Bath

I fell in love with Bath! People who came here generally had mixed comments, perhaps because Bath was not the first English town they visited. But, I really enjoyed my time so much I wish I stayed overnight.

  1. Free Walking Tour

If you are not staying over, you might not have time to see everything because of the fixed train hours. If so, I highly recommend the walking tour I did which will allow you to cover a lot of ground and history in a short time: Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides

This is the first walking tour I did is which is legitly free and no guide accepts a tip. You can tell the guides are doing it simply because they love their city. The walks are super popular with visitors and sometimes up to 100 people can gather at the starting point with four or five guides each setting off leading smaller groups. The guides are knowledgeable, entertaining, and made history come alive for me. I saw so many places of interest and the history behind which I would never have known about had I not taken this tour. It is also a brilliant way to get to hear the main points to research or tour further.

2. Sally Lunn’s

They are famous for the Bath delicacy the Sally Lunn Bun – the original Bath Bun, and while I was not very impressed with the lukewarm bun, it makes a good tea break in the afternoon. The interior is really cosy and there is a mini museum at the basement for the history buffs.

3. Explore the museums, shops and Bath Abbey

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Had a beef curry puff while walking around Bath

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One of the key landmarks in Bath is the Bath Abbey. I did not go in because entrance fee was pricey (by London’s free museums standard), and it did not look very big. Nonetheless, the abbey gives off an imposing vibe, and I love how it seems to “look over” the whole of Bath. If you join the free walking tour, the guide will give you a description of the Abbey and the significance of the exterior, which was sufficient for me.

There are at least 10 museums within Bath itself, the most famous being the Roman Baths. There is also plenty of shopping and little food shops, because locals do stay here and there is a pretty huge university.

You really cannot get bored here!

Batam – Where to Stay

I am a huge fan of Batam! Because of parental objection I am not able to go to Johor Bahru for a weekend getaway like most people. So Batam, to me, has been a great alternative all these years. Except for the more expensive transport (about $30 to-fro) to Batam, you get to enjoy cheap but amazing seafood, cafes and most importantly, the beach!

Here are the accommodations I’ve stayed in, ranked from 1st to 5th:

  1. Radisson Hotel Batam

My favourite hotel in Batam! This is not your typical Batam beach resort. Even though it is not near the sea, it is precisely so that’s why the nightly rates are cheaper and might give you greater value for money. I love how it is very close to the main shopping areas and cafes, and has such an amazing view of the golf course from its executive lounge and pool.

I bought the hotel stay vouchers from Fave and wasn’t expecting much, but the entrance blew me away! The service was also really good, staff could speak English well and I love their buffet breakfast!

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Just awkwardly admiring the view

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For me, the only downside is that unlike many hotels, their executive lounge is purely for business purposes and there is no executive club benefits which allow you to dine and enjoy tea in the lounge.

2. Telunas Island

This is technically not on Batam Island but you have to get to Batam and take a 3/4 hour sampan ride to get here, but I assure you it is worth it! When I went in 2015 it was quite primitive (no 3G or wifi), and not as expensive as now, but that 3 days of disconnect till date still remain memorable to me. I remember just chilling at the hammocks, playing volleyball, board games and talking for hours. You also get to do a rope course, kayak and stand-up paddle boarding! And fishing, and jumping off their deck… too many to list. Would go back if the journey wasn’t so rabak.

This is a private island so there is a limit to the no. of people who can be on the island at any one time – Peace and tranquility a huge plus for me! I also recall the staff being very hospitable and friendly.

3. Nongsa Point Marina & Resort

This resort shares the same beach as Turi Beach Resort (no.4) below, meaning you get to access water sports nearby but at the same time enjoy the peace and tranquility of this resort! It was very quiet when we went so it felt like we had the whole pool to ourselves. Service was also very good and their Indonesian ala carte dinner was glorious (though breakfast was simple). Memorable! Have been wanting to go back to support them but there’s just too many Batam hotels to explore.

Also I don’t have the pictures I took here, so here are some photos from other sources. Super picture-worthy!

4. Turi Beach Resort

This resort is perfect for water sports lovers! I went quite some years back but I recall that the water activities were varied and affordable. You can even do parasailing! This is a slightly more boisterous resort since the activities are catered towards kids and young people, but the chalets still offer plenty of privacy.

5. Best Western Premier

The pictures you get from this hotel are probably going to be the prettiest among the five, but I am ranking it last because it didn’t meet my expectations. We intentionally booked the hotel with club benefits but it turns out that the “lounge” was simply the same shared public space as their rooftop bar. The hotel is right beside the main road and the rooftop bar is also open-air, which means that it gets really noisy. Buffet breakfast is not as varied. There were also other grievances which I shall not air.

Perks are that this hotel is near to cafes and shopping areas, but unless you are here for the gram I would recommend the nearby Radisson intead.

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Living the “high” life 🙃

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Peering into paradise

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Bandung – Where to Eat

  1. Sierra Cafe & Lounge

Located in a river basin surrounded by the Parahyangan mountains, Bandung is dotted with various cafes offering panoramic rooftop views of the landscape. We chose to visit this particular one on our way back to the city (instead of the more expensive Valley Café nearby). It was a close to jaw-dropping experience when I saw how the classy restaurant was backed by a picturesque view of the hills and houses below.

Because Bandung has cooler temperatures, you can even dine alfresco while enjoying the outdoor breeze. We ordered two mains and drinks which added up to about SGD20. Highly recommend this place!

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Dining with a panoramic view 😍

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2. Yes Ice Please (Yip Hauz)

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Cosy rooftop cafe spaces

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This was located opposite our hotel and they served mainly ice cream and desserts. We really liked the interior. There is also a rooftop for you to chill and people watch.

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3. Atmosphere Resort Cafe

Located in the heart of Bandung, Atmosphere Resort Café offers both western and Indonesian cuisine in a Balinese-inspired interior.

For the best experience, you can dine in one of the Balinese-style 12 gazebos surrounded by plants and ponds.

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Enjoying a $5 chocolate fondue in the middle of a green paradise

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Prices are relatively high, but you pay for the great vibes! We had a nice time just sitting in our own wooden pavilion and chilling the afternoon away. The service was also pretty good.

4. Khatulistiwa in Dusun Bambu

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Fancy some traditional Indonesian cuisine?

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As mentioned in my other post, I recommended Dusun Bambu as a place to visit when in Bandung.

In this leisure park you will be spoilt for choice with the number of restaurants available! The restaurants boast unique concepts, but most were pretty expensive. We opted for Khatulistiwa – their “hawker centre/food court” equivalent, but it surpassed our expectations. The food was great yet affordable!

If you choose to sit on the 2nd floor, you get to enjoy equally good views as the other restaurants.

5. BONUS: Amanda Brownies

If you visit Bandung (or most parts of Indonesia) please get the Amanda Brownies! They are one of the best brownies I have ever eaten in my life, my only regret is not buying more during my trip because they are pretty dense and heavy (which shows its quality). Outlets are scattered around Bandung so you should be able to find one easily. They are the best souvenir from Bandung imo!

Bandung – Where to Stay

We were looking for an affordable yet decent hotel in Bandung, and got more than what we asked for. Spend your nights in Mercure Bandung City Centre and you can’t go wrong.

For me, the highlight really is the infinity pool, where I got to enjoy a panoramic view of the city peppered by undulating mountains in the background.

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Who doesn’t love hotel buffet spreads? 😋

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Not only did we get to enjoy an infinity pool view, the daily Indonesian/western buffet breakfast was sumptuous and tasty.

On one of the nights, we opted for a “Crazy Rich Ocean” Seafood Buffet (SGD20/pax) at the hotel rooftop, and the night views and food both didn’t disappoint.

if you are looking for a good hotel to return to after your day trips in Bandung, highly recommend Mercure for its cleanliness, the above amenities, as well as its location. The hotel is centrally located and within walking distance to many massage and food spots. Remember to book in advance for your massage because they are almost always full!

For ideas on what to see, click here!

For ideas on what to eat, click here!