fun there, updaing your Facebook, twitter, any social accounts. Come back, edit your trip into a video. After that is the second round of contest where folks will vote which video is the best.

Grand Prize (Trailblazer): 2 pax 4D Free & Easy Korea Trip
Weekly Facebook/YouTube Lucky Draw: Chan Brothers Travel Voucher $100 X 5 winners
Voter Lucky Draw: Chan Brothers Travel Voucher $500 X 1 pax

How to enter: Sign up at their website and upload your resume and also a link to a video (if any).

Deadline: April 15, 2012

Eligibility: Singapore citizen or PR

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Singapore Art Museum, interesting exhibition

The first time I went to the Singapore Art Museum was a long long time ago. The artwork that were exhibited were a bit depressing then and I did not have a good impression of it.

But last Friday night, I went with J who had been on Curator’s Tour of the museum. She shared very interesting things about the exhibits that I would not have known.

My favorite exhibit is the interactive piece where you open the door of a wadrobe and enter a narrow corridor. Much like Narnia, without the snow. The corridor brings you to a room of a writer. A small small room with desk, cupboard and half a TV.

I like how the Art Museum lets me participate in the piece, unlike other museums where you just stand about nodding your head. (Although I’m still a big museum fan.)

Do you have a favorite museum? Which is your favorite exhibit?

Other museum posts on YQ travelling:

The Silken Serenade to Kuala Lumpur

Trains are the new planes.

(Caution: Content is not optimized for blog posts.)

I had the chance to take the overnight Malaysia train on Feb. 10 from Johor to Kuala Lumpur to meet my friend who was visiting from Ho Chi Minh.

As it was my first Malaysian night train, I was excited even when buying the tickets. The train that I will be taking was called Senandung Sutera. Singapore’s Prime Minister’s Office translated it as Silken Serenade which I took to mean the train would emit a low hum while on the tracks.

I’m not a train romantic but since it was my first overnight train in Malaysia, my imagination run wild.

In your dreams

I imagined that I would leave for my train with a small hand carry and a gorgeous vintage travel dress (much like Nellie Bly’s round-the-world outfit).

On the train, I would sleep like a baby as the train gently rocks me. In the morning, I would wake up fresh from the night’s sleep. I would then alight the train with light steps and in my hand, I carry the small lady-like hand luggage.

In my gorgeous vintage travel dress, I would step out on the platform while the wind blows and tousles my hair. Something like what these ladies are doing.

Of course, things never quite work out the way I want it to. For one, I have two luggages–a backpack and a gaudy Lesportsac sling bag. Then, I have unflattering glasses and messy hair. My only consolation is that I do have a nice sundress. Good enough, I suppose.

Continue reading “The Silken Serenade to Kuala Lumpur”

Read: The Great Railway Bazaar

I was introduced to Paul Theroux’s by a travel writer on Twitter. The tweet wasn’t directed at me and I’m not even too sure who it was.

The tweet made Paul Theroux sound like The Best Travel Writer in the World™. I then decided to check out The Great Railway Bazaar from the library.

Synopsis: Writer takes train after train after train from London all the way to Japan (with some flights in between), passing by Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia and back through Russia.
Continue reading “Read: The Great Railway Bazaar”

My travel hero: Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly was the person who reinspired my round-the-world ambition.

I learnt of her during my visit to the Jules Verne museum in Nantes.

In the three-storeyed house, there was a little corner about Around the World in 80 Days book. At that corner, and there was a yellow A4 poster of a vintage-wearing lady.

The little description that accompanied the photo told me that she was a journalist (like me!) and had went on a round-the-world trip in only 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes. How impressive!

Continue reading “My travel hero: Nellie Bly”

My first backpacker moment

AKA The time I had shower in a squat toilet cubicle.

I’m more of a flashpacker: someone who’s willing to pay just that little more for comfort and cleanliness while travelling.

I did try backpacking (staying in a multi-person dorm room) once in Shanghai. I found out that I cannot sleep with someone snoring in the room. Since then, I opt for private rooms in hostels.

So, being the flashpacker that I am, how did I end up in a squat toilet cubicle, rinsing my hair with a hose that was meant to clean someone’s bum?

It’s a short story but I’ll make it longer.

Continue reading “My first backpacker moment”

Why you should get TripIt


I went to cover a tech event today and the main theme was about the personal cloud and how it would become the center of our digital lives.

It got me thinking about my personal cloud apps and how it allowed me to be free of a USB and forwarding all documents to my e-mail.

I have many cloud apps I love but for travelling, I adore TripIt (and Google Docs’ Speadsheet).

I wrote a semi-review of TripIt last September on my now-dead tech blog. Since then, I’ve used the app for many more months and have grown really fond of it. I basically use it as my carrot–whip out my phone, see my upcoming trips before getting back to real life.

If you haven’t tried out TripIt, I’m here to convince you to do so. The light version is free anyway! I don’t have much use for the Pro version’s extra functionalities.
Continue reading “Why you should get TripIt”