It was the first time my husband and I ever step foot in Bali and we had no idea where to stay. We researched some places we wished to visit and explore but had no idea on accommodation until a friend suggested NamaStay hostel in Ubud, Bali.
After checking the hostel location in Google Maps and some of the places we plan to visit near Ubud, we thought it would be a great idea to stay at NamaStay in Ubud, Bali for two nights before transferring to Kuta for our next remaining two nights in Bali.
Stay @ NamaStay – Where The Monkey God Stays
So, do you think the Monkey God would stay here? During our 1 hour and 30 minutes journey from Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar to NamaStay in Ubud, I was wondering if NamaStay is really that good that even the “Monkey God” stayed here.
Psst, the “Monkey God” reference is actually about the Ubud Monkey Forest and the 14-minute walk there from NamaStay.
I have stayed in some hostels when I travelled in the past and most of the time the hostel rooms are somewhat adequate, even when I go for a private single room or private room for two. I wasn’t expecting much when my husband and I booked to stay at NamaStay and boy, was I surprised when we arrived.
Location & Architecture
Time to check in!
NamaStay hostel is located only a short walk from the main road, Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud. Our driver wasn’t very familiar with the road and missed the left turn to the hostel. That missed turn however led us see the many establishments nearby which includes a 24-hour mart and pharmacy.
Upon arriving in front of NamStay hostel, the ambience was quiet and peaceful – even though it was located in between neighbouring buildings (as were most of the buildings in Bali) and nearby the main road.
The façade of the hostel was simple, a mix of modern and environmental-friendly. The waiting area and dining area are next to the reception counter and a few colourful hammocks can be found at the side.
I’ve never felt this comfortable in a pretty and quiet hostel for quite a while
NamaStay Hostel Ubud is 2.6 km from the Elephant Cave. It is located around 2.7 km from Ubud Market, 2.7 km from Ubud Palace and 2.7 km from Saraswati Temple. You can even visit the Blanco Renaissance Museum which is only 3.5 km from the hostel. There’s Neka Art Museum about 5 km away and the Arma Museum that is only a 3-minute walk away.
Not bad at all, right?
Rooms & Amenities
My husband and I stayed in NamaStay’s Superior Room which has 24-hour free wi-fi (every room has free wi-fi), a Queen-sized bed, TV, shower facilities, toilet facilities, an open sink and a small garden with chair outside.
The small garden outside had no roof, just like the toilet next to it. I didn’t feel very comfortable doing my “business” without a roof outside – not that I fear of people spying, but more of lizards falling on my head or worse, on my thigh, and there were a few out there!
I was incredibly impressed by the room because in comparison to some of my bad experiences with hostels before, NamaStay hostel is at another level indeed. The Superior Room was clean, comfortable and spacious enough for the both of us.
There are other types of rooms available at NamaStay hostel including:
6-bed mixed dormitary room
4-bed female dormitary room
Superior double room
Mixed dormitory room with bicycle
Oh, and they have NETFLIX in the room for FREE!
Hostels have limited space and this is understandable, taking into consideration the price tags of the rooms and the facilities available. Yet again I was impressed by NamaStay Hostel and not because it has Olympic-sized pool or state-of-the-art gym but because they use up their spaces really well.
It would be a shame if you did not explore the hostel because:
At the back end of the hostel is an area where you can relax, unwind, have a cup of refreshing cool drink with a book to read while soaking up the sun.
You can climb the rooftop (sun deck) and hang out with your friends on the colorful beanbags while inhaling fresh air and chat.
There are also some tents on the rooftop for the more “outdoorsy” NamaStay guests.
Join me out here at the back, anyone?
Be careful going up to the roof and sun deck!
Tents up on the roof. How cool is that?
It is quite impressive how NamaStay used up the space available in and around the building without “suffocating” it.
As most hostels worldwide, they have a shared kitchen with enough utensils, plates and cups for the use of all guests.
One more thing, there are no water in our rooms but there’s a filtered water prepared outside the room near the reception. In each our rooms we are given water bottles (courtesy of NamaStay) to use throughout our stay. Guests are adviced to fill up the bottle before going in or out of our rooms. We can also bring the bottles as we sightsee or tour around Bali. Very thoughtful, right?
Bottles to refill, anyone?
Other than that, if you’re interested in cycling, NamaStay also offers bicycle rentals for guests who did not book room with bicycle. You can inform reception a day before for booking.
Services by Staffs
Since we arrived quite late, there was only one staff manning the reception when we arrived. We spoke in Bahasa – I used a mixture of Indonesian and Malaysian language but every staff in NamaStay are fluent in English and Indonesian language so don’t be disheartened if you cannot speak Indonesian.
Again, NamaStay is a hostel and the services given are more “personal”, which suits both my husband and me perfectly.
Is that your room name?
Breakfast of champions!
We enjoyed the breakfast prepared – although we hoped they did not prepare it too early, especially since I’ve informed that we would only come out for breakfast by 8am – which by then the breakfast was already cold.
I did accidentally left my drone’s charger after checking out from the hostel. I contacted the hostel and informed them of this problem and inquired if they could send it to me in Malaysia (I shall bear all postage costs). At first I received a postitive response and they informed that they will send it back to me. However upon follow-up, I didn’t get any replies and that was a little sad. Goodbye my new drone charger. *sobs*
I think many tourists and travellers are too concentrated in Kuta when they come to Bali. However, after being in Bali for 4 nights, I prefer the less-crowded sights of Ubud in comparison to Kuta. If you ever decide to come to Bali, try staying out of Kuta and enjoy yourself in Ubud’s calmer and scenic surroundings instead. I highly recommend NamaStay as an affordable accommodation choice and location in Bali.
If you’ve never heard of Belitung Island in Indonesia before, I have already showed you why you should make Belitung Island your next destination in my last post.
This island has so many to offer for literary fans, foodies, beach-goers and historical fans alike. If you’re one who falls into any one or all of these categories, then book your next plane ticket!
How about a half day tour at Belitung Island?
My starting point was from the hotel I was staying in: Golden Tulip Essential in Tanjung Pandan. We went to 5 different locations at the East and West of Belitung Island which took us half a day to cover (not including food stops).
Location 1: Vihara Dewi Kwan In Temple
Vihara Dewi Kwan In Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temple in Belitung Island, Indonesia. Located on a hill at Burung Mandi, you can actually see the Burung Mandi Beach from nearby the Kwan In statue up the hill.
The temple itself are well taken care of and still used by worshippers throughout the year. I love all the colourful stairs and pagodas here, which are very instaworthy. However, please behave when you’re here as it is a place of worship.
Location 2: Burung Mandi Beach
Only 10 minutes away from the hilltop of Vihara Dewi Kwan In Temple, it would be a real waste not to stop by at Burung Mandi Beach and take a deep breath of the ocean.
The sands here are brown and soft, many coconut trees and gazebos around. There weren’t many tourists around, or maybe it was because we came on a weekday. We were told that locals love coming here in the weekend with family. Take some time to walk along the beach and the jetty. It would be a great place to take photos. However, be careful of the strong waves.
I love seeing the traditional colourful fishermen boats too. They are called the Kater.
Location 3: Kampoeng Ahok
Fondly called as Ahok, or his full name, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was born in 1966 in Manggar, Belitung and is an Indonesian politician. He was also the former Governor of Jakarta.
On May 2017, Ahok was sentenced to two years in prison by North Jakarta District Court on grounds that he was found guilty of blasphemy and inciting violence. It was a test of religious tolerance and free speech in Indonesia which gained interest internationally. On 24th January 2019, he was released from jail.
“Kampoeng Ahok” was a dedication to Ahok by the people of Belitung Island. Many of his portraits can be seen here and many souvenirs are being sold to tourists as well.
Location 4: Dermaga Kirana
Dermaga Kirana is a relatively new attraction in Belitung Island but has been attracting many local and international visitors alike. In English, Dermaga means Dock and there is also a mini harbour nearby with colourful sampans – a very pretty place to hang out with friends and family members or even take some photos, especially during sunset.
Made out of rattan, the “houses” are in the shapes of snail shells (or half snail shells, come to think of it). This design turned it into a comfortable open space, airy and allows enough sunlight to come in without you sweating as you sit inside.
Pretty colourful boats docked near Dermaga Kirana
It was a little sad that it started to rain when we arrived at Dermaga Kirana so the sky was dark and there were many ripples in the water. We didn’t get to take many photos though due to this but the cool wind was welcomed by us.
Light blue-green waters is so attractive to the eyes, especially when the sun is up!
In English, Danau is translated as Lake. Once a mining area, Danau Kaolin is now a “retired” mining lake, famous for it’s light blue-green waters and white mineral deposits.
Kaolin is actually a clay mineral or a layered silicate mineral that is soft and white which is used for making porcelain and china, as filler in paper and textiles and as medicinal absorbents.
Visiting the Danau Kaolin, we can only stand behind the barriers and it is prohibited to walk in to the Danau because it could be unsafe. So you can only get some photo opportunities here before heading back to your hotel or other destinations – like what my friends and I did!
Make Danau Kaolin your last destination of your half day tour of Belitung Island before heading back to your hotel (or to the airport).
When the sun is out the water looks pretty but it can get really hot and humid out here so make sure you wear sunblock!
It was a cloudy day yesterday when I arrived at Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur for All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) “Business Class and In-Flight Menu Tasting Experience” but the rain that followed shortly after my arrival did not dampen my mood or make me any less excited for the experience.
I have never flown via ANA before but I have heard many good reviews on it – ANA being Japan’s largest 5-star airline for six consecutive years from SKYTRAX. Also not forgetting to mention that ANA has also been recongnized by Air Transport World three times in the past 10 years – in 2007, 2013 and 2018 as “Airline of the Year”.
Because of this, I was looking forward to see the type of mouth-watering menus that ANA would bring its business class customers.
Launch of ANA New Business Class In-Flight Menu With Zipangu
Have you been to Zipangu in Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur before?
Zipangu restaurant exudes calm and serenity in its warm woody feel, water flowing over stone and glass, and in the bamboo garden that surrounds it. The Tokyo-style brasserie stands out for its spacious open kitchen featuring sushi, teppanyaki and tempura counters. Diners can also sit at these counters and watch chefs at work as well as interact with them.
Reading the description of Zipangu restaurant above surely sounds like an absolute gorgeous place, isn’t it? I have never been to Zipangu or tried the food before which was one of the reasons I was looking forward to trying out the new Business Class in-flight menu by ANA.
The chef who was in charge of planning, curating and deliver the in-flight menu is none other than Chef Nao Takeshita – a renowned chef of over 25 years of culinary experience. Chef Nao Takeshita has had expeience working with Nadaman restaurants in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka for 20 years.
No doubt due to his extensive experience and skills, Chef Nao Takeshita managed to create the perfect Business Class in-flight menu for ANA in just 3 months.
Not forgetting to mention the VIPs who graced the event yesterday and how they encourage the medias to try out the Business Class seats available to their heart’s content and also to enjoy tasting the new in-flight menu.
Left: Mr. Gonçalo Duarte Silva, General Manager of Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur; Second Left: Chef Nao Takeshita, Zipangu Head Chef of Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
All Nippon Airways (ANA) : “Inspiration of Japan”
So what are the delicious menu that ANA’s Business Class flyers can expect?
Menu for Business Class travelers flying between June – August 2019
Menu for Business Class travelers flying from September – November 2019
Imagine having ANA’s pretty stewardesses serve you all this at your Business Class seat as you’re enjoying the movies on your screen?
Along with tasting the new in-flight menu for ANA’s Business Class flyers, medias were also able to get a VR experience of ANA Business Class as well as try out the business class seats for themselves.
I think after sitting and lying down in the “dummy” Business Class seats at ANA’s event in Shangri-La yesterday, I’m praying that soon I can be in the real ANA Business Class seats flying over Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo soon. *fingers crossed*
The event will be in Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur for four (4) days so if you’re interested to try ANA’s Business Class New In-flight Meal yourself or check out the VR experience or even lounge on the business class seats, do e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org before going there (you will be given a confirmation email and time slot).
There’s also a competition on-going between ANA, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur and Zipangu. All you have to do is:
Snap a photo of any of the event moment or food at Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s ANA Business Class In-Flight Menu Tasting Event
Share your photo on Facebook and hashtag #ANAxSLKLxZipangu
Make sure your social media profile is public
Post the photos by 11th March 2019, 11.59pm
Wait for the winner announcement
Winners would walk away with:
Grand Prize: One Business Class return ticket to Tokyo, Japan
Second Prize: One Night Executive Room Weekend Stay with Horizon Club access for Two
Third Prize: One Night Weekend Stay with Breakfast for Two
Published in 2005, not many imagined that Andrea Hirata’s debut novel “Laskar Pelangi” (translated as Rainbow Troops) would be as celebrated and loved as it was today.
Based on a true story of Andrea Hirata’s own experience during his schooling days in Belitung, the novel was celebrated in many countries around the world, won numerous awards and was even translated into more than 40 different languages.
Laskar Pelangi was the first novel of a tetralogy. The other books of this tetralogy are: Sang Pemimpi (The Dreamer), Edensor and Maryamah Karpov.
Museum Kata Andrea Hirata
Before entering Museum Kata Andrea Hirata
Located in Gantong, East Belitung, Museum Kata Andrea Hirata was opened in 2010 and became Indonesia’s first literary museum. Opened by Andrea Hirata himself, he wanted the museum to be a place where the local community can immerse themselves in words and knowledge as well as learn – from the free lessons he or sometimes, a guest teacher gives at the “Sekolah Gratis Andrea Hirata” (Andrea Hirata’s Free School).
It is not very hard to spot Andrea Hirata’s Museum Kata because of it’s colourful façade, inviting happy thoughts in everyone who sees it. And just like an instagrammer, my husband and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take as many photos as we could outside of the museum.
Oh, but wait. You might think that this is just like any other “museums”, but as you step into the area inside, you would be equally surprised and excited to see the many colourful windows, doors, pavillion, rooms, classroom and trees that surrounds the museum. Museum Kata is a very peaceful and interesting concept.
Walking inside the museum, it is hard to miss the many famous quotes drawn and painted across the walls and floor. If you’re a literary fan, you would enjoy the book displays in the museum too. As you walk through the rooms, at the end of the main Hall, there is a coffee shop called Kopi Kuli for you to enjoy a cup of Indonesia’s good ‘ol Black Coffee or fried fritters.
Apart from a coffee shop, there are also some local souvenirs you could buy at the small souvenir shop next to the coffee shop. Quite cheap price, considering it’s in a museum.
Free classroom at Andrea Hirata Museum Kata for children and adults alike
But then again, don’t limit yourself to just the main hall. There’s the garden, the Pavilion and the classroom (for free classes) for you to roam around freely and absorb the bold written words from.
My husband and I stayed at this museum for hours and we didn’t feel like leaving it by the end of the day. We loved this place so much we came here twice. It was a very enjoyable experience.
Address: Laskar Pelangi 10, Desa Gantung, East Belitung Regency, Bangka Belitung Islands 33516, Indonesia. Operation Hours: Monday - Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday Open 24 hours. Entrance Fee: IDR 50,000 (purchase of Laskar Pelangi Pocket Book to enter)
SD Muhammadiyah, Laskar Pelangi Replica School
Somewhere behind the replica school
“Laskar Pelangi” is not just a popular novel but also a popular movie with its own local followings and international fans. The movie, released in 2008, is based entirely on the novel, about a group of 10 students in the 1970’s who struggles with poverty and develops hopes for the future of Gantong Village through farming and tin mining at Belitung Island.
In the novel and movie, the 10 students studied at a school called SD Muhammadiyah, a luxury that most parents of the area does not usually believe in. The school played a huge part in the lives of the characters of the novel, hence it is no wonder why Belitung Island created a replica school especially for the fans of the novel and movie.
SD Muhammadiyah Replica School
SD Muhammadiyah Replica Classroom
Nope, I don’t date in school
If you have not read the novel or watched the movie, the novelty of the school might not rub on you as much as those who loved the novel and movie but, it is still a good place for you to visit as one of Andrea Hirata’s tour “trails” in Belitung Island.
Local boy with Kaolin clay on his body
If you’re lucky, sometimes local children would put on the kaolin clay on their faces and bodies, depicting the children back in 1970’s when Belitung Island was popular with tin mining. You could take photos with these children if you’d like, but remember to ask permission first!
Address: Jalan Laskar Pelangi, Belitung Island 33462, Indonesia. Entrance Fee: IDR 5,000
Tanjung Tinggi Beach or Laskar Pelangi Beach
Tanjung Tinggi Beach or best knows as Laskar Pelangi Beach to the locals is tucked safely between two peninsulas; Tanjung Kelayang and Tanjung Pendam.
Tanjung Tinggi Beach or Laskar Pelangi Beach
What’s interesting about Tanjung Tinggi are the great big rock formations around the beach. The locals said there are 5 different rock types that can be found at this beach which are: Batu Bakpau, Batu Bebek, Batu Kodok, Batu Belah and Batu Gantung.
I however, could not distinguish one rock with another to save my life. So rock enthusiasts, if you’re interested in natural rock formations, you would love Tanjung Tinggi!
Tanjung Tinggi Beach is also another place to include in your Area Hirata-Laskar Pelangi “trail”. This beach is one of the of the shooting locations in both the movie Laskar Pelangi (Rainbow Troops) and Sang Pemimpi (The Dreamer).
The clear light green waters are warm to the skin as I dipped my feet in. The sea waters could be rough during wet season with waves hitting the large boulders so if you come here by then, be extra careful because it can get really slippery and dangerous.
Some water activities can be found here like kayak and there are many stalls selling water and food around too. But guys, please keep the beach clean and protect the sea and its living creatures. I saw many used plastic all over the place (since it was very windy, many plastic were blown to the shore) and we all know how dangerous plastic are to sea creatures.
Keep our planet clean, safe and beautiful for our children and their children. At the same time, let’s bask in the beauty of nature and enjoy our travels!
Address: Sijuk Air Selumar | Kecamatan Sijuk, Belitung Island, Indonesia.
This trip was made possible by MTN Getaways Pte Ltd; helping Malaysian and Singaporean travelers who would like to choose Belitung Island, Indonesia as their next travel destination.
I understand. It is a great hassle when you lose your passport, what more if you lose it abroad – when you’re supposed to be enjoying your holiday!
You might have dropped it during your commute or your bag might have been snatched as you’re having breakfast at a local cafe, it might be carelessness that caused this but there are ways to fix the problem and you could still come back to Malaysia safely.
But first, take a deep breath, don’t panic and stop berating yourself. You’ll be fine.
What To Do If You Lose Your Malaysian Passport Abroad
1. Lodge A Report At The Nearest Police Station
Koban Police Station, Japan
Once you realise your passport is gone, immediately lodge a report at the nearest police station. Note where you think you might lose your passport – Could it have fell off your bag in the subway? – Noting the location could sometimes help the authorities to locate your passport (if nobody took it, that is).
Reporting a loss of passport can also help protect you in case your passport was used for any illegal activities.
Note: Malaysian passport is the 5th most powerful passport in the world and some unscrupulous people might take advantage of it by “cloning” your passport. So, always be alert who you hand your passport to (even hotel staffs).
2. Contact Your Insurance Agent
Most insurance companies have 24/7 assistance (online or by phone) or call your insurance agent directly for assistance on the next step after lodging a police report. Your insurance agent might be able to guide you to the Malaysia embassy as well as send over documents and details to help you out.
In case you didn’t know, most travel insurance will cover expenses incurred to obtain document replacements up to RM7500. This includes transportation, call charges, internet data and so on. Just make sure you keep the receipts to help smoothen the claiming procedure.
Note: Do read the insurance T&C or find out from your agent if the travel insurance package you purchase covers costs for “loss of passport abroad” or not.
3. Go To Malaysian Embassy (or Malaysian Mission Centre) To Report Loss Of Your Passport
Bring your police report to the Malaysian Embassy in the country you loss your passport. Or if the country you’re in does not have Malaysian Embassy, you can also search for the High Commission, Consulate, or Consulate General. Look for the location at this link.
4. Apply For An Emergency Travel Document or Emergency Certificate (EC)
Photo from Roadtrippers.asia
At the embassy, you can apply for an emergency travel document that acts as a temporary passport. The document is a one-way pass that is valid only for 12 months and can only be used once to return to Malaysia. The document does not allow you to cross border though.
For example, if you lose your passport in Paris, France, you can apply for an emergency certificate at Malaysian Embassy in Paris, France and you would have to return to Malaysia by flying out from France using the emergency travel document. If your initial travel itinerary includes entering London, United Kingdom and returning to Malaysia from there, that is not possible. There is a high possibility the U.K. immigration will not allow you to enter the country with an emergency travel document.
What Do You Need To Bring To Apply For An Emergency Travel Document?
An alternate form of identification like your Malaysian identity card or driver’s license
2 passport photos
Flight ticket/ ticket stubs
Processing fees (starting from RM50) – may differ due to currency exchange
Cover letter – some embassies such as Washington,USA and Australia might require you to submit additional documents (copy and original) so make sure you check the requirements needed at the respective embassies.
Your application might take 3 to 5 working days for it to be processed. In some cases, an expediency fee can also help speed up the process.
Note: The Emergency Travel Document (EC) is not recognised by these countries: Brunei, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Holland, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, Turkey, and U.A.E.
5. Return To Malaysia, Apply For New Passport With Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia
As I stated above, the Emergency Travel Document is a one way pass and cannot be used to cross borders. However, since the validity is for 12 months, you can use up the time to travel or visit the country you made the Emergency Travel Document at, and then return to Malaysia from that country (via flight).
Upon returning to Malaysia, make another police report at a police station near your home before making a new passport. This is needed in order to apply for a new passport. You may also bring the police report made in the country you loss your passport for reference.
Note: Starting 2nd January 2019, Malaysians who lost or damaged their passport will be fined RM400 (first time), RM700 (second time) and RM1,200 (third time). Children aged 12 and below and students aged 21 and below studying abroad will be fined RM300 (first time), RM600 (second time) and RM1,100 (third time).
What Can You Do Before Going Abroad?
It is very unfortunate for something like this to happen but, it can happen to just anyone, even if you’re the most careful person out there. In case this happens to you, make sure you have back-ups.
Keep a copy (or two!) of your passport or other identification documents – photostat copy or save it in your handphone and back it up in your Google Drive.
Get the information of the nearest Malaysian Embassy or Mission Centre of the country(ies) you’re going to. Jot down their address, phone numbers and working hours.
Don’t keep your passport, cash, ATM cards or credit cards in the same place. Always have backup cash stashed somewhere for emergency. If you keep your passport in your hotel room’s safe, bring a copy of your passport wherever you go.
Email the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your travel itinerary and they will forward it to the embassy (of said country). This is important in case of unfortunate events like disasters, riots or wars.
Make sure you purchase a travel insurance. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to a neighbouring country or to a country on the other side of the globe. Travel insurance can help save you a lot of money if something unfortunate were to happen.
Located in the east coast of Sumatra, Belitung is one of Indonesia’s islands and used to be the second largest tin mining producer in the world.
There are many untouched and beautiful beaches at Belitung Island that many outsiders have yet to go to and explore. Apart from this, there are many other reasons why you should know about Belitung Island, Indonesia and get the next plane ticket to this amazing place!
How to Go to Belitung Island, Indonesia?
At Changi Airport waiting for the bus to take us to our airline – Garuda Airlines
There is only one airport in this island called HAS Hanandjoeddin Airport near Tanjung Pandan. I went to Belitung Island via Garuda Airlines from Singapore. Very recently in October 2018, Garuda Airlines started operating from Singapore to Tanjung Pandan four times a week. My flight from Singapore to Belitung Island took almost 2 hours.
After more than 2 hours, we arrived at Belitung Island, Indonesia and it’s queue time!
There are also flights from Jakarta to Belitung Island with more choices of airlines such as Garuda Airlines, Lion Air, NAM Air, Citilink and Sriwijaya Air. The frequency of flights are more when you fly from Jakarta.
Upon arriving at HAS Hanandjoeddin Airport, it reminded me of Boracay Airport – the small-scale airport and the immigration officers at only two different desks to check our passports. It took a while for all of our passports to be stamped but the environment was oddly poignant to me.
What Can Be Found at Belitung Island, Indonesia?
Oh, there are many things that can be found in Belitung Island, if you’re one who loves nature, intellectual things and of course, history! I love all three of these and this is probably why it was so easy for me to fall in love with this island.
So let me start with nature:
How can we deny the beautiful white sandy beaches of Belitung Island? Leebong Island, Tanjung Tinggi and Tanjung Kelayang are some of the uninhabited beaches that are still not developed on a large scale so you will still be able to enjoy the natural beauty of these beaches. I hope that even if they are developed in the future, the locals will work hard in keeping the beaches clean, beautiful and away from destructive tourists.
Have you heard of the writer Andrea Hirata or his most well known book “Laskar Pelangi“? Laskar Pelangior translated as Rainbow Troops in English has been translated into more than 40 languages and is one of Indonesia’s international best sellers of all time.
If you’re a fan of literature, then Belitung Island is one of the best places for you to visit since Andrea Hirata even has a museum he named “Museum Kata” (or Words Museum) – a place to immers in both fiction and non-fiction compositions.
Belitung Island, Indonesia has a great history and lesson to both locals and visitors of the island. Through your exploration of the island, you would be able to:
learn about the time Belitung Island was under the administration of the British whom later handed control of the island to the Netherlands and its impact on the people of the island;
learn about other industries that contributed to Belitung Island’s economy;
see the historical diversity that made up Belitung Island during the Dutch’s administration and after most of the people of Belitung Island has converted into Islam;
revel in the old architecture of all the religions that are practiced in Belitung Island.
Why Belitung Island, Indonesia Should Be Your Destination In 2019?
During my visit to Belitung Island, Indonesia last December 2018, I found out from the local guide that there are plans by private companies in Belitung Island in turning it into the next Bali.
If this is true, then you can expect throngs of tourists and visitors coming to Belitung Island, and before you know it, you wouldn’t have the chance to explore the island leisurely and get to know what the island has to offer more intimately like I have last December.
For example, even Leebong Island is a private island and is now undergoing some “renovation” to turn it into a private resort in the future.
Laskar Pelangi replica school is one of the highly visited locations in Belitung Island, Indonesia
Since Laskar Pelangi took off and gained many fans from all over the world in both the book and movie, there have been large numbers of visitors coming to Belitung Island, Indonesia to visit Andrea Hirata’s Museum Kata and the places where they shot the movie Laskar Pelangi such as the replica school of Laskar Pelangi and Tanjung Tinggi beach.
So before Belitung Island, Indonesia turns into the next Bali, plan your next holiday to Belitung Island and let’s have some fun!
Best Travel Times To Belitung Island, Indonesia
Best time to come to Belitung Island would be during the dry season between April to October. The weather are mostly sunny and sometimes windy.
If you come during rainy season between November to March, prices of hotels and rentals (car/ bike/ taxi/ etc) may be cheaper but it could be rainy most of the days resulting in choppy waters.
School holidays in Indonesia starts from June and ends in July and many locals tourists love to visit Belitung Island then. Similarly, weekends also sees higher number of local visitors, mainly from Jakarta.
So, plan your trip well and make sure to have a lot of fun!
This trip was made possible by MTN Getaways Pte Ltd; helping Malaysian and Singaporean travelers who chooses Belitung Island, Indonesia as their next travel destination.
We often hear disputes after the death of family members about inheritance and properties distribution. Mostly because the disputes happened because there were no will and when things happened, it will take about two to five years or more depending on the complexity of case to get it resolved. Also, if there is financial recession, it can significantly affect the value of your real estates like Damansara Damai or Wangsa Maju.
Certain asset’s value might depreciate by the time legal ownership is transferred to your loved ones especially for those time-sensitive assets. Most of us know we should write a will but we just never seem to be able to do so. There are couple of reasons you probably can’t find the time to do it or you still think you are too young to do it, you have assets that’s too little to be significant while some of us might be afraid to think about death.
What happens to your possessions when you die without leaving a will?
Have you ever ask yourself if you should pass away without leaving a will? Because if you do, your death will be classified as ‘intestate’. In layman terms, you’ve died without leaving instructions about who should receive the amount of your estate(s). This consists of your savings in all of your bank accounts, properties and any other assets that you’ve owned at the time of your death except for Employment Provident Fund (EPF) or insurance policies. The remaining amount in the accounts will go to whoever you have nominated in your respected EPF account and insurance policies as they are governed under different act with set of laws passed by parliament. When it happens, the intestacy laws will determine how your estates are distributed.
In Malaysia, Muslim and non-Muslims are governed under different sets of inheritance laws.
All your estates will be frozen until the case is settled.
Your family needs to apply for the Faraid certificate from the Shariah Court that contains the information on the value of the estate. The names of the eligible beneficiaries and the proportions of each of the beneficiaries. The process will usually take 5 working days.
All the Quranic Heirs must have a mutual agreement to choose the same Administrator. It is required to be in written form and verified by the Magistrate / Commissioner of Oaths.
Your wealth will be distributed based on Shariah Law. The process of wealth distribution is similar when you have a legal Wasiat. With the priority given to the provisions of your funeral expenses which is followed by the outstanding payment or debts which includes zakat, uncompleted hajj and Nazar.
If beneficiaries are below 18 years of age or are disabled, their share will be deposited in the Trust Account at Amanah Raya and may be claimed when they reach the age of 18 or the age agreed in the Deed of Trust.
However, if you do not have any living family member and none is claiming your estates, it will all be given to the Baitumal.
All of your estates will be frozen until the case is all settled.
An administrator must be appointed among the family members. All family members who are involved by signing the Renunciation of Administration letter, to be witnessed by the Magistrate/Commissioner of Oaths will need to make decisions.
When you have a valid will, the wealth distribution is the same process. The priority will be given to the provision of your funeral expenses. Then, the provision shall be made to the creditors/outstanding debts. The remaining of your estates will go to the beneficiaries based on Distribution Act 1958 (amended in 1977) for West Malaysia and Sarawak while the Inestate Succession Ordinance 1968 is used for Sabah.
Court may appoint guardian for your children who are still minors (children below 18 years old). This doesn’t mean that they will have total wealth control. The guardian still need to obtain the court’s approval each time he/she intends to withdraw or use the your money for the cost of raising and education of your children.
Beneficiaries will have to apply to the High Court for Letters of Administration (LA) before your wealth distribution. Depending on the asset’s value, they can also apply for the LA at the District Land Administrator office or Amanah Rakyat Berhad. Plus, the administrator will need to find two sureties who can guarantee the same value of assets as yours.
Let’s start with a not so fun fact, did you know that it takes just about 30 seconds for 13 hectares of rainforest to disappear? At the rapid rate it is going, perhaps there won’t even be a forest left for us to tear down in 100 years.
Deforestation has been named as one of the key problems in today’s world and Malaysia has also been cited as one of the many countries with the highest rate for it. Yikes!!!
Today, about 59.5% of Malaysia’s total land area is covered with forest. Although all is still not lost, the country is developing at a rapid rate.
In 1998, the country ventured into one of its biggest development projects of the century, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The airport site spans over 100 square kilometres of land and is one of the world’s largest airport sites.
As the site took a lot of land, the government paid special attention to the design of the building so that it may conserve the natural habitat surrounding it.
This is where the architect, Kisho Kurokawa comes into the picture. Kurokawa had the idea for a symbiotic relationship between architecture and the forest. For Kurokawa, the close relationship with nature is an essential part of the Asian trait.
Kurokawa’s “Airport in the Forest, Forest in the Airport” concept is most visible through his design in the main terminal building and the satellite building. The infrastructure was designed accounting for its ecological benefits.
Yet the most impressive part of the design was having a jungle in the middle of a satellite building. A rainforest was transplanted from the jungles of Sepang. The mini forest is home to an impressive variation of trees such as the Medang, Kelat, Tukas and Penaga lilin tree that can be commonly found in the jungles of Malaysia.
KLIA’s ecological friendly design even won them an award in 2004. The airport was recognized by Green Globe and received the Green Globe Certificate 21. They were the first and only airport to receive the award. And to top it all off, they even manage to hold the title for 5 years in a row. In 2012, KLIA was awarded the Platinum status in EarthCheck Benchmarked Airport global certification.
KLIA is the best example of Malaysia’s effort in conserving nature while also undergoing development. It embraces the relationship between nature and humans. So, if you are ever flying into KLIA, take a walk around the airport. Marvel at the spectacular innovative design and the lush greeneries inside the airport compounds. I promise that you will be impressed. Plus, to walk around the KLIA Jungle Boardwalk is totally free.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Singapore first opened its doors in 2010. I have planned with friends and family members to experience this exciting and “spooky” theme park but never had the chance to do so until recently.
My husband and I have always enjoyed theme parks and we came to Singapore last October, especially for Universal Studios Singapore’s Halloween Horror Nights 8. Another main thing that attracted us to USS’s Halloween Horror Nights was this year’s new “Stranger Things” haunted house, because both of us are huge fans of the Netflix Series, Stranger Things.
Halloween Horror Nights 8 at Universal Studios Singapore
It was just another regular day, USS opened at 10am for the regular theme-park-goers to enjoy its day rides but instead of closing its doors at 8pm like other days, for the month of Halloween, the park closes at 6pm. This is because it needed the one hour break time between 6pm-7pm to get ready for the night session of Halloween Horror Nights.
My husband and I were super excited and we queued near the entrance door with other teenagers (we almost forgot we weren’t teenagers anymore), anticipating for the night session. By 6.15pm, the number of theme-park-goers are starting to pile up, some with Halloween face tattoos, some wearing Halloween accessories and many with excitement on their faces.
As the doors open at 7pm, we quickly scanned our barcode at the entryway and headed for the center stage (this is where they showcase the haunted houses on the big screen and the “story” behind each haunted houses. The EDM music blaring on the speakers as we waited for the show to begin certainly catapulted me back to my “younger” days.
There are 5 different and rare haunted houses this year and they are:
Pagoda Of Peril
The Haunting Of Oiwa
The opening show at the center stage was certainly mind-blowing and pumped us up to hunt for other more awesome haunted houses, shows and rides.
Racing To Our Favourite Haunted Houses
So which haunted house shall we go to first?
Time is of the essence here. Just like the regular theme-park, the Halloween Horror Nights is only open at specific hours whch was from 7pm until 1am. If you’re like us and if you only purchase the regular Halloween Horror Nights 8 tickets, then you would have to plan carefully which haunted house you would like to go to for fear the queue would be long and you would just waste your time standing around instead of enjoying yourself.
However, if you have extra money to splurge, you should go for the Halloween Horror Nights Express Plus Pass (S$80 on top of your regular price ticket) or the Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Pass (which you can use for re-entry on another day).
As I wrote above, my husband and I were mostly looking forward to the Stranger Things Haunted House, so as soon as the opening show at the center stage was done and we were set free to roam USS, my husband and I ran straight to the Stranger Things Haunted House. We weren’t the only ones who did this – many others does the same thing too, running to their haunted house of choice.
That was awesome!!
After we completed the Stranger Things haunted house, we saw the long line for the house and were very grateful for deciding to run at the beginning because we realized that by then, the queue was piling up and it would take about 90 minutes to get into the house. This happens often at all other haunted houses as well so, if you’re a regular ticket holder, be smart!
What Else Can You Find At Universal Studios Singapore Halloween Horror Nights 8?
Apart from haunted houses, there are also shows that you can find at specific times in specific locations. The Scaremony can be found near the Hollywood Walk Of Fame while Dead Talks is in front of the Killuminati haunted house. Blood & Bones show is located right before Revenge Of The Mummy’s area.
There are Scare Zones as well. My favourite would be Cannibal scare zone near the Revenge Of The Mummy area. All of the cannibals were totally in character as we walked past them. I had one cannibal point a bow and arrow right in front of my face which was a little scary and he didn’t laugh one bit at my shocked face.
Some of the day rides are also open for visitors but they’re limited and made to suit the “haunted” theme. Rides that are open are:
King Julien’s Beach Part Go-Round
Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey
Revenge of the Mummy
Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN (RED Track)
Battlestar Galactica: CYCLONE (GREY Track)
TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle
If you’ve experienced these rides in the day, you might want to experience them at night too, especially the rollercoasters. The feeling is way different than in the day – maybe because it was darker and seemed more spooky.
One of the best things available at Halloween Horror Nights 8 is probably the Zombie Laser Tag, in my opinion. Although this game is priced separately but it sure is a lot of fun and different than the regular laser tags in town. It is much more fun when you do it with your group of friends and really bring the roof down killing all those zombies.
Opportunities to take photos with some of the haunted house’s main characters
Last but not least, the beverages! Drinks might come in scary blood bags (alcoholic or non-alcoholic Jello), test tubes (non-alcoholic drinks with Toppings) and beakers. You can get Jellos in syringes or Evil Eyeball Cupcakes and many more.
Photo taken from RWSSentosa Blog
Drinks of the photo above (from left to right):
Corpse Reviver (S$8): Orange Juice & Grass Jelly
Cursed Tamago (S$8): Apple Juice & Lychee Popping Boba
Grateful Dead (S$10): Bacardi Rum, Lime Juice, Blue Curacao Syrup & Tadpole Jelly
Read more on the food and drinks available at Halloween Horror Nights 8 here.
Oh, and since we bought our Halloween Horror Nights 8 tickets from Klook, we also received a $15 food voucher (per ticket) to eat at any of the restaurants in USS. We went to Mel’s Dine-In since it has the Halal certification and enjoyed some charcoal burgers that night.
It was certainly a tiring but truly enjoyable night!
If you’ve never been to Universal Studios Singapore or USS’ Halloween Horror Nights, I would highly recommend you purchasing tickets to both the day and night theme parks and enjoy yourself to the max!
Also, make sure you bring some extra cash because some of the merchandises are Ah-May-Zinggg!