Category: Travelling

Cara Mengurus UK Visa dari Abu Dhabi

Liburan ini sebenarnya sudah saya agendakan dari tahun lalu dan mengurus visa adalah hal yang paling bikin deg-deg-an. Gimana enggak? Untuk mengajukan visa UK, kita harus melampirkan tiket pesawat yang sudah di-issue dan bukti reservasi hotel. Bayangin kalau ga lolos? Rugi bandar donk eikeh 😢. Beberapa traveler mensiasati syarat ini dengan melampirkan dummy booking ticket dan booking hotel yang bisa di cancel. Just in case visanya ditolak, ga bakalan rugi-rugi amat. Tapi saya dan suami memutuskan untuk do the things rightly. Daripada kena random check, ditolak dan malah di blacklist hehehehe.

Oiyaaaa visa UK ini berlaku di beberapa negara bagian yaitu England, Wales, Scotland dan Northern Irland. Jadi kalau ada waktu lebih, sekalian aja eksplore sampai ke Irlandia. Untuk residen Abu Dhabi yang ingin berlibur ke United Kingdom, kita dapat melakukan pengajuan visa secara online melalui website VFS yang nantinya akan diverifikasi oleh pelayanan imigrasi UK yang berada di Filipina. Beberapa dokumen yang diminta mungkin akan sedikit berbeda dibandingkan jika kita mengurus dari Indonesia. Mengingat perjanjian bilateral UK dengan tiap negara tidaklah sama.

Jadi sebelum membuka aplikasi online, dokumen yang perlu dipersiapkan dalam mengurus turis visa UK adalah:

  • Paspor+visa UAE (pastikan UAE visa masih berlaku paling tidak 90 hari dari tanggal kembali ya)
  • Emirates ID
  • Bukti akomodasi (tiket pesawat dan reservasi hotel)
  • Bukti tempat tinggal di UAE (thawteeq atau sertifikat kepemilikan rumah)
  • Slip gaji
  • Surat keterangan kerja
  • Rekening koran selama 6 bulan, bisa langsung print dari internet banking

Langkah-langkahnya adalah sebagai berikut

  1. Buka halaman ini, yang menghubungkan anda ke halaman visa application fotm yang perlu diisi. Dihalaman ini akan terdapat beberapa pertanyaan mendetail seperti itinerary, parents details, travel history dll
  2. Setelah formulir aplikasi visa selesai diisi, kita akan diarahkan ke halaman pembayaran. Biayanya sebesar USD 113 per orang.
  3. Setelah selesai membayar, kita bisa memilih jadwal untuk menyetorkan dokumen diatas dan pengambilan data biometrik
  4. Datang ke VFS Abu Dhabi yang berlokasi di Shining Tower pada jadwal yang telah disepakati dengan membawa dokumen diatas. Proses pengajuan visa memakan waktu maksimal 20 hari kerja.
  5. Nantinya kita akan dihubungi lewat sms jika paspornya sudah sampai di VFS Abu Dhabi.

Mengingat rumah saya cukup jauh dari Shining Tower maka saya memutuskan untuk menggunakan jasa kurir, biayanya AED 25 per paspor. Semoga berhasil dan Happy Holiday 🙂

Apply for United Kingdom’s visa from Abu Dhabi

I planned for this holiday since about a year before, and above all things, visa application brought me the most anxiety, since to apply for visa we had to provide issued airline return tickets and confirmed hotel reservations which will be non-refundable if, knock on woods, the visa got rejected by British government. Some travelers hedge against this situation by attaching dummy ticket booking and cancellable hotel reservations. After a short discussion, my husband and I decided to do the things appropriately, because the UK performed random check on some applications and should they found that reservations were dummies, we would be blacklisted.

UK Visa is valid for several countries namely England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. For Abu Dhabi residences who want to have holiday in United Kingdom, we can apply for UK visa online through VFS website. VFS will then send the application to UK immigration services in Phillipine. Required documents might differ slightly from UK Visa application in Indonesia, because of the difference in bilateral agreement between UK and each country.

Some documents that we need to prepare for the applications are:

  • Passport with valid UAE visa, make sure that the UAE visa is still valid for at least 90 days after the planned return date.
  • Emirates ID
  • Booked return tickets and accommodations
  • Proof of accommodations in UAE (Thawteeq or certificate of ownership)
  • Salary slip
  • Reference letter from the employer
  • Current account for the last six months, can be printed from internet banking if we have one.

The steps are as follow:

  1. Open this page, that will bring you to the visa application form that you need to be filled up. The form contains some detailed questions regarding our trip such as itineraries, parent details, travel history, etc.
  2. When we finish with the form, we will be directed to the payment page where we specify the payment details (credit card info, etc) for the cost of USD113 per application.
  3. After finishing the payment, we then choose the appointment date to deliver the required documents and biometrics.
  4. At the chosen appointment date, visit the VFS office (Abu Dhabi branch is in Shining Tower). Here our documents will be verified and our biometrics will be taken. The visa process will take around 20 working days.
  5. Once the process is completed, we will receive confirmation via sms.

Since my place is quite far from the Shining Tower, I decided to hire their courier service, which cost AED25 per application, so our passports were sent directly to our home.

Some Ideas to Cool the Summer Down

February hasn’t over yet, but the mercury has shown the sign of rising. I guess summer comes earlier this year, and I’m sure you have prepared plans on what to do this summer. Anyway, here’s two additional places you can put into your agenda to hide from the harsh sun: Magic Planet and Mikel Coffee

Located on the second floor of Burjuman, Dubai, Magic Planet is strategically placed next to the foodcourt area. As the name implies, as you enter the venue, you will feel like you are being transported to the outer space, with Saturn Rings float above you and stars twinkling on the blue ceiling. Roaming this interplanetary expanse, you will find many interesting game machines suitable for children from the age of 2 to 92. Machines like Wheel of Fortune that offers you a chance to win a thousand ticket, or a Color Matching game with a PS4 as one of its Major Prize, for example, will surely attract your attention for hours. If you feel like having some road rage, there is also a boom-boom car arena where you can safely release the tension.

For the little ones, there are also computerized rides where they can sail the ocean while fishing, or ride the seahorse to catch stars. You might need to ride with them if your kiddo is under 2, but beware, parents, you might end up having fun playing with those rides, even more than you kids!

Mikel Coffee is located at the ground floor of Burjuman, near the parking space, so it’s a perfect place to cool you down after your visit to the theme park above. This outlet of the coffee chain from Greece is easy to find as you can see the picture of the face founder’s father, Khadar Hassan, printed on the glass wall of the cafe. I ordered Cappucino Mikelo, their signature coffee, which is a cappucinno with a mix of various kind of milk. I don’t know what kind of milk they mixed, but all I can tell you is that this brew is amazingly delicious. I don’t think I have ever drunk a cappucino like this before, ever.

While sipping my coffee, I decided to order some croissant to accompany my cappucino, and so I asked them to bring me an almond croissant. I thought I made the right decision by choosing this croissant as it was really delicious and creamy with nutty almond flavor, but after a short discussion with my friends who ordered some other type of croissant, I concluded that couldn’t make any wrong choice here. Their croissants, regardless of the variant, are worth savouring for ;).

At the end, we are more than ready to welcoming summer!

New Year Staycation at Royal Rose Hotel

Early January, I got a chance to stay at Royal Rose Hotel located in Abu Dhabi Downtown. Its exterior hints to a 17th century French Palace, it fascinates me every time I pass by the hotel when I’m going to visit Abu Dhabi Mall. But honestly I never had any intention to stay there since I live in Abu Dhabi. Until I got a hotel voucher from Preffered Hotels, hotel booking site. Thanks to OurGlobetrotters who made this happened!

Location
The Hotel is within walking distance from the business hub, government institutions, shopping malls and other leisure facilities. The Abu Dhabi Corniche and promenade is a mere five-minute drive away.

The Room
It’s a 50sq room with one king size bed which more than fit for my family (2 adults and 1 toddler). We really love the clean sheets, fluffy pillows, soft blankets and the bouncy bed. It’s really comfortable, I don’t wanna go home!

The interior is equally opulent, with walls overlaid in intricate gold-leaf designs and accented with ornate chandeliers. Just like any other hotels, the room has all the basics facilities like SDB, cable television, hi-speed internet access, hair dryer, complimentary water bottles and coffee/tea kettle.

Their restroom has towels, soap, shampoo, and dental kit that come from Roberto Cavalli. What I like the most is the bathtub, so huge and fit for the three of us. For families who love to swim, this hotel would be satisfactory because the bathroom came with chloth line to hang your wet swimsuits.

Facilities
Actually there were so many facilities, they have 3 restaurants, healthclub and spa. But I just want to review their outstanding swimming pool. The temperature controlled, open air roof-top pool with jacuzzi, sun deck and kids pool are a perfect ways to spent the day. Look how my toddler really enjoyed her swimming session!

Services
Almost all the staff are warm and nice but they need make an improvement in valet service area. They should be more responsive in welcoming the guest since they are the first front liner. I think they need to put more efforts to make a good impression.

At the end, we got more than what we paid for. I will be back really soon!

*We personally didn’t order any food in the hotel because the location is close to the Abu Dhabi Mall, so we prefer to having dinner and breakfast outside the hotel.

Legends of Arabia: Quest of the Pearl Tribes

Have you ever wondered how was it like to be an ancient Arab tribe who wandered the desert for errands and battled against each other? Have you ever watched a play that was so good but still thought that it shouldn’t end that way? Well, if you visit Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi this December, your wish will come true!

That’s because starting from December 9th, every 7 pm, as the play titled Legends of Arabia lifts their curtain, the water arena magically transforms into ancient Arab coastal and mountain area, where five warring Arab tribes dwell. The play is of special type called Live Action Role Play and, as the name implies, in this play you can not only watch the story unfold, but also be involved in it.

As you enter the area, you will be greeted bye team of hosts who will help fitting you with the wardrobe and props, then you will have to choose a tribe to join and the tribe’s chief will welcome you and explain you the basic rule of the play slash game. You may ask anything to him, just don’t expect any spoiler on the scenario. Anyway, once the play commences, you’ll see why he won’t give you a hint. The play starts with only a basic scenario. then, as the story unfurls, we as part of the story may decide how it should be experienced. In fact, we are encouraged to do so.

For two hours you will roam the Arab realm, hike their high lands, acquire magic talismans that give you super strength, negotiate with other tribes, or fight them should the negotiation fails. Well, with sword in hand, you will hope the diplomatic meeting fails and don’t worry, it will fail. Soon you will hear the battle cry, the adrenaline rush when the enemy faces you, the morbid satisfaction when you slay them, or the grief when you and your tribe lose.

No, I won’t betray my chief by telling you the legend, but suffice to say that you can expect an exhaustive yet exhilarating evening, and the epic tale will be concluded with a buffet of the same proportion, where you can brag your victorious battles.

Should you become intrigued with this action drama, please visit here to book you and your family a place.

Pick Your Own Fruits and Vegetables at Al Rahba Organic Farms

I think it’s a kind of activity that can be a good alternative for spending weekend with your kids. The location is approximately 35 km away or 25 minutes driving from our home, Khalifa City.

Actually, it really is a rare experience for me to learn about organic farming in the desert. Farming in UAE is challenging because of water scarcity, high soil salinity, elevated temperatures and high humidity, but the government giving incentives to encourage domestic production by involving an expert to provide a training for the farmers. So the number of local farms, the varieties and the total production could be increasing in quantity and quality every year. The process started with building a soil, saving the seeds, conserving water and if everything working perfectly we can make a daily harvest.

Al Rahba Farm offered an experience to involved in daily harvest process. Yes! With no entrance fee, we are welcome to pick paprika, chili, tomato, kale, cauliflower and many more. My friends’s daughter was also so busy for sorting eggs in the chicken coop.

After finishing all the activities, we paid the farmer for all vegetables and egg that we picked before. We got a good price, 20 dirhams for paprikas, a large bunches of kale, tomatoes and red chili. For sure, we won’t forget to eat all that lovely fresh organic vegetables at home.

The farm is close during the summer, if you are interested and wanna come to this place, I suggest you to visit early in the morning or your days will be hot and sunny.

Contact:

Organic Farm Al Rahba
GPS Coordinate: 24.611083 ; 54.695732
Opening hours: Saturday, 9am-4pm
Phone: 0566854838
Website: Al Rahba Farm

Sharjah, the center of Culture and Science.

In the UAE, Abu Dhabi is known as the capital and also the country’s center of business and economic activity, while Dubai is known for its Mega constructions and modern architecture. Sharjah, on the other hand, is called the UAE’s Capital of Culture. This predicate reflects Dr. Syeikh Sultan bin Hamad al-Qasimi’s love to art and culture.

There are a lot of museum in Sharjah, and two of them are the following.

1. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation

This museum has two main galleries and was inaugurated on June 6th, 2008. The first gallery is named “Abu Bakar Gallery of Islamic Faith,” and exposes the Five Pillars of Islam and Six Articles of Faith. Kiswah, the cloth of Kaabah, is one of the collection displayed here. We can also see multitude of Quran manuscripts

The second gallery is named “Ibn Al-Haytham Gallery of Science and Technology.” Here we can learn the contributions of Islamic culture in the fields of astronomy, medicine, geography, architecture, maths, chemistry, military, navigation, and engineering. Ibn Al-Haytham was a moslem scientist known as The Father of Optics for his works and researchs in the properties of lights.

On the second floor, visitor can enjoy the interior of the main dome that is designed to resemble the blue sky complete with the twleve astrological zodiacs. The dome, along with the many archs in the architecture of this museum, emphasizes the islamic architecture of Ummayah Dinasty, which was then widely used in Andalusia.

2. Al Mahatta Museum

This museum is placed inside the buildings compound that was once Sharjah’s old airport, and tells about Sharjah’s history of aviation. The exhibits of this museum are placed in on of its three showrooms. The main room displays some of the actual airplanes which played important roles in Sharjah aviation. The other two rooms reveal various things surrounding Sharjah’s aeronautics world.

Old Sharjah Airport itself was built in the year of 1932, and was the first airport in the gulf area. The airport was designated as transit port for the flight route between England and India. King Abdul Azis road, the highway in front of the museum, was once the airport’s runway.

In the two annexes, we can see dioramas and movie clips explaining the history of flight. There is also a mockup of the first cinema in Sharjah, that was also the first on in gulf area. With 10 dirhams entrance fee, I was amazed by the Sharjah’s glorious past.

Sharjah’s Interesting fact:

  1. Sharjah is the only emirate thet shares borders with the other six emirates.
  2. Sharjah was the first emirate that provided education for women in the year of 1942
  3. Sharjah’s old airport was the first airport in the UAE, and the cinema inside that airport was the first cinema in gulf area.

Little Korea in Abu Dhabi

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the UAE hosted Korea Festival 2016 on Corniche Beach in Abu Dhabi. The Festival provided a range of engaging Korean cultural activities and culinary experience. There was a corner for trying hanbook (korean traditional dress), also kids corner area for you to learn make a traditional kite, paper mask etc. For me who love to eat korean foods, it felt like a food paradise because there were so many food stalls under the supervision of Chef Jaehak Lee from Intercontinental Abu Dhabi. During the festival, visitors could try korean foods like Jap Cae (Glass Noodle Salad), Hotteok (Korean Pancake), Dakgangjeong (Crispy Chicken with Sweet and Sour Sauce), Bulgogi with Tteokbokki (Grilled Beef with Rice Cake), you named it, it’s there!

They also promoted Korean Red Ginseng!

Don’t ask me how did ginseng taste? Of course it didn’t taste like a soda. First time it touched my tongue, i could feel sweet-bitterness with earthy after-taste. The people in the booth informed us that Korean Red Ginseng has wide-ranging health-promoting effects on the human body. Maybe after drinking the red ginseng you can won 500 dhs in the korean wrestling arena. ?

A key attraction of the festival was K-Dance featuring different Korean dance forms including a performance by contemporary Korean dance group Goblin Party, and “The Lion Dance”, traditional Korean dance which was a popular style where one or more dancers put on a giant costume and performed.

What really amuse me was vocal and improvisation techniques from both traditional Korean and Western jazz. It was outstanding how traditional meets modernity made a perfect balance in harmony!

I went to the festival on last Thursday, together with my husband and daughter and met some Indonesian friends who love Korean wave also. Overall, I think, based on the increasing number of UAE residents visiting the venue, Korean embassy’s initiative to introduce their culture has been successful.
Standing applause for their great job!

Family Holiday to Bali (3)

Just like the day before, we didn’t know where to go. Luckily, husband found a unique place named Bali Pulina, a place located in Tegalalang-Gianyar, a bit far from our hotel. Bali Pulina is a coffee plantation famous with its Kopi Luwak. In this place, they offered us an experience to see the luwak and the production process.

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The entrance fee is IDR 100,000 or around 10 dollars per pax , and that’s including a cup of Kopi Luwak and a plate of fried banana. We were guided by experienced guide who was really warm and knowledgeable in explaining every details of the plantation.

Kopi luwak is the world’s most expensive coffee. The main factor of it’s high price is the uncommon method of production. It’s produced from the coffee beans which have been digested by a certain Indonesian cat-like animal called palm civet. This is the reason kopi luwak is also called cat poop coffee or civet cat coffee ?.


We started the tour in the civet cat’s cage, i saw how the luwak choosed the ripe coffee. When i tried to feed them with the raw one, they just took it, had a few tasting bites, then spat it out. Beside the cage, there was a chocolate plantation. The tour guide gave me one ripe chocolate fruit. it tasted like mangoestan.

Then we walked to traditional house that designed as production house of Kopi Luwak. The workers separated the coffee beans from the feces, wash it and then dry it under the sun. Once the beans were dry enough, they removed the outer skin. They put the coffee beans into a wooden mortar and pounded with a pestle. The beans were not affected by the pounding, but the skin broke apart, making the coffee beans easily be removed. In the next step, the beans were hand-sorted to remove any damaged beans. Then the kopi luwak beans were ready for roasting.


A short walk from production house, we arrived in the tasting area. The guide mentioned that Bali Pulina was not only produced kopi luwak, but also Chocolate, Ginger Coffeee, etc (see the picture below). We can try all of their products while taking in a breathtaking view of the valley and the world famous terraced paddy fields.

On our way toward exit, there were the gift shop that allowed visitors to purchase, coffee, chocolate, tea and many more. You can see there who the shopaholic was.


This was a short visit, about an hour but super worth it. As usual, pictures credit are going to hubby.

One Fine Afternoon at The Kite Beach

Last Saturday husband and I were decided to visit Kite Beach in Dubai to attend one of iconic australian beach lifestyle brand’s event.



Together with progressive food concept, SALT, Billabong hosted Laid Back Saturday, a Sunset Beach Day event. The two brands, who share the same passion for the sun, surf, and sand, came together for an evening of maximum chilled out vibes.

The festivities kicked off from 4pm. Upon arrival, we were treated to a special showcase of Billabong’s newest Autumn/Winter’16 collections for men and women.


For the rest of the afternoon, fans of the brand were invited to test their balance and agility on a custom built Surf Simulator, snap polaroid selfies in front of a branded Billabong Airstream trailer, and enjoy chilled out tunes provided by Dubai’s very own Physical Graffiti, Vandalye and David Goliath Beats.


While I was busy with my face painting, husband and my baby also stroke a pose in giant inflatable GoFloats flamingos and swans.


It really was a great afternoon, relax in the lounge on the beach to enjoy the sunset beach with the cooler weather. Listening to some local live music and watching everyone enjoyin all the festivities that was provided by Billabong and surely I will come back again for delicious burger from SALT.