Day Trips from Melbourne: Brighton Beach and Geelong Waterfront

Since I’ve listed two non-beach getaways from Melbourne in my last post, I’m now sharing with you two beaches that you can visit if you are more of a beach person (unlike me, LOL).

  1. Brighton Beach

    How to get there: from Flinders Street Station, take the train to Brighton Beach Station.

    Brighton beach is probably the most instagram-ed beach in Melbourne. The colorful bathing boxes there are indeed eye-catching. If you really want to take pictures in front of the boxes, it’s best to come early so you don’t have to “fight” with the crowd.

    To be honest, I don’t think there’s any other interesting thing to see or do there. Sure you can do sunbathing or a little bit of swimming, but other than that, it’s just a “regular” beach.

  2. Geelong Waterfront

How to get there: From Southern Cross Station, take the V/Line Train to Geelong Railway Station (Just a heads up, the V/Line fare is different from the regular one-day Myki fare. The 2018 fare from Southern Cross to Geelong is 18.48 AUD per day)

Geelong is technically not in Melbourne–in fact, it is the second largest city in the state of Victoria (after Melbourne, of course). It’s also home to Deakin University, of which one of the campuses is located right across the waterfront. I mean, can you imagine attending lectures while thinking about the beach?

The beach itself is quite lively with attractions such as a carousel and a ferris wheel . You can also find food trucks selling fish-n-chips and gelato (a.k.a beach staples).

There’s also a swimming facility for adults, and a pool for kids. You can literally spend the whole day here. Just bring your own lunch if you’re tired of fish-n-chips already.

Once again I remind you all to check the weather forecast before going, since Melbourne’s weather (especially in the summer) is always unpredictable.

Enjoy your trip!


Day Trips from Melbourne: Montsalvat and Werribee Park (+Mansion)

The two places I’m going to introduce here are perfect for summer trips, especially if you’re interested in historical buildings. Fyi, they’re both on the less-touristy side.

  1. Montsalvatp_20171221_124534_zpsaqhwlis0

    How to get there: from Melbourne Central station, take the train to Eltham station and continue your journey with bus #582 to Rockliffe st. (better tell the bus driver beforehand so you won’t miss the stop)
    Entrance fee: AUD 10 for studentsMontsalvat is a complex of French-style buildings that were (and still are) used as art galleries. That being said, even if you’re not a huge fan of paintings, you can still enjoy the buildings and the green areas around them.


    Another good thing is that this place isn’t normally crowded with tourists, so the atmosphere is very relaxed.

    If you’re going here in the summer,  I recommend bringing your own lunch and eat it on the grass while watching the beautiful scenery. If you’re lucky you can also see the three peacocks there interacting with each other.


  2. Werribee Park and Mansionp_20171227_140550_zpsf92q903l
    How to get there: from Southern Cross station, take the train to Werribee and continue your journey with bus #439 to Werribee Park Mansion. Just a heads up, the buses do not come very frequently so you might want to take notes of the return bus schedule before entering the park. (just use Google Maps/PTV Apps to check the schedules!)
    Entrance fee: AUD 7.40 for students (for the mansion only — the park is free)Werribee Park is another option for picnic-ing in the summer. However, compared to the park itself, I am more fascinated by the historical mansion there.

    What I love about this mansion is its authenticity; you’ll feel as if you’re visiting someone from the past while inside. One of the interesting displays there is a row of housekeeper costumes. Apparently, in the past, these housekeepers had to wear different uniforms according to their jobs.


    Some part of the mansion is now commercialized as a hotel. There’s also a cafe if you want to buy some cakes or drinks.


As I mentioned before, these two places are perfect for historical building lovers out there. They can also be alternatives for summer getaways when you’re tired of the beaches. Just remember to check the weather forecast before you go, just in case.

Enjoy your stay in Melbourne!

Back to School: Why International Development?


Setelah sebelemnya ngasih tau kenapa gue berminat melanjutkan studi ke Australia, kali ini gue mau sharing sedikit tentang jurusan yang gue ambil: Master of International Development.

Tulisan ini gue ambil dari online discussion yang gue lakukan bareng Cozora. Yang mau tau apa Cozora itu, klik di sini, ya. They do some awesome stuff so you better do check them out!


Yak lanjut…

  1. Apa sih jurusan International Development (ID) itu?
    ID itu bisa dibilang campuran dari ilmu hubungan internasional, sosiologi, politik, dan ekonomi. Fokusnya adalah gimana caranya bikin dunia jadi lebih baik, nggak cuma secara ekonomi tapi juga secara sosial. Di sini kita belajar berbagai topik mulai dari penanggulangan bencana, kesetaraan gender, sampe cara memfasilitasi seminar yang lebih inklusif.
  2. Apakah harus punya background ilmu sosial di S1 untuk bisa belajar ID saat S2? 
    Nggak juga. ID sangat fleksibel untuk dipelajarin regardless of your previous education. Temen-temen gue di RMIT University, misalnya, ada yg backgroundnya engineering, nursing, physiotherapy, environmental science, bahkan accounting. Kebanyakan mereka memang pernah kerja atau jadi volunteer di bidang sosial, tapi nggak menutup kemungkinan juga fresh graduate dari jurusan lain “nyebrang” ke ID.
    Menurut gue pribadi sih, pengalaman kita lahir dan tinggal di Indonesia yang juga negara berkembang udah cukup banget untuk mendukung pemahaman selama kuliah.
  3. Persisnya ID itu belajar apa aja sih?
    Seperti yang gue bilang tadi, ID itu adalah jurusan “gado-gado” alias gabungan dari banyak disiplin ilmu.
    Di RMIT sendiri ada mata kuliah wajib (core courses) dan pilihan (electives). Yang wajib itu contohnya “Learning and Participation in Development” dan “Gender in Development”.
    Untuk mata kuliah pilihan, di RMIT ada beberapa pilihan kelompok, misalnya kelas-kelas di kelompok “Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance” bisa dipilih buat yang mau fokus belajar penanggulangan bencana. Ada juga “Conflict and Peace Building” buat yang mau belajar cara membangun kembali tempat-tempat yang habis kena konflik.
  4. Lulusan ID biasanya kerja di mana?
    Bisa dibilang sebagian besar mahasiswa ID itu sudah/akan kerja di NGO, termasuk yang besar seperti Oxfam atau Save the Children.
    Sekarang ini selain NGO, makin banyak bisnis atau social entrepreneurship yang fokusnya nggak cuma nyari profit tapi juga ngebangun masyarakat sekitar. Nah, lulusan ID juga dibutuhin tuh sebagai konsultan corporate social responsibility (CSR) di perusahan-perusahaan swasta, misalnya. Nggak menutup kemungkinan juga lulusan ID bikin social enterprise sendiri.
    Selain itu lulusan ID juga bisa bekerja sebagai researcher di lembaga riset di yang fokusnya development.

    Segitu dulu ya rangkuman Q&A-nya. Seperti biasa yang mau tanya-tanya silakan komen di bawah!

It’s more fun in the Philippines(?) #travelingwithkubiir ep. 2


For this episode of #travelingwithkubiir, my friend Asma’ and I went to Philippines. Unlike many others who traveled to Palawan, Boracay, or Cebu, we chose to visit Bagac in Bataan province as well as the capital Manila.

Before I start, let me tell you this: it’s been a few weeks since we came back but we still can’t get over the top-notch hospitality of the people there! From the crowded city of Manila to the serene Bataan, almost everyone we met really gave their best to smile at us and help us.

Now, on to the journey itself. On the first day we arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport at about 3-4 p.m. After buying a Smart SIM Card to use during our stay, we went to the Grab Car booth outside the arrival hall and went to Hop Inn Hotel Ermita, where we staying that night.

After checking in and resting a bit, we hired another Grab Car and went to SM Mall of Asia, the so-called biggest mall in Southeast Asia. Guess what, the mall is really huge we barely had time to explore what’s in it. So after having some modified Indonesian food at Martabak restaurant, we went to buy some souvenirs at Kultura and got back to the hotel. I think not spending too much time in this mall was a good decision because later on our third day, we had some free time and went to another gigantic shopping mall called Greenbelt in Makati area.


The next morning might be the most exciting part of the trip, because we didn’t even know exactly how to go from Manila to Bataan apart from some vague information we found online. Alhamdulillah, we managed to arrive safely in Balanga terminal after a 3-hour ride with Genesis Bus. From there, we randomly rode a Jeepney that had “Bagac” written on it. We were not so sure at first, but I managed to convince my friend that we were on the right track after confirming to the driver that we were going to Las Casas Filipinas the Acuzar.

The Jeepney right was fun, to say the least. Having a good internet connection (thumbs up for smart!) really helped us to be aware of where we were, even though it didn’t really help in terms of telling us where to stop (yup, Jeepney doesn’t have formal stops so anyone can just say “para, po…!” and stop anywhere, basically). We were so grateful that the driver was kind enough to tell us where we had to get off. From this point on, we continued our journey by tricycle.



Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar a.k.a “the Filipino houses of Acuzar” was built by an architect who wanted general public to know more about Filipino history through its old buildings. This architect, along with his interior-designer wife, managed to relocate and rebuild various houses across the Philippines into this resort area. I think this is a great way to let people–including foreigners like ourselves–to understand about and learn from what had happened in the past. Sure, the cost of staying there was quite high, but to me the guided heritage tour and the cultural performance provided to all guests were worth the price.



Fast forward to our last day in the Philippines, we started the day walking from Casa Bocobo hotel to Rizal Park. This park was built as a tribute to the national hero of the Philippines, Dr. Jose Rizal. Being the lazy girls that we are, we decided to ride a mini train that goes around the park. The cost of this train was pretty cheap, only 1 USD or 50 PHP per person.


We continued walking to Intramuros which is an old town similar to Jakarta’s Kota Tua. Apart from Manila Cathedral, the most iconic building in this area is Fort Santiago where Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned by the Spanish colonial government.



After that we went to Quiapo area which, unfortunately, became a hot topic after several bomb attacks there. This is so unfortunate knowing that the Golden Mosque, one of the very few Islamic buildings in the Catholic-majority country, was located in that area. After praying we spoke to a Filipino lady who apparently was able to speak Malay quite fluently. We also went to Landap Cafe, located just across the mosque, for lunch.



Apart from the hospitality I mentioned before, another thing I remember from the trip was how people always thought we were Filipino! In the hotels, on the street, pretty much everywhere we went to, people would always talk to us in Tagalog and we were like “ehm… excuse me but we’re foreigners…” hahaha.

Overall, we really enjoyed our time there and personally I had to agree that it is, indeed, more fun in the Philippines! 😀


Siem Reap Adventure #travelingwithkubiir

Apparently this long-overdue post has been sitting on my draft for 8 months… Well, better late than never, right?

But anyway, this time I’d like to talk about my journey to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I went with my partner-in-crime Asma’. Despite having known each other for almost 10 years, we had never gone traveling together before, so we were supert excited to depart on our adventure (and Asma’s first time abroad as well!)

We started the journey by taking AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur, then continued with another AirAsia flight from KL to Siem Reap. We found this route much cheaper than using AirAsia Indonesia that flies from Jakarta to Siem Reap with one layover in Don Mueang (Bangkok).

We stayed in KL for a night, visited the iconic Twin Towers and explored the night bazaar near Masjid India. Oh, by the way, we stayed at Hotel 1951, and we have to say this place was bomb! I mean, for the budget that we had, we couldn’t have asked for more than a strategic location and  a compact-but-cozy room. There’s also an Indian restaurant nearby, which was perfect for naan lovers like us.


The next morning we went back to KLIA2 and flew to Siem Reap. After a little fight with the tuk-tuk driver who forced us to ride his tuk-tuk for Angkor tour the next day, we took a long nap at Sok San Street Boutique Hotel. It took around 30 minutes and USD 6 from the airport to the hotel by tuk-tuk.


Later that night, we walked to the night market and did some shopping. Actually there were a few lanes which are all called “night market”, all of them claiming to be the “original”. One fun fact, almost everyone selling goods there called female visitors “Lady”. When we were roaming around, they would say something like “please have a look, Lady…”


The next day, we woke up at about 2 a.m. and went on an Angkor tour at 4. Our tuktuk driver, Wanra, was very nice (and a bit shy).

Our first destination after buying Angkor World Heritage tickets (USD 20 each) was the legendary Angkor Wat. We waited for sunrise with many other visitors there. My phone’s camera obviously doesn’t do it any justice, but here’s a pic of the sunrise:



There’s a funny story from when we were about to leave the Angkor Wat complex. We went there taking some takeaway breakfast from the hotel, which had eggs and bananas in it. We didn’t manage to eat them all so we just took them with us to eat later, but then a monkey came and snatched the meal from my arm! It may not sound funny here but trust me, you would’ve laughed if you saw how shocked I was.


I honestly don’t remember where else we went to that day (I left my journal at home LOL) apart from Bayon temple and Ta Phrom, where Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider took place, but for sure we took the small tour instead of the full-day one. We arrived back at the hotel at about 2 p.m.


After taking a long nap, we went out for dinner. This time we tried “beef climbing mountain” (yeah that’s really what it’s called) from Muslim Family Kitchen. Everyone there was so nice! The food was nice too, of course.



The next day, before catching our flight back to KL, we took a short walk to Siem Reap Mosque. Apparently, there’s quite a number of Siem Reap citizens who studied Islam in Malaysia, hence the mosque and halal restaurants around it were built. We figured only men went to pray at that mosque because the second level, which is for women, was very quiet. We were happy to find quite a large mosque there regardless.


For lunch, we revisited Muslim Family Kitchen and ordered beef amok, another staple food from Siem Reap.



On our back to the hotel, we met little boys in their school uniform smiling to us and said “Assalamualaikum”. After two days of arguing with a tuktuk driver and getting our food snatched by a monkey, this one experience made us so touched.

Overall, our trip to Siem Reap (via KL) was a success, alhamdulillah. Can’t wait for our next adventure!

Back to School: Why Australia?

Haloooo kembali lagi dengan saya di sini *sok asik*

Jadi beberapa bulan belakangan ini gue sering ditanya tentang kuliah (khususnya master) di Australia. Nah, berhubung saat ini gue ngambil jurusan International Development di RMIT University, Melbourne, jawaban gue mungkin akan bias. Tapi silakan dibaca siapa tahu bermanfaat.

Dapet salam dari koala.

Oke langsung aja ke QnA, ya:

  1. Kenapa Australia? Hmm, jujur aja gue awalnya nggak ada niat untuk ambil master di sini. Tapi karena kondisinya saat itu cukup mendesak, gue akhirnya mencari beberapa universitas yang buka intake bulan Februari, dan kebanyakan memang di Australia. RMIT sendiri adalah universitas pertama yang gue daftar dan alhamdulillah diterima. Jadi, lagi-lagi gue akui, keputusan untuk pergi ke Australia termasuk  yang “tidak direncanakan”.
  2. Kenapa RMIT? Kembali ke pertanyaan pertama, keputusan memilih RMIT bukan sesuatu yang gue pikirkan lama-lama. Tapi kalau ditanya pertimbangannya ya nggak jauh-jauh dari reputasi dan ketersediaan jurusan. Dari awal memutuskan berangkat S2 dengan beasiswa LPDP gue memang tidak pernah menargetkan untuk masuk universitas yang “wow”, karena buat gue kecocokan universitas dan kemampuan gue jauh lebih penting dari sekedar prestige. RMIT sendiri rankingnya termasuk “biasa aja”, tapi reputasinya di Australia cukup bagus sebagai universitas yang punya banyak International students dan hubungan yang  baik dengan industri.
  3. Apa sih enaknya kuliah di Australia? Pertama, hubungan dosen dan mahasiswa. Di sini dosen dipanggil dengan first name tanpa embel-embel professor atau panggilan lainnya. Kalau ada pertanyaan seputar perkuliahan, dosen sangat reachable walaupun kadang hanya bisa lewat e-mail karena ybs sibuk. Di kelas pun diskusi sangat terbuka, bahkan kadang dosen terkesan “gabut” karna mereka hanya menjelaskan sebentar sebelum mahasiswa dilepas untuk diskusi. Gue pernah membahas ini dengan teman yang asli Australia, dan ternyata mereka memang dibiasakan untuk “nggak gampang percaya” dengan omongan guru sejak SD. Sangat berbeda, kan, dengan kita yang terbiasa mendengarkan penjelasan guru di kelas.
  4. Bagaimana kehidupan muslim di Australia? Alhamdulillah gue tinggal di kota Melbourne yang sangat multicultural. Kerudung yang gue pakai sehari-hari tidak membuat gue merasa “aneh” karena banyak juga perempuan lain yang berhijab. Makanan halal? Jangan ditanya. Selain kebab dan masakan Indonesia, gue paling suka makan di restoran Uyghur alias Muslim Chinese. Bumbu-bumbu masakan Indonesia ada di berbagai toko Asia, halal butcher pun ada di mana-mana. *tuh kan, seru sendiri kalau bahas makanan* Puasa dan Lebaran kemarin pun gue nggak pulang ke Indonesia dan alhamdulillah suasana buka puasa, tarawih, dan solat ied cukup ramai karena di sini ada beberapa masjid dengan komunitas yang besar dan akrab.
  5.  Katanya living cost di sana mahal, ya? Kalau ini nggak bisa dipungkiri, sih. Tapi tenang, selalu ada cara menyiasatinya. Gue sendiri memilih untuk tinggal di city alias Melbourne CBD yang lokasinya dekat dengan kampus, jadi nggak berat di ongkos (walaupun harga sewanya sedikit lebih mahal). Fyi, naik tram di CBD gratis sepuasnya, lho. Terus untuk makan, belanja bahan mentah di sini cukup jauh bedanya dibanding makan di luar. Jadi selagi ada waktu untuk masak, gue lebih memilih masak sendiri.
  6. Dari tadi bahas yang enak-enak terus. Yang nggak enak apa? Gue orangnya memang jarang mengeluh *eaaaak* tapi kalau harus jawab… Gue akan jawab ini: internet di sini lola alias lemot alias lamaaaa.! Apalagi kalau malam. Agak bikin sedih sih bagi yang suka nontonin Oppa kayak gue hehehe.

Sementara itu dulu kali, ya? Jangan malu-malu untuk bertanya kalau ada yang masih ingin ditanyakan. Inshaa Allah akan gue jawab di kesempatan berikutnya.

Back to school: A mid-semester reflection

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Loh Ard Gorge, Victoria, Australia (taken March 2017)

H e l l o !

I know I’ve said this repeatedly on my previous posts but hey, I’m back again!

Some of you might have known that I, alhamdulillah, was chosen as an awardee for LPDP Scholarship from the Ministry of Finance. I initially planned to go to Germany, but things didn’t work out and long story short, here I am in Melbourne, Australia, pursuing my master’s degree on International Development.

People don’t lie when they say time flies. I am now already halfway through my first semester here. Most of my classes are held as intensives, meaning that I only need to go to school four times per class in a semester (each of the classes are as long as 6 to 7 hours). I will talk more on this system later on, insha Allah.

As for the classes, I am super grateful to be able to meet awesome lecturers and facilitators who’ve got interesting experiences from the development field, having worked either for NGOs or for Australian government before coming back to university to teach. I enjoy the classes mostly because I am given a lot of chance to share my personal experience growing up in a so-called “developing country” as well as listen to my classmates’ experiences (most of them are Australians or Australian permanent residents, making me one of a few students that are new to Australia).

Speaking  of experience, I think I’m starting to experience quarter life crisis. Only having classes once in a while gives me a lot of time to think about myself, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do in the future recently. Well, if you know me you’ll know that daydreaming has been my hobby since I was fifteen; but now that I’m 24, I feel like the daydreams are accompanied by more insecurities than ever. Sometimes I see myself as too childish (and selfish) because I haven’t really thought of having a steady job or buying a house or *cough* finding someone to marry.

Oh, and I still don’t know when my next update will take place (mostly due to my “busy” schedule of binge-watching youtube videos LOL) but I’d be happy to share this exciting journey towards obtaining master’s degree through my blog. If you have any questions on this please feel free to ask me!