8 Tourist Attractions in Belitung

Friend: Hi Donny, Let’s travel to Belitung!….me : It’s high season, bro….#lazymood

Friend: There is cheap ticket, Donny…. me : what’s the ticket kind?….#stillstandardmood

Friend: Donny, it’s free….me : Whaaaattt?….#turnedawayfromlaptop

Friend: “Accommodation is also free”…. me : shock and very surprised….#closelaptop

It’s crazy moment….I was packing right away.

I didn’t realize that I had reached sales target which set by my office and was rewarded with a trip to Belitung. And a few months earlier, Jokowi (Indonesia President) decided Belitung as one of 10 leading tourism destinations in Indonesia

I was lucky.…

The departure day arrived and “The Green Airline” was landing me at Tanjung Pandan.

Because of free trip, I didn’t need to be a backpacker. Enough to sweetly sat and I was picked up by a blue tourism bus. This tour is hosted by the Belitung Nusantara Tour.

Also itinerary, I didn’t need to make it because it has been made by my office.….very nice moment. This time, I wasn’t an backpacker. Right now, I was Donny the luxury tourist.

Bus directly went to Tanjung Kelayang Port which was located in 30 km north of H.A.S Hanandjoeddin Airport. Looks like, I would go straight to sea tourism through this port. Using a life jacket, I immediately sailed to the main destinations in Belitung

This is it:

1.Batu Berlayar Island

Very beautiful … Granite rocks towering above soft sand island. Combined with clearly blue sea water, making this island as perfect opening session in my trip.

It only takes 15 minutes from Tanjung Kelayang pier. Climbing the granite stone is something which I had to do to marking that I’ve been here. It’s easy to find starfish and small hermit crab which slip between large granite rocks.

Nice….

So named as Batu Berlayar because from a distance, It like a sail

2. Lengkuas Island

At the beginning of trip, I didn’t understand why bus driver bought so many biscuits before arriving at Tanjung Kelayang port. I thought it was for his snack (but still suspicious… It’s very much for snacking….maybe for lunch also….hahaha).

Apparently, I found the answer here. biscuits was bought for feeding fishes around Lengkuas island.

You have to come here, guys….snorkling like I feel….#alwayspray4u


Snorkling and feeding the fish … Wadauw.

You also have to visit the Dutch-made Lighthouse in 1882 on Lengkuas Island. The 62-meter in high and 18-floors lighthouse can be climbed by tourists (I hear now, it cann’t be climbed again because of an official regulation regarding the prohibition of climbing lighthouses by Transportation Ministry).

Taking off footwear and making sure legs are completely dry are a must before climbing lighthouse. Made from solid metals with relatively thick paint, it shows perfect maintenance of lighthouse.

The tiredness of climbing lighthouse will pay off with a beautiful ocean top view, like heaven that I rarely find with my naked eye.

3. Kepayang Island

From Lengkuas Island, trip continues to Babi Island-babi is pig in English– (another name from Kepayang Island). The island is protected with giant granite rocks. It famous for its turtle conservation activities in Belitung, Kepayang Island has an important role.

You can take a freshwater bath with a very clean public bathroom. Bathrooms managed by a restaurant. This restaurant is also be place where tourists have a lunch after snorkling on Lengkuas island.

4. Tanjung Tinggi Beach

Flanked by Tanjung Kelayang and Tanjung Pendam, making this beach very quiet. Blue sea water that doesn’t rip much, makes it very suitable to calm down. Granite expanse is more massive than three previous islands that I visited, making Tanjung Tinggi beach have a champion view.

Also known as Laskar Pelangi beach by public because it was used as one of locations for taking scenes in phenomenal film by Riri Riza.…Laskar Pelangi.

5. Kaolin Lake

Do You know Kaolin, right? … it’s mineralized clay for cosmic and toothpaste raw materials.

This Kaolin lake is a lake which is formed by accident.…Starting from Kaolin mining remains, it make large holes. And finally, after mining was inactive, holes were filled with rain water. Hence Kaolin lake is formed.

Because soil colour is white and water in the lake reflects a turquoise colour, it makes beautiful stretch of Kaolin lake.

This lake is also one of spots in Laskar Pelangi movie scene.

Cool…..

6. Kota Gantung Muhammadiyah Elementary School

Did You ever seen “Ikal” (main role of Laskar Pelangi) daily activities when studying at school?.

I visited replica of that Muhammadiyah Elementary School. Based on information that I heard, the real elementary school building has collapsed. So for filming purposes, its replica was built. And the replica still stands today.

The brilliance of elementary school buildings is indeed made intentionally to describe the real condition.

Very inspiring……

7. Andrea Hirata Word Museum

Do You know him?

The native son of Belitung who write Laskar Pelangi novel which it transformed in three sequels of film.

This museum is a literary museum and the only one in Indonesia. No need to pay to visit it. In accordance with its famous novel, room name in the museum was named according to characters names in Laskar Pelangi film i.e “Ikal” Room, “Lintang” Room and “Mahar “Room.

Come here then you will be amazed by words which was made by Andrea Hirata.

8. Kampung Ahok

For this figure (Ahok), everyone in Indonesia knows. Who doesn’t know Ahok as Jakarta’s phenomenal Governor.Spend your time to visit his house if you travel to Belitung. Even though you can’t enter into his house, at least you can imagine how Ahok’s childhood lived in his village.

If you go to Kampung Ahok, take time to stopby at the Daun Simpor Gallery. You can buy the original East Belitung batik cloth which were directly produced by gallery.


Daun Simpor Gallery

Very grateful to be able to visit Belitung. One unexpected thing, can get free trip to one of my bucket lists .

Bagus Bay Homestay, Toba Lake

I jumped into homestay room through the window after a receptionist was unable to opened the door. I successfully entered into room and just by “one-clicked”, the door opened.

Choosing a hotel is about style. But for me, a dormitory is still as first priority. Keeping the budget for continuing a dream…. is traveling… #bigdreamer

After stayed in a same dormitory in Medan, I met Eloise again in Toba Lake. I showed my dance with Si Gale-Gale doll to her. She laughed when saw my dance as amateur. She told a lot about her trip to Toba Lake from Medan, He felt uncomfortable when seeing many men smoked on the bus while there were children in it.

Fatigue made me fell asleep until 8pm. Luckily, the homestay had hot water in the shared bathroom. Towards the lobby & restaurant, I enjoyed the night by seeing a live accoustic and drank a bottle of coca cola.

I looked at Eloise in the corner and talked to the staff while pointing at the map. I thought she was preparing for her trip tomorrow. I saw a long-haired American who always added his beer bottle. I never thought he would be my room mate at a dormitory in Bukittinggi 2 days later. In Bukittinggi, I knew him well as Noah, a Californian mining engineer.

Knowing my presence, Eloise approached and sat in front of me, asking for my plan tomorrow and how to executed it. I explained in as much detail as possible and it seemed like She was interested and at the end of the conversation he decided to joined with me to rented a motorbike and explored Samosir Island together.

A vegan and doesn’t consume an alcohol. Naturally he slept faster that night.

The homestay staff suggestion drove me to a house that located at opposite the homestay to rented a motorbike for USD 4 for my trip tomorrow. I was served with hot tea and talked with the owner for several minutes after she knew that my house location in Jakarta was very near with her daughter house. Evidently her daughter lived in Jakarta too.

Morning Samosir……                                                                                               

All guests haven’t woken up, I’ve been sight seeing the morning busyness in Toba Lake. Students joked on their trip to school, many people jogged in the morning, some residents feed their pets and young people cleaned up the bars after last night parties.

I found the highest street in Tuk Tuk area to seeing the sunrise freely. Majority edges of lake which had became hotel areas required me to enjoyed the sunrise in my own way.

I also took the time to using the homestay facilities. circling the volleyball field and sat in the garden.

Just ate dried onde-onde (Indonesian originl food) that I bought yesterday made a free breakfast that morning.

Precisely at 7 o’clock, I took a rented motorbike. The new motorbike without license plate made me a little worried if met police there. Motorbike owner assured me, “if you were checked by police, just said that the motorbike belonged to your homestay, the police would know that you was a tourist, and moreover you was riding a motorcycle together with Australian girl” …. So I didn’t need worry.

Let’s go explored Samosir.

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.

 

Bonus from Tanjung Intan Port, Cilacap, Indonesia

Mr. Fatchul Rochman  (online transportation driver) finally picked me up at Pendem Fort courtyard after he strayed into its south courtyard.

I just ordered in GOJEK application to went to Tanjung Intan Port. When I got on his bike, he asked my origin. After he knew I was from Jakarta, he seemed enthusiastic, and without my consent he said that he would deliver me to some places before entering Tanjung Intan Port. He was sincerely because at the end of the trip he refused when I tried to gave additional tips.

He explained to me every place that we passed along the way to the Port. Starting from the history of KOPASSUS Headquarter building and several stories about Nusakambangan. Exciting………

He turned abruptly. When I asked where we were going, he said we were heading for the Coal Pier.

This is it guys …. Was given a bonus like this

 

Pelabuhan Sandar Batubara

Cilacap Coal Pier

Leaving the Coal Pier, he started to told about the hustle and bustle of Cilacap when there were dead executions of some famous prisoners. While told, he suddenly brought me here:

Penyeberangan ke LP

 

Left: PENGAYOMAN IV Ship that transported prisoners to Nusakambangan Jail.
Right Up and Down: Sailing post to Nusakambangan

This is the sailing point of prisoners toward Nusakambangan jail. So it was very tight. I said: “We don’t have to go there, Mr. Fatchul”, I thought we would be expelled by officers because we didn’t have any interests there. But he still assured me that he would successfully entered me to this place because he was Cilacap townspeople and surely could be given access by officers.

Yes….finally We were still refused. We were only allowed to saw the sailing process from Pandu Station.

Stasiun Pandu

Pandu Station is a guiding center of big ships that would dock in Cilacap to avoided for stranded or crashed corals.

Well, after being given three bonus venues we were finally arrived Tanjung Intan port. He said that the port was closed for tourism especially for me who would try to visited without specific purpose.

But he had a never give up gene. He told to security officers that he was taking a guest. And finally they gave us access … ..The incredible Mr. Fatchul ….

Finally I enter into this logistic port

Pelabuhan Tanjung Intan

riding a motorcycle behind a coal truck makes the clothes being black … hehehe

Well, when I arrived near the coal ship, I tried to captured the IVS KAWANA and PUTRI SEJATI coal ships.

But my action didn’t continue for long because there was security officer who came to me on his motorcycle and said that I should get out from there because I was considered to entered without the permission of internal security and I didn’t wear PPE (Personal Protection Equipment).

Finally I had to got out without long negotiation … .Anyway, this experience became a closing part of my trip in Cilacap that I always remembered.

Okay then there wasn’t other purpose than had to back to Whiz Hotel Sudirman and got ready to Jakarta.

Wait for my other acts while in Cilacap that I had not told yet … .thanks guys.

Attractions Near Cilacap Downtown, Indonesia

Free visiting to other places is certainly fun for everyone, especially for people who have traveler passion.

I experienced it on business trip 28-29 April 2018. 3D2N visitation to southern city of Java delivered me to some tourist attractions around Cilacap downtown.

Here are some places you can visit in Cilacap:

1. Saung Madu Al Azhar

Saung madu Cilacap

“Klanceng” honey that’s cultivated here is a program of Lembaga Amil Zákat Nasional (LAZ) Al Azhar Cilacap which aims to build surrounding society economy. Therefore, in addition except have its own area for cultivation, the manager also entrust 2 cultivation boxes to every family in the village.

Located in northern of downtown, only takes 20 minutes to get there. Taste honey directly from the nest and eat markisa fruit from the plants around the cultivation area are a interesting moments as my trip opening in Cilacap.

2. Sunset at Sleko Port

Sleko port is a ferry port in Cilacap. Of course many people sail from it, especially sailing to famous tourist village in west Cilacap namely Kampung Laut.

Pelabuhan Sleko

Coming in afternoon after a long day working becomes a good option to relaxation while enjoying beautiful sunset.

3. Teluk Penyu Beach

Don’t leave the night without do interesting activities…. after the sun sinks, I immediately headed to Teluk Penyu beach for enjoying the night and seafood dinner.

Pantai Teluk Penyu

Eating “mendoan” (Cilacap’s local food) or seafood isn’t expensive here. I also spent time to saw night fish auction here. Local language made it seemed funny and entertaining. According to local community, Cilacap has the most “Ngapak” accent (Cilacap accent) among other areas whose “Ngapak”accent too.

I visited 2 times to this beach. At night I could visit for free and during the day had to paid Rp. 5,000 at front gate.

4. Cilacap Square

After enjoying night breeze, I drank local beverage namely “wedang ronde” in Cilacap Square to warmed my body.

Alun Alun Cilacap

The square has very beautiful lighting at night. Some junior high school students even held art performances here. It can be a free show that you can see while hangout with your beverages.

5. Karang Pandan Beach

In second day afternoon, after the office’s event was over, I rushed to east side of Nusakambangan island. This was the main destination that I had been waiting since my departure from Jakarta.

Pantai Karang Pandan

I need to rent a motor boat service worth IDR 30,000 for round trip sailing toward there. Because of its dropping point in the north of the island, I needed to walked for 30 minutes to Karang Pandan Beach which was located on the South of the island.

Beautiful white sandy beaches ready to pampered every tourist eyes who visited it.

6. Singapore of Java Cruise.

Coinciding with Saturday night, I wanted to hangout for enjoying my last night. One of attractions that be used by Cilacap young people to hang out is getting around the sea by Jaya Sakti Ship to enjoy the beauty of Cilacap night through Singapore of Java Cruise.

Singapore of java Cruise

2 hour cruising could pamper enough my eyes with beautiful light along Cilacap coast. It made me amazed about the beauty of Cilacap at night.

Oh yes, the cruise departs from Sleko Port guys….

7. Pekan Raya Cilacap. 

I thought it was a “G” political party tentatived event to campaigning. I passed it when I came back from Singapore of Java Cruise. Because of intriguing finally I stopped by.

Pekan Raya Cilacap

There were some food stall, fashion stall and toys stall inside and a large show stage. I just wandered around for a while without buying anything here.

8. Pendem Fort.

The last day in Cilacap felt incomplete if you hadn’t visited this Dutch colonial heritage fort. The defense fortress that lies on the shores of Teluk Penyu beach had added my information that Cilacap in the past had a risk to be attacked by enemies via sea. So Dutch Colonial built it, this fort was one package project with Karang Bolong Fort on Nusakambangan Island.

Benteng Pendem

Only spent IDR 5,000, I could explore the ins and outs of this fort, even I went into all the fort room that had different function on its time.

9. Tanjung Intan Port.

Looks like this logistics port isn’t open to public because the port is very busy with heavy trucks traffic for carrying unloading coals from docked ships in this port. Except coal ship, there are fertilizer and refined sugar ones also.

Pelabuhan Tanjung Intan

I was just lucky to get through the security guard for 5 minutes before I was finally banned and asked to out from it for security reasons.

That are some alternative tourism attractions near downtown. Come to Cilacap to see the other side of its tourism that rarely expose to public.

 

 

 

Pendem Fort …. Dutch Architecture in Cilacap, Indonesia

Last day extend, I spent time to visited Pendem Fort. Because I was very tired after night sightseeing in Cilacap downtown, finally I prepared very late. I would visit Pendem Fort and Tanjung Intan Port before departing to Jakarta at 2:30pm by Purwojaya train.

Got out of Whiz Sudirman Hotel main lobby, my stomach began to rumble. Went across the street for breakfast. I ate chicken porridge in small stall with many customers. This was it guys….

Sarapan

Breakfast with unique menu, chicken porridge with opor sauce.

After finished breakfast …. I rode GOJEK (online transportation) for Rp. 5,000 and I was picked up by female driver to Pendem Fort

When standing in front of the fort gate, my first impression was well-maintained 157 years old fort. But I needed to looked inside to proved my perception.

Gerbang depan

Left: Pendem Fort gate frontview

Top Right: Ticket counter. Ticket sold for Rp. 5,000. Operation hours of Pendem Fort is 8am-6pm and open from Monday-Sunday.

Bottom Right: Pendem Fort inside view.

True, many janitors worked inside so the fort looked very clean.

The fort built in the 19th century and needed 8 years to finished it. Before it was found, the fort was buried by coastal soils.

The fort consists of several rooms that have respective functions. The following rooms were identified their functions:

Ruangan benteng

Top Left: barrack rooms

Top Right: Clinical rooms

Bottom Right: Acommodation rooms

Lower Left: Armory

The fort has an area ​about 6.5 hectares. Besides several important rooms, the fort landmark is beautified by clear water canal and wide yard.

Fasum

 

 Top Left: Canal in front of fort 

Top Right: The canal at rear of fort 

Bottom Right: a yard is surrounded by several fort rooms

Lower Left: Another side of canal in front of fort

Besides for tourism destination, the fort is also used for educational activities such as

outbound activities or school scout activities such as images that I get below:

Activity

 

 

Left: School outbond in Cirebon

Right: Scouting activity

Approximately I browsed one hour through all sides of the fort. Saluted to Cilacap government that kept well the fort condition.

Well guys, if you visit Cilacap. Spend time to visit it !…. a place with rich histories….

Short Cruise “Singapore of Java”, Cilacap-Indonesia

Precisely on 7pm, Jaya Sakti ship sailed from Sleko port and taked a short cruise for 2 hours. The next cruise with another boat departed on 8 pm, so they would pass each other on the sea.

The ship would move southwards from Sleko Port. The first view that would find
was coal ship that was leaning for unloading.

Kapal Batubara

Coal Ship “Putri Sejati”.

After passing it, I could see a building was owned by PT. PUSRI:

Gula rafinasi

PUSRI Cilacap Company‘s Fertilizer Package Unit 

Around of it’s area smells fragrant, evidently at behind of PUSRI Company’s building was a refined sugar factory which was the origin of fragrant aroma.

Then the ship had passed Nusakambangan Prison’s execution area that wasn’t visible because of pitch darkness. Then the ship would turn back and moved northwards. After passing the departure point, passengers would be viewed Cilacap LPG Depot:

Depot LPG Cilacap

LPG depots are adjacent to PERTAMINA oil refinery.

Kilang Pertamina

PERTAMINA’s Cilacap Oil Refinery.

At PERTAMINA oil refinery, ship would sail very slowly because this spot was the prettiest among the others. The ship captain also gave opportunity for passangers to took photos as much as possible.

After finishing at this spot then the cruise ended and the ship would back to Sleko Port.

Yes …. that was the flow of this cuise.

“Singapore of Java” Cruise is a short saturday night tour in Cilacap every 2 weeks. Cruise started from Sleko Port at 7pm and the ship would depart every 1 hour. The cruise was a Cilacap Mayor idea which aimed to increased tourist visitation to Cilacap. Named Singapore of Java Cruise because the cruise view was similar to one of Singapore’s corners at night.

The cruise was already popular in Cilacap so the ship usually fully chartered by several communities.  Individual visitors like me often ran out of tickets.

I was lucky to could join it on mid-March 2018. At that time the ship actually was fully booked by the church community from Solo, Central Java.

Because that night was my last night at Cilacap, then I wouldn’t give up to got in the cruise. I persistently lobbied ticketing staff to sold an additional ticket for me.

I said that I came from Jakarta and it was my last night in Cilacap, then she began to emphatize to me and after she talked to ship’s captain finally I allowed to joined the cruise but I must sit at the back because all seats was already filled.

By paying Rp. 30.000 finally I got in the ship without holded a ticket because it were actually sold out … ..Great Job, happy to be a part of the cruise.

KM Jaya Sakti

 

Top Left: Jaya Sakti ship tickets counter

Top Right: Jaya Sakti ship prepared to sailed

Bottom Right: The first floor of ship.
Lower Left: A view from long distance.