Montigo Resort – Batam

Annyeong! Instead of the usual posts about my previous trip to Seoul. I’d decided to blog about my stay at Montigo Resorts at Batam last October this time. (I know, it’s a late entry!) But, as usual, I got a lot of friends asking me about the resort! So here goes my review!

I only found out about this small little of piece of heaven, like 4 days before the booked date itself! I was having dinner date with a girl friend of mine few days before and I was telling her that I’ve been wanting to go for a getaway either in KL or Batam. So she just decided to show me some pictures of this very, beautiful Montigo Resorts, “located just 30 mins away from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal“. And, I was in love, I tell you. That very night, I did my own Google-ing. And the very next day, I was trying my very best to convince my best friend to stay over the weekend. I didn’t need to try so hard though. She bought all the reasons, I gave her. So, yay!

We booked the chalet, within the next few hours. Literally, 3 days before. The next day upon getting our confirmation email from Montigo Resorts, we booked our Ferry Tickets.

5th October 2013, Saturday.

I remembered only getting like 3-4 hours of sleep only on this day. Just because I had to work till late the previous night. And I only did packing, for our 2 days 1 night only on that very same night. And so because of that, we missed our 8am Ferry, just because I think this wasn’t clear when I went blog hopping.

Some may know about this. But I think since I didn’t know, I think I should share this info (for those dummies like me……)

Please take note that Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal IS NOT NEAR Tanah Merah MRT Station, at all. At least, not like how Harbor Front MRT is to Harbor Front Ferry Terminal. You gotta cab down to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal if you’re from Tanah Merah MRT. This was the mistake, we did. Planned to meet at Tanah Merah MRT just, 20 mins before our departing time. Of course we were late. We reached like, few mins after 8am. So we weren’t allowed in, cause we were supposed to check in, strictly 10-15 mins before the departing time. But the good thing is, we could exchange our Ferry tickets for the next ride out.

Anyway, Montigo Resort is near Nongsa Ferry Terminal. Which is just about 20-30 mins away from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. And the resort provide land transport from Nongsa Terminal (only) which is just about 5 mins away. Thus, we see the need to head down to Tanah Merah instead of HarborFront.

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After a little difficulty over at the immigration desk, we were finally on our way to the Resort and upon reaching, we were greeted with this very beautiful view of the resort!

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Upon arriving, we were served iced drinks and cold towels! The staffs there was very friendly and accommodating. For checking in, they asked for our passports and confirmation email and then we just have to wait while they do all the paper works for us.

Just to add, we reached the resort around 9am (batam time) and they allowed early check in. (But this might change, do check again with their staffs first!) I also think since they allowed early check in, might as well take the opportunity to spend more time there, since it’s just a weekend getaway!

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Once our rooms are ready, we were whisked away to our resort in a buggy car!

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And then….. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, okay!

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(I apologized for this very messy room bed picture, above.)

The whole resort has 3 storeys altogether. The 1st floor is where the indoor pool + living room are. The 2nd floor is where the master and standard bedrooms are. And the 3rd floor is where the open rooftop patio is. As you can tell I took pictures of the first and the third floor and totally, forgotten about the bedrooms floor. (Thus the very messy bedroom picture above!) Over excited, I guessed!

After settling down, it was already 950am (batam time). We found out that there’s a free shuttle bus service from the resort to Nagoya Shopping Mall at 10am (to) and 4pm (back). By then, we were just so excited to jump into the pool and not care about anything else. So thinking about coming back to the resort, only by 6pm, we thought that it was not really worth it. But we wanted to head down to Nagoya Mall to get food since we don’t feel like ordering room service. So we decided to call taxi with the help of their staff to fetch us to and fro from the Resort to the Mall, on our own timing. We paid 400,000 rupiah for a round trip. (200,000 rupiah for ONE trip) Which was pretty fine for me, since it wasn’t the normal cab that they called. It was a comfortable SUV car with a very friendly driver.

After about an hour journey to the Mall, (yes, include the traffic jams please!) we were off to get our brunch and dinner. About an another hour or so, we called up the Uncle driver to send us back to the resort.

And so we spend the rest of the afternoon and evening, by the pool and eating. There’s Wifi, WII and Apple speaker box (which we fully utilized!). For WII games, they provided only 1 set of game. So for you WII fans out there, bring along your own DVD games so that you can play!

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While soaking in the very nice ambiance, bestie lit up two “candles” on the doughnuts we bought earlier, and sang Happy Birthday to me. My first, by the pool, ever. LOL~

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And soon, the evening skies came to greet us, before waving the sun goodbye. It was one of those moments, where you just sit there, stare and look at the beautiful scene without having any sorts of conversation. Except for the repetitions sentences of, “it’s, really beautiful.”

Now I get why people like watching the sun settling or, see the sun rises. ^_^

After washing up, Bestie was trying her hands on the WII games.

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We should have bring along more games! We were abit bored after playing the same game, for a while!

Desserts in between! =)

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Then, bestie decided to surprise me with a REAL birthday cake, with the help of the Resort’s staff! So sweeet of them! ❤

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After that, we ended up heading up to the rooftop patio, to chill and have our desserts before we called the night.

Elephant towel ~ So cute!  Image

I think I had the most comfortable sleep ever, that night! The bed was so comfortable! ^^

Our morning view!

From the standard bedroom: Image

From the Master Bedroom: Image

Cooked our breakfast; leftover Indo Mie, fried chicken, etc…
Breakfast View:
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Before we checked out; cam-whoring, of course…

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While waiting for the staff to finish with our Checking Out procedure.
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Spot Singapore!
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And then, the staffs helped us called a cab. Then we’re off to Batam Centre, to have our lunch!

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We wanted to have our lunch at A&W. But we were so upset that their Waffles with Ice Cream, Curly Fries, Root Beer Float, was allllllllll sold out! =( So upsetting! We ended up just eating whatever, before heading to get Nasi Ayam Penyet (yum! yum!) and then, rushing to catch our Ferry home!

Overall, my experienced with Montigo Resorts was top notch! I love it there. And I am, most probably would return there again, just for a getaway! =)

Till then,

Leejah! ❤

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The Know How, prior to your trip!

Okay I am finally blogging about my trip! So where should I start? There are too many things to begin with! Like how this trip was postponed way back from Dec 2012 till the confirmed dates were set to end March 2013 – April 2013, how CHEAPPP our flight tickets was and how we stumbled onto a super cool town called Hyehwa-dong, etc… So let’s start with “THE KNOW HOW” before you plan for your trip!

We didn’t follow any tour groups for our FIRST trip to Korea and it saved us a lot on costs. Here are some tips, especially for those who are travelling for the first time and if you’re thinking of going on a backpacking trip.

1) Flights.
I know there are a lot of cheap flights via transit e.g. Cathay Pacific, AirAsia, Scoot. However, I spent $698, not inclusive of travel insurance, for my direct flight to Seoul. Singapore Airlines (SQ) will always have promo flights to certain destinations. So keep your eyes glued to their website, like a hawk, as to not miss out on any GOOD deals!

Here’s the link to SQ’s website: http://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/special-offers/

To add on, SQ has in-flight entertainment. Thus, Scoot and Air Asia was a no-no for me. I’ll die of boredom if I were to spend aimlessly doing nothing for six hours, I think. Just so you know, I don’t own an iPad so that’s prolly the reason why it was a no-no for me. Heee~

2) Accommodation.
Book a guesthouse or home stay for your stay in Seoul. Don’t waste your money on hotels! Trust me! There are a lot of good, comfy and cheap guesthouses/home stays in Seoul, Korea. Look out for them at the following websites:

As for us, we got a recommendation from our friend’s friends. They stayed with Inside Backpackers before and they were telling us how good and comfy the place was. At the same time also, we were contemplating with a lot of other guesthouses. So I decided to look out for more reviews, and researched more about the place before confirming our stay with them. The more I researched about it, I found out that this place is being loved and has been receiving a lot of good reviews by backpackers all over the world. Plus it is located on LINE 4 (more about their subway later), which was a bonus point! So we decided to go ahead with it. Who knew that upon making our bookings, we received a 5% discount! How cool is that?

Here is the link to the super awesome guest house we stayed at for 11 days!
http://insideseoulhostel.com/
Alternatively, you can checkout their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/InsideHostels

For privacy purposes, we chose Deluxe room which was located just 3-4 mins walk from the main building. If you don’t mind sharing the same toilet or kitchen space, you can book their Budget or Standard rooms which are located at the Main Building. The hosts and staffs were super friendly! The thing I like about them is that Min and Mia (the lovely married couple who opened Inside Backpackers) are travelers themselves! So I guess it’s only appropriate that ultimately they know what their guests need. Also, they do provide services such as pre-booking of musical tickets, discounted ticket prices to Everland, etc.. Henceforth, I would HIGHLY recommend you to stay over at this place! 

3) Subway.
I’m not gonna attach the map of Seoul or something like that. Haha!! However, here are some tips on choosing your guesthouse. If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll surely get (confirmed one!) addicted to shopping haven such as Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, etc.. There is also a possibility that you’ll not head over only once. Haha!! Thus, choose a guesthouse that are closer to the subway, especially if they are on the same subway LINE as your other (possible) frequent places.

For e.g., we stayed at Hyehwa-dong which is located near subway LINE 4. It was just easier for us to head over to Myeongdong and Dongdaemun as it was only 4 stops away WITHOUT any transfers. Just for your info, their Subway Line Transfer is not like heading from City Hall to Raffles Place station. It’s like walking from Dhoby Ghaut Red Line – to Dhoby Ghaut Purple Line; with loads of staircases involved. I kid you not! So please save the hassles and choose area of stay wisely. Unless, of course, you don’t mind walking up those staircases, each time you’re on the subway. (I guess that’s why majority of the Koreans are slim!)

4) Research, research!
Everybody asked me the same thing when I got back from my trip. “How did you manage to go here and there?”, “Where to find halal food?”, etc..

My answer is simple; “Research.” No, really. RESEARCH. I think right after our flight was confirmed, we spent almost 3-4 months of researching. My humble advise is not to follow details found on only one blog. There are prolly a lot of other blogs that went to where you intend to go to. Have some assurance. Instead of just looking out for ONE direction on how to go about, have at least 2-3 other options so that there are alternative routes if you were to ever get lost. (But hey! Getting lost is the fun part for trips, no?)

5) Maps.
Head over to your nearest KTO Building to get maps (loads of them), booklets, and/or pamphlets. From my previous trip, the staffs were willing to help whenever you need any inquiries about your trip.

Here’s Singapore KTO’s address:
http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/OO/OO_EN_13_5.jsp
Or you can visit their Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Koreatourismorganizationsingaporeoffice

6) Halal Food.
Yes, a must know for all muslims/muslimah backpackers! Here’s my answer: RESEARCH. Haha!! Okay lah, THAT and this blogger prolly is a savior to all of us.

This is the blogger whom we all should thanked:
http://www.muslimbackpackerseoul.com/

They have a long list on where one can get their halal fixes in Seoul/South Korea, cravings for Halal meats included.

7) Culture and Language.
I think it’s only appropriate for you to understand their culture and language before travelling. I made my younger sister (who traveled with me!) learn basic Korean language within a span of 4 months and it was worth the try.

Yes, there’s English everywhere; Tourist Information Centre too. I’ve always love the idea of “fitting in” when I’m travelling. Also, let me tell you something. If you try to speak their language, discounts and free services will greet you along. Okay, I don’t guarantee 100% you WILL get freebies but there were few instances where we conversed in simple Korean sentences to the salesperson or ahjumma, and poof! A free gift was given in return. Chinjah! ^^

Also, how can I forget how everyone greets one another there? Walking into a 7-11 in Seoul was never the same like how it is in Singapore. Open the door and you’ll hear “Annyeonghasaeyo~”

…… I am pretty much in love with all these kind souls in Seoul. ❤ ❤

Okay, so what else? Am I missing anything out? I promise that the next entry will solely be on my trip!

Love, Love.
Leejah.

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First Entry! ^^

Salam & Annyeonghasaeyo!

I didn’t think I’ll be doing this but a few group of friends and acquaintances have been asking me to, which indirectly gave me the drive to blog about my Seoul Trip. It’ll also be a platform for me to direct anyone who has been asking about it – on what to eat, what to do, how to go here and there and so forth.

So stay tune as I try to recall my trip, which happened 6 months ago!

기다려주세요 !!

Love, Love,
Leejah.

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