Sunday, August 6, 2017

Europe 1/17 - Netherlands : Explore Amsterdam City Center, I Amsterdam, Red Light District

"Save more money and travel outside Asia!"
It's my mission long time ago and I did it finally, keep dreaming and make it happened :)

This was my first long-haul flight and I will go solo traveling this time so bit nervous when thinking about what will I do to keep myself busy, of course I will try to sleep during this flight. If you mised it I also made a blog post about things to do before doing this Europe Trip for first timer. Anyway, my travel diaries to Europe, 14 June - 2 July 2017 (19D/18N) officially begin, enjoy! 

Day 1 - Wednesday, 14 June 2017
I went to office carrying my trolley bag because as usual I will go directly to airport from work. To be honest, I can't wait for this trip on that day and super excited for this trip yet bit nervous. I got stomache before leaving to the airport so I asked the Taxi driver to stop by pharmacy to get some medicines lol xDD

Once I arrived in the Soekarno Hatta International Airport, the stomache was gone. I bought KLM ticket separately from my Europe ticket by Etihad, and the next flight would be at 2 AM in the morning from Kuala Lumpur. I told the officer when I checked in that I will have next flight to Amsterdam via Abu Dhabi at 2 AM and is it possible to go out from immigration, take my luggage and check in again for my next flight. Because they can't help to make flight connected since they are different group. The officer was really nice because he let me to bring my bag into cabin even though my backpack was quite heavy like 10 kgs in total. My flight to Kuala Lumpur from CGK was at 6.45 PM.
Dinner at Old Town Coffee, CGK
It was my first time flying with KLM, the flight seats are 2-4-2, it was decent  2 hours flight and I enjoyed it. I was ready with my earplugs too this time, just in case, bit trauma since my last flight to Singapore. I was too busy with the monitor in front of me, got free snacks and drinks over and over again.

When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 10 PM, apparently the immigration was in the different Terminal so you need to take shuttle train to go to immigration and later on you will come back to this Terminal, it was pretty crowded in Kuala Lumpur but still okay and thankfully I still have plenty of time like 4 hours and be grateful since I don't need to wait for my baggage because I carried ny trolley bag into the cabin.
inside KLM :)
take shuttle train to immigration clearance
I brought this 2 at beginning

Day 2 - Thursday, 15 June 2017
I was sleepy already since my next flight to Abu Dhabi is at 2 AM. When I go to immigration, the officer said "Ohh you just came today and also leave today.." and I just smiled to the officer "Yess..right" After immigration and need to go back to previous terminal for Etihad, waiting there and boarding. The airplane similar with KLM, they already provided blanket, pillow, headphones and small package (consist of eye-mask, socks and earplugs where I realized quite late since I didn't open directly what's inside this small package).

This first flight will take about 6.5 hours to Abu Dhabi. The flight seats are 2-4-2 and on my rows were full on that night. When the place took off already, I want to bend the seat but it's not working so I told the stewardess and apparently it's broken so she said "You can just move because right now there are so many empty seats that you can choose on the back" so I moved and yeayy.. I got a 4 rows that empty so I can sleep comfortable and laying down there :)

I had nice sleep on the plane, got free meals where I regret with what I choose back then since I was on diet mode when I booked this flight -_-. Free Meals, Snack and Unlimited Drinks, I guess you can also have Wine if you want. I watched some movies, series and do everything I can when I awake lol xDD First 2 hours was always feels sooo long.
inside Etihad Airways :D
Arrived in early morning at Abu Dhabi on 5.30 AM, and my next flight to Amsterdam will be at 9.15 AM. Abu Dhabi International Airport was really nice :) Especially I love the part of their benches because they have this nice bench on boarding area and you can have additional sleep on that comfortable bench. I also bought magnet fridge of Abu Dhabi there for souvenir (15 AED). No need to exchange your money since they accept Credit Card for payment. Boarding and this time flight will took about 6.5 hours to Amsterdam. Slept again during the flight and busy with monitor in front me, watching, gaming, listening music completed by meals, snacks and drinks over and over again, nice flight!
at Abu Dhabi International Airport
what a comfort bench to sleep while waiting your flight at Abu Dhabi
Finally I arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and my first impression that I still remember from that airport was their Immigration was so different from all immigration that I ever got. The officer mostly still young, good looking and friendly. I felt very welcome and calm at that time, the officer only roughly asking what's my plan and I am glad to telling them my plan haha I am telling him that I am going start from here then Paris, Switzerland and back from Italy. It's so quick and he just stamped my passport.
at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

Welcome to Amsterdam and The Most Important, FINALLY EUROPE!! :D

I tried looking for simcard because initially I want to buy simcard while in Europe, I went to a store at the airport and asked how much, it's Lebara, 29 EUR and only got 1 GB, whuat?! no way I would buy it, too expensive. Finally I depend my life in Europe with Free Wifi haha.

It's so different ambience when I arrive in Schiphol Airport because mostly Dutch people is so tall, they have long legs and somehow when crowded it blocked my sight haha. I bought my NS Train from the locket since if you want to buy on their vending machine, you will need their Transportion Card or if you want to buy with CC, you will get additional charge so just go to the Locket and buy your ticket there.

I bought my NS Train (3.8 EUR) to Amsterdam Zuid and Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket 1 Day (18.5 EUR) for tomorrow because I plan to go to Zaanse Schans and Volendam. From there just ask them which platform and just go downstairs to catch the train. Schiphol Airport is really nice, they also have shopping center so you wouldn't bored waiting there.

It's just 1 station away from the Airport with NS Train and only took around 10-15 minutes journey, from there I took Metro to Uilenstede Station, I bought GVB 24 hours (7.5 EUR). I stayed with my old friend from CS, we met in 2011 and also had trip together to Tidung Island, Jakarta back then. I told her my plan to Amsterdam so perhaps we can meet up and ended up staying with her, excited and so grateful!
Buy your train ticket there, once you get out from arrival hall just go to the left
NS Train to Amsterdam Zuid
inisde NS Train
I bought my GVB 24 hours there at Metro Zuid Station
inside the Metro
She picked me up on station and her neighborhood was very nice. Ohh I must telling you! I am falling in love with Amsterdam since their immigration and feel the weather especially their clean air made me loving it more and more!

How lucky I am because I visited Europe during Summer because it makes day longer and it's 7 PM but still very bright, we went together to City Center so we took tram to Amsterdam, Museumplein. It's super nice weather and I saw lot of people laying down the grass and enjoying picnic. From the tram station, we walked around, passing by Van Gogh Museum and we are heading to I Amsterdam Sign which is very crowded there, and right on the back is Rijkmuseum, I plan to go to Rijkmuseum on the next day.
The Tram to Museumplein
such a nice weather to have picnic, anyway it's 7 PM!
passing by Van Gough Museum
I amsterdam Sign and always crowded
Rijkmuseum on the back of I amsterdam Sign
another side of Rijkmuseum
It was very nice to stroll around the city because everything are walking distance and all the buildings look very nice and it looks like fake because it's too good to be true haha xDD. Each color of buildings look blending each other, brown - dark brown - dark color, etc. From Rijkmuseum we walked into Vondelpark, one of the famous park in Amsterdam, big park and lot of people having picnic there. 

And in Amsterdam, yes, you will see Canals like everywhere and so pretty. I wonder when I read some blogs about Amsterdam, wondered why those people didn't inform which Canals or spot for their pictures and that was because apparently you will find a lot there. Every alley in the center will have canals in between over and over again.

Anyway you should be careful with the Bikes there, Amsterdam are full with Bikes, Canals and Museums :) They ride the bikes super fast, sometimes I still got wrong when walking because I am very often step on their lines since I didn't realize, reddish color is for Bike lane by the way. They have so many lanes for one way : pedestrian, bikes, tram and cars (4 lanes) and if 2 ways then they will divided into 8 lanes, wow!
Canals on the back side of Rijkmuseum
another Canals
Vondel Park across the side
Going insde Vondel Park
Canals again
and Canals again! :D
Souvenirs Store around Dam Square
Exploring Dam Square and surroundings also spotted Royal Palace Amsterdam, The New Church, Madame Tussauds. Walking into Shopping Center streets and you may find H&M like everywhere in Holland, also they have good price and cheaper from Indonesia, amazing and love to shopping there! But I am good to hold myself from shopping because Amsterdam was just my first destination and I still have long way to go. And don't forget to stop by to Primark, it's way cheaper than H&M and I also loveeee it, Primark located not far from the Amsterdam Central Station.

Walking to Amsterdam Central Station and that station building was super niceee..also the surrounding also looks very beautiful especially when the sun illuminating those buildings, canals etc. This Central Station looks unique because from the front you can feel old style building feelings and on their back will turn out into modern style, cool! We were heading to the back of the building, sitting there for a while to enjoy the breeze and finally time to find dinner.
Madame Tussaud
Do you see the colors there! they are blending each other
Amsterdam Central Station!

Crossing the river with Free Ferry that will took about 5 minutes which is totally cool! I got to try another public transportation in Amsterdam :) Metro, Tram and now Ferry. We went to this restaurant called THT for dinner and still feel weird to have dinner while the sky was still so bright, it's 9.30 PM and still so bright until Sun was set at 11 PM. It got colder at night but luckily I am prepared with my jacket. Had a nice dinner there, anyway they serve water for free :) Apparently this restaurant already located at North Holland so I am happy that I feel like already explore lot of things in this short time in just my Day 1 in Amsterdam.
cross the rive with that Ferry and free!
bikes bikes bikes :)
Do you want to play swing on the top? :D
THT Restaurant :)
the Nachos is sooo big but delicious!

Had a nice dinner there and thank you so much Maartje for your treats! (if you read this :p) I forgot what's the name of food that we ate, I only know Nachos ^^; but it was good.

From there, we still have a place that we want to visit and it's must visit if you go to Holland. Red Light District or De Wallen, it's a very unique experiences that you have to see while in Holland. Basically it's like Windows Prostitution so there were girls where each of them standing behind red-lit glass doors, dressed in fancy and sexy way to attract those guys who passing the way. If there is a guy being attracted to one of them, knock their doors and do negotiate about price and everything. It's legal there and they also paying taxes for both Prostitutes and Brothels. In this Red Light District, I found everything is so manageable so you don't need to feel not safe or scared, anyway you're not allow to take picture there. It's just such an unique experience for me to come to Red Light District.
Red Light District
the restaurant looks like a castle in Harry Potter movie :p
After strolling around the Red Light Districts we decided to go home because it's already late at night, already passed midnight. I do enjoy Amsterdam and spare like 3 days in here was a good decision for me, should take longer but for this first time to Europe I think I am on good track. But for sure I will come back so I can do shopping more and explore more haha.

Thank you for reading my blog and keep reading because this is still a beginning of my Europe Travel Diaries hoho :)
me and Maartje, finally met after 6 years! :)

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