Lotte Mart Wholesale in Batam – YES!! (Must-Go!)

Lotte Mart Wholesale – Jl. Engku Putri, Batam Centre Core kel. Gulf Tering, district Kota Batam, Batam, Riau islands

Date of visit: July 2016

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Lotte Mart

Having stayed in USA for a year, I’ve grown to appreciate Costco and their wholesale supermarkets – being able to buy things in BULK (like serious bulk) and feeling like I’ve saved a ton of money. I think I’ve once bought like 60 packets of instant Quakers flavoured oatmeal for $15 or something… cool right??

That’s something I miss in Singapore, going grocery shopping with my friends and buying the staple things in bulk. So imagine my excitement when I stumbled into Lotte Mart Wholesale on a weekend trip to Batam!

WHAT IS LOTTE MART

Lotte Mart Wholesale is a super-sized grocery store aimed to provide businesses (retail, hotels..) and SMEs with quality products at very competitive prices. They use a membership system with these businesses (sending catalogs out and taking orders online, delivering goods to their offices/place), helping them cut costs and save time.

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Everything, everywhere

Although it was meant to be targeted at these businesses, many families also shop here for their daily needs. Oh, and also silly tourists like me who are amazed at these kinds of places.

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT

uh, hello? This is like a grocery-shopper’s dream come true.

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Hello, Nutella

Even if you aren’t going to buy cartons of groceries back home (cos too inconvenient for the ferry), most of the things are wayyy cheaper here, from sanitary pads (yes girls) to snacks..

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So I heard you like Indomie

Indomie? Why not buy 40pcs at only SGD$7.60?

They sell almost everything from TVs, washing powder, home needs, to food, vegetables, fruits and snacks. I even saw a HUGE HUGE cream cake going for like SGD$20. It’s huge, I swear. Satisfy your need for a bargain by going there and buying stuff and ridiculously good prices, Singaporeans!

HOW TO GET THERE

If you are staying elsewhere, take a taxi here. If you stay at Harmoni One Convention Center & Suites like I did (it’s getting meh, by the way), it’s just outside the hotel, so you can walk across the road to get there.

It has a huge parking lot space so if for some reason you are driving, parking is definitely not a problem.

CONCLUSION

It’s definitely worth a visit!! I love how this place offers good-quality stuff at wholesale prices, and how BIG this place is. If you are in Batam, don’t forget to make a trip here to stock up on some groceries and snacks!

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70 cents per box 😀

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Don’t say bo jio, share and spread the word!

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Ola Spa, Bandung – Cheap & Awesome (Must Go!)

date of visit: August 2015

Address: Jl. Bahureksa no. 23. Bandung – West Java. Indonesia 40115.

Contact number: 62-22- 4234253/ 62-22- 6168898

No holiday is complete without a massage, so we were pretty determined to find a good massage place (at a good price, of course).

We were recommended by the hotel to go to Everyday Spa in Bandung, as they told us it was the most popular massage place. But when we called to ask about the price, it was really expensive, about IDR 295,000 for an hour. That was way more than we wanted to spend on a massage – almost Singapore price!

 

So we did some research and looked through reviews to find a better option. Pinisi Relaxation seemed like a contender, but some reviews stated that it was in a really sketchy, dark building. So it was out (We didn’t feel like getting assassinated).

We, however, found this amazing place called Ola Family Spa & Reflexology. It had great reviews and the prices were super decent. An hour massage was IDR 148,000, half the price of its competitors. Here’s some pictures from their website (I forgot to take pics!!)

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Looks decent and cozy from the front!

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Cozy inside too, clean and spacious.

 

Verdict: Massage was great, therapists were friendly. Definitely worth going (super value for money), and do call to book your session before you head down, as they were fully booked when we tried to schedule a second appointment.

P.S. They also have a couple spa package going at IDR 258,000 per pax, with a list of treats!

Our only regret was not being able to squeeze in a second session before we left Bandung – it’s literally the perfect ending to a day of exploring volcanoes!

That’s it – now you’ve got the full itinerary to visit Bandung on your next long weekend. Check out the links below for the 4d3n itinerary, accommodation and activities to do!

Don’t forget to tell me what you think, and spread the love!

The White Crater, Indonesia (Wanderlust-worthy!)

Date visited: Aug 2015

Entry fee: IDR 150,000 for foreigners/ person & IDR15,000 for locals.

Kawah Putih (eng: White Crater) is located in Bandung, Indonesia – about 1.5-2hr drive from the city center. It is aptly named for its eerily beautiful white appearance.

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A view of the gorgeous Kawah Putih Lake.

Unlike in normal volcano craters, the lake here is highly acidic (ranging from pH 0.5 -1.3 – please don’t fall in guys!), hence the color changes from bluish to whitish green to even brown, depending on the sulfuric concentration. The sand/rocks surrounding these waters are whitish-yellow, due to the contact with the acidic waters.

The result? Breath-taking and beauuutiful – almost like a painting. Light turquoise waters, trees and greenery everywhere – if the waters were not killer-acidic, I would have taken a dip!

We were terribly lucky to have visited in an off-peak season/timing, which meant almost no other tourists except for us. (Tip: We set off at 6am from our hotel to reach here early, partly to avoid the road jams as well. If you are making a trip here, consider setting off early so you can enjoy the morning view with lesser tourists!)

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These waters…

At parts of the lake, you can also see black shrubs (trees) with no leaves at all – giving the place its mysterious, slightly-eerie feel.

Everything about this place is picture-worthy, we couldn’t even resist jumpshots! (Except the little barriers at some parts, but i suppose they are to prevent tourists like us from accidentally jumping into the acidic lake…)

2 things to note:

  1. Bring a jacket – it’s situated more than 2000m above sea level, so it’s always chilly. I was obviously unprepared for this!
  2. Bring some masks – you will definitely smell the sulfuric fumes, and I don’t think it’s good for health. You will probably see some vendors around selling masks as well!
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My usual attempt..

Worth wanderlusting over? Definitely. This truly unique place is gorgeous, you have to see it in person. After all, it’s only a short trip away from Singapore.

P.S. Tempted for a trip to Bandung? Don’t forget to check out my other links:

Don’t forget to tell me what you think, and spread the love!

 

Tangkuban Perahu, Ciater Hot Spring & Floating Market

In my previous 4d3n Bandung Itinerary post, I mentioned these places as the main activities for Day 2. They were actually planned out for us by the friendly staff at Hyatt Regency Hotel (thumbs up!) – since these three places were along the same route.

We managed to also get a great deal for transport – Indra who charged IDR750,000 for 10 hours. Unfortunately I did not get his contact details, as the hotel staff did all the liaising for me! (Tip: if possible, ask the concierge for more options when choosing transport, as they usually recommend Golden bird – which charges about IDR1,250,000 for 12 hours)

So was it worth the while? Let me share some details with you, and you can decide for yourself.

First stop: Tangkuban Perahu

NOTE: Entrance fees are IDR 200,000 per person (while for locals it’s only IDR 20,000). We grumbled a little since we did pay IDR 750,000 for the car ride, but as we were already there, it would be silly to waste it all.

This was actually our main reason for traveling to Bandung – it did seem like a pretty cool thing to see a volcano, especially one that just erupted in 2013!

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Isn’t it gorgeous?

My, the view was undeniably breathtaking, worth the entrance fee in my opinion. We were really lucky that there was not too many tourists there, so it was a relaxing time for us – no squeezing to get beautiful photos.

 

Difficulty level: easy.

Climbing up the steps wasn’t difficult at all, and pretty much a stroll whilst enjoying the view. As you can see, there are many peddlers loitering around, waiting to con/persuade tourists into buying all sorts of things – from volcano sand to animal hats and trinkets. They can be extremely persistent, so do be careful.

You can also find vendors selling food and drinks there, and we did buy some grilled corn because it looked so bright and tasty. Let’s just say it looked a lot better than it tasted, haha! After walking the trail, you will find a little marketplace with vendors selling food, snacks and more trinkets – the stuff there looked less dubious than the ones from the street peddlers.

Conclusion: Worth it? Yes, I think so! It would be such a shame to leave Bandung without experiencing this magnificent work of nature, regardless of entrance fees.

Second stop: Ciater Hot Springs

Entrance fee: IDR 27,000 / person

The place that they brought us to was “Sari Ater Hotel & Resort“. It was frankly not what I had in mind of a hot spring – not in a good way.

The entrance fee gives you access to this entire place of different family-friendly activities, from ATV to golf. It was technically more like a recreational park than a hot springs place. Since we did have a schedule to stick to, and none of the other activities seemed appealing, we headed straight to look for hot springs.

There were a couple of options – if you wanted to soak in the hot spring (full-body), you’d have to pay extra to gain access to “hot spring” pools which looked like swimming pools. Again – they looked like swimming pools, and didn’t look particularly relaxing, so we opted not to pay any more.

The free options were 2 shallow pools side-by-side (with different temperatures) where you could soak your feet in, or if you were more adventurous, try to lie or sit in.

There were (persistent) people offering foot massages/scrubs too. I can’t really remember the price, but I don’t think it was very reasonable since we turned them down.

The water was hot, nice and quite relaxing though – really made me wish for a proper hot spring to soak in and enjoy! Nevertheless, there was only so much foot-soaking we could do, and so we were off in less than 30 minutes in total.

Conclusion: Find another hot spring to soak in, or just skip it altogether. This was not really worth the entrance fee, nor the travel time!

Third stop: Floating Market (Lembang)

Of course, the 2 guys were starving by this time, so we quickly headed to the Floating Market in search for some good local food.

Entrance fee: IDR 20,000/ person  (comes with 1 free machine drink)

I was starting to get used to entrance fees by then, so pay loh. After paying entrance fees, we had to exchange money for tokens to buy food with (Note: don’t change too much, it’s not refundable. There are more kiosks inside to change again if you need to!)

Other than floating food vendors, there were also boat rides on an artificial lake (so pretty), an expensive-looking massage place, and several restaurants.

It must have been an off-peak season, since the place was very quiet. Thank goodness for that! A portion of food costs around IDR 15,000 and up, that was pretty reasonably-priced for a tourist attraction. Apart from cute cartoon buns and these MUST-EAT SATAY (situated near the entrance of the floating market food vendors), the rest of the food we tried was so-so only.

*Don’t order hot coffee – not sure why whenever we ordered hot coffee (other than machine ones) the coffee powder would not dissolve properly, so we were left with powdery gross liquid.

Conclusion: It was still a great experience even though we were not fully satisfied by the meal. Definitely stop by this place to soak in the atmosphere and culture!

Heading to Bandung soon? Check out my other posts:

 

If you have any more recommendations, do drop me a comment! I’d love to hear from you (:

4d3n Getaway to Bandung, Indonesia (Itinerary!)

Date travelled: August 2015

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, this was a pretty last minute plan for the SG50 holidays last year. Because everything was fully booked or way too expensive by the time we got around to planning the trip (even Bintan was crazy), we were resigned to doing a staycation in Singapore. However, after chancing upon this article online, we got really inspired to explore Bandung, Indonesia.

Tickets were $200/pax (last minute prices) and most of the hotels mentioned in the article were fully booked, so we made do with a comfortable one in the city area – Hyatt Regency Hotel. This meant that we would have to take long rides up to the volcanoes, but it also meant that we could take some time to explore the outlets, cafes and food!

So here’s my itinerary overview:

Day 1:

  • Morning flight via AirAsia straight to Bandung
  • Checked in to Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Visited adjacent mall Bandung Indah Plaza for food & a short walk
  • Planned the next few days (because we were such lazy asses to do any planning beforehand)
  • Massage at Ola Spa (recommended!)
  • Room service for dinner (lazy, again)

 

Day 2

  • 8am departure on a hired car to Tangkuban Perahu, one of Bandung’s Volcanoes (2hr car ride)
  • Ciater Hot Spring, Lembang
  • Floating Market, Lembang
  • Rumah Mode Outlet Shopping
  • Back to the hotel for a quick rest & dip in the pool
  • Out to the streets for some local food

 

Day 3

  • 6am departure on a hired car to Kawah Putih, the other Volcano
  • Ria Ayam Penyet for lunch (tasted pretty much the same as in Singapore)
  • Outlet shopping at Polo Ralph Lauren (Jalan. Ir. H. Juanda 151 Bdg) and neighboring outlets – this shop is quite good, would recommend it for shopping!
  • Dropped JD at the airport
  • Visited Jalan Bragatourist spot with many live bars and restaurants!

 

Day 4

 

Hopefully this is helpful with your trip-planning! I’ll be posting more details on the hotel, Ola Spa, Two Cents Cafe & the volcanoes separately, and these posts will be linked here below:

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Ayam Penyet

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Me @ Tangkuban Perahu

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Gorgeous Crater – Tangkuban Perahu

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The White Crater – Kawah Putih

 

Additional Information on Transportation

So this is where it gets tricky – I booked transport through the hotel using Golden Bird Car Rental from the airport to the hotel (about 20 minutes away) and that cost us IDR 175,000. When we tried to ask him to drop JD at the nearby Fave hotel (barely 5-10 minutes away) he wanted to charge an extra IDR175,000. When we refused, he quickly dropped it to IDR 90,000 which we accepted, because we didn’t know better. When we found out that it would have cost less than IDR35,000 using a metered taxi, I decided we weren’t going to use Golden Bird anymore.

I requested the hotel to give me some alternatives for our next few days’ road trips to the volcanoes, because

  • Golden bird was charging about IDR1,250,000 for 12 hours
  • I didn’t trust them anymore.

Thankfully they found a great deal for us, through this guy called Indra who charged IDR750,000 for 10 hours, which was enough for us.

The rest of the time, we used metered taxis, which we soon realized had minimum fees (IDR35,000 for Bluebird taxis, IDR25,000 for others), not that worth it for super short distances.

JD then discovered angkots – green mini vans which would drive normally at the side of the roads. If you are travelling a short distance, just flag any of them down, and tell the driver where you want to go. If it’s on the way, they’ll let you in. They usually pick up passengers as they drive, so its sort of “public transport” for them. Cost ranges from IDR2,000 to IDR4,000. If you are travelling in a group or pair, give it a shot. But I wouldn’t recommend it for girls travelling alone (be safe ya?)

Other than that, Bandung is really a beautiful place to visit and have some relaxation time. Air tickets and accommodation are all very affordable so keep this place in mind for your next getaway!

Don’t forget to leave a comment and share if you like it (:

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