Friday, September 25, 2009

Cousins & Dinosaurs

My brother and his kids are back from Australia. Some pics of the kiddos at the Dinotrek at Petrosains, KLCC.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bandung: 7th - 10th September

We had a short getaway to Bandung last week. The trip was booked some time last year on one of Air Asia's promotions. I have always wanted to go to Bandung having heard of its reputation of being a shopping haven due to its wide range of Factory Outlets.

Bandung is basically a place for Indonesians where the Jakarta crowd flock there every weekend to shop. Luckily we went on a weekday. That, however, did not spare us from traffic jams. The traffic there is horrendous as people just drive any way they want, cutting into everyone's lane. The people there however, are very courtiest and helpful - so different from the way they drive!

We stayed at Grand Seriti Hotel on Jalan Setia Budhi. The hotel was still quite new and the rooms were good. The reason I chose that hotel as it was located near Rumah Mode, which is the best Factory Outlet in Bandung. Having stayed so nearby, we managed 2 trips there. Rumah Mode is a more upmarket factory outlet. Most of their stuff are original, hence the higher prices. The ambience is also nice, with many restaurants within the outlet. One thing good about the bigger factory outlets in Bandung is that they come fully equipped with childrens playgrounds and cafes. My dad was the babysitter and looked after the girls at the playground!

Day 2
We decided to hit Jalan Riau - a famous shopping street where many of their FO's come recommended. We took the Angkutan Kota there as we wanted the girls to have the experience of riding in one. The Angkotan Kota is their public transport in the form of a green van with the doors unclosed. It is also very cheap - Rp9000 for the 5 of us. (kids travel free!). However, during peak hours, they will cramp the van to the max.

Bandung can get really hot at mid day and walking the streets can be quite tiring for the lil ones. We went to:

Heritage - highly recommended but I found it quite disappointing. They carried more local brands and the kids line was not enticing. Had a good indoor playground.

Cascade - like a mall with 3 levels - each level dedicated to menswear, womenswear and childrens wear. Comes with a nice outdoor cafe and a Koi pond. Some good stuff there.

Had lunch and my dad took the girls back to the hotel for a nap. Continued shopping with my mum.

Oasis - So so only. I dont think I found anything there.

The Brands outlet - had a lot of stuff but did not like the way it was arranged. They basically just put everything together and you really have to look through everything. Was also pretty tired then.

The Secret - this was good. Well arranged and had some really good kids stuff. The kids department was at another wing at the back. They carried most of the leading brands. Most of their kids stuff were for kids 5 years and below. Bought some stuff for Rowie there.

We went back to Rumah Mode that night!

Day 3

Rented a car (MPV) with a driver. Highly recommended as it is really worth the Rp400000. This includes the car, driver, petrol and parking, Of course, we tipped the driver for his buka puasa. The driver takes you anywhere you want and is really convenient as we did not have to walk at all. They will wait for you while you do your thing. You can leave all your bags in the car, while you go to the next shopping outlet.

The driver picked us up from the hotel and took us to Tangkuban Perahu, the famous volcano in Bandung. It was definitely an experience for the girls as they had seen pictures of volcanoes in books, and were looking forward to seeing one. Rowie found the place smelly -'so smelly the vaikino' as the sulphur smell was very strong.

After Tangkuban Perahu, which took us about 3 hours, we went back into town and hit Jalan Dago - another famous shopping area. Dago has more factory outlets and shops and looks like a more happenning place. The driver took us to:

Grande - this was excellent. Found stuff for everyone here and the prices were much cheaper than Jalan Riau or Rumah Mode. This place was recommended by the driver. I just told him to recommend some Fos and he made the recommendations. Found lots of stuff for the girls.

Next we went into one of the malls (cant remember the name, to have lunch). Then we sent my dad back to the hotel and Rowie needed to be washed up and changed. After that, the driver took us back to Dago, as we wanted to get the famous 'Amanda brownie kukus'. Bandung is famous for their brownies. They have 5 outlets specialising in these brownies that come in various varieties including serikaya, cheese, marble and many more. And it was really nice. It only cost about RM8 per box. There are also many carts along the roadside selling the same brownies, but it may not be as fresh. There are also other brands with similar packaging selling brownies - but the Amanda brand is of the best quality.(claim the locals)

Next, the driver brought us to Kartika Sari, another bakery famous for the Indonesian layer cake. Although, it tasted good, I thought it was overpriced. So we did not get any. Then we headed to the last FO - Episode, which was also pretty good. Got some gym wear for myself here. By then, we were tired of shopping and headed for a spa. The driver recommended one but once we got there, it was shut. So we thought we will head to the famous Roger's spa and saloon. That too, was closed. So the driver took us to one near the hotel. We were going round town a few times. See - the hired car and driver really comes in useful! The girls had their signature menicure and pedicure.

By the time we finished, it was almost 8 pm and we were really knackered.

Day 4 - had an early flight to catch. So could not do anything besides have breakfast and head for the airport.

Overall, Bandung is a good place to shop especially if you are looking for kids clothings. They even have nice stuff for boys. There is a good selection for men too. For ladies, it is seasonal, if you are lucky, you might go when the new line comes in.