Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Journey through Ancient Thai Traditions


Sebuah pengalaman di mana kuliner dan pijat adalah dua hal yang menyenangkan.


APA yang terbayang ketika mendengar kata Thailand? Wisata yang keren, tapi murah. Dua faktor ini menjadikan pengalaman wisata kita sangat memuaskan, karena uang yang kita bawa mempunyai nilai tukar yang lebih tinggi. Biaya hidup di Bangkok, misalnya, sekitar 30-50% lebih murah daripada di Jakarta, apalagi di Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, dan lain-lain.


Meski masih di kawasan ASEAN, Thailand adalah negeri yang tidak membosankan. Negara berkembang itu mempunyai daerah tujuan wisata yang menarik, juga kebudayaan yang unik. Sementara di kota besar, sebutlah Bangkok, tidak kalah gemerlapnya dengan kota-kota dunia lainnya – lengkap dengan hiburan malamnya yang menggoda!


Tahun ini saya kebetulan sempat berkunjung ke Bangkok, dalam rangka mengikuti “Nokia Showcase 2010”. Selain meliput acara tahunan ponsel asal Finlandia tersebut, saya menyempakan diri untuk menikmati kota tersebut, berbelanja di Siam Square, jalan-jalan ke pusat hiburan malam Patpong, dan tentu saja wisata kuliner.


So, ketika Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta, dengan sponsor Thai Airways, mengundang ke pembukaan acara “A Journey through Ancient Thai Traditions”, eksotisme Thailand itu terbayang lagi. Acara itu memadukan pengalaman kuliner di Thailand di Seasons Cafe dan perawatan tubuh tradisional Thailand di The Spa. Para tamu dapa merasakan Thailand dari dekat melalui empat ahli yang didatangkan langsung dari Chiang Mai, Thailand antara 20 September – 10 Oktober 2010.


Hidangan Thailand dikenal melalui rasanya yang khas dan bahan bakunya yang segar. Lezat dan kaya akan kreasi, rasa pedas yang menggugah selera serta perpaduan dan bahan baku yang segar membuat saat bersantap menjadi pengalaman yang istimewa. Selama masa promosi, kita bisa menikmati kelezatan hidangan Thailand di Seasons Café bersama Chef Anchalee Luadkham dan Chef Pongsule Songsri dari Four Seasons Hotel Chiang Mai.


Masakan Thailand yang khas pasti tidak ketinggalan, sebutlah Tom Yum Kung Narm Khon (Sup Udang Asam Pedas), Yum Nua (Salad Daging Sapi Bumbu Pedas), Kaow Soi Gai (Hidangan mie telur khas Chiang Mai dengan kari ayam), Throd Man Goong (Perkedel Udang), aneka pilihan penganan kecil khas Thailand dan berbagai menu lainnya.


Penglaman bersantap yang istimewa ini tersedia untuk santap siang dan malam prasmanan dengan harga Rp 198.000++ per orang; Spesial Sunday Brunch degan sentuhan Thai seharga Rp 398.000++ termasuk free flow wine dan jus buah segar. Ada juga kelas memasak dengan biaya Rp 350.000 per orang di mana para chef akan mengungkap resep rahasia kenikmatan hidangan Thailand.


Tidak sempurna kalau dalam event ini tidak dilengkapi dengan pijat atau perawatan tubuh khas Thailand yang terkenal itu. Rasakan pengalaman perawatan olah tubuh yang unik, yang menyatukan Hatha Yoga, Akupresure dan Refleksologi yang sudah dikenal selama 2,5 abad. Awal mula Thai Massage diciptakan oleh Shivaga Komarpaj, yang dikenal sebagai ‘Father Doctor’. Di Thailand, masyarakat petanimengajarkan anak-anak mereka keahlian pemijatan yang mereka pelajari dari orang tua mereka, dengan cara ini massage tradisional Thailand menjadi tradisi turun temurun.


Ya, para tamu akan dapat menikmati berbagai ritual favorit melalui tangan-tangan ahli dua terapis, Manchupa Sucharat Kaewkun dan Patumrat Prompet yag didatangkan langsung dari Four Seasons Hotel Chiang Mai, seperti Traditional Thai Massage yang berfungsi menstimulasi aliran energi dan meredakan ketegangan otot; Chiang Mai Samunprai, terapi tradisional Thailand yang dapat meredakan ketegangan dan mengembalikan semangat; Thai Blend Massage, peijatan dengan teknik penekanan pada titik-titik, serta berbagai pilihan lainnya. Food and massage, the perfect pairing! (Burhanuddin Abe)


http://www.perempuan.com/index.php?comp=myday&do=index&id=33

Friday, September 24, 2010

Marina Bay Sands


SINGAPURA, meski berstatus “luar negeri”, jaraknya hanya selemparan batu saja, tak lebih dari dua jam dari Jakarta. Itu sebabnya undangan dari negara kota yang luasnya hanya 710,3 km2 itu, menjadi hal yang hampir rutin. 

Ketika untuk kesekian kalinya saya diundang untuk menghadiri event global atau media tour, melihat dari dekat suatu kegiatan di sana, saya segera memutar otak sejenak, apa yang layak dikunjungi, selain acara yang utama. Maklum ‘objek wisata’ di Singapura ya itu-itu saja, dengan ikon Orchad Road, tujuan wisata belanja yang paling populer di seluruh dunia.

Dalam ‘Wing Tai Holdings Media Trip’, 2-4 September 2010, acara utamanya adalah konferensi pers dan mengunjungi properti terbaru kelompok usaha itu, Belle Vue Residences. Selebihnya acara bebas. Di acara bebas itulah saya – bersama tiga teman jurnalis lain, serta PR officer dari Jakarta, kami merancang acara sendiri. Setidaknya ada dua tempat yang menjadi sasaran kami. Pertama, kawasan Clark Quay yang banyak kafe dan barnya, serta kedua, Marina Bay Sands – ikon baru Negeri Singa tersebut.

Di Marina Bay Sands (MBS), yang dibuka tahun ini, memang layak dikunjungi. Setidaknya kami ingin melihat dari dekat bangunan baru kebanggaan Singapura tersebut. Di lantai paling atas, yang disebut Marina Deck, ada kolam renang, yang panjangnya 150 meter, tiga kali lipat ukuran Olympic, tercatat sebagai kolam renang di alam terbuka terluas di tempat tertinggi di dunia, lantai 57. 

Marina Deck bukan mulai pagi dan tutup hingga jam 10 malam. Kami datang 20 menit sebelum tutup. Wah, apa boleh buat, tidak ada waktu lagi, kami pun berlima masuk dengan membayar 20 dolar Singapura per kepala. Tentu, kami tidak berenang, yang hanya diperuntukkan bagi penghuni hotel tersebut, tapi sekadar menikmati pemandangan Singapura dari atas.

MBS adalah satu dari dua integrated resort di Singapura yang baru dibuka akhir April 2010. MBS berada di area Marina Bay, bergabung bersama ikon-ikon Singapura yang sudah lebih dahulu berdiri seperti Patung Merlion, Esplanade, dan Singapore Flyer. 

MBS merupakan sebuah integrated resort yang memiliki fasilitas terpadu, terintegrasi dengan pusat perbelanjaan, hotel, ruang pertemuan atau eksibisi yang juga megah yang dilengkapi dengan museum artscience, serta berbagai tempat hiburan seperti theater, klub, dan restoran. Salah satu yang paling banyak mendapat perhatian adalah kasino – berarti melengkapi kasino yang terlebih dahulu ada di Sentosa Island. Kasino MBS ini dimiliki dan dikelola oleh Las Vegas Sands Corp, sebuah perusahaan yang memang spesialisasinya di bidang kasino yang juga pemilik Sands Macau Casino di Macau, China.

Yup, Marina Bay Sands ikon baru pengembangan pariwisata di Singapura. Dengan menampilkan berbagai atraksi yang tak ada tandingannya di dunia seperti taman iconic Sands SkyPark yang terletak 200 meter di atas permukaan laut, menikmati pengalaman kuliner yang tak terlupakan dari para chef kelas internasional, sebutlah Justin Quek, Guy Savoy, Tetsuya Takuda, dan banyak lagi, hingga pengalaman berbelanja di The Shoppes Marina Bay Sands, resor terintegrasi ini diperkirakan menarik lebih dari 70.000 pengunjung setiap harinya dan sekitar 18 juta tamu per tahun. It’s the place to meet and greet, to see and be seen! (Burhanuddin Abe)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The latest in TV technology


HOW much time do you spend watching TV every day? If you spend a lot of time in front of the TV screen, whether alone or with your family, then you are not the only one.

Fortunately current TV technology not only enables you to watch programs, but digital TVs enable you to work, play and so forth either by yourself or together with your family. All this is due to the spectacular invention that combines high definition audio visual gadgets and information technology in the form of LCD TV.

With the latest IT audio visual technology incorporated in LCD TV you can enjoy the maximum experience in entertainment and multimedia. One such LCD TV is manufactured by Acer.

LCD TV Acer has a unique physical appearance, which is quite different than other LCD TVs. It has a modern look and has two powerful speakers at the bottom. It also gives an artistic touch to the living room or bedroom as it is slim and compact. Its flat screen is quite trendy as well.

New technological developments have indeed made an impact on televisions. Previously they contained Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) which made them huge gadgets. Later on there was Plasma TV and LCD (Liquid Crystal Diode) which enabled manufacturers to produce slim and flat TV screens instead of bulky ones.

However Plasma TV consumes a lot of electricity as it has a screen cooler system. A few years later came the LCD TV which uses a similar technology to laptop and flat monitor screens. The LCD screen consists of millions of crystals covered by a thin glass and each crystal has a different response to electricity, producing vibrant colors.

Both Plasma and High Definition LCD TV have sharper and more three dimensional pictures, but LCD TV has a higher resolution as it contains more pixels. LCD TV is also superior to plasma TV, because it has no phosphors so it needs less energy while its external light source is also cooler than Plasma TV.

As a result the slimmer and lighter LCD TV, which was introduced in 2007, took over the position of Plasma TV in the market. However, today, next to Plasma and LCD TV you can also enjoy the latest slim and flat screen TV, namely the LED (Light Emitting Diode) TV.

Out of the three high-end televisions, Plasma, LCD and LED, of course LED utilizes the latest technology which is more environmentally friendly. While the LED will not immediately replace LCD, it will enhance it further and make it more sophisticated.

LED’s flat screen is much thinner because it incorporates white LED lights on four corners of the television panel as the main light source instead of the conventional back light that needs more space.

According to product manager of PT Toshiba Visual Media Network Indonesia, Bayu M. K. Sinulingga, previously flat screen televisions used backlighting called CCFLs (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps) while LED consumes less energy and has a slimmer shape.

Each television manufacturer has equipped their LED TVs with various technology for the benefit of their customers. Toshiba LED TVs, for example, said Bayu, produce more natural and sharper pictures with its High Definition technology so even if the signals are weak the pictures remain beautiful. Other manufacturers, such as NEC, Samsung and Panasonic use similar technology and have even incorporated three dimensional technology in their LED TVs.

Using High Definition technology LED TVs have a high resolution, 1.902 x 1080p to produce sharper and clearer pictures. They also have superior time response to produce pictures without shadows as well as a contrast ratio that is ideal for bright and dark areas of pictures. So, principally LED TVs have superior contrast, color and clarity. And, Samsung LED Series 6, 7 and 8 produces all of these perfectly for your viewing satisfaction. Meanwhile NEC claims that its products are far more practical and user-friendly as the features are convenient to use and meet viewer’s requirements.

Samsung also says that its LED Series have been enhanced with a feature called Mega Contrast Ratio that can produce a darker black and a brighter white to make colors more vivid. For more expressive colors Samsung LED Series is also equipped with Wide Color Enhancer Pro and Motion Plus to produce better fast pictures so that you can have a real experience of a program. During a basketball match, for example, you will feel that you are really sitting in the hall and can feel every movement of the players and the ball.

Another superior feature of Samsung LED Series is that they consume less energy, 40 percent less than other flat screen TVs. Using the USB 2.0 cable you can also watch and edit photos, while on Samsung LED 7 and 8 you will find the Internet capable feature with DLNA support and internet port for multimedia entertainment with your family.

Indeed we can never guess how far technology will develop, but clearly its sophistication will be beneficial for consumers and make life much more convenient. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, September 20, 2010

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/09/20/the-latest-tv-technology.html

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Visiting colorful Malaysia


RELATIONS between Malaysia and Indonesia can be bumpy, but despite this Indonesians are still drawn to the neighboring country. Apart from being geographically close, the people of the two countries have many similarities, which makes tourists from Indonesia feel at home in Malaysia.

One should give the thumbs up to the Malaysian government for its seriousness in managing its tourism. It has proudly adopted the slogan “Malaysia Truly Asia” as it has greatly improved its infrastructure to attract foreign tourists. 

Malaysia is very smart in promoting and developing the country’s tourism. Places that used to be unkempt and rundown have been transformed into attractive tourist sites. One example is the old city of Melaka, which presents delicious culinary and ancient buildings.

What is actually interesting about Malaysia? For starters, the scenery, culture, people and delicious food all make a trip memorable. On top of that there are now many budget flights to this country. 

Malaysia is a country of various races, such as Malays, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians. The meeting point of various cultures started in the 15th century when Melaka, which was at the center of the spice trade, became one of the world’s major trading seaports. Its past historical background has made the country a combination of various cultures and the artistic heritage and rich diversity reflect this.

Today, Malaysia, with its population of 27.17 million, is rapidly developing and is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world. Its diverse culture and various ethnic groups not only make Malaysia a paradise of food but also unique due to the numerous cultural festivals. So, it is not surprising that the friendly Malaysians love to party.

Malaysia is geographically located between two degrees and seven degrees to the north of the equator. The South China Sea separates the Malaysian peninsula from Sabah and Sarawak. To its north is Thailand and to the south is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are north of Indonesia and located in Borneo. 

Malaysia consists of 14 states, with 12 of them on the Malaysian peninsula and the remaining two in the north of Borneo. Numerous tourist attractions lie in the country’s scenic mountains and beaches. Another plus point is the wooden houses and skyscrapers that one can find in this country. Beautiful five-star hotels are strategically located in the mountain resort areas and beaches.

Tourist sites in Malaysia are plentiful as this country is indeed much larger than neighboring Singapore. Besides famous Genting Highlands, Malaysia, with an area of 329,758 square kilometers, has more choices for tourists, such as Johor Bahru, Sunway Lagoon, Tioman Island, Kedah, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Langkawi Island, Penang Island, Redang Island, Sabah, Sarawak and Selangor.

One can visit Langkawi to enjoy its natural beauty and panoramic beaches. Langkawi, also called the Jewel of Kedah, consists of 99 small islands — five of which appear at low tide — and is located in the Andaman Sea about 30 kilometers to the northwest of Malaysia. 

The islands are part of Kedah state, which is close to the Thai border. Langkawi Island is the largest and only populated island with about 45,000 people, while close to it is Tuba Island. The capital of Langkawi, a duty free island, is Kuah. On Langkawi, one can enjoy beautiful beaches, water sports, spa treatments and other interesting spots of natural beauty.

If you have a lively city in mind then Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is highly recommended. Some of the attractive tourist sites in the city are Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC, which is Malaysia’s icon just like Singapore’s Merlion statue or Jakarta’s Monas. Then there is Petaling Street, which is located in Chinatown and is similar to Singapore’s Chinatown. You can next visit Bukit Bintang Walk in Kuala Lumpur’s golden triangle, which is a paradise for shopaholics. There is also Central Market, which was previously a traditional market but has been turned into an attractive recreation place where you can get snacks that are specifically and uniquely Malaysian.

Many Indonesian shoppers make it a rule to visit Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur. It is close to the monorail and has easy access as many buses pass in front of KL Plaza. You can reach the following seven malls on foot: Pavilion, Lot 10, Sungai Wang Plaza, Bukit Bintang Plaza, Berjaya Times Square, KLCC and Low Yat Plaza. You can also find hotels with affordable room rates here, starting from Rp 200,000 per night.

Next to visiting the Petronas Twin Towers, many tourists make time to go to Genting Highland or Sunway Lagoon, which is only about 15 minutes by taxi from Kuala Lumpur.

Transportation in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia in general, is quite convenient with many modes available, such as airplanes, trains and buses. All kinds of accommodations are also available, from five-star hotels to backpacker lodgings.

Traveling from other countries to Malaysia, including by car from Singapore, is also convenient and there are plenty of scheduled transportation to the country’s tourism sites. Of course, during peak seasons like New Year’s, Idul Fitri and Chinese New Year it is advisable to book tickets well in advance. Bon voyage! (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, August 30, 2010