24 hours in Bandung

Last weekend me and my friends went to Bandung. There were four of us and we’ve known each other since we joined the same company back in 2011. Though now two of us don’t work there anymore (including myself!), we remain close friends and occasionally travel together. This trip was special because it’s the last trip before one of us left to Melbourne to study. So it’s like a farewell trip too :’).

Continue reading “24 hours in Bandung”

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Mesmerised by Lombok – Day two

Back then, all I knew of Lombok was only its beaches. Well, only 1 beach to be exact – Senggigi beach. Then I heard about the Gilis. Of course I have heard of Mt. Rinjani, but had no interest – so I practically knew nothing about it. Then on my recent trip I was told that part of the itinerary was going to the village underneath Mt. Rinjani which is called Sembalun. Unlike my first day in Lombok (read the story here) which was full of beaches and blue sky.. the second day was about adventure and greeneries!

Since our hotel was located in Mataram area which is located in the west part of Lombok, we had a long drive to reach the north-east part of Lombok, where Sembalun village is located. I remember it was around 3 hours, including some stops here are there to buy snacks and to take pictures because really, the view was just spectacular!

On our way to Sembalun
On our way to Sembalun
On our way to Sembalun pt.2
On our way to Sembalun pt.2
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On our way to Sembalun pt.3

With views like those, surely being on the road for around three hours was not so bad at all. Without me noticing, we arrived at our first destination – Sembalun villageWe were greeted by nothing but greeneries, I found it so refreshing to my eyes! @debucung our trip planner then drove the car to a small alley and after parking the car, he told us to walk for a while. Without knowing where were we going, I walked and was greatly surprised when I saw this view after a little hike to a small hill…

Sembalun
Sembalun
What a view~
What a view~

Seriously I have never seen anything like that before ;’). After spending some time in the hill, we continued our trip to a nearby village and parked our car there. We then continued our journey using a motorcycle for each of us with a local guide. The journey was around 20 minutes and it was not smooth at all! Whew! quite an adventure for me! After 20 minutes on a motorcycle, we then reached another “pit stop” and parked our motorcycle there. From here – the journey was on foot. All was to see three waterfalls – Kuda Sembrani, Mangku Kodek, and Mangku Sakti.

We walked for another 15 minutes with views like these…

On my way to the waterfalls..
On my way to the waterfalls..
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On my way to the waterfalls..

Until we finally reached the first waterfall – Kuda Sembrani. We had our lunch there, picnic style.. and it was a memorable one. It’s not everyday you got to have lunch with a view like this, right?

Kuda Sembrani Waterfall
Kuda Sembrani Waterfall

After lunch we spent some time just playing in the waters, relaxing after a long journey. Without we realising, it was almost dark! So we quickly made our way to the next waterfall.. Mangku Kodek.

Now, this is an interesting one. To be able to see the waterfall, one must actually go through the waters which was around the height of my waist. The tide was quite strong (well not that strong but I could feel it enough), so we really had to be careful when walking. It wasn’t far though, but still quite an effort. But when I saw the waterfall, it was worth it. Although it’s not that big, but the atmosphere was so pretty, I haven’t seen anything like that before. I also managed to “climb” a rock and spent some time admiring the beautiful view.

Mangku Kodek
Mangku Kodek Waterfall

The last destination of that day was Mangku Sakti waterfall. From the three, this one was the biggest. But we did not stay long there because the sun’s was about to set. So we used all the time we had left to take pictures and just enjoy our surroundings 🙂

Mangku Sakti Waterfall
Mangku Sakti Waterfall

And that wraps our second day in Lombok. Our journey back felt like it happened in an instant, I don’t really remember. All I remember was feeling so tired (but happy!) I even slept in the car hehehe. To be honest, it really has been a while since I last spend time in the wild. It was really refreshing, especially that I am normally more of a beach than mountain person.

What about you, which one are you – beach or mountain person?

‘Til next posts! 😀

Mesmerised by Lombok – day one

Lombok is a small island in East Indonesia, next to Bali. Unlike Bali, it only became popular as a tourist destination around 5 years ago, mainly because of the much-talked-about Gilis. Yep, a lot of people mainly associate Lombok with the three Gilis – Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno. But you know what, there are just so many pretty things in Lombok island other than those three Gilis!

I went to Lombok last week in a group of four, my friends from work. We booked a private tour with a local instagrammer, Ingga – widely known as @debucung. He does private tours for a living and let me just say it straightforward… he will take you to AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL places! No joke. So what places did I went to? read along and follow my journey! 🙂

Day one 

We flew Batik Air from Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta to Lombok international Airport. I remember it was rather hard to fly to Lombok, around 5 years ago when my friends first went to the Gilis – they had to transit in Bali first. But worry not, nowadays it’s getting easier to fly to Lombok from Jakarta (and I believe from other cities too?).

We arrived around noon and met Ingga – our trip planner straightaway. He then took us for lunch and went straight to our first destination. It was beach day today! First stop was Mawun beach in south of Lombok.

Mawun Beach Lombok
Mawun Beach Lombok

It was love at first sight. Though it is not too big, but it has white sands, clear sea, plus amazing hills in its surroundings. Yes, we went there during dry season, so the hills were not green… but imagine if we came around April, it must be even more beautiful! It’s not crowded too, there were only several foreigners and although there are some food stalls/vendors but I still found it serene. Too bad I did not jump into the water because I haven’t got my swimsuit and all that ready since I just arrived from the airport. Hmph. Lesson learned, always keep your beach wear handy for places like these!

Second stop was nearby Selong Belanak beach.

Selong Belanak Beach
Selong Belanak Beach

Selong Belanak is as pretty as Mawun, but less crowded. There were barely anyone except us and few locals there. We did not stay long there, but I surely spent enough time to capture some images, and just enjoyed the stellar view. It was such a refreshment for my eyes!

From Selong Belanak we went to Semeti Beach and Mawi Beach in Central Lombok, which happens to be located next to each other. Semeti beach is not as famous as the first two, there is no Trip Advisor page about it yet! It took us over 30 minutes drive from Selong Belanak to get to the area,which was rather deserted and it made me feel like we were in the middle of nowhere! The road was not smooth either, but the view was really pretty ..

Road to Semeti and Mawi
Road to Semeti and Mawi

Compared to the first two beaches, Semeti to me was more of an ‘adventure’ beach rather than a leisure one. why? because we climbed these rocks!

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Semeti Rocks

The rocks were hard for me to climb because, well, it has been awhile since I last been outdoor! 😦 I haven’t been very active nowadays and to be honest I didn’t expect that kind of “trail” to climb. But seeing that my friends started to climb already motivated me… until I managed to make it to the top! YEAH! I got a wee bit emotional up there because the view was spectacular!

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Made it to the top! 😀
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Locals collecting rocks @ Semeti

After Semeti, we went to its neighbour – Mawi, which was also our last destination for the day. Similar to Semeti, Mawi beach also does not have sandy beach, instead the beach is full of rocks. During broad daylight it may not look as pretty as the other beaches I’ve been that day…

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Mawi Beach

But it’s a complete different story during sunset! It was rather cloudy so we did not get that spectacular orange, but still.. the view was quite something :’)

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Sunset @ Mawi Beach

So that concludes my first day in Lombok. Afterwards we went for dinner and then to our hotel in Mataram area.

I actually wanted to write all of my stories in one post but here I am just finishing day one with over 700 word count already.. hahaha. So I guess I’m going to separate the stories in several posts. I think day two will need a separate post for sure as we went up north to the villages underneath Mt.Rinjani!

So for now, here’s a sneak peek of my day two adventure.. until then! x

Hello from Sembalun Village!
Hello from Sembalun Village!

22 hours in Padang!

Last weekend I went to Padang – West Sumatra for a friend’s wedding with some friends. It was my first time and albeit the short time (only 22 hours!), I really enjoyed it.

I was supposed to stay longer though (not that long, but at least passed the 24 hours mark), but I missed my flight at Saturday morning and then got transferred to a later flight on the afternoon. That flight then got delayed, so I arrived in Padang at 4PM on Saturday.

My friends and I went straight to Lamun Ombak – a local restaurant serving none other than the super delicious Padang Food!

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Padang food fiesta!

It’s a common destination for those just arrived in Padang as the location is nearby the airport. Such a perfect welcome after our delayed flight! The food was delicious but it was a bit disappointing that they don’t serve Soto Padang – my favorite kind of Padang Food.

After getting our stomach full, we had a bit of time to kill before we were scheduled to meet our friend the groom. Our driver took us to Air Manis Beach – a nearby beach, famous as a surfing spot and also the legend of Malin Kundang. There’s a rock formation on the beach which is told to be the him and the remains of his ship.

Malin Kundang
Malin Kundang Rocks

The beach is supposedly pretty – to get there you would have to drive pass a hill first, which also gives you a nice experience. It’s around 30 minutes from Padang’s city centre. BUT, it is VERY dirty. I was heartbroken to see the dirty beach. There were trash all over the place, and no facilities at all. The Malin Kundang rocks is also poorly maintained, which is such a shame. I really really really wish that the government would take action to restore Indonesia’s nature spots.

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Air Manis Beach, pretty but so dirty 😦

From there, we went to our hotel, checked in and had dinner with the groom and our friends. We had Martabak in Malabar Bofet & Restoran. It was one of the best Martabak I’ve had! Really satisfying. Then we went back to the hotel because the groom (obviously) needs to rest 🙂 The rest of us decided to hang out at a nearby cafe and ended up staying until 1AM, then had Soto Padang (finally!) at a nearby food stall before finally getting some rest…

The next day was the wedding day – we started the day early despite the lack of sleep, and had breakfast with the groom and his family, and his other friends in the hotel’s restaurant. Then we went to the convention centre where the ceremony was held to witness the wedding ceremony. The ceremony was finished at around 10 AM and there was an hour break before the wedding reception started at 11 AM. I stayed there until 12 PM and rushed to the airport to catch my 14.20 PM flight.

Minang Wedding
Minang Wedding!

So that’s how I spent 22 hours in Padang. Short but surely eventful 🙂 I’m happy that I was able to witness a traditional Minang wedding and had (a glimpse) of delicious Padang Food! Perhaps I’ll be back and stay longer some time.

Those Island Days

I’ve heard about Derawan Islands quite a lot before I finally paid a visit. The islands – located in North Kalimantan – has been frequently reviewed on magazines and travel blogs, but I kind of hesitated to go because I read that it’s still quite hard to reach – you’d have to change several methods of transportation to get to the islands. So the trip stayed in my plans almost forever, I kept talking about wanting to go, but never actually went… until last month.  Spoke to a couple of friends and gathered a group of 8 and then we registered ourselves to a travel group, called Kakaban Trip.

With Kakaban Trip, we had to pay IDR 5,600,000 for a 4 day trip, which I think is a pretty good deal considering that all expenses were covered – only exclude airport tax (IDR 40,000) and snorkeling gear rental (IDR 50,000 a day). Plus, they accept installment if you book in advance! (do check again though, price might differ since my visit..)

So we went on a Thursday morning, took the earliest flight from Jakarta to Tarakan. From Tarakan, we then had to take a speedboat for 3 hours (!!!) to finally reach Maratua Island, where our villa was located. Though it was realllly tiring but when we reached Maratua on the afternoon, I suddenly forgot that I was tired because of this view!

Maratua Paradise Resort
Maratua Paradise Resort
Maratua
Maratua Island
Maratua Paradise Resort
View from our beach cottage

Because it’s almost sunset when we arrived, there was not many things to do except settling in to our lovely beach cottages, catching sunset, had some dinner and went to the bed early… because a lot of things were waiting for us the next day.

One of the best sunsets that I've seen!
One of the best sunsets that I’ve seen!

The next day, we woke up at 4, went to catch sunrise on the other side of the island, went back to the villa for breakfast and then left for island hopping! You see, Derawan Islands has a lot of islands, some big ones including Maratua. The smaller ones don’t have villas/resorts, but have beautiful snorkeling/diving spots.

First stop was Derawan Island. As predicted, this is the main island – where there are more resorts (there’s only one resort in Maratua), a lot of homestays, small restaurants, bike rentals, etc. Basically, there’s life in Derawan island. BUT… when there’s life, there’s also… trash. Junk. So disappointing, because the snorkeling spots are not that clean anymore. I spotted a big turtle AND a manta ray while I was snorkeling, so that made me very happy though. Then we went to other smaller islands and did snorkeling again. The experience was waaay better than snorkeling in Derawan Islands, the sea was way more clearer, coral reef were a lot prettier, and the beach, AAAK i lost words. Here are some pictures for your eyes to see 🙂

Derawan Islands
Bluest blue!
Derawan Islands
My personal favorite – Gusung Island!
White sands, clear sea, blue sky!
White sands, clear sea, blue sky!

On our third day, we went island hopping to the smaller islands. I don’t remember all the names, but one that really caught my attention was Kakaban Island. I visited two parts of the island –  where there’s a big lake full of sting-less jelly fish (you can swim with them!), and another one to see a pretty lagoon. We swam with the jelly fish, and spent some time in the lagoon. Interesting fact, we had to do some caving to get out of the lagoon. Definitely once in a lifetime experience!

Kakaban Lake
On our way to Kakaban Lake
Jellyfish
I swam with the jellyfish!
Kakaban Lagoon
Kakaban Lagoon

After island hopping, snorkeling, and all the fun times in the islands, it was time to go home. We left the island the Sunday afternoon, went on another 3 hours speedboat ride (!!!), spent some time in Tarakan before finally going back to Jakarta. I really really looooove Derawan Islands, definitely worth the long journey and even the sunburn! :p oh, btw.. Do browse #thisisderawan on instagram to see more pics from me and my friends!

P.S: I would gladly recommend Kakaban Trip if you want to save the hassle in planning, because they will arrange everything for you. It may be a little bit more expensive, but saves you a lot of trouble. But, if you prefer to plan your own trip, i would say to take out Derawan Island from your itinerary and focus on the smaller islands like Maratua or Kakaban instead. Enjoy! 🙂