Why Hostel

If I remember, one time in the evening just few hours before I flew to Singapore last year, Winda was the one who tried to find me a hotel. Judge me lackadaisical, I don’t mind.

 


“How could you travel to another country and never reserve one room?”


 

I sat down looking at Winda and Ayos with some sushies that night like a sleepy koala. Wondering why I wanted to have vacation but never had a place to sleep. When Winda found some affordable what affordable if we talk about Singapore? hotels, I said please do. At least, I had a room even Winda booked only for one night and thought I could find some cheaper ones when I got there. I arrived in the morning in Singapore and went straight to the hotel after I got my MRT card. Checking in and went straight to my room and realised I would stay with a bed just few inches from the door. My room was so small, compare with the price I paid, it made me sounds like a jackass right now. I had to extend one more night with higher rate cause I didn’t look for another hotel and it made my expenses went crazy. Till the last night in Singapore, I and my travel companion, Maya, decided to move to a nice hostel somewhere at China Town. We had our own room with separate beds of course. The bathroom is inside so we didn’t need to share with other travelers. Lesson learned.

Two months before I travelled back to Indonesia, almost every night I looked for hotels and hostels for my Japan trip. I didn’t realise that looking for where I would stay was such a treat esp if I looked at some five stars hotels in Paris, sigh!. There was so many interesting hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto, but my heart said ‘try hostel’ instead.

 


“First, I could save money cause hotels in Tokyo is expensive. I could get a small room (yes, very small room!) for more than $100. Second, a whole day I won’t be in my room, so why I have to spend more money if what I needed was a bed in the night? and third, I got a bonus by staying in hostel (I’ll tell you later!).

 Now, you can see that I’ve learned a lot how to spend money from my Singapore trip”


 

A day before I applied my Japan visa, I had to update my hostels since I changed my duration of stay both in Tokyo and Kyoto. And this is another tips for you guys, checking the rate on booking.com days before you fly, you may get a lower price if you’re lucky. So, don’t lay on one price. As long as you have enough time for free cancellation, it’s okay to look at the rate. I could save more than $70 dollars from two hostels I picked, it was good right?

My decision to stay in a hostel when I was in Japan was so right. I felt it when I spent two days in Tokyo. I went to places a whole day and came back around 10-11 pm everyday. So what I really needed was a place to sleep. And the third reason why hostel such a best choice was I got new friends! For a person who tried hostel for the first time like me, that was another experience. By staying in hostel, you’ll get an opportunity to meet with new people around the world. I didn’t say that you have to know all of them, but if you’re lucky, you’ll get new ‘good’ friends which hopefully, you’ll meet them in another place somewhere on this earth. Who knows? You just need to make friend sincerely and keep in touch, right? (I’ll share some of them on another post! :))

So here are a short review of two hostels I stayed in Tokyo and Kyoto. I personally put these two as recommended hostels in Japan!

 


GRIDS HOSTEL & LOUNGE AKIHABARA

I learned so much about my hotel in Singapore. When you choose a place to stay, you have to think your access to move around. A hotel/hostel that near train station is always a good idea. It will make your movement so much easier. Of course, you must think about the rate. Also, read the reviews from other travelers who used to stay there on booking.com or other sites.

The main reason why I chose Grids Hostel & Lounge Akihabara was near two major stations and their reception can speak English very well, I think this is important too since you know most of Japanese can not speak English. I graduated from design school, so if I have to choose a place to stay I’ll always choose boutique hotel/hostel, of course!. Grids has that industrial look, the design is fine, not too heavy yet appropriate. The review I read on booking.com was good, too. It’s not a secret that Japanese is extremely neat and clean, and this hostel has that point. The bed, the bathroom, the lobby, everything is clean. I had no complain about the cleanness. Maybe only the size of the cube is quite small for me (since I chose POD “bed”) so I had to manage to move on my bed without making noise. If you travel with your friends I recommend to choose ryokan or premium room, you’ll definitely feel more comfortable. But if you want to save more and have no problem with sound of snoring (from other traveler :D!), pod bed is not a bad thing.

Here are some iPhone pictures of the Grids Hostel & Lounge Akihabara that I took just before I said bye-bye to Tokyo. I spent two nights there before I moved to Kyoto, and spent three nights when I came from Kyoto.

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At Grids, I met with two good friends (three actually, but hmm, let’s count two only! – will write about them on a separate post) that still in touch until now :)

 


THE LOWER EAST NINE HOSTEL

In Kyoto, I fell in love. The first time I arrived at Kyoto station and took a train to the next station, Kujo station, I said “I love Kyoto more than Tokyo”. I love city life but Kyoto stole my heart. Maybe because my interest in Japanese culture is stronger than its ‘bling-bling’ life.

I arrived in the afternoon and went straight to The Lower East Nine to drop my things before I went to Nishiki market. When I entered the hostel I loved the space, so much. Again, boutique hostel will always be my choice. And to be honest, this one was so much better than the one in Tokyo. I love everything about this hostel. I love the design, the space, the bed is bigger! so I could sleep more comfortable, the bathroom is more private! and sure very clean!, and what I love the most that it has a kitchen and living room upstairs. Living room is such a brilliant idea where you can relax and meet with other travelers and have a conversation, sharing your stories and experiences when you get back from your ‘a-whole-day-exploring-Kyoto’. Kitchen upstairs is a good idea too when you can brew your own coffee, or making a bowl of hot noodles when it’s raining outside, or you just want to stare at the window with a cup of green tea in your hand.

If my hostel in Tokyo is for men-only or women-only in one room, The Lower East Nine is the opposite. Boys and girls can stay in the same room, this is not a bad thing as long as you can behave, right? 

Staying two nights in this hostel made me met with Joe, Svewn, two young ladies from UK (I forgot their names :|), and Simon, he is a German. I’ll share how I met them on separate post :).

Here are some iPhone pictures I took on my second day in Kyoto.

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“being a tourist with manner is important, staying in a hostel with manner, too”


 

I know I repeated the sentence above from my previous post. Staying in a hostel with manner it is very important, why? Because the room is not only yours! the bathroom is not yours also! So, we must have awareness and understanding to keep the public area well and behave, too. I thanked God when I stayed in those two hostels I had no experience meeting ‘drunker-traveler’ when I wanted to close my eyes at night, but seriously, when I found underwear wasn’t in place where it should be, hairs on the sink (you should clean it after shaving!), or using a hair-dryer in the middle of the night without closing the bathroom’s door? That was not nice! :)

But overall, I recommend you guys who travel alone by staying in a hostel. Pick the good one that fits with your budget, enjoy your stay, make friends as many as you can (this is good to expand your networking in the future, but pick who can be your good friends!).

You can spend your money more by enjoying proper food when you’re in vacation right? or new outfits? or even, experience a proper fine dining at five-star hotel? :)

 

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Birthday Gifts

I was so sad when I realised I lost my stainless watch two weeks ago.

I had no idea where I left it either somewhere at my office or fell on taxi seat on my way home. Even it was one of my oldest wrist watch but it had a journey with me. You may think this sounds exaggerated but I always appreciate memories behind a thing. But then, I can’t cry a night long for my watch cause I believe so that something may come and go.

Hope you will not judge this is an excuse to get something new. Oops.

Gifts1After I finished tighten my belt for my own house early this year, I should enjoy a bit by grabbing some new favourite things. And yep, it’s been a while I didn’t pamper myself with a wrist watch from my favourite brand, Fossil. So, I decided to pick one design that just fit on my wrist, a simple silver watch with black leather bans. Since my wrist is so thin, I feel this just a perfect one.

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Oh yes, I opened Zara apps on my iPhone just to eye some pieces that took my attention. Such a ritual every time I realise I’ll travel soon to Indonesia. Oh, May, please rush :)

 

And I had no clue why on a lazy afternoon I thought about a pair of Adidas Superstar.

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Kolombiana

Updating this blog, somehow, it’s not a small matter, sigh. I’m having an issue posting this through MacBook when the page always change into another rubbish page until I had to post it through my iPad (it’s been a while, iPad!). Thanks to Ayos who suggested to do so. Well, just wanted to share a quick post from my trip to Singapore last month (as I wish I was still on vacation!).

As a creative person who work in creative industry, it’s a pleasure to see interesting spaces, interior, and stuffs that inspire me. It helps a lot if you work in creative field where you have to play with ideas and concepts. And producing ideas everyday it’s not easy, sometimes. So it was a pleasure for me lingering Haji Lane in the afternoon while I was in Singapore (I photographed quite a lot of pictures, more to come!).

My kind mate, Atre (I’m a fan of her distinct writing style) mentioned Kolombiana as one of ‘must-visit’ store at Haji Lane since she knew I was in Singapore. She told me Kolombiana has a lot of unique and beautiful stuffs and I would get a lot of beautiful pictures there, so after Jummah prayer that day I stopped by at Kolombiana. Atre was true, it’s a beautiful store indeed. I didn’t spend time there since I had to see Maya just after she dropped her things in the hotel and took lunch in Bugis mall. After I met Maya that noon, I asked her to follow me back to Haji Lane and visited Kolombiana again. I couldn’t resist to take my mirrorless out and took some pictures (for sure I asked for permission). Their stuffs is beyond beautiful, and the fact that it’s easy to guess South American style from vibrant color-play in the design. Look at those bags, amazing color play, huh? You can’t even argue if the price isn’t cheap cause it’s worth it. Maya took some bracelets for herself while I took bracelets and the bag (it wasn’t the expensive one as I wished!) for my best friends.

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Make sure you bring enough Singapore dollars if you’re keen with unique stuffs and Kolombiana, as far as I concern in their design, it’s a dangerous place :) (like you won’t mind to bring all them home! ;)).

64 Haji lane,

Singapore.

Ladurée Singapore

While I’m still thinking and trying to write about how grateful I was, when I had chances to see my best friends this year in Indonesia, let me jump quickly for some iPhone pictures of Ladurée Singapore.

Visiting Ladurée store was on my list when I spent 4 days in Singapore for my quick jaunt this year. I had two main reason why. First, I’ve eaten macarons several time but wondering their luxury double-decker macarons taste was on my mind since I dreamt about Paris. Second, I wanted to learn how Ladurée as one of the most well-known luxury bakery and sweets maker house in the world package their products. So in one fine afternoon on my third day in Singapore, I went to Takashimaya in Orchard road with Maya.

Entering hi-class mall with hi-class stuffs everywhere made me dizzy a bit (cause I couldn’t bring them home :P). Just five minutes after we entered the mall we found Ladurée’s counter. But I said to Maya that I wanted to buy the macarons in their store because I was so sure we could see more eye-candy macarons and other products, plus their beautiful interior. Because it was lunch time, both of us and Ranu (Maya’s cute son) decided to find something heavier for lunch. Then, after we went around to Harrods’s store and other stores buying some goodies for both of us, we finally found Ladurée store and our eyes were sparkling. The interior is beautiful, details everywhere, and I fell in love with how Ladurée takes graphic design on their packaging seriously. I was so confused when I had to choose my own box of 6 and 8 macarons :P. The macarons? well, you’ll know the difference why their macarons is quite expensive if you grab some :). The texture and the taste of their fresh macarons is different. Crunchy outside, fluffy inside.

Do you think spending S$70 for 14 macarons is worth-it since the macarons have to fly over from Paris?

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Oh, visiting Ladurée in Paris is still in my dream, tho :). Just like how Alice Gao was excited about Ladurée when she hadn’t never been to Paris that time (I think she made a wish to see Paris on that post and she flew to Paris many times years after!, should I put this post as a simply wish to see Paris soon? :)).

This Wool

If you a reader of this blog you will know that I’m not a colorful person. Especially if I talk about outfits or interior I love. I always feel dark color has more character and classier. I definitely in love with black, shades of grey such as charcoal, dark grey, or gunmetal. White? definitely. I’m more on monochrome if you ask me.

Everytime I’m going home for my annual leave, I always have a budget for outfits. The reason why I prefer to shop in Indonesia is one, I can find easily design and size that fits me. Zara and Topman still one of my fav. Second, if I compare about the price for outfits between here and in Indonesia, with so so price at Zara or Topman shops but the quality is lower, I don’t even think twice to close my eyes to spend money here, except for this one.

First time I saw it at the store I just said to myself ‘hold on until you come home’. Looking at the price made me like ‘yikes, I had to hold on’ (fyi, I once asked when I bought this guy why the price was higher than what I found in Indonesia, she said because it came straight from Paris, well). When I got a text from the store that they were doing sale for some items, I brought one home (even though the price was still high for me, pfft). The fact that it made from pure new wool makes this sweater super comfy and the soft greyish blue seems like, I should experiment more with other neutral colors in my wardrobe.

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Last year when I came back home I found that my eyes sparkled into another dark color for my outfits. I took mostly shirts in dark blue along with black jackets. As I said, I feel dark color is just me.

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You know one funny thing about me is when I realised that I’ll be going home soon, I can’t help myself to not to browse some items from Zara and Topman. There are some items that took my attention for this year ;

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I’ll see if I can afford to bring them home this year :). Hopefully.

Cheers,

-A-

Domicile

I’d mentioned on this blog couple weeks before I went home that I couldn’t wait to visit some new gorg cafes and restaurants in my hometown. Domicile was among. It was one of my ‘must-visit’ place this year after I heard so many instagrammers posted it as one of the hottest place in Surabaya (oh, well you’ll see many people play with their camera at Domicile). I went there twice, first time was a special one.

I finally had a short yet quality time with my crazy best friends, Maya, Ruli and Winda after a year (it was so sad Ayos couldn’t come). I was so super excited because we met and spent Friday noon in Domicile. I was excited because of three things. One, yes because I had an opportunity to see them in Friday noon and enjoyed some fancy foods. Second, I finally could meet with Ranu, Maya’s toddler. He was totally super cute (look at him here). Last thing was after from Domicile we still could go around to find sweets (Rifda joined us), took Ranu to City Hall to play water (oh Maya, come on, bring him to a proper water park :P) with lots of laugh and full of joy from noon to evening. We spent half day until Maya and Ranu had to come back to Malang, Winda had to meet her family for quality time, I had to visit Zara store, and Ruli had finished became our driver that day (:P).

Second time in Domicile when I met Wana. That noon was a slightly different when I took minutes (I left Wana with our pizza :P) to play more with my mirrorless. I realised that week was my last week in Indonesia so that I tried as much as I could to capture the beauty of spaces. I was impressed with the beauty of the interior and the elements, natural light everywhere, and for sure, that tiles. Let these photos tell you more.

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I didn’t take a deep attention to the food just because Domicile is quite new opened, the signature taste wasn’t strong enough for me (maybe this isn’t fair enough cause I haven’t tried a whole menu). But I was quite thrilled with the food presentation (I know I become crazy every time I see beautiful white plates :P). I didn’t take food pictures a lot when I was there, just iPhone and mirrorless pictures below when I had fun with Maya, Ruli and Winda (hand-pose here wasn’t an impromptu! :P).

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I think I should try sweets on top.

P.S. Well, that time they played a little ‘cinema’ that our meeting would never be happened (sigh). I couldn’t imagine if we couldn’t make it that day cause I know, it was not easy to gather us when we had our own events, but I thanked God. I thanked also to three of them for their time, tho.

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