Roundup: Bandung, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur

Note: sorry for the delay in catching this up. Malaysia has been keeping me plenty busy. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s still morning somewhere in the world.

Gratuitous picture of Jakarta so it comes up as the thumbnail for the post on Facebook:

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Bandung

I could have stayed in Pangandaran for a while longer. There was a lot more to see and do…surfing, the white beach, gibbons, chilling out, food frenzy etc. The Hostel was great as well. I highly recommend the Mini Tiga Guesthouse which has cheap, private and comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms. And, they make & sell their own delicious yoghurt.

But with my impending deadline approaching – I had flights booked to Singapore that weekend to celebrate my friend Rajiv’s birthday – I needed to leave enough time to get to Bandung and Jakarta before Ramadan hit (that weekend).

So I caught a direct bus from Pangandaran to Bandung. It took four or five hours. In Bandung, I was able to catch a local bus close to a hostel I wanted to stay at. It was trickier finding the bus than you’d think. All of the people – bus drivers, taxi drivers and locals at the bus station insisted that the bus I needed had finished and that I should take a taxi. Eventually, I started walking down the road, after half a kilometre a bus (Bemo) stopped and said it was going in the direction that I was.

After checking-in I headed over to a vegetarian restaurant – unhelpfully I can’t remember how to explain where it was except that I recall it was near a Pizza Hut and McDonalds – stuffed my face full of a food and called it an early night.

The next day I bought my train ticket and took a walk around the town.

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Jakarta

The train to Jakarta only took two hours or so and is a much better way to travel than the busses.

In Jakarta, I took some time to walk around as I tried to find a hostel. After a bit of searching and a fair bit of walking, I found an awesome hostel – Six Degrees Hostel.

Just a minutes walk from the hostel was an awesome restaurant. The restaurant is in a building that used to be a museum and a lot of the decor reflects a museum-esque feel. If the setting wasn’t awesome enough the food was hands down amazing.

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My experience of Jakarta was atypical. During Eid, the entire city emptied out and the traffic vanished. The busy, polluted, congested city became a ghost town of empty streets and urban calm.

So I went exploring the town, from monuments to Mosques.

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Inside the mosque

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Close up of the national monument

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Sunset from the roof-top of Six Degrees Hostel #something

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Singapore

I spent a week bumming around the overly expensive Singapore catching up with a bunch of different friends that all seemed to be making their way in and out of Singapore that week.

Catching up with old friends

Marina Bay Sands

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SG50 rehearsal

Rehearsing for SG50 this chap looks nervous

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Weird and wonderful maze of corporateness

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Layer cake, everyone at hte top holds a bullseye

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Balls

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Poshest street food festival I’ve been to. #onlyinsingapore

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Rainbow over Singapore, I suppose technically yes, that does mean there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Eventually, though, I was ready to head to Malaysia and after looking at my budget I wish I had done so earlier.

Malaysia

I hopped onto one of the best buses I’ve been on in Asia and headed to Malacca. I was going to swing by Johor Bahru for a few days but in the end decided it wasn’t worth it. The Lonely Planet suggested it’s expensive with not a great deal going on.

Melaka/Malacca

Getting around Malaysia proved easy. The bust took me straight to Malacca very comfortable. There I was able to catch a local bus into town.

Malacca has a rich history. With a strategic location along the Asian-Indian trade route that once rivalled that of Penang and Singapore – Malacca has passed through the rule of many hands from many places. During the great spice trade wars, the Portuguese were aware of a location that must at as a gateway to India from the rest of China. They set sail, discovered Malacca and after fierce war occupied the land. Their rule was short-lived, the Dutch wanted a strategic trade location and more war ensued. The Dutch were victorious. As a Dutch colony Malacca thrived. Eventually, however, the British East India Company set their cross hairs on Malacca. With Singapore and Penang under their built, ruling Malacca would complete their strong hold on the route. Like most places during the time, what the English wants the English gets. Under English rule, Malacca’s prominence was greatly reduced in favour of Singapore.

Malacca now is attractive for its food and history. Colonial buildings sit next to the Old Chinese town. The rich heritage of its food survives to this day.

Blah blah blah over, here’s some pictures.

Kuala Lumpur

Having already spent some time in Kuala Lumpur I didn’t stay too long. I said hi to my friend Rajiv again and went back for purportedly SE Asia’s spiciest pizza – the 911 pizza at Mike’s Pizza place. I asked for extra Ghost Pepper Chilli powder. At some point while eating I found it really difficult to concentrate on anything and the world became dimmer except on the pizza. It was painful and intense and stupidly self-inflicted.

Disappointed that I let two chillis go spare

Messing around some abandoned buildings

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