Sunday, June 25, 2017

All-Girls Weekend Trip to Batam, Indonesia

Everyone knows the purpose of going on a holiday right? It helps you relax, unwind and recharge those drained out batteries. Now what about the increasing global trend of girls-only trips? Trips taken with your girlfriends/BFFs/gal pals/tribe....whatever you want to call it. This one is (unsurprisingly) being backed by medical science as beneficial for a woman's mental, emotional and physical well-being. A complete no-brainer if you ask me! 

Being away from the humdrum of daily life, be it work, managing a household, chasing after the kids or doing routine chores, taking a holiday with girlfriends can bring some much-needed respite and make the spirits soar. Taking a holiday with BFFs is all about celebrating life – all the adventures past and all the adventures to come. Not to mention, with girlfriends, you have plenty of time and opportunity to do all the things you want which the menfolk may not necessarily be interested in. It may sound like stereotyping but take a couple of instances - spending the day at the spa, window shopping and scouting for good deals, using the camera like a machine gun, upping your insta game or taking funny videos on boomerang (any other Instagram addicts here?), giggling at the silliest of things, watching a romcom late into the night or going for a dip in the pool is something a guy may not enjoy. On your women-only holiday, you can do all the things that you want to guilt and judgement-free!

Are you sold on it yet ladies? 

Going on an all-girls trip was kind of on my bucket list so it was bound to happen. I might even make it an annual "thing" now! 😁  I'll have to admit, it wasn't easy zeroing on the date since six full-time working professionals (each leading a busy life) with limited holiday leave aren't likely to be available at the exact same time. Being the only mom in my group of friends, the thought of ducking out on my family (even if it was just for a weekend), made me feel bad. But in the end, I convinced myself that I deserved a break. I knew I would come back relaxed and jaunty and everyone knows that a happy mom makes a happy home! So I pushed the guilt aside and prepared to leave the husband and children to fend for themselves. Wait....who am I kidding? It took several days of meticulous planning, advance grocery shopping, deciding the menu for the weekend, giving specific recipe instructions to my domestic helper and scheduling kids activities before I was ready to head out. And despite everything my heart did feel heavy as I kissed the little ones goodbye. Oh's all part of the motherhood package! 

Located only 20km from Singapore and 25km from Johor in Malaysia, Batam in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago is a popular weekend getaway from the two neighbouring countries. Apart from its close proximity to Singapore, this small island is frequented by visitors because of its quiet beaches, smattering of family-friendly resorts, golf courses, discounted shopping and vibrant nightlife.

Ferries from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal serve Nongsapura in Batam. The journey takes only 35-minutes so even if you have a tendency to get sea-sick, (🙋 ) the journey will be over before you know it!

From the ferry terminal it was a short 10 minute car drive to the resort we had chosen for our stay.

Set amid a large expanse of beautiful green landscaping in a tranquil tropical village, Turi Beach Resort is an idyllic retreat in the tropical Riau Islands amidst unspoilt beauty and sandy beaches. The resort is located between Nongsa Point Marina and Nongsa Village.

It features modern-minimalist accommodation in its two wings - the Tirta and Riani Wing. 

We were given two connecting rooms in the Riani Wing and one in the Tirta Wing. The newly rejuvenated Riani Wing encompasses a collection of contemporary wooden design timber cottages with private balcony and daybed scattered across a generous parcel of natural landscape that descends down to meet the sea. The rooms in this part of the resort are blessed with inspiring views of the ocean and tropical greenery that cocoons the entire resort. Meandering pathways connect each different tier and provide easy access to the beach. 

The rooms at the Tirta Wing are designed in a similar manner but appear dated and are in need of some sprucing up. Contrary to what I was told at the reception, the views from the balcony aren't as impressive either.

The package we had taken included a complimentary full body massage so after checking in, that is what we first did. Inside the dimly lit, tastefully done spa where everyone spoke in soft hushed tones, we were shown to a private room where the massage was due to begin. Lying face down while soothing music played in a background and a pair of warm and gentle hands of the masseuse applied the right amount of pressure that alleviated all aches and pains (some I didn't even know existed!), I felt like a brand new woman 😄  A cup of comforting ginger tea later, I was ready to slay the day!

The day passed by in a flurry of activities - checking out our rooms and then the massive resort, a saunter down to the beach and jetty, buffet lunch, a short nap, an outdoor photo taking session, an evening stroll to Nongsa Point Marina, a leisurely dinner, late night swimming and then some tv viewing. I had the luxury of going to bed earlier than I normally do and fell into a blissful slumber as soon as my head hit the pillow. 

Accustomed to waking up early, the next morning I was up before 6am and couldn't go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. Noticing the crimson streaks darting across the sky, through the thinly veiled curtains, I felt an urge to walk down to the beach in the hopes of catching the sunrise. It turned out to be a cloudy day so I was out of luck but it was still a picturesque scene that was accentuated by the quiet stillness all around. I spent almost an hour there by myself there and was glad that I had even managed to sneak in some "me-time" on my girls-only trip! 

After a hearty breakfast (the spirit of Jughead gets into me during buffet breakfasts!), we took a bus to the Mega Mall Batam Centre. You can spend several hours at this mall as there are plenty of stores to interest you with their wares, a hypermart selling everything imaginable including local sweets and confectionary, plenty of eateries, beverage kiosks, massage services, arcade and cinema. Don't expect the prices to be super cheap though. I did see clothes on sale that were at throwaway prices but most else of what I saw were comparable to Singapore. I came back with the mandatory kueh lapis for the husband coz he likes it and it also happened to be father's day (and he was being a dear by taking care of our kids 😊 ). Me and my friends had some bubble tea and then walked over to the famous A&W fast food chain for their root beer float, curly fries and packed some nibbles to take back to the resort. 

We reached Singapore late Sunday evening and I was delighted to be reunited with my girls (who turns out had quite a ball when I wasn't around!). They proceeded to give me full details of what they had been doing over the course of the weekend and having had seen some of the pictures I had shared remarked that the beach in my "office" (that is where they had been told I had gone) was "so nice" 😂

All that guilt was for nothing after all! 

This was a long overdue girlfriend getaway of pampering and togetherness. I got a chance to get up to speed on all my friends lives, enjoy all three meals of the day in peace, enjoy a relaxing massage, watch programs on tv that weren't associated with Boomerang or Cartoon Network, take a dip in the pool whenever I felt like it, go shopping without having to anxiously check my watch every now and then and sleep eight hours straight......did I come back relaxed and rejuvenated? Hell yeah! 

Even if all is right with your world, holidaying with girlfriends is energizing and empowering. You can have fun, get to know each other better and make plenty of memories while you are at it. So if you haven't done it yet, you absolutely should! 


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