Web In Travel Indonesia 2013 – A Great Experience

So last Wednesday, March 27th 2013, there was an event held by Web In Travel and its local partner in Indonesia, Kibar Kreasi. Web In Travel (WIT) itself is an Asian Pacific community who regularly hold a worldwide conference in Singapore. For the first time, this year WIT came to Indonesia and held a little conference plus startup competition. More info about WIT can be read at their site http://www.webintravel.com/

Few days before the event, we only got a complimentary ticket for the event, since our submission was rejected says the notification email I received. But one night before the event, Leonard from Kibar Kreasi called me and said that there was a misunderstanding and Tripboard should have been one of the finalists. He asked me to send him a presentation that night, which I have not prepared. In the end, after 3-4 hours, I barely made the presentation and sent it to him. By the way, Tripboard is one of Paris Van Java team’s products which was originally created for Startup Asia Bandung Hackathon (Yeah, we won some of the challenges). You can read more about it at http://startupasia.techinasia.com/bandung2012/startup-asia-bandung-hackathon-the-winners/

The event was held at Pullman Hotel, Jakarta, and only a small numbers of people came, mostly foreigners, which gives an exclusive aura (the ticket was actually quite pricey, 2.5 – 3.5 millions IDR). There were several discussion panels and presentations. The first panel was consisted of Amit SaberwalChief Business Officer of MakeMyTrip; Peter LeeSenior Director of Market Management Asia Pacific of Expedia; Timothy HughesVice President Marketing of Agoda; and Venkat ChandramoleshwarBusiness Development Manager-APAC of Google. The discussion was about the general overview of online travel space.

The second panel was about the condition in Indonesian. The panelist were Marc SteinmeyerPresident Director & Founder of TAUZIA Hotel Management; Adi SatriaRegional Director of Sales, Marketing & Distribution of Accor; Brata RaflyCommercial Director of Mandala; and Prih HarwadiAVP Product Development, Cards Business Division of PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero)Tbk. This discussion gave us insight about the condition of travel industry in Indonesia and customer behaviors regarding the credit cards usage for tourism. One thing to note is that the market for online travel in Indonesia was still in infancy stage, and only about to take off right now.

Afterwards, Henky PrihatnaHead of Travel of Google Indonesia presented about the digital habits of Indonesian customers. He explained that, in his version, there is five stages of travels: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing, and sharing. He shared lots of numbers, like percentage of media used for planning, how many Indonesian shares on social media (8 of 10 Indonesians share their trip on social media), etc. It is too bad I couldn’t quite get them. He also told that over one billions query is searched per month by Indonesian people using Google.

Next panel was about the trends how Indonesian searching, planning, and booking travel. The panelists were Eric TjetjepCEO of Eztravel.co.id; Yusuf IjsseldijkCEO & Managing Director of Go Indonesia; William NewleyCEO of Rajakamar International Group/ Rajakamar.com; and Graham HillsManaging Director of Wego Indonesia. It was followed with a conversation with Andy Zain, Founder of Mobile Monday and Director of Founder Institute about startup scene and overview in digital opportunities in Indonesia. Since I decided to visit my friend, Aqsath, who was hospitalized the night before because of scarlet fever, I missed these sessions.

When I returned, there was a presentation from Kei ShibataCEO of Venture Republic, Japan, about the impact of mobile. Kei, who owns meta search engines hotel.jp and travel.jp, said that now more that 30% of the traffic comes from mobile devices. It was then followed by a presentation from Gaery UndarsaCo-founder & Managing Director of Tiket.com, who talks about his company and how mobile traffic is getting higher but the actual transactions are still done in desktops. 

Next panel was discussed by Morris SimCEO & Co-founder of Circos Brand Karma and Aaron Hung, Director of Partnerships, APAC of TripAdvisor. They talked about digital marketing to grow hotel business. One of the methods is using TripAdvisor who can provide reviews for the hotel’s sites. Later, I talked with Circos General Manager, Ivan Lam, who explained that Circos is providing their hotels clients social media analysis along with strategies. Besides hotels, airplanes companies like AirAsia is supported by them.

Next panel was about using social media and community to shape travel. The panelists were Marischka Prudence, Travel Blogger; Kristupa Saragih, fotografer.net; Dennis Adishwara, Layaria; Amalla Vesta, Liburan Lokal. It was then followed by a panel about Activities and Rentals opportunities in travel. The panelists were Ken Frohling, Vice President, Business Development of Viator andTurochas Fuad, CEO, Travelmob. Viator is one of the market leader in activity space, while Travelmob is a Singapore startup which focus on short-term rentals like AirBnB. Turochas or called T, is actually an Indonesian who then studied at Singapore.

Before the startup pitch, there was a panels about distribution drivers discussed by Chris GribbleVice President & General Manager, APAC & ME Hospitality Solutions of INFOR; Agnes YH TanRegional Director, Direct Sales & Loyalty of Accor Asia; Roland JeggeSatria Pinandhita, Director of Business Development, South-east Asia of Sabre Hospitality Solutions,  followed by a presentation by Fritz Demopoulos, CEO of Queen’s Road Capital.

The last event is The WIT Indonesia Start-Up Pitch where six startups presented their ideas to the judges. Panel of judges is consisted of Andy Zain, Director of Founder Institute; Brett Henry, Vice President Commercial of Abacus International; Fritz Demopoulos, CEO of Queen’s Road Capital; Morris Sim, CEO of Circos Brand Karma; Kei Shibata, CEO of Venture Republic, Japan; Timothy Hughes, Vice President Marketing of Agoda; and Turochas Fuad, CEO of Travelmob. Competing with us were: 5mile, Explorind, Ikut-ikut, SatuLagi, and Ulin Ulin. 

In the end, the winner was LagiSatu.com which is a Malaysian startup who focuses on meta search engine, specifically with Halal filters. You can read more about it at http://www.webintravel.com/news/halal-metasearch-lagisatu-wins-wit-indonesias-startup-pitch_3669

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Trip to Bangkok-Pattaya (2)

(continued from Part 1)

So we woke up in the morning, after only 3-4 hours sleep. We took a bath then strolled down the block near our hostel to grab something to eat. Aloy and Ical bought omelette rice and chicken strips for only 35 THB, while me and Harbag bought sandwiches for only 18 THB. I dunno what was inside, looked like nuggets and eggs, but I wasn’t very sure. I know pork when I see it, and in Bangkok almost every meat is made of pork so I was avoiding meat. I also bought 4 pieces of soft cakes for 48 THB.

Then we went to Surasak BTS and headed to National Stadium BTS, the westernmost BTS, to go to Wat Po. FYI Wat Po, Wat Phra Kaew, Grand Palace, and Wat Arun are located very near to each other. Wat Arun is located across the river (Chao Phraya river) of Grand Palace, and Wat Po and Wat Phra Kaew is just north of Grand Palace. After we got off the BTS, we took a taxi to Wat Po. Funny enough, all taxi drivers that we stopped, didn’t know the name Grand Palace, or they just can’t speak English very well. But our best bet was they have different name for Grand Palace in Thai, so when we mentioned Wat Po, they knew it immediately.

So we went to Wat Po temple. The entrance fee was 100 THB. There were some interesting pagodas and Buddha statues in there. Here’s me and the Reclining Buddha. It was so enormous, I couldn’t imagine how they could make it.

Reclining Buddha

There were also emerald buddha status, but it was forbidden to take photos. Here’s more Buddha statue:

I even did a snailing pose combined with Ical’s planking pose LOL

From Wat Po, we went to Grand Palace which was just across the street. There were lot of guys who said that the place was still closed and opened at 1PM (it was only 11AM), but thanks to Aloy who read it beforehand that there were a lot of scams that say Grand Palace is closed and offer to give you a tour to other nearby temples. When we reached the gates, it was actually written there that it opens at 8 AM 😀
Lots of people wouldn’t recognized that it’s actually open because the only gate for public entrance is the northern gate and since the area is so big, most people would’ve missed that.

So then we headed out to Grand Palace. The entrance fee was rather expensive which was 400 THB and it’s only charged to foreign tourists. Inside there were temples and museums.

There were also a western-style building and a park in the upper-right of the area.

After that we got out from there and went to nearby market to find something to eat. I ate a fried fish there. What’s interesting was that fish dishes there are usually had the bone taken out before they were cooked, unlike in Indonesia where you still find the bone in the middle of the fish.

Once we had filled our stomach, we headed to Siam Paragon mall, the biggest mall in Bangkok. It sure was impressive, and you know what’s more impressive? It’s the girls! LOL There were lots of attractive and cute girls in there. Well, when I said cute, I was referring to Chinese girls. As you may know, Thai people is consisted of Chinese-descendants people, local (Malay) people, and Western-local descendants people. And mostly the attractive one are the Chinese-and western descendants. Since one of my companions, I won’t mention it 😀 , is a leg-fetish, he went in awe there looking at those girl legs LOL.

FYI Siam mall is actually consisted of 3 different malls: Paragon, Center, and Discovery. Paragon is the biggest and the most exclusive.

After that, we went back to the hostel to clean up. Since I had this backache, I took a bath and a nap, while the other headed out to get a foot massage. Around 8PM we rejoined and went to China Town near Pahurat. Bangkok China Town is known for it’s seafood. We were having difficulties finding a taxi to get there since most of them didn’t want to go there since it’s jammed, so we had to get a Tuk Tuk.

Upon reaching China Town, we realized why the taxi drivers wouldn’t want to take us there. It was crowded and there was a festival in the streets. Food stands everywhere, from meals, drinks, snacks, even fruits. We just picked a random stands and ordered our meals. We ordered 3 table dishes and they were great! What’s even better was, it only cost us 450 THB (around 135k IDR).

PS: Sorry, we had eaten some part before I took the photographs XD

Once we finished the main course, we turned our attention to the Durian stand. We had a sticky-rice Durian and sticky-rice Mangoes.


The good thing about those durians is that they’re not as stink as Indonesian durians which have strong fragrant. The durian felt a bit weak, maybe because it’s not durian season, but the mangoes tasted fantastic. They were just about to get ripe and they were incredibly juicy. Yes juicy, it’s not oranges or watermelons, it’s mangoes!

Well, after we had finished the dinner, we took a Tuk Tuk to Hua Lamphong Station to catch a MRT, the subway. We took off at [Hidden]

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About 1:30AM we reached our hostel, and that concludes the second day.

(Continue to Part 3)

Trip to Bangkok-Pattaya (1)

(continued)

Few days before departure, we got a bad news. Puja couldn’t make it due to his job, part-time job actually.
But you know, developer world we’re going through are tough. You’ll never know when there’s an important deployment rescheduled 😛

So Thursday noon, the four of us gathered in Soekarno-Hatta airport. We waited on the executive lounge in Terminal 3, thanks to Ical and his corporate Accenture that provided the facilitiy for only 1 IDR using Amex (LOL). While we were waiting, we played Monopoly deals and had meals.

departure

Then, we boarded to the plane and took off. The flight took about 3 hours, and in 8:30 pm we have landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

inside Suvarnabhumi Terminal

After immigration checks, we headed to the city via Airport Rail Link to reach the nearest Bangkok BTS Sky Train. FYI Bangkok has 4 mass transportation: ARL, BTS, BRT, MRT. Both ARL and BTS are elevated-rail trains, BRT is a busway, and MRT is a subway.

We took the Phaya Thai Express in ARL, to get to Phaya Thai where we changed to BTS. The fee for Phaya Thai Express was 90 THB (around 27k IDR) and the fee to get to Surasak BTS from Phaya Thai BTS was 30 THB (around 9k IDR). We headed to Surasak because our hostel, Saphaipae Hostel, is near there.

After reaching Saphaipae, we paid the rooms for 2 nights for 720 THB (around 216k IDR). So cheap right? You think it will be bad-facilitated hostel? Well, think again after you see these:

LobbyDorm RoomShared BathroomLaundry

Later, we went to Pat Pong district where we tried to find something to eat. There’s a night market and some sexy clubs in Pat Pong, but we weren’t interested since we’re so starving. Instead we had dinner in one of the street stands which sold grilled fishes for 60 THB. There were also coconut jellies for snacks, too bad I hadn’t taken photographs. The lady who owns the stand was very kind. We had some conversations while we had the meal. She even carved the fishes and feed Ical a few times 😀 Perhaps she took a liking to him haha 😀

After we had dinner, we took a Tuk Tuk, a local cab, to head to our hostel. Those Tuk Tuk drivers surely like to speed though, since we had to watch ourselves not to be thrown off the cab LOL 😀
Tuk Tuk

Well, that’s concluded our first day.

(Continue to Part 2)

Trip to Bangkok-Pattaya (Pre)

Finally, after 6-months planning, we’re going to Bangkok!
Actually it was my and Puja’s idea at first, after we watched Laddaland and impulsively want to meet Punpun and Natasha LOL 😀
In case you don’t know Punpun and Natasha, they’re Thai actresses.
Punpun (Suthatta Udomsilp) played in Laddaland, and she’s so cute that I wanna meet her (sorry I had cute girls fanatic syndrome).
The latter, Natasha Nauljam, is the one Puja wanted to meet. She played in Suckseed and she’s incredibly stunning (I know how you feel, Ja :D)

From there we gathered travel companions, channels, info, until we bought plane tickets. In the end, only 5 people (me, Puja, Aloy, Harbag, and Ical) decided to buy the tickets. Even early planner like Titz and Camok eventually decided not to buy due to other concerns. So we bought the tickets, we reserved the hotels via agoda.com and planned the itinerary using tripadvisor.com. For those who don’t know Agoda.com, it’s an online worldwide hotel reservation site. It has great discounts and vast database. Meanwhile TripAdvisor.com is a travel site where you can gather information on places, what-to-dos, etc.

So we bought AirAsia tickets for Bangkok-Jakarta and vice versa and reserved accommodation in Bangkok and Pattaya. And the date is Jan 19-22 2012.

(Continue to Part 1)