2019-03-28

Jalan Jalan ke Izu di Februari








Izu adalah sebuah peninsula di provinsi Shizuoka. Karena akses yang mudah dari Tokyo, Izu telah menjadi daerah populer untuk weekend buat orang Tokyo dan sekitarnya.

Kali ini bersama keluarga, kami ke Izu di Februari 2019 untuk melihat bunga Sakura Kawazu, yang merupakan jenis Sakura yang paling cepat berbunga di Jepang.
Kawazu adalah nama kota di Izu, yang dibilang sebagai tempat asal dari pohon Sakura Kawazu.

Karena bertepatan dengan beberapa event, kami mengunjungi berikut, selama 2 hari di Izu:
1. Festival Plum (atau "Ume") di Atami
2. Festival Kawazu Sakura di Kawazu
3. Festival Hina no Tsurushi Kazari di Inatori
4. Festival Minami no Sakura to Nanohana di Minami Izu

Kami menyewa mobil dari Yokohama dan menginap di Shimoda Prince Hotel, yang harga penginapan relatif murah, 3000 yen per orang.
Di dekat hotel, kami mengunjungi bukit milik privat yang banyak Sakura nan indah.
Di dekat hotel juga ada kuil Shinto dan pantai Shirahama, yang pemandangan matahari terbitnya keren banget.

2019-01-14

Trip to Belitung Island

Pulang Lengkuas


Finally I was able to fulfill my wish to visit the Seychelles of Indonesia, Pulau Belitung (Belitung Island), famous for the movie Laskar Pelangi (rainbow quad) and the birthplace of famous Jakarta ex-major Ahok.

I found a host from Couchsurfing, he kindly hosted me in his simple room and took me around the island for the whole day riding on our motorbikes on my first day and we went to island hopping on my second day.

My favourite was the island hopping. Chartering a boat at Tanjung Kelayang port, we visited extremely beautiful island like Pulau Lengkuas with the picturesque colonial lighthouse and other two islands. Tanjung Tinggi, the Seychelles of Indonesia, was pretty too, though lots of rubbish.
The dawn at Pantai Pendam, few minutes ride from the city center was astonishing beauty. Dip in the fresh water streams in Batu Mentas was cool too.

Except for the rubbish, Belitung is a good tourist place to visit. The city of Tanjung Pandan is convenient to stay with lot of convenient shops, good places to eat and a massage place. The island is small enough to explore by rent motor bike.

My Itinerary (3-5 January 2019)
Day 1:
From the airport, with rented motorbike, airport --> Burung Mandi --> Pantai Nyiur Melambai --> Lunch at Restaurant Fega in Manggar --> Warkop Afui in Manggar --> Kampung Ahok --> Laskar Pelangi school --> Batu Mentas --> Lake Kaolin --> Pantai Pendam for the sunset --> dinner and massage at Tanjung Pandan
Day 2:
Tanjung Tinggi --> island hopping with chartered boat --> relaxing in Tanjung Tinggi --> Pantai Pendam for the sunset --> dinner and massage at Tanjung Pandan

Places to see (in order of my favourites):
- Tanjung Tinggi
It is the highlight of Belitung if you don't go to the islands.
Like Seychelles, there are picturesque stones in the beach.
Unfortunately there are lots of rubbish.
The north part of the beach was better and clean.
There is a big restaurant in the north part of the beach called Lemadang Seafood & Grill, it was not cheap, but the food was good and I could relax using their beach couches.
Just 5 minutes walk from the restaurant, there was mangrove park, Bakau Labunaji, when I went there, the place was not fit for visit, the wooden path was not well maintaned and dangerous.
- Island Hopping
Pulau Lengkuas with its lighthouse is the highlight.
Like Tanjung Tinggi, the beach has lots of big granite stones.
Other highlights were cave in Pulau Garuda and picturesque Batu Layar with stone like a sailboat.
- Batu Mentas
A river with picturesque stones, good for dip.
Unfortunately it is also rubbish invaded.
- Burung Mandi
A quiet beach and a temple with big goddess of Kwan Im statue nearby.
- Laskar Pelangi replica school
The building used for shooting Indonesian popular movie, Laskar Pelangi.
- Tanjung Pandan
It is the biggest city in Belitung Island and convenient to stay here.
- Manggar
It is the second biggest city after Tanjung Pandan, famous as the city with 1001 cafes.
I think the following places are not worth to visit:
- Lake Kaolin, just an excavated area of the mining. The color is beautiful only during the sunlight.

Tips: 
- Motorbike rent is cheap and convenience to go around the island.
- Boat charter from Tanjung Kelayang port to islands, the standard price (local boat owner community) was IDR 550k, but it is negotiable.
- March is the best time to visit since the low tide will be during daytime. During my visit, it was high tide during daytime. Low tide is good to visit Pulau Lengkuas and Burung Mandi, also Pulau Pasir (sand island) only appears during low tide.
- Great range of accommodation, from cheaper homestays to luxury hotels. I booked RedDoorz for about IDR 150k per night, cheaper chain hotels, but cancelled it since got offer to stay with Couchsurfing host.

Useful contacts and shops:
- Motorbike rental: rentalmotordibelitung.com
Found by googling.
Chose this shop because they charged only IDR 20k for airport delivery, while other shops charge IDR 50k.
They charged IDR 75k per day for 120 cc bike.
- Massage
There was only one massage place, in the Batu Setam roundabout (Tanjung Pandan city center) called Kakiku, a chain massage shop.
I had 90 minutes massage express + reflexology for IDR 100k and 90 minutes full massage + reflexology for IDR 120k and was satisfied with them.
- Cafe
The iconic cafe is Kong Djie in Tanjung Pandan.
Manggar is famous for its 1001 cafes, and the legendary is Afui.
- Restaurant
Lots of restaurants, the review can be found on websites.
I visited Restaurant Fega in Manggar, in higher end, for seafood and its pretty place in front of a lake.
I tried also the famous Mie Atep, where the noodle soup with local flavor is their only menu.
I like Lumedang Seafood & Grill, only ordered the fried rice which was yummy, I used their beach couch for a nap.

Pantai Pendam


From IKIRU to Live Surabaya, you have to transit in Jakarta to fly to Belitung Tanjung Pandan H.A.S. Hanandjoeddin Airport. From Jakarta, it is only 1 hour flight.

2018-10-15

Trip to Derawan

Travel Date: 20-23 September 2018
Method: Open Trip
Guide: Mr. Rangga and Mr. Erwin from Derawan Fisheries
Accommodation: Derawan Fisheries
Highlight: 1. Swimming with stingless jellyfish
2. Staying in water cottages
3. Swimming with whalesharks
4. Hopping islands with beautiful white sand beaches
5. Swimming at the crystal clear lake in Labuhan Cermin

Day 1

Departing IKIRU to live Surabaya guesthouse, we headed to Juanda Surabaya Airport early morning. It took about 1.5 hours from Surabaya to Balikpapan, then another 1 hour from Balikpapan to Berau. I was surprised with the both airports in Balikpapan and Berau. They were new and clean. Balikpapan airport was huge and pretty.

Our driver waited for us in Berau Airport. We met other travellers, 2 couples and 1 older guy, Mr. B. Two cars took us for 2.5 hours drive to Tanjung Batu Port where we paid 15,000 rupiah (not really sure for what, somekind of tourist fee to Derawan), then the speed boat took us for 30 minutes ride to Derawan Island.

I imagined water cottage as luxury accommodation, as I saw often in commercials for Maldives, but the water cottages in Derawan were more casual. Since Derawan Fisheries was full, four of us were relocated to nearby hotel called Miranda, which was newer, so we were happy.

There was no tour activity on day 1, so we had time to walk around Derawan Island. With my sister, we walked passing the main street, full of restaurants and souvenir stalls, went to the famous Derawan Dive Resort at the east of the island.
Further east, there was a big "Derawan" letters, good photo.
We walked along the shore, seeing some turtle heading up on the sea surface, passing some resorts, before going back to the main street from the public port.

During dinner time, while we were served with simple fried fish and fried tempe, the tour group in the same dinner room were served with lobsters. We asked people how to buy the lobster, and informed that we should go to the only lobster seller in the island, Pak Rito. We went to his house and ordered lobsters for tomorrow's dinner. Pak Rito said fishermen sold lobsters to him when there was order. In front of his home, he was constructing a pool, to collect the lobsters. He priced 400,000 rupiahs per kilo for lobster less than 400 gram each, and 500,000 rupiahs for bigger lobsters more than 500 gram each.

Day 2

About 8AM, we started the tour. Our first stop was Maratua Island, the biggest island in Derawan Islands. We visited Maratua Paradise Resort to have photo time, then tea time. The beach was so beautiful and the sea water was crystal clear we could see fishes swimming in the water down there.

Our next stop was Kehe Daeng Island, which was actually the same island with Kakaban Island. We visited the pretty lake, which was actually the other end of the jellyfish lake. Our guide didn't inform we should have entered the lake from a cave.

The next stop was my top highlight, the jellyfish lake of Kakaban Island, the world famous lake. It was said there were only two places in the world with stingless jellyfish, the other was in Palau.
We were supplied with snorkeling mask then started swimming with the brown cute jellyfish. There were so many jellyfish in the lake, most of them were the brown ones and few of them the white ones.

After satisfied swimming with the jellyfish for long enough, we went to the third island of the day, Sangalaki Island, where there was turtle farm. We could see and touched baby turtles in the pond in the island. Sangalaki Island was not inhabited, though there was a resort and turtle farm, so the white sandy beach was so clean.

Before going back to Derawan Island, we stopped by to a small sand island near Derawan Island, that said only appeared during down tide. It was a nice photo stop.

We enjoyed our lobster dinner that night.

Day 3

We were supposed to leave at 4AM in the morning to go to the whaleshark location, since the trip will take 2-3 hours. However, since the wind was big, we waited for about half an hour and decided to go despite the big wind.
The trip was a torture, my spinal bones were like shattered due to bumpy journey. My butt hurt since there was no cushion on the chair. I sit next to the driver in the front that I suffered the bump the most.

The torture turned into exitement when our captain said we found the whalesharks. He stopped the boat next to a big big platform boat where they catched small fish. The whalesharks were swimming around the platform since the fishermen on the platform threw small fishes for the whalesharks. We prepared our snorkle and jumped into the water. First, though we knew that the whalesharks were not dangerous, it was quite scarry since the size was super big. One whaleshark swam direct towards me, but skipped away without me doing nothing. The sharks swam so close that I could touched them. Was a great experience for us and was happy I could take good photos of the sharks under water with my waterproof Nikon Coolpix.

Our next stop was a small and flat island with beautiful sandy beach. There were some trees in the island. We took lunch there. Sadly many rubbish on the island.

The last stop was the furthest, called Labuan Cermin, or literally Port of Mirror, famous for crystal clear lake. We had to change to local tourist boat to enter the lake. We did snorkling in the clear water. The lake was said to be two layers, salt water and fresh water. It was so clear that we could see the fallen trees in the deep bottom of the water.
We took another 2-3 hours journey back to Derawan Island, where we spent our last night there.

Day 4

We woke up 5 o'clock in the morning and walked to Derawan Dive Resort in the east edge to see the sunrise which was quite beautiful.
At 9 o'clock sadly we left the beautiful island with beautiful memory in our heart.





Negative sides:
- Many jellyfishes in Kakaban Island were died or injured by people kicking or hitting, either by accident or on purpose.
- Derawan Island is getting more and more polluted, heavily inhabited. With more and more tourist and the increasing inhabitant, I doubt the island can survive. People drained the used water directly to the sea and more rubbish were thrown to the sea. Education on environtment is a must before the island becomes rubbish island. Hopefully the less inhabited Maratua Island and uninhabited Kakaban and Sangalaki Islands will stay clean for a longer time, enough only Derawan Island is sacrificed for the tourism.
- So sad seeing many forests in Kalimantan were burnt for palm farm on the way between Berau Airport and Tanjung Batu Port. The home for orangutans were demolished for the sake of palm oil business.

2018-03-04

Rainy Season = Fruit Season

It is the end of rainy season, which starts in October till March every year in Indonesia. Though many people hates rainy seasons, I kind of enjoy it due to the cooler weather and more, due to the fruit.

Many fruits come into the market during the rainy season, including the king of fruit, DURIAN.
And the queen, MANGOSTEEN or Manggis in Indonesian.
My favorite is RAMBUTAN, the hairy fruit.
Try also the Snake Fruit or SALAK in Indonesian, it is definitely sweeter than its English name.

The photos below I just took in a supermarket in a shopping mall.
You can buy in traditional market and on the streets, including around IKIRU guest house in Surabaya.

Ask our staff if you want to buy those fruits around IKIRU guest house in Surabaya.

Durian

Rambutan

Snake Fruit or Salak in Indonesian

Mangosteen

Dukuh

Star Fruit or Belimbing in Indonesian

Dragon Fruit

Markisa

Sirsat

Avocado

Papaya

2017-05-09

Pasar Krukah, a local traditional market 5-minute walk from IKIRU Guesthouse

Revisited, see previous posting here.

Visited Pasar Krukah again this morning.
"Pasar" means "market" in Indonesian.
This kind of traditional markets still survive the times and still can be found in many neighborhood in Surabaya, despite growing number of modern supermarkets and shopping malls.

You can find more or less everything, from stuff for your kitchen, like vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, tofu and tempe to clothing and house ware.
It is the place you can feel the energy of the morning and the sellers and the buyers.
It is the exact place you see daily local life here.

Pasar Krukah is located 5-minute walk from IKIRU Guesthouse, after crossing the main road to the south. Another bigger market is called Pasar Pucang and located 20-minutes walk from IKIRU Guesthouse.










2017-05-08

Parade Budaya dan Bunga, Culture and Flower Parade 2017

Since the annual parade to commemorate Surabaya city anniversary started at 8 in the morning from Tugu Pahlawan, we decided to leave IKIRU at 9, since we planned to watch the parade at Raya Darmo street after Santa Maria High School.
We wanted to see the parade from a location after Santa Maria High School, since some attractions, such as the Carnival Fashion group and cheerleader group started only from Santa Maria High School. We were happy with our location, since the nearer the location to Taman Bungkul, the final destination for the parade, the more crowded.
The parade itself was surprisingly good.
I loved the Carnival Fashion Parade, the cheerleader and the drum band, also the reyog Ponorogo dance.
There were parade groups from other places in Indonesia such as Bali and Makassar, also flower cars from companies and school. I was surprised seeing the float from my high school.

Baru pertama kali kami menyempatkan diri tuk melihat Parade tahunan untuk merayakan HUT Surabaya ini.
Karena parade mulai jam 8 pagi dari Tugu Pahlawan, kami memutuskan untuk berangkat dari IKIRU guesthouse jam 9 lebih.
Karena mendapat kabar kalo ada beberapa atraksi, seperti Kostum Fashion Carnival, Egrang dan Cheerleader berangkat dari Sekolah Santa Maria di Jalan Darmo, kami memutuskan untuk melihat parade setelah Sekolah Santa Maria.

Kami di drop di Jalan Majapahit, kemudian kami jalan sampai melewati Sekolah Santa Maria.
Para pengunjung hanya diperbolehkan melihat dari satu sisi jalan saja, dan tidak diperbolehkan melihat dari atas jembatan penyeberangan.
Tapi dasar orang Surabaya, kalo penjaga pergi, banyak yang melanggar juga.

Sekitar jam 10 lebih, parade grup pertama tiba di tempat penungguan kami.
Ada 75 group peserta parade, ada grup yang cuman berkostum dan berjalan, ada grup dengan tari2an, ada pula grup dengan atraksi, ada pula mobil bunga.
Karena capek, kami hanya melihat sampai nomer 53 dan memutuskan untuk pulang.
Kami berjalan ke arah Taman Bungkul, tempat perhentian parade nya.
Semakin kami mendekati Taman Bungkul, semakin banyak pengunjung.
Kami beruntung memutuskan untuk melihat dari sekitar Santa Maria karena nggak begitu banyak pengunjung.