[review] the amazing Devdan Show

During my short visit to Bali last weekend, I only had one activity scheduled out (the rest is spontaneous): watching Devdan Show in Nusa Dua Theater. Tickets to the show can be booked 3 months prior the date through the official website or via BookMyShow (1 week in advance only, but with cheaper price). There are 4 seat categories according to the seat (VIP got Lazboy lounge) and position (straight eyesight in the center for VIP, more to the rear and sides for Category C): VIP and Categories A, B, and C. Booked hastily between tasks, I clumsily booked through the original website, where the cheapest ticket price for Category C is $40/person. After making the booking (you will be asked to enter your credit card information for ‘warranty’ – it will only be charged if you cancel the booking), I emailed the ticketing PIC confirming about ticket prices for local tourists. Apparently ticket prices for local tourists are much cheaper than those for international ones (sadly, the number of local audiences is significantly less than international ones).

Image result for devdan logo

Theme of the show is ‘treasure of Indonesian archipelago’. The show started with an opening scene of a group of tourists having a walk in the woods, led by a local tour guide, when 2 kids separated and found a treasure chest. In the treasure chest were Indonesian traditional crafts, and by the time the kids took the crafts out, dances from the province/island of where the crafts belong to were performed. It was really great seeing young people performing beautiful traditional dances in beautiful traditional clothes, in harmony. It was a 90 minute well spent. 🙂

We are not allowed to record videos or take pictures during the show, except for the closing scene.

img_2011

Closing Scene with All Casts on Stage

Advertisements

travel wish list

I have to admit that my blog posts haven’t been so varied lately that I was so consumed with work. Now that I’ve made (again) another career move, I wish that I will have more time to spend having fun and updating this blog.

For those of you (I really wish you guys exist) who visit this blog regularly, you must be aware that I’ve become a travel addict since 2014 (well, since the bad break up that I had to go to places where my ex and I had never been to) that I make my own rule of: 2x travels/year within the country + 1x travel/2-year abroad. I have never been more happy with my life with my new boyfriend, but the addiction doesn’t change. My boyfriend is a travel lover as well, so we become traveling partners (from our last trips, he let me decide and organize the trip and he’ll be more than happy being a follower).

Here’s what I’m calling: Inez’s Travel Wish List. 🙂 *going to cross off the places I’ve been to and add up the places I want to go to later on *I wish my boyfriend doesn’t read this. LOL

Indonesia (from west to east)

  • Pulau Weh, Aceh
  • Bangka-Belitung
  • Padang, West Sumatra
  • Pulau Peucang, Ujung Kulon, West Java
  • Ujung Genteng, West Java
  • Pantai Sawarna, West Java
  • Karimun Jawa, Central Java
  • Malang, East Java
  • Bromo, East Java
  • Nusa Penida, Bali
  • 3 Gilis, Lombok
  • Kepulauan Derawan, East Kalimantan
  • Balikpapan, East Kalimantan
  • Bunaken, North Sulawesi
  • Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi
  • Togian, Central Sulawesi/Gorontalo
  • Taka Bone Rate, South Sulawesi
  • Makassar, South Sulawesi
  • Danau Kelimutu, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara
  • Labuan Bajo (Komodo National Park), Flores, East Nusa Tenggara
  • Ora Beach, Maluku
  • Raja Ampat, Papua

Abroad

  • Maldives
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Las Vegas
  • LA
  • Japan
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Hong Kong
  • New Zealand

Ora Trip

It hasn’t been so long since our last Komodo Trip when the gang shared a tour information to Ora Beach, and again, the decision to go for Ora Trip was impulsive. We took a 4D3N tour by Tukang Jalan this time (check their website here). Unlike the normal 1 night in kampung warga (homestay) + 1 night in Ora Resort + 1 night in Ambon (hotel) package, the (originally) 6 of us decided to pay extra cost for 2 nights in Ora Resort + 1 night in Ambon (hotel).

Our first day started at 3 AM, as again, we took the 5 AM flight in order to arrive in our destination, Pattimura Airport, Ambon, Maluku before midday, and the time difference between Jakarta and Ambon is 2 hours. Arriving at 11.35 AM local time, we had plenty of time before the scheduled 4 PM express motor boat (kapal motor cepat/KMC) took us across the sea to Seram Island. For your info, Ambon and Ora are located in 2 different islands.

Our first destination was Dedes Restaurant for lunch. The most unique thing about eating in Ambon (this statement is valid for all restaurants that we visited in Ambon) is that they put crates of fish in front of the restaurants for guests to pick their own fish and how they want the restaurant to cook it. Being curious of the local food, we tried papeda, a local carbohydrate load made of sago, had together with fish cooked in yellow soup (with local ingredients). Finished with lunch, we also had durian (‘imported’ from Seram Island) for only 20k IDR for 3 durians and rujak natsepa (the seasoning is grind together with nutmeg, which makes it unique) before sailing the boat to Seram Island.

img_0956

4 chili servings in Dedes Restaurant

img_0958

papeda (in the bowl with a pair of tuning fork-like sticks) with fish in yellow soup and grilled fish

img_0966

rujak natsepa

The boat sailed on time at 4 PM and we safely landed in Seram Island at 6 PM. The pickup was already there when we arrived, and the amazing driver took 2 hours (driving past the totally curvy road I nearly puked due to motion sickness) – of course, it was already dark when we arrived at Saleman Village (Desa Saleman). From Saleman, we took another speed boat for approximately 15 minutes to cross to Ora Eco Resort. Yay, finally there!

At 8 AM on second day, we were already on the dock waiting for the boat to pick us up. We spent the first half day island hopping to Pulau 7 (7 islands) – the additional 1.5 MIDR/group is worth it. We didn’t exactly go to all 7 islands, but only 4 of them (…and didn’t get all the names). In the first island, we took some good pictures (the sand is white and soft). In the second we snorkeled to see the beautiful underwater life; my first time snorkeling without a life vest!! 😀 In the third, we took another good pictures with the naturally-shaped beautiful throne-like tree roots then had lunch. In the forth, we played at the beach. Finished with the 4 islands, we hopped to the other side of Ora Beach, where there was Mata Air Belanda (Dutch Spring). It is amazing how fresh water is streamed to the beach. Getting back to Ora Resort, my friends (I didn’t join as I was already exhausted) continued with snorkeling and said that the fish under the resort is similarly pretty and even more varied than those in Pulau 7.

img_0971

Ora Eco Resort

img_0998

We booked the tour late that we only got to stay in the land resort. Still looking good, no?

Our time on the third day was very short, remembering that we would have to head back to Ambon by the 2 PM express boat. We spent the morning taking pictures in the resort, then headed to Tebing Sawai and the mysteriously luminous cave to take more pictures. Afterwards, we went back to the resort for quick shower and lunch.

Arrived in Ambon at 4 PM, we checked in at Amans Hotel (short for ‘Ambon Manise’), then went directly for afternoon coffee at Rumah Kopi Sibu-Sibu. Other than coffee, they also served traditional snack which apparently is not too different to the ones they have in Jakarta: lepet (brown-sugar-sweet cassava steamed cake), lemper (sticky rice – only it’s stuffed with ebi – dried small prawns – instead of chicken), kue moho (traditional brown sugar cupcakes). The unique dish was sago cake (looks more like sago block instead of cake) that you have to dip into the coffee before eating – unless you want to lose some teeth. After coffee, then we had dinner and went back to the hotel.

img_1130

Martha Christina Siahahu statue

img_1135

World peace gong

img_1141

Pintu Kota Beach

We had plenty of time on the forth day, having our flight at 6.20 PM. Hence we decided to have a short city tour. Our first destination was Martha Christina Siahahu statue located 2 km away from our hotel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really nice taking pictures from near the statue and we had to pay to enter the garden, so we only took pictures from outside the fence. LOL. Second destination was world peace gong located right across the governor’s office, so we got to visit 2 places at once (they have this small stadium, Captain Pattimura’s statue – it’s located where Pattimura was hung, and the iconic ‘ambon manise’ in the governor’s office’s yard). Then we visited Pintu Kota beach (pintu kota = door of the city), where the coral is somehow shaped like a door, before having lunch at Ratu Gurih Restaurant (the best restaurant where we had our meals in Ambon) and afternoon coffee at Rumah Kopi Tradisi Joas. It was too sad having to go back to Jakarta, to reality, but we had to.

Overall, we are glad to be able to visit Ora Beach. East of Indonesia is never disappointing, since the sea is still quite ‘pure’ and ‘rich’. I would recommend newlyweds to visit Ora Beach for their honeymoon, since there is no mobile reception there so you will get some silent time. 😉

Trivia: we saw Glenn Fredly on our way to the port on our first day! He was about to have lunch in one of the famous seafood restaurant.

P.S.: Sorry for the messy pictures; I will update them once I get the chance to. Hopefully I won’t get too busy with work now. 🙂

Komodo Trip

The talk about going for another holiday has long been around my close friends and me. However, with the marriage of a friend and the marriage plan of another, not to mention earlier long overseas trip 3 of us had, the idea seems so far away from realization (time and money were really the issue). It was pretty shocking (and again impulsive) that we decided to go for this Komodo trip. Again, it started only with the 3 of us, then the group expanded to 8 people, enabling us to open a private trip. The holiday EO this time is Rani, and we went with Salamransel crew for a 4D3N Sailing Komodo Trip (visit their website here).

Our first day started on Saturday at 3 AM (I can’t recall the last time I woke up this early for a first flight, on a Saturday), when we met up at the airport to catch our flight. We flew Jakarta-Denpasar with Lion Air and Denpasar-Labuan Bajo with Wings Air. Thank God the flights were not delayed so we arrived in Labuan Bajo on time at 9.30 AM. We were picked up at the airport and headed straight to Kampung Ujung Port to start our Sailing Komodo trip.

Our first destination was Pulau Kanawa. We went trekking the small hill and snorkeling there. OK, we weren’t too much impressed by the island but it was a good start. Then, off we go to Sebayur for another snorkeling session. I like the underwater view better here, since the fish was more colorful and various here. Tired of snorkeling, we headed to Gili Lawa Island, where our ship was anchored for the night.

img_9419

Day 1: Kanawa

Our second day started quite early, we woke up at 4 AM in order to trek up the mountain (I cannot say that it’s a hill – it took us 40 mins to get to the top) and catch the sunrise view in Gili Lawa. I started the trek with a lot of complaints, especially since I got really tired of climbing and it was really dark when we started, but what I saw when I reached the top made me forget all those complaints – the view was really breathtakingly beautiful. After a lot of pictures, we went back to our boat and headed to Manta Point, where I didn’t dare to swim (the flow was quite hard and it was a deep, free sea, so it’s a no). We waited there for 30ish minutes until we finally saw 2 mantas swimming around. Quite satisfied with what we saw, we headed to Taka Makassar. At first, we questioned what the place was, and apparently it’s a small vacant island consisting only of a few trees and sand (the sand is half white-half pink), just like Pulau Gusung in Derawan and Karimunjawa. When the sand is covering a wide area with pretty, clear water, take pictures. A lot of them. So that’s what we did.

img_9420

Day 2: Pink Beach – doesn’t look too pink in pictures

Tired of taking pictures (well, it’s a lie. We don’t get tired of taking pictures. Never did), we headed to Pink Beach for (tired sigh here) another trekking and snorkeling. (I like snorkeling but I don’t really like trekking, especially with the extreme heat in Komodo.) You cannot really see the pink sand from the picture, but if you’re there, then you’ll be able to see that the sand is really pretty pink. So sad with the fact that Pink Beach was our last snorkeling (the underwater experience was very beautiful, by the way), we headed to Pulau Komodo afterwards. I guess it’s a must visit place for tourists, since it’s where the Taman Nasional Komodo (Komodo National Park) is located. Going there, you have to be accompanied by 2 rangers per group, 1 in front and another 1 in the back, since komodo (komodo dragon is the more popular English name) is a carnivore predator that can attack people unexpectedly. Luckily during our visit, we got to meet one by the beach (seems like it needs some dose of the sun also! LOL) and took pictures with it. Our last destination for the night was Pulau Kalong, where we were supposed to see a group of bats flying above our ship during sunset. Unfortunately, the bats didn’t come out that night, probably because there were too many ships anchored there.

img_9422

Day 2: komodo by the beach in Pulau Komodo

So we’d been warned: trekking on our third day would have been really tiring. It was proven. We started our first day at 5 AM (well, the ship crews started it that early, we only woke up at 7 AM when we’d arrived at our destination) to head to Pulau Padar. It was the highest track we climbed; the track was really slippery with sand and very few rocks to hold on to. We trekked for 45 minutes, but then what we saw was really pretty – we saw 3 gulfs surrounding the island, all 3 with different colors: black, pink and white. It was really pretty that we even recorded a music video there (for private use only LOL). Next, we went to Pulau Rinca, another island with big population of komodo. We also trekked the hill there, but it was not so sloppy so I survived. The komodos were smaller than the ones we saw in Pulau Komodo, so they are said to move faster. Our (certainly) last destination was Pulau Kelor, for another trekking. Due to my shoes condition (the soles didn’t survive Pulau Padar they fell off) and the tour guide’s story that the track there is the hardest one, I decided not to climb the hill. It was not so high, but my friends told me that the slope is 45 degrees and the rocks are located far apart from each other that they had to duck on their way down. After Pulau Kelor, we went back to Labuan Bajo to (finally, yeay!!) stay in the hotel there.

img_9385

Highlight of the trip (top-bottom): sunset (day 1) and sunrise (day 2) at Gili Lawa, and 3 gulfs at Pulau Padar (day 3)

We spent our last day in Labuan Bajo getting to know around our hotel, trying to find souvenirs (failed) and eating good seafood before we went back to Jakarta. The most interesting thing we tried was Jungle Juice (thanks to Reni for introducing the drink to us) in Treetop Restaurant, a combination of aren (traditional alcoholic drink), Kratingdaeng (red bull), and soda. After a good lunch, we thanked our tour guide and were taken to the airport. The flight home was delayed for 1.5 hours, by the way, which we spent playing cards to kill time (because there’s no reception there for carriers other than Telkomsel). We flew with NAM Airline for Labuan Bajo-Denpasar and Sriwijaya Air for Denpasar-Jakarta.

img_9421

The peaceful sea view from inside the ship

Arriving home safely, I just realized that I got sun-burnt really badly (my sister would stare at me from head to toe when I arrived, then said: how come you are so tanned), but I am happy. The trip was worth all the sunburn (and I didn’t shower for 3 days during my time at the ship); Komodo is a very beautiful place that I would recommend everyone to visit. However, if you got time, you might want to exercise a bit before going there – one thing I regretted was I didn’t exercise enough that I wasn’t physically fit when I was there. Please, please, please do not let it get dirty. Tourists, please be responsible with nature. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

 

 

Japan Trip

My best friend and I had been planning on going on an overseas holiday, to a country we’d never been, ever since she returned from her study abroad 2.5 years ago. Our savings had only allowed us to actually make the plan real this year. Followed by 3 guy friends, we finally purchased our tickets to Japan end of last year. By the time I’m writing this post, we’ve been home for almost 2 weeks after the joyful vacation (and trying so hard to move on with our lives). So here’s to sum up our trip. *Thanks a lot to Tata for arranging things.

Day 1: 29 Apr 2016 – Tokyo to Osaka

Despite the fact that I coughed throughout the night at the plane, prohibiting me from getting appropriate sleep, I can say that the flight was smooth. We arrived at Tokyo Haneda airport on time, collected our baggage, exchanged our pre-purchased 7-day pass JRPass at the locket (I’ll get the picture later – this is somewhat a “magic” pass that got us here and there), had brunch (because I believe everyone agrees that 10:30 AM is too late for breakfast and too early for lunch), and continued our trip to Osaka by Shinkansen (the super-fast capsule-like inter-city train).

It took us 3 hours from Tokyo to Osaka, and by the time we arrived at Osaka, it was already noon (around 3 PM if I’m not mistaken). It took us another half an hour or so to find our pre-booked apartment. We then agreed to shower and get some rest before we walked around the apartment for dinner. We had the infamous Osaka Takoyaki (octopus balls) and a sip of sake near our apartment as an entree, then walked around Dotonbori area till drop (tried out Yoshinoya there!). *All stores are closed at 9 PM, so basically the stores were closed before we were.

the infamous Osaka takoyaki

Sherlock Holmes house in Kobe


Day 2: 30 Apr 2016 – Osaka Castle, Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, and Umeda Sky Building

Second day of the trip was dedicated to get to know Osaka’s places of interest. We went to Osaka Castle in the morning (we didn’t go inside the castle though, considering the crowd), dropped by Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine in the afternoon, and to Umeda Sky Building (again, we didn’t go to the top of the building considering the ticket price and the absence of a tripod that will be required to get good pictures). Last but not least, we visited the must-see in Dotonbori: Glico Man (then tried out Pablo‘s cheese cake).

Day 3: 1 May 2016 – Kobe

Before I went to Kobe, I would’ve answered Wagyu when someone asked me the best beef I ever had. Kobe Beef has, however, changed my mind. The meat was so tender I could cry when it literally melted in my mouth. We tried the infamous Kobe beef in Kobe Steakland, the cheaper option. After we were full, we walked around Kobe area (it’s a very beautiful small city) to find a fundraising event for Kumamoto earthquake and visit the newly-opened Sherlock Holmes house. When we were back to Osaka, we sat for an afternoon snack at Max Brenner, then on the stairs in front of Osaka Central Station.

Day 4: 2 May 2016 – Osaka to Kyoto

Time to say goodbye to our very nice apartment in Osaka and move on to Kyoto on our 4th day. It took us only approximately 30 minutes by Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto. Kyoto offers different vibes in the sense that it felt more traditional and friendly. Since we could only check in at 3 PM at our hostel, we put our baggage in coin lockers and got on a bus to go around the city (we bought a 1-day bus pass so we could freely hop on and off).

Our first destination was the golden Ginkakyu-ji temple. After getting some snack at the food stall there, we went to get our baggage and check in at the hostel, and continued to Fushimi-inari, which is famous for its orange gates. By the time we got back to the bus stop, it was already dark, so we decided to have sushi for dinner at Kyoto Station.

Day 5: 3 May 2016 – Kyoto to Tokyo

Prior to heading to Tokyo, we visited the other must-see in Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera, where the temple was built on a cliff. The view was very pretty and it’s amazing how the old building can hold up until today. Being in Kyoto has somehow brought peace to our minds, especially with the old temples and traditional houses around the city.

At midday, we again hopped on Shinkansen to Tokyo. The trip from Kyoto to Tokyo took 2.5 hours, so we arrived at noon and headed straight to our pre-booked apartment in Asakusa area. Stayed near Asakusa, we visited Asakusa Temple only once at night when the iconic lantern was folded up. LOL. No regrets. Later that evening, we had sake out of curiosity.

Day 6: 4 May 2016 – Ueno Park & Hakone

My biggest curiosity about Japan has always been the hot spring (onsen), so I was so excited that Tata actually put Hakone into our itinerary. After a morning walk at Ueno Park (I always LOVE sitting in a park – I really wish we have something like this in Indonesia), we headed to Hakone. It was quite a long trip – 2 hours from Tokyo, but soaking myself in the hot water made me forget it. The onsen experience was very relaxing and lovely. The sore that I felt in my body due to the previous 5 days walk had been magically lifted by the hot water and the mountain view around the hot spring.

Day 7: 5 May 2016 – Nikko Edo Wonderland

When I suggested that we go to this place, what I had in mind was that I cannot visit Japan without seeing ninja or anything close to it. Never did I think that it would take 3 hours from Tokyo to Nikko and we should’ve left Tokyo earlier that day to maximize our day in Nikko Edo Wonderland. The half day visit to this theme park, despite the expensive entrance ticket, was totally worth it. There weren’t a lot of international tourists like us; most of the visitors are Japanese who took their kids to introduce old-day Japan to them.

Day 8: 6 May 2016 – Tokyo Disneysea

Tata is crazy about Disney, so we believed that 40% of the trip was dedicated to this day. She woke everyone up so early so we wouldn’t miss lining up at the entrance before it was even opened (we arrived there at 08:20 AM and the gates were opened at 9 AM). Good thing was she did her research for Disneysea that the order of rides has been decided and the long queuing was successfully avoided. We spent the whole day there (still we didn’t finish all rides), from 9 AM to 8 PM when Funtasmic! show finished (Tata almost cried like a baby when they cancelled the fireworks due to rain), and agreed that the best rides are Journey to the Center of the Earth and Toy Story Mania. Personally, I also like Tower of Terror, which Kifli said is less fun than the one in Disneyland Paris (OK, Disneyland Paris, wait for me!).

Day 9: 7 May 2016 – Tsukiji Market, Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya

It was the only day I didn’t have breakfast in our apartment before going out, because we were having our breakfast in Tsukiji Market!! 😀 It is basically a fresh market specializing in fish. We walked around the alleys and decided to eat at the cheapest restaurant. The fish (I had eel) was really fresh I’m drooling when I remember how the food tasted like. From Tsukiji Market, we went to Shinjuku only to buy Tokyo Milk Cheese, then continued to Harajuku to shop here and there (I bought so many stuff at Daiso – everything is sold for 100 Yen). Last but not least, we went to Shibuya to take some pictures with Hachiko statue right in front of the station, get the feeling of crossing the very crowded crossover, and again shop at Uniqlo.

Day 10: 8 May 2016 – Akihabara & Odaiba

Our first destination in Akihabara was Yodobashi – a giant “heaven” for toy and electronic lovers. It practically sells everything you want – from cellphones to camera, from stuffed animals to action figures, and even cosmetics. Tired of walking (not only that day, but the whole trip), Tata and I decided to just sit in a cafe while waiting for the boys to return from their other adventure to see similar “heaven”. At noon, after the boys have spent most of their money at Akihabara (or Akiba, in short), we went to Odaiba to see the 1:1 Gundam. Tommy was the one who got really excited by Gundam – he was literally lost for almost half an hour there. After buying some food to be taken to Jakarta, we went back to our apartment.

Day 11: 9 May 2016 – Tokyo-Jakarta

I must say it was a pretty hard last day in Tokyo, having to push ourselves into the train full of people who are going to work with all our baggage (which, trust me, have all been doubled in either weight or size). Thank God we survived it and arrived safely at Tokyo Haneda airport, not wanting to but have to be ready to go back to Jakarta. The flight was once again pretty smooth and we arrived in Jakarta safely.

I couldn’t believe that the holiday was over, but life must go on. We have to return to work in order to get more money and arrange another vacation next year. 😀

Special thanks to Nova and Dia for being our private interpreters for 3 days in Tokyo. xD

Tee-hee!

*PS: I’m gonna add some photos later.

Karimunjawa Trip

The idea of having another holiday with friends has been there all along after our last year’s trip to Derawan (post here) and since my traveling buddy was so busy with his thesis this year, we finally decided to take a short holiday instead of a time consuming one. Our choice fell for Karimunjawa, an archipelago consisting of 27 islands located in northwest of Jepara, Central Java. There were only 3 of us when I first arranged the trip, but we ended up as a group of 10. Some friends went there back in 2010 and the review was pretty good. You might want to know more about it here. As we did when we traveled to Derawan, we joined WisataKita again this time.

We actually took the 3D2N tour, from Friday to Sunday, but since the ship will depart early on Friday, we had to fly to Semarang (the closest airport to Jepara) on Thursday evening, go directly by land to Jepara and stayed there for 1 night. None of us had been there before, so the transportation method reference from Jepara’s tourism website was really helpful. I contacted all 5 travels listed there, but finally chose Panama Travel as they are the most flexible one – the others would only depart outside of their regular service hour at a higher price. So off we go to Jepara from Semarang airport and stayed the night in Samudra Hotel, located near Kartini port at Jepara.

We met WisataKita crew at 8 AM in Kartini port, from where Bahari Express will depart. For your info, there are 3 options to go to Karimunjawa: KMC Kartini departing from Semarang every Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the duration of 4 hours, Bahari Express (which we took) departing from Jepara every Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the duration of 2 hours, and KMP Siginjai (ferry) departing from Jepara every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with the duration of 4.5 hours. Bahari Express departed on time at 9 AM and we arrived in Karimunjawa port at 11 AM.

Bahari Express that took us to and from Karimunjawa

Bahari Express that took us to and from Karimunjawa

Day 1 - so glad to finally arrived at Karimunjawa

Day 1 – so glad to finally arrived at Karimunjawa

Again, instead of staying at villager’s houses, we upgraded the accommodation to Kelapa Karimunjawa Beach Resort. It was the most distant accommodation the tour participants were staying as it is located 2-3 km from the town square (alun-alun), so WisataKita team booked a minibus to pick us up every time. As soon as we arrived, we were picked up and checked in at the resort to have lunch and arrange our belongings before we continued with the activities.

At 2 PM, we were back at the port to go to Cemara Besar island and snorkel there. The first impression when our boat set sail there was how clean and beautiful the sea was. When we snorkeled, however, the coral reefs are not so colorful (or maybe it was the effect of me having seen Derawan before). After snorkeling for 1 hour, we went back to Karimunjawa island to chill out at Tanjung Gelam beach. The beach is so clean with white, soft sand that is so beautiful during sunset. After sunset, we went back to the resort.

Day 1 - Tanjung Gelam beach

Day 1 – Tanjung Gelam beach

Day 2 - sea view from Kelapa Karimunjawa Beach Resort

Day 2 – sea view from Kelapa Karimunjawa Beach Resort

Our second day started at 8 AM, when the minibus again took us to the port. We spent the whole day on the boat (we cannot do much at the resort anyway, since there is no electricity from 6 AM to 6 PM!). First destination was snorkeling at Pulau Kecil, where we saw beautiful fishes and quite colorful coral reefs (again, not as colorful as the ones in Derawan) with clear view. The downside, though, was the sea level is so low that some of us hit the coral reefs (which only later I know would cause great itchiness to the affected skin). The trip continued to Batu Topeng beach, again located in Karimunjawa island, where we had lunch and had some time to play frisbee and chill out.

Day 2 - Batu Topeng beach

Day 2 – Batu Topeng beach

After lunch, off we go to another snorkeling at Pulau Tengah. Unfortunately, the sea level was quite high that Pulau Gosong (a sand island with an area of only 5 m x 8 m) didn’t appear on the surface so we didn’t go there. After snorkeling, we directly went to Pulau Menjangan Besar to see the shark captivity. Then, we went back to the resort. Later that evening, we were taken to the town square to buy some souvenirs. Instead of buying souvenirs, we were tempted by the very cheap fresh seafood (we were too late to taste the lobsters and clams but we still got to taste the giant squid priced only 35 kIDR) and ordered grilled squid, and very tasty kelapa bakar (grilled coconut – they put the coconut on fire and after the shell turned black, they crack it open to put in some cracked grilled ginger and honey). Satisfied with the snack we had (that was after we had dinner at the resort), we bought some firecrackers and fireworks before we went back to the resort.

Day 1 - sunset at Tanjung Gelam

Day 1 – sunset at Tanjung Gelam

On the third day, we had to finally say goodbye to Karimunjawa – our ship departed at 9 AM, 2 hours earlier than the scheduled time and arrived at Jepara port at 11 AM. Well, it wasn’t the end of our trip yet. Our flight was at 7.20 PM so we still got plenty of time to have some culinary adventure in Semarang after we arrived there at 1.30 PM. We had the famous lumpia semarang, nasi soto ayam, wingko babat, another famous Oen ice cream, nasi gandul, and nasi ayam until 6 PM when we went to the airport.

***curcol part***

Apparently, God didn’t allow us to fly back to Jakarta that night. It was the day of the JW Lounge incident at Soekarno Hatta airport, Jakarta and somehow no Garuda Indonesia flight was departing that day. After waiting for almost 6 hours at Ahmad Yani airport, Semarang, we decided to stay for another night in Semarang and fly back to Jakarta the next afternoon by other airline, to prevent another delay by Garuda. Thanks to my situation-maker traveling buddies, the tense was not too high and we enjoyed the extra night. We even had some lunch box from another famous restaurant in Semarang and the famous lekker Paimo before we took off. The trip that was supposed to end on Sunday evening had finally ended on Monday afternoon and we all had fun. 🙂

Overall, one thing to remember when you book your trip to Karimunjawa is to go there before you explore the eastern part of Indonesia. Otherwise, you will be a bit disappointed. The place is beautiful, with the clear blue sky and sea, but still the sea creatures are lacking compared to those of eastern Indonesia, say, in my case, Derawan.

My message to other travelers (I heard this from Adam, my tour guide of Great Ocean Rd trip back in 2012): leave only footprints, take only pictures. Wherever you’re going.

Sawarna Trip

The trip started with a short conversation and impulsive decision coming from a friend and me on our way back home. We agreed that we needed a short getaway (after our last vacation to Derawan back in July 2014 – see my post here) and this busybody friend of mine proposed to go on 1-3 January 2015, with the 4th as a spare day for a rest. I’d then suggested to go to Sawarna, a beautiful (I’d only seen it in pictures back then) beach located in Pulau Jawa. (To be exact: in Lebak, Banten.)

As always, I took the initiative to ask some friends for options: first option is to drive on our own (this was our initial plan) so I asked for cheap and clean homestay contact numbers and the second one is to join a tour with all-in package including return transport from Jakarta to Sawarna and homestay. After some quick calculation, we decided to go with the second option, joining LiburanBareng (this is another small local tour agent).

Our trip started on 1 January 2015 near midnight (we departed from our meeting point in Plaza Semanggi at 11 PM) to arrive in Sawarna on the 2nd at 4 AM. (The predicted trip duration was 6-7 hours, so we were ahead schedule.) We weren’t able to check in to the homestay that early, so we took some rest and had breakfast at the homestay owner’s house before starting our “adventure”. It was raining but didn’t stop us from going – at 9 AM, we started our walk to Goa Lalay (‘lalay’ means bat in Sundanese, the local language) for caving. There are several routes for caving that you can choose, but we only took the shortest, easiest one. It took us approximately 2 hours from getting in until we got out. The walk was slippery but pretty fun, especially because you can see bats sleeping on the cave ceiling. I’m wondering how it looks like in the inner parts of the cave – the local guide told us that the stalactites are prettier and more natural since there are fewer people going there.

Going back from Goa Lalay, we checked in at our homestay, got cleaned up and had lunch. After a power nap while waiting for the rain to stop, we took another walk to…. *drumroll* the beach. Finally. Our first purpose going to Sawarna. So the first beach that we visited was Pantai Tanjung Layar, located not so far from our homestay. After some pictures and coconuts, we walked back to our homestay to have a rest.

The last day, we were supposed to wake up early so we can get the sunrise view from Pantai Karang Bokor and Pantai Karang Taraje (‘taraje’ means ladder in local language), but due to tiredness from the previous day, we all overslept and only went there after sunrise. We were lucky though, it was sunny when we got there, in contrast to the weather the morning before. So we walked from one end to another, sunbathed (unplanned, but all of us were sunburnt by the time we got back to the homestay) and took a lot of pictures. These 2 hidden beaches (it was actually 1 beach area divided into 2 or more attraction points) were worth the 2 km walk, not to mention the elevating and slippery routes. After cleaning up and lunch, we had to say goodbye to Sawarna to go back to Jakarta.

(The trip to Jakarta was pretty torturing – we left Sawarna at 1.30 PM, only to arrive at Jakarta at 11.30 PM.) Overall, I’m quite happy with our short getaway, regardless the less active trait of the tour guide. Sawarna is a recommended place for those who want to have a short vacation from Jakarta.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3e1/14128795/files/2015/01/img_4346.jpg

Pantai Karang Bokor, Sawarna

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3e1/14128795/files/2015/01/img_4347.jpg