Now…. Don’t roll your eyes just yet. I’m not going to be rambling about the Monkey or the Pig or the Holier-than-thou Monk … not even the Slutty She- Spider Devil (though I have a farnie comic strip of that). I’m talking about the journey Guinea Pig & I took, to the West… West of Java.
Bandung was a surprise trip I planned for us 2 months back, mainly to spend some quality time together and to celebrate. There were aplenty reasons to have a celebratory trip. We have made it this far – through the many changes in our environment, our lifestyles, through the choppy waves of my emotional sea, but for me, most of all, after weeks of brooding, finally, the Guinea Pig has decided on a more crystallized career path… and that…. certainly calls for a celebration.
Then comes the tough question of – where to go? The Guinea Pig does not have any annual leave yet, (but managed to convince his boss for just 1 day as he signed his offer letter… :P) so anywhere that requires more than a day leave is out of the question. That leaves me with a 3D2N trip, which limits my options a lot. Plus this is not just any ordinary trip, I wanted it to be special… to be memorable.
I need a place that is away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. A place which is quiet and peaceful, fresh air, scenic, somewhere for us to chill, chat, and forget our city life for a bit. Would need it to be very romantic as well… for the very obvious reasons. But I want it to be somewhere that we can shop too, we are both in dire need for more clothes! (Yes… I still need more clothes) Plus, the day before I bought those tickets, we stormed the malls all over town in a futile search for some nice shirts and jeans for the Guinea Pig.
After doing some research, I finally concluded that Bandung shall be the place to go. It has a balance of everything we could ask for. Nature, relaxation, romance, food, and shopping!!! So I happily proceeded with the bookings. From here on, there was so much to do. The research, the emails & calls I’ve made, the planning, the negotiating… but it was fun, and so worth it!
Flight – Check
Accommodation – Check
Getting around town – Check (hired a driver + car for 3 days)
Itinerary – Check (it was so hard to compress all activities for a 3D2N trip, as we lose about a day to flight & travelling to the airport!)
Surprises – Check!! :P
The element of surprise for the destination was kinda ruined. Guinea Pig is a very sharp guy (too sharp for his own good in this case), and after a few occasions whereby we spoke about the ‘surprise’ trip, somehow he figured out I’m taking him to Bandung. I am just really bad at hiding things like this, someone pls plaster on a poker face for me! I even broke into tears when he concluded and declared that he knew it was Bandung! (yea yea…. Drama queen..). I focused on the fact that there are still many surprises in stored and it’s still going to be an amazing experience for him.
So there goes my plan of wanting to blindfold him through the airport till we check in/board, but oh well.. good thing too. Actually realized that would be pretty hard to do once we arrived at the airport! :P
Bandung Airport was a teeny tiny little shack, and we queued for almost 2 hours to get through the checkpoints. It was already dark when we were finally cleared and we met our very nice & friendly driver (Pak Sam – Buzz me for his contact, highly recommended), headed straight to the resort, braving through a short jam in town. My heart sank a little, as we were suppose to have tea + local delicacies at the resort and chill (had something arranged with the resort staffs) but oh well, there’s nothing I can do about it. Guinea Pig was being so sweet, tried to get my spirits up again throughout the whole ride… and the whole time I kept thinking to myself… if only he knew how much effort has been put into planning this, he’ll understand why I’m so bummed.
SO… where’s that special place that we stayed?!?!?!
Am ever so thankful to stumble upon this place – Nextage Tea Garden Resort, about 1 ½ hour from Bandung Airport, in the vicinity of Subang. (I never realized how far it was until when we get there! Yikes). This place was blardy difficult to find, we had to stop and ask for directions. The road leading in was a nightmare! Very uneven rocky roads, pitch black, so eerie I had goose bumps and it was a longggggggggg ride through the tea plantations. But it was all worth it. Here’s why.
The cottages are simply fabulous! Uniquely designed, luxurious yet cozy, it could very well be the theme of my dream home!
This…. was the perfect place to stay. It was quiet, calm, beautiful view of the tea plantations and very secluded. (though it can be quite scary, especially when there was a blackout at 4am!). Equipped with basic amenities, but the best of all, best crew of staffs. They were very thoughtful and very very helpful! I corresponded with them via email, (a lady – Ning). There were TONs of emails – like you’ll never believe, yet, they responded to every single one of them. They were superbly supportive of everything I wanted to do throughout our stay here, and went out of their way to make it happen for me. I felt embarrassed at one point as I made them do some research, recce some locations, but they very nicely assured me it was their pleasure to assist. I obliged, by giving them some chocolates….
We settled in, put on some music, had some very yummy – steamy pineapple tea on the porch, enjoying the breeze starting into the night, and refreshened up for dinner. Dinner, was on the rooftop, under the stars. Just US. Am glad it wasn’t raining, and the moon was bright. It was a lil chilly though, but the excitement of the other surprises kept me warm.
And we toasted…. toasted to US, to being on the right path in life, to seeing the same big picture together, to striving to be better people because of each other, to happiness, to life.
Would fast forward and skip the surprise after dinner… Go. Figure! :)
The next morning, we were up really early, couldn’t sleep much. We headed out at 530am for our horse ride to the hilltop, and catch the sunrise as we enjoy our breakfast.Unfortunately, the horses woke up late (at least that’s what I would like to think). And we waited for them about half an hour, so we were way behind schedule. The sun was already almost up, oh well… not everything will go according to plan I guess, took a while for me to let it go. Had a mini meltdown (a teeny tiny one – I swear!) and got over it.
The ride up the hill was rather fun. I took many deep breaths, some due to the amazing view, but am gonna blame some on the altitude. Nonetheless, managed to strike up a smile for Guinea Pig & the camera.
At the peak, our customized picnic breakfast was ready. Everything was nicely laid and there were even staffs stationed there to greet us. Ah.. bliss. Guess this is what rich folks feel experience all the time. I was a little uncomfortable, having few ppl wait for us while we ate. They just stood at a corner, with the horses… waiting. But I shook of the pressure and instinct to gobble up my food (so that those poor guys don’t have to wait) and took some time to enjoy the breeze, view and my company.
I’ve never had a picnic on the hilltop before, so it was a pretty amazing experience for me. Though the view did not excite me as much anymore now, as my oohs and ahhs were uttered during the ride up here.
Food was just so so, probably I was still excited from the horse ride, but Guinea Pig was hungry I guess, he ate most of the food. Or maybe.. hes just living up to his pseudonym. 😛
The ride back was shorter than expected. The view of the cottages made me sad.. as we are leaving soon. I want more stays here!!!~~!!~~!!~~!!
*oh.. and yes.. horse riding can be a pain in the arse – literally!*
From then on, all we did was shop shop shop and shop! We went to Rumah Mode, Heritage, Summit, Stamp and Sahara (new outlet). Bought some stuff, didn’t exactly go crazy, but Guinea Pig bought enough to clothe the naked African children! :P
For me, I would say our happiest buy would be these. Guinea Pig chose and bought some charms and DIY-ed it into keychains for my new car and house keys.
Altogether now… AWWWWWWW!
Dinner that night – @Kampung Daun. It’s another hour ride or so from town, popular for their good authentic local food, chilly + romantic ambience and sunset view. Headed there early to catch the sunset, unfortunately, due to my rusty Bahasa Indon or brainless staff that took my booking, they ignored my request for a hilltop booth with the view of sunset.
Oh!!! Here comes another surprise!! Invited Guinea Pigs boss along for dinner, he happened to be holidaying there as well, and I knew it’s going to be refreshing as Guinea Pig probably would have OD-ed on love and romance with me by now. So the 3 of us had a great time enjoying the good food and company. (Thanks YT for the special appearance and playing along!!!)
*food pics weren’t up to my standards, aint gonna make you drool….. so lets not waste your previous bandwidth*
We ended the trip with a relaxing foot massage, some shopping for brownie kukus the next morning, and headed to the airport.
Left Bandung with a very heavy heart. It was a short, but fulfilling trip. Would be come back again?
As Guinea Pig would say – Mayhaps.