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A Weekend to Remember

Let's take a brief break from the traveling posts and talk about something else, shall we? Last weekend so far has been one of the most memorable days of the year beginning, because I got to spend it with people I am really fond of.

Me and the kiddos have been planning to do a gift exchange since the beginning of December but we never had the time to sit and have some proper meal together since all of the members were busy traveling here and there during the holiday season.

BUT last Saturday we finally managed to find a good time (before another one flew again the next day) and I was definitely having the time of my life. These people are the the craziest one to hang out with and there was always something to laugh at (even when there's really nothing to laugh at).

*will be happily third-wheeling these two forever*
The gift exchange went well and every one seemed to be happy with what they got. We spent the rest of the time taking a lot of pictures the waiters probably were sick enough of it. But I remembered I went home with a joyful heart that night and I am thankful for it :)

Another important moment to cherish was le Amah's 81st birthday. She has been in town for several weeks now and I am very much enjoying her company here. We bought her a simple cake and took her for a Thai dinner that I hoped she enjoyed as much (if not more) as I did.

I really think that the first two weeks of this year has been very well spent and hopefully it would be a good way to start the year with a heart that is filled with thankfulness. And I'm also praying that this smile that I have been wearing will make a good friend for me throughout the year, in every circumstance :)

Pura Hopping Days - 2018 Bali Photo Diary Pt. II

When people were busy planning what to do on their new year's eve, we were busy thinking where to explore on the last day of the year. Ubud had been raining cats and dogs, but spending all day just at the hotel also didn't quite sound like a good idea.

I was lucky I didn't have to do the thinking all alone because Steph had done it for me LOL. She had been exploring Bali for quite some days before I arrived and one place she hadn't visited was Pura Gunung Kawi. I had no idea what that place was but I didn't think it would be a bad trip to have.

We made the bet by going there without knowing if it would be raining or not in Gianyar but luckily we won the bet. The weather though was gloomy, we still managed to do the walks there without getting all wet.

What made this temple different from the others was all the shrines were carved inside rock cliffs, instead of built on land. The walk down to the shrines was easy but the way back was (literally) a pain in the calves since they probably had around 200+ stairs that we had to climb. What a great reminder of the aftermath of never exercising.

Before making our way back to Ubud, we did make a brief stop at Pura Tirta Empul, since it was located really close to Pura Gunung Kawi. The name Tirta Empul itself literally means 'holy water spring', so that kinda explain why people decided to do some ritual purification by washing themselves in the spring. But really though, even with so many people washing themselves there, the water still happened to be really really really clear and you really could see through the bottom of the spring itself. We finally took our first 'squad' photo here. Notice our cool t-shirts there? You can have one from @kame.id too! #intanpariwara

After Tirta Empul, we decided to go back to Ubud just to realize we'd been 'pranked' by Google Maps since it should have only took us 30 minutes from Ubud to Gianyar but yet it brought us to a 1 hour+ ride. That's where we learned that Waze came to be more trustworthy while in Bali. By the way, later on we welcomed the new year at a friend's rented villa near our place.

Moving on to the next day (you are not that bored yet reading this, are you?), another temple hopping day! Again, it was raining so heavily in Ubud, so we made our escape to Pura Lempuyang Luhur.

The journey to this temple was a long one. We Steph had to drive around 2 hours to reach the temple but I personally thought it was very fun to do some road trips in Bali since there were always something to see along the way.

What I know (from late minute research) about this temple was it was one of the oldest temple here in Bali, and the view was pretty awesome. If you are lucky, you can see Gunung Agung (yep, that one that got really famous lately) just right behind the shrines. We were somewhere between lucky and unlucky since it was pretty cloudy but the mountain was still visible.

This was actually the first time for me to go to so many temples that I've never been to before in Bali (normally it was always the mainstream tourist spots). So I think I'll have to thank my itinerary planner, Steph, for taking (and of course, driving) us to these places. I had the easier job, I just had to make sure I kept talking during the drive so the driver didn't get sleepy LOL. Until the next adventure, mate!

Check out the other parts of my 2018 Bali travel series here:
- Part I: The New Place

The New Place - 2018 Bali Photo Diary Pt. I

Bali had been in my mind for quite some time last year, since the last time I was there was back in 2015 where Jane had her wedding held. Thankfully at the end of 2017 I finally stepped my feet on the paradise island.

I arrived in Denpasar on December 29 at around 9 PM after 6 hours spent inside the plane from Medan. I actually did have a transit in Bandung, but all the transit passengers stayed inside the cabin so that is why I stayed so long there. Since it was about late for my arrival, me and my travel partners decided to just have some humble Indomie dinner at our staying place near Nusa Dua.

The next day, we were planning to move to a quieter area and Steph also had already booked us a night in an Airbnb villa near Ubud. But before making our trip, we stopped for a brunch at a new place that was just open for a week. Musubi it was, mi amigo.

Located in Canggu, Musubi offered us a lot of choices for Japanese inspired all day brunch and coffee. Lucky that we arrived there before it gets too crowded with people who were just as curious as us to try the food and of course, enjoy the ambiance also.

Because I really had no idea on what I should go to with the order, as always, I found references on their Instagram page, based on what I think as the most interesting and 'photogenic' ones LOL. I went with MGFC (Musubi Gyoza Fried Chicken), Steph decided to have Kogane Scotch Egg and her little brother ordered their signature Sushi Burger.

I'm not really good at describing how food tasted but I'll try my best. The fried chicken was the juiciest one I've ever had in my life so far (and I liked it) but somehow the question that came into my mind was, "Wait, why does this taste like Japanese gyoza?" DUH SAS, IT WAS A FREAKING GYOZA FRIED CHICKEN WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. Well guys, that could happen when you ordered food just by looking at the pictures instead of the name and the description ._______.

I did try a bit Steph and her bro's food too and I really liked the Sushi Burger but I wasn't really a fan of the scotch egg (it's not the egg, it's me). Steph seemed to enjoy her meal very much though.

Overall I think it was a very nice place to visit where the everything was very well presented, including the interior and also the service. Oh, a tip from the people there was it's better to make a reservation before coming since it gets pretty crowded during lunch hour.

Alright, I'm done talking about Musubi. After the fulfilling brunch, we made our way to Ubud and I finally had my first drive here in Bali (thanks to San Miguel Light drunk Steph) and it was pretty exciting. 

I couldn't say much about the villa we're staying in, it was just a great experience and nothing less. The place was surrounded by rice paddies and we also had the access to the private swimming pool where I finally had my first swim after so many years that I have lost count to. 

The villa was quite well hidden inside a narrow path but that was what made it so peaceful since there wasn't a slight sound of vehicles or whatever. I remembered I had a very good sleep that night and the thought waking up every morning to the view of nature like that, I don't think I would ever mind.

So, that marked the end of my first post of my Bali getaway experience. Writing posts like this always excites me even though I always have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out on what to say but it was a pleasant thinking process that I enjoyed doing. See you when I see you then! 

Check out the other parts of my 2018 Bali travel series here:
- Part II: Pura Hopping Days

As We Kissed 2017 Goodbye

Yes, it's that time for another year in review again. As what I said last year, 2017 was probably the first time for me where I didn't set any specific goals. I just wished to let the year roll and surprise me, but thankfully most of the surprises that it did give were good ones. So, are you in for a trip down to the memory lane with me?

1. Hello Kuala Lumpur
At the beginning of January, I went to KL along with some family members to have my brother and my aunt's health check up. We too managed to do some shopping and eating and catching up. It was a pretty fun trip to begin the year with.

2. (Another) Credit Card Disaster
I had no idea how I could have another 'bad luck' experience with this credit card thing, but at least I could hope that what I went through can be a good lesson for others. Well, who knows..

3. Family Gathering on CNY
Chinese new year has always been my favorite time of the year since we could gather together with all the big family members and shared some good times. I also went to a very fun lunch trip with a group of friends and the view was pretty amazing.

4. The Search of HK's Most Instagram-worthy Spots
One of the most fun trip that I had this year, because traveling isn't always about the places you went to, but most of the time, it's about the people you were with. And my girls (shout out to @clararheta, @bikajitra and @ribkaanatasia) surely know how to translate anything into fun. Oh right, I made a vlog too!

Read:  Hong Kong Trip Part I | Part II  | Part III

5. Catching Up at Jakarta
An impromptu trip due to Tiffany's wedding and farewell. It's always great to see the people that you know were as excited to meet you as you were to see them :)

6. I Went to Japan!
I never thought that I'll be able to step on the Land of the Rising Sun this soon. A lot of things happened there, including both happy and heart-breaking moments but surely those are what made a trip memorable.

7. Wait, Who's 26?
I am! It's funny because I never really think I am playing it too well as an adult. But I always believe that birthdays are some good reminders for us to always cherish the time we have because you know, you can't always have your 17th birthday every year, right?

8. Finally, People Came to Visit!
The bad sides of living in a (actually not too) small city was that there's a rare chance that your friends would want to come just to visit you. I don't blame them though, there's really nothing much to see here. But a good friend of mine, Etin, came all the way to this city to see me and I'm glad we could have some fun together. Later that month, another friend, Frengky, also visited for a work trip and we managed to have some catching up session.

9. Taking a Brief Break from Instagram
When I decided to do so, I thought I would come back later with a long blog post with some good preaching about what I learned during the break. But (fortunately) Instagram really didn't have that much portion in my life for me to dedicate a post for it. Life just went on and I actually quite enjoyed those times without the distraction. Now that I am back on it already, I think I know how I should utilize the platform wiser so I think it's all good :)

10. The Discovery of Bullet Journal

I think I said enough on this post already about this life-changing journal.

11. I Earned Myself Some Very Good Friends
As a person who enjoy the group of small circles, I am thankful that this year I get to know these people more and for having them as a great part of my life. They are one of the main reasons why 2017 is a lot more bearable. So if you are reading this, thank you :)

12. Those Year End Trips

My cousin was getting married on the end of December in Medan, I got to catch up with some old friends there too. After that I continued my trip to the paradise island, Bali, where I got to go to new places I've never been to before and celebrated new year's eve there. More posts will be catching up after this too!

A lot of things happened in a year, and those included joy, laughter, anger, sadness, confusion and also hearts that were broken. But don't you agree that those things are the ones that make life a lot more interesting to live with? I am thankful that in 2017 I got to witness and experience all those emotions, learned, and moved on from it.

2017 has been one very fun journey but I am so ready to move forward. This year, I won't be just sitting on my arse and waiting for life to do as it pleases. I think it has come to my time to make a move and see what I got for myself (ha!).