Whenever visiting a new place, chances are, you will end up asking people for recommendations on spots to visit where they will name a couple of them followed by “That’s where the tourists go”. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2016)
After having lunch at the food court of Pavilion KL, my college classmates and I hailed a cab to Merdeka Square. We are staying in an Airbnb at the KLCC area, so it took us a while to get there, plus there was a traffic jam.
I remembered specifically requesting my classmates to visit museums because I need to get some information for a paper on Southeast Asian Art that I was then writing for grad school. I am pretty sure they don’t like it but said yes anyway.
We met another classmate for dinner at Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang where a lot of street food stalls are located. He asked me, “Ano, Sher, okay ka na sa museums mo?” (“So, Sher, were you able to do your museum thing?) That’s how I confirmed it. Everybody wants something else that afternoon, but they went to the museums with me anyway.
This time I did not mind visiting the cafe. It has a colonial vibe, old, rustic interiors, and damn, the toilet is so selfie-friendly. The nasi goreng I had was one of the best. I also had the most expensive coconut juice, ever. It was a lovely day.
This list takes you to the 17 interesting and fun things to do in Surabaya that I discovered during my trip there.Enjoy!
The first few places that would definitely come to your mind when talking about a travel to Indonesia would be Bali, Yogyakarta, or maybe the capital city Jakarta. However, this archipelago nation has definitely more to offer, and most of them are not really known to international tourists. One of these places I am talking about, which is apparently popular to domestic tourists but not to people who travel internationally is the city of Surabaya, the second largest city of Indonesia. Now, the question: Is Surabaya worth visiting?
Aside from being a big populous city in Indonesia, Surabaya has a lot to offer to tourist in terms of culture and history, since a lot of historical events leading to the independence of the modern day sovereign Indonesia happened in Surabaya. Moreover, Surabaya is a port city, meaning it is a typically busy area like any other major city in the world. Also, Surabaya is very well know because of its blazing humidity — even more humid than Jakarta!
I had the chance to travel to Surabaya because I attended an academic conference, and I should say this city exceeded my expectations. I was able to get to know amazing people, it has so many museums, and its hustle and bustle is not as frustrating as other cities. I don’t know about you, but lately I would rather travel to places which are not frequented by tourists, like Surabaya.
So without further ado, here are some spots I visited during my travel to Surabaya, Indonesia:
Surabaya, being one of the multi-ethnic cities in Indonesia, has an Arab District which resembles a typical medina in an Arab country. It is a very busy area where a lot of commercial activities are taking place everyday.
Sanggar Agung Temple
Also known as Hong San Tang, this Chinese temple has become a popular tourist spot in Surabaya, Indonesia. It is located in Pantai Ria Amusement Park.
House of Sampoerna
It is apparently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia which features everything about Sampoerna, the biggest cigarette brand in Indonesia. They showcase the history of the cigarette industry in the country, how the business started, and the legacies it gave to the people of Indonesia. Aside from the museum, it also has exhibit rooms which everyone could use for free. When I went there, I was able to witness a photo exhibit for the Heroes Day, which was, by the way, super awesome!
Heroes Monument is the national symbol of the Indonesian struggle for independence, and this monument is dedicated to those who dedicated their lives during the Battle of Surabaya on 10 November 1945. The area has a very peaceful vibe and you could really feel how people value the independence that they got from the colonizers. There is a huge statue of Soekarno and Hatta at the memorial.
Surabaya was where the Indonesian struggle for independence happened on 10 November 1945, hence the 10th November Museum. The museum was very modern and interactive, and there’s too much emotion as I was wandering around the museum. It will indeed make you feel what was happening during their struggle for independence.
I would not miss having a fancy afternoon tea session in this very historical hotel that was built in 1910. It is old but you can still appreciate its beauty because it’s definitely well-preserved. It has a lot of green spaces all over and everything is well-maintained. Their afternoon tea is very localized. This is where I was able to taste Lapis Surabaya for the first time. Yum!
I have been fascinated by the batik culture of Indonesia, but to my surprise I found out that every part of Indonesia has a different batik pattern! I was glad a friend brought me to this place because I want to buy a batik outfit (I am a Southeast Asian Studies Lecturer and I might be needing some batik outfit in formal events like conferences and such). It was hard to pick designs because I love a lot of them and batik is so beautiful! I was also able to buy souvenirs in this shop like ref magnets and wayang kulit bookmarks.
This museum occupies the former De Javasche Bank which was the central bank of the Dutch East Indies or the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia. Aside from the history of banking and finance of Indonesia, Bank Indonesia Museum will also tell you about how the Dutch colonial government operated in Indonesia and how it managed the resources in Indonesia. They also house a lot of memorabilia from the old bank.
Like any other major city, Surabaya has a significant number of Chinese settlers, and most of them have converted to Islam. As a way of preserving their Chinese roots, this mosque has incorporated both Islam and Chinese elements.
The following activities are already outside Surabaya, but they could serve as interesting day tours from Surabaya. I also provided links of the tours for easier booking.
MOUNT BROMO SUNRISE AND MADAKARIPURA WATERFALL
A mandatory side trip from Surabaya would be a sunrise trip to Mount Bromo, an active volcano located at Bromo Tengger National Park. For some reason, there were so many people when we went there for the sunrise trek, and it was difficult to enjoy the view. However, there are parts of the National Park that are worth visiting which will give you a breathtaking view.
There you have it! I wish I could stay longer when I went to travel to Surabaya Indonesia to visit more spots there and in the nearby towns, but I could always go back next time. We will never run out of places to visit in this world, but just in case you will have a chance to detour in Surabaya, I can assure that you will never regret it. Next time I want to visit more museums, cafes, Mount Ijen, and the neighboring town of Malang. So, I’ll ask you again? Is Surabaya worth visiting?
So, are you currently in Jakarta or traveling to Jakarta and planning to visit some cool and beautiful hangout places? I have compiled this list of 10 Instagram-worthy spots in Jakarta, Indonesia that will make your trip to Jakarta happier and will make your Instagram feeds more aesthetic!
Jalan Pluit Permai No.26, RT.1/RW.4, Pluit, Kec. Penjaringan, Kota Jakarta Utara, Daerah Khusus Ibukota, Jakarta
Friday to Saturday, 8AM-11PM; Sunday to Thursday, 8AM-10PM
Southeast Asia region is a very popular travel destination, and a lot of travel bloggers have written so much about it. It is popular not only to budget travelers and backpackers (because man, they always say this is the cheapest region to travel to), but also to digital nomads, photographers, and travel bloggers themselves as well.
While everyone has been talking about Southeast Asia travel on blogs, vlogs, and Instagram, I honestly believe there is no other nice way to get insider tips about traveling in the region than from Southeast Asia travel bloggers themselves. Most of them are born and raised in this region of the world and they surely know a lot about their countries of origin than anybody else.
Now, without further ado, I have collected a list of 19 Southeast Asia travel bloggers whom you can stalk on Instagram and learn tips by reading their blogs:
Keith Jerkin’s blog focuses on luxury travel and he is the CEO of iambassador. He is currently based in Amsterdam where he posts stunning photos on his Instagram feed. I also specifically like his interest in architecture and history.
For more travel articles about Malaysia, click on the banner below:
Sherlyn is a Lecturer of Southeast Asian Studies based in Manila and her Instagram feed is full of vibrant and colorful photos from her travels around Southeast Asia and beyond. She writes about Instagram-worthy spots, museums, and restaurant reviews.
Suan and Adam are Indonesian and Australian travel couple who blogs about their experiences from the 72 countries they have traveled to so far. They are also authors of 5 books and they offer private tours to tourists.
Keith Yuen has been solo traveling to 105 countries (and counting!) and has been featured in so many media channels such as Mediacorp TV, Radio, Newspaper, European Union, and China Central TV, among others.
TravelerFolio has been posting a lot of travel photos and tips mostly from his home country, Singapore.
For more travel articles about Singapore, click on the banner below:
Southeast Asia Travel Bloggers: Any Recommendations?
There you have it! There is no better way travel stories in Southeast Asia could be told than by Southeast Asian travel bloggers themselves. i hope they were able to inspire you to see more of the Southeast Asia region and the whole world as well. Happy travels!
If you want to be included in the list, don’t hesitate to send me a DM at instagram.com/wheressherlyn. 🙂
Southeast Asia is a very popular travel destination to travelers all over the world from all walks of life. Traveling around the region can be a little intimidating because of geographical challenges and language barriers. Moreover, despite being a popular travel destination, a lot of important information are still not available to travelers. I myself as a Southeast Asian citizen still find it hard to gather information about the places I’m going to as I plan my travels around Southeast Asia. Hence, a hardbound or electronic Southeast Asia travel book guide that you can buy online like at Amazon.com can serve as a big help because not all information are available over the internet.
SOUTHEAST ASIA TRAVEL BOOK GUIDES: THE LIST
For the benefit of my readers and followers (I know most of you are based or frequently traveling around Southeast Asian region), I’ve compiled these list of books on Southeast Asia travel guide that you can purchase in Amazon.com. I’ve provided the links below the books for your convenience, and I actually purchased some of these books that’s why I recommend them.
1. Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring (Travel Guide)
We know for a fact that Lonely Planet produce the best travel guides about a lot of places! With “Southeast Asia”, they meant ALL Southeast Asian countries. I personally own a copy of this book and the information they provide is very comprehensive.
A very popular Southeast Asian route is the mainland or Indochina sub-region. Lonely Planet came up with this guide specific to exploring this part of the region. This guide provides insider tips that you can never find anywhere else.
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
3. Insight Guides Southeast Asia (Travel Guide)
Insight Guides provide us a lot of stunning photographs on their travel guides, so prepared to be inspired by a lot of stunning photographs all over Southeast Asian region with this guide. The cover photo which was taken in Bali, Indonesia is elegant!
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
4. Southeast Asia: An Introductory History
Milton Osborne made a version of Southeast Asian history that can be appreciated even by non-history buffs. Given the good reviews I read about this book, I can’t help but also purchase a copy of it. No regrets, I also was able to use it in the University whenever I handle courses on Southeast Asia. Awesome!
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
5. The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia on a Budget (Travel Guide)
This particular Rough Guide was able to provide tips on how to explore more of Southeast Asia with the lowest budget possible. This is going to be helpful to anyone planning their trips to Southeast Asia.
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
6. Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia
As a Lecturer of International Relations and Southeast Asian Studies, I find this book very interesting in terms of painting a picture on how Southeast Asian stats interact. Considering that we are a region with no Great Powers, we were able to thrive and make it as one of the best regions in the world and a primary economic hub. Even if you’re not into Southeast Asian history and politics, reading this book might make you appreciate why some Southeast Asian capital cities are progressive, or why some Southeast Asian countries remain to be the poorest ones internationally.
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
7. Southeast Asia: A Very Short Introduction
If you do not have the luxury of time to learn everything there is about Southeast Asian history, or if you simply want to have an overview of the region’s history, James Rush has summarized everything for you.
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
8. A Traveller’s History of Southeast Asia
This version of Southeast Asian history is specifically designed for travelers to the region coming from different backgrounds. While I am not sure why the authors did not include the Philippines and Myanmar, it’s still a fairly good Southeast Asia travel book guide.
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
9. Southeast Asia – Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam: A Solo Girl’s Travel Guide
Alexa West is one of the female travel bloggers that I really look up to. While I am not (yet) prepared to ditch my University Lecturing job to travel the world, I just express my admiration to women like her and be inspired to do the same in the future. I also want to write my own travel guides like her Southeast Asia travel book guide!
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
10. Southeast Asia Phrasebook and Dictionary
Whenever traveling around Southeast Asia, it does not hurt to learn a few words or phrases that can be useful when communicating to locals. Not every country in the region has English as their second language, and this Southeast Asia travel book language guide handpicked the most frequently used words in conversing with locals whenever traveling around the region.
Click the banner below for travel tips in:
There you have it! 🙂 I am wishing all of you a smooth trip around Southeast Asia with the help of these Southeast Asia travel book recommendations from Amazon. If you want to suggest some ideas on what I could write as a travel guide around the region, you may always send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy travels! 🙂
Not gonna lie, but I’ve been telling everyone that prior to visiting Surabaya, I don’t know much about the place and the fact that most historical events in Indonesian politics actually took place here. After attending a conference at Universitas Airlangga, I had the chance to explore the city, more particularly, its museums. The first museum I was able to see is House of Sampoerna, a tobacco museum.
For some reason, I have seriously YOLO-ed myself over traveling a lot in 2019, as if I know something will happen that will literally bar me and everyone else in this planet from traveling in 2020. I have been out and about on every school break there is (presenting researches, sneaking in quick vacations, and doing projects, among others). The freshest overseas travel memory I have is with Surabaya, Indonesia, where I went to attend and academic event, visit museums, take advantage of my layover in Jakarta, and get to know the a side of Indonesia I, if I’m being honest, actually almost never knew existed.
Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia located in East Java. Unheard of by so many people, Surabaya does not even consider itself a tourist destination, unlike Bali or Yogyakarta. I seriously don’t know why some cities could steal my heart just like that. Surabaya is definitely not the best city I have visited, that’s for sure, but there’s some kind of magic it projects that made me fall in love. For one, it’s a more relaxed version of Jakarta (which could be as crazy as Manila, my home city). And more importantly, it being a less popular tourist destination means that, chances are, it has other awesome things to offer.
BTW, SOME TRIVIA!
In case I will forget to mention sometime later in this post…
“Berjalan” is an Indonesian word which means “to walk”, and I used the term to signify that this photo essay is a result of my photowalk around the streets of Surabaya.
This is a sponsored (but honest) review of Villa Koru, the best Luxury Villa for rent in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia. This article contains affiliate links.
So, you have finally chosen Bali, Indonesia as your travel destination. Are you a solo traveler who wants a ‘me time’, a couple who wants to have a quality vacation, or a family or group of friends who are looking for the best luxury villa for rent in Bali? I think I know a place where you can stay at the heart of Seminyak area in Bali: Villa Koru.
Villa Koru is a luxury 3-bedroom villa in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia. However, do not be intimidated with the word ‘luxury’ and interpret it as very expensive. In this case, it refers to the experience and not necessarily the price. Hence, by staying at Villa Koru, you can experience a luxury stay without burning your pocket. You will definitely get more than what you paid for if you stay at Villa Koru.
I am more than excited to virtually tour all of you around this beautiful villa!
But before that, you might want to also visit Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. Here are some of the articles I wrote about Surabaya, so far.
In my case, I booked Villa Koru through email and the villa owner was very quick to respond. He can immediately confirm your reservation on your dates of choice and will send you a booking confirmation email right away. Prior to your check-in at the villa, Michael (the owner) or the staff assigned will ask any type of assistance you might need and will offer you airport transfers and vehicle rentals for your Bali tour. Upon checking in, you will be welcomed, showed around, and oriented by the villa staff. During our stay at Villa Koru, it was Mia who assisted us and helped us have the best vacation experience in Bali.
The entrance of Villa Koru along Jalan Beji Suci is so unassuming but wait until you see the inside. It has a brown gate with a very secure lock, so you need not to worry about your security in the area. The small pathway leading to ‘paradise’ looked so green and relaxing. Afterwards, you will have a view of the kitchen, dining area, and living/guest area to your left, and the rooms and the magnificent pool to your right.
THE GUEST/LIVING AREA
This area does not look like a typical
guest/living area as seen in typical homes. Why? Because it’s al fresco. It’s
like chilling in a terrace with the fresh Bali air but at the same time
enjoying a quality lounge. I really like the simple and very chic interior of this
area, given its interior decors and presence of some plants. Oh, and if you
don’t want a really open guest/living area, you always have the option to close
it with blinds. What I liked the most about this area is I can watch TV very
comfortably, and more importantly, Villa Koru has Netflix!
THE DINING AREA
The dining area is a simple corner with a long
table that can accommodate up to 6 people. It has a very nice artwork depicting
traditional Balinese women. The table can still be spacious enough even if
fully occupied. Another good thing about the dining area is that you can still
watch TV or Netflix while sitting there since the TV is facing the dining area.
Your stay at Villa Koru comes with a complimentary breakfast which is really healthy and ideal. Mia prepared us a smoothie bowl and a fruit shake. You can also have coffee or tea and you will also be served toasted bread and butter with eggs of your choice. This kind of breakfast is a perfect way to start every vacation day in Bali.
Villa Koru has a very nice kitchen and it has
everything you might need — from eating utensils to all types of spices and
seasonings to cooking pans. If you want to cook during a vacation, then Villa
Koru is the perfect place for you. The refrigerator is also huge and you can
basically put anything you can fit in there. They also have complimentary
drinks (sodas, beer, and water) inside the fridge. The kitchen interior is very
THE VILLA KORU POOL
The villa pool was the highlight of my stay at
Villa Koru and this is basically what made me choose this villa. The pool size
is relatively bigger and you can relax there and take a dip any time of the day
and night because the temperature of the water is regulated. This is my
favorite part of the villa, especially because I can chill while on board
floaters like flamingo and donut.
Villa Koru has three bedrooms which all look the same, so if you are staying as a family or a group, you will all have the same room experience. All villas are basically facing the pool so the view from all rooms will be perfect.
Every room has a queen size bed which is very comfy and relaxing. I never regret dedicating a day or two to just stay at the villa and not go out to see Bali because I am already having the time of my life at the villa itself. Like the living area, each bedroom has Netflix access also. You will be provided with everything — vault, bathrobe, water, insect killer, among others. The aircon unit is working perfectly and you can adjust the temperature depending on your preference without any inconveniences. (I am really missing the villa as I was writing this).
The bathroom is so spacious that you can actually sleep in there. It is a semi-outdoor with the shower and bathtub part on an open roof. I really like the idea of an outdoor-ish shower which gives a relaxing feeling. I wish I was able to use the bathtub and for sure it can give me a very peaceful me time. The toilet and sinks are in a very good condition and the water supply is exccellent. The bathrooms of each room provides everything, bath towels, pool towels, a complete set of toiletries, and they have a hair dryer as well.
The mere beauty, relaxing vibe, and quality
amenities of Villa Koru is more than enough to complete your perfect Bali
vacation/staycation, but what really impressed me is how good the service of
the Villa Koru staff is. I was really happy with how Mia made my stay very
comfortable. She always checks on me on whatever I might need, I was also able
to hear her stories about a local’s life in Bali, and she provided me an
insider information on which places to go which are off the beaten paths and
not really crowded with tourists. She would always customize everything
according to my preferences, especially my breakfast. She has been there for me
during my entire stay at Villa Koru and I couldn’t be more thankful. Too bad I
was not able to take a photo with her, but it’s a great memory I could treasure
from my Bali trip which I can tell my friends and family about.
VILLA KORU: SEMINYAK’S FINEST
Another thing I like about Villa Koru is its location. Seminyak area in Bali for me is the center of everything, and most tourists would agree with me. Villa Koru is a walking distance to Sunset Boulevard, a major highway, which means it is not located in a faraway area and yet you can experience a very quiet and relaxing stay at Villa Koru. We can always order Grab or Go-Jek without burning our pockets because everything is accessible from there (cafes, restaurants, the airport, convenience stores, hospitals, ATMs, and the like). Here is a guide on how to withdraw money on ATMs in Bali.
With everything I experienced about Villa Koru, it is very clear that I highly recommend staying here in order for you to experience the best Bali vacation. I can guarantee you that the Villa Koru is very organized in making your stay as smooth as ever, from check-in and even after check-out (making sure you will reach the airport or your next destination safely). My stay at Villa Koru is the best thing about my Bali trip and I am actually missing the place a lot, as of writing.
As a frequent traveler, I never experienced a quality stay like this before, even in 5-star hotels. I will definitely recommend Villa Koru to my friends and family and more especially to my followers and readers. Kudos to Michael for building such a beautiful paradise and allowing others to experience living a quality vacation and for having staff who seem to be well-trained for the hospitality industry. Lastly, Bali is such a beautiful place and going out of the villa to explore the island will also be worth it. I will be writing about places to go in Bali, but in the meantime, check this guide to the best waterfalls in Bali.
BEST LUXURY VILLA FOR RENT IN SEMINYAK, BALI: VILLA KORU CONTACT DETAILS
When traveling to Indonesia, there are thousands of hotels to chose from, but what hotels are IHG in Indonesia?Read on to find out! (This article contains affiliate links)
InterContinental Hotels Group or IHG is a British brand that caters mostly to business travelers and luxury travelers all over the world. I am a self-confessed budget traveler, but from time to time I give myself a treat and stay in any IHG hotel in the city I am in. Locally (I am based in Manila, btw), my favorite is Holiday Inn Manila Galleria because of its location, and their buffet breakfast is something I still consider buffet breakfast I had on any hotel.
So, without further ado, whether you are a traveler loyal to IHG brands or you just want to treat yourself (hashtag self-love), here is a list of 13 IHG hotels you can choose from all over Indonesia.
But before that, you might want to check out other blog posts I’ve written about Indonesia:
For other hotel choices in Surabaya, you can check them at agoda.com
WHAT HOTELS ARE IHG IN INDONESIA? Your recommendations are welcome! 🙂
There you have it! But did I miss anything on this list? Let me know by either sliding a DM on my Instagram account or sending me an email. I can assure you that you will have the best time on any of the IHG hotel that you will check in because their services are superb. In the meantime, happy travels to Indonesia!
In this write-up, I will introduce you to an ‘ex-friend’, and for censorship’s sake, let’s name him Alex (not his real name, of course). I was binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy before writing this, and the character of Alex Karev was on top of my mind. Anyway, what really happened to the afternoon tea at Hotel Majapahit Surabaya?
Alex has been one of my greatest career friends. Like me, he is also a young Professor from his country of origin. One day, he gave me an extended invitation to join an academic summit that was held in several parts of East Java.
The whole conference was fun in some aspects. I was able to meet an amazing group of esteemed academics in their own respective disciplines who, I could say, are also humans. It was weird meeting a set of Professors whom I got to know their human side first then their professional side. But that does not diminish the respect they deserve from me, of course.
However, I could say that the whole academic summit was a failure logistically. We experienced a lot of inconveniences along the way. Schedules and timetables are one, then the activities keep changing along the way, and in the end, if you were to go back to what happened, I will not even get the point of everything we did. But hey, it’s just me. I also criticize a lot of things I don’t believe much in. Including my government. Including other people. All people, rather. Trust issues. *black heart emoji*
But I am glad Alex and I, being the youngest ones among the whole delegation, have each other going through all those academic summit troubles together.
“It’s like a layered cake and it’s delicious. You should get that set. There’s also a shop at Juanda Airport selling some good lapis. We could get some before our flight back.”
I did not hesitate to order the set with Lapis Surabaya. After all, what’s the point of having the chance to travel to Surabaya without trying some local food? This is what Alex had promised me. Since he has part of his ethnic roots in Surabaya, he frequently travels there to see his relatives. He promised to take me to museums and tourist spots around the city and take me to his favorite restaurants in order to have a taste of some local food.
Before the academic summit in Surabaya, Alex and I were very good friends. Even if we don’t see each other, we would communicate through WhatsApp. He has been very nice to me. I was able to express my real self and I never felt a single instance when he judged me. He was there when I went through a rough breakup with my ex, and all the times when this teaching career gets to my nerves, he has always been there to calm me down.
He seemed to be a very friendly person. I honestly don’t know much about other aspects of his life until we had the chance to talk a lot during and after the conference, but he just naturally projects a very amiable and like-able aura. I want to hate the fact that just everyone from the academic summit likes him, and he just lights up every room he’s present. Can I also be like that? How to be you, Alex?
An afternoon tea experience in Surabaya is one for the books for me. First, it’s because Hotel Majapahit Surabaya and the whole of Surabaya City played an important role in the independence of Indonesia against the Dutch colonizers. If you are a history buff visiting Indonesia, then Surabaya should be the first place on your list.
Second, I had a very meaningful conversation with Alex during that time — we’ve been talking a lot since before the academic summit started, and yet we haven’t ran out of things to talk about. We talked about our own hobbies, our pets, the situation of the local politics of our own respective countries, on whether should I sell my GoPro to buy a dji gimbal, and a lot more.
Most importantly, we had a lot of funny memories from the academic summit which whenever one of us brings it up, we would laugh really hard. Those memories have become our inside jokes.
I would always go for a jasmine tea, and since the afternoon tea menu of Hotel Majapahit did not indicate the tea choices (which is pretty normal), I just opted for my usual jasmine tea. The hotel staff informed me that their jasmine tea is loose leaf, but I did not expect that they will serve the tea with the loose leaves swimming in my drink, unsifted. I had to use my mouth to filter the tea to avoid eating those damn dried tea leaves. But it was a nice tea. Tastes expensive.
Hotel Majapahit was built in 1910, and the hotel management was able to preserve its natural beauty. The lobby is very vintage and rustic, but it does not give the usual creepy antique vibe. It was small, but when we tried going around the hotel, it was beautiful. Walls are painted in clean white, and baby blue outlines are present in some details. We took some photos around. Alex was one of the people in my life I’m afraid of being judged by. But he knew from the start I’m a hardcore travel Instagrammer, and he even took me to places where I could snap photos to add to my Instagram feed.
After the Hotel Majapahit afternoon tea, we will fly back to our respective countries the next day. Us parting ways in Jakarta Airport also signified the end of our friendship.
We have a 5AM flight to Jakarta and we arrived at a very quiet Juanda Airport. There were a few people, but we were talking as if we weren’t talking for almost a week straight, and would laugh hard to our inside jokes which could echo in the airport’s departure area. We shopped for some Lapis Surabaya, as promised, and waited for our flight at the Garuda Indonesia lounge.
Sherlyn, The Ultimate Travel ‘Crybaby’
Like any other touching and memorable moment in my life, I don’t want it to end, yet. There were a lot of times I would find myself crying on my way home from a travel.
I was crying on the bus on my way home from my solo travel to Dingalan, Aurora. I was crying at Mactan Cebu Airport before my flight back to Manila and wished the flight will be even more delayed, even if it was already delayed for 4 hours already. I would always cry in front of the immigration officer before I take my flight from Brunei to Manila. I cried my eyes off when I sat next to an old Japanese man on my flight from Vientiane to Bangkok.
Yes, I will always be a travel crybaby. I’ve always never wanted to go home and go back to my normal routines. I always want to be elsewhere. But the sadness I felt with parting ways with Alex was not wanting to leave Indonesia just yet.
Parting ways with Alex was like exposing a sad, fucked up aspect of my life. For a week, I had someone I was able to talk to constantly, someone I could laugh myself to death with, someone I could cry on and express all my frustrations with life and the world, someone who saved my ass when my whole year was falling apart.
But aren’t you already long distance friends before the academic summit? Yes, but we’re just gonna go back to chatting over WhatsApp, opening messages and only replying at our own comfortable times, and whenever we would need each other, we could create the most valid excuse not to be there, because we’re far from each other, and simply because we can.
But I realized I don’t want that kind of friendship. Not with Alex, not with anybody else. I have always been that person who will not rely on technology for affection and validation and anything any human might ask for. More importantly, another realization has hit me: That I will never be good at long distance relationships, not because of my trust issues, but because my love language is not for a long distance setup.
This is why I was never good at replying. To be honest, if you will have the chance to check my SMS and social media messaging apps, you would see tons of unread and unreplied messages. I mean, come on, people. If you want to vent about your boy issues and dating failures, let’s meet for a pizza and tell me everything. If you want to pitch a collaboration with me, discuss it to me face to face over a cup of coffee. I’m not gonna do it over text in the middle of the night.
This was why, after the Surabaya trip, I want to get rid of Alex. Based on the turn of our conversations and the foreseeable aspects of future, we might not be meeting again. So, what’s the point of remaining friends? Worse, what if through the course of time, it went up to the next level? How am I supposed to handle it? This is why I asked a friend to meet me in Jakarta and I vented all my issues with Alex to her. Being the strong woman as she is, she told me I could do it easily.
But it wasn’t easy losing a kind of people like Alex, of course. But for a better quality of life’s sake, I have to lose him.
He would sometimes ask me why I wasn’t responding to his messages. And one day, I just said everything. Like everything. Unsurprisingly, he was shocked and he had no idea that I’ve been feeling that way, at all (why do men just don’t get hints? I mean, why?). He sent me a looooong reply, which I never read, until now. It’s still sitting on my inbox, but I’ve never read a single word.
When you travel a lot, you will develop a “people come and go” mentality
You see, everyone have their own versions of trust issues. In my case, it comes from how I highly value myself, that’s why I cherry-pick people I will allow to be part of my life. But more importantly, traveling (specifically staying in hostels) has taught me to keep in mind that people come and go so don’t get emotionally attached to anyone.
You will be having the best conversation of your life with your dormmates at a hostel, and next thing you know when you wake up, you already have a different set of roommates. The same principle applies to life. It’s not that confusing to equate them.
Don’t get attached to any place either. No single place on this earth will love you back. *insert black heart emoji again*
You see, Alex was not the only amazing person I lost along the way. I don’t know about you, but whatever extraordinary shit technology has promised the human race, it’s still never gonna be the same with anything organic.
I was born in a year when the World Wide Web was already invented, so don’t get me wrong when I say I miss the old times when you will never know what will you bee seeing upon stepping into a new place, and who you will bee meeting along the way. And when I became a “travel influencer” (in the eyes of my Mom haha), social media and technology has been ruining all the experience and thrill for me.
During the afternoon tea in Hotel Majapahit Surabaya with Alex, we were talking about technology, cameras, and photography (stuff we both love), and it was technology which made our friendship possible. But I’m not a fan of technology. In fact, I’ve always want to go back to traveling the old-fashioned way. And I’ve been struggling to know whether such thing is possible in the age of Instagram, but let’s see.
And oh, I’m sorry to disappoint you. This is NOT a love story.
AFTERNOON TEA IN HOTEL MAJAPAHIT SURABAYA with an Ex-Friend: Your thoughts?
I see you reached this far. After all, what’s travel without some drama, anyway?
To be honest, I could write a book with my whole Bali travel experience, from budgeting to itinerary to maintaining good relationships with my travel companion and the people around me, but I’ll save that for later. I’m sure some of you might have their share of story in the future once you have already gone to Bali (well, I’m assuming you’re planning your upcoming Bali trip, that’s why you’re here).
I did some research about the best hostels in Bali per area, in case you are planning to go on a backpacking adventure with a limited budget, in which case you will stay in hostels. This is something I will also use for future reference because I want to give justice to my previously awful Bali trip (promise, I’ll tell you the story later! But don’t get me wrong, Bali is a nice place, I was just with the wrong person *black heart emoji*).
So without further ado, here is the list I promised you. Btw, it also contains suggestions on what to do and how to go to specific areas. Enjoy!
But before that, note that the booking links take you to kkday.com and agoda.com websites. This website (www.sherlynmaehernandez.com) is a certified Agoda and kkday affiliate, hence I will earn a small commission if you will book through the links I provided (which I use for the maintenance of this website), with absolutely no additional costs on your part. I would appreciate your support to this passion project.