Day 3 of our Pekanbaru holiday has to be my favorite. 😀 We started off the day with a visit to Masjid An Nur or the Grand Mosque in Pekanbaru. You may not be able to tell from the picture but the sky was overcast that day and there was a fine drizzle. The Grab driver just randomly picked a spot to let us alight and we walked towards this fountain (?) area that I’ve seen in many pictures online. Here, there were already 5 people (2 ladies and 3 men) getting ready to take some pictures here. I saw the ladies looking in our direction so I figured they were thinking of asking us for help to take their group picture. So, much to their delight, I volunteered and snapped a few pictures for them. One lady returned the favor and helped us take a Polaroid shot that I truly love (but shall not share here). 😀 The Grab fare from Fox Harris Hotel to Masjid An Nur was just 21,000rp. So I didn’t regret coming here just for a photo and then leaving. We did not explore the mosque as (1) I’m not sure if they welcome tourists and (2) While I was covered from head to toe, my darling was wearing bermudas and sandals.
And then we decided to be gungho about exploring the vicinity and walk in the direction of Mal Pekanbaru as we’d spotted it during the Grab ride to the mosque. And just as we were going past the shopfront of a boutique, some people from inside the shop chased this monitor lizard (?) out of the shop… and right at us. I freaked out and hopped out of the way. The creature was thrashing about wildly. And I’m just glad it did not launch itself at me or chase me out onto the road! XD
The staff quickly shut the door as the lizard just thrashed about wildly outside, desperately trying to get back in. I’m not sure why. Is its mate in there or what?
To calm our nerves a little, we stepped into the Vanhollano bakery. On the ground floor, they sell pastries and on the second level is their cafe where you can order mains and/or drinks.
There was a Buy-5-Get-1-Free promo… so we ended up with 6 buns:
It cost us a total of 57,000rp, so it’s not exactly cheap – probably similar in price to many bakeries in Singapore. Of all the buns, I found that the white one (the cheapest too) was the best – it’s soft, fluffy and full of chocolatey goodness within.
At the cafe upstairs, we ordered coffee and an iced lime beverage. Good place to chill and eat some buns too.
We found that Mal Pekanbaru reminded us of Sim Lim Square in Singapore. For instance, the whole of level two seems to be made up of small shops selling handphones.
Outside, we spotted this cute kiosk called Jelly Potter:
There is another shopping centre called Senapelan Plaza right next to Mal Pekanbaru but I do not recommend you visit unless you don’t mind being greeted by cigarette smoke the minute you enter the Plaza. Even the arcade there is full of smoke. This is one thing I love about Singapore: no smoking in malls. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it is sometimes inevitable that you’ll be in a mall and then encounter this annoying cloud of cigarette smoke that you can barely escape as the air-conditioning and closed doors keeps it in.
So we went back to Mal Pekanbaru for lunch as we had found that there is this attractive eatery called Kedai Oma on level 3. The place was PACKED when we returned at about 1230pm. Best to head here early for lunch as it’s popular though situated at the topmost level. <- Clear indicator that the food is very good here.
I just keep ordering avocado juice wherever I go because it is so much cheaper in Indonesia:
As my darling was feeling under the weather, it was porridge for him and fried noodles with seafood for me. 😀
It’s truly better than your average fried kway teow. And despite my eating the noodles first then tasting the porridge (which I had expected would taste bland), I found that the porridge was pretty good too! Make sure you visit Kedai Oma when you head to Mal Pekanbaru. You won’t regret it. 😉
After the meal, we felt like heading back to the hotel to check out the Infinity Pool which we went to on Day One but found a large group of guests there (so we did not have a swim). Unfortunately, TPG failed me in this mall and I could not get a signal so I could not book a Grab ride. We went into Grand Jatra Hotel next door and asked for their wifi password so we could book Grab. A lady called Ayu was so helpful – took my phone and did the necessary. Our Grab car came within mere minutes. 🙂
*Grand Jatra Hotel is right next to Mal Pekanbaru. Great place to stay, I’d guess!
That’s one thing to love about Indonesians. They aren’t stingy with their wifi connections. I suspect staff in SG hotels would simply say their wifi is for hotel guests only. Come on! I might just stay at Grand Jatra Hotel next time! Or… I’ll blog about it and recommend that people stay there! 😀
Traveling really makes you learn give-and-take. This country is generous with wifi and it also has smokers smoking within malls. Just have to accept it if you are traveling here.
As an aside, we saw a lot of stray cats but I have yet to see a pretty or well-fed stray in Pekanbaru. In Singapore, it is not uncommon to see community cats which look like someone takes good care of them. In Pekanbaru, cats roam the streets even during the daytime and they all look so skinny.
Back at Fox Harris Hotel, we headed to the Infinity Pool at level 15 and we got lucky! No one else was using the pool. We had the whole place to ourselves.
And after a reinvigorating swim, we made our way to Harmoni Massage, a foot reflexology place we often spotted while taking Grab rides.
It was a short walk from our hotel to Harmoni for the foot reflexology session – 60mins foot massage for me and 90mins foot & back massage for him. They gave us baggy shorts to change into. And we also had TV screens positioned near the ceiling across from us to keep us entertained in the Couples room. You can choose to have either a male or female massage you. I picked a lady, of course, and he went with a guy. However, that skinny young man had quite a lot of strength so my darling instantly regretted his choice.
We tipped them both and I must say I’m not sure if I gave enough. Mine was a 75,000rp foot massage and I think I gave the lady a 20,000rp tip. Is that sufficient? I don’t know. I found her a little distracted, and she also left the room midway without any explanation. So ya.
We then took a Grab ride to Sushi Tei, which has a standalone building. Argh! I should have taken a picture of the building – I forgot! Anyway, here’s one I found online on Tripadvisor. It really looks gorgeous at night though:
I believe there might be a campus next door. And I used the STPKU wifi since there’s no password required. XD
Snapped a quick photo on the way into Sushi Tei:
When we reached the restaurant around 5.50pm, it was still rather empty. The dinner crowd had yet to descend upon the place. So we got ourselves a comfy booth that probably could seat 6 to 8 people instead of just the 2 of us.
Since there weren’t many diners yet, I didn’t feel comfortable getting sushi off the conveyor belt as who knows how long it’s been sitting on the belt?
We ordered these instead:
It’s best to pop by early to allow yourself some time to browse through their EXTENSIVE menu. And if you’re the easily-hangry sort (*ahem* like me), don’t bring indecisive friends to dine here – they’ll take forever to decide what they want to order as there are just TOO MANY pages in the menu!
We ordered the pitcher of Ooki Mango Tea, which turned out to be delicious and so refreshing. It also offered great value-for-money as it gave us 4 glasses of tea and cost just 49,000rp before taxes.
They were out of the Dynamite Roll so we got ourselves the Crunchy Lobster Roll instead. As for the Rainbow Roll, they were out of avocado so they gave us cucumber as a replacement. As we have come to realise, in Pekanbaru, you have to be flexible ‘cos what you want may not always be readily available, unlike in Singapore (unless it is CNY).
We even received three Sushi Tei candies with our change. And I gave one to our Grab driver. 😀 Getting back to our hotel via Grab was pretty cheap at just 15,000rp or S$1.50.
If you do the sums, you’ll find we spent just S$20+ each for dinner at Sushi Tei. It’s actually really cheap. I wish we’d planned to have dinner here every single night. My goodness! 😀 We can have local food for breakfast and lunch, then have a sushi feast every night. My kind of food heaven. But alas! I doubt we’ll be back in Pekanbaru any time soon, as it’s really not as exciting as many sponsored posts try to make it seem. As my darling would say, there are lots of other places we have yet to visit so why return to a place you’ve already been to?
Hmm, but there’s still Day 4 and 5 to blog about. So stay tuned.