In front of Batik museum just few meters to the end of the road,
you will find a small monument on your right side that look like
a mail post with a sign ‘Mylpaal’.
It is a mark of the central axis of Java island.
Mylpaal means ‘0 Km’, it was built as the start of Daendels road,
which is pantura track 1.100 km length initiated by H.W. Daendels
in 1808. [Pantura = Pantai Utara = North coast]
This time we went to Pekalongan to see the city of batik. We’re driving from Jakarta on a beautiful sunny day.
We stopped for lunch at Cirebon at a small humble food stand to try Nasi Jamblang bu Kesi. Jamblang rice is a typical food of Cirebon, West Java. ‘Jamblang’ comes from the name of a region in Cirebon, home of the food vendors. Characteristic of nasi jamblang is serves on a teak leave before the plate. The dishes is serve like a buffet. After having a delicious lunch, we continued the journey.
Arrived in Pekalongan, we went directly to the hotel, so we could had some rest. If you love antique buildings then you will love traveling in Java, where you could find a colonial houses or building easily. And Pekalongan is one of them.
We chose The Sidji hotel, just because it is an antique house that got restored and turned into a very lovely hotel.
We drove around to alun-alun just to see where to have dinner, we saw this huge signage about lamb rice, a middle-eastern food. We follow the address and led us to the Arab quarter not far from alun-alun. The restaurant is also an antique house that serves delicious food.
Pekalongan is one city that produce batik beside Yogyakarta, Surakarta and other places in Indonesia. Because of its colorful and motifs, batik from Pekalongan is very recognizable. In Dec 1st, 2014, city of Pekalongan was inscribed as a UNESCO World’s Creative City for craft and folk art category. You can find batik workshop or shops in several areas such as: Kampung batik Kauman, Kampung batik Pesindon, Pasar Sentono, and you will find batik clothes in more fine design in boutiques in Arab quarter.
I just love this particular boutique in Arab quarter, just because they preserves the origin architecture.
Near alun-alun there is Batik museum that gives so much information about batik and the philosophy behind every motif. The museum is a Dutch heritage building which has stood since 1906. This Art Deco building was changing function from time to time, from an administration office of a sugar factory until city hall, and finally at present time as Batik Museum.
Divided into 3 display rooms, the first room explain batik motifs and its philosophy in the life cycle of human, from birth to death.
Here are some batik motifs in our life cycle with philosophy behind it :
In one of two other display rooms, you can find batik of Eliza van Zuylen. A Dutch, and one of batik maestro who lived in 1863 – 1947. Her design mostly were flower bouquet or well known as buketan (how Indonesian pronounce it).
Here are some pictures of peaceful and serene Pekalongan..
There is an old lemonade soda drink factory by the name ‘Oriental Cap Nyonya’ near alun-alun that was started in 1910-ish and still operating until this day. Even they weren’t as popular as in 1970s, but you can see that they still producing.
The factory is just located behind the Pekalongan jail that also still got the original architecture in one angle.
I must say, Pekalongan is a very nice, laid-back city, where you can enjoy the slow pace and the colonial architecture. Especially a place that has character in their culture, adds its own charm. -SK-
We just celebrate our cultural heritage at the biggest annual handicraft exhibition, INACRAFT 2016, where the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sell their local product from traditional until the most innovative one. The exhibition was held at Jakarta Convention Center from April 20th until 24th. INACRAFT is an annual event that much awaited by people who loves our local product, foreigners who simply just looking for some souvenirs or to do direct business with the SME. Because it is an opportunity where you got to see products from all over Indonesia. And every year they have a theme of one province that get to be the star and got the center stage to promote their culture. This year, they promoted the Minangkabau ethnic of West Sumatera. So they put the big pointy roof traditional house of Minangkabau in the main lobby facing the entrance to welcoming the visitors. Everyday they had traditional dance or performance scheduled, in order to introduce our culture to the visitors.
Below are some pictures of local product from Sumatera, and the famous kain songket. The golden and silver thread that is intricately woven justify Sumatera as the Golden Island or we may know as Swarnabhumi or Swarnadwipa. A heritage from the kingdom of Sriwijaya shows from the splendor of Songket.
Pandai Sikek is an area in West Sumatera where it is well-known as the place of the weaver. And has been appreciated by the government in the picture of our five thousand rupiah bill. A woven songket of Pandai Sikek is a work of art and has unique character and subtlety in its motifs. Gold thread made of metal is the main material in forming the motifs on the fabric.
Songket in Sumatra is generally associated as one of the cultural heritage from the golden age of Sriwijaya kingdom. Therefore, in the past songket was associated as a symbol of luxury, social status, and the wearer’s dignity. According to historical records, weaving songket in the past was using real gold thread. This makes songket is not only high value in terms of aesthetics, but also in intrinsic value.
And other beautiful things from other provinces all over Indonesia...
Check out this special craft...
It is always fun to shop in an event like this. You can find a lot of unique product with fine quality from all over Indonesia plus you are helping the local SME and their village. I must say, I'm quite happy with Inacraft this year, they made a lot of progress than last year. Most of the booths were equipped with credit card machine and the SMEs were already put attention for quality on their product. So, I found a lot of high quality goods. Makes me even more proud to wear our local product. -SK-
A good friend of my husband, Rio, who likes to travel a lot, shared his experience when he visited Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. We were so fascinated by his story, decided to plan a trip to Vietnam. The country, where the majority of the people doesn’t speak English just like my country, this was going to be quite an adventure. :) We took this trip two years ago, March 2014.
We arrived in Tan Son Nhat International airport in the afternoon. And very proud to see they make a special line for ASEAN citizen in the immigration. The officer may look very serious, strict face, but they were actually friendly and we had a smoothly-fast process in this particular line. We took a taxi from airport to our hotel in district 1 area. On our way to the hotel, the taxi driver almost gave us worries, when he asked something in Vietnamese (I think he tried to make sure of the hotel’s name), we showed the print out of the hotel’s name and address. But of course they were all in Latin writing, and Vietnam have their own letters. Somehow he understood, and reached our hotel.
After checked in to the hotel, we took a stroll in the neighborhood. It turned out that the area is a little Japan area. So many Japanese restaurants, from the traditional until the fusion. So we went to one restaurant, and when we’re going to order, we asked about (need to make sure) the menu that we picked didn’t contain pork. And this was an interesting experience. The girl, who happen to be the waitress, couldn’t understand what we’re saying. So she pull out her iPhone and click an application (that turn out to be a translator tool). There you go.. we’re communicating by passing back and forth her phone. I may say it was effective. Hahaha.. It's a funny experience. She’s so attentive and smart! The food were very satisfying, we didn’t remember to took picture of it (being typical Asian), well.. what can you say when you are very hungry.
Rio gave his friend’s number (Lukdy) and said that he’s the right person to contact when you are in Vietnam. Lukdy own a big travel company in Vietnam, Phi Loan travel agent. So, he met us up in our lounge hotel and we took a walk to a cafe on the back of the opera house. The name of the place is “Highland Coffee”, right in front of Hyatt hotel. I can’t wait to have a sip of the local coffee! Vietnam coffee is one of the best coffee in the world. And yup! I’m sipping my coffee very slowly, enjoying the caffeine lingers in my taste buds. Lukdy is a very warm person, we just like old friends in our first encounter. He offered transportation for us to went touring until drove us back to airport on our last day in a reasonable price. He also lent us a local sim card to use while in town for easier communication with him. And we just met him. Nice guy!
So, after a quick round in the neighborhood, the coffee, and some tour site suggested by ‘the master’, we went back to the hotel to rest. Tomorrow is going to be a full-day.
When you go traveling, it is a must to know about the history of your destination. We already make a list of places to visit. First place is historical “DINH ƉộC LẬP” means Independence Palace also known as Reunification Palace, built on the site of the former Norodom Palace and designed by Paris-trained Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu. It is important for you to know the local name of the site rather than international name if you need to ask directions or talk to your taxi driver.
If you read the history of this building, you may feel a bit tense as entering the big hall on the ground floor and walk through upstairs. I'm also amazed of all the facilities they had. A cinema, a bar, a helipad, ow.. I didn't went to the basement. Some said it was fascinating.
Afterwards, we went to Bến Tành local market (built in 1914) where they sell local product from souvenir like handicraft, clothing, until dried food and beverage. Your bargaining skill is required in this place. And if you want to buy the local coffee complete with the coffee drip equipment which is perfect for souvenir or gifts, this is the right place. I was surprised when one of the lady vendor speak Indonesian to me in a middle of negotiation for some souvenir. I guess, there's so many of us shopping here. :)
Near Bến Tành, we visited the Fine arts museum of Ho Chi Minh city or Bảo tàng Mỹ thuật. A yellow and white colonial building that looks very elegant is full of details from the 1929 colonial era. This mansion was originally owned by Mr. Hoa, a Chinese during colonial time and after, the wealthiest man in Saigon at the time, who also owned other famous building in the city such as Majestic hotel.
When you enter the museum, first thing that I noticed was the antique-tiled-floor all over the place. And as you walked further, from a distant, you could see one of the oldest lift in Saigon. I was drawn right into it. Not to forget to take my picture beside this lovely wooden antique lift. Behind the lift was a gorgeous staircase. The ironwork of the railing, doors, are exquisite! They also have fine tinted glass on their windows and doors. Haven’t lay an eyes on their exhibition of fine arts yet, I already in love with the building itself.
The art collection are from domestic and international. Paintings and sculptures are from Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese artists. Even though the museum is not modern enough with high technology equipment, but they are well-maintained. I quite enjoyed my time there.
The Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon Opera House or in Vietnamese: Nhà hát lớn Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, is an example of French Colonial architecture in Vietnam. Built in 1898 by French architect Eugène Ferret as the Opėra de Saigon and inaugurated in early 1900.
On 28/04/2012, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee issued Decision No. 2210/QD-UBND that recognized Hotel Continental Saigon as Monument Architecture Arts of the City.
I think the most fascinating tour site is Cu Chi tunnels. They may not have pretty buildings or lovely place like any other site, but I was fascinated by the thousands of miles dug tunnels by Viet Cong, the Vietnamese guerilla troops, that only a meter high. They lived down there, in an underground village. That’s what I call a fighting spirit.
A shopping time would be very entertaining after all that heavy history experience. We went back to the center of the city, and just went for a walk. They have lovely shops with local product.
We had lovely dinner in Hoa Tuc restaurant. Good food, good design for its art nouveau interior.
The next day, we just walking around. Admiring the lovely antique building. Vietnam was colonized by French from 1858 until 1945. They preserve many colonial buildings / houses.
Our last day in Ho Chi Minh and I’ve got to see the famous Hotel Majestic. We walked along the Dong Khoi street, just straight ahead until the river Me Kong. You will find the hotel on your right side.
Hotel Majestic was established in 1925 by Hui Bon Hoa company. Hoa was a Chinese-Vietnamese. After several renovations from 1925 until 2003, now, this art deco structure comprising 175 rooms, 6 restaurants, and bars.
Ho Chi Minh weather in March 2014 was quite sunny, same hot but not as humid as in Jakarta. The people are warm, even they didn't speak English, they'll keep trying to talk to you or assist you. They are very welcome toward tourist. There are 6 things that I like from Ho Chi Minh city:
Another thing that I noticed, in a smaller streets in district 1 (I don't know in other area), like when I'm walking from my hotel to the center where the opera house is, there was a policeman guarding every intersection of the street. You will see a chair on the sidewalk and sometime a small toilet next to nearby building. It gave me a sense of security, especially when you're walking alone. -SK-
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