After eating a bowl of noodles and drink for lunch, I decided to tried out the famous Red Mango Yogurt which my friend is so crazy about. There were a few customers at the shop even during lunch hour as compared to the Es Teler 77 outlet where I had my lunch. The shop signage states that it is USA’s best non fat frozen yogurt, so hopefully it taste good. My first reaction when I saw the prices listed on the menu board was that the food here are really expensive.
I ordered the green Avocado yogurt with fruit and nuts toppings. The cost of this yogurt ( see photos ) was nearly RP60,000 for a cup of yogurt. The yogurt taste creamy and it is in fact quite solid and firm; unlike some yogurts that melts in your mouth the minute you eat it. I liked the yogurt taste but I felt that it is too little. Perhaps for the price of nearly RP60,000, they should give a bigger portion of yogurt – perhaps 2 scoops served in a better cup. The toppings was nice but nothing fantastic about it.
The Red Mango store which I visited was a small outlet with limited seating capacity if you compared it with KFC or MacDonald. But it was sufficient because really there were not many customers even during lunch hour. In fact, there were still many empty seats available. Perhaps that goes to show that not many people would want to pay such a high price for this food. In fact, the noodles and drink that I had in Es Teler 77 was almost the same price as this cup of yogurt. Well if Red Mango can do a promotion on one flavor each month with a lower price for their yogurt, I would definitely com back for more.
I had decided to stay in Grand Aston City Hall hotel so that I could feel the experience of staying in the newest 5 stars hotel in Medan. This hotel is well located just opposite the famous Merdeka Walk – which is a good place to try out the different food and dine outdoor. Nearby this hotel is the Bank Indonesia office, a beautiful mosque and rows of shops along a busy street. I had booked their deluxe room and asked for a king size bed and I was pleasantly surprised that they allowed me to check in at 11 am in the morning.
Security at the Grand Aston City Hotel hotel was quite tight. The cab driver whom fetched me there had to stop his vehicle for inspection before driving to the entrance of the main lobby. Outside the glass main entrance, my luggage and myself had to undergo a metal detector scan. Next to the rows of elevator, there was a security guard standing there; and I had to tap my room card in order to access to the specific floor which my room was located. I am quite pleased with this tight security features implemented by the hotel.
The deluxe room was spacious and the floor was laminated wood. Apparently everything in the room looked new and fresh as the hotel was relatively new as well. I liked the clean and bright bathroom. The only minor disappointment was that there was no bath tub. The king size bed was very firm and there were plenty of pillows placed on the bed. The firm mattress was one of the best I had every slept among so many hotels I had checked into. The small working desk was sufficient for me to do some reading but I noticed that it was not made of strong solid wood where you can sit on it. The LCD TV was large and there were sufficient variety of international channels to watch. Other things include a mini fridge, a small kettle, complimentary mineral water, tea and coffee bags and slipper. The window of my room was directly facing the famous Merdeka Walk – this place comes alive during the evenings.
I didn’t have time to enjoy the facilities such as the swimming pool and the Gym because I was out from the morning and coming back late in the evening. I will try it out the next time I come back to Medan on a more relax schedule. Breakfast was served in the restaurant called the Spoon Dining Coffee shop which was spacious and neat. The spread of the breakfast was sufficient and there were plenty of choices of food to choose. But I felt that the restaurant staff was not pro active enough to top up coffee and tea and clearing plates. In fact during this breakfast meal, I had to clear the used plates and filled up the tea myself – hopefully they can improve on this service.
Yes I intend to come back to Grand Aston City Hall Medan on my next trip and spend more time enjoying the pool and the food in the restaurant. If you are keen to view more photos of this hotel, please go to the image gallery of my website. All the photos that I took in Medan are placed in under the Medan category.
I visited a Buddhist temple while I was in Medan as it was recommended by my driver. He told me this temple is called the Maha Maitreya Temple and many visitors would flocked to this temple for prayers and sightseeing. He mentioned that even Muslims came here to visit this temple for sightseeing and photo shoots; and my driver is also a Muslim. This temple is located inside a residential area; and you have to pass through a gated entrance manned by security guards before entering the residential area. Once your vehicle passed through the guard house, there are many beautiful homes – mostly bungalows and rows of shops nicely lined up on the clean street. My driver told me that this residential area is called North Boulevard street and the people staying here are mainly rich Chinese.
The Maha Maitreya Temple is a huge temple, the building is very wide; and I saw four stone lions sculpture guarding the entrance of this temple. This temple seems to be very well maintained; almost in mint condition. My driver parked his vehicle underneath a tree and sat down on a bench to chat with another driver; while I proceed to check out this beautiful Buddhist temple. The pillars that were part of the foundation of this building were decorated with beautiful cravings of dragons – what a beautiful art piece. The main hall in the temple was very spacious and deep. As I was standing outside the main hall preparing to take off my shoes, I saw the statue of Buddha a distance away.
During my visit on a weekday afternoon, the Maha Maitreya Temple was almost deserted and peaceful. Inside the hall, the atmosphere was peaceful and serene. I saw devotees kneeling down and praying to Buddha. There were many pillars in the hall and this place was naturally cool. Outside the hall, I saw paintings, a children playground, another building next to the playground. And on the other side, there was a beautiful garden, a small stream filled with fishes, bridge, beautiful plants and sculptures. It was a nice place to sit and relax. It must be quite costly to build such a beautiful temple.
I was glad that my driver brought me to the Maha Maitreya Temple as it was definitely a worthy place to visit while in Medan. If you are planning to visit this place by cab, make sure that you asked the taxi driver to stay and wait for you, as this place is remote and there are no cabs around. Bring a bottle of mineral water as Medan can be extremely warm during the day.
One of the most memorable place that I had visited during my trip to Medan is the Tjong A Fie Mansion which is located in Jl. Jend A Yani, No. 105 Medan. This grand Mansion was built in the year 1895 – more than a century old and a charming historical site in Medan. The entrance fee to this Mansion was Rp75,000 per person which I felt was relatively expensive as compared to the admission price of museums in similar country liked Malaysia. Perhaps one of the reason for the high cost was that there was a personal guide in the Mansion, who would explained the history of this Mansion as I walked around viewing the exhibits.
Tjong A Fie was a successful businessman who had built a successful business empire; and at the same time contributed his time and money to many charitable acts in Medan. I think his guiding principle in life was best summed up in his quotes ” There on the earth where I stand, I hold the sky. Success and glory consist not in what I have gotten but in what I have given.” This Mansion was his residential home and visitors can see a variety of exhibits – old furniture, his bed, tables, dinning area, grand living rooms, old photos, beautiful teapots, lots of antiques, etc. The entire Tjong A Fie Mansion is only 2 storeys, but it is very spacious. There are 35 rooms in the entire Mansion and I liked the beautiful decorative high ceilings and large wooden windows. The structure of this Mansion seems to be a blend of Peranakan, traditional Chinese and European architecture styles combined into one.
I spend about an hour during this visit. I continued to walked around the rooms of the this Mansion after the young guide had completed the guided tour. I could sense that I had too many things to see and to little time to do it. So if you want to visit and view each exhibit in more detail, try to plan for a 2 hours duration for this place before moving to your next appointment. I think this Mansion would be great for those newly wed couples who wish to take photography shots – it would be very memorable indeed.
Anyway, I would be putting up more photos of the Tjong A Fie Mansion in the Image gallery of my site at Indonesiapics.com – do make time to visit this place if you are someone interested in antiques, historical sites and cultures. This place is within the city of Medan, so irregardless of which hotel that you may be staying, it is convenient to reach here by cab.