Roman Aura at Grand Mosque of Central Java

Leaving Sam Poo Kong Temple, my gaze ransacked canteen area. Trying to find Mr. Muchlis as soon as possible. I had to bring him to Grand Mosque of Central Java, not only to perform prayer, but also to fulfill religious tourism that afternoon after just finishing around the temple.

I found him in a corner, he looked delicious in smoking a cigarette. Smoking while taking turns with splashing his throat with mango juice….Hahaha.

Come on sir, come with me again!“, I loudly shouted from a distance.

Oh, where are we going?“, He exclaimed, putting out his cigarette fire.

Let’s prayer“, I briefly said as I stepped towards temple exit gate.

Regular taxi which was also online taxi came to pick us. Now I faced with a half-aged driver who was already proud with his human mistakes. He said, he once asked for more fees from a pair of Dutch tourists just because he had a reason that Dutch had colonized his country. Then that two tourists didn’t accept it. The driver stopped the taxi in front of police office, he explained his reason for asking for more fare. Then the policeman explained to that tourists in a more elegant way. Amazingly, That tourists somehow wanted to pay more to the driver….Funny, strange and magical….Hahaha.

Once, he didn’t want to accept a fare change Chinese tourist. He said that he had a pride to not to be pitied….This story was even more miraculous, I wanted to laugh out loud

Never mind…. I was lazy to argue….I hoped that this white taxi ran faster and arrived soon….And finally, this online taxi arrived right at the destination courtyard.

Yup…. Great Mosque of Central Java… Call it as MAJT.

The courtyard was deserted, car park but full of motorbikes, shining lamp in combination with gurgling of fountains along pond in the middle of sidewalk. At the end of courtyard, there was a gate with twenty-five pillars, in roman style, with a typical Middle Eastern calligraphy which was circling on top.…Roman taste was clearly embedded in the courtyard.

Roman aura at the start of my visitation.
How?.…Cool, right ?.

The right side of mosque was dominated by Al Husna Tower as high as 62 meters, embodied in 19 floors. If you want, go up as you like, at above, binoculars are waiting you to enjoying the beauty of Atlas City from altitude, then enjoy a cup of coffee at an 18th floor cafe which can turn in a full circle….Wow.

Al Husna Tower.

While the left side of mosque was acquired by a giant green drum which put under 3 layer roof pavilion. A Gift of students from Al Falah Boarding School in Banyumas for MAJT.

How does that giant drum sound?

Meanwhile, mosque courtyard was decorated with six giant hydraulic umbrellas which liked same umbrella in Al Masjid an Nabawi at Medina. This great mosque looked endless spacious, it was said that its area reached 10 hectares. Making this mosque as pride of Sambirejo people. A beautiful mosque whose dome had a diameter of 20 meters which was combined “Limas Roof” as Javanese typical architecture.

Look at the full shape….Waooww.

Not really caring about the crowds in yard, I hurried towards downstairs, did ablution, then prayed in upstairs. Praying with the accompaniment of an ustadz’s sermon to recitation congregation.

Mosque interior.
Hanging lamp in the middle of mosque room.

I linger a little by following this spiritual sermon. A habit which I always repeated when visiting famous mosques. No needed to worry because my time to treat my colleagues was still later. I could catch up with an online taxi in just 15 minutes.

The giant Qur’an by Mr. Hayatuddin, a calligraphy writer from University of Science and Qur’an, Wonosobo.

After the sermon, I began to leave this 14-year-old building, said goodbye to this Islamic center after a religious tour in it, and praying that MAJT would become a prosperous religious education center.

You needed to know that this mosque has other functions, i.e as a library, auditorium, lodging, marriage ceremony room and museum of Islamic development.

Helmsman Service at Sam Poo Kong Temple

Semarang deserves to thank to Helmsman Ong Keng Hong for gotting a serious illness. Because of his illness, he had to anchor and chose to be left by expedition group at Simongan Hill. Admiral Zheng He was still generous in sending several soldiers to accompany and care for his Helmsman in Semarang. Then at one time, around the XV century, Ong Keng Hong was the figure who spread Islam and founded Gedung Batu Cave which was the forerunner to establishment of Sam Poo Kong Temple in the modern era….Oh yes, it was said that Ong Keng Hong controlled a giant ship along 130 m in wide and 55 m in wide with 9 masts. Accompanied by 299 other ships on a grand expedition.

That afternoon, clock showed 3:30 p.m., a sign that my duty to guard the training was complete. After packing every essential equipment for re-used on second day training tomorrow, I didn’t directly go to hotel, but intended to explore Bongsari area.

The training closing moment….Couldn’t wait to get started the exploration.

Because tonight I had to entertain important colleagues for dinner together, the training host was kind enough to take Mr. Muchlis and me to the destination which I meant. Soon, I arrived at Sam Poo Kong Temple. Sitting for a moment in parking lot at temple north gate, my heart kept pounding, what history was inside?

Redeemed a ticket of USD 2, I started to enter it.

Temple north gate.

It seemed that this pagoda was indeed very ready to become a tourist attraction, various directional signs were very complete and placed in several strategic positions, some of the best points for taking photos had also been marked in detail.

Donny, I’m sitting here, yes. I want to drink ice and smoked. I’m very tired. You can go around by yourself, yes!”, Said Mr. Muchlis, grimacing while massaging his calf. He was more interested in orange juice and sitting in rest area.

Rest Area.

I combed from north side, past a joglo (typical roof shape is Central Java) pavilion where its space part was used by traders to trade souvenirs, while right in front of it is a health post with a yellow wall. Meanwhile, in very large temple courtyard, there were two statues of a golden lion which carrying a globe and a lion cub as well as two white statues of Yin and Yang guardians.

Joglo pavilion.
Health post.
Yin (moon) and Yang (sun) guardians.

I started to walking into temple parts one by one. I entered a temple with thirty-six pillars and two stacks of roof. At its front was guarded by two golden lions and eight deities. This is worship temple of Thao Tee Kong (God of Earth) to asking for blessings and life safety.

Earth God Temple.

Next to the south side, lied the Helmsman Temple. Of course, this temple was dedicated to Ong Keng Hong, the helmsman who spread Islam in Semarang. Smaller in size, this temple was built with sixteen pillars, two of which were brown, with dragon carve and located right at the entrance. Guarded by a green lion statue and two gods in the courtyard.

Helmsman Temple.

I arrived at the main building in a prayer complex for the Tridharma (Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). It was Sam Poo Kong Temple which firmly stood with ninety pillars and had a three-tiered roof.

I managed to enter this temple. But I made a big mistake by photographing worship area which was forbidden. Temple staff scolded me. I was sorry, Sir, I didn’t see a camera image with red cross near the center pole.

Behind this main temple were ten reliefs which tell important events during Admiral Zheng He’s expedition, or we was more familiar to called him as Admiral Cheng Ho. Some people call him as San Poo Tay Djien.

Among the stories, Admiral Zheng He was rewarded with several giraffes by King Hulumosi from Iran, crushing Iskandar’s rebellion in Samudra Pasai Kingdom, one hundred and seventy of his soldiers died in overcoming a civil war between Wikramawardhana (King of West Java) and Wirabumi (King of East Java), crushing five thousands of pirates who led by Chen Zhu Yi in Palembang, overcoming the conflict between Malacca (Malaysia) and Siam (Thailand), early departure story of expedition which he led from Liu Jia Gang, escorting Princess Han Li Bao to be married to Malaysia King (Sultan Mansyur Syah), until save the missing China ambassador in Indonesia… Wow, those were cool of this Admiral’s story.

Reliefs behind the main temple. The stories were told in three languages, i.e. English, Indonesian and Chinese.
12 meters tall bronze statue of Admiral Zheng He and Sam Poo Kong Temple.
South gate behind the Admiral Zheng He statue.

It was getting darker, colorful lights began to be lit. I have arrived at the end of this temple exploration. I took the time to sit in a building which served as a performance venue, where in rows of steps stood soldier statues who Admiral Zheng He brought.

Stage for show.
Admiral Cheng Ho’s warrior statues.

For visitors who wanted to take pictures with wearing costumes which using in Admiral Zheng He era, they could rent it at costume photo rental shop.

Costume Photo.

That was my visit story at Sam Poo Kong Temple, a full of history temple and telling about entire crew under Admiral Zheng He command.

Kampung Laut’s Kampung Batik

Shortly after entering room number 523 at The Azana Hotel Airport, I rushed into bathroom, then came out with wearing casual clothes. From his face, I knew that Mr. Muchlis was starving. Because of this, he has been snacking on packaged peanuts which he brought from the rehearsal place.

Come on sir, let’s go, looking for dinner!“, I said while preparing Canon EOS M10.

Where are we going to have dinner, Donny?“, He also seemed to didn’t have choice.

Do you want to go to Kampung Laut or not? Let’s eat seafood!”, I asked him. Secretly, I’ve found this restaurant through browsing since leaving the airport this afternoon.

Is it far, Donny?“, He asked. Maybe he was reluctant because as far as I know his passion is not far from climbing mountains, doing city exploration made him was grabbed by laziness.

No sir, it’s only six kilometers, at most a quarter of an hour, sir, let’s go! Before too late.“, I said.

I agree, Donny. I will order a online taxi”, Let’s go.

Soon, a black Honda Jazz picked up us at the lobby, we drove to Tawangsari area. I understand that this was same route when I left Ahmad Yani International Airport to The Azana Hotel Airport. We passed Yos Sudarso Street then turned left and following Puri Anjasmoro Street towards the airport. It was just that we will stop about two kilometers before actually arriving at the airport.

We arrived at Kampung Laut Restaurant.

Together with Mr. Muchlis in Kampung Laut.

Once arrived at our destination, I forgot to be hungry. Sight of whole restaurant made my exploration desire relapse. I asked Mr. Muchlis to find a seat, I briefly looked at the menu at a table, then I asked him to order white rice, sweet and sour squid and young coconut ice for my dishes.

I’ll walk around for a while, Sir, let me know where we will sit!“, I hurriedly asked.

I’ll sit in the middle, there Donny, I’ll wait!“, He pointed to a small table in open space on west side of main hut.

Yes Sir“, I closed our quick conversation.

I left him to explore some spots in restaurant which is designed to float on artificial lake. I started to enter the first part which was eight main huts, four on left and the rest on right. Elongated tables with dozens of chairs were arranged under huts, as a sign that that huts are used to serve large numbers of visitors. It seemed that Mr. Muchlis was right to chose a small table in outer court.

A row of huts with a pond in front of it.
Long dining table in the hut….Perfect for eating together with all office-mate.

Meanwhile, at western end, there is a long platform leading to a “Kampung Laut” nameboard which is designed to be a spot to take pictures for visitors after eating. The concept which attracts young people to visit here.

The best photo spot in Kampung Laut.

Not long after, I immediately joined with Mr. Muchlis for dinner after he sent a short message “Foods are ready, Donny. Come here!“.

Come on, dinner….

Outdoor dining table.
Our menu: water spinach, squids, fishes, coconut ice and avocado juice….It was simple menu… .Hahahaha.

After eating, I talked about rehearsal this afternoon which Mr. Muchlis did without my help. Were there anything missing?, what can be prepared again before tomorrow’s training?. “All were done, Donny, you don’t need to worry. The important thing is tomorrow we come half an hour before the event start, Okay! “, He concisely and convincingly said .

Before closing our dinner at Kampung Laut Restaurant, we stood in front of a small stage and enjoyed several songs which sung by a beautiful singer. Wow, if there were a lot of time, I would definitely sing with her. But seemed, She was singing a few requested songs from restaurant guests.

What was the best song if I had a duet with her?… .”Yellow” or “Tiwas Tresno”.

At exactly 21:30 hours, we withdrew and immediately headed to hotel to rest. Mr. Muchlis swiftly brought in an online taxi with Wuling Confero brand. This was first time for me to feel sensation of riding a China car.
Hmmhhh….It was quite relieved. “This uses a Chevrolet engine, for your information, Sir“, said the driver, proud to his car. Woow….When I hear a “Chevrolet” word, the first image which comes to my mind is the yellow “Bumblebee”.

Eittt I forgot, before actually leaving the restaurant, for you who wanted to shop for “Batik (Javanese clothes)“, there was a “Kampung Batik” outlet that sells Semarang typical batik.

For Batik fans…. Please stop by.

Time for sleeping and got a sweet dream, my friend …….

Exploring Ahmad Yani International Airport

I started this free business trip, very suddenly and equipped myself sufficiently. The most important thing was, my lovely tool wasn’t left behind….None other than black Canon EOS M10. Apart from supplies, an itinerary was never arranged before leaving. In the next four days, I will be an explorer who played as I pleases.

When Citilink started to take-off and leaving Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, I never thought anything about Ahmad Yani International Airport. My memory is still the same about it. Simple, not big, a waiting room which is directly face to face with plane muzzle when it’s parking. Those are memory sheets which neatly arranged in my brain cabinet. However, several years ago, Ahmad Yani International Airport was playing a role in taking off for the first flight in my life.

Oh apparently…..

It’s different, it’s amazing“, I muttered when I peeked through plane window when Citilink QG 144 was taxiing towards the apron.

It’s true, Ahmad Yani International Airport which have IATA code “SRG“, has transformed itself into a super elegant airport. I was dropped off in parking lot, next to Lion Air plane. Stepping under giant wing, main terminal building looked like a stretch of glass windows which showing off large pillars inside. Solar light appeared to perfectly penetrate the entire room in glass building.

Let’s entering the terminal building.

Asphalt on airport vehicle lane still looked very black and smooth, a sign that this route was recently operated. Road markings which stuck to asphalt were still perfectly white. The terminal wall was still a light beige.

A. Arrival

I entered arrival hall corridor towards baggage claim area. The floor was still shiny and reflected the lights in a regular pattern, glass room on left was still under construction status, while corridor right side had several toilets, lifts and a prayer room in operation. Several shelves containing shoe flower pots were beautify room corners.

Corridor towards baggage claim area.
Baggage claim area.

Some baggage service counters of several airlines still appeared to be closed, maybe the airlines concerned weren’t operating yet at this terminal.

After going through baggage claim area, a row of information provider counters have been prepared, such as Tourist Information Center, BP3TKI, money changers and TRAC car rental companies. Meanwhile, between main building and road for in and out of the airport are separated by a stretch of water. Yes, I was currently in a floating terminal which covering 7 hectares area which was built on a swamp.

The exit area is under a canopy corridor and framed by whitewashed steel beams. This corridor connects arrival hall and commercial zone of airport. The existence of a pool, umbrella shade with chairs under it and a garden planted with medium tall trees with a patterned distribution make exit area appearance is very neat. Here is where the pick-up await their guests arrival or relatives who have just landed.

Exit gate.
Park area.

Once past exit gate, there was a photospot area with background of President Joko Widodo who is riding his onthel bicycle. Followed by existence of toilets, nursery rooms, money changers, prayer rooms and ATM areas.

Musalla after exit gate.
Corridor with a line of ATMs from several banks.

Airport digital clock screen showed 17:09 hours, when I entered commercial zone. Two predominantly green customer service desks appear parallel to exit gate. Meanwhile, black and red waiting benches circle every main pillars in terminal building and several of them line up in several empty walls. Several photo spots are located in building corners, while departure and arrival flight information LCD are in the middle zone so that it is easily accessible to all passengers and visitors.

Customer service counters.

Commercial zone area was already occupied by several well-known brands such as X-Side Eat, A&W, Kukomart, Bank BNI, Eaten Kopi Tiam and other brands.

Exiting commercial zone building, I was greeted by a double corridor separated by a four-wheeled vehicle lane. This is taxi zone and drop and pickup zone. This corridor looks neat with round poles and spandex roofs. Meanwhile, under the shade, waiting chairs are arranged along corridor. I myself chose taxi transportation mode to downtown, considering that this was a business trip which all costs were paid by office where I work.

B. Departure

Three days later, I returned to this airport to return to capital city. Online taxi dropped me off at same place where I left the airport when I arrived on the first day. I set foot in drop and pickup zone then rushed to find check-in area inside of terminal building.

Arrived in drop and pickup zone.

Entering commercial zone, I just continued through it, many prospective passengers seemed to be relaxing in this area, either in public area or eating food at several coffee shops. As soon as I left commercial zone, I entered a transparent roofed area with steel pillars with two LCD check-in information screens, while on right side there was a wooden deck with number of palm pots on it, while the other part was a pool which soaked terminal piles, it was giving a impression that this is a floating passenger terminal …. Very cool.

Garden and pool on right side of departure hall.

At the end of garden and pond, I entered a building which served as a check-in area. As in garden outside, this check-in area looks tall and wide. Thirty check-in counters stretches on a hall side. Meanwhile, “Total Baggage Solution” counter is ready to help each passenger for wrapping their luggage to secure it during loading & unloading process in plane hull.

Check-in area.

I rushed to waiting room after getting my boarding pass, passing through a narrow corridor which in its left side is glass window which facing a garden and the right side is covered by plywood of a functional space project. At the end of corridor, facing iPORT shop, I turned left into commercial zone. Several clothing stores such as POLO or coffee shops like Starbucks are in this area.

Commercal zone in departure hall.

I started to enter waiting room which have green waiting chairs, carpeted in gray patterns, equipped with a prayer room, executive lounge, smoking area, toilet, charging area, LCD TV and free internet counter. In some spots, a photospot was provided.

Waiting room.
One of photo spots in waiting room.

And finally, that afternoon I left Ahmad Yani International Airport through gate 2A. That was short story of my exploration in an airport which Semarang residents were proud of it.

Let’s visit Atlas City and enjoy its beauty!.

Beautiful Spots at The Azana Hotel Airport

Almost Isha’ time….

I entered The Azana Hotel Airport gate which is located on edge of Jenderal Sudirman Street just under Kalibanteng flyover. Hotel room which have booked by my office for three days for USD 33/night.

The Azana Hotel Airport.

Thing that I know is, my colleague, Mr. Muchlis, who comes from Gresik City, had been opening the room since noon. He preceded me, because he departed earlier using Argo Bromo Anggrek train from Surabaya this morning. In fact, he had completed all kinds of rehearsals for next two days of training. Make all were easy for me, because I just accepted final concept when I arrived in Semarang….Thank you, Mr. Muchlis.

Reception desk.
Mini bar in lobby.

I got information that our room which was ordered with office name was number 523, so I decided to directly go to upstairs for quickly pausing and cleaning myself, I felt very disheveled after half a day of was exposured by capital city street dust.

I had a plan to hunt seafood with Mr. Muchlis after taking a bath, it was normal, when I had an office assignment like this, I always used it to improve nutrition….Hahahaha. But I didn’t know where we would go, I would have a discussion with him later.

Room corridor.
Guest room.

It was also nice to meet friend from same company but from different branches. I worked at head office and Mr. Muchlis at Surabaya branch. We usually met once a year during Year End Party, a moment where awards are given to several outstanding employees.

That night, we decided to go to Kampung Laut in Tawangsari area. For an hour and a half, we enjoyed seafood dishes on the lake. Enjoying the taste, sitting back, relax, enjoying fruit juice, eating sea food while was accompanied by a local band amidst splash of serene lights. Releasing tired after a long journey.

After being satisfied and full, on around 9:30 p.m., we left Kampung Laut Restaurant, took by online taxi which using Wuling Confero (a brand of China car), we headed back to hotel.

And it’s not a Donny if I stop exploring….Arriving at hotel, I didn’t directly go to the room for rest. According to information from reception staff, on seventh floor or the top floor, I could enjoy the beauty of Semarang city from a height. Immediately I headed to Sky Lounge. Here were the best pictures which I have:

Sky Lounge. You can order hot coffee here….Cool, right?.
Kalibanteng Flyover was rich in color.
Great views towards beach and airport.

Not only that, I also went out to street in front of hotel. The festive colors of lights on Bunderan Kalibanteng Street have actually attracted several young people to spend their night at the roundabout. Meanwhile, at intersection point of Yos Sudarso Street and Jenderal Sudirman Street, there is a statue of Ir. Soekarno who was reading proclamation text.

Is third statue of Ir. Soekarno in Atlas City.

So on second day in Semarang, I went back upstairs to get something, here it was:

Guess!….Dawn or dusk?

Oh yes, literally, Azana means “the most luxurious“. Maybe it reflects this hotel vision. Then in general, The Azana Hotel Airport provides guest rooms on the third, fifth and sixth floors. Meanwhile, restaurant and meeting room are placed on second floor. The karaoke area and lobby are on Ground floor. Then swimming pool is placed on basement floor.

Let’s had breakfast at hotel restaurant. After that let’s worked and continued to explore Semarang City in the afternoon!

Taxi from Ahmad Yani International Airport to Downtown

The debate of choice was quickly over by my own authority. “Don’t be obedient to backpacker art, Donny. This is an business trip, just take facility advantage, take a taxi! ”, I firmly thought to defeated some stupid options which sometimes sporadically appeared in my attitudes and choices.

Oh, thrifty man“, my colleagues joked, that’s brand which is embedded to me. How come?. Every time I leave the airport, I always automatically think that taking a bus was only a quarter of taxi cost. So I always linger waiting for catch bus to downtown.

Taxi Service Counter at Ahmad Yani International Airport.

Almost Maghrib time….

My phone kept ringing from my colleague who was doing a training rehearsel session in Bukit Semarang Baru (BSB) area. Without hesitation I picked up my smartphone, it turned out that he just wanted to tell me that I better directly go to hotel, because the rehearsel would be complete in fifteen minutes.

Five minutes in queueing to got a taxi service ticket for USD 3.7, I was immediately directed to a taxi. A simple middle-aged driver jogged to pick me up. “Assalamu’alaikum. Where are you going, sir? ”he asked with smile and then brought my cardboard box on his left shoulder and carried two roll up banners in his right hand.

This airport taxi service is managed by Primkopad (Primer Koperasi Taksi Angkatan Darat) S-16.

As usual, my beloved backpack still never leaves me, with me it was entering from front door. I read ID Card board which was pasted on the dashboard.

Do you a resident here , Sir Ari?“, I opened conversation while putting on safety belt and then skied together to hotel.

Oh no sir, I am from Pekalongan City. Where were you come from, sir? ”He replied as he slowly stepped on pedal out of airport area.

I’m from the capital, Sir. How long have you been working in Semarang? Is Semarang a busy city?“, dialogue smoothly flowed to warm the situation.

It was only been three years, Mr. Donny. Previously I worked in Jakarta, because of my son had graduated from school, so I moved to Semarang to be close to home”, he cheerfully said controlling his white taxi leaving Tambakharjo area.

Office assignment, Sir Donny?“, He asked like investigating….Hahaha.

Yes, if it’s not an office assignment, I usually take airport bus, Sir. Does this airport have airport bus service to downtown, Sir? “, I asked for looking for a reference.

Yes, there is Trans Semarang BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). It’s cheap, only USD 0.3 for one way, Sir”, He explained.

Me and Mr. Ari.
Puri Anjasmoro Street on 17:24 hours.

It had been a long time, I didn’t use an airport taxi service. So that I really enjoy 20 minutes to enjoy it….Thank you to my beloved office for this opportunity.

Slowly, taxi turned right, starting to passed at Yos Sudarso Street, heading south. I moved from new construsction road with concrete barrier to two-lane road on each section, is bordered as high as its sidewalk and many shady trees on each left side.

In twenty minutes, with a distance of six kilometers, I arrived at The Azana Hotel Airport. I handed over USD 7.5 to Mr. Ari. I purposely gave more this trip cost and shared kindness to him….Self-conscious, when I’m backpacking, I rarely gave more for trip cost….Hahahaha.

I would stay for two nights at this hotel.

Let’s see in the next four days, What did Semarang have?

Citilink QG 144 from Jakarta (HLP) to Semarang (SRG)

Flight route QG 144 (source:

Yeaaaa …. I had a weekend business trip. As usual, I always made a strategy for my office duties assignments in order to keep my main hobby….Yes, exploration. After my training assignment for Friday and Saturday, I would extend my trip to Sunday in this free trip.


That was the city which I was going to this time. Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport was my starting point and Ahmad Yani International Airport was my landing point.

Boss: “Donny, I haven’t got anyone to handle our training in Semarang. Can you do that? You must go to Semarang this weekend!. It’s suddenly Donny, I’m sorry before”.

Me: “Hhmmhh (I pretend to think), it’s okay sir

Boss: “You go on Thursday afternoon and back on Saturday afternoon, let Marketing Support staff buy your tickets.

Me : “Yes, Sir”.

After our conversation was over, I immediately called the Marketing Support staff. I asked for my return ticket to be extended until Sunday afternoon. “I’ll be responsible for accommodation cost on Sunday, but my return ticket is still paid by office“, I said to her, then be followed by her confirmation “OK, Mr. Donny“.

Wow, my heart was happy….Traveling again.

That morning, I was still working as usual until noon. After saving my favorite black “beat pop” (beat pos is a brand of Honda motorbike) at home, I went to Halim. Not far, only 25 minutes from a landmark where I stay near it, Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal.

I arrived at the airport very close with boarding times, causing me to focus on the length of queues at check-in counters. For some reason, passengers who was queueing in front of me always called their friends when they were in front of the counter, it was very annoying, because many passengers who are queueing behind me could automatically overtook the queue….It was bad.

I exactly got the ticket on ten minutes before boarding time. Because of it…. I no longer think about documenting every my session at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport.

Alhamdulillah, I wasn’t late.

I entered gate 6 with a quick breath because fearing of missing my flight. Not having time to cooled off my sweat, the flight call arrived. Without having time to sat down, I immediately got ready to fly to Semarang that afternoon.

Waiting room in Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport.
Queueing up for boarding in gate 6.

Citilink is on 12th airline list of 28 airlines which I’ve ever ridden. Proud to be able to enjoying a flight from this airline which its corporate colour is green. The color symbolizes three meanings, i.e young-fun-dynamic. This is subsidiary of the famous airline in Indonesia i.e Garuda Indonesia. And surely more proud when Citilink was selected in the list of “The 20 Best Budget Airline for 2019” by Skytrax.

Cool view, huh. Only needed to walk from gate 6 to the plane.
Wooow….Right at under plane.
Look at the air conditioner, so foggy….Cold.

I should have sat on seat 23A, right in the window seat.

A Woman : “Sir, can I swap seat with you. I get dizzy when I’m not near the window”.

Me: “Oh, It’s okay mom“, hmmmh slowly I entered my Canon EOS M10 camera to my bag, I wouldn’t use it during flight, I won’t be able to capture beauty of the earth from plane seat number 23C.

Sit in the aisle seat.
Linkers… .Inflight magazine belonging to Citilink.

This 400 km trip was taken in 50 minutes. So this was a very short flight and very short time too for sleeping. Better, I compiled an impromptu itinerary from some references which I got and compiled a travel budget.

That afternoon, my journey was really tough because north coast of Java Sea was full of clouds which made my flight was full of turbulence. I thought all passengers were silent because of thinking the same thing….Hahaha. Meanwhile, an air crew continued to hold on to cabin baggage to save him from throwning off due to turbulence. Happy but thrilling. I myself always surrender to “The Almighty” when I fly.

So relieved, when soft voice of flight attendant directed all passengers to get ready to landing. Entering Semarang CIty, weather turned sunny and plane started to smooth landing and finally….Semarang Touchdown.

Oh that, Ahmad Yani International Airport new building.
Thank you Citilink.

The training which was assigned by office was still ongoing tomorrow and training rehearel had been represented by my colleague who came from Surabaya branch office since this morning. He chose to use train from Surabaya to Semarang. So, I didn’t have to rush to hotel after landing.

As usual, I would explore tourist gate of Semarang City….Yes, Ahmad Yani International Airport.

Come on, guys….

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.


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.

Menuju Magelang….Menikmati Festival Lima Gunung.

Magelang….sebuah kota kecil di Propinsi Jawa Tengah yang sejak zaman Belanda terkenal sebagai produsen perwira Angkatan Bersenjata Republik ini. Tapi kedatanganku kesini tak terkait dengan dunia militer walaupun dua anggota keluargaku adalah serdadu hasil gemblengan barak Magelang.

Kali ini Aku berkesempatan menanjak ke lereng timur Merapi untuk menikmati pesona Desa Tutup Ngisor. Sebuah desa yang terkenal karena usaha pelestarian budaya tarinya melalui sebuah Padepokan Seni “Tjipta Boedaja” yang berdiri pada tahun 1937 silam.

Dan alasan utama kedatanganku adalah Festival Lima Gunung ke-18 (FLG XVIII). Festival yang mampu menarik minatku untuk merangsek kesana ditengah padatnya aktivitas pekerjaan di Ibu Kota.

Festival ini dinamakan demikian….Mengacu pada lima nama gunung yang terletak di sekitar Magelang yaitu Merapi, Merbabu, Menoreh, Sumbing dan Andong.


Perjalananku menuju Magelang menggunakan jasa bus legendaris yang pernah berjaya di masanya yaitu PO Santoso. Bus yang sudah berumur dan “bersuara” ini perlahan tapi pasti mengantarkanku tiba di Magelang tepat di dinginnya Sabtu (6/7/19) dini hari.

Hangatnya kopi hitam di tengah dinginnya pagi mengganggu terpejamnya mata dan mengharuskanku menemani Si Pagi yang tengah menjemput Fajar.

Bayangan keagungan festival terus mengganggu konsentrasiku di pagi itu. Dan setelah sang fajar datang, hatchback putih milik Ipar mulai membelah hijaunya persawahan.

Aku harus rela tertinggal satu sesi, karena acara ini sudah dimulai sejak Jum’at (5/7/19) siang. Jalanan menuju Tutup Ngisor yang sudah ditutup untuk beberapa jenis kendaraan umum menunjukkan bahwa festival ini akan dihadiri banyak pengunjung, bahkan akhirnya Aku harus memarkirkan mobil sedikit jauh dari gerbang desa.

Beberapa langkah kemudian Aku tiba.

Elang Jawa sebagai background panggung. Burung ini diyakini sebagai pemberi tanda jika gunung Merapi akan meletus.

Whatsapp ku terus aktif berbalas pesan untuk mencari seseorang yang punya peran penting dalam kehadiranku di festival ini. Perkenalanku di dunia maya setahun lalu (….kek ABG aja) akhirnya dipertemukan disini.

Dialah Mas Yokhanan yang  berjasa besar dalam kedatanganku di festival kali ini. Akhirnya Kita pun bisa kopdar di sela acara setelah sekian lama cuma ledek-meledek di dunia blogging….Thanks ya, Mas Yo.


Selain performer lokal, festival ini juga dimeriahkan performer dari negeri sebelah. Begitu juga dengan para pengunjung….pengunjung internasional juga banyak yang datang lhoooo….Keren kan.

Kaori Okado dari Jepang membawakan tari Gambir Anom. Masak kalah sama orang Jepang?
Nah foto ini sengaja kupajang, bukan apa-apa sih….Suka aja liat Si Putri yang eksotik banget…..hihihi, nakal.

FLG XVIII menghadirkan 79 performer yang keseluruhannya disajikan dalam durasi 3 hari (5-7 Juli 2019) dengan rata-rata waktu tampil 20 menit untuk setiap performance. Padat banget ya, pengunjung dituntut cerdas untuk memilih performance yang ingin mereka lihat dalam rentang waktu yang disiapkan panitia.

Tari Barong Gunung dari Sanggar Rangkul Dulur (Lumajang)

Festival yang sudah berusia 18 tahun ini juga diselenggarakan secara mandiri oleh Komunitas Lima Gunung tanpa sponsor. Hal ini didasari pada komitmen bahwa komunitas berusaha menjaga kemurnian seni agar tidak terkontaminasi oleh bisnis komersial.

Tari Gedruk Pangekes dari Sanggar Gaboet Wasesa (Magelang).

Mengusung tema “Gunung Lumbung Budaya”, menunjukkan bahwa desa adalah kantong utama penjaga budaya di tengah derasnya pengaruh modernisasi. Desa diharapkan menjadi penjaga orisinalitas beranekaragam budaya dimana seni tari adalah salah satunya.

Tari Uni Ing Geprak dari Gramang Art Community (Yogyakarta).

Festival Lima Gunung biasanya diadakan berdekatan dengan Dieng Culture Festival. Jadi dua event ini bisa didatangi bergantian jika ingin merasakan bagaimana meriahnya pesta seni di tanah Jawa.

Tari Subali Senopatya dari Dinas Kebudayaan Bantul.

Kepanitiaan FLG XVIII digarap oleh para millennial, hal ini sangat terlihat dari wajah muda para anggota panitia, konsep acara yang tersusun rapi dan detail serta mengusung tema yang menarik. Desain panggung pun terlihat sangat modern ketika malam tiba. Tembakan lampu ke arah panggung tak kalah dengan pertunjukan-pertunjukan anak muda Ibu Kota.

Tari Brahmarupa berkolaborasi dengan Kemlaka Sound of Archipelago dan Pesona Nusantara Surakarta.

FLG XVIII menyelipkan sesi Kirab Budaya Komunitas Lima Gunung mengelilingi Desa Tutup Ngisor pada hari ketiga pelaksanaan.

Persiapan Kirab Komunitas Lima Gunung.


Ada beberapa hal lain yang bisa ditemukan selama penyelenggaraan FLG XVIII. Para pengunjung bisa menikmatinya sebagai bonus tambahan atas kehadirannya di Desa Tutup Ngisor.

Padepokan Tjipta Boedaja

Hampir seluruh kegiatan kesenian padepokan ini dilakukan di pendopo ini.

Pendopo yang sering digunakan untuk pementasan Wayang Menak oleh warga desa.

Makam Roso Yoso Soedarmo.

Roso Yoso Soedarmo adalah tokoh sentral dalam pengembangan seni di Tutup Ngisor. Padepokan Tjipta Boedaja lahir atas inisiasi beliau. Berkat kepeloporannya dalam seni, Tutup Ngisor konsisten melahirkan bakat-bakat seni hingga saat ini.

Bangunan makam Romo Roso Yoso Soedarmo

Pameran Seni “Lumbung Karya”

Pameran seni ini menampilkan berbagai karya seni berupa lukisan, patung, kostum tari dan topeng.

Anak dan Bapak pun ikut berfoto ria di galeri pameran.
Bagus kan….topengnya serasa hidup
Si Mas sedang mengukir sesuatu di kayu

Jembatan Gantung Mangunsuko

MC sepanjang acara selalu mengingatkan pengunjung festival untuk tidak melewatkan suguhan pemandangan di Jembatan Jokowi (nama tenar dari Jembatan Mangunsuko). Mendengar penekanan berulang-ulang tersebut, membuat rasa penasaran menyerangku. Dan dihari pertama kedatanganku di Tutup Ngisor, Aku langsung meyambangi jembatan ini

Seperti jembatan gantung pada umumnya….goyang-goyang euy…..aseekkk
Air terjun mini yang mempesona
Awas jangan makan disitu…bisa digigit macan

Rumah Transit

Rumah transit adalah sebutan untuk rumah warga yang secara sukarela dan tanpa pungutan sepeserpun digunakan sebagai tempat menginap para pengunjung festival. Kuatnya jiwa gotong royong, menjadikan setiap warga sangat kompak dalam berlomba-lomba menyediakan rumah singgah selama FLG XVIII.

Kombinasi lengkap, pengunjung pun bisa bertenda di depan rumah transit.


Selama keikutsertaan Saya dalam FLG XVIII, ada dua jenis kuliner yang membekas hati hingga saat ini.

Nasi Lesah merupakan nasi khas Magelang dengan campuran sayur taoge, bihun, irisan tahu bacem, potongan kecil daging sapi, bawang goreng dan sledri. Kemudian diguyur kuah soto bersantan yang masih panas….Wadaaauuwww

Pertama kalinya makan Nasi Lesah

Wine Coffee….Buat Saya yang penggemar pemula kopi, menemukan wine coffee adalah hal yang istimewa. Kedai Kopi Tanpa Nama yang berada dilokasi pameran menyediakan menu Sindoro Wine yang aroma wine nya sangat terasa nikmat.

Wine coffee juga bisa disebut dengan fermented coffee atau kopi yang mengalami proses fermentasi sebelum menjadi biji kopi.

So…Mau ikut ke Festival Lima Gunung tahun 2020?…..Kuy hal.

Cilacap Main Square, Indonesia

In Indonesia, Main Square (Indonesian Language name it as “Alun-Alun”) is always identically with downtown and government offices. And will usually be a landmark for the region concerned.

Similarly with Cilacap Main Square. I will dissect what’s in this main square.

Come at night to captures the beauty of Cilacap Main Square.

1. Fisherman Monument 

This monument shows the statue of a fisherman couple who are raising wijayakusuma flower. precisely located in front of the Main Square courtyard. At night, the fountain under it will emits various colors rotately so we can enjoy the blend of its beauty from Main Square courtyard.

Air Mancur

This monument is located on the protocol street i.e Jenderal Sudirman Street and becomes the center of 3 way intersection. When saturday night arrives, the traffic flow along this monument will be closed and will become a night tourist spot for foreigners aand Cilacap townspeople.

2. Jami’ Mosque Darussalam 

The interesting thing from this jami mosque is its minaret. Like in the fountain of Fishermen Monument, the mosque minaret also emits very harmonious colors with Fisherman Monument ones.

Located to the west of Main Square and flanked by 2 main roads i.e Jenderal Sudirman Street and Masjid Street.

Masjid Jamie

The lower chamber of the minaret is a radio station i.e 107.2 Radio Da’wah Daarussalaam FM Cilacap.

3. Cilacap Regent Office

Whereever Main Square location then that is where the government office is located. Located to the north of Main Square, the Regent’s Office has large gates and yard before actually entering the main office building.

Kantor Bupati

3. Cilacap Penitentiary

Located on Mataram 1 Street, this building is a Penitentiary Class IIB  with maximum capacity of 500 prisoners.

Lapas Cilacap

At night, the Penitentiary is very quiet and strangely horrified when I lingered in front of it.

4. Cilacap Judiciary

I was overlooked to captured this object because I thought there wasn’t more buildings in Main Square after captured Penitentiary. The building itself is flanked by Jenderal Sudirman Street and Mataram 1 Street, precisely at right front of Main Square.

5. The Park Fountain

Located opposite Jenderal Sudirman Street, in front of the Main Square courtyard. This fountain is located inside a park behind the CILACAP BERCAHAYA lighting board.

Air Mancur Warna

The color change in the fountain makes the park look very beautiful.

Well …. If you go to Cilacap, visit Main Square for culinary tour and enjoy the light party around it.