Showing posts with label globe trotter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label globe trotter. Show all posts

Lovely Stay at NH Capri Hotel, Havana, Cuba

Lovely Stay at NH Capri Hotel, Havana, Cuba

Hi everyone

Welcoming August, my birth month, I am still sharing the joy of my trip to Havana, Cuba. As I have warned you before, I still have so much to share indeed.

After writing about Hotel Nacional de Cuba , Floridita Cafe, Obispo Area, Santa Maria del Mare beach and Museo de la Revolucion as well as Mesquita Abdallah in Havana, Cuba, I now have NH Capri Hotel to share with you.

For our 4-day-3 night trip to Havana, Cuba from New York City, we decided to stay at NH Capri Hotel. The hotel is strategically located  I love this place because it is not far from many interesting landmarks in the area, including the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba and the famous promenade Maleçon where we can enjoy the lovely view of Havana Bay.

Frankly, before flying to Cuba we read a lot of references and tips & tricks from other fellow travelers. Many have suggested some things, including the importance to choose the right hotel, the special international currency for tourists, as well as the fact that we might need to bring some basic supplies, like toilet papers, because simple things like that can be very rare and expensive. It all is caused by the prolonged embargo by one of their immediate neighboring countries. I did read it with mixed feelings, between not (or perhaps cannot) believe it and do not want to take any risks. So, we did bring enough supplies for our stay.

Welcome to NH Capri Havana

Well, as we arrived in Jose Marti International airport and went to the hotel directly, we were happy that we made the right choice. We really wanted to stay in Hotel Nacional de Cuba nut as it's the biggest hotel in the country and very famous as well as historical, the room rate is also fantastic. We prefer to use the money for other experience, like our Salsa class and walking tour with the local guide.

So, when we arrived, we waited at the lobby and the check in was very smooth. NH Capri is part of NH Hotel chain adn as I have used their services many times while in Europe, I know they have a good standard and affordable prices as well. 

the sleek, elegant lobby

They had everything ready and we just have to wait for a while. The hotel is nice although it is not that big or 'modern'. I am not saying it's a classic hotel but more like an art-deco one. 

In the lobby, they also have the cigar corner, where you can get many brands of famous cigars here. Perfect for souvenir! They have this small corner selling all those famous cigars, which we have put on our long list from our NYC bosses and colleagues LOL. So it immediately attracted our attention and we certainly bought some. Speaking about impulsive buying.

When we get to the room, we now that hotel's facilities are nice. 

The room is lovely and clean, not too spacious but it's enough for 2 people staying comfortably. I have no issues with the bed, linens and the pillows, which are crucial indeed.

The amenities are complete, like NH Hotel standard. It has free shampoo, conditioner and the bath gel. You also get free tooth brush, lotion, shower cap and tissues. We also have bathrobe and slippers. So, the amenities is complete.
The bed is comfy. The pillows are nice as well. 

The room is beautifully decorated in mint color. It is very cool and calming. 
And we had free wine, as a welcome gift for us! Not to mention free coffee, tea, and water bottles. 

The staff is very friendly and they are very helpful indeed. It has pool, rooftop and the breakfast is nice. I do enjoy the warm food they have for breakfast as well. 

the pool is packed!

in front of the hotel, there will always be classic, beautiful taxi is waiting

We spent around USD 360 for 3 nights of deluxe room with breakfast for 2 people. Not bad at all! It is only 5 minutes walk to the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba and 10 minutes to Maleçon, where you can take pictures with the big Cuba sign on the hill.

I flew to Havana from New York City, using direct flight from Jet Blue. The flight was smooth and at that time, really packed with tourists like us. 

Here's my little video about our trip to Havana, Cuba, day 1!

Obviously, since our trip was taken in 2018, we stayed here before the pandemic hit the country and the world. So, I guess a lot of arrangement are changing nowadays. But that's my little review of our lovely stay at NH Capri Hotel, Havana, Cuba. 

Will you stay here as well if visiting Havana, Cuba? Tell me what you think about the hotel and what will you do if you visited Havana, Cuba!

Cheers and stay save, happy and healthy, everyone!

Lost in Angkor Wat

And my itchy feet take me further...

This time, I had a wonderful experience in Cambodia.

Has anyone visited Cambodia before? Did you visit the capital city Phonm Penh? Or you managed to visit Angkor Wat as well?

I decided to republish some of my posts with updates and more photos. Again, I come to realize that I still have tons of photos to share.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Attending a 2-day seminar on Genocide in Phnom Penh ( I will share the photos on another post), I welcomed myself to this fellow ASEAN member states.

Phnom Penh is nice obviously. I did have that familiar warm feelings that I got whenever I visited ASEAN countries. Then, as people say, a visit to Cambodia will never be complete without paying a visit to Angkor Wat. Covering the area of more than 162 hectares, Angkor Wat is without a doubt the largest religious complex in the world. No wonder this temple complex has been proclaimed as the symbol of Cambodia and is proudly appeared on Cambodia's national flag.

So, without further due, I flew to Siem Reap with Angkor Air and plunged myself to the ancient-old mystical Angkor Wat.

It was an amazing journey indeed! One I still cherish until now.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
one lovely corner at Angkor Wat Temple

First thing first, I flew to Siem Riep from Phnom Penh. It took around 50 minutes fly and we landed at Siem Reap International Airport. As soon as I arrived at the Siem Riep airport, , I got my tuk-tuk to take me to the hotel, had an appointment with the driver for my early-morning ride, and snuggled to my lovely Wooden Angkor hotel (really recommended for sure and you canread my comments for Siem Reap and Phnom Penh at tripadvisor)

The first thing crossing my mind while stepping my itchy-feet here was Borobudur Temple. Well, it is actually quite different because Borobudur is a Buddhist Temple, while Angkor Wat is the Hindu temple. Excuse my ignorance and simplistic approach.

Borobudur is indeed an amazing artifact as well and visiting Angkor Wat, to some extent, was like paying a pilgrimage to its homeland. Maybe because both are amazing temple complex and both are listed in UNESCO World Heritage.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that Angkor Wat is a combination of Buddhist and Hindu  temples. In the beginning, many of the early temples being built here were depicting Hinduism. The original construction of the temple was dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver in Trimurti, Hinduism triad deities. It was first built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman, the King of Khmer Empire ruled in the 11 - 12th century, for the state temple as well as his mausoleum. the Khmer architecture, during this golden era, is vividly shown by intricate details; the structures, the elements , and the motifs. All of them can be seen through elaborate towers, galleries, bas-relief, and more.

So back to my visit, I started the day very early, I was picked up at 4.30 AM and obviously I was not the only one arranging such early rendezvous. By the time we arrived at the temple, lines of tuk - tuk was already long. And by the way, trying to get a good spot amidst hundreds of people already flocking in Angkor Wat since 5 am was not that easy apparently. 

it was pitch black dark at that time and I was literally squeezing myself. I raced to the spots where we have the view of the whole temple, with the lake in front of it for its beautiful reflection.. The place was already packed with sunrise-hunter like me and tourists who smart enough to start the day early to avoid the scorching sun later on.

Then, after moving at least 3 times, I got my spot. Although I was just an amateur photographer and mainly relying on my no-so-advanced smart phone that I used at that time, I felt like it was such a waste if I didn't immortalise the moment with my gadget.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
and the sun kissed the morning....

The temples are amazing and there are so many things to see.

As it was a huge complex, I really have to manage my time and make my priorities.
I was a bit more ambitious at first, but after reality hits me (plus scorching sun the beginning of March when I visited and still quite early in the morning), then I dragged myself until the very last minute to the main attractions.

I was starting with Angkor Wat, enjoying its magnificent sunrise
Reflecting the five peaks of Mount Meru (the home of the Gods in Khmer - Hindu) Architectural masterpiece, Angkor Wat stands majestically until present day. This particular temple was abandoned for quite some times, particularly as Buddhist dominated the later successor of King Suryavarman II.

Then I continued the journey, trying to absorb the ancient vibes in its grandioso form, strolling around walls upon walls of hundred-year-old stories printed on those bas-reliefs. Here are some of the photos I took along the way.

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
somebody tell me what the story here...

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
one of the bas-relief in Angkor Wat...

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bas relief at Angkor Wat Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Apsara Lady...

Then to I went to Bayon temple, famous for its smiling Buddha. Here you will see so many of them.

Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

As the day continued, I walked further to Ta Phrom to see the famous spot of the Lara Croft's Tomb Raider. Remember the movie? The one starred by Angelina Jolie? Ta Phrom has been getting more and more attention because of that movie and because of its unique huge trees growing amidst the temples and becoming inseparable part of it. But I guess I will do so on the next post. I have also visited several other parts of this gigantic complex. So, stay with me as I will get back to you, will you?

Exploring Cambodia and Siem Reap
So, what do you think about Angkor Wat?
Do you like visiting ancient temples like this?
What do you like most?

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Btw, just a little tip to those traveling here. 

  • Don't forget to dress as required and fully considering the season. Summer can be very hot and humid so get your comfortable cotton dress or t-shirt and hat if necessary. 
  • Get your tumbler and fill it full as you will walk a lot. 
  • Wear you favorite sneakers as without even realizing it, I walked from 5 AM to 5 PM, just occasionally take tuk - tuk  to go to different places and have lunch.   
  • Get your tuk-tuk since the very beginning and make sure you make a clear deal with the driver. Tips will be highly appreciated as well. I forget how much I paid for my trip. I guess it was around USD 50 for the whole trip (from hotel, around the complex and to the airport - yes I took tuk-tuk to and from the airport :). But it was back in 2013 and before the pandemic. The price might change already.
  • As the complex is huge, make your priorities by choosing the places you want to see and explore, especially if you need to catch your plane later that day as well.
  • And finally, enjoy the trip. It's really worth all the efforts!

See you on the next post!

WW: Hagia Sophia Revisited

Alley at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

We have heard from the news recently that Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya in Istanbul, Turkey is now becoming mosque again. It was originally built as Cathedral then turned into mosque for several times before it functions as museum. Until July 10th, 2020, when President Erdogan of Turkey announced that Hagia Sophia will resume its function as mosque again.

Morning light at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

I just remember my last visit there and  revisit this amazing place through my external hard disk. Again I just realize I have so many unpublished photos of Hagia Sophia. 
Even after all those times, I am still awed by its magnificent details.

Hope you like the following photos.

the chandeliers at Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

the outer part of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

amazing ceiling at Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

Details at  Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Welcome to Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

the second floor of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Mosaics of Jesus at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

more Jesus mosaics at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

more Jesus mosaics at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday and enjoy the link party 🎉 

WW: Northern Lights Hunting at Tromsø, Norway

I was super lucky indeed!
We visited Tromsø, Norway for works and managed to join the tour for Northern Lights here in this beautiful time. For sure, it was an unforgettable journey!

The milky way before the aurora borealis showed up..

We started the trip at 7 PM and finished at around 2 AM.
But as you can see...we did it!
We saw this amazing natural phenomenon after driving around 2 hours around Tromsø.
Stopping 3 times and we saw the sky cracking up with green, out-of-this-world lights.
It's beyond amazing!
Will share more details of the trip soon.
Do you see the pattern down there?

It's coming!

Meanwhile, enjoy our weekly link party at (almost) Wordless Wednesday and have fun!

5 Cool Things to Do in St. George’s, Grenada

Welcome to St. Goerge’s, Grenada
Visiting Grenada for your next holiday?
Sounds like a great plan!

This has been a long overdue post since I visited beautiful Greanda in May 2018. So before long, I know I should share more stories about this lovely country situated in the Caribbean. 

Happy me joining catamaran sail in St. George’s ♥️♥️
Blessed with amazing weather and long lines of white sandy beaches, lush jungle and waterfalls, mountains and more incredible natural landscape, Grenada has long been known as the Spice Island. 

Grenada is indeed one of the world’s major sources for spices, like nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, as well as cocoa.  Interestingly, Grenada originally has its nutmeg from my country, Indonesia is the world’s top producer of nutmeg and Grenada is number two. I guess it all happened during the colonial period, where Grenada was colonized by English. Indonesia was colonized by Dutch for more than 300 years but we had the presence of English for a brief period of time.

My morning stroll at Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Grenada is composed of three large islands,- Grenada, Cartiacou, and Petite Martinique, with the additional tinier island along the Caribbean or the West Indies. I was privileged to get a chance to visit St. George’s, the capital city of Grenada, as we are invited to the Regional Seminar of the UN Special Committee for Decolonization. My dearest friend, Narissa, from the Permanent Mission of Grenada in New York, had ensure me that we would definitely have great time in her beautiful hometown. And I couldn’t agree more!

I stayed in Radisson hotel at Grand Anse Beach and it was great!
Four days and five nights, we attended the meetings and enjoyed what St. George’s Grenada can offer.

Here are 5 cool things to do in St. George’s Grenada

Enjoying Grand Anse Beach

Grand Anse Beach Grenada

Coming to Grenada and you don’t get a chance to enjoy the world-famous Grand Anse Beach? You gotta go back then :). Grand Anse beach has long been famous for its powdery white sand and turquoise water. Perfect beach weather all year long is a bonus!

Again I was so lucky as my room in Radisson was facing the beach and every morning, I swam and jogged along the beach! So enjoyable!

Diving and Snorkeling

My favorite activities here in Grenada!
On my first morning in Grenada, I signed up directly for a diving trip with Nature Spirit Grenada, the dive center located in my hotel, Radisson Grenada Resort Hotel.
I went to two spots, one is a ship wreck and the other one is packed with coral reef.
I recorded our 25-meeter deep ship wreck diving but I haven’t put it in my YouTube channel. i will.. hopefully soon

Thank you to our host country, the participants of the Seminar also got a chance to enjoy the Catamaran sailing. It is indeed a great experience!

Trying the Local Cuisine

Caribbean food is numero uno!
I just love them all, particularly the fresh seafood and their famous super duper hot chilli!
And for sure the nutmeg and all products using it are must try!
I dis try the nutmeg jelly, spread, bread, chocolate and nutmeg ice cream as well!
There is one soup I tried and loved but unfortunately I forget the name! dang.. I should have noted it down!

Don’t forget to try the chocolate as well! It’s delicious.
If you drink alcohol, Grenada’s rum is hard to beat!

I literally try everything :)

Exploring the historical sites

There are many historical fortresses and building here in this beautiful city.
I went to Fort George and Fort Frederick and the view from above is absolutely stunning!
It is a very interesting mix of French and British occupation and for sure the stories about colonialism is always sad and bitter for the local people.
But the remnants of those dark eras are a great reminder for us all

Shopping in the Local Market

Let's shop!
I came here in the morning and loved it so much!
Such a vibrant ambience and I bought a lot of mangoes!
They are super duper sweet and yummy!
I also got my nutmeg supplies here and met many friendly locals.
The mangoes are super! 

For sure there are so many other interesting things you can do in Grenada. These are some suggestions to start with.

I really wish I can stay longer to explore the other side of Grenada or indeed coming back to this beautiful country. Now that I have new best friends there, I feel like coming back here again.