All posts by luxe miles

jakarta keraton hotel, luxury collection

arrival airport: was met by hotel rep, picked our luggage, guide us through customs (not border), show us to the BMW 5 series hotel car

ride to keraton hotel: even if the hotel is relatively close distance, it still took 1 hour in non traffic rush! the traffic is crazy in Jakarta. so a ride in comfortable hotel car compared to some non air conditioned taxi was worth it.

at arrival, we were greeted and shown straight to the room. it was upgraded to a huge suite : (paid the cheapest room, got a suite upgraded with spg platinum suite night upgrades SNA)

lobby:

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suite:

 

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welcome amenities:

 

 

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FREE UNLIMITED NON ALCOHOLIC DRINKS : !!

 

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view from our room:

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Jakarta traffic: anything that move

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EVA air BR business class sfo-tpe-cgk

eva air business class, laurel class (the new bigger nicer business class seat) is quite nice, very roomy. excellent service.

the shower at Taipei biz lounge is  big, nicer and more functional than even swiss first class or Singapore airline private lounge first class !

lounge at sfo: very busy, small, only opens 3 hour before flight. So if you arrive at sfo before, you have to go to united biz class lounge at international terminal

remember to order plum wine.

and of course, at Taipei airport, you need to stock up on famous HIGH mountain oolong tea. Taiwan high mountain oolong tea are sweeter, more refined than any other oolong tea.

sfo airport:

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lie flat seats

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you see those s biner clips and Kathmandu case on the next pictures? they are so convenient, as you can easily clip and organize

 

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shower at tapei eva lounge: you need a special key, hotel style, to activate the lights inside the shower room

 

 

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toilet and shower inside the same room? perfect. not like other first or biz class lounge, where the toilet is somewhere else.

 

 

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plum wine

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Taipei eva lounge

 

 

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business class TPE-CGK: non lie flat

 

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How to stay connected abroad cheaply, get voice and internet, by using latest technologies

rule #1:  ALWAYS remember to remove the normal home country sim card before you leave to another country, or before you land at international countries, and ALWAYS remember to disable the data on your cell phone before, IF not you will incur A BIG roaming data charge, costing you thousands of dollars for checking your emails, using maps,  facebook etc..

now, if you remove your home country sim card, then how do you receive and make voice phone calls for cheap? how do you get internet access everywhere on you cell phone and avoid paying hotels internet?

1. Get FONGO app for android, bb, or iphone, ipad

2. Download and activate fongo app, that will give you a free canada phone number. You can get and choose your own area code, example 514-xxx-xxxx montreal area code.

3. Write down the new phone number that fongo provide you

4. Before you leave canada, on your cell phone, Forward all your canadian cell phone voice calls to the new fongo phone number. All your cell phone calls will then now ring on the fongo app, and since the fongo phone number is local to the area wherever you live, there is no long distance fees from your cell phone carrier.

if you are from other countries, usa, europe etc, get a local skype number, then forward call call to the skype number. Anyone that call your normal number will ring on your skype device

5. Once you arrive at the international destination, france, japan, Indonesia etc, buy a LOCAL country prepaid data sim card for your UNLOCKED phone. You can use ipad if your ipad has sim card slot. and of course your phone has to be unlocked. (you are travelling and do not have unlocked phones ??!!)

6. Activate the data on your new prepaid local sim card.

7. Start fongo app et voila! Now anyone that call you at your Canadian phone number will ring your cell phone through fongo app.

8. and if you need to call canada phone numbers, you can use fongo to call anywhere in canada for free. Voice mails are downloadable in fongo.

9. For call to local country where you are visiting, use the local sim card, or use skype.

 

ATT GLOBAL DATA PREPAID PASS :

If you travel to many different countries, more than 1 country,  the best, easiest and cheapest option is: ATT global data prepaid is an option, FOR $ 120 usd for 800 mb of data almost worldwide for one month. You get HDSPA 3g+ speed, (if available) instead of 1 or 2 G at sprint or Verizon option. ( I got 3g speed even in india)

it works easily and is fast everywhere.

why prepaid? because you can control how much data and how much money you want to spend overseas. if you are on roaming and are on monthly postpaid fees, your data usage can be unlimited and with unlimited costs.

You need to get the FREE USA ATT data sim card from an att usa store, or ask a friend in usa to ship you one. The SIM card has to be non –  activated, virgin. ( a lot of att staff will be confused and want to activate you the same day on some type of data or voice option, saying they need to do it before giving the sim card to you.

The ATT  sim card can be registered by the att staff in their system but insist that they are not to be activated. why? once they activated on the wrong plan, you cannot use or activate it on the global data pass)

Then you activate the att data sim card later before you leave the country.

You then can use FONGO or Skype apps to make cheap calls. https://buyasession.att.com

wifi hot spot, to avoid hotels internet charges: 

once you already have your att data sim activated, if you need to access internet from other devices, laptops etc, all you have to do is activate the wifi hot spot function on your smartphone or ipad. (Tethering)

Usually you will have access to 3g speed, anywhere. It will let you avoid internet scam charges from hotels.

another advantage of the att data sim card is that the att wifi hot spot use the same data allowance as what you already prepaid. On most home cell phone providers, they charge tethering data separately!

 

Iridium satellite phone:

if you mostly want a voice option that works anywhere, in the middle of the seas to the north pole, get an iridium satellite phone. The cost of the satellite phone is marginally more than a smartphone, and for yearly prepaid pass, the cost per minute of of a CALL OUT is cheaper (start at $1 usd to $1.75) than even your normal postpaid roaming charges from your home country provider (sometimes they charges as much as $2-$4 dollars per min.)

on your cell phone, if someone calls you on your normal home country phone number, and you choose not to answer, and if it gets transferred  to your voice mail, you get charged $2-$4 dollars per minute for someone to leave a voice message)

disadvantages of iridium phone:

1. cost of the phone ($500-$1200 for the new extreme)

2. need clear view of the sky. has to be outside when making calls

3. people calling you, calling IN your iridium phone number: very expensive, they pays $10-$14 usd per min, unless they know how to use 2 stage iridium calling.

 

trip planner: raja ampat diving, tokyo

last year we heard about diving in raja ampat  misool eco resort . we wanted to see it for ourselves

trip planner: as with wakatobi resort, you cannot arrive and depart any day, you have to arrive and depart at specific dates. raja ampat is at the west side of the island of papua new guinea, 4 hours flying direct from Jakarta with express air: raja ampat airport is SORONG (SOQ)

all express air (code: XN) from Jakarta airport (CGK) to Sorong (SOQ) depart at domestic terminal in Jakarta early in the night (1am).

The boat from sorong – misool is 4-5 hours. (so you usually need to stay 1 night in sorong before flying home)

CASH LOGISTICS:

  • extra luggage fees for domestic flights: as we are divers with a lot of luggage, bring lots of Indonesian cash, as the luggage limits are strictly enforced. excess luggage is at 40000 idr per kg (about 4usd). ONE WAY.The extra luggage fees can be reduced if you do not ask for official receipt.
  • domestic airport taxes: remember to keep around 40000 IDR per person for airport taxes at CGK domestic. Airport taxes in ALL of Indonesia are cash payment only.
  • foreign currency exchanges are a lot cheaper than paying with credit cards or atms, as long as you exchange it in crisp USD in Jakarta downtown. (inside keraton plaza shopping complex). do not exchange in hotels, airports.
  • international VOA visa on arrival at CGK aiport: 25usd per person. cash only. you line up to pay and get the visa first, at the FIRST line: payment, even if other lines says VOA (it is actually border control for voa)
  • taxi in CGK: when we landed in CGK international airport, we previously asked the Keraton plaza hotel to pick us with their BMW limousine service. cost 60 usd.
  • is the hotel pick up service worth it? yes. a long ride in comfort, especially considering Jakarta famous traffic, heat, and with pick up meet and greet service, and the fact you can charge it to your room without spending cash (get some spg points) or having to get foreign exchanges at airport is effortless.

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS LOGISTICS:

our flight was all business class: canada-SFO-TPE-CGK with review eva air (BR)  business class

return:  CGK-HND / (stop) NRT-SEA-canada with review of ANA 787 Dreamliner business class

cost: 120 000 us airways miles per person, or around $ 1200 (+5%gst) usd pp (with their bi annual transfer miles bonus promos)

HOTELS logistics:

Jakarta: review of KERATON plaza hotel, a luxury collection starwood

Sorong: JE meridian hotel (not THE meridien hotel, not part of starwood). normally required stay in sorong  one night before flying home, as the boat from misool resort takes 4-5 hours.

raja ampat: misool eco resort

Tokyo: Westin tokyo