Galang Island: a story about Vietnamese refugees and their camp

In one hot afternoon, my relative drove her car, took me to the place I've never thought before: Vietnamese refugee camp. This camp is located in Galang Island, about one hour drive from Batam.
"This place will tell us a lot of story about pain and hope," she said to me just before we arrived at the camp.
Couple  minute after, I jumped out from the car. A 'ship monument' greeted me.

The boat that brought the refugees

"This is the boat  that brought the refugees from Vietnam to here," I heard somebody explaining about the ship to his friends. It's not a big boat, I guess. But, from the blogs I've read before, this boat was used to carry 40-100 people for months. I just can't imagine how the situation is.
After taking some pictures, I decided to visit another spot in this island. The church was becoming my next pit stop. This should I describe about it? This church was really beautiful. Made from wood with simple design. I've never seen such a beautiful but simple church before. This church was called as Nha Tho Duc Me Vo Nhiem.
I don't know the meaning of it. At the left side of this church there was a statue: Mother Mary statue. 

The Church

Besides church and the boat, there were some spots that can give us clear image of the situation here back then. There were a hospital, a jail, grave, even barrack. Everything was built from woods. Except the grave, of course. 

The Jail
The Grave

The Hospital

That moment, I felt like I wasn't in Indonesia. This place was really like a place in war movie. A bit spooky, and full with sadness.  I just can't imagine how was the situation at that moment, how was the people condition, but this place was really perfect to describe the struggle of Vietnamese. And how the war can give negatively impact to the people.
As the sun cames down, I left this island with sadness. May they rest in peace...

Shop till you drop @ Bugis Market

As a shopping paradise, Singapore offers a lot of place for shopping. From Orchard - the most famous - to boutiques at Haji Lane. From Bugis Junction to Bugis market. Yeah!!! Singapore really
Bugis Market, who doesn't know about this market? For shopaholic this market absolutely would be their playground. If you want to buy souvenirs, you can find it here. Cheap boots? You can have it for under s$ 25. Clothes? Some local cuisines? Accessories? Just explore the market and you will find those stuff here. 
Well, probably I can say that Bugis market is the real paradise for shopaholic. 
Unlike with its neighbor - the Bugis Junction Mall - the stuff price is cheaper here. Some shops give us fix price while others allow us to make a bargain.
My journey to Bugis Market began on the last day of my trip. Singapore was really hot at that time. But on behalf of souvenirs for my friends and colleague and cheap stuff for me, I had to go to Bugis Market and bought all the stuff that I need in there. First I came to souvenir shop. I bought some key holders and magnetic accessories. It was quite cheap. I forgot what the price was but it seemed they gave me good price.

After I finished with souvenirs, I found a shoe shop and I got boots for S$ 20 each (and after two year the boots are still in good condition!). I also got a blouse for S$ 10 only. My friend got so many accessories like charm bracelets, watches, sunglasses, rings, and earrings in very good price. 
After bought a lot of things there, I bought a glass of longans in a syrup with ice. Standing in the front of a shop, I drank it and finished it immidiately. I still bought some stuff after it and stopped shopping when I found that I didn't have any money left in my wallet.

And yes, I recommend this place for shopping. It's not such a cozy place for shopping but I guarantee thay you will get a lot of things in a good price. I suggest to wear comfort clothes, flip flop or flat shoes, and of course money! I don't see any atm machine around here. And it seems you can only pay by cash.
Bugis Market is easy to reach. Just take the mrt to Bugis station and then follow the direction in the station to Bugis Market.

Happy shopping!!!

Plaosan Temple: between a love story, Buddha statue, and superb sunset

It was a bright and sunny afternoon when I came here. It had been months since the last time I was here. As usual, I chose the terrace of the north-side temple and opened my lunch box. A rice with soya-bean cake mixed with chili sauce and a cup of coffee. Simple lunch menu but I felt wonderful just because I ate my favorite menu at my favorite temple.
Plaosan Lor, is a temple near Prambanan. Located in the east-north side of Prambanan, this temple was officially became my favorite one since the first time I came here and heard about the romantic story of the temple. 
This temple was built by a king from Sanjaya Dynasty. The king's name was Rakai Pikatan. She married to Pramodhawardhani, a daughter of Samaratungga from Syailendra Dynasty. Rakai Pikatan was Hindu while Pramodhawardhani was a Buddhist. Rakai Pikatan adored and loved his wife very much. According to several sources, Rakai Pikatan built Plaosan Lor temple as a gift for her wife. Although he is Hindu, he built Buddhist's temple to proved his love to his wife. For me, It is such a romantic love story. Although his wife has a different religion but it doesn't mean that a marriage can not last forever. 

After I finished my lunch, I walked around and found the Bodhi tree. From its appearance I can say that this is an old tree. The tree was twisting the stones. The Bodhi tree side is also my favorite. Just try to capture some photos here. The temple looks beautiful from here.

Not far from the Bodhi tree, there was a Mandhapa - an open 'stage' made from stone with many Buddha statues  that suround it. Almost of the statues at Mandhapa had lost their head. From the story that had been told by the security officer, there was a theft - Buddha's head theft - that had occured about several years ago here. And eventhough some of the heads had been found but they didn't join the head with the body.  
It was almost sunset. I went back to the temple terrace, hoping to see the superb sunset. While I was waiting for sunset, I had this imagination. I imagined that I was Pramodhawardhani, sitting in my own temple, admiring of the nature's beauty around the temple, and feeling blessed for the love that has given to me from my lovely one. And, yeah! I even imagined that my hubby - Rakai Pikatan - hugged me from backside and whispered romantic words only for me.
And as the sunset came in, I became speechless. All the imagination about me becoming Pramodhawardhani had faded away. It was the amazing sunset I've ever seen. The orange-blueish sky was perfect and it became more perfect with the existence of the color of the temple's stone. Obviously, I had an amazing silhouette of the temple's gate here!

A few seconds after the sunset, I decided to leave this temple. The security guard smiled at me and thanked me for my visiting. Before I left this place, I stared at the temple again. Although this temple is not as famous as the neighbour - Prambanan, I mean - but this temple absolutely has its own beauty that hard to resist. 
And surely, I will always come back to this place. Soon!

Horoscope vs type of destination (2)

Taurus people have regal taste. They love luxury, art, food, and culture. Unique culinary, cities with famous food and drinks and culture-rich plus  cosmopolitan aura will  make Taurus people really into it. 

Gemini is impatient and unpredictable. They always want to absorb the culture from the place that they visit. They also love shopping, buying some souvenirs from the place they visit. The temperament of Gemini is fluctuating. Once they craving for peace and serenity but suddenly they want dazzling places so badly. So, the cities or places that have dual atmosphere is the best place for Gemini to visit. 

Cancer people are sensitive and emotional. Since they always look the connectivity between their emotion with the place they plan to visit, Cancer people prefer to visit places that secure and comfortable. Places with historical significance are in their top list. But, oh don't forget! Since Cancer is water sign so they would really love places around water bodies.

Leo loves something glitz and grand. And glamour. They loves something adventurous in an extra ordinary way and Leo always wants to be a leader in every single moment.
Trekking or skiing in marginal places will be the option for them. Cities with throbbing night lives yet cultural underbellies are perfect getaways for Leo people. 

Horoscope vs type of destination (1)

Capricorn's people are usually love everything ellegant and stylish! So they would like a luxury and comfort destination. As an organized people, there is no change for Capricorn to travel unprepared or unplanned. They don't usually ask an adventurous trip or a backpack trip. They prefer a cozy and comfortable trip. 

As an Aquarius, their free spirit is important and will influence them in making a decission for their destination. Aquarius need rich and varied experience from the trip. Based on this, an adventurous trip will be the good option for an Aquarius. Diving, snorkling, wildlife adventure could be the option. A place or a destination with unique characteristic, unique people or unique culture is another option to choose.

Pisces is usually emotional and sensitive. They love a place with a tranquil ambiance. They also artistic in nature so they like an artistic place. Beach is the place they would love in a first place. Cities that have galleries or museums might steal their attention.

Aries is usually people who energetic and adventurous in nature. They seem like they have unlimited energy. A destination with a lot of thing to explore is the best option for them. 

Travel Tips: MRT

MRT has been my favorite public transport since the first time I traveling abroad. I love MRT more than bus. So..if the city/place I've visited has MRT as their public transport...I always use it.
It's cheap...than taxi off course, more rapid, and avoiding you from traffic jam...

  1. don't eat and drink inside MRT
  2. let passengers out first a
  3. always give your seat to pregnant woman, kids, and old people 
  4. check your belonging before leaving MRT

The Art of Travel Light

Traveling with so many luggage is not my type. I prefer the simple one: one backpack and a sort of daily backpack. The fewer the better. I realize the importance of flexibility and practicality. I'm a public transport person and almost not a taxi person (although taxi is also public transport, isn't it?). But for me, using MRT or bus or....walking are the best way to feel and see the real life in a those cities or countries. That's why, those two things: flexibility and practicality, do matter for me.

Packing things in a limit space is not easy. I need some tricks to pack clothes, toiletries, and other things that I need during traveling in a not-so-big backpack. T-shirts are rolled. Bring very little. Sandal or flip-flop is in backpack (not shoes!). Organize your staff in a smart way. If you bring jacket, wear it! Don't put the jacket in your backpack because, you know, the jacket is thick. It will consumes space.

Happy travel light!