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!

Sports Zone Bagian dari Aspire Zone

Meninggalkan Aspire Park di sebelah utara, aku bersiap memasuki sports complex yang membentang di bagian utara hingga ke barat dari Aspire Zone. Cukup luas, sports complex ini didominasi oleh lapangan bola, baik lapangan untuk latihan ataupun lapangan laga resmi.

Private Field No Access”, papan berwarna merah jambu diletakkan di sisi lapangan dan tampak terlihat jelas oleh siapapun yang melewati jalan itu.

Satu dari sepuluh lapangan latihan di kawasan ini.

Menyelinap melalui sisi Aspire Park Childrens Playground, aku leluasa berdiri di sisi lapangan tempat tim nasional sepakbola Qatar berlatih.

Di timur lapangan latihan terdapat Sport Accelerator Building yang merupakan pelopor yang menyatukan bisnis olahraga-olahraga utama di Qatar dalam satu naungan atap. Gedung berkelir selang-seling biru putih ini tampak gagah dengan The Torch Doha menjulang tepat di belakangnya

Sport Accelerator.

Dari sini, aku berpindah ke jalan di sebelah utara. Sejajar dengan jalan tempatku keluar dari Aspire Park. Salah satu sisi jalan langsung menyuguhkan bangunan modern bertajuk Aspire Academy, sebuah sekolah atlet yang cukup terkenal di Qatar dan telah berusia 16 tahun. Semua tampak biru dengan dinding kaca yang lebar dan lengkungan atap yang futuristik. Aku mulai memasuki kawasan Aspire Academy, sebuah sekolah atlet

Football Performance Center milik Aspire Academy.
Football Performance Center milik Aspire Academy.

Aspire Academy dilengkapi dengan Aspire Dome, gedung serbaguna terbesar di Qatar. Sebuah arena yang mampu menyelenggarakan tiga belas cabang olahraga berbeda dalam satu waktu. Dome ini bisa dikondisikan untuk dipakai dalam berbagai cuaca. Di dalamnya juga terdapat lapangan sepak bola ruangan tertutup.

Aspire Dome.

Landmark utama Aspire Zone ada di sebelah tenggara, yaitu Khalifa International Stadium. Sering dipanggil dengan nama National Stadium. Seperti bandara megah negara mereka, gelanggang sepakbola ini juga mencatut nama Emir Qatar, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani. Inilah kandang resmi tim nasional sepakbola Qatar dengan empat puluh ribu kapasitas tempat duduk.

Di empui oleh Qatar Football Association, stadion ini adalah saksi dimana Australia dijungkalkan oleh pasukan samurai biru dengan gol tunggal Tadanari Lee pada perhelatan final AFC Asian Cup 2011.

Khalifa International Stadium.
Aku dan Khalifa International Stadium.

Masih di Aspire Zone, melangkah sedikit ke barat stadion, aku lalu berada tepat di bawah sebuah hotel setinggi 300 meter. Sering disebut dengan panggilan Aspire Tower, walaupun nama resminya adalah The Torch Doha.

Adalah buah karya konsultan arsitektur dari Perancis, inilah bangunan yang saat ini masih menjadi yang tertinggi di Doha. Hotel tiga puluh enam lantai ini telah menyumbang jasanya untuk Qatar sebagai focal point pada perhelatan Asian Games ke-15.

The Torch Doha.

Dan tepat di tenggara The Torch Doha terletaklah Aspire Mosque yang biasa digunakan untuk beribadah oleh para pengunjung.

Aspire Mosque.

Masjid itulah titik akhir perjalananku di Sports Zone. Bagaimana, keren kan Aspire Zone?

Yuk kita masuk ke Villaggio Mall….Deket banget kok, jalan kaki sedikit lagi.

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?

Berlatih Tendangan Pinalti di Aspire Park

Indomie seharga Rp. 6.000 yang kubeli di Abdulla Ali Bumatar minimarket semalam, akhirnya menemani santap pagiku di pantry Casper Hotel. Aku masih enggan keluar hotel, walau jarum jam telah jatuh di angka delapan, tak lain karena udara dingin yang berhasil mematahkan semangatku.

Tepat pukul sepuluh pagi, aku mulai memaksakan langkah dan kemudian menunggu Karwa Bus bernomor 12 menuju Qubaa Street, untuk kemudian bersambung dengan Karwa Bus bernomor 301 menuju Doha Sports City yang memiliki luas tak kurang dari 250 hektar. Area ini lebih dikenal dengan sebutan Aspire Zone.

Karwa Bus No 301.

Satu jam perjalanan, mengantarkanku sampai di tujuan. Aku diturunkan di sebuah halte bus di Al Furousiya Street. Tak akan lama lagi, aku akan merasakan kesejukan Aspire Park yang menjadi bagian dari Aspire Zone.

Dari Al Furousiya Street aku berbelok ke kanan dan memasuki Al Waab Street. Satu kilometer kemudian aku berbelok ke kiri untuk menapaki Aspire Park Road. Nah, Aspire Park ini berada di sisi kiri jalan ini. Sementara di sebelah kanan jalan terletaklah sebuah pusat perbelanjaan modern terkenal di Qatar karena terdapat wisata gondola ala Venice di dalamnya, pusat perbelanjaan ini dinamakan Villaggio Mall.

Aspire Park Road.
Yang punya anak, hayu ukur tinggi badannya disini !.

Terletak di Distrik Baaya di Selatan Qatar, Aspire Park ini memiliki running trail yang sangat panjang dan nyaman, beberapa bagian dari running trail ini bahkan menampilkan sensasi memantul ketika diinjak. Penunjuk jarak tempuh juga ditampilkan di beberapa titik di running trail.

Aspire Park running trail.
Penanda jarak.

Aku memulai eksplorasi dari bagian selatan taman yang menampilkan kontur berbukit. Tujuanku adalah melihat seisi taman dari ketinggian, tentu akan tampak lebih indah. Tepat di kaki bukit dibangun fasilitas skateboard track sedangkan di bagian puncak bukit di beri fasilitas delapan exercise bike. Dari atas tampak terlihat begitu luas dan indah suasana Aspire Park.

Skateboard track.
Aspire Park dilihat dari atas bukit.
Exercise bike di selatan taman.

Menuruni bukit kecil menuju ke arah utara, aku kembali ke dataran rendah dan memasuki area taman secara keseluruhan. Tampak pepohonan berbatang besar, naungan beratapkan payung raksasa berbahan kain juga tampak dimana-mana, memberikan opsi lain untuk berteduh selain di bawah pepohonan.

Teduh kan…..
Umbrella shade.

Sementara aktivitas warga tampak mulai ramai menjelang tengah hari. Beberapa anak tampak bermain tendangan penalti. Atmosfer sepak bola Qatar memang tak kalah kental dari sepakbola tanah air kita. Maklum Qatar adalah pemenang Piala Asia 2009 silam setelah menundukkan juara bertahan Jepang.

Pesepak bola Qatar masa depan.

Semantara para pengunjung tak perlu khawatir jika ingin sekedar bersantai, menikmati hari di taman dengan secangkir kopi atau snack lainnya. Beberapa kedai tersebar di area sand trail. Gharissa Ice cream, Ard Canaan Restaurant, Mobsto Coffee Truck dan satu kedai terkenal Coffeeshop Company siap memanjakan pengunjung.

Coffeeshop Company.

Berlatarkan Aspire Tower atau yang lebih dikenal dengan sebutan The Torch Doha setinggi 300 meter, menjadikan Aspire Park sebagai taman yang artistik. Diambil dari segala penjuru tetap saja elok, tak hayal, banyakl orang yang mengunjungi taman ini.

Aku sampai pada sebuah tampilan danau buatan dengan paduan jembatan yang melintas di tengahnya. Tampak ujung penyembur air mancur menuju ke arah jembatan dari kedua sisi, jika air mancur ini dinyalakan pasti akan menjadi tudung artistik yang melintas di atas kepala pengunjung yang melewati jembatan itu.

Aspire Lake.
Sekawanan angsa di Aspire Lake.

Sementara di sisi Aspire Lake tampak patung kuda yang tengah menarik gerobak bermuatan. Inilah karya Sarah Lucas Perceval pada tahun 2006 yang menjadi spot ikonik untuk berfoto para pengunjung.

Shire Horse by Sarah Lucas Perceval.

Kemudian di sisi barat danau terdapat area playground untuk anak-anak. Area ini cukup luas dan menyediakan beragam permainan. Membuat anak-anak betah berlama-lama di taman, juga menjadikan taman ini menjadi tempat favorit untuk tempat berkunjung bagi para keluarga untuk menghabiskan weekend atau hari libur mereka.

Aspire Park playground.

Sementara di sebuah bagian taman, sedang dibangun sebuah kolam besar dengan podium di sisinya. Saya tak tahu apa yang sedang dibuat dalam proyek ini. Tampak area ini masih tertutup dan tidak bisa dikunjungi karena kegiatan pembangunan sedang dilakukan secara masif.

Beberapa saat kemudian, di utara taman aku sudah berdiri dan bersiap mengakhiri kunjungan. Kini aku bersiap memasuku Sports Zone yang tampak di dominasi oleh keberadaan Khalifa International Stadium.

Yuk kita lihat ada apa saja di Sports Zone ini !.

Bersiap masuk ke Sports Zone.

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….

Memasak Menu ala Backpacker di Qatar

Selain mengunjungi tempat-tempat wisata gratisan, memasak adalah hal lazim yang dilakukan para backpacker untuk mengerem pengeluaran di hari-hari perjalanannya. Karena mereka juga harus pandai menciptakan dana cadangan untuk mengantisipasi jika terjadi biaya tak terduga. Begitu pula dengan hari-hariku di Qatar, memasak sudah menjadi rutinitas setiap pagi dan malam mengingat biaya hidup di Qatar tidaklah murah.

Sore itu, bermula pada perjalanan pulang dari Katara Cultural Village menggunakan Doha Metro. Aku menuju Stasiun Souq Waqif dan bertolak dari Stasiun Katara melalui kombinasi Red Line dan bersambung dengan Gold Line di Stasiun Msheireb. Ini adalah perjalanan keduaku menggunakan Doha Metro.

Platform di Stasiun Katara.
Ini tanda toilet, musholla dan child care room…Lucu ya.
Doha Metro Red Line.

Dari Stasiun Souq Waqif aku menyambung perjalanan dengan Karwa Bus No. 12 dari Al Ghanim Bus Station untuk menuju Casper Hotel, tempatku menginap selama di Qatar. Ini adalah perjalananku ke-9 menggunakan Karwa Bus. Perjalanan pulang sore itu membutuhkan waktu dua jam hingga tiba di penginapan. Sebelum tiba, aku sempat berbelanja terlebih dahulu di Abdulla Ali Bumatar minimarket yang terletak di dekat hotel untuk membeli kebutuhan logistik hingga hari terakhirku di Qatar nanti.

Bukan hotel, lebih tepatnya ini adalah penginapan.

Setelah selesai membersihkan diri, aku segera menunaikan shalat maghrib berjama’ah di musholla dekat penginapan. Memasuki waktu bersantai, aku bergegas menuju pantry untuk melakukan kegiatan rutin malam hari….Yes, memasak.

Yuk masuk pantry!

Bahan pangan utama yang mejadi santapanku setiap hari adalah roti Paratha khas Kerala buatan GRANDMA Bakery and Sweets, cukup murah, tiga lembar parata kubeli dengan harga Rp. 8.000. Tiga lembar parata sudah lebih dari cukup untuk membuatku merasa kenyang.

Sedangkan untuk lauknya aku memilih membeli sarden kemasan termurah yang dipajang di minimarket. Kuberikan Rp. 12.000 untuk mendapatkan satu kaleng kemasan berisi tiga potongan sedang ikan sarden. Karena ini sarden termurah, tentu akan berpengaruh pada rasa, rasanya plain, kawan….Hmmhh. Itu tampak seperti ikan sarden yang dituang ke dalam minyak sawit saja…..Hahahaha.

Roti Paratha.
Memanaskan sarden kemasan.

Ketika berpergian, kemewahan makanan bukanlah menjadi concernku sejauh ini. Yang terpenting adalah bagaimana tetap mengupayakan makan tiga kali sehari dengan harga terjangkau tetapi layak nutrisi. Jadi bisa dipastikan aku akan jarang sekali bersantap di restoran kecuali jika yang kujalani adalah business trip…..Ya, iya lah, business trip kan dibayarin kantor. Hahahaha.

Lalu, bagaimana dengan menuku di keesokan harinya, sebelum memulai eksplorasi hari keempat di Qatar. Mau tahu?…..

Ini dia:

Sarapan yang sangat sederhana, kan?

Nah itulah satu dari sekian banyak caraku untuk berhemat selama menjelajah Qatar. Jangan ditiru….Itu sangat menyiksa….Hahaha.

Yuk lah, kita jalan lageee…..

Lion Air JT 257 from Padang (PDG) to Jakarta (CGK)

Flight route JT 257 (source:

This wasn’t the first time for me to ride Lion Air, I have ridden this airline on its route: Solo-Jakarta, Jakarta-Surabaya, Jakarta-Singapore, or vice versa. However, this was the first time that I have experienced to ride a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a phenomenal type of aircraft, which had been “grounded” since double accidents, the first one was in Indonesia and the second one was in Ethiopia, with the same cause.

I finally managed to explore Minangkabau International Airport in a drizzle, but I’ll tell you later. I still have a repetition adventure to Padang on a business trip in early 2020. So please be patient if you want to peek at the authenticity of Minangkabau International Airport from this travel blog.

Drop Zone in Departure Hall of Minangkabau International Airport.

I was dropped off right in front of departure lobby by DAMRI airport bus, but after that, I didn’t immediately enter to check-in area. I prefered to take some pictures when the rain was changing its phase to be soft drizzles. I did it until several pictures were catched into my Canon EOS M10 memory card.

Let’s entered to check-in area!

Local flights, which only require a flight booking confirmation display on a smartphone screen and a national ID Card with a same name, made it easier for passengers to entering check-in area.

I had to provide patience because after leaving a check-in counter, I would wait for the “Red Lion” to come longer….Delayed, guys !. I had indeed been prepared with that condition. It wasn’t a matter about time, but about affordability of airline tickets which be my priority.


After taking the escalator to Departure Gate, I sat for a while in commercial hall which is located next to screening gate. Tidying up every equipments, so that it were a little tidy and comfortable when entering aircraft cabin later. Meanwhile, my 45L backpack chose to stay in plane hull for keeping my rainbow-patterned umbrella which its price is USD 3,7 which I bought at Tiga Raja Harbor five days ago.

Air conditioner.

The surprise arrived, when I headed to the prayer room for Maghrib prayer, I met Boris, a postman from Slovakia.

Me         :     “Hi, Boris….What happen to your flight?

Boris      :     ”Hi, Donny, It’s crazy…..Very long delay with Citilink

I didn’t talk for long because Boris had started to enter a queue towards the gate, he flew to Surabaya, then he would continue his journey to Malang as soon as he landed. Gubeng Station was his choice to depart from “City of Heroes“. I got this information while talking in the back seat of Maestro Travel five hours ago. What I observed, mineral water bottles which I gave was still intact tucked into left of his backpack….Hahaha, how can, that water could be escaped from airport screening gate.

After waiting for a long time, finally JT 257 flight started to calling its passengers. I started to queuing up and getting ready for trip towards Soekarno Hatta International Airport with flight price for USD 41.7. I bought this ticket about 11 days before departure.

Through the aerobridge, I entered cabin, actually I just found out that this plane is a Boeing 737 MAX 8 type after one of its crew who holding the microphone informed it when demonstrated passenger safety standards.

Besides new, the first impression that I got after sitting in a window seats were its relief and futuristic appearance. Then, plane was in the best position to start its jet engine, the pilot was waiting for a confirmation to fly. A few minutes later I actually left Padang.

The slightly cloudy night made the plane slightly shaken and penetrated into low clouds in “Minang” sky. What I saw later were sequels to earth lamps show between thin black clouds. Beautiful and enchanting as a bedtime. And then….




I slept under the cover of extreme fatigue after six days traveling around Sumatra. It looked like I slept for 1 hour 45 minutes, which was equivalent to flight time. Sleeping for more than 700 km along with the smooth performance of aircraft which was owned by the largest private airline in my country.

I arrived at Cengkareng on past midnight.
An airline that has been in the air for 20 years.
Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK) is the mainhub of Lion Air.

I arrived in sleepy condition, then hurriedly stopped DAMRI airport bus which was heading to Kampung Rambutan Terminal. Then I arrived at home by a motorbike taxi and thanked to Allah for giving me an exploration opportunity which was be an umpteenth chapter in the story of my life’s journey.

It is time to close story of my journey to Sumatra Land. And move on to the next trip.

Where am I going to ????


Apartemen Burung di Katara Cultural Village

Sekitar jam 14:00, di teriknya cuaca Qatar aku mulai melangkah keluar dari Stasiun Katara. Sepertinya ini akan menjadi penghujung destinasi di hari keduaku di negeri yang pernah berjuluk “Catara” sebelum Abad XVIII. Ini akan menjadi eksplorasi panjang karena aku akan mengelilingi area pusat budaya di Doha yang memiliki luas tak kurang dari 35 hektar ini. Area ini adalah hasil kreasi dari Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar.

Menuju ke arah timur selepas keluar dari stasiun, satu bangunan ikonik yang kujumpai adalah sebuah kado merah raksasa dipadu dengan ruangan berbentuk hijau bulat layaknya pipa raksana dalam permainan anak-anak. Itulah Katara Cultural Village Children’s Mall yang terletak tepat di halaman awal Katara Plaza.

Bangunan berbentuk kado ini adalah icon dari Katara Cultural Village Children’s Mall.

Kini, aku bersiap memasuki area utama plaza dengan hamparan halaman luas beralas andesit dan dikelilingi oleh bangunan-bangunan klasik mirip arsitektur abad pertengahan. Di beberapa titik plaza diletakkan area coffee shop, persisnya tepat di depan Katara Hall. Beberapa stand tampak dimiliki oleh Craves, Talabat, Vulcan, EXIT55 dan Scary Burger.

Katara Plaza.
Katara Plaza.

Katara Cultural Village memiliki area berbentuk segitiga yang menghadap ke pantai. Terletak di pantai Timur Qatar, dibatasi oleh Shakespeare Street di utara, Al Moasses Street di Selatan, Lusail Expressway di sebelah Barat dan Katara Beach di sebelah Timur. Sementara pusat area ini terletak pada sebuah amphiheater terbuka menghadap ke Al Yazwa Public Beach atau khalayak lebih mengenalnya dengan nama Katara Beach.

Amphitheater sebagai Katara Multi Purpose Hall.
Al Yazwa Public Beach.

Sebelum menuju ke pusat area itu, aku menyusuri bagian selatan dari amphitheater. Lalu memasuki sebuah blok bertajuk Virtual Art Center yang bagian atas halamannya terlindung oleh delapan bentang kain yang efektif meredam panasnya udara kota. Tampak juga seni kotemporer di pajang di beberapa spot di blok ini.

Halaman Visual Art Center.
Karya seni kontemporer.
Replika kaftan yang biasa dikenakan oleh Sultan Suleyman Kanuni dari Kekaisaran Ottoman.
Setiap karya seni yang dipajang disediakan penjelasan mengenainya.

Di halaman ini disedikan Katara Club Car (boogie car) yang merupakan free service untuk para pengunjung di Katara Cultural Village. Karena aku ingin benar-benar menikmati suasana maka kuputuskan untuk tetap berjalan kaki saja.

Kini aku tiba di bangunan paling selatan dari area budaya ini, yaitu Katara Mosque, khalayak memanggilnya dengan Friday Mosque. Sebuah masjid indah dominan biru dengan satu menara di salah satu sisi. Kusempatkan untuk beribadah Ashar di masjid ini sebelum aku lebih jauh melangkah melakukan eksplorasi. Tampak beberapa turis non-muslim diizinkan masuk tetapi tetap diwajibkan menggunakan celana panjang untuk laki-laki dan kerudung untuk perempuan.

Katara Mosque.
Interior Katara Mosque.

Sementara disebelah masjid terdapat sepasang menara yang difungsikan sebagai tempat tinggal para merpati di area itu. Ini adalah spot paling ikonik yang sering diburu oleh para turis karena setiap mencari laman Katara yang muncul selalu gambar bangunan itu. Hebat…..Merpati aja dibikinin apartemen…..Bayar kagak tuh?…..Hahaha.

Me in Bird Towers.

Kemudian kulewati beberapa spot seperti Youth Hobbies Center, Katara Art Studios hingga aku mencapai sisi pantai setelah melewati Saffron Lounge Indian Restaurant dengan exterior berupa kunci hitam besar yang diletakkan di halaman tepat di tengah kursi dan meja makan restoran tersebut.

Saffron Lounge.

Di akhir kunjunganku, aku menyempatkan duduk di amphitheatre yang sedang dilakukan rehearsel untuk acara The 4th Cultural Diversity Festival yang menurut informasi akan dihadiri oleh 14 negara peserta.

Sisi luar amphitheatre.

Itulah kilas balik kunjunganku di Katara Cultural Village. Saatnya pulang ke hotel dan beristirahat untuk eksplorasi hari ketiga di keesokan hari.

Istirahat dulu, gaesssss…….

DAMRI Bus from Padang to Minangkabau International Airport

I ate its authentic taste of tambusuprocessed cow intestines with egg, tofu and spices in it – as the last dinner in a week of my adventure in Sumatra land. a culinary incident bothered me in mid-chewing. I thought that a chewy thing was a part of tambusu menu….Oh….it was a rubber band.

Restaurant owner : “Looks like Uda come from far away.”

Me                               :     “From Jakarta, Uda.

Restaurant owner     :     “Do you work in Padang, Uda?”

Me                              :     “Oh, no Uda. I’m just traveling.”

Restaurant owner     :     “Ohh….Where have you been, Uda?

Me                              :     “A few days ago I toured to Medan, Toba, Siantar, Pekanbaru and Bukittinggi, Uda. The last one is Padang….Now, I want to fly back to Jakarta.”

Restaurant owner    :     “Wow, this is great, Uda. The totality in traveling.

Light conversation was interrupted by Black Calya (Calya is Toyota brand in Indonesia) arrival who would take me to DAMRI Bus shelter in Hasanuddin Street. In pouring rain, I finally wet online taxi front seat. Luckily the owner was very friendly and ignored it, even though it was a new car which still had a strong factory scent.

Hasanuddin Street.

Unlike what I imagined, it turned out that the splendor of DAMRI bus shelter in my mindset was only realized by a open tent space which wasn’t better than a city bus shelter in general.

DAMRI Airport Bus shelter.

I was waiting for DAMRI bus arrival which would transfer me from Padang downtown to Minangkabau International Airport which was about 25 kilometers away and took about 40 minutes. All can be redeemed for USD 1.8.

While waiting for DAMRI bus to arrived, I continued to observe a soccer game which playing by teenagers who scattered to fill Imam Bonjol Square field for rain party while playing “the round leather“.

Imam Bonjol Square.

DAMRI bus conductor suddenly called me, “Uda, come on, get on, we’re going!” I didn’t even realize that DAMRI bus had arrived earlier.

That’s DAMRI Airport Bus.

Wet condition of DAMRI bus corridor showed that Minangkabau International Airport wasn’t spared from rain. This was a signal that I wouldn’t be free to search for material to writing a content about Minangkabau International Airport. Ahhh….I could miss an important content.

Only a few passengers

Air conditioner on DAMRI bus was so cold that it made me shiver because my T-shirt itself was too damp. A few passengers that afternoon made me not embarrassed in deciding to change my t-shirt on bus. Sitting at backseat and no one noticed me while shirtless….Hahaha.

Maybe because of heavy rain, so many people were reluctant to be on streets and prefered to temporarily postpone their own needs. Because of that, Streets were empty and made me quickly arrived at Minangkabau International Airport.

Minangkabau International Airport.

It was time to going back to Jakarta with Boeing 737 MAX 8 which is owned by Lion Air.

Menjajal Doha Metro Red Line dari DECC ke Katara

Menjajal Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) di negara yang memilikinya telah menjadi tradisi dalam setiap perjalananku, walaupun transportasi pilihan pertamaku adalah bus kota. Sebelum mencoba Doha Metro, aku sendiri sudah pernah mencicipi MRT di Singapura, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Tiongkok, Jepang, Korea Selatan, India, Uni Emirates Arab dan tentu MRT Jakarta sebagai moda transportasi massal kebanggaan Jakarta.

Keluar dari pusat perbelanjaan modern City Center Doha di area West Bay, aku kembali menelusuri jalur keberangkatan ketika menuju shopping mall tersebut, kembali mengukur jalanan Omar Street menuju Stasiun DECC. DECC boleh dikata sebagai Jakarta Convention Centernya Qatar. Karena terletak persis di sebelah gedung DECC inilah maka pemberhentian Doha Metro ini bernama serupa dengan venue itu.

Eksterior bangunan stasiun DECC sendiri lebih tampak seperti pintu masjid daripada bangunan stasiun. Masih mengandalkan lengkungan ala Persia dengan bukaan yang lebar dengan warna otentik, coklat padang pasir.

Bangunan Stasiun DECC.

Inilah rapid transit system kebanggan Qatar yang salah satu tujuannya adalah untuk menyambut gelaran Piala Dunia 2022. Jalur Doha Metro yang pertama kali dioperasikan pada tahun 2019 adalah jalur merah yang sedang kusasar ini.

Memasuki bangunan stasiun, semuanya mengkilap, bersih dan nampak baru. Aku memilih jalur tangga untuk turun ke bawah tanah dan mencari keberadaan automatic ticketing vending machine, walaupun pengelola Doha Metro menyediakan lift untuk mempermudah akses.

Kita cobain jalur tangganya dahulu.
Saatnya berburu tiket.
Automatic ticketing vending machine.

Doha Metro sendiri  memiliki tiga jalur yaitu red line, green line dan gold line dengan rataan panjang 76 Km dan keseluruhan memiliki 37 stasiun. Harga tiket sebetulnya hampir setara dengan harga tiket Karwa Bus yaitu berkisar Rp. 8.000 untuk sekali perjalanan tunggal (single journey) dan Rp. 16.000 untuk satu hari penuh perjalanan (day pass). Satu kelebihan dalam sistem Doha Metro adalah keberadaan free feeder bus yang mengkoneksikan stasiun dengan hotel tempat kita menginap atau tempat lain yang tak terjangkau oleh jalur Doha Metro. Bus pengumpan ini dikenal dengan nama Free Doha Metrolink Shuttle Services.

Ini dia peta jalurnya.
Standard single journey, tiket jenis ini bisa dipakai untuk dua moda transportasi yaitu Doha Metro dan Mshreib Tram.

Begitu tiba di platform, beberapa petugas Doha Metro berkebangsaan Philippines berusaha dengan ramah menanyakan tujuan akhirku dan mengarahkan untuk menunggu di platform yang tepat, walaupun sebetulnya aku sudah terbiasa mencari sendiri keberadaan platform berdasarkan petunjuk yang ada.

Platform Doha Metro.

Kereta milik Doha Metro ini adalah kereta termodern yang memiliki kecepatan jelajah sekitar 100 Km/jam dan dinobatkan menjadi  kereta tanpa pengemudi tercepat di dunia. Secara kepemilikan, 51% saham Doha Metro dimiliki oleh Hamad Group, 49 % saham dimiliki oleh perusahaan transportasi umum milik negara Perancis

Lihat route boardnya!

Dalam 15 menit aku dihantarkan sejauh 5 Km oleh kereta ini hingga Stasiun Katara. Sepinya penumpang Doha Metro membuat perjalananku nyaris tanpa interaksi, aku tak bisa merasakan hiruk pikuk warga Qatar dalam keseharian mereka.

Turun di platform Stasiun Katara.

Turun dari Doha Metro, kini aku akan menuju ke permukaan tanah dengan menggunakan lift yang disediakan.

Nah, sekarang baru cobain lifnya.

Mirip seperti kondisi bangunan stasiun DECC, Stasiun Katara juga tampak gres. Sepinya lalu lintas warga kota yang menggunakan jasa Doha Metro menjadikan bangunan stasiun tampak kosong dan memamerkan kelegaannya kepadaku. Sementara para pegawai Doha Metro berwajah Asia Tenggara itu menghias di setiap stasiun.

Itu dia automatic fare collection gatesnya.
Keluar dari bangunan Stasiun Katara.

Aku sudah tiba di Katara Cultural Village dan siap untuk melakukan eksplorasi. Yuk kita lihat seperti apa pusat budaya Qatar ini !.

Eksterior Stasiun Katara.