My Time Capsule: 2014

25.12.14

Singapore: Changi Airport Is A Home To Me


Where's your most favourite airport in the world?


Changi airport

I often get asked that question because I travel a lot and I've been to many airports around the world. Without hesitation I'd always answer Changi Airport in Singapore. If you ask me the reasons, well I can easily write a long list of it. But what made me fall in love with Changi Airport in the first place was their super clean and spotless washrooms.

"WHAT?!" I could see your confused face while raising your eyebrows.

Yes, one of my biggest pet peeves is dirty public toilet. It's a pretty big deal for me because I usually drink gallons of water before a long haul flight. Naturally I'll visit the washroom often and all I need is a stink-free clean toilet. Thank you.


spotless washroom



Changi Airport is one of the busiest international airports in the world. It's a major air hub in Asia serving more than 100 international airlines flying to more than 300 cities around the world. There are 3 terminals in Changi Airport and all are connected by the Skytrain. Recently between my flight Surabaya-Singapore and Singapore-Bangkok, I had couple of hours to do an airport tour here. If you have ample time before your next flight, I'd also recommend you to explore all the 3 terminals. Each of terminals has it's own uniqueness. Such as Cactus Garden in Terminal 1, Sunflower Garden in Terminal 2 and Butterfly Garden in Terminal 3. It's like finding an oasis in the middle of the hustle bustle of an airport.


Cactus garden 

Sunflower garden

Butterly garden 




There's also a transit hotel in each terminal. In case, all you need is a quiet room to get some quality sleep and a good shower. There are two different rates available depending on whether you choose a standard room or a budget room. To stay in these hotels, you don't need to go through the immigration or custom. In all terminal, Ambassador Transit hotel are located in the level 3, within the departure transit lounge.



The Social Tree

Now let's talk about The Social Tree, a new attraction in Terminal 1 which looks really cool and futuristic. I was excited when I saw this 9 metres tall tree. First I took my picture in one of eight touch screen photo booths around this tree. Next step, I was having fun playing around with this photo booth where I could choose some cute frames and stickers to decorate my photo. When I was done editing and clicked the 'submit' button and then BAM! my picture appeared on the giant screen. I can always retrieve my picture at any time and it will be stored for a hundred years! Amazing, huh? Now I understand why the tag line is "Leave behind a memory at the Social Tree".


Hey! It's meeeee :D

Movie Theatre

watching your favourite movies for free

Hey you know what? You can always choose some favourite movies to watch for free in the Movie Theatre. They are located at Terminal 2 near the Sunflower Garden, level 3 and at Terminal 3 near the Ambassador Transit Lounge, level 3. Beware though, not to get too comfy or you'll miss your next flight.


rooftop swimming pool

Changi Airport is my most visited airport besides the airport in Surabaya and Bali. Thus it feels like home to me. But no matter how often I've been to this airport, there's always something new to discover here. Like this rooftop swimming pool. In between some long haul flights, it must be really great to relax a little bit in this pool while sipping some drinks served from the pool bar. I would have found this pool earlier if I hadn't spent too much time in food court or shopping all this time :p


food glorious food

Last but not least.... Changi Airport is a food heaven! Since I barely eat anything during the flight, I have to make sure to eat something before I board the plane. There are so many food options to choose in Changi Airport. In fact, they have about a million food outlets across Terminal 1, 2 and 3. Okay, I exaggerate. It's actually more than 120 food outlets with a great diversity of cuisine. The recently renovated food court in Terminal 3 is named 'Singapore Food Street'. You might just be transiting and don't have time to explore the city, but you still can sample some of Singapore signature dishes. Isn't that brilliant?


I was lucky to meet Max, the Changi Airport mascot

After all, Changi Airport is like a huge playground for me. Every terminal is unique and has a lot to offer. There's always something new to discover and to do before departing to my next destinations. Airport is a place of "Hello" and "Good Bye".  And in Changi Airport it will surely be a special one. To all my Indonesian friends, do you know that Changi Airport has launched a website in Bahasa Indonesia for us? It's www.id.changiairport.com. Make sure to visit it to get the latest updates or events and some promotions you would not want to miss.

How about you? What's your favourite things to do in Changi Airport?


FREEBIES!



It's Christmas day so I'll throw another freebies! There will be one winner who will get this package of a Changi Airport power bank, a cute 'selfie' T-shirt, chocolates and a luggage tag.

Here's how to join:

1. Make sure you have followed my instagram @debbzie_leksono or twitter @twitdebbzie
2. Tweet this sentence >>> #GiveAway Power bank, T-shirt and chocolates.  Join on www.debbzie.com | cc: @twitdebbzie
3. Don't forget to leave your email address and twitter or instagram user ID on the comment box below. 

Closing date: 5 January 2015 (closed)

Winner: @rintadita


* My trip to Bangkok is fully sponsored by Jetstar Asia and Changi Airport. However all opinions are based on my experience and the words are all mine. Special thanks to the ever so friendly and lovely Wei Shan for taking me around Changi Airport.

14.12.14

Thailand: Birthday Trip With Jetstar


I am an aerophobic.




Yes, I have a pretty serious condition of fear of flying.
No, I wasn't born with it. My first air plane ride when I was one year old baby. And because my Dad travels overseas very often for business trip, I've became a frequent flyer too. I loved flying. Airport was my favourite place and I could even memorise most air plane logos. Besides visiting new places, flying was one of my most love things to do.

Then it all has changed 15 years ago when I experienced a super severe turbulence that my plane had to go through an emergency landing. It was really a 'near death' experience for me. Since that day, flying has been a dreadful thing to do. I avoided flying for almost a year. Even the view of air planes in the sky would caused my heartbeat racing and my body shook uncontrollably. Yes, the trauma was that bad. But at one point, I decided to fight my phobia. I won't give up my passion for travelling. One thing that significantly changed, I've became very fussy in choosing airlines. I'd do some research before travelling and would only pick airlines with great safety records. Even if that means sometimes I have to fork out more money for the flight tickets. I've also became fussy in picking my seat on plane. I must must get a window seat otherwise I get panic attack easily during the flight. So much for a person who travels regularly like me. I wish I was as flexible as I used to.


Jetstar Asia in Juanda airport, Surabaya

Anyway, I was happy when recently Jetstar Asia approached me and invited me to experience flying with them. Jetstar is a low-cost airline which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas and Jetstar Asia which is based in Singapore - is one of its sister airlines. I've been flying Jetstar Asia pretty often on Surabaya-Singapore route. Yup, Jetstar is one of some airlines that I feel comfortable and feel safe to fly with. From Singapore, Jetstar Asia operates services to some Asia countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Burma, also Japan and China.




It wasn't easy to choose the destinations, I wanted to visit them all! :p
I originally chose Vietnam but after some consideration (my Dad's health problem and I needed to submit my passport for Schengen visa immediately), I decided to fly to Bangkok instead for 5 days. My journey started off in Surabaya where I catch my first leg of flights to Singapore. Checking in was easy breezy. Though the flight was full, the queue at check in counter moved pretty fast because the staff worked efficiently.


YAY! I also got a KitKat :D

I'm a person who hardly enjoy in-flight meal. The reason is I'm very prone to motion sickness and also I found most in-flight meal are too bland for my Indonesian taste buds. But during Jetstar Asia return flights between Surabaya - Singapore - Bangkok, I was served and got to taste some of their in-flight meals. My favourites were the Chicken Rice and Roti Paratha with chicken, they tasted pretty good. I'd recommend you to pre-purchase and select your preferred meal on their website though or else you can always purchase drinks and snacks on board.


smooth flight in beautiful weather




In Surabaya I was already given my boarding pass for the flight from Singapore to Bangkok. So I had ample time to explore (eat & shop) some great facilities in Changi airport. I'll write the review on separate blog post. My next flight took off on time and arrived in Bangkok ahead of schedule. Hello, Bangkok! Sawadeeka :)


view from my room at Radisson Blu Plaza, Sukhumvit

greeted by hundreds of Snoopy in Central World Plaza

I didn't really have any itinerary for my trip to Bangkok. I only had 'food tour', 'shopping' and 'Thai massage' in my mind. After all it was my birthday trip so I think it's okay to pamper myself once in a while, right? My last visit to Bangkok was 12 years ago so unsurprisingly I hardly recognise it. I went crazy shopping at Platinum where there are too much cute stuff to ignore. Not to mention they are very cheap too. I went "Ouch! Ouch! ohhhh ahhhh... gimme more!" during the Thai massage session. But highlight of my trip would be the Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk that I joined with the local agent. Beside sampled some local food, I also got to enjoy beautiful night illuminations around some temples in Bangkok. To top it off, I laughed my head off while my tuk tuk was speeding and racing with a BMW car on the highway. Thrilling! I'm sure it won't be long until they release the latest movie of Need For Speed: The Tuk Tuk. Lol. Now, I want a Tuk Tuk as a Christmas present, can I?


I met my prince charming :p

Eagle bar with the stunning view of Wat Arun

There was a little hiccup on the end of my journey. I was waken up early morning by an sms from Jetstar saying that my flight from Bangkok to Singapore will be delayed for about 2 hours. That means I would be too late to catch my connection flight from Singapore to Surabaya. Jumped out my bed in panic, I tried to contact Jetstar. And thank goodness, almost immediately they managed to put me on earlier flight to Singapore. Phew! All in all, I had a great time flying with Jetstar and my Bangkok trip was nothing less than awesome. Thanks a bunch, Jetstar for the great and safe journey!



FREEBIES!




I'm giving away this Jetstar Comfort Pack worth SGD17 that I bought from their in flight shopping. It's a package of stuff that's very useful for travelling. Contains of a deluxe blanket, inflatable neck support pillow, toothbrush & toothpaste, earplugs, socks, eye shade and their premium lip balm from Australia's Bloom Cosmetics. All items inside a trifold pouch which can be used as your tablet pouch. Besides this comfort pack, you will also get a Jetstar 2015 desk calendar.

So let's join this freebies!

1. Make sure you have followed my instagram @debbzie_leksono or twitter @twitdebbzie
2. Tweet this sentence >>> #GiveAway a valuable Jetstar Comfort Pack for you, avid travellers!  Join on www.debbzie.com | cc: @twitdebbzie
3. Don't forget to leave your email address and twitter or instagram user ID on the comment box below.   

All email address will be drawn randomly and 1 (one) winner will be sent this awesome pack.
Closing date: 25 December 2014 (closed)

Winner: @nyonyasepatu



* My trip to Bangkok is fully sponsored by Jetstar Asia and Changi airport. However all opinions are based on my experience and the words are all mine. Special thanks to Tyler who has been so kind and helpful, making sure that my trip was flawless.

16.11.14

Greenland: Kulusuk Village, Inuits & Cemetery

Kulusuk, July 2014




Kulusuk is the getaway to East Greenland and opportunities for the adventures on and around the island cover everything from cultural encounter to extreme expeditions.

I read it on some tourism brochures and I'm sold. With the best plane window view ever, I knew I already fell in love with this land even before landed.

walking tour to Kulusuk village

The first thing I did after checking into the only hotel in Kulusuk was joining the walking tour to the village. Guided by one of the hotel staffs, I walked about 6 km distance back and forth from the hotel - across the hill and valley together with some of the hotel guests. The island is actually small, only 8 km from north to south and 11 km from west to east.

cemetery with a view

After walking over a hilly terrain, we stopped at the village cemetery on a small hill. It's interesting to find that all those white crosses are nameless. The body is only a temporary home,  Inuit believes that life is eternal and death is only a transformation from one world to another. That's why they don't put name on the graves because the souls are on a journey to the other side. A world under water and earth, where there are plenty of seal meat and the sky rich on berries. According to them, hell doesn't exist.

When I mentioned to some friends that I was in Greenland, most of them were thinking about lush green island with colourful flowers. Nope, Greenland is anything but green. In fact it's mostly white with hardly any land at all. It's even pretty difficult for plants to grow that the cemetery is festooned with plastic flowers.




pathway to the village

Summer in Greenland means thousands of crazy flies. These pain- in- the- ass tiny creatures would buzzing and swarming all over your face. So annoying that a lot of people opt to wear mosquito hat net. I left mine in the hotel and I happened to swallow one or ten flies also some stuck inside my nose and ear. While walking, I kept saying "shuuh....shuuh go away" and doing some kung fu motion to keep the flies away. Though it may looked funny, believe me, it was not fun at all!


abandoned dogs :'(

Suddenly from a far distance I heard a long sad howling. As a dog lover, I recognised it well....it was a sound of dog crying. Naturally I walked faster towards the sound, curious to find what happened to the dog. My eyes noticed some movements behind a hill and I stood stunned in silence....feeling brokenhearted. There were about a dozen of sad faced dogs chained to a wooden thingy with a rotting seal carcass as their food.

"These dogs are being punished because their owner doesn't take a good care of them." I heard the guide were explaining to my group.

"How come the dogs have to be punished when it's not even their fault?" I could feel tears running down my cheeks. I had a mixed feelings of angry, sad and helpless for not able to do anything.

"The owners are too poor to even afford their own life and these dogs became aggressive from hunger and lack of love. Thus they are put in this 'prison' and will be slaughtered."




Kulusuk village

Feeling devastated, I decided to walk away from the sad scene. I realised travelling doesn't only teach us to see beautiful things but also learning some bitter truths. Whether I like it or not, this is how the local lives, I have to accept the law and culture of this foreign land.

It wasn't long until I reached Kulusuk village. The tiny village with colourful wooden houses clings to the rocky island above a glittering sea of iceberg with dramatic mountain peaks as a backdrop. It must have been one of most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. With only around 300 inhabitants, there's a supermarket, a post office and a church in the village.




Inuits

"Most of the Inuits here are pretty poor that sometimes they have to move from one house to another because they can't afford the rent." The guide told me. "They survived mostly from fishing and seal hunting."

Okay, now I kinda feel bad for blaming the dog owner earlier. The life in this village is actually tough. They hunt the seals and keep the carcass under the sea water. If it's not consumed within 3 days, they will feed it to the dogs. Besides hunting, the Inuits get some cash from selling handmade souvenirs. One of them is Tupilaks, 'scary looking' ritualistic figures made from wood, whale bones, tooth and reindeer antler points. In Greenlandic words, 'Tupilak' means an ancestors spirit. It's believed that a tupilak is a home for spirit and previously were used by the shaman to against a foe. Tupilak are often carved based on some figures from Inuit mythology. Pretty interesting, right?


Tupilak

handmade souvenirs

with some adorable Inuit kids

I've just posted some postcards in the post office when I spotted some curious-looking Inuit kids. I waved my hands toward them and pulled a plastic full of candies out my bag.

"Come here. Do you want some candies?" I offered a handful of sweets to them. Though a bit shy, I could see their eyes sparkled with joy and nodded gleefully. They said some words that sounded very foreign to me. I don't know, perhaps they were saying a 'thank you' or anything. I ended up sitting on the post office step and eating candies with these kids. Too bad I don't understand Greenlandic language. Though I was happy to somehow 'communicate' with them.


interior of the church

the only church in the island

colourful houses

cute Greenlandic dogs

Kulusuk village

Kulusuk is a remote, mysterious, extreme and a fairy tale like land for me. It seems bizarre yet I feel a strong bond with it. I could actually see myself staying here for a long term while learning about the Inuit life and culture. Maybe one day :)


FREEBIES!





Hey! I still keep some knick knacks that I bought during the trip. So, time for freebies it is!
3 winners will be chosen randomly and will get a package of postcard & keyring from Greenland plus passport cover and luggage tag.

Here's how to join:

1. Make sure you have followed my instagram @debbzie_leksono or twitter @twitdebbzie
2. Tweet this sentence >>> #GiveAway souvenirs from Greenland + passport cover & luggage tag. Join on www.debbzie.com! cc: @twitdebbzie
3. Don't forget to leave your email address and twitter or instagram user ID on the comment box below. So you'll be the first to know when you're chosen as a winner. Hurry! :D

Closing date: 30 November 2014 (closed)

Congratz to @shintaries @gypsysoul04_ @septimelia :)

26.10.14

France: Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame de Reims

Reims, July 2014

"I just want to get out of Paris!"

After spending 2 peaceful weeks in Iceland and Greenland I kinda had a 'shock' when I landed in Paris, the so called 'most romantic city in the world'. Yes, Paris is beautiful but it's just way too crowded and complicated for a small town girl like me. It did not impress me on my first visit 14 years ago and I thought I'd give Paris a second chance. But within a few hours wandering around the city, I felt suffocated and miserable that even those delicious French patisserie could not lift my mood. I decided to hire a chauffeur and car on the next day to take me away from Paris.

* I didn't mean to travel like a royal family but I was travelling with my Dad who's still recovering from a stroke and my Mom who can't walk too far due to spinal surgery couple years back. I love taking public transportation but it's not an option when I travel with my parents.


Notre-Dame de Reims

"Where would you like to go? Gallery Lafayette or Champs Elysees? Indonesian people love to shop there for branded stuff", asked the chauffeur enthusiastically when he picked me up at the hotel the next morning.

"Not all Indonesian would fly thousands miles away just to shop. Obviously not me." I rolled my eyes. "Also I've already been to Gallery Lafayette yesterday."

"See! You went shopping. Did you buy anything nice from that luxury department store?"

"Yes. I bought a box of expensive fried rice from Chinese restaurant on top floor. Now please just take me to some leisurely beautiful places."


some renovations in Reims Cathedrale

The chauffeur drove the car towards the highway and took me to Reims, a charming city 2 hours away from Paris. My first stop was the Cathedral of Reims which was built in 1211 to replace an older church destroyed by fire. The process continued through three centuries but rest incomplete. Spires that were initially planned for the tops of the towers were never built. The Gothic art masterpiece was one of the first monuments registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


can you spot the difference between old and new parts?

The 800 years old Cathedral is an important site in the history of France where at least 24 of its kings were crowned. Unfortunately some important parts of the building were destroyed and severely damaged during the World War I. It was not until 1919 when the restoration work began and was fully reopened in 1938. What amazed me most was the stunning details of the limestone statues and Gothic stained glass windows. Such a mind-blowing artworks!


the entrance


amazing details

the altar

interior of Reims cathedral

stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall

beautiful vaulted ceilings


the miniature

Holy Mary

I really could spend hours just sitting in silence inside the church, admiring the beauty around every corner. Beside the cathedral I also visited Abbey of Saint-Remi and had a cellar tour at Pommery Champagne house. I'll write about it on separate blog posts. Though I had no expectation at all, visiting Reims was one of my best day trips. Well, thanks to my chauffeur! It's true that sometimes the best advice comes from local people. Don't you think? :)

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