DAMRI Kualanamu: Mengejar Amplas yang Semakin Menua

Bahkan seminggu sebelum terbang, pilihan telah kutetapkan. Bukan “Si cepat dari Woojin”, apalagi “si burung biru”yang biasa berlalu lalang di Kualanamu. Pilihanku tetap pada transportasi ala rakyat yang bersahabat dengan kantong. Tak lain lagi, itu DAMRI.

Terduduk kantuk di ruang tunggu stasiun kereta bandara lalu mengamati para eksekutif menggeret kopernya, berkejaran dengan waktu keberangkatan kereta. Atau sebaliknya, langkah cepat para penumpang necis yang baru saja keluar dari kereta untuk mengejar waktu penerbangan mereka masing-masing. Aku menjadi manusia tersantai pagi itu di Kualanamu. Ya iya lah…Aku kan lagi ngelayap, bukan sedang dalam perjalanan dinas.

Mereka yang pada sibuk

15 menit mengamati lalu lalang “Si Biru Langit”, Aku keluar stasiun dengan memanggul backpack biru cetakan Tiongkok yang kudapat lewat salah satu e-commerce ternama setahun lalu.

Senyum Sersan Kepala menyambut sembari membantu menyeberangkanku melewati jalur mobil untuk kemudian aku mengarahkan langkah menuju platform airport bus.

Tuh doi ngumpet di samping “si merah”

Berbelok ke ujung kanan pintu keluar bandara maka konter penjualan tiket DAMRI sangat mudah terlihat dan ditemukan. Terbaca dengan jelas “Amplas, Siantar atau Binjai”, sebagai beberapa tujuan transportasi umum keluar Kualanamu. Sudah kupelajari dengan baik dan tertuang jelas di itinerary, Amplas adalah tolakanku berikutnya.

Menebus selembar tiket seharga Rp. 15.000 saja, aku kini berakses untuk mencicipi transportasi milik pemerintah yang sudah terlanjur melegenda di hati masyarakat.

Murah bingit.

Abang lihat papan petunjuk daerah tujuan aja ya, bang! Disana bang”, seloroh petugas tiket berseragam sembari telunjuk dan matanya menuju ke arah yang sama.

Ok, bang”, aku menjawab singkat.

DAMRI medium berpenumpang 24 yang tak kunjung penuh.

Memasuki pintu tunggalnya aku duduk tepat disebelah pintu, tak sampai semenit aku sudah di bangku belakang, bahkan sejurus kemudian sudah di bangku tengah. AC ventilator itu sudah tak berpenutup, kaca bagian belakang itu sudah sangat kusam sehingga kameraku pun kehilangan kejernihannya, di tengah pun sama reclining seat tak berfungsi selayaknya. Aku selalu memaklumi dengan kondisi ini, ini DAMRI kannnn.

AC super dingin yang membuatku menggigil sepanjang perjalanan.

 “Mana tiket Kau?”, sapa kondektur dengan kerasnya yang membuatku terperanjat. Kalau di Kampung Rambutan itu seperti hentakan preman.

Ah, ini mah Medan ternyata”, batinku yang akhirnya membuatku bersikap wajar dan tak perlu kaget.

Amplas, Bang”, kusodorkan tiket kepadanya. Ternyata dibalik wajah garang sang kondektur ada senyum tipis terlepas otomatis di bibirnya. Aku mulai jatuh cinta dengan Medan.

Melaju menjauhi Kualanamu

Aku sangat sibuk berpindah di bangku manapun demi menciptakan jepretan terbaik (walau akhirnya gagal….Hahaha), karena DAMRI ini hanya mengangkut 5 penumpang. Aku tahu pak sopir terus mengawasiku lewat kaca spion. Demi membuatnya wajar, aku mengacungkan jempol kepadanya dan uniknya dia juga mengacungkan jempolnya tinggi-tinggi. Semua penumpang tertawa melihatku….Kacau.

Suasana gang sebuah perkampungan

Kebun yang luas milik warga

Tak berasa DAMRI pun sudah melaju di jalan tol Medan-Kualanamu-Tebing Tinggi dengan cepatnya.

Bersiap masuk jalur cepat.

Tiga puluh menit DAMRI merangsek ke barat hingga akhirnya tiba di Terminal Terpadu Amplas yang sangat tersohor di Medan itu. Terminal yang tak sesangar seperti yang kubayangkan. Tak seorangpun menggangguku ketika selama 20 menit mengekplore seisi terminal itu.

Terminal Amplas yang telah berusia 29 tahun

Bahkan aku sempatkan bercakap dengan petugas Dishub perihal cara menuju Toba dari terminal ini. Juga bercakap dengan seorang kondektur bus PO Sejahtera untuk menanyakan keberangkatan pertama armadanya menuju danau vulkanik terbesar di dunia itu.

Warung biru tempat aku bercakap dengan warga lokal.

Senang mendengar kabar bahwa Terminal Amplas akan direvitalisasi oleh Mister Menteri dan akan menjadi terminal yang terintegrasi dengan mall dan hotel. Keren yaaaa.

Yuk, jangan lama-lama di terminal. Mari kutunjukkan Medan seperti apa.

Panggil ojek online! Explore Medan!

Genting Highlands….Tourist Gem on Titiwangsa Mountain Summit.

Inexperienced to sleep in a room with a Central AC made me didn’t really sleep because of cold. The advantage which I got was keeping myself from welcoming the dawn which was slowly present. At 5:30am, I started bathing in shared bathroom.

Who’s taking a shower?

That were all because of me. Agosto Inn staff were stunned and rushed to prepare a breakfast menu which was actually quite simple at dining table. Forgive me if it made you nervous, miss….Hahaha.

Pouring tea pot, baking white bread, stirring oatmeal and slicing sunkist oranges in a relaxed manner before Srilankans sat at the same table.

Me: “Hai….Hello….Are you from India?”. My first question to them.

Srilankan: “No, We are from Colombo”.

Me: “Oh, Srilanka”.

Srilankan: “Yeaa….Great, you know that”. Broadly smiling and inviting to shaking hands.

Me: “I hope I can go to your exotic country

Srilankan: “Yes….You must go there

You know, how long did I need to realize that hope?….Yup, 5 years later I was present in Colombo. A derfect dream.

45 minutes later, I already rode LRT Kelana Jaya to KL Sentral. I would catch first departure of Go Genting Express Bus at 08:00 hours.

My failure to got a ticket on my first day in Kuala Lumpur wasn’t repeated after a ticket was held before first departure time.

My ticket which including Genting Skyway fare.

Very happy when roar of “The Maroon Red” began to be heard at a corner towards KL Sentral Bus Station which is located on basement floor.

15 minutes before departure. Go Genting Express Bus get ready on its platform.

Bus seats which was full made the driver immediately work in his seat by stepping on gas pedal and then leave KL Sentral in a matter of minutes.

Damn….The first sight was a Chinese descent child who had to pee in front of my eyes. His urine entered perfectly into empty mineral water bottle which held by his mum which is pretty….Hhmmhh. She kept the bottle in a small trunk in front of her chair….I hope you weren’t wrong to take a bottle when you drink, Mam.

As far as 42 km, my eyes enjoyed Karak Expressway views together with Go Genting Express speed. An hour later, the bus slowly approached at Lower Genting Skyway Station precisely at Basement Level 4 (B4). I immediately moved to Genting Skyway Complex level T1 to boarding the cable car.

30 minutes hanging to Genting Highlands Station.
On 9:20 hours, I arrived at Genting Highlands Station which is integrated with First World Plaza. It is located at level 4.

Actually, my expectations to visiting Genting Highlands were just curious, there wasn’t intention to staying there at all because of my limited time to explore. As a result, I only allocated 2 hours to explore First World Plaza.

Because I arrived at First World Plaza on 4th floor, I was doing reverse exploration. Starting from 4th floor and ending on 1st floor. You need to know that what I currently visited was a 4 storey modern mall building.

Nice….The first thing that I did was stop by at a local food and beverage retail store which is very famous in Malaysia, Heng Heng Local Delights on 4th floor. Even though I didn’t know how to bring it home later because of my small backpacks and I am a person who anti-buying baggage planes.

Conventional trip….Still thinking of buying souvenirs….Hahaha

After shopping, I got around myself at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Adventureland and visiting Jurassic Research Center and taking time to play on PlayTime! Video Games Park which is part of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium

After visiting First World Indoor Theme Park on 4th floor, I returned to 2nd floor to visit Snow World.

Do you want to play snow?

I also took time to see Genting Casino which is really greedy because it occupies 2 floors at the same time at First World Plaza. It uses Level 1 and Level 2 for gambling business.

Thin difference: look to lose in gambling or can’t afford to gambling?.

After exploring entire floor of First World Plaza, I decided to return to KL Sentral for exploring Bukit Bintang, which is also a retail and fashion center in Kuala Lumpur.

Preparing return to downtown.

Massive development by 21st Century Fox has turned Genting Highlands into an Asian and even world tourist gem.

For those who haven’t visited yet, please go a few hours to go there.

Bukan Silangit, Tapi Kualanamu

KNO adalah kode untuk Kualanamu International Airport yang ditetapkan oleh IATA. Seperti CGK untuk Soetta, KUL untuk KLIA dan SIN untuk Changi.

Dulu, kalau memikirkan Medan (sebelum aku benar-benar mengunjunginya) maka tempat pertama yang kubayangkan adalah Danau Toba….Parah, padahal Danau Toba berada di Kabupaten Simalungun, sedangkan Kota Medan berada 190 km di utara Danau.

Persepsi kembali berubah saat digalakkannya era optimalisasi bandar udara di seluruh negeri. Ketika mendengar kata “Medan” maka yang terbayang secara otomatis adalah Kualanamu. Bagaimana tidak, Kualanamu telah mencatatkan rekor sebagai pelopor penggunaan kereta bandara menuju ke pusat kota.

1. Arrival Hall

Area conveyor belt.

Sriwijaya Air SJ 010 dengan tiket kelewat irit berjasa mendaratkanku di Kualanamu International Airport (KNIA). Seperti biasa, eksplorasi bandara menjadi keharusan bagiku. Kuputuskan menginvestasikan satu jam pertama di Sumatera Utara untuk menjelajah setiap sisi Kualanamu.

Main Arrival Hall.

Suhu kota Medan baru beranjak di level 28o Celcius, jadi belum sepanas yang kubayangkan. Karenanya aku berasa santai ketika sedikit berlama-lama di parking lot pesawat sembari menunggu apron shuttle bus menjemputku tepat di kaki pesawat.

Replika Istana Maimun, ikon pariwisata Medan.

Memasuki bandara yang memiliki arti nama “Tempat Bertemu” tersebut, suasana menjadi riuh karena banyak penumpang berlarian bahkan rela mengantri untuk berfoto dengan Pak Jokowi  yang sedang mengayuh sepeda atau untuk sekedar mengabadikan diri di spot signboard kuning KNO.

2. Departure Hall

Itu dia area check-in.

Pasca menjelajah Arrrival Hall dan memahami selusin arah menuju beberapa fasilitas bandara, aku menyempatkan naik ke lantai 2 untuk melongok Departure Hall.  Ini menjadi keharusan karena sadar bahwa aku akan pulang ke Jakarta dari Minangkabau International Airport di Padang Pariaman.

Mereka yang sibuk untuk meninggalkan Medan.

Hanya kondisi ruang tunggu pesawat yang tak tertangkap kamera karena aku tak bertiket untuk memasukinya. Eksplorasi di Departure Hall akhirnya harus diakhiri di sini.

Pintu departure setelah Anda melakukan check-in.

3. Fasilitas Lain

Menuruni  lantai 2 melalui escalator, aku kembali berada di Arrival Hall untuk melihat fasilitas lain yang tersedia.

Para turis harus kesini jika hendak mencari informasi tentang pariwisata Sumatera Utara.

Aku cukup lama bercakap dengan “Si Jilbab Cantik” yang bertugas di Tourist Information Center. Paras ayunya membuatku betah bertutur dan lancar mengeluarkan pertanyaan sebanyak mungkin hanya untuk bisa mengagumi beningnya lebih lama….Huuu, dasar kutu kupret kamu, Donny!…Hahaha.

Information Center di Arrival Hall.

Meninggalkan Arrival Hall dengan menggenggam banyak brosur sebagai buah percakapanku dengan si doi. Dipadu dengan itinerary yang kususun, fokus eksplorasi Provinsi Sumatera Utara kali ini ada di Medan, Danau Toba dan Pematang Siantar. Karena aku akan melewati ketiga tempat itu.

Pintu keluar bangunan utama bandara.

4. Akses Kereta Api Bandara

Yuhuii….Aku menjadi girang karena sekejap lagi akan melihat secara langsung “Si Biru Langit” yang sudah terlanjur tersohor ke seantero negeri sebagai kereta bandara pertama di Indonesia.

Lihat sign board itu. Gampang kok menemukannya.

Kereta buatan Korea Selatan ini menjual tiketnya seharga Rp. 100.000 untuk sekali jalan dari stasiun bandara menuju pusat kota atau sebaliknya.

Gerbang menuju stasiun kereta bandara.
Ticketing counter and information desk.
Automatic Ticket Vending Machine.

Tapi beribu sayang dan maaf ya, gaes….Aku tak bisa memperlihatkan interior kereta, karena aku tak jadi menaikinya. Harganya terlalu mahal untukku. Ada moda transportasi lain yang lebih terjangkau dengan dompet.

Tuh kereta bandaranya….

5. Akses Airport Bus

Yes, aku memilih menggunakan bus DAMRI menuju pusat kota. Harganya yang hanya Rp. 15.000 sungguh menjadikannya sebagai pilihan utama dan pertama yang sekonyong-konyong muncul dalam naluri. Lumayan toh, sisa Rp. 85.000 bias buat empat kali makan….Jadi pengiritan dimulai dari DAMRI bandara….Hahaha.

Yuk beli tiket DAMRI lalu menuju pusat kota.

Puas rasanya setelah berhasil mengoleksi kembali satu bandara milik bangsa dan akan tersimpan dalam sejarah kelayapanku.

Thank you Kualanamu….Welcome Medan.

KL Sentral….Awesome Transit Oriented Building

I don’t know how many times I’ve said KL Sentral as far as publishing this 221 traveling articles. I remember, I have five times traced this phenomenal building. Five years also, various sides and interesting moments which I stole from Kl Sentral languishing in external hard disk which neatly wrapped in a desk drawer in my bedroom….Room which continually give me many inspiration in conquering beauty of the earth.

It’s not fair, if its greatness isn’t shared with you. Because I’m sure that you will visit it someday….Or maybe, you have visited it but you don’t understand yet its details.

Operating 18 years ago, KL Sentral has played an important role in Malaysian tourism. KL Sentral meritorious in being the link between Malaysia’s first gate (i.e Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and important tourism spots in city center…. Fast, effective and efficient. Maybe that’s what will be pursued by Manggarai Central Station in 2021 (It’s a station central in Jakarta).

Gives you a basic view of KL Sentral. Here’s my best photo at KL Sentral level 1:

KL Sentral level 1 which seen from Nu Sentral mall on level 2.
KL Sentral level 1 was seen from Kelana Jaya Line platform on level 2.

KL Sentral Bus Station

Before exploring level 1, I will invite you to look at KL Sentral basement level. Why?….Because 100% of my arrivals to KL Sentral use the cheapest transportation mode….Yups, Skybus, Aerobus and Airport Coach which its tickets are only worth USD 3.1.

After passing through Stesen Sentral Street, bus will enter basement level and stop at shelter which sells Aerobus/Skybus/Airport Coach/Resort World Genting Bus tickets. While, behind escalator (is used to go up to level 1), you will find Rapid KL Free Bus shelter which is used by tourists towards Batu Caves.

Left is Airport Coach ticket counter to KLIA and right is Skybus/Aerobus ticket counter towards KLIA2
Airport Coach towards KLIA (Terminal 1)
Skybus towards KLIA2 (Terminal 2)
Bus towards Genting Highlands.
Direction sign to Rapid KL Free Bus to Batu Caves.

Twice, I went down to KL Sentral basement level and immediately left KL Sentral towards Westree Hotel (2018) and M&M Hotel (2019) through this corridor:

The corridor at Basement level leads to Tun Sambanthan Street.
This is appearance of Tun Sambanthan Street.

Nu Sentral Mall

If you want to continue your trip using KTM ETS (Kereta Tanah Melayu-Electric Train Service), Kelana Jaya Line LRT, Seremban Line commuter KTM, Monorail, airport train (KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit) you have to go up to level 1 KL Sentral using escalator near Skybus/Aerobus ticket counter.

Or….you can also go up to level 1 as access to go to Nu Sentral mall on level 2….Let’s look at Nu Sentral mall.

Connector escalator between several train gates on 1st floor to Nu Sentral mall which is on level2
Nu Sentral mall situation.
Nu Sentral mall situation.

Finished shopping at Nu Sentral mall, then look for pedestrian bridge to Tun Sambanthan Street. The pedestrian bridge is directly connected to Nu Sentral mall.

Direction sign towards Tun Sambanthan Street.
This is the pedestrian bridge which I mean.

Transportation Area

Before going back down to level 1, you should see where the monorail station is. The floor plan shows that KL Sentral monorail station is a separate building from KL Sentral itself. But not to worry because there is a connection bridge from KL Sentral to monorail station.

Yuhuuu….It was in front of monorail station gate.
Here it is, the monorail….On its way towards Titiwangsa Park.

Come on!….We explore 1st floor. This floor is allocated as access to various modes of train transportation.

Starting from commuter train. There are two commuter train lines in KL Sentral namely KTM Laluan Seremban and KTM Laluan Pelabuhan Klang.

Preparing to take KTM Komuter Laluan Seremban to Batu Caves.
That’s KTM Commuter platform in basement.

Besides KTM Commuter, the most popular transportation mode to city center in Kuala Lumpur is LRT (Light Rail Transit). LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya was the one which was lucky because it was the only chosen LRT which visited KL Sentral.

Let’s rides LRT to city center!
Ticketing vending machines….Where to buy LRT tokens (tickets).
Automatic gates menuju platform LRT Kelana Jaya di level 2.
Finally caught a picture of LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya at Pasar Seni Station.

Besides Skybus/Aerobus and Airport Coach, Malaysia tourism also presents KLIA Transit and KLIA Express which are premium trains to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Premium is certainly synonymous with expensive prices but certainly guarantees a comfort.

KLIA Transit ticket counter and its automatic gate
See, KLIA Transit!…Cool right?.
Of course….Super comfortable.

Eatery

Regarding food….As the biggest transit hub in Malaysia, KL Sentral certainly provides many eateries.

At level, there are several food and beverage shops such as La Cucur Express, Panettone (vegetarian food), Meals Station, I Love Yoo !, Chatime, Swiss Oven, Secret Recipe, Starbucks, Burger King, Ayam Penyet Express and many more.

Eat “Penang White Curry Bowl” at Panettone (2018).

Outside KL Sentral (around Tun Sambanthan Street), there are also some reasonably-priced food stalls with topnotch taste. I visited it because I often stayed around KL Sentral.

ABC Bistro Cafe….My hangout place around KL Sentral.

Nearest Cheap Hotels

Tun Sambanthan Street is an important road in Brickfields area. This area provides restaurants, shops and residences. Brickfields also provides many hotels from five-star hotels to budget-friendly hotels.

Westree Hotel during my Malaysia-Singapore trip on 2018
Hotel M&M while visiting an international event on 2019

So….Visit KL Sentral well and just enjoy its facilities.

Memecah Rekor bersama SJ 010

Yessss….Akhirnya aku terbang ke Medan melalui rute itu.

Adalah SJ 010, penerbangan pagi Sriwijaya Air menggunakan BOEING 737-900ER yang mengantarkanku ke Kota Melayu Deli. Perjalanan menakjubkan yang sebetulnya tak terencana. Berbeda dengan kebiasaanku ketika menjelajah ke luar negeri dengan perencanaan matang hingga setahun sebelum perjalanan tersebut dieksekusi.

Jam 03:58 pagi, aku sudah merapat ke Terminal 2 Soetta

Berawal dari ledekan setiap pagi di kantor tercinta yang selalu saja aku menjadi korbannya. “Ah lo mah Don, ga cinta tanah air, pergi ke luar negeri melulu. Negeri kita ini indah, mengapa harus ke luar negeri?”. Beuh padahal yang ngomong juga jarang piknik kemana-mana….Hahaha.

Setiba bandara, aku langsung menuju konter check-in.

Perjalanan ini juga terobsesi karena kejadian menggelitik lain. Bermula dari rencana ngebolang bersama teman-teman marketing ke Danau Toba yang selalu direncanakan setiap akhir tahun. Bahkan sudah tiga tahun berlalu atau boleh dibilang hingga aku telah menjelajah lebih dari sepuluh bangsa, tak kunjung direalisasikan.

Pasang cabin baggage tag mu sendiri, Donny!

Ya begitulah, terkadang teman-teman itu hanya semangat di bibir. Jadi kalau aku sendiri yang tidak melakukan action maka aku tak akan pernah melanglang keluar Jakarta.

Bersiap melewati x-ray security screening di gate F.

Akhir Oktober adalah waktu dimana aku biasa mendapat cuti tambahan 5 hari. Ini adalah benefit yang kudapat semenjak menjadi supervisor di kantor (Sombong kan aku….Supervisor gitu loh….Hahaha). Entah kenapa pembahasan Danau Toba di briefing Kamis pagi membuatku iseng untuk membuka sebuah situs pencarian tiket.

Jam 5:46…Mari kita boarding!

Mengikuti jemari yang terus menari diatas keypad, aku bak terbius karena tahu-tahu sudah mengakhiri sesi payment gate di situs itu dengan membawa e-ticket Cengkareng-Kualanamu seharga Rp. 552.950. Damn, dasar travel maniac….Aku harus bersiap 18 hari ke depan untuk menjelajah pulau Sumatra.

Gagahnya Sriwijaya Air SJ 010.

Kini aku akan berstatus menjadi marketer pertama di kantor yang akan melihat indahnya Danau Toba. Tak perlu banyak rencana, tak perlu banyak bicara….Berangkat aja sesuka hatimu, Donny!

Tak cuma jalan tol….Mau terbang melalui runway Soetta pun harus mengantri.

Aku berharap sepulang dari ekspedisi Sumatra, teman-teman tak akan nyinyir lagi bahwa aku tak mencintai negeriku sendiri….#dasartukangbaper.

Jam 06:41 aku melayang di atas Jakarta.
Dan bersarapan pagi ala Sriwijaya Air

Dan perlu kamu tahu, perjalanan kali ini berawal dari Medan dan akan berakhir di Padang. Setelah pulang nanti, aku akan dijuluki traveler gila untuk pertama kalinya oleh seisi kantor….Wuakakakakak.

Kenapa Sriwijaya Air selalu mengeluarkan bunyi-bunyi aneh bak reot selama terbang.

Aku sengaja tak mendarat di Silangit karena begitu kuat keinginanku untuk merasakan menjelajah daratan Sumatra Utara untuk melihat alamnya serta berbaur dengan masyarakat lokal yang unik dari berbagai cerita yang kudengar.

Pemandangan di luar yang mampu melupakan kebisingan suara-suara aneh dalam kabin.
Penerbangan dengan zero turbulence
Selat Malaka yang berkilau tersiram fajar.
Garis pantai Sumatra Utara yang mengagumkan.

Penjelajahan terjauhku di pulau Sumatra selama ini hanya mencapai tepian kota Martapura, Sumatera Selatan. Tapi itu bukan dalam rangka traveling, tetapi hanya untuk memenuhi kewajiban ketika aku menjadi sales ikan air tawar bertahun-tahun lalu….Wah, buka kartu nih.

Sudah sampai….Ayo turun!
Itu dia bangunan utama Kualanamu International Airport.

Ada satu komen menarik di medsos milikku ketika baru saja mendarat di Kualanamu. “Mas Donny mah selalu Work Hard-Travel Harder”…..Sepertinya aku harus mengamini jargon dari temanku itu.

Menunggu di jemput apron shuttle bus.
Nah itu busnya datang….

Seperti mimpi saja, akhirnya bisa mengunjungi Sumatera Utara. Satu hal yang tak pernah terpikirkan sebelumnya. Memang harus begitu untuk menjelajah indahnya Indonesia. Tak perlu mikir panjang, berangkat saja….Kalau hilang ga akan kemana kan….Hahaha

Menjelajah Medan dimulai dari pintu ini….Yukss!

Batu Caves….India Trace in North of Kuala Lumpur

A. KLIA2 to Batu Caves Route

Step 01. KLIA2-KL Sentral

Heading to 1st floor which is location of KLIA2 Transportation Hub, I rushed to Skybus sales counter. Rates of USD 2.6 was enough to move me from KLIA2 to KL Sentral which is located in center of Kuala Lumpur city. I spent 50 minutes traveling to see situation of Selangor state’s streets.

Step 02. KL Sentral-Batu Caves

Trip in year 2014

From KL Sentral, I headed to KTM Komuter Laluan Seremban ticket counter to reach Batu Caves. At that time, commuter tickets couldn’t be obtained at automatic fare machines like LRT tickets in Kuala Lumpur. So I had to go to ticket counter to manually buy it. Its price is quite cheap, only USD 0.5 for one way. Distance from KL Sentral to Batu Caves is 13 km with 45 minutes travel time.

Trip in year 2018

Check out my second and most recent trip to Batu Caves at this link: New Route to Batu Caves, Malaysia

B. About Batu Caves

Corridor between commuter station to Batu Caves.

Taking a light step through exit gate at Batu Caves Station and gathering curiosity which is increasingly rising when I moved in a roofed pedestrian corridor. The corridor which its end is right entrance of Batu Caves.

I looked small under it.

Entering from right side, the 15 meter high statue of Lord Hanuman welcomed. Its green body added sacredness of “Wanara” King. It was undeniable because indeed many long-tailed monkeys present around temple which is located next to statue.

A monkey which is eyeing my camera….
Temple was quite crowded with visitors.
Incense were burned in front of temple.

Ramayana Cave Suyambu Lingam on left side of green temple solemnity presents Ramayana epic through several character statues which imply a storyline. Set aside USD 1.3 to just enjoy its majesty.

Ramayana Cave gate.

The sun sting didn’t deter my enthusiasm and spirit for being present in front of Venkatachalapathi Temple which was built above 19 stairs. This temple praises Lord Vishnu incarnation who is carrying out his duties as a “destroyer of sin”. Do you know Lord Vishnu who rides Garuda (the king of all birds) and armed with chakra?

Take your shoes off before climbing stairs!

To ensure tourists don’t miss any part of Batu Caves, they prepares a sign with 17 different directions.

That is….

Understanding Hindu history through beauty of art is what Cave Villa wants to show. USD 3.9 is a pretty expensive value to explore this cave.

Buy ticket there.

Lord Shiva who be illustrated as Nataraja “the Lord of Tandavam” (the name of a religious dance in Hinduism) and Lord Murugan who were essentially born as 6 babies, were eventually transformed into a single powerful figure of Lord Murugan, are two stories which is explained in this cave.

Standing on Batu Caves main part i.e a large courtyard which is full of pigeons which always loves to beg for food from tourists.

That are pigeon…. benign but in fact are not.
The worship building on Batu Caves courtyard was being renovated.

Visiting statue of the highest Hindu God in the world, His mother is Parwati Lord and his father is Lord Shiva. Lord Murugan is his name …. Armed with a sacred scepter and his majesty is represented on his soaring as high as 43 meters.

Gold color makes it very prominent in anyone’s eyelids.

Prepare your calves to steps on 272 stairs to main temple which hides on a 400 million-year-old limestone hill.

Dress modestly…Try not to wear shorts.

Humid air and cold temperature like a fridge make this cave as a special place in the middle of stinging area around hill.

Combination of lighting and layout of God statues makes it sacred.

Before leaving this site, you can visit Gheeta’s Souvenir Shop on left front of courtyard.

Souvenir shop.
Parking lot.

If you don’t want to buy souvenirs, you can buy indian foods and snacks which are sold in front right of courtyard.

Indian snacks with Indian aroma.

Couldn’t buy souvenirs because I didn’t have plane luggage….Then I just enjoy lunch or drink coconut water in canteens around Batu Caves.

Twice visited….Twice also lunch here.
Nasi lemak in Indian taste….Hahaha.
Coconut water with ice was drank in middle of sun sting.….Beuh.

Of course, you know Batu Caves, because of its popularity … But try to explore about values which can be obtained from this site.

So….Batu Caves….Let’s go there!.

24 Tourist Attractions at Kuala Lumpur in 3 Days 2 Nights

A flight to Kuala Lumpur, which was barely caught due to race with time along Jakarta-Serang toll road, was added with pale faces due to the bitter interrogation of Malaysian immigration staff because of my inconclusive appearance, then making my heart and spirit go high together with my success first steps to leave the KLIA2 immigration counter.

Guys …. My journey in Kuala Lumpur for first time began. Very happy at that time. My fridge magnet will add to be three. Yes like that, number of fridge magnets in my house shows how many countries I have visited….Later when I have visited 100 countries, I will buy a refrigerator as high as my house ceiling. So I can put all fridge magnets on it….Hahaha.

—-****—-

The trip that had been planned since 9 months before departure was finally realized. Still couldn’t believe when I really entered this neighbor country. The itinerary which I detailed in three sheets had taken me to the following 24 destinations:

1. KL Sentral

KL Sentral is the first stopover which is often used by travelers before exploring Kuala Lumpur. Yes, most public transportations from KLIA will end here.

KL Sentral was indeed built by Malaysian government as a transit-oriented transportation building. No wonder, this transportation center is never empty of visitors.

Beware, Donny…Your zippers.

For the first time, arriving here on the first day of my journey, at exactly 11:23 hours. I took time to explore Nu Sentral which is a shopping mall which is integrated with this modern building.

2. Batu Caves

The time that was too late to begin my trip to Genting Highlands made me choose this Hindu temple as my next stop. Located in Gombak area which is 15 km north of KL Sentral with a distance of 40 minutes travel time making the yellow statue of “Dewa Murugan” as the favorite icon in Kuala Lumpur after Petronas Twin Tower.

So, if you can’t use a tripod….Ask someone else to just take a your photo, Donny!….Huh.

90 minutes is more than enough time to dispel my curiosity about the cave which is located in a 400 million-year-old limestone hill.

3. Suria KLCC

After returning from Batu Caves and after hunting for hotels in Pasar Seni area which ended with staying at Agosto Inn, in a light drizzle I hurried to Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). KLCC is center of Kuala Lumpur which offers a modern shopping mall i.e Suria KLCC, a row of five-star hotels, iconic view of Petronas Twin Tower and a large urban park (KLCC Park).

Even though I don’t like shopping, I’m just curious to see this mall which has 350 tenants. The Suria KLCC architecture is in crescent shape when viewed from above….Cool, huh. And you need to know that Suria KLCC construction is an integrated project with Petronas Twin Tower.

4. Petrosains

Before leaving Suria KLCC, I made time to visit Petrosains in 4th floor. Petrosains is Petronas’s petroleum education site, a Malaysian oil giant. Simply set aside Rp. 35,000 to study in Petrosains.

What are you doing….?

5. Petronas Twin Tower

Right to the left of Suria KLCC exit, I finally found the phenomenal twin building. Soft drizzle which accompanied me to enjoy Petronas Twin Tower was unable to drive me out of front yard of the tallest twin building in the world.

Security: “Get Downnnnnnn…..!”

Petronas Twin Tower is the last destination on the first day of journey. Rest faster at Agosto Inn to prepare myself for Genting Highland tomorrow.

6. Genting Skyway

On 6:30 hours, seeing my presence at dining table made hotel staff seem rushed to prepare breakfast which was only oatmeal, orange sunkist, toast and warm drinks which I could take as much as I could from tea and coffee pots.

A morning that was still very quiet I passed to KL Sentral to catch the first bus to Genting Highlands which will depart at 08:00. By paying for a round trip ticket from KL Sentral to Genting, USD 5.5 (price in 2014, in 2019 price have gone up to USD 6.3) I arrived at Genting Highlands 1 hour 15 minutes later.

First time riding a cable car….

That price includes Genting Skyway ride. While the one-way price for this transportation mode is USD 2. The gondola’s lower station is in Gohtong Jaya and its Upper Station is in Maxims Hotel, Genting Highlands.

7. Genting Highlands

Twenty minutes later, I arrived at Genting Highlands after hanging in the eight-persons seat gondola

The main purpose of second day journey, which had to give up my all time in second day was taken away. Deprivation which absurdly excites me . Hope, there was a repetition like this at another time.

Watch out, Donny! Don’t be in the middle of way!….Many people want to pass.

Two hours I explored the resort at top of Mount Titiwangsa in northeast of Kuala Lumpur. If you have much money, you can spend the night in Genting. But passing every mall without shopping, restaurants without taking lunch and casino without gambling, surely that’s me who has never had enough money to do all that.

8. Bukit Bintang

I just needed to reverse my departure way so I could go back to KL Sentral.

15: 30 hours….”Wow, I can still explore,” My thought cheering. Bus, done!….LRT, done!….Commuter, done!….MRT, not yet Donny!, they werw still seen dredging the ground next to Pasar Seni. So what will you ride next?

I decided to try the only monorail route in Kuala Lumpur. When else can I ride it if not now?. This is also my first time riding a monorail which three years later I rode the same mode for free at Sentosa Island, Singapore….Yup, that was Sentosa Express.

Don’t be too long, Donny!. Many people in your back, wait for took photos too.

The famous destination on KL Monorail Route is Bukit Bintang. Bearing a title as the most famous shopping and entertainment venue in Kuala Lumpur makes Bukit Bintang as the most popular retail center which is always hunted by shopping enthusiasts, from housewives, office workers to young women and even tourists.

Aren’t you a tourist, Donny? … No, sir. I’m just a fortunate wanderer who was given a chance to travel around 25 countries….Plakkkk Plakkkk Plakkkk…I hit you, Donny!

9. Taman Tasik Titiwangsa (Titiwangsa Park)

Killing time in a city park at north of city center was my journey’s closing on second day. Founded in former of tin mining during British colonialism made it reasonable by existence of a large lake as former of mining activities.

Sorry viewers….I ran out of battery when in the park….That was better picture.

At four o’clock in afternoon, I was present in the park in a crowd of extraordinary citizens’ activities. Until maghrib pray call reminded me that I wasn’t in “Bluntas Park” (the park name which is closest my home in Jakarta….Hahaha). The mean was, time began to expel me to immediately leave Taman Tasik Titiwangsa (Titiwangsa Park) and better spend my evening near hotel where I stay overnight.

10. Hop On Hop Off Bus

Time is indeed unfriendly when confronted with curiosity. Suddenly I was pushed into last day of journey. Long exploration time is successful in compromising with my tired calf veins in affecting my brain. Then my brain whispered, “Just relax in spending last day in Kuala Lumpur, Donny!“.

USD 11.6, I was forced to give it to double decker bus tour guide…. It’s called HOHO bus….Or, Hop On Hop Off bus.

Hurry up!….Don’t trap in the evening.

HOHO Bus Stop No. 09, located in Central Market, made it easy for me to catch it….It took less than 5 minutes to reach it from Agosto Inn. Not accepting loss, I insisted on visiting several tourist destinations along HOHO bus line.

11. Istana Negara

Only 15 minutes. After that, every ladies and gentlemen can go back to bus or join to next bus“, her voice became clearer with presence of a mic under guide’s lips. Her face was beautiful within hijab (girl moslem wear ). She Made me melt.

Beware don’t cling to wall !….You could make the wall dirty, Donny….Huh

I rushed away as fast as I could to approaching palace gate. Took a picture with palace guard who stands like a statue and a very tame palace horse even though dozens of different faces took turn taking pictures with it.

12. Dataran Merdeka

A large square adorned with an iconic Mughal-Moor building becomes my next stop. Sultan Abdul Samad is name of the building. Sultan Abdul Samad himself was the leader of Selangor state which was famous for moving capital city of Selangor from Klang to Kuala Lumpur.

Yes….Not bad pose.

The plain is known as Dataran Merdeka, the place where Malaysia independence from British colonial government was declared.

13. KL Tower

HOHO bus which didn’t stop for long time at that communication tower, didn’t make me give up. I nimbly jumped out of bus and a second later HOHO bus left me in KL Tower yard.

Hurry up got in bus!…. Don’t be long time.

I would explore KL Tower before heading to Muzium Negara (State Museum).

If you have more guts, go to Sky Box!, if you want to lunch in an elegant way then try revolving restaurant! ,then go to observation deck to catch beautiful view of Kuala Lumpur city closer to your eyelids!.

Me?….I missed the first two parts. My wallet was only able to put me in the last part….It was better than nothing.

14. National Museum of Malaysia

Want to quickly know about culture of a nation?….Come to its national museum!.

For this reason I was present at Muzium Negara (National Museum of Malaysia). The journey of Malaysians from time to time is clearly displayed in this museum. Starting from prehistoric life….Kingdom life….Even the story of Majapahit Kingdom (Biggest Kingdom in Indonesia) is here.

Like I’ve never seen train before….Huh.

The nuances of Kuala Terengganu kingdom seem to strongly influence this museum architecture which looks so magnificent.

The Malaysian struggle session from British colonialism closed the history learning session at this building which is located on Jalan Damansara.

15. Taman Tasik Perdana (Perdana Botanical Garden)

Hop On Hop Off slowly entered into Kuala Lumpur green area….Amazing, this was the famous Taman Tasik Perdana (Perdana Botanical Garden).

Known as Lake Garden, this park was my best solution to stay away from hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur city which gradually made my ears noisy.

Hi, don’t stick!….Hahaha.

I saw how happy Kuala Lumpur people picnic as a family, swinging their feet along jogging track, rowing a boat on a beautiful lake and I was dissolved with my steps to enjoy green trees which cooling surrounding air.

16. Kuala Lumpur Orchid Park

The colors of flowers were like a magnet which pulled me closer. I was cheerful when a park signboard whispered information that I didn’t need to pay a cent to enter it.

Hi, don’t step on the grass!….Wew, ask for a fight.

A woman with wide hat greeted me with a happy smile. Her duty in arranging the park was finally visited by a thin-pocketed traveler. Without embarrassment, the traveler also posed in front of camera which held by the woman….Already entered, free of charge, also gave an order to catching a picture…. Beuh, plaaaaaakkkk #hitmyface.

17. Kuala Lumpur Deer Park

Ma’am….Is there something where doesn’t require an entrance ticket in Perdana Botanical Garden?“, I asked without shame

There, Sir….There is deers across. At the end of this road then turn right “, She said mixed with a smile.

Beuh, if it’s free, don’t ask….Donny is the best searcher and Donny will be the fastest to visiting. As fast as lightning, I was already inside Kuala Lumpur Deer Park.

Hahaha….Similar

All visitors who all quickly entered the park and also quickly left it. In contrast to me who really enjoy behavior of those deers whose its brothers like to steal cucumbers in Indonesia (Indonesia have famous story about a deer that love to steal farmer’s cucumber).

Beuh….Those deers dung beat my bad habit….Free attraction hunter.

18. Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

The biggest bird’s nest in the world. Home for three thousand birds. This time there was no mercy for my wallet. USD 10.2 flew just to see birds freely roam in the park.

Don’t touch the sign, Donny!….It can collapse….Huh

If you go there, you will find a mandarin duck which for the first time I saw it. Don’t forget to also take part in feeding program for KL Bird Park “residents“!.

19. National Mosque

Exiting Perdana Botanical Garden, HOHO bus drove me to perform Asr prayer at National Mosque.

Be polite!….

National Mosque, which is capable of accommodating 15,000 worshipers, was established to give thanks to God for country’s independence from colonial government without bloodshed.

Feel coolness of main room with soft carpet while worshiping in this mosque. Guaranteed peace and make sleepy.

20. Kuala Lumpur City Gallery

I slowly moved away from Perdana Botanical Garden area to return to city center. Apparently, I had circled the city 360 degrees, because I had arrived again at Dataran Merdeka. This time I was visiting Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.

Like a villager.….Hahaha

Do you want to know about Kuala Lumpur city development plan?

Want to know also how much Malaysia’s income from tourism?….Fantastic.

Want to know too, what building which they want to build to defeat Petronas Twin Tower which actually has also become the tallest one in entire world?

Just pay USD 1.2 and enter into it….It’s great, I guarantee.

21. National Textile Museum

Yup, there was still a little more time…..

Crossing road in Dataran Merdeka, I was shocked by existence of National Textile Museum. No need to spend money to visit it.

Be saw by security guard from inside…..

The museum, which is placed inside a building which is more than a decade old, offers historical and cultural journeys through a series of typical Malay fabrics which are displayed therein. Also some of relics of Kuala Terengganu’s artistic objects which must have been luxury items in its era

22. Petaling Street

Goodbye Hop On Hop Off bus, thank you for taking me to know Kuala Lumpur.

I immediately headed to hotel to pick up a backpack which I had left in receptionist since morning because my stay finished at 12:00 hours.

But yes, back to the habit….Not wanting to lose against time which kept rolling, I pushed toward Petaling Street which is close to hotel.

You want to shop….Do you have money, Don?

Petaling Street is center of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. Quite crowded when I enter it and explore each stalls which offer a variety of souvenirs and food.

You have to eat roasted chestnuts….It’s delicious, oath!

23. Pasar Seni (Central Market)

It was getting darker….No need to worry, my flight was still tomorrow. A thing which limited me was LRT’s last operating hour, which was 23:00 hours.

I only needed a few minutes to move from Petaling Street to Central Market. Sitting and enjoying culinary time in Petaling didn’t make me realize that the dark had begun to acquire the day. Maybe it was also because of my tiredness which had conspired with the dark to make me forget

Borrowing pictures from someone (year 2019).

Ma’am, what can i get with this amount of money?….Just packing as avail as possible, ma’am. Just a souvenir, Ma’am….Don’t pack foods. I want to go back to Jakarta” words which indicate that I was tired and couldn’t think anymore to choose souvenirs.

24. Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2)

Only a few minutes before 21:00 hours, I closed curtain of my journey in Kuala lumpur. It was time to head to airport which will be my bed on the last night. Combination of traveling using LRT Kelana Jaya and Skybus made me arrive at KLIA2 at a little over 22:00 hours.

He who had a Central Market picture above….He came from future….Wow!

Hi, man….Airport is not a tourist destination….Yakss, for you maybe not….For me is yes, because I often invest time in exploring airport which for the first time I visited.

For me, KLIA2 is an exotic place like a seven star hotel which has contributed to taking me around the world.

Already finish….Need three days to write this article. The longest article which I’ve ever written. This article have 2,679 words, Wow.

Try to count by yourself….!

KTM Laluan Seremban….The Main Line of Batu Caves Tourism.

My arrival which was too late in KL Sentral made my schedule a mess. The first day when I had to visit Genting Highlands must be delayed.

You need to go back at night if you go this afternoon. If you go back in the evening, you won’t get anything there” a joked from staff at bus ticket counter.

Instead of I struggled at night in a condition that I didn’t got a hotel yet, I’d better postpone my intention to Genting and I would go on next day.

I immediately changed my destination….Yess, I headed for Batu Caves. It is the easiest and fastest way because the train which go there departs from KL Sentral.

But Guys, the train in KL Sentral-Batu Caves route operated in 2014. When I came to Kuala Lumpur in April 2019, KL Sentral-Batu Caves route had changed. See the route changes on this link:

New Route to Batu Caves, Malaysia

—-****—-

This time I willn’t focus on the route, but I will tell about the line…. Yups, It is KTM Laluan Seremban (Kereta Tanah Melayu-Seremban Line).

Chinese technology in Indian destination.

Why is that?

The train which runs on this line is an electric train which made in China….While the most favorite destination in this line is Batu Caves which is a place of worship of Indian descent citizen.

Indeed, in the last few years, Malaysia has been ahead than Indonesia in boosting infrastructure with loans from Chinese government.

KTM Laluan Seremban has the last two stations which is visited i.e Port Klang station in southwest and Batu Caves station in north. In total this train passes 27 stations.

KTM Laluan Seremban is a commuter train route. Whereas commuter trains in each country are made to connect city center with suburban areas and majority of passenger are commuters.

Slightly different from Indonesia which uses quality used trains from Japan to be operated as commuter trains, Malaysia prefers to use “made in China” trains with a slightly futuristic shape. I was eager to try it when I saw its shape which looks like a bullet train in some developed countries

Using commuter train started from KL Sentral station.

Tickets aren’t sold at Automatic Fare Machine like MRT, LRT and Kuala Lumpur monorail tickets, but these commuter train tickets are sold in cash at ticket sales counter.

In 2014, ticket price towards Batu Caves station from KL Sentral was USD 0.5.

KTM Ticket from Batu Caves to KL Sentral. In 2019, tickets are sold in the form of a pass card.
LCD info screen on KTM Laluan Seremban platform

The following picture is interior appearance of KTM Laluan Seremban

Seats facing to the side.
Seats facing forward.
Passengers were very quiet.
Seven bans on the train.

The prohibitions applied on the train are smoking, eating and drinking, littering, throwing gum, doing immoral things, carrying dangerous goods and carrying animals.

Appearance of train coach….Very nice.
Slogans which were issued by YAB PM and were advertised on each train seats.

YAB PM stands for Yang Amat Berhormat Perdana Menteri (the Most Honorable Prime Minister). 1Malaysia slogan is a campaign to unite one Malaysian nation regardless of ethnicity and cultural differences. As Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) in Indonesia’s slogan.

This KTM is made by CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd

Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. CSR Ltd is one of many electric train manufacturers in China. This company’s reputation is very cool because it supplies electric trains for Macedonian Railways in Eastern Europe, Shanghai Metro in China and Rapid KL in Malaysia.

Six facilities are provided at KTM Laluan Seremban.

This modern technology train has several good facilities such as priority seats, modern cockpit for machinists, dynamic route map on each train door to facilitate passengers in monitoring the presence of trains, two female-only coach in each train, LCD info screen in each coach and of course CCTV .

Next is appearance of Batu Caves station which is the last stop of this line.

Batu Caves station.
“Batu Caves station” situation at other side.

Well….If you go to Kuala Lumpur, try this train!

Intipan Hypothermia di Taj Express Menuju New Delhi

Buseet….Dikejar pengemis cilik yang tak terima karena cuma kukasih sebungkus beng-beng coklat yang kubawa dari Jakarta sejak seminggu lalu. “No….I need money”, katanya sembari terus mengintili aku dari belakang. Bahkan ketika aku membongkar isi backpack untuk mengontrol apakah ada benda-benda mencurigakan masuk setelah seharian kutaruh tas itu di bagasi taxi, si bocah tetap berdiri sembari mengoceh tak henti-henti di depanku yang sedang berjongkok di pojok stasiun untuk merapikan kembali backpack yang sudah acak-acakan. “Hi Boy….I don’t have much money….Sorry”, Aku menjarakkan mukaku hanya sejengkal dari mukanya. Dia hanya meliuk-liukkan leher sambil memperlihatakan gigi kelincinya.

Tepat jam 17:00, aku melewati metal detector stasiun Agra Cantt dengan mulus walau polisi berkumis melintir itu terus memandangku aneh. Selangkah kemudian aku menuju platform dan mencari informasi keberangkatan Taj Express 12279 di LCD board sederhana. Tertera suhu di angka 12 derajat….”Mulai mendingin”, batinku….”Delay”, otakku merekam informasi. Padahal seharusnya aku sudah meninggalkan kota Agra pada jam 18:40.

Tiket kelas CC (Chair Car) yang harga tiketnya hanya Rp. 51.000 tentu tak berakses menuju station lounge yang menawarkan udara hangat dan makanan enak didalamnya. Menyedihkan, aku tercecer bersama penumpang kasta bawah di sepanjang platform yang semakin dingin mengikuti putaran jarum jam stasiun Agra Cantt.

Lalu lalang kereta yang terus menjajikan harapan….Tak kunjung tiba.

Semakin lama berdiam duduk maka jari-jari tanganku mulai kebas. Sial….Aku salah perbekalan, jaketku kurang tebal. Terkadang toilet menjadi tempat hinggap sementara untuk menolak beku. Tapi itu tak bisa lama, toilet berbayar itu menebar bau pesing kemana-mana.

Suhu sudah dibawah 10 derajat memasuki jam 10 malam….Siaga

Aku tak mampu menyembunyikan panik ketika suhu menyentuh 7 derajat. Kaos kakiku tembus dan perlahan membasah membuatku seperti merendam kaki di air es. Sedangkan t-shirt rangkap 3 dibawah jaket tak mampu menangkap panas tubuh….Aku mulai merinding ringan di tengah malam.

Lihatlah pemuda India itu!….Ingin rasanya merampas paksa selimutnya.

Perlawanan menggunakan secangkir kecil chai (teh tarik) dan setangkup burger asongan tak bertahan lama. Akhirnya aku hanya terus bergerak untuk mengatasi dingin.

Taj Express baru merapat sekitar pukul 1:30 dinihari. Gembira bukan kepalang aku memasuki gerbong, tapi harapanku sirna ketika tak merasakan perubahan suhu ketika 5 menit duduk di bangkunya. Pantesan….Ternyata ada celah kecil di semua jendela gerbong yang memasukkan udara dingin kedalam. Walah….alamat.

Bahkan bangku sekotor itu tak membuatku jijik karena fokusku hanya melawan dingin.

Lebih menjengkelkan lagi, kereta ini benar-benar tak bergerak hampir 40 menit setelah tiba. Kini kondisi di dalam gerbong menjadi tak ada bedanya dengan kondisi di platform. Sementara penumpang lokal sudah tertidur bertutup rapat selimut, sementara aku masih sibuk melawan udara yang semakin mengancam. Aku mulai kefikiran tentang hypothermia. Benih kepanikan mulai tumbuh di otakku.

Gerbong yang tak bisa menyelamatkanku dari kedinginan.

Aku sudah tak peduli lagi walau kereta terus melaju mendekati New Delhi secara perlahan. Aku benar-benar terduduk meringkuk terengah-engah. Kukunyah burger tersisa untuk membantu menghasilkan panas tubuh sehingga memperpanjang asaku menaklukkan dingin.

Semakin masinis menaikkan kecepatan kereta maka aku semakin tak bisa bergerak. Aku seperti tak punya harapan, meringkuk kaku memeluk backpack sepanjang perjalanan. Hanya do’a senjata terakhir yang kumiliki. Di suhu 3 derajat Celcius dan entah telapak kaki bisa basah, telapak tangan  mengkerut pucat dan bibir menggeretak, aku seperti susah sekali menghirup nafas.

3 jam 10 menit aku benar-benar bak patung hingga akhirnya sekonyong-konyong aku sanggup melompat dari bangku dan memastikan apa yang kulihat di seberang jendela. Ya….Itu kereta  Metro Delhi….Aku sampai. Oh, Belum….masih setengah jam lagi baru benar-benar tiba. Setengah jam terakhir yang membuatku bisa tersenyum tipis untuk segera memasuki stasiun Hazrat Nizamuddin di kota New Delhi.

Selamat tinggal Agra dan selamat datang New Delhi

Terimakasih Tuhan.

Kharisma Merah Bata Agra Fort

Get off here and walk straight there. I will wait here for maximum 2 hours”, ucap pengemudi taxi sewa harian setelah meludahkan kunyahan sirih keluar jendela. Bekas ludahan sirih terlihat merata di area parkir kendaraan memang….Menyedihkan.

Loker penjualan tiket
Lumayan juga harganya….Rp. 98.000.

Tak menyiakan waktu, Aku segera menyelinap ke antrian pengunjung untuk membeli tiket masuk. Tak lama….Tak lebih dari 10 menit, tiket sudah digenggaman.

Aku tenggelam dalam keangkuhan julangan Benteng Merah. Benteng kota itu sungguh tinggi seakan mengawasi setiap gerik langkah orang yang mendekatinya. Kota Mughal seolah menjadi kota teraman di dunia dengan ketebalan dinding yang melingkarnya

Yuk mulai masuk….
Amar Singh Gate dihadapan.
Dinding benteng di sekitar main entrance

Layaknya benteng pertahanan, aku harus menyeberang kanal melalui sebuah jembatan yang menghubungkan jalanan utama kota Agra dan gerbang benteng itu sendiri. Memasukinya, setiap jalur kota di sisi dalam benteng harus dilalui dalam hapitan dinding yang perlahan berubah dari menyeramkan menjadi menyamankan.

Gerbang kedua dengan dinding 21 meter menjulang menjadikanku bak kurcaci.
Eksterior sekitar gerbang

UNESCO World Heritage Site yang berusia 4,5 abad ini adalah tempat tinggal seluruh anggota keluarga kerajaan Mughal. Benteng Merah otomatis berhenti berfungsi ketika ibukota kerajaan Mughal berpindah ke Delhi. Agra Fort sendiri terprakarsa dibangun karena terjadinya beberapa kali peperangan antar beberapa kerajaan yang ada di sekitar Hindustan hingga daerah Afghan.

Lalu….Kelicikanku mulai menguasai diri ketika intuisi “gratisan” menuntunku untuk mengekori langkah seorang tour guide yang sedang membawa turis-turis asal Tiongkok. Setiap penjelasan yang keluar dari bibirnya coba kucermati dan pahami. Beberapa turis mengernyitkan dahi ketika aku ketahuan sedang menguping, mereka sadar bahwa aku adalah penyusup dalam kelompoknya.

Yuk mari….Dengarkan dengan teliti!….

Satu hiburan yang menarik adalah ketika aku disodori sejumput bubuk kuning oleh seorang bapak tua. Aku bingung kenapa?. Ternyata beberapa detik kemudian tupai-tupai kecil naik ke tanganku dan memakan bubuk itu. Baru kulihat ada tupai super jinak seperti itu.

Tupai jinak di sekitaran benteng mendekat ke pengunjung.
Mengintip kondisi sekitar dari atas benteng
Taj Mahal samar terpantau dari Agra Fort.

Kemudian langkah mengantarku memasuki bangunan putih berjuluk Khas Mahal yang merupakan istana pribadi sang raja. Bangunan ini terbuat dari marmer dengan lukisan-lukisan indah di dalamnya.

Interior Khas Mahal
Air mancur di depan Khas Mahal

Tak jauh dari Khas Mahal, terlihat bangunan dua lantai berwarna putih dengan taman luas di depan pekarangannya. Bagian ini diberi nama Anguri Bagh.

Anguri Baghh berarti “The Grape Garden” yang merupakan taman pribadi milik anggota kerajaan perempuan.

Anguri Bagh
Golden Pavilion di sekitar Anguri Bagh
Bangunan di sekitar Anguri Bagh yang sedang di renovasi

Dan bagian terakhir yang kukunjungi adalah Jahangiri Mahal (sering disebut juga Jahangiri Palace). Inilah jantungnya Agra Fort. Istana megah yang diperuntukkan sebagai tempat tinggal istri raja.

Duh….Cakepnya….Siapa sih itu?

Singkat kata dan singkat langkah kemudian….Aku buru-buru ke stasiun Agra Cantt. Ditunggu kereta menuju New Delhi.