Category Archives: Shopping

Sun Plaza Medan

I was told that when I am in Medan, Sun Plaza is the mall that I should visit at least once. It was opened in the year 2004 and it is still the largest and most luxurious mall in Medan. I took a cab to this mall from my hotel and arrived at about 10 a.m. Surprisingly many shops were not even opened yet at this hour. So I took the opportunity to browse around the empty shops, noting that the walkaway was spacious. Sogo is the anchor tenant for this shopping mall. You can enter into Sogo department store from almost any level in this shopping mall. The other anchor tenant is Hypermarket which is a well known supermarket chain in Indonesia.

Sun Plaza Medan is currently the most upmarket shopping mall in Medan.

It seems that there are an abundant of food outlets in Sun Plaza. There is the food court, A&W, KFC, Pizza Hut, Nelayan, Ayam Penyet Ria ( one of my favorite), Es Teler 77 ( delicious noodles), Red Mango frozen yogurt ( nice but too expensive) and many coffee joints. I liked the food court because it is spacious and clean. Food variety are plentiful because there are many individual food stalls operating there. The best way to enjoy is to buy one small portion of food from different food stalls and try it out. During lunch hour, the food court was crowded; as many office workers would be here to take their lunch.

Most shops in Sun Plaza are opened at about 11.00 a.m. local time.


Sogo at Sun Plaza occupies the most retail space in the Sun Plaza Mall. In fact, Sogo is located almost on every floor and it provides a one stop shopping concept for the whole family (except food items ).  But I find the the prices of certain clothes and shoes in Sogo were rather steep as compared to similar merchandise that I can buy in Singapore. Many of the branded products that I saw in Sogo, I can find it too in Singapore and Malaysia Рand they are less expensive in these 2 countries. So hopefully Sogo could readjust its pricing policy on the products, if they are keen in attracting more tourists here for shopping in their store.

The mall appears empty because this photo is taken on a weekday morning. The best time to go is after 11.00 a.m.

The Hypermarket is located in the upper floor of Sun Plaza and it is a nice supermarket. However the size of this supermarket is smaller than their other branches in other parts of Indonesia where I have been. The selection and variety of food and sundry items here are sufficient to satisfy the average household family. One thing I noticed was that certain areas in this supermarket was rather warm – so was the air -conditioning faulty or was it not turn on? I came to this supermarket twice during my stay in Medan and I felt warm and stuffy in some areas of this store. This is a good place to stock up on your food, drink, toiletries if you are staying in Medan for a few days.

Kids can take a ride the mall in this train.

For those who are seeking some entertainment, there is a cinema, Time Zone and Himalayan games centers for young adults and kids. There is also a popular book store called Gramedia, where you can buy books, computer accessories, stationery, gifts, etc. One of the nice feature about this shopping mall is that there are benches located on every floor for the shoppers to sit and rest their feet. The Sun Plaza is a spacious mall and you could easily spend half a day here without feeling bore or hungry.

I read some comments in the travel forums that there is no taxi stand in this mall. This is not correct. There is in fact a taxi stand right outside the main entrance of this mall. Just outside the glass door of the main entrance, there is a small signage for Taxi and you can see a guy standing there with a walkie-talkie ( handheld transceiver) who can help you in getting a cab. The condition is that once the booking is made for a cab, the minimum charge would be Rp25,000 irregardless of the distance. For example, if the meter in the taxi states Rp15,000 upon arrival at my hotel, I still have to pay the drive Rp25,000. But if the meter states Rp50,000, then of course I have to pay the cab driver Rp50,000. I would also normally tip the taxi drivers because most of them are helpful and courteous. My view is that if I am going for holiday, I am not going to fuss or waste my time hunting for a cab outside the mall just to save a couple of dollars – whatever it is, it is an individual choice; as there is no right or wrong way on how you want to spend your money.

Sun Plaza is a very spacious mall. You can spend the whole day in this mall with many things to do and eat.

Do visit Sun Plaza Mall when you are in Medan. It is a refreshing change after visiting so many old malls and old buildings around this city. It is also a good place to recharge and get away from the smoke, dust and congested roads. Most of the shops should be opened by 11.00 a.m and it is a good place to get a sumptuous lunch – the variety and choices of food here is really amazing.

I will be adding more photos of Sun Plaza Medan in the Image Gallery of my website at –

Beautiful Mannequin on window display

Whenever I do my shopping in the mall, I will also looked out for beautiful window displays. Some retailers have put in lots of effort in ensuring† that their window displays are attractive and with a focus theme. Unfortunately there are also many retailers in the mall who are not bothered at all on window displays.† They simply placed the products in front of their store windows and expect the consumers to notice them. They do not realized that it only takes a couple of seconds for me or a consumer to pass by a retail store. So if the store fails to capture the shoppers attention, they will lose a potential sale.


Beautiful Mannequin
Beautiful Mannequin


I happen to pass by an exclusive boutique and saw this beautiful window display; and so I took a couple of photos of this beautiful window display. You can see a beautiful mannequin sitting in an artistic manner.† The entire big window was simply focus on this beautiful mannequin and it has the ability to capture shoppers passing by. So when I stopped and see, I will be drawn to focus on the clothes that this mannequin is wearing and the colorful bangles on the mannequin wrist. Lastly I will see the color socks and shoes that this beautiful mannequin is wearing. Effectively this store had managed to capture my attention on the clothes and accessories that they are selling in their store.


Beautiful Mannequin
Beautiful Mannequin


I have this habit of bringing my camera along with me whenever I go shopping. So when there is a beautiful window display that captures my attention, I will take some photos of it. We can learn from successful retailers who are good in the art of selling through their window displays. I will put more photos of beautiful mannequin and window displays in my future blogs.

Harbour Bay Mall Batam

The Harbour Bay Mall is the newest mall in† Batam. It was opened in early 2010 with the anchor tenant – Carrefour. For those who are unsure of the location of this mall, it is located very close to the Harbour Bay Ferry Terminal. Once you have arrived at this ferry terminal, the Harbour Bay Mall is just about less than 10 minutes walk away. Do not waste your money taking a cab from the ferry terminal. Just observe how the taxis exit from the arrival hall to the main road and just follow it. As you walk along the road, there will be plenty of touts shouting to draw your attention, just simply ignore them and keep walking. Once you see a large but short building, this is the Harbour Bay Mall.


Harbour Bay Mall Batam


If you are observant, you will spot a tall building beside the mall. This is the Harbour Bay Amir Hotel. It is a relatively new hotel and I have stayed there and also wrote a blog, which is my review of this hotel. If you are keen in reading it, just click the link below: –

Harbour Bay Amir Hotel – My Review


Harbour Bay Mall Batam


When you entered the mall, you will feel that it is very spacious indeed. But there are only 3 levels where you can browse, walk and shop. The basement level is where the famous Carrefour supermarket is located. I use the word supermarket and not hypermart because it is indeed just a supermarket. I am rather disappointed that Carrefour have chosen to open such a small store ( which is in fact their first store in Batam ) in this mall. I wonder why is Carrefour is so conservative in opening up such a small store? You cannot compare this store to the Hypermart that is located in Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall which is huge and carry a wider range of merchandise. You can read my review of Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall – just follow the link below:-

Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall – My Review


Harbour Bay Mall Batam


As I was walking in the mall, I notice that there are still plenty of shops that were still empty – perhaps the mall management has yet to fill it up with the right tenants. There are a few restaurants located on each level of this mall. But surprisingly there is no Macdonald, KFC or Pizza Hut outlet here. I wonder why international fast food chains have not set up an outlet here. You can see the well known Polo store here. Buy more of their clothes and you get up to 50% discount from your total purchase. For kids, there is a large fun and games outlet in this mall. Kids will love it as there are lots of kiddies rides and game machines inside. For ladies, there are a few stores that sells famous branded bags, wallets and watches.


Harbour Bay Mall Batam


The mall was crowded as I was there during the public holidays. Carrefour supermarket was very crowded. There were lots of local Indonesians shopping there. By the way, most of the food products that are sold in Carrefour are produced locally or local brands from Indonesia. I do hope that they expand their bakery section so as to add more variety of bread and pastries. Maybe they should even consider opening up a small cafe next to the bakery section for customers to sit back and enjoy the fresh coffee and pastries.


Harbour Bay Mall Batam


I have uploaded a number of photos of the new Harbour Bay Mall in my website. Just go to the photo gallery of my website and you can see the photos of this brand new mall. The website link is below –

Batam City Square Mall – BCS Batam

A friend of mine was asking me where is Batam City Square Mall or BCS in short. So I have decided to post this blog to provide some information for those who are keen in visiting this Mall.


BCS is located in Penuin area in Batam. If you intend to stay in that area, one of the hotel that you can stay is the Hotel 89. This is a 155 rooms hotel which is close to BCS. If you are walking to BCS, I would say it takes approx 20 minutes from the hotel. Besides the BCS mall, there is another old mall called the Plaza Top 100 which is also nearby.


BCS is not a new mall but it has its own unique identity which makes it attractive to shoppers to visit this mall.† In this mall, you can see lots of small retail shops selling all kinds of merchandise. You are also spoilt for choice if you are hungry, as there are numerous food outlets. I would say that this mall is self contained and complete.. There are stores that sell clothes, cellphones, electrical and electronic gadgets, toys, saloon and massage, amusement center, jewelery and much more.


In my opinion, BCS mall seems to have a worn out look. Perhaps it is time for the management of this mall to consider a major renovation to brighten up and upgrade this mall. But most malls in Indonesia do not engage in self renewal or upgrade which is unfortunate. I have see many malls in Indonesia simply fade away when new malls are built.


Over the weekends, you can see quite a number of Singaporeans as well as the local chinese Indonesians coming to this mall. But during the weekdays, this mall is relatively quiet. If you are residing in Penuin, then this mall is the place to go for shopping. This mall also has a spacious atrium at the ground floor where events are being held. When I was there, there was an exhibition cum event on Buddhism being held at the atrium during the Vesak Day celebration.

So is the BCS mall worth visiting? Yes, if you have the time to spare. You can spend a couple of hours shopping and having a good meal at this mall. Perhaps another hour for haircut or manicure or massage. Taxis are readily available just outside the mall if you are carrying lots of shopping bags or just want a ride back to your hotel.

For more information on shopping malls in Batam and Indonesia, visit our website at –

For information and photos regarding Singapore and Johor Bahru Malaysia, please visit our website at –

Guide to Factory Outlets in Bandung

Bandung is well known for its numerous factory outlets that is spread throughout its city. Every weekend and holidays, you can see many Indonesians flocking to Bandung for shopping and to unwind. From Jakarta, you can fly to Bandung by air, take a train ride from Gambir station or alternatively drive or hire a vehicle take will pass through the toll highway, reaching Bandung in approximately 3 hours.

There are many factory outlets located in different areas in the city. So where should you go? If you are new to Bandung, these are my personal recommendations. The first place that you can go is Rumah Mode. It is a very popular and well known factory outlet in Bandung. I liked it because it has a nice ambiance. The entire place looks like a Balinese and Java style village. Even if you do not like shopping for clothes, you can still sit in the cafe and relax – while your wife or girlfriend does her shopping. There are a wide selection of international branded clothes on sale. It seems that the ladies department is the largest. There are of course gents and kids department as well.

As I was there on Sunday, it was packed with shoppers. I saw more local Indonesians than tourists and definitely it is a ladies paradise. Merchandise is well stocked and neatly placed in bins or racks. The floor area is well organized and clean. There were sufficient staff to assist you if you need help. As for the food outlets, I took my dinner at the cafe. The place looks rather dim (perhaps it was in the night and there were candlelights) and warm lights on the ceiling. It is a cosy cafe, with warm wood decor and a fountain and pond filled with koi fishes.

When you are done shopping at Rumah Mode and still have the energy to visit more factory outlets, there are more outlets to visit. Just walked out of Rumah Mode and and you can see the main street. On the main street, turn LEFT and keep walking. In less than 3 minutes, you can see a factory outlet called Mode Plus. If you keep walking straight, there is another outlet called Natural Factory Outlet. Keep walking straight for a few minutes, you can see House of Donatello. Now the House of Donatello is an outlet that sells shoes and handbags. It is filled with so many shoes and leather wallets and bags that you are literally filled with unlimited choices. I must say some of designs are really good. Do make a point to visit this outlet as well. All these outlets are situated very close to Rumah Mode. By the way, Rumah Mode is located at 41 Jl. Dr. Setiabudhi.

Another location which I liked to introduce is Jl. Cihampelas. This place is also known as “Jean Street”. It is a stretch of narrow road that are filled with factory outlets. If you asked a taxi driver to take you to Jl. Cihmapelas and he asked you where you would liked to alight, you can tell him at Premier Plaza or Rambo. What Rambo you may asked? Once you reached the destination, you can see a huge replica of Rambo – you can’t missed it. It is in fact a factory outlet store and just directly opposite this store is Premier Plaza and Aston Tropicana Hotel. The Aston hotel is beautiful and comfortable hotel. I will try it out ( stay at the hotel) and write a review the next time I visit Bandung. Premier Plaza which is next to Aston Hotel has Giant Supermarket as the anchor tenant. There are also food outlets that you can sit and have your lunch or drinks after shopping.Jl. Cihampelas is a long and narrow road. It is always congested with heavy traffic. So if you want to cross the road, the only way is to open your eyes and dash across. You could put up your hand to signal ‘Stop’ while crossing the road and most vehicles will slow down for you. There are so many outlets selling clothes, bags and accessories that surely you can find something that you fancy. I bought a couple of T-shirts for less than US$5/- each. Each outlet has it own design and layout which makes shopping for fun. Jl. Cihampelas is a good choice for shopping if you can withstand the narrow, polluted and congested road. If you have the patience and can take some heat – you will like it here.

For more information on factory outlets, Bandung and Indonesia, visit our website at –

Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall – Batam

There is another new kid on the block, another new shopping mall has sprung up in Batam. It is called the Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall or some refer to it as the Nagoya Hill SuperBlock. No, the mall is not located on top of a treacherous hill, so there are no hill or steep slopes to climb to reach this mall. The mall is located in the center of Nagoya town and very near to Nagoya Plaza Hotel.

The mall is low rise one, with rows of shop houses opposite the main mall itself. The design of the row of shophouses is unique – I particularly like the roof. I was there during the Sunday afternoon, and there were many local people at the mall. There are 2 anchor tenants – Matahari and Hypermart. These are 2 giant retail stores in Indonesia. So when the stores are there, the shoppers will come. Hypermart is located at the basement of this mall. Normally I liked to buy food items from Hypermart, because it is cheap and fresh. The store sells everything from food, clothes, medicine to LCD TV and PC. I like the bakery counter because they offer a wide variety of bread and cakes.

There is a Food Street in the Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall itself. If you are entering the mall via its main entrance, the Food Street is on the left and right. Yes, both the left and right corridor of the mall. There are many food outlets. You can see A&W, KFC and many local food retail outlets. When I see so many food outlets to choose, I have a hard time choosing what to eat. I have to make a choice among so many choices. If you do not fancy the food at the Food Street, there are more food outlets spread across this mall. Just walk and browse, you will find them. I just wonder whether is food such a lucrative business that I see so many of them in the mall.

In the mall, I can see a number of retail stores selling clothing and accessories. I guess young people in Indonesia are also spending more to look good. Perhaps the reason why developers are building more malls is that people love to hang out in the malls rather than in a park or library. Though Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall is relatively new, the layout of the stores can be improved. I can see merchandise being stacked along the walkways, which makes it untidy and at times difficult to walk. After shopping, with a lots of shopping bags, you can get a cab/taxi just outside the mall itself. Remember to negotiate the taxi fare before commencing the ride.

For more information and photos on Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall in Batam, visit our website at

Sarinah Department Store

Sarinah Department store is one of the oldest department store in Jakarta. The store is located in Jl. KH. Wahid Hasyim along the busy street of Thamrin; which is a central business and tourist district of Jakarta. I was told by my friend that when escalator was first introduced in this city, Sarinah was the first to install it in their store.

When you visit Sarinah, don’t expect the beauty and glamor of today’s modern store like Sogo and Metro in Jakarta. In fact, expect the opposite. Everything seems so old and worn out. Even the fixtures and fittings seems to belong to an era of seventies. I just wonder how could this store survived the fierce competition from modern shopping malls; but it did.

Sarinah offers a wide variety of merchandise. It sells clothings for men, women and children. Households items, toys, music cds and movie DVDs, perfumes and makeups, traditional clothes, Arts and Crafts and many more. I particular love the traditional arts and crafts merchandise. The prices of the merchandise are very affordable.

If you are staying near here and need to buy some can drinks, beers or potato chips back to your hotel room, then go down to the basement level. There is a supermarket there that is run by Hero group. It is a small supermarket but well stocked. This is where I would buy some fruits and drinks and brought it to my hotel room.

There are plenty of food outlets to choose if you are hungry. The 24 hour Macdonald restaurant is there, together with Pizza Hut. You can also get traditional indonesian food as well as japanese food. And if you have time to spare to catch a movie, there is a cinema nearby.

If I am staying in a hotel near Thamrin again, I would visit Sarinah. I personally like the slow moving pace of this place. Just relax and unwind.

Plaza Indonesia

I took a slow walk from my hotel to Plaza Indonesia. As I approached close to the mall, the first object that caught my eyes is the traffic circle (roundabout) with fountain jetting out cool water into the air. Traffic was very heavy but moving very smoothly.

Plaza Indonesia sits on the prime land overlooking this famous traffic roundabout. And as though not to be outdone by the fountain at the traffic roundabout, it has its own water features as well. Water cascading down from 3 levels of walls and also fountains. The surrounding is like a mini garden. Besides it, a huge sign – Grand Hyatt Jakarta. An upmarket mall combined with a upmarket hotel. A perfect synergy.

Plaza Indonesia is not a new mall but it still manage to retain its grandeur and importance. It draws its strength from its prime location. Opposite the mall is the Nikko hotel. The Japanese embassy and Hard Rock cafe /ex. is just 5-10 minutes walk away. Also close by is the Ascott and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Seriously, how can any malls in Jakarta compete with that?

This is the mall where you can see lots of tourists, Japanese and Chinese. There are of course local Indonesians as well. Metro and Sogo are the main tenants of this mall. There are many specialty stores here, especially those international designer brands from Europe and America.

If you are hungry, the are plenty of restaurants and coffee joints to choose. There is a restaurant that is located at the concourse itself. It is an open concept with trees lining up on two sides. Very unique indeed. The food court is located at the basement. However avoid going there on lunch or dinner hours, as seating capacity is limited.

One of my favorite store is in fact a snack shop called Snack Zone. They have so many variety of snacks and candies – it is fascinating. The snacks taste good and it is not expensive at all. There is also a store that sells beautiful flowers and plants. It is also located at the basement. Must see.

Plaza Indonesia is perfect for Shoppers looking for famous branded merchandise. For myself, I do not belong to the rich nor famous category. But I still do enjoy coming here to gaze at the beautiful merchandise and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

Ciputra Mall

Ciputra Mall Jakarta is located at Jl. Letnan Jenderal S. Parman. The Ciputra Hotel which is built next to the mall, has a direct access link to the mall via the hotel lobby.

I find that the location of Ciputra mall and hotel rather odd and fascinating. It sits right at the section of the busy highways and toll roads. In fact you can catch a good glimpse of this development while driving along the highway. It is so prominent that you can’t missed it. Interestingly, there is a University that is just next to this mall. It is called the Tarumanagara Universiti. The building of this university is almost as tall as the Ciputra Hotel itself.

Ciputra Mall is spacious indeed. There are plenty of space and multi-level floors for the shoppers to stroll. You can actually walk up or down from one floor to the next floor instead of taking escalators. Good concept. There are literally hundreds of retail stores lining up waiting to catch your attention. The anchor tenants includes Hero Supermarket, Guardian, Watson and Matahari. What stands out for Ciputra Mall is that besides large anchor tenants, there are hundreds of small retail stores offering an unlimited variety of merchandise. If you are a food lover, food outlets are plentiful too.

However take note that if you are looking for famous international branded merchandise such as Aigner, Louis Vuitton, Dunhill, Cartier, etc. This is not the place. You should go to Senanyan Mall or Plaza Indonesia instead.

I have noticed that there are a large numbers of teenagers here. Perhaps they are students from the nearby University.

One of the best way for me to enjoy shopping in this mall is to take my time to check out the special offers merchandise from big/small retail stores. My girlfriend picked up beautiful shorts from a small retail store for just US$1-50 a piece. Fantastic value! I have bought a multi-compartment backpack for just US$7/-.

If I can afford the time again when I’m in Jakarta. This will be the place I will want to visit again.

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