Bank of China Tower yang Gagah dan Starbucks Si Penyelamat Muka

“Kopi pahit tiba-tiba menjadi manis….Duh, indahnya”.

Setelah 1,5 jam menikmati The Hong Kong Observation Wheel dan AIA Vitality Park di sekitar Central Ferry Pier, akhirnya Aku mulai menyeberangi Connaught Road Central menuju Bank of China Tower (BOC Tower).

Lancarnya Connaught Road Central.

Tak sulit menemukan tower kenamaan tersebut karena dari jauh pun gedung dengan frame segitiga yang khas itu sudah kelihatan. Kan bangunan tertinggi ke-empat di Hong Kong.

Yuk Kita masuk ke BOC Tower.

Walah….Kok yang keluar masuk bangunan itu berparas tampan, cantik, modis dengan jas berdasi dan bergaya metrosexual….Aku sejenak berhenti ragu dan mengamati pintu utama gedung dari kejauhan. Buseettt….kagak ada satupun tampang backpacker atau turis yang masuk kedalamnya.

Raguuuu….Maluuuu….Deg-degaaaan

Masuk gak ya?….

Masuk ah….Melangkah maju.

Eh ga jadi dink….stop balik badan.

Pergi ah….Mulai melangkah untuk menjauh.

Eh ntar….Berhenti melangkah….Nunduk mikir….Garuk-garuk pala #terkesandramatis.

Yah cemen banget Lo, Don….Jauh-jauh kemari, nyampai tujuan malah kabur….Malu tuh ama jargon”, hati berbisik ke otak.

Malu bro….Kaos kucel, celana dekil gak ganti 4 hari, sepatu murahan ala trotoar Cijantung, mana pangkal shoulder strap tasku sobek lagi….Kirain akan banyak turis disitu….Ternyata kagak”, otakku membela.

Iye sih Don….Apa kita langsung ke Victoria Park aja?….Kan banyak tetangga kita ngumpul disana”, hati confirm mengalah.

Nah bener kan, apa guwe bilang….Yuk lah ke Victoria Park, mumpung belum sore….Nggak usah ngoyo gitu”, otak mulai bersekutu dengan hati.

Akhirnya,

Guwe kan salesman, masak iya kemaluan masih dibawa-bawa”, mulutku mulai menyingkirkan hati dan otakku.

Orang-orang sipit berdasi dan beberapa ekspatriat berambut pirang menatapku aneh ketika memasuki pintu gedung. Senyum semanis mungkin, berharap ada yang tertarik dengan kulit hitam eksotisku….Hahaha.

Tes….Tes….Latihan senyum sebelum masuk. Pintu disebelah kananku.

—-****—-

Beberapa langkah memasuki gedung, Aku berhenti dan menatap seisi ruangan….Sok PeDe….Aku mencari letak front desk.

Yes…Itu, di bagian tengah ruangan.

Aku : “Mbak boleh nanya ngga?”….Eh, salah “Excuse me Ms, Can I get information about observation deck on 43th floor?”.

Si Mbak : Aduh tersenyum manis beud, “Hai Sir, our observation deck had closed

Aku : “Since when, Ms?”, english ngawur yang penting doi ngerti deh.

Si Mbak : “It closed since May 2015, Sir”.

Aku : “Oh Okay, Thanks you Ms”.

Si Mbak : “You are welcome Sir. Happy journey in Hong Kong. Where are you come from?“.

Aku : “I’m from Indonesia. Again, thank you for your kindness”……”Can me know where do you stay in Hong Kong?, I want to meet your parent”. #fiksibeud

Gagal tapi merasa puas mengalahkan ketakutan diri, Aku berbalik badan untuk keluar gedung.

Ba….Tiba….

Jegeeeerrrrrrrrrr……..keclaaappp keclaaaappppp……..jedaaarrrr (Jessica Iskandar).

Hujan euy……duhhhh…..kudu kumaha?.

Pegawai kantoran itu pada masuk kembali ke dalam lobby. Banyangin, satu setelan pakaian backpacker di tengah banyaknya setelan jas berdasi….Dasar gembel.

—-****—-

Okay…Okay……Aku kembali mengamati sekitar.

Ahhhhaaaaa…….Itu, Starbucks di ujung kiri ruangan. Dengan pedenya Aku masuk ke starbucks. #ingatdompeteuy

Emang lo aje yang punya duit”, Gumamku angkuh. (tar malam ga makan dunk guwe).

Ada suara di belakangku….

Bule Cantik: “Hello, do you queueing?”.

Aku : “Oh No, I just seeing the menu. You can queue first”, Busettt…..Guwe kelamaan mikir cari harga kopi termurah di depan kasir.

Bule Cantik: “Oh thank you, handsome”.

Aku : “You are welcome, sweety”.

Akhirnya pesan long black coffee seharga Rp. 26.000.

Pait ih….Telen sonoh……Gaya sih.

Duduk di deretan bangku kosong aja supaya orang lain ga risih dengan keberadaanku.

Kursi semakin penuh karena orang lain pun akhirnya pada ngopi menunggu hujan berhenti. Dan rezeqi itu pun datang.

Kopi pahit tiba-tiba menjadi manis…kek ditabur gula 5 sendok. Lah iya ada Dia didepanku…….

Seruput pelan-pelan aja Don”, Setan mulai berbisik.

Satu seruput…..ngelirik……sruput lagi….ngelirik lagi.

Daripada hanya terpana mending guwe nanya deh

Aku : “Hi, Ms….Do you know WiFi password here?”

Si Cantik: “I’m sorry, I’m using my own Wifi”, sambil tersenyum.

Aku : Pukulan telak si tampang gratisan….”Oh Ok, Thank you Ms”.

Tak lagi ngelirik dan tak lagi bertanya. Pura-pura menikmati kopi yang sebetulnya pait warbiasah….#sambilsiul.

Petualangan konyolku di BOC Tower berakhir dengan beberapa hook dan uppercut yang cukup telak….Menyedihkan.

Hujan telah reda….Saatnya menuju Victoria Park. Aku keluar gedung menerjang gerimis lembut yang memapar muka.

Yuk, naik Ding Ding Tram !.

Scoot Air TR 457 from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (KUL-SIN)

SCOOT AIR….Low Cost Carrier (LCC) from Singapore, which its stocks are owned by Singapore Airlines.

Scoot Air TR457 flight path. Source from https://flightaware.com

Scoot is 22nd airlines which I have ever used. Through flight number TR 457 on regular route Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Singapore (SIN), I firstly used Scoot Air service on March 31st, 2018. On that time, I boarded an Airbus A320 aircraft with 168 passengers in capacity.

Even though I ever used Tiger Mandala Airlines on November 26th, 2013 while heading to Bangkok and Tiger Air on January 11st, 2015 when I returned from Vietnam. Now the two airlines have merged into Scoot Air.

Look that ! Tiger Air identity in Scoot Air TR 457 plane.

Ambiguity of terminal where I would depart (whether from KLIA terminal 1 or KLIA terminal 2) made me a little nervous because departure list usually publishes 2 hours before flight. And of course, it takes time to move from KLIA2 to KLIA.

For international flights, I always start towards airport on 4 hours before flight time. So I left Westree Hotel on 05:30 and rushed to Skybus/Aerobus shelter which located in KL Sentral. Because distance from hotel to shelter is only 40 m, I only needed to walk for 3 minutes towards shelter.

Indian descent hotel security sharply watched me in inner door of lobby….Because I stood for a long time in middle of lobby door….I was seriously watching around….So quiet, I had to make sure that there wasn’t suspicious thing along road which I would pass towards KL Sentral.

Yesss….There aren’t any people on road….Fast walking. Like an racewalking athlete, I started to stay away from hotel. I arrived in shelter when bus was ready to leave.

With USD 3.1, I arrived at KLIA2 on 6:30. I immediately headed to information center to ask about terminal where TR457 would take off. On early morning, I disturbed information center officer with some questions because departure board didn’t display yet an information about TR457, so She had to pull keyboard and searching information for me….very kindly officer.

God…..my eyes glared while chewing Nasi Lemak (original food from Malaysia) with fried egg in corner of NZ Curry House….Look like a goat which was ruminating. It was a sign that I wasn’t ready to get early breakfast.

Yes, there wasn’t other choice, it was better to have breakfast in Indian restaurant with cheapest price before heading to 3rd floor for check-in, immigration and departure processes.

Departure Board in Departure Hall
Information Centre in Departure Hall
Departure Hall Area
Check-in counter no Z2-Z3 for Scoot Air TR457.
After passing immigration counter, I headed to waiting room at gate L3.

I entered waiting room on 08:05. In boredom of waiting, Vietnamese came to me and ask something:

Vietnamese: “Hi, Can you explain to me about my cigarette (while showing a pack of cigarettes which have been smoked two stumps). Can I bring it when entering Singapore?

Me : “Do you bring another one  or just this opened pack?. If you just bring it, you can savely entering Singapore.

Vietnamese: “No, I just bring it. So it’s savely. Thanks you.

Me: “You are welcome”.

Waiting room in front of gate L3.
After waiting for 20 minutes, finally boarding process begins.
Where was seat 14D?

Scoot Air is identical with yellow. The charm of young air crews was very fresh when their appeaybrance is clad in yeloow t-shirt and shallow.

Fly over Malacca Strait
The sky is really clear, very comfort to fly without turbulence.

After fllying about 1 hour and 15 minutes, I landed at Changi International Airport Terminal 2. Trying to leave Changi as soon as possible to go to Greendili Backpackers Hostel in Race Course Road and then ready to explore Singapore for 7th time.

Searching MRT map before entering Changi International Airport immigration counter.
Catch the MRT ! towards downtown.

Let’s go to Mustafa Center for lunch before exploring.

10 Destinasi Wisata Hong Kong dalam 48 Jam

Hong Kong merupakan daerah admistrasi khusus Republik Rakyat China yang menjadi wilayah pertama di Asia Timur yang Kukunjungi. Aku mengunjunginya pada tahun 2016.

Perasaanku waktu itu?….Tak terkatakan, pertama kali keluar dari Asia Tenggara adalah pencapaian prestisiusku kala itu.

Kenapa begitu?….Terbang ke Hong Kong sesegera mungkin sejak menjadi traveler pada 2011 adalah perkara mudah. Tapi bukan itu esensinya, Aku ini kan traveler penyisir yang mendatangi satu persatu kawasan dengan urut dan detail (tuh kan, Kamu jadi tahu kebiasaan anehku yang lain….orang gelo guwe mah, jangan ditiru!….Hahaha). Jadi begini….

Sebelum menuntaskan eksplorasi Asia Tenggara maka Kupastikan Aku tak akan menuju Asia Timur.

Sebelum menuntaskan eksplorasi Asia Timur maka Aku tak akan pergi ke Asia Selatan.

Sama….Sebelum tuntas Asia Selatan, Aku tak akan menginjak Timur Tengah.

Udah ye….segini dulu, karena Aku baru akan menuntaskan Timur Tengah….Jangan suruh nulis about Eropa!….Guwe belum punya bahan….Hahaha.

—-****—-

Yuk kembali ke Hong Kong. Oh ya, tulisan terakhirku tentang Hong Kong di blog ini ada di link berikut:

https://travelingpersecond.com/2018/02/19/bigbuddha-dan-disneyland-hong-kong/

Nah, kali ini Aku akan menceritakan apa saja yang Kukunjungi selama di Hong Kong. Sedangkan kejadian-kejadian unik akan Kuceritakan detail satu-persatu setelah artikel ini ya….

Inilah sepuluh destinasi utama yang Kukunjungi:

  1. Hong Kong International Airport.

Hari pertama pukul 07:13

Tahu kan, Agustus lalu Hong Kong International Airport lumpuh total karena di duduki massa pro-demokrasi yang menolak RUU Ektradisi Hong Kong.

Ketika lihat TV, Aku jadi teringat kala mendarat di bandara ini pada 4 Januari 2016. Ingatanku masih kuat, waktu itu tanpa mandi selama 24 jam, Aku menaiki Cebu Pacific bernomor penerbangan 5J 108 dari Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila.

Lihat tampangku…Percaya kan ga mandi selama 24 jam?.

Lebih percaya lagi ga? tas seuprit itu adalah satu-satunya backpack yang kubawa klayapan ke Manila-Hong Kong-Macao-Shenzen selama 10 hari. Kayak main ke Depok aja kan?….Hahaha.

2. Tian Tan Buddha

Hari pertama pukul 10:13

Dari airport, Aku tak lantas menuju hostel….emang piknik-ers?. Aku bergerak menuju Lantau Island (Yang perlu Kamu tahu bahwa Hong Kong terdiri dari 3 pulau utama yaitu Lantau, Kowloon dan Hong Kong).

Naik double decker bus S56 menuju Tung Chung Station dan dilanjutkan dengan bus no 23 menuju Tian Tan Buddha. `

Kalau ke Hong Kong, Kamu wajib kesini ya. Karena ini adalah patung perunggu terbesar di dunia dengan tinggi 34 meter dan berwujud Buddha duduk. Dibangun 26 tahun silam sebagai pusat kegiatan Buddhisme di Hong Kong.

Gak mandi….tetep aja guanteng….Njiir, pede beud.

3. Hong Kong Disneyland

Hari pertama pukul 13:37

Jangan buru-buru berpindah dari Lantau Island, dalam jarak 33 km dan waktu tempuh 35 menit, Kamu bisa mengunjungi Hong Kong Disneyland.

Demikian pula diriku, meninggalkan Tian Tan Buddha menuju Tung Chung Station kembali kemudian naik MTR (Mass Transit Railway) Tung Chung Line dan berganti dengan MTR Disneyland Resort Line di Sunny Bay Station untuk mencapai tujuan.

Dibuka pada tahun 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland adalah theme park terbesar di Hong Kong. Siapkan saja Rp. 1.000.000 untuk masuk kedalamnya.

Aduh….udel.

4. Kowloon Walled City Park

Hari Pertama jam 18:37

Sepulang dari Hong Kong Disneyland, Aku menyelesaikan proses check-in di Hong Kong Taiwan Hotel yang terletak di Chungking Mansions Building lantai 3. Hotel seharga Rp 264.000 per malam itu terletak di Nathan Road 36-44.

Akhirnya menemukan kedai makanan halal milik warga Hong Kong keturunan India di lantai 1. Selepas lunch yang sangat terlambat itu, Aku menuju Kowloon Walled City Park yang dibangun di daerah bekas pemukiman padat penduduk dengan kriminalitas yang susah diberantas oleh kepolisian Hong Kong.

Bertolak Tsim Sha Tsui Station menuju Lok Fu Station. Dari stasiun ini, hanya perlu berjalan kaki sejauh 1 km menuju Kowloon Walled City Park menyusuri Junction Road dengan waktu tempuh 15 menit.

Taman cukup gelap di malam hari.

5. Ladies Market

Hari Pertama jam 20:15.

Dari Lok Fu Station, Aku menuju Mong Kok Station dengan tariff Rp. 9.000

Ladies Market yang terletak di Tung Choi Street merupakan tempat berbelanja souvenir terkenal di Hong Kong. Kamu yang jago menawar barang bolehlah berbelanja ke sini. Aku?….kagaklah, cuma lihat-lihat aja.

Jam operasioal Ladies Market: 11:00 – 23:30.

6. Avenue of the Stars

Hari kedua jam 09:45

Avenue of the stars adalah plaza jembatan sepanjang 400 meter di sisi utara Victoria Harbour yang dibuat mirip “Walk of Fame” nya Hollywood, dibangun untuk merayakan suksesnya Industri Perfilman Hong Kong. Dihiasi oleh patung para artis dan direktur film terkenal Hong Kong, cetakan telapak tangan (handprints) mereka serta patung-patung yang menggambarkan aktivitas pembuatan film di Hong Kong.

Saat Aku tiba di Hong Kong, Avenue of the Stars sedang mengalami renovasi sehingga semua patung diangkut dan dipamerkan di sebuah taman yang diberi nama Garden of Stars di bilangan Salisbury Road.

Karena renovasi sudah selesai saat ini, maka semua patung dan handprints sudah dipindahkan kembali ke tepian Victoria Harbour dan tentu penampakan lokasinya sudah lebih baik lagi.

Cukup berjalan kaki untuk dari hotel tempatku menginap untuk menuju Garden of Stars.

Ciaaaaaatttt…..hazedigggg.

7. The Hong Kong Observation Wheel dan AIA Vitality Park.

Hari kedua pukul 11:20

Terletak di depan Central Ferry Pier di Hong Kong Island. Ferris wheel setinggi 60 meter ini memiliki 42 gondola sebagai media observasi Hong Kong dari ketinggian. Cukup merogoh kocek Rp 40.000 untuk menaikinya.

Sedangkan AIA Vitality Park berada tepat di bawahnya. Taman ini biasa digunakan untuk olah raga, konser dan festival. Saat Aku kesana memang sedang ada festival untuk menyambut Natal dan Tahun Baru 2018 di taman ini.

8. Bank of China Tower

Hari kedua pukul 12:45.

Bank of China Tower adalah landmark terkenal di Hong Kong Island. Saking terkenalnya sering dicetak sebagai souvenir yang dijual di seantero Hong Kong.

BOC Tower ini terletak Garden Road dan merupakan kantor pusat Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited. Dengan tinggi 367 meter menjadikannya sebagai bangunan tertinggi keempat di Hong Kong.

Di lantai 43 memiliki observation deck yang awalnya dibuka untuk turis sehingga bisa melihat seisi kota dari atas. Tetapi sayangnya, saat Aku tiba disana fasilitas ini sudah ditutup untuk umum. Beuh….nasib guwe kagak mujur emang.

Trus apa yang kulakukan di tower itu selama 2 jam an?….Baca tulisan setelah ini ya!….hahaha

Itu tuh towernya….khas berkerangka segitiga.

9. Wan Chai District

Hari kedua pukul 17:30

Hadeuh…..ini mah daerah prostitusi…..dasar keparat kamu, Donny!….Hahaha.

Eittt, jangan salah ya….Wan Chai adalah salah satu backpacker area di Hong Kong Island. Guwe baik kan…. ga nginep dimari (hotelku kan di Kowloon Island)….atut….hohoho.

Ya gimana lagi….maksud hati menuju Victoria Park yang menjadi tempat berkumpulnya para TKI….Tampang guwe kan mirip TKI tuh….siapa tahu ada yang mau kasih makanan gratis buat jatah dinner guwe…..#ngarep

Gue kebablasan pas naik Ding Ding Tram….karena keburu hujan lebat dan gak mungkin nyari ntuh taman, maka mampir lah sebentar di pusat Wan Chai District yang harga makanannya murah-murah….Aku keburu dilanda kelaparan.

Bener ternyata….banyak pub-pub dengan wanita-wanita super sexy yang di gandeng para bule….lah guwe, gandengan ama sape?….hahaha.

Suasana di Henessy Road, Wan Chai District

10. Symphony of Lights

Hari kedua pukul 19:55

Symponhy of Lights adalah pertunjukan cahaya dan suara yang pancarkan dari 42 gedung pencakar langit di seberang Victoria Harbour. Sepulang dari Wan Chai District, Aku sempatkan mampir disini sebelum balik ke hotel. Saat itu adalah malam terakhirku di Hong Kong karena keesokan harinya Aku akan berlayar ke Macao.

Hayo….Siapa yang sudah pernah backpacker ke Hong Kong….Ngacung!.

Traveling….When Hobby Turns into Passion

Changing paradigm

Workaholic has become an inseparable character from my personality all this time. In the beginning, “home-office-home” was activity formula which I always did every day. The formula was very effective to bring me into confort zone with ownership of house, car and some investment assets.

Increasingly inevitable, finally boredom struck. For several years, I felt that something was lacking in my achievement. Certainly not about money, but I was never able to ignite my eternal fire in passion bottom.

Then a new thing arrived …

Singapore became the first igniter of passion fire in my life. Starting from a trip was towards there with 18 colleagues six years ago, I finally brought home an impression. It wasn’t an impression about modernity of Singapore, but an impression about feshness of mind and changes in perspective about income allocation. It is actually that investment is not always about goods, but an experience investment must get an equally important in portion.

Singapore changes paradigm.

Regular Trip

The paradigm shift made me have a new behavior amid busy activities in capital city. I began to allocate travel budget as a type of investment. Every 10-15% of income, I use to travel both domestically and abroad.

At every beginning of year, I always set a traveling agenda in one calendar year. The density of work makes me have to be smart in managing leave, using national holidays, and deciding a right time to travel.

In conclusion, traveling experiences which I have done for six years makes me have three traveling categories with a very tight schedule, namely:

  1. Long traveling in 14-16 days duration on year-end holidays.
  2. Short traveling in 3-4 days duration on long weekend holidays.
  3. Fast traveling in 1-2 days duration on extend vacation.
  4. Bonus traveling. This is a bonus if my job reaches a certain achievement.
Visiting Toba lake during year-end holiday.
Marina Beach in Semarang during long weekend holiday.
“Singapore of Java Cruise” in Cilacap when extend vacation.
Bonus traveling to Belitung.

The tight traveling schedule also has a big role in changing my basic character to be more extrovert and easy going. I am aware that whether there are or aren’t travelmate in journeys, I must continue to carry out my every travel plan. Therefore, I need two characters above to always be consistent in carrying out each of my plans.

Managing Trip

What will you do as an employee when your work time is as tight as your travel plans?

In early phase of my journey with a mediocre income, for budget saving, I took an initiative to arrange all my own travel plans. Limited time requires me to be proficient in digital mastery.

How do I do it?

Like this, guys….

If buses, trains and ferries are transportation types with ticket fares which tend to be stable, then planes are transportation types with abundant promo tickets. No doubt, I am a cyber surfer who is persistent in hunting for cheap tickets. And of course, I memorized all Low Cost Carrier (LCC) airlines throughout Asia. To ensure the best ticket prices, I always prepare tickets on a year before departure date. Visiting many LCC airline website and monitoring every promo on several domestic and foreign Online Travel Agents (OTA) became my habit on every weekends. It only needs a tool so I can quickly execute every available cheap ticket opportunity. The tool is a credit card. No need to worry about having a credit card as long as you are obedient in managing your income. Through this ticket search process, I finally had tasted 24 airlines throughout my travels.

Using Citilink airline when traveling to Solo.
Air Asia was very instrumental in helping my adventure around Asia.
Nok Air airline from Thailand while on vacation to Phuket.
Jet Airways even took me to India.

Then what about lodging?

Now I have reached a certain level in membership of the world’s largest travel e-commerce. At this level, I always get the best deals when looking for lodging by online. Besides being cheap, I also always pay attention about flexibility in order canceling process on a few days before D-day, this is important to open opportunities to get the best hotel until D-day of arrival. For information that 80% of my choice are dormitories. Besides in cheap price, dormitory gave me opportunities to expand my networking among fellow tourists from various regions in Indonesia and even the world.

Sleep & Sleep Guesthouse’s dormitory in Semarang has cost about USD 3 per night.

It’s time for me to talks about itinerary. Beside in purchasing ticket and hotel, budget saving can be did by making itinerary independently. If you are a fresh graduate and entering early days of work, persistence in making an itinerary can save your budget when you are a travel addict. I independently always set agenda which I will do when traveling, costing in each agenda and how to reach destination where the agenda will be run. To be able to compile a good itinerary, of course I often browse about destination where I want to go. I will usually read other tourist’s travel stories or look for info in the official travel destination website or in related tourism institutions (both government or private).

Example of itinerary fragment which I made independently.

But along with tourism development, there are several tourist destinations where would be even more cheaper if it is visited through “open trip” tourism type. This tourism type is essentially visiting tourist attractions together in a group so it can reduce cost rather than it’s did alone. I was experienced many times in using “open trip” services to visit several destinations where I targeted.

Taking an open trip when traveling to Pahawang Island in Lampung.

Adventure Atmosphere

Preparation period and waiting period for each of travel agendas which I made will continuously create an adventure atmosphere in my life. And it was really fun and has a positive effect. I became a figure who is diligent in saving money for my travel needs. I am also a person who is always eager to work to guarantee my income.

Of course a lot of scorn when I started travel program. Many people consider that my trips wasted money because they think that refreshing doesn’t need to travel far and spend a lot of money.

Indeed for them who don’t understand how to arrange a trip, traveling is something expensive. But not with me, a consistency of running a traveling program during past 6 years has led me to set foot in 20 countries in Asia and 10 provinces in Indonesia.

After hearing my story, are you interested in traveling?

Hobby Turns into Passion

Success in visiting tourist destinations and impression which I gained during journey made me always excited in making trips on the following year. This routine seems to be addictive to me. There is a thing which feels lack when I didn’t travel within three months.

Then this traveling addiction has another impact. This impact became a very serious thing for me, because later on, I became a someone who was “ambitious” in traveling. Yeah right, I’m already in level which I’m habitual to setting total target of tourist destinations where I will visit it in a certain period of time.

Success in achieving numbers of personal target which I set each year finally creates passion. And finally I have decided traveling as a passion in my life.

Passion Creates Caring

There was a time when I was deadlocked at a tourist spot. This deadlock happened because of lacking informations which I got through browsing in internet. The example of a deadlock which I meant was like when I didn’t have enough information about what transportation which I should use towards Ipoh downtown from Amanjaya terminal in Malaysia.

T30a bus which I finally found in the midst of confusion when was heading to Ipoh downtown.

Then moment like that which made me inisiatively creates travel stories to be shared with other fellow tourists. Finally I decided to make a blog which contains my travel experiences. I hope through this blog, I can complement some missing information in traveling world so other tourists will be helped about pre-travel information when traveling to a destination where I’ve ever visited.

Blogging will be my next routine activity to documenting travel experiences and sharing interesting stories for other young people who have same passion as me.

Finally, be a young person who is rich in experience and brave to explore!

Come on traveling, friends!

Dibalik Penerbangan Air Asia QZ 206 Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur

Baru juga pulang dari ekspedisi ke Garut-Tasikmalaya-Sumedang , lelahnya berkelana seminggu di tiga kabupaten itu tak lantas membuat tubuh lelah. Boro-boro istirahat, Aku lebih memilih menuntaskan misiku menyelesaikan eksplorasi Asia Selatan dengan mengunjungi tiga negara tersisa….Bangladesh, Sri Lanka dan Maldives.

Tiket Air Asia yang kubeli seharga Rp 349.000 sejak 7 April 2018 mampu menjaga asaku dan dompetku untuk terus berkeliling dunia. Yes, Aku harus menjemput Malindo Air rute Kuala Lumpur-Dhaka di KLIA.

Sepanjang masa tunggu keberangkatan, banyak pertanyaan muncul dari teman-teman sekantor atau teman-teman lain diluar pekerjaan.

“Yeeee, jalan-jalan kok ke Bangladesh. Ga elit bingit”

“Lo mau liat apa sih Don di Bangladesh?”

“Tar lo pulang sakit loh, Don”

“Kurang kerjaan….mending ke Ancol guwe daripada ke Bangladesh”.

“Kenapa sih Don harus ke Bangladesh?”

Jawabku: “Ya suka-suka guwelah….duit-duit guwe…kaki juga kaki guwe”.

Eh gak gitu dink….kasar beud.

Hahaha….”Ya gimana pren, duitnya hanya mampu buat jalan dimari”….wkwkwk….Itu jawaban guwe ke mereka yeee.

Kan orang lain ga tau sih isi kepala guwe about traveling…..makin gila makin aseeeekkk…..makan aneh makin nagih…..hihihi.

—-****—-

Biasaaa….Nyegat DAMRI di Terminal Kampung Rambutan aja yang murah. Selain murah juga deket rumah bingit. Kupersiapkan Rp. 40.000 untuk membayar tarifnya dengan jam keberangkatan pukul 15:00. Perjalanan 1 jam 15 menit itu mengantarkanku tepat di Terminal 2F.

Melalui gate 5, Aku mulai memasuki pemeriksaan X-ray tahap pertama. Tak begitu mulus, backpack yang menjadi temanku satu-satunya terlihat dibolak-balik petugas AVSEC, dioles-oles menggunakan tissue basah lalu mengamatinya dengan seksama. Tak perlu khawatir….yang penting tak ada narkoba didadalamnya….hahaha. Kalaupun di tolak masuk, tenang brur….ini masih di kota sendiri. Tinggal balik lagi naik DAMRI….ya toh.

“Mbak, window seat donk !”, seruan memelasku kepada petugas check-in di konter Air Asia. Aduh, udah cantik baik pula, murah senyum…..eh emang tugasnye begonoh dink. “Ini mas”, sahutnya…..2D, yes gagal…..hahaha.

Yuk ngecap passport….geblek, padahal itu kan e-passport, tapi kebiasaannku mengecap passport menjadi tak peduli dengan adanya konter autogate.

Petugas Imigrasi  :  “Kemana?”

Aku                           : Sebutin aja detail satu-satu, supaya ga curiga kek waktu itu, “Penang, Dhaka, Colombo, Maldives pak. Transit Mumbai dan Singapore”. Njir perjalanan macam apa ituh….gile

Petugas Imigrasi  : “Backpacker?”

Aku                           : “Yoi pak”….eh salah, bukan begitu….”Betul pak”.

Petugas Imigrasi  : Lihat muka guwe, bolak-balik passport baru dan bekas guwe. Then….cekrek “hati-hati mas sendirian”.

Aku                           : “makasih pak….tentu saya akan hati-hati”.

Petugas                  : “Hebat nih si Mas”.

Cieeee….Guwe dipuji laki-laki….Alhamdulillah…..hahahaha. Pasti mikir guwe yang engga-engga….GUWE NORMAL KOK.

Kusempatkan shalat di ujung koridor sebelum masuk ke gate. Setelahnya, Aku memasuki pemeriksaan X-ray tahap kedua di depan gate D5….yesss, mulus.

Sedang asyik-asyiknya duduk membaca di sebelah charging station, datang sepasang perawakan Korea. Mengoprak-oprek lubang stop kontak yang sepertinya rusak.

Aku     :  “Hi, Sir. That’s broken. I had tried many times and failed”.

Dia       : “Oh yea….Why put it here if broken” pura-pura menendang pelan charging station sembari tersenyum.

Aku     : “Do you want go to South Korea?”.

Dia       : “Oh, Nup….I’m from California and will fly from KL”.

Aku     :  “Oh Nice”.

Dia       : “What are you doing here? “.

Aku     :  “My profession, your mean?”.

Dia       :  “yeaaa”

Aku     :  “Sales”.

Dia       :  “Good money?”

Aku     :  “If not good, I willn’t here to fly with you”.

Dia       :  “yea…yea…yea”, manggut-manggut sambil tersenyum menatapku.

Sepertinya pacarnya seorang travel vlogger. Ngoceh melulu dengan pedenya….hebat. Aku mana bisa kayak gitu. Lebih baik menulis daripada ngoceh terus macam Dia.

QZ 206 akhirnya merapat ke gate. Beuh….petualangan segera dimulai. Kehabisan air membuatku lari keluar untuk membeli mineral water. Dan sedikit mendapat peringatan dari petugas untuk segera kembali ke gate. Ok dah pak, daripada beli didalam pesawat, kan mahal.

Airbus A320-200 berkapasitas 186 penumpang.

Tepat jam 19:17, Aku mulai boarding.

Dibelakang cewek korean-american itu.

Penerbangan malam yang penuh turbulensi mengingat saat itu akhir Desember. Terlihat bapak setengah baya di sebelahku begitu tegang dan berpegangan erat pada armrest chair sepanjang perjalanan sementara Aku dan seorang perempuan muda yang mengapitnya hanya tersenyum kecut sambil menyembunyikan rasa was-was.

Kabin.

Karena pengetahuan terkiniku mengenai Ipoh dan Penang begitu minim, kuputuskan untuk menjelajah inflight magazine Travel360. Berharap menemukan informasi berharga mengenai pariwisata Ipoh dan Penang. Dan….yesss….Aku sungguh mendapatkannya.

Ipoh di inflight magazine Travel360.
Informasi mendasar tentang Penang.

QZ 206 bersiap mendarat. Tak bisa tidur selama perjalanan karena keasyikan membaca inflight magazine untuk mencari informasi. Kali ini petualangan transitku selama 5 hari di Malaysia bak bonek. Ngelayap tanpa bekal informasi yang cukup.

Bersiap-siap mendarat.

Itu bagasi buat apa ya? Perlengkapan keselamatan pernerbangan kali ya.

Begitu tiba di KLIA2 tentu fikiran yang langsung terbesit di benakku adalah cari free water station, makan malam, sembahyang, tiket bus ke Penang dan kemudian molorrrrrr.

Kamu harus menuju ke Transportation Hub di lantai 1 untuk mencari tempat makan murah. Oh ya…konter penjualan tiket bus juga ada disana

Yuks….siap-siap menuju Penang esok hari.

Backpacking to Magelang….Enjoying “Lima Gunung” Festival.

Magelang….a small town in Central Java Province, Indonesia which since Dutch colonial era was known as armed forces producer. But my arrival here was unrelated to military even though two members of my family were soldiers from Magelang barracks.

This time I had a opportunity to climb to east slope of Merapi mountain for enjoying the beauty of “Tutup Ngisor” village. A village where is famous for its efforts to preserve dance culture through a Padepokan Seni “Tjipta Boedaja” (in english: “Tjipta Boedaja” dance gallery) which was founded in 1937 ago.

And a main reason for my arrival there was the 18th “Lima Gunung” Festival (FLG XVIII). The festival which is able to attract my interest to heading there amid my dense work activities in capital city.

The festival is named “Lima Gunung” (in english: Five Mountains)…. Referring to five mountain names located around Magelang district i.e Merapi, Merbabu, Menoreh, Sumbing and Andong.

—****—

My journey to Magelang used a legendary bus service which had triumphed in year 1990-2000, namely PO Santoso. Old and “voiced” bus slowly but surely drove and dropped me to Magelang on cold Saturday morning (6/7/19).

The warmth of long black coffee in a cold morning disrupted my eyes to close and required me to accompany my morning until dawn coming.

A shadow of festival’s majesty continued to disrupt my concentration that morning. And after the dawn came, a brother-in-law’s white hatchback began to split green rice fields towards festival.

I have to be willing to lag one session, because this event has been started since Friday (7/7/19) afternoon. A road to Tutup Ngisor village that has been closed for several types of public transportation indicates that this festival will be attended by many visitors, and finally I had to park the car a little far from village gate.

A few steps later I arrived.

Java eagle as stage background. This bird is believed to give a sign when Merapi volcano will erupt.

My Whatsapp continued to actively reply some messages to find someone who had an important role in my presence at this festival. Our friendship in blogging world started since a year ago and finally we met here.

He is Yokhanan who give a big contribution in my arrival at festival this time. Finally, we can meet in an event after we each other just contact in blogging world for a long time….Thanks, “Brother” Yo.

—-****—-

In addition to local performers, the festival was also enlivened by performers from other countries. Likewise with visitors….international visitors were also coming….It was cool.

Kaori Okado from Japan performed “Gambir Anom” dance. She is a good Japanese dancer.
Well, this photo is deliberately displayed, it’s nothing…I just interest to see Putri who was very exotic….hahaha, it’s heard naughty.

FLG XVIII presented 79 performers, all performances were presented in 3 days duration (5-7th July 2019) with 20 minutes show time for each performance. Really massive agenda, visitors were required to be smart to choose performance which they wanted to see within timeframe which was prepared by committee.

“Barong Gunung” dance from Sanggar Rangkul Dulur (Lumajang, East Java Province)

This 18-year-old festival was also independently organized by “Lima Gunung” Community without sponsors. This is based on a commitment that community is trying to maintain art purity so willn’t be contaminated by commercial businesses.

“Gedruk Pangekes” dance from Sanggar Gaboet Wasesa (Magelang, Central Java province).

Carrying a theme of “Gunung Lumbung Budaya” (in english: “Mountain is Source of Culture”), shows that villages are main enclave of cultural guards amid swift influences of modernization. Villages are expected to be the guardian of diverse cultural originality which dance is one of them.

“Uni Ing Geprak” dance from Gramang Art Community (Special Province of Yogyakarta).

“Lima Gunung” festival is usually held close to Dieng Culture Festival. So these two events can be visited alternately if you want to feel how lively art parties in Java land.

“Subali Senopatya” dance by Culture Board of Bantul (Special Province of Yogyakarta).

FLG XVIII committee was organized on by millennials, this was very visible from many young faces of committee members, event concept was neatly arranged and brought an interesting theme. Stage design also looked very modern when night. Light shot towards stage wasn’t inferior to many performances in capital city.

“Brahmarupa” dance in collaboration with Kemlaka Sound of Archipelago and Pesona Nusantara Surakarta (Central Java Province).

FLG XVIII slipped a session i.e Culture Carnival of “Lima Gunung” Community around “Tutup Ngisor” village on third day of festival.

Culture Carnival of “Lima Gunung” Community preparation.

—-****—-

There are several other things that can be found during FLG XVIII. Visitors could enjoy it as an added bonus for their presence in “Tutup Ngisor” village.

Padepokan Tjipta Boedaja (“Tjipta Boedaja” Dance Gallery).

Almost all Tjipta Boedjaja’s art activities are did out in this gallery.

Gallery is often used for Wayang Menak show by villagers.

The Tomb of Roso Yoso Soedarmo.

Roso Yoso Soedarmo is a central figure in art development at “Tutup Ngisor” village. Padepokan Tjipta Boedaja was born as his initiation. Because of his pioneering work in art, “Tutup Ngisor” village has consistently produced artistic talents until now.

This is the tomb.

“Lumbung Karya” Art Exhibition

This art exhibition displayed various artworks in form of paintings, sculptures, dance costumes and masks.

Father and his son also took pictures in exhibition gallery.
It was good right….masks felt alive.
He was carving something in wood.

“Mangunsuko” Suspension Bridge.

During festival, MC always reminded visitors fo didn’t miss a view from Jokowi Bridge (the famous name of Mangunsuko Suspension Bridge). Hearing this repetitive emphasis, made me curious. And on my first day of arrival at “Tutup Ngisor” village, I immediately visited this bridge.

Like a suspension bridge in general….sway if we step on it….hahaha.
Enchanting mini waterfall.
Beware, don’t eat there… can be bitten by a tiger.

Transit House

Transit house is a term for a resident’s home which was voluntarily and unpaid used to stay for festival visitors. Strong spirit of mutual cooperation, making every village residents is very compact in competing to provide transit house during FLG XVIII.

Complete combination, visitors can also stay in tents in front of transit house.

Culinary

During my visitation in FLG XVIII, there were two culinary which have left an impression until today.

Nasi Lesah (“Lesah” Rice) is an Magelang’s original rice with a mixture of vegetable sprouts, vermicelli, sliced tofu, small pieces of beef, fried onions and celery. Then it was poured with soup of hot coconut milk…..ulala.

Eating Nasi Lesah for first time.

Wine Coffee….For me who is a beginner coffee fan, finding wine coffee was something special. “Kopi Tanpa Nama” Coffee Shop which was located near stage, provided a “Sindoro Wine Coffee” menu with a very pleasant wine aroma.

Wine coffee can also be called fermented coffee or coffee which undergoes 30 days fermentation process before it is roasted.

So … Want to go to “Lima Gunung” Festival in 2020?….Let’s go with me.

Mengenal Penang Sentral

Semakin banyaknya direct flight dari Jakarta menuju Penang, membuat para traveler lebih memilih untuk turun di Penang International Airport daripada harus bersusah payah melintasi daratan negeri jiran selama 6-8 jam dari ibukotanya.

Padahal jika Kamu mau saja bersabar untuk melakukan perjalanan darat tersebut maka memorimu akan terisi dengan pengalaman yang menarik dan disertai dengan pemandangan yang mempesona di sepanjang negara bagian Selangor dan Perak.

Lalu….Buat Kamu yang melakukan perjalanan darat menggunakan bus maka mayoritas bus akan berhenti di Penang Sentral yang merupakan gerbang darat wisata Pulau Penang.

Oleh karenanya….supaya Kamu tidak bingung dan bisa mendapatkan gambaran mengenai bentuk dan seluk beluk Penang Sentral, maka Kuhadirkan tulisan ini untuk Kalian.

Yessss….itulah penampakan Penang Sentral.

PENANG SENTRAL….Dibangun pada tahun 2018 sebagai main transportation hub milik Negara Bagian Penang. Penang Sentral secara strategis menggantikan peran Butterworth Bus Terminal dengan sistem integrasi yang luar biasa. Bisa Kamu bayangkan, bangunan besar itu mengintegrasikan terminal bus, stasiun kereta dan pelabuhan ferry dalam satu lokasi. Bangunan terintegrasi ketiga yang kukagumi di Malaysia setelah KL Sentral dan Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS).

Butterworth Bus Terminal sebelum Penang Sentral selesai dibangun.
Sumber: Travel-Penang-Malaysia.com
Pulau Penang dilihat dari Penang Sentral.

—–****—–

Inilah kisahku membedah Penang Sentral….

Jam 13:54, Aku sampai di Penang Sentral….ya iyalah, tentunya diturunkan di Drop Bay lantai 1.

Dan demi menghadirkan tulisan ini, Aku relakan diri menunda sejenak menuju ferry terminal yang bisa melabuhkanku di George Town si ibukota Negara Bagian Penang.

Selama 1 jam 20 menit, Aku akan mengeksplore Penang Sentral.

LANTAI 1

Bermula dari hall ini:

Kamu akan diturunkan di Drop Bay Area ketika tiba di Penang Sentral.

Secara umum lantai 1 ini digunakan untuk menurunkan dan menaikkan penumpang.

Ini adalah platform intercity/express bus area saat Aku meninggalkan Penang Sentral.

LANTAI 2

Yuk, Kita naik ke lantai 2. Ada apakah gerangan?

Begitu naik escalator, Kamu akan melihat sekilas luasnya lantai 2.

So….Apa yang kamu cari?

  1. Bus Ticketing Counter.

Konter penjualan tiket bus berada tepat dihadapanku setelah selesai menaiki escalator. Yang kulakukan saat itu adalah langsung membeli tiket bus untuk meninggalkan Penang dengan jadwal dua hari setelah kedatanganku di Penang. Keberadaan Self Ticketing KiosK yang menempel di salah satu pilar membuatku mengurungkan diri untuk bergegas ke konter. Lebih baik aku mengeksplore harga tiket bus termurah via mesin itu, karena banyak armada dengan tarif bervariasi menyediakan rute menuju Ipoh.

Akhirnya kugenggam lembaran tiket bus Perak Transit setelah memasukkan uang senilai Rp 70.000….Tiket bus di tangan, hati pun tenang.

Itu Departure Board Penang Sentral…. Self Ticketing Kiosk ada di pilar itu. Lihat ga?

2. Information Centre

Standar pertama ketika tiba di tempat asing adalah mengunjungi Information Centre untuk mendapatkan informasi sebanyak-banyaknya sebelum mengeksplorenya lebih dalam. Begitu pun Aku, menanyakan perihal pariwisata Penang, meminta brosur, mencari cara bagaimana meninggalkan kota dengan cara terbaik dan banyak hal lain yang kutanyakan ke petugas information centre.

Mudah kok menemukannya….tepat di depan Bus Ticketing Counter.

3. Ferry Terminal.

Berjalanlah membelakangi Bus Ticketing Counter maka setelah beberapa saat  Kamu akan menemukan linkway menuju Ferry Terminal. Terletak di sebelah kiri arah jalanmu maka akan terlihat dengan jelas direction sign menuju ke Ferry Terminal.

Linkway menuju Ferry Terminal.

Berjalanlah lurus maka dalam belasan langkah maka kamu akan menemukan Customer Service Centre yang menjual tiket ferry menuju George Town. Nama ferry terminalnya adalah Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim.

Murah kok….harga tiketnya Cuma Rp. 4.000. Satu tiket untuk pulang pergi

4. Shopping Counter.

Sebetulnya Shopping Counter lebih banyak berada di lantai 3. Aku tak sempat mengunjunginya karena sudah kesorean dan jika tak segera meninggalkan Penang Sentral maka eksplorasiku di Pulau Penang pasti akan terganggu.

Shopping Counter yang kutunjukkan ini hanya yang berada di lantai 2.

5. Eatery

Kedai penjual makanan ada di dekat linkway menuju Ferry Terminal. Sudah pasti dijamin kehalalannya dan harganya yang tergolong murah.

Iqbal’s Restaurant menjadi tempat makanku saat masuk dan keluar Penang
Cobain cuminya deh….maknyus

6. Stasiun Butterworth.

Satu moda transportasi lagi yang terintegrasi di Penang Sentral adalah kereta. Nah, stasiun keretanya bernama Stasiun Butterworth. Hanya saja bangunannya terletak terpisah dari bangunan utama Penang Sentral.

Untuk menemukan stasiun ini. Berjalanlah lurus melewati Bus Ticketing Counter di lantai 2, maka Kamu akan menemukan lift di ujung lantai. Kemudian turunlah ke lantai 1 melalui lift itu.

Lift diujung ruangan lantai 2.

Tak terlalu jauh setelah keluar dari lift di lantai 1 maka Kamu akan menemukan sebuah lorong dengan tanda KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) sebagai petunjuk menuju Stasiun Butterworth.

Penampakan depan lorong.

Setelah beberapa puluh meter menyusuri lorong maka Kamu akan menemukan bangunan berwarna putih yang tak lain adalah Stasiun Butterworth.

Maksud hati berburu tiket ETS (Electric Train Service) tapi ternyata sold out….ealah.

OKE…Cukup sekian ya. Aku sudah menjelaskan semua hasil eksplorasiku di Penang Sentral.

Jadi, akhirnya Kamu mau ke Penang lewat darat atau lewat udara nih?…….

Traveling to Kampung Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan.

My curiosity was paid off precisely when my first step down the bus in one of Bandar Seri Begawan Bus Terminal platforms. Unexpectedly, my journey around Southeast Asia took me to Hassanal Bolkiah’s land.

Unique….Terminal is on ground floor of Bumiputera Multi Storey Complex and Carpark.

A step later, I was already in “Afmal Restaurant” near bus terminal to enjoy a portion of “bakso” (Indonesian name of meatballs). Needed something fresh in my mouth to relieve tangling after an overnight stay without bathing in Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2). Freshness of “bakso” which I ordered became more meaningful when there was a little conversation with restaurant owner who come from Purworejo, Central Java, Indonesia….It means that He is from similar province with me in Indonesia.

After being full, I rushed to get out of terminal area through “Bebatik” alley to main road (the road name is Mc Arthur Street). Right on other side of Mc Arthur Street, you will find Brunei River which is very clean. And right in the middle of Brunei River, standing a famous village throughout Brunei. It’s called Kampung Ayer.

Every direction sign is always accompanied by an Arabic script.
Precisely on edge of Brunei River.

I always observed every motorboat which splitting Brunei River wide. There was no other way to get to Kampung Ayer, I had to ride that motorboats.

Rushing toward Brunei River edge, I waited a motorboat arrival which heading to small port in front of me. After leaning, that motorboat was immediately filled with 2 other tourists. This boat was very fast in moving and never waited long for get passengers in river edge.

A thing that you need to know is every Singapore Dollar can be used as payment tool in Brunei Darussalam with similar value with Brunei Dollar. So, 1 Brunei Dollar is same with 1 Singapore Dollar in value. But in many transactions, Brunei residents only accept payments in Singapore’s paper money and refusing Singapore Dollar coins. But in several transactions also, this coin can function….I hope you are lucky in using Singapore Dollar coins there….hahaha.

With a 1 coin of Singapore Dollar, I finally arrived in Kampung Ayer Cultural And Tourism Gallery. This gallery is located in front of village. Free entrance made me so happy when filling a guest book in reception desk. Warm greeting from a Malay-speaking receptionist made me feel like I was in my home.

That is Kampung Ayer Cultural And Tourism Gallery.
I got a Free Tourism Guiding Book.

Kampung Ayer itself was the center of Brunei’s government until end of 19th century. Therefore, The Brunei Sultan established his palace here. Another role as an important port in Brunei makes Kampung Ayer as the administrative center for commercial activities in Brunei. Every signing of important government agreements with other parties is done here.

The appeal of Kampung Ayer as government centre made 50% of Brunei’s residents live there in the 1900s.

Brunei “Keris” with 9 curves as a symbol of power.

At exit door, I began to be stunned with neat ranks of houses in Kampung Ayer. I didn’t waste my time then visiting the village. Residents friendliness made me reluctant to quickly leave Kampung Ayer.

Come on !….Go into that village !
Very kindly and funny student, they were in Malay school uniforms.
How can the water very clean like that?

But soonly, I realized that I should immediately look for lodging to stay that night. Online searching for lodging that I did was never got a result. It maybe happen because Brunei Darussalam tourism isn’t been famous in Southeast Asia region.

I decided to pull over by waiting for a motorboat in boat shelter. Didn’t wait a long time until a motorboat was picked me up. Together with a man and his son who are Kampung Ayer residents, I headed to edge of river. Looked like that man had an important agenda, it could be seen from his way in a very neat and smooth dressing.

He: “Where are you come from?” He firstly greeted me with a smile.

Me: “I’m from Indonesia, sir”. I gave a smile and I shook his hand.

He: “Which part of Indonesia?”

Me : “Jakarta, Sir”.

He: “What profession are you doing here?”

Me: “Oh I don’t work in Brunei, sir. I am just traveling now”.

He: “Brunei is very quiet. Why do you visit Brunei? “

Me: “Oh, Brunei is very religious, sir. I deliberately go to Brunei because I intend to travel around Southeast Asia. Glad to be in your country “.

He: “Wow, it’s good to go around Southeast Asia. You don’t need to pay the boat. I paid for you”, He gave 3 Brunei Dollars to motorboat driver.

Me: “Thank you, sir, nice to meet you,” I felt shy, even though I was very happy to ride a free boat.

A little conversation with a local before I finally leaned in river edge.

Boat shelter near Pasar Tamu Kianggeh.

Let’s….Looking for dormitory!

Bus dari Singapura ke Johor Bahru

Sepandai-pandai tupai melompat akhirnya jatuh juga….Dasar Donny si tupai.

Yesss….malam itu guwe di usir dari terminal 2 Changi International Airport….Aseeeeekkkkkkkk….pasport ditandai….yuhuuuu.

Sejak 2014, selalu kucing-kucingan dengan polisi bandara Singapura. Kini si kucing ketangkep basah sedang tidur di balik sebuah kursi tunggu di terminal 2 Changi International Airport….Memalukan.

4 jam sebelum kejadian….

Maskapai “abu-abu bintang orange” dengan nomor penerbangan 3K206 mengantarkanku ke Terminal 1 Changi International Airport pada 00:30.

Karena stasiun MRT Changi Airport berada di Terminal 2 dan baru akan beroperasi pada jam 5:30, maka kuputuskan untuk berpindah ke Terminal 2.

Akhirnya bersembahyang dan sekaligus beristirahat di dalam prayer room hingga pukul 02:00. Tapi dinginnya AC memaksaku berpindah ke deretan kursi di depan ruang tunggu penumpang. Asumsiku bahwa polisi sudah selesai menyisir area itu ternyata salah besar.

Ditengah mimpi, airport security berpengawal dua polisi belia bersenjata laras panjang membangunkanku. Ahhhh….guwe faham….Njiirrr, ketangkep juga setelah 4 tahun kucing-kucingan perihal beginian .

Airport security: “Helo Sir, Can me see your passport and ticket?”

Guwe: (sambil menyerahkan passport)  “Good night Sir, I’m sorry before. I am waiting for first train to downtown. I just arrived 3 hours ago.”

Airport security: “Sorry, How long do you will stay in Singapore?”.

Guwe: “3 Days 2 Night, Sir”.

Airport security: “This hall is only for transit passengers. You can’t wait the train here. Let me take you to immigration counter”….(Cekrek….Syem, passportku difoto. Dikirim pula ke boss nya via wa….Hmmh, Aku sudah ditandai di Changi….ketengkep sekali lagi pasti masalah….hahaha).

Karena diantar tentara, petugas imigrasi wanita keturunan India itu pun menjadi judes dan marah-marah kepadaku ketika mengecap passport….semakin marah wajahnya makin seksi kek Kajol….hihihi.

2 jam ga bisa merem….lah iya, lantai setelah konter imigrasi kan tak berkarpet. Mana mungkin tidur sambil duduk di bangku keras kek gitu.

Di tengah kantuk yang sangat (itu karena siang hari sebelum berangkat, Aku kerja full di Bandung dan sorenya langsung ke Soekarno Hatta International Airport….gile ye, rumah di Jakarta, siang kerja di Bandung besoknya sudah ngelayap aja di Singapura….hahaha), kuputuskan untuk menyantap mie bersertifikat halal di kedai ini:

Terletak tepat di exit gate setelah konter imigrasi terminal 2.
Murah….Cuma Rp. 47.500.

Halah….malah nulis ga keruan.

—-****—-

Yuk ah fokus ke tema….

Tujuan akhir kedatanganku yang ke-7 di Singapura kali ini adalah Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Kenapa lewat “Negeri Singa”?….ya tentu akan lebih murah costnya.

Selepas menyantap mie pagi itu, Aku bergegas menuju platform MRT di Changi Station. Dengan membeli tiket seharga Rp. 26.000 di mesin otomatis, Aku menuju Stasiun Jurong East dengan waktu tempuh 70 menit.

Kenapa Stasiun Jurong East?….Karena disinilah letak shelter bus CW3/CW4 tujuan Johor Bahru via Tuas Checkpoint yang merupakan perbatasan darat di selatan Singapura dan Malaysia.

Terpaksa menahan pipis karena bau pesing toilet dibalik keramaian Stasiun Jurong East. Maklum stasiun ini terintegrasi dengan terminal bus menuju berbagai daerah di Singapura dan bahkan keluar Singapura.

Setelah membeli tiket bus di konter, Aku segera memasuki jalur antrian dan menunggu kedatangan bus. Dan akhirnya Aku kebagian bus CW3 yang datang 5 menit kemudian.

Tiket bus CW3 seharga Rp. 26.000.
Tertib mengantri sesuai jalur.

Aku memilih bangku paling belakang supaya leluasa mengambil foto selama perjalanan.

AC busnya mantab.

Bus terus bergerak menuju Tuas Checkpoint melalui AYE Toll Road. Lancarnya jalanan Singapura,  membuat bus tiba di Tuas Checkpoint hanya dalam waktu 30 menit.

Aku sengaja memilih jalur antrian yang dijaga petugas wanita keturunan Melayu untuk memudahkan pemeriksaan imigrasi. Alhasil proses perpindahan antar negara di perbatasan menjadi lancar.

Ngantri di Tuas Checkpoint.

Setelah melewati konter imigrasi, Aku segera menuju ke tempat menunggu bus yang akan mengantarkanku ke CIQ (Customs Immigration Quarantine) Sultan Abu Bakar Tanjung Kupang yang merupakan bangunan imigrasi milik Malaysia.

Aku tak perlu mencari bus yang kutumpangi sebelumnya karena selama tiket masih tersimpan, Aku bisa meneruskan perjalanan dengan bus CW yang lain dengan tujuan yang sama.

Pemandangan laut sepanjang Second Link Expressway yang merupakan penghubung Singapura dan Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Perjalanan selanjutnya pun dimulai. Kondisi Second Link Expressway dari arah Johor Bahru menuju Tuas Checkpoint macet parah di jam berangkat kerja kala itu. Sebaliknya, jalanan yang meninggalkan Tuas Checkpoint menuju CIQ Sultan Abu Bakar Tanjung Kupang kosong melompong.

Kosong di jalurku vs penuh di jalur sebelah.

Dan hanya dalam 15 menit, Aku tiba di CIQ Sultan Abu Bakar Tanjung Kupang. Tak ada pemeriksaan serius selama proses imigrasi dan akhirnya Aku bisa dengan cepat melewatinya.

Selepas mengecap passport, berarti  perjalanan lanjutan menggunakan bus CW3 sudah selesai.

Stempel masuk Malaysia via Imigrasi CIQ Sultan Abu Bakar Tanjung Kupang dan stempel keluar Malaysia via Imigrasi Bangunan Sultan Iskandar.

Aku pun perlu mencari bus dari CIQ Sultan Abu Bakar Tanjung Kupang menuju Legoland. Beruntung banyak pengendara bus keturunan India yang menanyakan tujuanku. Sehingga Aku ditunjukkan bus CW7 yang melewati Legoland dalam rute resminya.

Main lego di Legoland????……kek guweh.

Sampai Legoland juga akhirnya.

Mudah mendapatkan tiket bus dari Singapura ke Johor Bahru atau sebaliknya?. Cobain aja pesan via e-commerce perjalanan 12Go atau https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Passing a Morning and Getting a Sunrise in Sarangkot, Nepal

SARANGKOT …. is name of a village with an altitude of 1,400 meters above sea level in Kaski District, Gandaki Zone. Located in Phokara which is a centre of tourism in Nepal, it makes Sarangkot as one of favorite destinations. Why ?….Because Sarangkot is the best viewpoint for observing Himalayan Mountains.

Eight Himalayan peaks which can be seen from this village pushed me to put this village name in my itinerary.

First day in 2018….Happy New Year, Donny!

Sarangkot as if close in my eyelids. I ordered a daily rental taxi for USD 10,1 at Phokara Lodge Hotel where I was staying. The good news was I would pay it jointly with 3 other tourists.

It was still dark when Mr. Raj -the hotel staff- woke me up, “the driver is ready at downstairs,” He said. Brushing my teeth and washing my face only, I immediately descended hotel stairs to meet the driver.

Driver’s hospitality was implied from every smile which was thrown in front of me. His amazing English accent shows that he is also a good guide for every guests. According to him, ability to speak English is a must because tourism is heart of Nepal’s economy.

On early morning I started my trip to Sarangkot. A trip as far as 12 km, its large portion of route would pass through Phokara-Baglung road.

I became a lucky person because the sky was clear since yesterday night. It means that I will see beauty of Himalayas without cloud obstructions.

Entering Sarangkot gate, Bus was stopped and I paid for USD 0,5 to buy a entrance ticket. It only took 30 minutes to arrive in Sarangkot parking lot.

Entrance ticket

Climbing dozens of stair, I was aware that I was at a height. But it was very early morning, making it hard for me to saw the view below me.

A moment later, I arrived in spacious courtyard. This is the viewpoint which I mean. There were already a lot of tourist who sitting on edge of hill and waiting for sunrise. Some professional photographers look busy in preparing cameras and other equipments.

Temperature was 4o Celsius. It was defeated by a shadow of Himalayan charms which filled my imaginative realm.

Time was seem to be going on for a long when we were waiting for a thing which is loved.…Sun in Sarangkot also….as if tease me by delaying its appearance to warm the Himalayas.

The sun was came….

It began to shows its bright ray.

Just choose!.…the nose of the sun or the nose of that charming girl.…
That villagers must be happy, seeing beauty of Himalayas every day.
Look at that Machhapuchhare peak…!

When the sun’s rays hit ice glazes at Himalayas top, golden color would shine and it made my eyes hard to blink. Fear if that luxury view just vanished….Oh my Goddess

The dawn was ended, I could see a real view of that courtyard. This is it:

A courtyard to enjoying beauty of Himalayas.
If you are still unsatisfied and want to see in more height….You can go up to roof in left of courtyard.
Or at top roof in right of courtyard.

Immediately moving to other side of courtyard !. You will see a closing view, namely Phewa Lake which is geographically located in south of Sarangkot village.

Don’t look at the person !….just look at the lake !….focus!….focus!

After staying above for 2.5 hours. I decided to go down. The village view which wasn’t visible when I departed, finally seen clearly and beautifully when I slowly left Sarangkot peak.

Citizens’ housing from above.
Downing dozens of stairs.

Actually, if you don’t want to bother going there in very early morning from Phokara, you can stay around Sarangkot and come in a day before. There are several inns which provide rooms for tourists who will enjoy Himalayas in Sarangkot.

One of inns there.
Many restaurants too

After downing hill for 15 minutes, I finally arrived back in parking lot..

Visitor’s cars in parking lot.

After met again with our taxi driver, then I visited Purana Bazaar to see trading activities in that Phokara’s famous market.