in Love with North Sumatra, 16-17 Jul ’16, Day 3-4

 

Hellooo, continued my previous post, we’re gonna visit Toba Lake today, yayy! *excited*

Day 1, Saturday, 16 Jul 2016  Woke up at 6 AM to be picked up at 7 AM then heading to Siantar, our estimation is arrived there at 10.30 AM to enjoy the famous Kok Tong coffee & legendary Ganda bakery. :9 Haha, by now you should’ve noticed that I eat wherever I go. After reached Tanjung Morawa, we had heavy rain, comfortable to sleep. Woke up 1 hour later, arrived in Tebing Tinggi, along the way seen people sold Lemang at IDR 15k (traditional food made of glutinuous rice, coconut milk & salt served in sliced bamboo). It should be tasted a little salty, maybe because served cold the taste bit different. Heard that Pematang Siantar has fried pigeon, we wanna try. It was 11 AM, turned out the restaurant wasn’t open yet, so we had lunch at random cafe. They have soft nut bread filled with green beans almost similar with bakpia from Yogyakarta, but bigger, thicker crust & served with sesame topping. Feeling full, we depart to Parapat at 12 PM. Around 2.30 PM, there was change of scenery, stunning hills with lake view. I feel anticipated.

 

Arrived at Ajibata port & tried to buy ferry ticket to Tomok port in Samosir (island in the middle of Toba Lake) with 2.30 PM schedule at IDR 115k (include car). Here for the ferry schedule. Suddenly someone tap my shoulder & pointed out the car queue to ride the ferry. He showed his number, 40. He said the ferry can only brings max 30 car one way to Samosir. It means we have to wait until 5.45 PM. We looked for other alternative & go to Tigaraja port, 750 m or 3 min by car, the boat departed at 3.20 PM, here for the schedule so we can ride the last boat from Tomok port in Samosir at 6.30 PM (we have 3 hours to explore). We have to left the car as the boat only can bring 40 people. The boat ticket cost us IDR 20k for 2 people, me & the driver, for 30 minutes. There will be people who comes to you & asking money for the boat ticket.

 

TIPS! If you wanna bring car & spend longer time in Samosir Island, depart 7h before 1st ferry schedule in Ajibata port at 8.30 AM (around 01.30 AM) from Medan. The 2nd deck with softer seat has same price, you can sit comfortably in there (we thought the price is higher since looks comfy, we didn’t dare to sit inside).

Arrived in Tomok port & we have to walk passed through local market to find motorbike rent. There was no board sign where we can rent motorbike. My guide talked to one souvenir stand seller & called his 2 friends to become guide for us. At first they asked IDR 200k for 2 people but I asked my guide to bargain until IDR 120k for 2 people for 1.5h (+motorbike). Deal. They took us first to Toba Lake scenery near hotel with Samosir typical red roof. Then we head to Parulubalangan, where animism worship held. The entrance is free & there’s no one beside us that visit here, there’s a totem at the top. The place is picturable but somehow feels mystical. My guide forbid me to pointed object while in there. After that, we head to stone chair of King Siallagan (Huta Siallagan Museum). There are 5-6 Batak common house made from wood (replica of old Batak village) complete with Schand Block. Entering the house, they have loom & kitchen placed in center of the house, bed on the other side. There are totem pole outside too, I don’t know yet what they represent of. And at the top of the stair there’s tomb of the King.

There’s still 1.5h left to explore, the guide took us to Huta Tinggi (if you follow the road, it will lead to Aek Natonang, lake above lake), took 30 minutes to went here from Tomok port by motorbike. We didn’t use the same road as we departed, but the parallel road on the mountain side. It was pretty with 5 PM light. As the elevation increase, the air is getting chiller, we left our jacket on car… The view keeps getting better until we found warung (small shop) where we can drink tea & enjoy the view. It was soo pretty, I can’t get enough of it. Tried many angle of Toba Lake pic from here, includes trying to make replica sakura with Fuji mountain view -which failed. We went down to Tomok port at 5.45 PM & eat dinner at warung near Tomok port at 6.15 PM. It was a good decision to ride the last boat 6.30 PM to Parapat (IDR 20k for 2 people). Turned out inside the cabin, they have karaoke. They played Batak song, I didn’t understand the language, but everyone sang & have fun. Even the captain held the steer on right hand & the mic on left hand. It’s safe, don’t worry. The song they played & the wind made me think, it was Saturday night, I was alone & on the boat, not how girl would spent their Sat night. I wasn’t really alone of course, there are the driver & passenger on the boat. Strangers, but felt warm. I wasn’t really prepared for this Toba trip. Unlike other trip abroad, I made loose itinerary. I don’t know how to explore or what to see in Samosir Island. But it worked & I enjoyed it. Its 7 PM by the time we arrived at Tigaraja port & head to Melissa Hotel Parapat to rest before long journey back to Medan tomorrow at 7 AM (I booked 2 room from booking.com @IDR 200k per room without breakfast). Good night, sleep well…

TIPS! Spent minimum 1 full day to explore Samosir Island, stay 1 night if you want to chill swimming. Another destination you can visit in Samosir Island are Batu Hoda beach, Parbaba white sand, Aek Natonang lake, or just follow the road & see where it takes you. 🙂

Day 2, Sunday, 17 Jul 2016 Meowning! Today we’re gonna head to Sipiso-piso waterfall, one of water source of Toba Lake. But before, the driver asked me if his father in Siantar can join us to go to Medan. Since there’s still a lot of seat, i agreed to it. If the same thing happen to you & you don’t want to, you can say no. Later I’m saved by his father driving skill when chase 5 PM flight. It took us 4h from 7 AM to go to Sipiso-piso waterfall. On route Siantar to Sipiso-piso waterfall, we visit ancient Raya King & his wife tomb (1828-1889), in google maps it’s shown by Guru Raya Sidasuha tag. The driver asked me to pose with the tomb as background. Me like, “Euh, no thanks, it feels like something gonna grabbed me from behind if I do that, ahaha.” Near Sipiso-piso waterfall there is pretty hill that made me think North Sumatra is beautiful. Arriving in Sipiso-piso waterfall entrance, we paid IDR 10k for 1 car & around 15 min from the entrance, there is stunning view of Toba Lake, you’ll see the sign, many motor & car stopped in the side of road. You’ll go woah on this one. We enjoyed the waterfall view from above, as we saw many stairs heading down & didn’t have much time. 😀 Seen few foreign tourists here, the beautifulness of North Sumatra has attracted them… It was my last list destination as they say we have to arrived in Brastagi at latest by 2 PM, after that the road gonna be too crowded. So I have to come back next time to visit Sidikalang city, Tangkahan & Asam Kumbang crocodile breeding. I want to visit Leuser National Park too (I’m a national park fans). Well, 2D1N to explore every corner of North Sumatra wasn’t enough, you’ll need min 4-6 days.

Saying till I see you again to Toba Lake, we’re heading to Medan city via Brastagi, it took us 3h from 11 AM include lunch. The driver then stopped by at 2 PM in Taman Alam Lumbini, replica of Shwedagon temple in Myanmar. It was pretty & bring back good memories of Myanmar in 2014… Only the difference, we can’t go in when pray time. The entrance cost IDR 20k/person. From here, it was already 3 PM, it took 2.5h to go to Kuala Namu airport, my flight is at 5 PM, see how crazy I am, still enjoying the view despite tight schedule. 😀 Knowing this, the driver tried to go with 80 kmph speed or up, but can’t do this fully in first 1.5h because the road is small going downhill, has sharp turn & many cars on the contrary direction. It really need skill & patience to drive in North Sumatra. The condition road is exact as described by the driver before we start the trip, I’m glad that I listened to him. The rest of the trip fill with tense, the feeling of can-I-made-it-on-time-to-airport. Usually I heard the stories of my friend did that. Now I’m the one experienced it, haha. Arrived in South of Medan city at 4 PM & it took 30 min to go to Kuala Namu airport. We made it safe & on time thanks to my driver’s father driving skill.

Thank you North Sumatra, you are prettier than I imagined. 🙂

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in Love with North Sumatra, 14-15 Jul ’16, Day 1-2

Continued from trip preparation posting, now i’m gonna told stories about the trip it self. Here we go!

Day 1, Thursday, 14 Jul 2016 Trying to finished my duty quickly so i can joined the team to eat Durian Ucok at night! 😀 This is my first time to see an ATM in durian stall. As if, they said don’t worry if you didn’t bring money, you can draw it in here. The place is BIG and FULL. They even divide the room between AC & non AC. There’s Durian Pancake as well if you want to bring it as souvenirs, they wrapped it tight so the aroma couldn’t escaped. I’m not a durian lover, but ate like 3-4 durian, haha. It cost around IDR 25k/fruit.

TIPS!

  1. Single durian fruit or they called it jantung, generally tasted sweet, choose this one.
  2. Stop eating when you’re feeling hot or when you feel like heavy on your back neck, it can be mean that your cholesterol level is rising.
  3. To minimalized durian fragrance from your hand & mouth, pour water into durian skin, drink it first then used the second poured water to wash your hand.                                                          img-20160714-wa0007

Day 2, Friday, 15 Jul 2016 Started the adventure with culinary at lunch time, I ordered blue bird taxi from app, picked Soto Kesawan in Pemuda st because there are several must visit spot within those area. But before, asked the driver to stopped by Soto Sinar Pagi because it’s on same route, turn out closed by that time. 12 AM & Soto Kesawan already run out of prawn & beef, so i ordered chicken. Can’t explain the taste, but in my guess, it’s gonna tasted good with prawn. Ordered half portion (got to spare stomach storage) cost IDR 18k. Checking the list, found that Tip Top Restaurant only 130 m or 2 min walk. Aha! After eating, ice cream is the best choice. In the beginning operation in 1929, Tip Top was called Jangkie, the owner’s name, at that time, they only sold bread & cake in Pandu st. The clients of the restaurant at that time were the employees who worked in administration & plantation clark. Rented a shop in Kesawan st at 1934, they made more western menu & ice cream. Ordered Moorkop at IDR 20k, vanilla ice cream scoop & at the top of ice cream they put 2 sponge bread poured with chocolate sauce. I think it’s a good place to unwind. Finished at 2 PM, checked nearest destination, that would be Kopi Apek. Typed the name in Google Maps (GMaps) & it lead me to Kedai Kopi Kesawan, its only 210 m or 2 min walk. Went there & it didn’t look like it. So, I searched the address in GMaps, Hindu St 37th, 350 m or 4 min walk. Arrived & confused, Kopi Apek doesn’t have board shop, asked local & they pointed 1 small white building but it’s closed (it only opened until 11 AM).

When in Tip Top, saw Tjong A Fie Mansion on the right side of restaurant, so i walked there 500 m or 6 min walk. Opened until 5 PM, entry price is IDR 40k & they gave you guide, walked on my own didn’t like idea someone follow while enjoying time. Tjong A Fie was from Mainland China, he headed to East Coast of Sumatra in 1877, established new life in Sulatanate of Deli. He built thriving grocery business. Upon seeing his success, Dutch Government appointed him as government official with initial rank liutenant to take care of social affairs especially Chinese communities. Later, he built Medan by building place of workship & orphanage. He also appointed as honorary officer of Ching Dynasty. Eversince 1895, he became a philantropy. His motto is Success & Glory Consists Not in What I Have Gotten But in What I Have Given”. Saw someone house & I think you can guess his habit & personality from the interior. His house were huge, neat, but simple furnishing. One remarkable thing is he has lots of reading room & several worship place. It’s as if he spend lots of time to read & maintain his spiritual needs. Well, that’s inspiring. Spent 2h here until 5 PM, really do enjoy here with my camera. Went back to the hotel using taxi to rest a bit.

Went out again after 8 PM using taxi as well for 20 min, first dinner stop is Titi bobrok noodle at Setiabudi st, can’t wait to eat Acehnese food! Surprised the place is big & has 2 floors but still so crowded, ordered crab noodle & es teh tarik for 35k. Waited 20 mins to tasted a little heaven, the food is spicy as expected, & big portion, haha. Didn’t think I’m able to gobble Kumango mushroom chicken noodle, in Pagaruyung, nor Wajir seafood as planned, so ended up (still) eating Boiled shell IDR 15k at Gatot Subroto st 7 min drive, thought that it’s gunna be light snack which actually heavy, LOL. The fresh sour sauce feels right with the boiled shell, add a little salt in my guess will add the yummy-ness.

Full tummy made me want to stroll to take a pic, so next destination is Maimuna Palace 22 min drive, good thing the outer gate still opened at 9 PM & it’s free, we can’t enter the Palace but can still take pic from outside. The palace color shined with yellow lamp made it looks like almost a real palace with golden color at night, cameraable! Continue 6 min drive to Masjid Raya Medan Al Ma’sun, outer gate is already closed, so took pic from outside instead, the lamp gave fog ambiance. Third stop at 10 PM is Merdeka Walk in Kesawan area, 9 min driving. Lots of old building built since colonial era shown by white color in this area.  Thought that Merdeka Walk is a public park instead food court, wanna try Satay Padang Al Fresco here but they are closed. Walked around the area & finally found park entry. Suddenly flashback rushed into my mind, last time i felt this sensation is in Vientianne in 2013. The comfortable feeling when you observed other people, the slow pace, night ambiance. I feel like tourist in my own home country, it’s like wearing new glasses (read : new perspective). After this long, I see the problems lied outside of me. While actually we only can control ourselves. To solved things, we need to bring the perspective inside us, change ourselves first rather than asking other people to change. Be proactive. It made me reborn. Outside you’re still same person, inside brand new person. After got this enlightment, I head back to hotel 3 min driving & rest for tomorrow 7 AM trip.

10 Good Listening Foreign Indie / Pop / Folk Song – Part 2

Postingan blog kedua hari ini masih tentang Indie / Pop / Folk song edisi foreign 🙂 Kalo postingan sebelumnya tentang Indonesian Indie / Pop / Folk Song moodnya kalem, yang ini agak lebih bersemangat, bisa dipake kalo lagi butuh konsentrasi buat ngerjain sesuatu yang perlu pace cepet (misal finansial model *uhuk). Seperti biasa, klik link untuk mendengarkan lagunya di youtube ya. 🙂

  1. Wylder – Living Room (lagunya bersemangat)
  2. Eden Fox – Patience (instrumental, cocok buat memelankan pace)
  3. Paper Lions – Call Back (“broke on Saturday night, lonely & shattered” liriknya gitu, tp lagunya ceria)
  4. Megan Carsello – The Coast (instrumental tapi lebih ceria)
  5. Wylder – Bayhouse (ceria sampe bisa bikin kaki goyang-goyang)
  6. Bear – Journey Ft Hi-Ly (musiknya unik, awalnya kayak lagu sendu, di akhir jd ceria)
  7. Alma Mater – Feel the Love (suka lagu ini krn perpaduan musik & liriknya oke)
  8. Stevie Appleton – This is America (kayak lagi dengerin konsep lama ttg America is land of dreams, suka pas bagian “darling, you don’t know how hard i try”)
  9. Blajk – Good Liars (awal lagunya unik)
  10. Valley – Swim (suka bagian reff lagu ini, pas tengah lagu bikin kepala & bahu joged)

Ane nemu lagunya di soundcloud, masih dengan cara yang sama dengan postingan sebelumnya. Ane follow IndieAir, alexrainbirdMusic, Fire Records, Soundway Records di soundcloud, sama Wave of Good Noise di youtube. Paling sering dapet lagu enak di alexrainbirdMusic yang mengeluarkan 1-2 playlist per bulan. Selamat menikmati musik ceria & sampai jumpa di postingan Indie / Pop / Folk song berikutnya! 😀

10 Good Listening Indonesian Indie / Pop / Folk Song – Part 2

Break dulu dari postingan jalan-jalan, beberapa kali di statistik blog, ane lihat beberapa orang mampir ke judul ini. Berhubung ane punya list baru, semoga bisa membantu pembaca buat rileks di malam hari, di hari yang berhujan, atau ketika lagi nunggu di kafe. 🙂

  1. Pure Saturday – Kosong (suka sama alunan musiknya)
  2. Rusa Militan – Senandung Senja (my favorite, adem banget plus manis)
  3. White Shoes & The Couples Company – Kisah dari Selatan Jakarta (ini juga adem, tp beda genre, kalo disimak liriknya smp skrg ane pun ga ngeh ini lagu ttg apa XD)
  4. Efek Rumah Kaca – Cinta Melulu (lagunya rada ngebeat, tp liriknya kena buat kamu yg bukan tipe romantis)
  5. Sarah N Soul – Pohon Toge (iya, pohon toge, unik ya judulnya? Lagunya lebih unik lagi :D)
  6. Afternoon Talk – There’s One Thing You Should Know (second favorite, suaranya lembut)
  7. Nasadira – Vadya Masa (ini lembut juga)
  8. Senandung Sore – Bias Mentari (suka bagian awal ada kicauan burungnya)
  9. Figura Renata – Elegi (ini lagu sedih, cocok buat yang moodnya kalem mendekati kosong)
  10. Strangers Indonesia – Bonfire (suka pas liriknya “listen to me, be passion with me”, bisa dipake buat lagu nikahan, *ehem)

Klik link di atas untuk mendengarkan musiknya di youtube ya 🙂 Kalo ada yang nanya, ane nemu lagu ini darimana? Biasanya dari soundcloud / youtube, habis dengerin 1 lagu abis itu akan nerus ke genre musik yang sama, tinggal dipilih sesuai selera. 🙂 Ane suka dengerin channel Indie Lokal, Indie&Cover di youtube. Indie Lokal juga ngeluarin playlist tapi kurang tahu interval terbitnya. Indielokal Playlist #03 – Kafe Jakarta, Senja Kala sesuai judulnya, memang enak & cocok kalau lagi butuh konsentrasi ngerjain sesuatu di kafe. Semoga postingan ini bisa memuaskan dahaga para pecinta Local Indie Music. 🙂 Tunggu tanggal main 10 Good Listening Indonesian Indie / Pop / Folk Song – Part 3 ya! 😉

 

in Love with North Sumatra, 15-17 Jul ’16 – Trip Preparation

Since few years ago, I’ve been wanting to go to North Sumatra to visit Samosir Island in Toba Lake. Chance is coming from office assignment to meet partner candidate. I was already assigned to West Kalimantan for another job, my supervisor said to go to Medan, so i asked to extend the ticket until Sunday at 5 PM. I observe the hotel is not that expensive compared to same brand if stay in Jakarta, maybe they adjust the price tailored to local purchase parity. One funny thing is due to the bed very comfy, I took pic of the spec, includes bed, pillow, linen & sheet, comforter duvet. The bed spec is one of wellknown brand, so no wonder. They used 2 piles of pillow, big one put as base is made from 70% feather & 30% down size 66*66 cm. Long pillow put as top is made from 100% feather size 51*66 cm. Cold climate comforter duvet is used, filled with 90% feather 10% down with 100% cotton shell. Both linen & sheet used Egyptian cotton which only need to be cleaned once in 3 years. As for the sheet, for sure is silk cotton, i love the soft sensation in my feet. Anyhow, i’m not bedding set expert, just one who love good sleep. 😀

Like always, before going to one place, I did research on 3 things, must try food, where to go inside city & where to go outside city (my specialties). Here is the plan list route! Let’s start from destination outside city (to Toba Lake via Brastagi head back to Medan in same day), need 7h to travel return and 3-5h to enjoy scenery :

  1. Asam kumbang crocodile breeding, 30 min from Medan city center.
  2. Tangkahan, 40 min from penangkaran buaya (South direction).
  3. Sipiso-piso waterfall, 2 hour from Tangkahan.
  4. Sidikalang city (their coffee is my favorite), 75 min from Sipiso-piso waterfall.
  5. Museum Huta Bolon Siamanindo in Samosir Island, 2 hour 30 min from Sidikalang.

Sounds good, until I called car rent & tell my plan. I rent car incl driver excl fuel, IDR 400k/day with avanza, IDR 500k/day with innova. Because I’m alone, I used smaller one. You can contact Mr Richard Fernando at +6281262520057 to rent car. He suggest to stay in Parapat so I can enjoy Toba Lake, the trip change route from via Brastagi to via Siantar. He said, route to Toba from Brastagi is going uphill & usually there’s traffic from contrary direction so gonna take longer time, while route to Toba from Siantar is easier. From past experience, I better listen to local guide cz they knew situation better. Then I recalculate budget. Before changed, my budget plan is IDR 1200k as follows:

  1. Rent car 1 day = IDR 400k
  2. Hostel 1 day = IDR 250k
  3. Fuel = IDR 250k
  4. Eat 2 person 2 times = IDR 100k
  5. Souvenir = IDR 100k
  6. Driver tips 1 day = IDR 100k

After changed, my budget became IDR 1900k as follows :

  1. Rent car 2 day = IDR 800k
  2. Hostel 1 day 2 room = IDR 450k
  3. Fuel = IDR 250k
  4. Eat 2 person 4 times = IDR 200k
  5. Driver tips 2 day = IDR 200k

After thinking, additional IDR 700k compared to slower pace & safety of travel, I decided to give it a go, beside, while I’m in North Sumatra, I must enjoy to the fullest! Well, solo traveler ain’t cheap. Let’s continue with destination inside Medan city :

  1. Merdeka Walk, place where many food vendors & park became one.
  2. Kesawan Square, get used to free car zone, so people can stroll around old building.
  3. Masjid Raya, in Indonesia usually one of autenthique place to visit is the mosque.
  4. Maimuna Palace, you can dress up like an Indonesian king & queen here.
  5. Tjong A Fie Mansion, old Chinese house in Dutch colonial era.

Last one and my favorite part is must try food in Medan city! :9 You can see the food picture from this reference. Prepare your stomach & let’s eat a lot! Having travelmate means you can share the portion & eat more, ahaha.

  1. Sipirok restaurant at Sunggal st, meat soup IDR 19k, 10 AM-3 PM
  2. Tabona restaurant at Mangkubumi st, served curry, IDR 27k, 7 AM-10 AM
  3. Soto kesawan w/ various topping (beef, prawn, chicken) at Pemuda st, IDR 18k, 6 AM-2 PM
  4. Soto sinar pagi at Sungai Deli st, their gravy is good, IDR 25k, 7.30 AM-2 PM
  5. Kopi apek at Hindu st, served w/ kaya toast, IDR 25k, established since 1922, 6 AM-12 AM
  6. Tip top cafe at Pemuda st, ice cream specialties IDR 20k, 8 AM-10 PM, place to relax
  7. Kumango mushroom chicken noodle at Mangkubumi st, IDR 25k, 11 AM-10 PM
  8. Hawkers at Semarang st, mostly Chinese food, note halal label, 6 PM-1 AM
  9. Pagaruyung near Cambridge City Square, served Indonesian & Indian food, 6 PM-1 AM
  10. Wajir seafood at Kolonel Sugiono st, try steam tiociu fish IDR 18k, 3 PM-11 PM
  11. Durian Ucok at Wahid Hasyim St, IDR 30k, 24h, they served durian pancake too
  12. Titi bobrok noodle at Setiabudi st, crab noodle, IDR 27k, 11 AM-12 PM, popular dish
  13. Boiled shell at Gatot Subroto st, served with fresh sour sauce, IDR 15k, 6 PM-1 AM
  14. Satay padang Al Fresco at Merdeka Walk, IDR 18k, 5 PM-10 PM

Very long list, isn’t it? Haha, they say Medan specialties is their food so this gunna be culinary trip. That’s all my preparation for Medan trip, let’s continue on next post on my experience in Medan city, chao! 😀

 

Let’s Get Lost at Srilanka Part 3, 10-13 Mar 2016

Day 7, Thursday, 10 Mar 2016. Kami bangun jam 06.00 AM, sarapan sambil liat sunrise view & berangkat trekking ke Ella’s rock jam 07.00 AM. Kami diantar naik tuk2 sama owner homestay ke Kital Ella railway 5 menit free, lanjut jalan kaki 1.5 jam dengan guide LKR 1500 (guidenya minta dicarikan ke owner homestay malam sebelumnya). Kami bilang ke guidenya kalau kaki kami masih pegal habis trekking ke Adam’s Peak, jalan Kami agak lambat. Guidenya senyum2 tapi tetep cepet jalannya, walhasil Kami sering tertinggal, haha. Trekkingnya melewati kebun teh & jalan tanah, track terberat sekitar 1 km terakhir, agak nanjak. Kami sampai kedua disini, jadi bisa foto sepuasnya! 🙂 Habis itu, Kami ngaso beli air kelapa LKR 100. Kami kira destinasinya hanya Ella’s rock, ternyata masih ada 2 destinasi, 1 view Ella & 1 temple. Karena viewnya mirip, ane mencoba foto memakai B612 dengan berbagai efek foto, hasilnya lumayan.

Rute perjalanan pulang beda dengan rute berangkat, masih melewati rel kereta api. Perlu waktu 4 jam untuk eksplore Ella’s rock dsk termasuk foto-foto. Kami tiba di hotel jam 11.00 AM dan ternyata sudah disiapkan free juice sama istri owner homestaynya (baik banget). Ane buru-buru mandi karena bis ke Tissamaharama hanya lewat sekali jam 11.30 AM, info dari owner homestay. Kami check out dan bayar LKR 3670 ke Will Guest Homestay + LKR 250 untuk spiced tea tadi malam. Kami naik tuk2 LKR 200 ke pinggir jalan lokasi bis lewat dan ternyata bis ke Tissamaharama jam 12.50 PM. Kami nunggu kepanasan di pinggir jalan (33 deg C), untung ada payung, tapi payungnya ane tinggal karena momot kena angin, haha. Pas nunggu bis, ada yang nawari naik jeep ke Tissamaharama at USD 25/ppl (4 seater), Kami menolak halus karena hanya punya budget LKR 290 atau USD 2.2 buat naik bus. Kami sangu minuman dingin LKR 100.

Sampai Tissamaharama bus station jam 03.30 PM, banyak yang menawari Kami paket tur jeep ke Yalla National Park, Kami menolak halus karena Kami sudah booking USD 60 + LKR 435/ppl (incl jeep 4 seat+ fuel + entrance LKR 3000 + driver + fruit + water + binocular + lunch) untuk full day (05.00 AM – 06.00 PM) safari via safarijanaka@gmail.com. Kami naik tuk2 ke City Guest House, namun Kami diantar ke Emerald hotel, dekat Main Street. Ini termasuk scam, karena harga kamar AC-nya murah, 2 malam LKR 4575, jadi ya sudah. 🙂

Kami telepon safarijanaka buat tanya berapa orang yang akan berangkat bareng Kami besok, ternyata baru ada Kami, jadi aman, bisa berasa private tour. Pilihan tempat makan malam di Tissamaharama sedikit, kami makan ayam goreng crispy LKR 1350 + french fries di Tissamaharama bar. Namanya aja bar, tapi lebih mirip warung. Tissamaharama merupakan kota kecil, ngga banyak yang bisa dilihat. Jadi Kami ngabisin paket data nyetel yutup di kamar.

Day 8, Friday, 11 Mar 2016. Jemputan safarijanaka datang on time 05.00 AM, drivernya menawarkan membelikan kami rotti LKR 200 untuk makan pagi. Sesampainya di pintu gerbang, rupanya sudah banyak jeep mengantri menunggu loket buka. Kami antrian ke-5. Drivernya bilang, waktu tepat untuk lihat leopard sebelum jam 09.00 AM & 04.00-06.00 PM,  di antara kedua jam tersebut, karena masih panas biasanya leopard bersembunyi di semak2.

Let’s Get Lost at Srilanka Part 2, 7-9 Mar 2016

Day 4, Monday, 7 Mar 2016. Kami berangkat jam 07.00 AM, supaya sampai di Pinnawala jam 08.30 AM, sepanjang perjalanan, supir tuk-tuk mencoba meyakinkan Kami untuk pergi ke Milennia (harganya LKR 1k vs LKR 2.5k dibanding Pinnawala), less crowded, Kita bisa kasih makan & mandiin gajah. Rating trip advisor ngga jauh beda, 3 vs 3.5 untuk Milennia & Pinnawala. Kami tetap memilih Pinnawala. Later on habis ke Yala National Park, ane ngerekomendasiin ngga usah ke Pinnawala, karena Kalian bakal ketemu gajah yang bebas berkeliaran di Yala National Park.

Pinnawala buka jam 09.00 AM, tapi sudah banyak yang antri (termasuk orang lokal karena akhir pekan), harga tiketnya LKR 2.5k/ppl. Kami foto gajah dengan latar belakang bunga warna pink, lihat gajah gali tanah trus dilempar ke punggung mereka buat ngurangin panas (33 deg C). Abis itu liat kelakukan gajah kecil lucu, nyoba ngerebut makanan sodaranya & ada yang nyoba duduk. Tetiba ane teringat pengalaman lihat gajah di Way Kambas 201. Di kedua tempat, ada gajah yang dirantai, perasaan ane mixed, animal should be roaming freely in the nature, di sisi lain, kalau ngga dirantai ntar mereka lari kesana kemari merusak pemukiman. Ane lebih suka suasana di Way Kambas, diseruduk sama gajah kecil & diajak main, sementara 2 temen ane ngumpet di balik pohon.

Abis itu, liat bayi gajah dikasih minum susu 1 ember gede. Trus nyebrang jalan, liat gajah mandi & pup (this is the part where you say eew :p). Si pelatih literally ambil pup gajah & dilempar ke hilir, maksudnya biar air mandi si gajah bersih kali yak. I’m like EEWWW (just like your response). Dari situ, Kami lanjut ke Spice Garden yang isinya tanaman herbal / apotik hidup. Turnya gratis, Kami kasih LKR 500 buat tips & temen beli sandalwood buat ngilangin jerawatnya, harganya LKR 2k (coba update dulu, does it worked?) Later on, ane tanya terapis pas di Bali, katanya sandalwood yang bisa dipakai untuk obat adalah yang fresh habis ditumbuk.

Kami mengunjungi tea factory setelah itu, tempatnya keren. Ane jadi tau proses pembuatan teh & berharap ada tur semacam ini di Indonesia … Ane baru tau ada 3 jenis daun teh, daun teh warna hijau, daun teh warna merah gosong terbakar matahari & pucuk daun warna hijau, ketiganya menjadi jenis teh yang berbeda. Daun teh warna hijau akan menjadi black tea dengan produk BOPF (Broken, Orange, Pekoe, Fannings), daun teh warna merah menjadi green tea & daun pucuk menjadi 3 jenis : silver linings, white tea, sama satu lagi jenis herbal tea. Dari BOPF ke white tea, warna tehnya menjadi ngga terlalu pekat. Kami ditunjukkan cara produksi pabrik teh di Sri Lanka untuk black tea.

Daun teh dipetik manual dari belakang pabrik, lalu dikirim ke lantai 3 menggunakan conveyor, dari sini diangkut manual ke 3 line feeder yang dikeringkan selama 8 jam menggunakan angin. Setelah dari sini, daun teh digiling sampai berukuran setengah kasar kemudian dimasukkan ke dalam dryer (combusting wood) sampai suhu sekitar 1105 deg c selama 20-25 menit, produknya lalu dimasukkan ke dalam vibrating magnetic separator untuk memisahkan daun berwarna kuning emas dengan kompos-nya.

Lalu dimasukkan ke proses terakhir, lupa namanya apa untuk menghasilkan 6 jenis teh, BOPF, BOP, silver linings, green tea, white tea, herb tea. BOPF dan BOP memiliki ukuran super fine, biasa digunakan dalam teh celup & diekspor. Dilmah menggunakan teh ceylon ini, disana harganya IDR 11-13k, dibawa ke Indonesia harganya jadi IDR 60-70k. Ane beli teh BOPF & mango tea seharga LKR 1400, dikomenin sama Partner In Crime, “ngapain beli mango tea, di Indonesia banyak.” Eh ternyata, justru yang paling enak adalah mango tea.

Kami memutuskan skip gems museum, karena bukan penggemar akik & mau ngejar bis ke Nuwara Eliya, pas itu udah jam 12.00 PM, Kami makan chicken curry (lagi) LKR 2365/ppl. Abis itu Kami ke Bahirawakanda Temple di atas bukit (LKR 200), agak susah dapetin foto patung budha warna putihnya, harus agak jauh. Kami dapet pemandangan cantik Kota Kandy dari atas. Pulang dari sini, Kami ke terminal bis Kandy dianter tuk-tuk & ditunjukin bisnya yang mana (saat itu jam 02.30 PM), ada bis non AC dan AC, Partner In Crime ngajakin naik bis AC yang bentuknya kayak elf, LKR 315 selama 3 jam, beda 3x lipat dari bis non AC. Ngecek google maps, bentuk jalannya keriting bakalan mabok darat – ngga bawa antimo, yawes tidur awal buat mengantisipasi mabok kelokan. TIPS! Selama di Sri Lanka, Kami naik tuk2 menuju terminal bis lalu minta ditunjukin bisnya yang mana, it helped.

Ditepok dibangunin Partner In Crime jam 04.30 PM, buat lihat pemandangan kebun teh, komennya “kayak lagi di Puncak”. Kami sampe terminal bis Nuwara Eliya jam 05.30 PM, terus jalan ke pusat kota buat cari makan malam. Lucunya, mata Kami tertuju ke restoran western, tapi hidung Kami mencium aroma sedap yang ngga mungkin berasal dari restoran western karena restorannya tertutup. Sebelahnya ada tempat makan sepi (Grashia Restaurant) tapi ada menu nasi goreng, tulisannya literally nasi goreng bukan fried rice, aromanya pun mirip nasi goreng tek-tek yang lewat depan rumah. Langsunglah Kami nggragas, bosen kari & sakaw masakan Indonesia, Kami makan disini & porsinya pas, LKR 600/ppl (btw yang punya restoran ini bukan orang Indonesia maupun Malaysia, darimana dia tahu istilah nasi goreng, ane pun tak tahu) & stock makanan LKR 565 karena hotel Kami di atas banget. Kami naik tuk-tuk LKR 400 ke atas, sekitar 10 menit via danau ke Scenic View Bungalow (dingin bok, bener kayak puncak), tapi ngga ada orang, akhirnya Kami telepon & minta bantuan sopir tuk-tuk buat ngomong dalam bahasa lokal kalau Kami mau check in. Dengan bantuan translate owner penginapan, Kami booking tuk-tuk LKR 5000 ke Horton National Park & St Claire Waterfall, berangkat jam 05.00 AM.

Untung Kami sudah makan malam di bawah, karena hotel Kami terpencil, view-nya ngga keliatan karena udah gelap, it’s supposed to be great, hotelnya di atas lembah. Ngobrol bentar sama orang dari penginapan, mereka nawarin trip bareng ke Horton National Park naik van dari penginapan, udah dapet 4 orang masih muat 2 orang lagi. Kami nanya mereka ke St Claire ngga & karena Kami langsung check out. Ternyata ngga, yawes Kami ngobrol bentar trus pamit masuk kamar. Dingin bok, disini 13 deg c.

Day 5, Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016. Masih setengah melek, jam 05.00 AM, kami berangkat ke Horton National Park, jalannya nanjak, si tuk-tuk agak berjuang buat naik ke atas. Viewnya keren. Beberapa kali Kami berhenti buat foto sunrise dan kabut yang misty. Pas di atas, Kami baru sadar mostly orang pake jeep, cuma ada 1 tuk-tuk selain Kami. 😀 Jam 06.30 AM, Kami antri tiket LKR 3000 untuk 1 orang dan 1 tuk-tuk. Ngga boleh bawa kantung plastik ke dalam, jadi Kami meminimalisir plastik. Rute Horton National Park berupa loop, bisa diawali dari Mini Worlds End atau Chimney Pool. Kami pengen lihat view scenic dulu, Kami memilih melalui Mini World End & banyak orang menggunakan rute tersebut.

Kami jalan 1.5 jam menuju Mini World End (yang ngga keliatan karena kabut), 1 jam menuju World End & setengah jam menuju Bakers Fall. Mini World End sama World End crowded, memang ane bukan penyuka tempat crowded. Kami sempet nyasar pas mau ke Bakers Fall karena males liat jalan nanjak, milih jalan datar tapi rupanya ke arah toilet, haha. Kami turun jam 11.00 AM, setelah makan biskuit di Bakers Fall (ngga ada yg jual makanan euy). Pulangnya, Kami ngga nemu jalan yang mau ke Chimney Pool, Kami balik menyusuri jalan awal, sekalian liat sapa tau World End sama Mini World End-nya lebih bagus, masih ngga keliatan, karena kabut dari jurang bergerak naik cepat ke atas menyatu dengan awan, awesome moment. Turunnya butuh 2 jam, Kami sampe kafetaria jam 01.00 PM. Jelajah Horton National Park butuh waktu 7 jam termasuk foto-foto 2 jam.

Herannya, ngga ada yang jual es teh, selaku negara penghasil teh. Waiter kafetaria nawarin Kami hot tea sepulang Kami kepanasan trekking, ngga deh pak, makasih. Balik ke tuk-tuk, Kami minta dianter ke western resto di sebelah Grashia Restaurant tempat Kami makan nasi goreng kemarin. Ternyata menunya ngga jauh dari chicken curry, burgernya habis (baru hari ke-5, Kami udah eneg sama kari). Lunch seharga LKR 300/ppl. Lalu Kami dianter ke St Clairs Waterfall sama Devon Waterfalls, ternyata dianter dari depan, bukan ke bawah masuk ke air terjunnya. TIPS! Kalau aik tuk-tuk, pastikan tujuan yang Kalian maksud sama dengan yang dimaksud supir tuk-tuk di awal, juga harga & tujuan akhirnya.

Agak mahal buat ukuran LKR 5000, tapi ya sudahlah, males juga jalan ke waterfallnya, selain sudah sore & turun hujan. Kami lanjut ke Hatton Bus Station dengan additional fee LKR 1000 (kemarin bilangnya LKR 5000 sudah sampe Hatton Bus Station). Ngga ada direct bus dari Hatton ke Dalhouse, Kami pindah bis di Maskeliya, seharga LKR 180/ppl, it takes time 2h Kami sampe Wathsala Inn (bis berhenti di depan penginapan) jam 06.00 PM. Karena ngga lihat tanda-tanda kehidupan kota, Kami memutuskan makan di hotel seharga USD 8.5 atau LKR 1615 (mahal) & jam 08.30 PM Kami mencoba tidur karena besok jam 02.00 AM harus bangun pagi & mendaki Adams Peak 7h (hiking more than 5h – 3 days in a row, LOL, something I didn’t do in Indonesia). Hotelnya agak mahal USD 37/room, jadi kami bayar pakai dolar supaya LKR-nya cukup untuk ikut full trip Yala National Park.

Day 6, Wednesday, 9 Mar 2016. Jam 01.30 AM Kami bangun, cuci muka, gosok gigi, trus pake jaket tebel & ngga bawa senter karena di atas udah terang katanya. TIPS! Bawa senter (Lampu dinyalain pas Kami kesana karena Maret-April lagi pilgrimage sesion) & handuk kecil atau baju ganti, karena baju bakalan basah kena keringat. Rute belum terasa berat 1.5 jam awal, Kami berhenti sekali mampir warung beli teh manis hangat LKR 100 mengusir dingin akibat keringat. Setelah itu jalan nanjak pake tangga, Kami berhenti tiap 3 tiang lampu buat istirahat 15 detik, ngatur nafas trus lanjut, bule-bule bablas ngga pake berhenti. Kejadian lucunya, Kami sempet diajak ngobrol pake Bahasa Cina sama 2 turis cewek Asia yang Kami balas pakai muka cengok, trus dia minta maaf karena dikiranya Kami orang Cina. TIPS! Kalau mau trekking dengan patokan situs bule, tambahkan 1 jam untuk orang Asia & sebaiknya ngga maksain pace hiking, it’s not a race.

2 jam kemudian Kami hampir sampai atas, kalau udah ngos-ngosan Kami bercanda dengan nunjuk bintang sebagai destinasi akhirnya biar ngga kena PHP, destinasi udah deket, haha. Setengah jam terakhir, tangga ke atas agak padet, ane sudah curiga di atas bakal crowded banget karena banyak orang turun sebelum sunset, pas itu jam 05.00 AM. Pas udah di atas, semua spot penuuh, ngga bisa lihat sunrise, karena lagi musim pilgrimage. Ane lihat ada nenek yang susah jalan dipapah sama anaknya, anak kecil digandeng ibunya, semangat orang-orang yang mau berdoa kesini patut diacungi jempol. Ane sempet dikasih bunga teratai, karena mempersilahkan monk untuk turun duluan di tangga yang crowded, senyumnya damaai banget. Setelah muter & lihat ngga ada spot buat foto sunrise, Kami buru-buru turun untuk cari spot, ternyata turunnya macet.

Setelah ada spot agak oke & ngga terlalu crowded, ane manjat keluar jalur & duduk di atas batu, menikmati pemandangan sunrise VIP (di Indonesia pas lagi gerhana matahari total). Those golden moment ketika matahari bersinar yang hanya sekian detik, itu oke banget. Jam 06.30 AM Kami turun, asumsi turun 3 jam, katanya setelah jam 9 pagi, suhu naik cepat. Ane salut sama orang sini, mereka menyediakan tandu yang diangkat 4 orang untuk lansia yang sudah tidak kuat jalan. Turunnya emang PR, karena udah ngga ada tujuan yang mau dicapai, kayak ngga sampe-sampe. TIPS! Kasih waktu istirahat buat lutut, karena turun lebih berat dari naik. Jam 08.00 AM, Kami sudah melewati area terjal, gerbang masuk Adams Peak baru keliatan 1 jam kemudian. Keluar dari gerbang ke jalan raya memerlukan 15 menit. Eh ternyata Kami nemu 1 tempat makan, Galle Cafe, deket terminal Dalhouse. Ane pesen teh tarik sama omelette buat makan pagi + siang, LKR 470.

Sampe hotel jam 10.00 AM, Kami tanya resepsionis jam berapa bis ke Hatton lewat, jam 12.00 PM. Kami sempat tidur 1 jam, mandi, packing & naik bis yang langsung turun di Hatton Railway Station menuju Ella (Kami tanya ke petugas terminal, bisnya yang mana), harga tiket bis LKR 140/ppl & harga tiket kereta 2nd class LKR 320/ppl berangkat jam 02.30 PM. Kami sengaja naik kereta dari Hatton ke Ella, karena katanya merupakan salah satu scenic view, viewnya berupa kebun teh, kayak di Puncak. Rada rame keretanya, jadi rebutan tempat duduk. 😀 Kami bingung pas naik kereta ini, kok 2nd class-nya bagus dibanding keretake Polonnaruwa, kata Partner In Crime, “kayaknya waktu itu kereta yang Kita naiki 3rd class.”

Kami sampai stasiun Ella jam 06.22 PM, lalu jalan kaki ke arah Rotti Hut, buat makan malam. Ngga cocok menunya, Kami naik ke lantai 2, Ane surprised nemu beef LKR 2253, trus pesen, not a wise choice kalo dipikir lagi, hanya karena bosen kari ayam. Kami naik tuk2 dari depan restoran LKR 250 ke Will Guest Homestay, Kami tunjukin alamatnya, sopir tuk2nya mau, asumsi Kami dia tahu tempat. Pas udah di atas, sopirnya marah2 karena jalan jelek, gelap & kesasar, dia ngga mau ngomong via telp sama owner homestay-nya buat tahu arah. Akhirnya owner penginapan jemput Kami naik tuk2 free, dia nunggu Kami di depan stasiun Ella pakai tulisan nama penginapan, Kami ngga tahu. 3 hari lagi pulang, sementara sisa data masih banyak, ane nonton Running Man sebagai penutup hari. :3

Lanjut ke Part 3 yaa.