Turtle’s Home – Sangalaki Island, East Kalimantan
A visit to Maratua Island usually includes an island-hopping tour to Kakaban and Sangalaki islands. That’s exactly what we did. You can read about the visit to Kakaban Island here, and the brief visit to Sangalaki was done shortly before that.
Sangalaki Island in the Derawan archipelago of East Kalimantan is known as the place where turtles lay eggs. It’s also where Daihatsu as a corporation donate a good amount of money as their CSR project, to help save turtles from extinction. Upon our visit, we were given thorough information by the conservation officers about the birthing process, the growth of turtles, and things we should or shouldn’t do to support the conservation.
The turtles conserved in Sangalaki are mainly the Green Sea Turtles (Penyu Hijau) or the Chelonia mydas. It’s – predictably – green, has a short and curved beak, and only eats algae and sea grasses. In average, there are 3,000 turtles lay eggs in Sangalaki Island, 800 eggs from each turtle. Statistically, only about 80% continue to live, and only 1 out of 1,000 turtles survive to be full-grown. When full-grown, the width of their shells could reach up to 75 cm or about 2.5 ft. Living creatures that might be the predators of turtles include human, crabs, sharks, eagles, and seagulfs.
“These turtles, will come back to the island to lay eggs. They always find the same island they were hatched in to lay eggs,” a conservation officer explained. That’s interesting, it’s like turtles have the sense of hometown or something. “Other turtles might also come here to lay eggs, especially if their original habitat has been damaged, too crowded with construction, badly polluted or damaged by abrasion,” he added.
Turtles always lay eggs at night and aren’t fond of lights or human presence, but if you’d like to see the process just contact the conservation center and they might arrange a sighting for you. Peak season of laying eggs is usually between July and September. There is a resort with a couple of cottages on the island, costing about IDR1,250,000/person/night, including meals.
What we human can do to help preserve turtles include: keep the beach clean, no littering in the sea, avoid eating turtle’s meat or eggs, not in any way supporting the selling or buying of turtle eggs, leave it alone and not capture it even though they might look exotic in your aquarium. Last but not least, tell your friends, family, students, co-workers, neighbors and perhaps yoga mates about turtle conservation.
Visitng Sangalaki Island doesn’t only allow you to get to know more about turtles, but it also offers beautiful beach with soft white sand that borders with light blue sea. You can snorkel and dive around the island, or just tan up on the beach and play baywatch on the tree.
(tree with prue)
When it comes to adventurous exploration in Indonesia, there’s just no end to it. This country is huge and full of things that many haven’t seen, been, touched, and heard of. I’m lucky to have experienced a few, but I still need to get to know more through a Borneo wild adventure. Of all the islands I’ve been to, Borneo – or Kalimantan – is the biggest and one of the most fascinating ones. It’s so rich in culture, history, and definitely nature.
I’ve been only to a few parts of Borneo and awed by the vast tropical forest of Betung Kerihun National Park and the underwater life of Derawan Islands. Still, there’s still so much of the island and the life in it I want to see. So when I heard about the next #Terios7Wonders is going to be exploring Borneo, my heart pumps faster and my mind travels to the things I want to see, do, and places I just want to be.
I want to see more of Palangkaraya
Palangkaraya is the capital of Central Kalimantan. Not much that I’ve heard about it but it’s interesting that Palangkaraya is the largest city in Indonesia, CMIIW, even compared to Jakarta! What’s more interesting is that most of it is forested, IN the city! Forests, instead of shopping malls, in the city. I have got to see that! And from what I’ve read, the cute fuzzy and grumpy-looking orangutans of Nyaru Menteng arboretum can be seen just from the riverside of Kahayan River, which I wouldn’t need to go so far from the city. Talking about something rare!
Dive at Maratua
Woohoo! Just a few hours off Berau by speedboat, I could be at Maratua Island, known for its paradisal resort and beautiful underwater scenery around it. I have been to Derawan Islands long time ago, but I could only enjoy the waters by snorkeling. Now that I’m a licensed diver, I would like to see the marine life upclose in the deeper water. Swaying mantas, schooling barracuda, fabulous lionfish, oh and adorable turtles! Just one of the many reasons why loving Indonesia is so easy to do.
I know, I need to watch my body weight, but when I’m traveling I like to have a taste on the local delicacies. They say you are what you eat, so getting to know the staple food could perhaps tell me at least a little bit about the culture or about the natural resources at the area. Alright, alright, this might just be the rasionalization of my real reason: I love durian and I heard that Kruing-Banjarmasin is known for the durians, though not much information I could gather about it. Is it as sweet as other durians I’ve tasted? Is it the one with orange-colored meat instead of the usual yellow? Well, there’s only one way to find out: try it where it’s from, Borneo.
I like big trunks and I cannot lie!
One of the things that awed me about Borneo is the big trees in the jungle. I’m a city girl and the biggest vertical and round things I see mostly are building pilars, but they don’t have leaves or orangutans swinging between them. Ironwood or ulin trees are among the biggest trees in Indonesia with so many parts of it that can be utilized for human’s good, aside to being home for many orangutans. And another coolness about it is its Latin name: Eusideroxylon zwageri, just as hard to pronounce as that volcano in Iceland. So where can I be among these big ironwood trees? Tanjung Kutai in East Kalimantan!
Have fun with road trip mates
In my experience, being on the road lets you get to know your travel mates and yourself. The longer you are with them through thick and thin, the more you can legitimately judge them, or to put it positively, have better understanding about each other. Cooperation and communication are definitely two things that can make or break a road trip. Since I’m not driving, I’d be glad to help navigate or arrange the drinks neatly at the glass holders. And it’s important that the driver lets the others know when he’s tired so backup drivers could step up on the pedals. It’s no less than a team work, with a far nicer scenery and stories to tell later when the trip ends. While road-tripping can be done in many other destinations, it makes the most sense to do it on an island as vast as 743,330 km2 such is Borneo!
I imagine the best way to go around Borneo would be on a road trip with New Daihatsu Terios 2015. Sure the island comprises of many rivers, but there are bridges here and there, even ferries, so road tripping most of the island with this car wouldn’t be a problem. It’s also spacious, so I can share the happiness – as Alexander McCandles said – with up to six other people in this mini SUV! I wouldn’t need to worry when we’re going through some rough part of the land because it’s a tough vehicle with 1500 cc machine capacity. And because I don’t know how to drive – hey, that’s usually Mumun’s job – I would be happy to sit as a passenger, checking out the scenery and watching video or bobbing to the music from the well-designed stereo system, all within the vehicle. This sounds like an awesome road trip I would never forget!
This blog was participated in the #Terios7Wonders blog competition.
It’s all fun and games until someone rode the thunder!
It’s Middle School all over again. I doubted my guts to get on that ride, where I’d be spinned upside down at god knows how high, but my travel mates convinced me to go. Torn between fear and curiosity (in middle school it was between fear and wanting to look cool), I decided to go on the ride. Result? I quite enjoyed the adrenaline rush, but afterwards I almost puked!
The ride that I was talking about is called Petir, translates to thunder. It’s one of the rides in Jungle Land, an amusement park located in Sentul, West Java. I probably wouldn’t have felt that awful after the ride if we didn’t get on another spinning and swinging ride called Disk’O. Some of us made a smart decision by sitting with our bags and laughing at our scared faces from below, but to me being stupid is sometimes more fun!
Jungle Land consisted of five zones: Carnivalia, Tropicalia, Mysteria, Eksplora and Science Centre. Each zone has something for grown-ups and children and some rides are still being built. Having only about five hours at the park, we only got to try a few rides. First was the Ferris Wheel for warming up, then Disk’O and Petir, and then the wet rides, Boat Blaster and Water Flume.
If Boat Blaster were a movie, it would attract a lot of viewers from the premise: a ride where you get to be pirates on a ship and shoot water to enemies and other ships. At least it got us queueing for the ride. I was excited because I like games with shooting involved! But, oh boy, were we disappointed with the guns having the ability only to pan a few degrees left and right, and the shooting range was too close. Surprisingly, there were other visitors shooting at us from the fence, and their guns were much better! If we were real pirates, we’d be pirated before we knew it.
Since we were wet already, might as well try another ride with water involved. The Water Flume seemed to be a favorite, judging from the long queue. It’s where you get on small boats with 3 seats sliding on track in the water, and you’re supposed to be splashed on the slopes downhill. It’s fun, but I guess it was meant more for the kiddies.
Jungle Land definitely suits best for family’s day out, especially families with young children. However, just like in any amusement park, there are groups of teenagers eager to get their adrenaline going, with at least one trying so hard to brave up out of peer pressure. It’s so fun to watch!
The sun was almost setting, it was time for us to go. We stopped by for a cup of Starbucks on the way out, passing by the restaurants, food and souvenir stalls. Some restaurants were also still being prepared. Some food stalls are located in the food court, which is divided into Indonesian and Western sections.
I had been curious about Jungle Land since it first opened, in 2012 or so, but never really came around to go there. When Didut, a fellow blogger, contacted us to go on a free ride, of course we accepted it. Though it wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it would be, I had fun anyway, going on rides with fellow bloggers, most of whom I just met that very day.
In light traffic, Jungle Land can be reached in about an hour from Jakarta by car. We got there and back by Nissan New Serena, who made my Jungle Land adventure finally happen. The ride was smooth, aside from stabile suspension also thanks to Popokman the relaxed driver. There were 10 of us divided in 2 cars, one was the Nissan X and one was Nissan Autech. Both are spacious and very convenient for road trips, however the latter easily became my favorite. It’s got a sunroof where I could get lost in the night sky view and saw moving tree branches from unusual point of view.
The ride ended the day of many things new. New friends, new “jungle” experience, in a new car.
I remember starting to have an obsession for traveling around the world when I was in high school. Stories upon stories from schoolmates originated from diverse countries made me wonder what’s really out there?
A decade later, that dream hadn’t come true, but I was taking baby steps. I traveled abroad within Asia. Amazed with what Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong had to offer. At the same time, annoyed with the fact that I knew Indonesia had so much more, yet very little known to the world, even to me. So I decided to explore much more of Indonesia, because only then I could let the world know what wonder this sunny archipelago actually has to offer.
As a beach lover, I had to start my exploration from the beaches, of course. Karimunjawa, Ujung Genting and Derawan were among my early destinations before then I had them written on this blog to share with everyone. Mumun, also a beach creature, started her explorations more on beaches, such as Gili Trawangan, Alor and Pangandaran. Later on we added our blog entries with city and mountain destinations, such as Yogyakarta, West Sumatera and Bromo.
No matter where we go, the sun followed us. Well, d’oh, it is a tropical country. The equator even hovers over some parts of Indonesia, like Pontianak. Hence we came to the point where our mothers’ welcome home greeting was no longer “You’re back, my dear child. So glad to see you,” but “Oh my, how tanned your skin is. Please don’t go to beaches anymore!”
It is very much expected because Indonesians are generally obsessed with white (or very light-colored) skin, especially for women. Tanned skin is bad, and ugly. We think that’s funny. We seriously prefer being tanned and called ugly than having to restrain ourselves at home, not experiencing the fun we could have out under the sun! To us, darker skin is not a problem, as long as we keep it healthy. Choosing the right body lotion would be one of our ways to deal with it. Keeping our skin moisture and still having a blast exploring Indonesia, is definitely a dream come true.
On my last trip to Tanjung Lesung, I tried the Vitalis body lotion, aside from applying sun lotion. It’s also great to smell good after all the dynamic activities under the sun, so I had the Vitalis eau de cologne and body scent with me. These babies were nice to my skin and I liked how they smelled. Not too strong, just fresh and sweet.
I think a girl could use these products to keep confident and smelling fine, which makes traveling all the more fun. And I want you to try them too!
Stand a chance to win a set of body treatment by entering the competition.
Don’t worry, this is not just a one time thing. If you didn’t win it in the first month, you can try again next month. There will be still interesting prizes for the winners.
All you have to do is:
Now, girls. What are you waiting for? Don’t you want to explore Indonesia while still looking pretty and smelling good? Share your stories and pictures!
That, on the picture, was our welcome card to our first AirBnB guest. We were so excited and nervous at the same time. We made sure everything was in place, the bed was made up, the water jug was full, and the travel guides were displayed in the shelf. We had the air conditioner fixed just the day before, hopefully it doesn’t leak again. Okay, let’s see what else.
“Do you think Sameer would prefer peanut butter or chocolate spread to go with his bread?” I phoned Diyan who was at work, as I was shopping at the supermarket across our place. “Or orange?”
“Um, well, I’d go for peanut butter and orange,” Diyan took a wild guess.
And I ended up buying all three of them.
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Almost 11 p.m. we turned on the AC in the ‘guest room’ so it will be cool and nice when the guest enters the room. You know, like they do in the hotels. Several minutes later the bell rang. A big guy with Pakistani or Indian or maybe Arab look was at the door with his two black duffel bags. It’s him, our first AirBnB guest! Quite a lot of stuff to bring for only a weekend stay, I thought. But later on we found out that Sameer was just transiting in Jakarta before continuing the trip to Raja Ampat for diving.
We saw him to his room for the next 2 days and showed him the amenities he could use, like the drawers, towel and toiletries. He looked really tired, but before we left him alone we talked about the next day’s schedule, what time he was going to go out and whether we’re going to leave him the keys and such.
The next morning, Diyan and I had to go out for a financial gathering (it sounds so dull, I know) before there was any sign of Sameer being awake. We rely on our gut feeling whether to leave the apartment keys to strangers or not. And Sameer seemed to be a decent guy. So we left the keys and access card with an instruction that I drew and wrote on a piece of scrap paper. I left it on the dining table with the bread and jams. Later when we got home at night, we found the doors were locked properly. Relieved!
We didn’t have much face-to-face time because it was either he was out when we were home or vice versa. But when he was waiting for his friends to pick him up just before checking out, we squeezed in time for a quick fast-food dinner bought downstairs and a little chat. We exchanged stories on each of our jobs, where he’s been diving, how he spent last year’s Eid in Maldives, how we each decided to sign up on AirBnB, etc. Turns out, it was his first experience with AirBnB, too! I hope he was satisfied with it as much as we did. The bread and jams were left untouched, but that’s okay, they made yummy breakfast for us! Lol.
It’s been a dream for me to own and run simple and perhaps small accommodations. One with personal touch that adds value to the guests rather than just being a place to crash. I’ve had several stays at accommodations (not on AirBnB) with unforgettable experiences.
Phranakorn Nornlen, a boutique hotel in Bangkok, welcomed new guests with their names written on a chalkboard at the entrance. One of the owners even made a thank-you card for my friend Fenia and gave it to her upon checking out, with hand-drawn illustration. And there is no same room, each one with different design and the walls are hand-painted! One more thing that made me fall in love with this hotel, the arts & craft classes they provide for guests.
Baan Rub Aroon Guesthouse in Chiang Rai, the house that used to accommodate the owner’s family, still houses books and other personal belongings in the common areas. The owner of the house, a friendly lady who was perhaps in her early 50’s, was also the receptionist most of the time. She suggested us places to visit around Chiang Rai and arranged the transportation for us. The house is painted in mostly white, easily making me feel at home (the history of ‘white home’ goes back to my parents’ house). ☺
Tugu Hotels in Malang and Blitar. This line of luxury boutique hotel has a way to make us feel special. They always welcome guests with personalized cards upon checking in. They also have different designs in each room with antiques handpicked by the owner, and provide a history tour around the hotels because each room is unique and has a story!
Because we don’t have the resources to build a guesthouse, hostel or a boutique hotel just yet, the closest we can do to sort of learn to run an accommodation right now is by renting out one of our two bedrooms in the apartment that we live. So I joined AirBnB in December 2013.
We live in a 2-bedroom apartment in a business district – I guess you can call it that – in Jakarta. One bedroom is mainly for sleeping, which is the master bedroom. The other is mainly for working (our study), since I work at home and Diyan sometimes brings home his work. One bathroom is within the master bedroom and one is at the hallway across the study.
The one we’re listing on AirBnB is, guess what, the master bedroom! Though it’s tidier than the study on regular basis, we want to make sure that it’s clean and neat enough for our guest(s). So we have it cleaned before check-in day and we’ll be fine “living” in the study for 3 days max.
Sure there are safety risks in having ‘strangers’ in your home. That’s why we only accept guests who are verified members of AirBnB. We minimize the risks that way. Renting out extra spaces is simply our way of living efficiently and we get to meet more travelers, who we believe each has their unique and interesting story ☺
*As posted in my other travel blog Sapijalanjalan 🙂
Trying out local traditional food is a great way to get to know the local’s culture. But let’s not limit ourselves when traveling. Having Spanish delight in Bali, why not? Moreover, the restaurant is located by the sea, with a lovely sunset view on a sunny day, a rows of bean bags where you can relax and get lost in time. Zzzz.. wait, what, oh sorry. Okay, to La Plancha in Seminyak, we go!
The most interesting feature of this restaurant to me is definitely the bean bags. Lazing on the beach and watching the changing colors of the setting sun on the horizon just doesn’t get better than that. I actually bought a bean bag for my home in Jakarta after my visit to La Plancha in 2011. It’s still one of my most favorite items at home until now.
The restaurant design is cute! Colorful furniture in the restaurant and bar areas portray the image of Spanish lively spirit I have in mind. In sunny days it can be piercing hot to be sitting at the rooftop bar or the bean bag area, so I’d wait until around 4 p.m. An hour later it’d be hard to get a good spot because flocks of people would’ve been coming in.
The beach is flat and a treat for joggers, children building sand towers or just anyone doing anything. Just like the restaurant, the beach gets more people as the day rolls into dusk.
The food is delicious. But my last time there was on a family vacation, where I was busy playing with my nephew and talking to dad, so I sort of didn’t pay much attention to the dishes’ names. I think we had some kind of paella, burrito and potato wedges. But I remember we loved all the food that we ordered. I remember they have rich and savory tastes in most of the dishes, the kinds of taste that the Indonesian taste buds are quite familiar with.
However, we weren’t so keen on the service. We felt that the waitresses were a bit snappy and the waiters didn’t seem to care much about taking our orders fast. I give La Plancha a big “BOO” for that. I might not be coming back to La Plancha again after the unpleasant service. After all, they’re not the only restaurant by the Seminyak beach with bean bags and cute design.
But who knows, you might have a different experience than me. It’s a great place to hang out in the afternoon despite the service ☺
Snorkeling in Lampung, the southern tip of Sumatra Island, hasn’t really been a popular activity for tourists. In fact, Lampung hasn’t been a popular destination, except for the Way Kambas elephant preservation and Kiluan Bay where people expect to see wild dolphins. As for the international crowd, Tanjung Setia has secretly been visited by surfers all over. So when Pop! Hotel invited us to attend their launch in Tanjung Karang, Lampung, with a visit to Pahawang Island in the agenda, I was happy that they thought of something out of the usual. I packed my snorkel and mask, just in case they were’t providing any snorkeling equipment.
From the Radin Inten airport, a medium bus took us directly to Ketapang port. The trip took about two hours, passing hilly terrain with lush green. Five small wooden boats were ready for us at the port. The route, as it has been planned by the organizer, was to island hop to Pahawang Kecil and Tanjung Putus islands.
The stop at Pahawang Kecil was only about 20 minutes. The sun was piercing hot and we were there only to take pictures. It wasn’t until I walked halfway the long sand bar I realized that I’ve been to this island a few years back. I remember Mumun and I were snorkeling around the jetty and decided to stop when a jellyfish swam toward us. Ick!! But this time, I was only wet up to my knees. Other participants, who were all photographers and journalists, took their time to capture the beauty of this little island with mangrove on the shore and mountains in the background. A Pop! Hotel crew had to call them all back to the boats.
Next stop was Tanjung Putus, where we were going to snorkel. Yeay! I grew up in Lampung until I was 13, a province with so many spots where you can snorkel, but believe it or not, this was going to be my third time snorkeling in Lampung. Back then, snorkeling, let alone diving, wasn’t a familiar activity for the locals.
We snorkeled at the house reef of a resort, just around the jetty. The visibility was quite bad, perhaps only 5-10 meters. “It’s due to the currents. Usually it’s much clearer,” said one of the resort staff. Even so, many kinds of colorful living creatures could still be seen, from batfish to clams, big and small.
Tanjung Putus turned out to have a dive club, the Corona Dive Club. Honestly I was surprised! I thought snorkeling in Lampung was rare, but now there’s even a dive club! Glad to know!
Tanjung Putus now adds to a list of ‘things to do in Lampung’ that I would recommend to people who visit the province, including you! 😀
Have you snorkeled in Lampung? Where is your favorite snorkeling spot in Lampung, or in Indonesia?
Seminyak is a vicinity in South Bali, a little north to the more famous and crowded Kuta Beach. It’s within close distance to surfing beaches and the airport, but is known to be a more upscale option to Kuta Beach. Over these years, as tourism has grown more lavishly in Bali, restaurants in Seminyak have also been growing amongst other places like the spas, yoga places and hotels. In my two brief visits last year, I had the chance to have delish meals in several restaurants in Seminyak and around, each with its own concept and uniqueness. And by “around”, I mean areas like Petitenget, Kerobokan, all very nearby to Seminyak.
If you’re building a Mexican restaurant in Bali, build one to the max! There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in Seminyak lately, but I think nothing came close to extravagance of Motel Mexicola. To someone who has only seen Mexico in pictures and movies like me, Motel Mexicola is giving the make-belief chance as if I was really in Mexico. The colorful and decorative furniture, building, even altar of nobody in particular (but looks awfully lot like Snoop Dogg) that welcomes your arrival, set in a hot sunny area, truly embody the Mexico I have in mind. Cynics sneer at this restaurant, saying that it’s become a location only to take selfies and brag on Instagram. I’m not sure they’ve even been there though.. LOL.
I wasn’t familiar with Mexican food except those served (and modified) in Taco Bell. So ordering the food was pretty challenging. Fortunately, we loved all the food we had, like quesadillas, tacos, churros, and… darn, I forgot what else! The overall taste, as I remember it, was savory except the churros. Well, here are some of them.Motel Mexicola Jalan Kayujati 9X, Petitenget; email@example.com ; +62361 736688 Opens from around 10 or 11 AM until, if I’m not mistaken, midnight. Food prices range from about IDR 30,000 – 200,000 per portion, exclude 15% tax.
It is the very place that introduced me to churros in my trip to Bali with the foodies two years ago. Last year I came back because I couldn’t get over the delicious crunchy yet soft-on-the-inside churros, and I wanted Mumun and my friend Budi Iskandar taste it, too. (And they loved the churros, too! Yeay!)
Similar to what I had in Motel Mexicola, here we also had tacos and quesadillas, other than the beverages, which names I forgot! Honestly, I don’t remember how they tasted, but I remember liking everything on our table! Aside to Mexican, they have a wide range of food, like seafood, salad, baguette, pasta, steak and many more.
I gotta admit, I wasn’t only drawn to Sea Circus because of the food and beverage. Out of so many other restaurants in Seminyak I’ve seen, I think this is the only one with cute circus painting on the facade. And that counts for something!
Based on my experiences, coming here without reservation in meal times could really make finding a table challenging!
Prices range from IDR 35,000 – 150,000 for food, and a lot more for the wine and cocktails.Sea Circus Jalan Kayu Aya (Oberoi Rd) no. 22, Seminyak; +62361 738667 They open from 8 a.m. to 10.30 p.m., cocktails are available until 1 a.m.
Similar to my initial awareness of Rock Bar in Jimbaran, I came to know about Biku from the hype among Jakarta people. I wasn’t interested to pay a visit until, again, my trip with the foodies. It was my first time eating and finding out about pavlova, but was more amazed with Jenni’s explanation of the Lapsang Souchong tea more than I was with the pavlova that was too sweet for my liking.
On my next visit with my sister and brother-in-law, we had pad thai salad with chicken, nasi campur (rice with various dishes), and potato skins. Now these savory dishes make me want to come back to Biku again someday!
There is also a small book corner and souvenir shop within the restaurant. They’ve got some pretty cool postcards with drawings on Balinese cultural elements, like the temples and such. I got them for about IDR 20,000 each. Pricey, but well-illustrated.
Though I heard about Biku from my Indonesian friends, it seemed to be one of the restaurants in Seminyak with a lot of international visitors as well.
They open 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily.
Food prices range from IDR 25,000 – 68,000 per portion. Other than cocktails and wine, the drinks cost from IDR 5,000 – 60,000.Biku Jalan Raya Petitenget 888; +62361 8570888
I am a meat lover with a bit of curiosity of how life is on the other side, the vegetarian life. So I dragged Mumun along to Earth Cafe, a restaurant recommended by our friend Jaka, who isn’t a vegetarian but tries hard to live organically.
The menu includes granola, noodle, sandwiches, to hummus and other Mediterranean menu, as well as Indonesia’s very own tempe (soybean cake). We had dishes with a lot of bean sprouts. Mumun likes veggies more than I do, so it was predicted that she enjoyed Earth Café’s food more than I did.
Earth Cafe is located on the street teeming with restaurants in Seminyak that offer various delicacies. Being one of only a few vegetarian and organic café, I don’t think they need to worry about competition. They also have a store within the restaurant (or is it a restaurant within the store?) that sells organic products, from rice to soaps.
The Earth Market is open from 7.30 a.m. – 10.30 p.m. Not so sure about the cafe.
Food prices range from IDR 25,000 – 120,000 per portion, while the drinks are from IDR 16,000 to 40,000.Earth Café Jalan Lasmana no. 99, Oberoi, Seminyak; +62361 736645
We chose Petitenget restaurant randomly, just out of hunger and it looked cozy enough for a lunch in a super sunny day. Northwest to Seminyak, Petitenget is now looking a lot like Seminyak with many restaurants and hotels having started to sprout. We were there with Budi and his Californian friends who were in Bali on vacay – as they would say it because nobody has time for ‘vacation’!
There really isn’t anything unique about this restaurant, but I like the dominantly white interior combined with other neutrals like gray, black and a bit of wood or brown accents, that’s even applied on the floor tiles.
The food was sophisticatedly served on white plates and they all tasted good! Mine was the pan seared red snapper fillet, which tastes as yummy as it looks.
Open from 7 a.m. – 10.30 p.m.
Prices of food range from IDR 25,000 – 215,000, excl. 15% tax and credit card charge of 2%.Petitenget Jalan Petitenget 40X, Seminyak; +62361 4733054
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There’s an endless list of restaurants in Seminyak and around, but these are five of them that I tried quite recently. To be honest, I can’t pick just one to be my most recommended one because each one has its pluses. But if I were to be back and pick one out of these restaurants in Seminyak to dine in again, I would probably pick.. umm.. let’s see.. probably Motel Mexicola. Because I like the food, the ambiance is just too cute and laid-back, and it’d probably be nice to hang there at night for a drink or two.
What are your favorite restaurants in Seminyak?
Or do you prefer to eat out somewhere else in Bali?
Please tell us, because we like to try places we’ve never been before.
“Are you here for research?” a Talaud local asked us.
“No, just traveling.”
“Just the two of you? Is it work-related?” confused lines between their eyebrows would show.
“Yup, just us. And nope, just for fun.”
“But why?” they looked at us as if we’re some newly discovered species.
And we got a kick out of this “investigation”, every time!
Judging from the Talaud people’s reaction about our visit, it’s obvious that there has been next to no one that usually visits just for fun. Several accommodations, equipped with air conditioners and private bathrooms, exist mostly to accommodate researchers or governmental guests.
Just like how I sometimes buy a book because of its cover or its title, I was interested in Talaud Islands for reasons that would probably be considered as shallow by some. I heard of Talaud and Sangihe Islands for the first time four years ago, I don’t remember in what occasion. I found the names weird and there’s so little information on these islands that I could find. So my curiosity grew.
Aside to my fascination toward Sulawesi in general, I gotta admit, I’m one of those people who like to say “I’ve been there!” and tell the story when only a few others can. So there’s really no other way than go there and find out for myself! And as usual, Mumun is so easy to drag along to places she’s never been.
We landed on the island on a Wednesday afternoon. Beautiful lush green forest and coconut field on hilly land were seen upon our landing. Getting off the propeller plane, we were welcomed by a small airport building with mountainous background. We then went to look for an accommodation in Melonguane, the capital town that was built when the airport existed, with a help of a bentor* driver.
From the landing process until the ride around, Melonguane reminded me a lot of Basco, the town on Batanes Island, The Philippines, I visited a few years back. Located on a secluded little island, on the northernmost of a country, built near a port and the roads are well-maintained. But Melonguane is a lot less touristy, and I must say, less scenic.
I read some stuff on Miangas, the actual northernmost island that’s still further north to Talaud Island. Miangas is said to be guarded by the army and navy for being on the border, so I thought Talaud would have a slightly similar situation. Honestly, the thought of men in uniform with their guns and often arrogance often irks me, for some reasons I will not state here. So I was relieved to see only civilians on Talaud Island.
Despite the hardworking habit on land and sea, life on Talaud seemed to be slow and easy. Women gossip in warungs and boatmen nap on the beach at noon, which is expected in a place with piercing sun. People are friendly and helpful, and they claim the villages are very low in crime rate. That’s good to know as it is pretty logical. Being a small island with small villages, people tend to be afraid to do crime because it’s more likely to get caught.
Most of the small towns I’ve visited would be pleasant for spending money because things tend be cheaper compared to Jakarta, where I live. But it’s different in Talaud. Gasoline costs almost twice the price in cities of Java or Bali, which elevates the prices of almost everything. Talaud land grows spices like the nutmeg and cinnamon, which centuries ago became the “gold mine” for Europeans (who later colonized Indonesia). But there are needs for chives, garlic, washing machines, motorbikes, even fences, which they bring in from Manado. Even though they’re blessed with abundant fishes in the ocean, it’s the added spices and gas to cook it that doubles the food price.
“We’re used to high prices. So when the gasoline price went up a few months ago, we took it fine,” said a woman in the fish market of Beo town. She was giving out fishes to people in the market as a political campaign. Yes, fishes, not money.
In contrast, I remember the commotion that happens in Jakarta every time prices go up.
Internet is also a luxury in Talaud, even in Melonguane and Beo, two of the biggest towns we visited (another one is Lirung but we didn’t have enough time to go there). The only SIM card that works there is Telkomsel, though it’s far from its best performance. SMS and phone calls get through fine, Internet-based chat applications like Whats App struggles to send messages, and you can forget about updating your Facebook and Instagram. There are a few Internet cafes in both towns, powered by Telkom, Indonesia’s state-owned enterprise telco company. The one in Melonguane works fine, but the one in Beo is really slow.
We had to wait until we got out of the island to update our social media. No biggie, we do okay without Internet on islands with gorgeous sunsets and swimmable beaches. But it was a little bit unnerving when we needed more information on a tsunami that was rumored to hit Talaud Islands the next morning, as an effect of the Chile’s 8.2 Richter Scale earthquake on April 2, 2014. A tsunami! My husband Diyan told us about this news by phone in his tense voice.
It was our first night on the island and our hostel was located exactly by the beach. The locals seemed to live life as usual and seemed to be uninformed about the tsunami rumor. We wanted to get more updates but we hadn’t found out about the Internet café by then. It crossed our minds to move to another hostel inland, but thought that it wouldn’t make much difference because it’s not that far away from the shore anyway.
So we decided to sit through the news on TV to get updates (there are international channels at the hostel, using a satellite dish!). According to the news, there was only micro possibility that a tsunami would strike Talaud. We slept soundly that night, though I still checked the news early in the next morning. When it comes to tsunami, you can never be too cautious, especially after the disastrous tsunami in Aceh in 2004. And I personally wasn’t only concerned about our own safety, but I couldn’t stand the thought of Diyan worrying about me while there was really not much he could do 🙁
Thankfully, the tsunami did not happen. We moved on to our next activities.
The word “porodisa” was found everywhere in Talaud, from the Internet café to the fish market. I had to ask a local what it means.
“It means paradise. It’s what the Dutch called these islands,” said a butcher in Beo market.
Having seen the four-colored sunset on Beo sky and swam in the super clear water of uninhabited Sara Island (a 20 minutes speedboat ride from Melonguane), I am all with the Dutch on that.
We envied the boys swimming on the beach near Beo with sunset in sight, but we weren’t ready with our swimwear. (I know, I know, we’re such city kids that only swim with the “proper” clothing). So I continued reading a book on the beach, which was priceless as well, while Mumun was busy taking pictures and taking in the beautiful sky in her mind and soul.
*A bentor is a becak combined with a motorbike. It uses an engine instead of man-power to energize the vehicle. It’s sort of a slightly bigger version of the Philippines’s pedicabs.
As I’m writing this, my travel mates are out there doing a check-dive at the house reef of Manado Tateli Resort, North Sulawesi. I was supposed to join them, but I decided not to. This is actually a trip I’ve been waiting for and is supposed to be my first dive trip, and a quite costly one. Tomorrow they’re going to dive around Bunaken Island, known for the beautiful underwater and it’s going to be my first time there. But this is also the first time that I’m not excited about going to the sea, for snorkeling. Simply because what I wanted was to dive.
The reason of this is that I get the awful flu since almost a month ago. I’ve seen two doctors and my throat has seen strips of medicines, still the cough and flu haven’t gone away. In fact, it got worse. You know that symptom where you kind of lose your hearing when you’re down with flu? Yup, I’ve had that since a few days ago.
“You could go on diving, it’s your decision. But you’re also going to risk your hearing ability. I’m prescribing medicine to help reduce the symptoms, but I suggest you don’t dive in a week’s time. It’s bad enough that you’re going on a plane tomorrow,” said the doctor after he examined my nose and ears.
I was so sad and angry. But being sad and angry wouldn’t help pop open the blocking in my eustachian tube anyway. So I decided to be a good patient because if the damage got worse, who knows how much it would cost me to repair it? And that is IF it was fixable. Even though I had to cancel diving, I’m still on board because Mumun and I have arranged an extend trip to the rest of North Sulawesi for eight more days afterwards. We’ve even booked tickets to Talaud Island and back to Jakarta.Diyan
Anyway, the damage is done. Instead of cursing about it, I better wisen up by looking back at what I could do to prevent this to happen again. And I think I know the answer.
Sleeping has not been my favorite thing to do unless I’m really tired, since as long as I can remember. When I was little, my mom always had a hard time trying to get me to sleep at night, and I’d hate the afternoons because my friends were napping and I was left with nobody to play with.
Well, I’m not one of those people who could be up all night working or partying and still think straight and clear and look charming the next day. But I’m one of those people who think that there are so many more fun and productive things we could do rather than sleeping out of wanting. There are so many interesting things we could do and explore, why sleep so much?
And another thing. No matter how late I get into bed, I’d always wake up early. My previous jobs in TV production often made me work until wee hours, or after sunrise, but I don’t recall I’ve ever woken up past 9 a.m, even if I tried. If I forced it, I’d get a really bad headache all day long and I’d feel a lot worse.
It’s a common knowledge that you get to breathe fresher air in the morning. And during my trips, my sleeping habit hasn’t been a problem, if not advantageous. I get to see more sunrise, more activities in the local markets, and I’ve probably saved some rushing-to-the-airports for waking Mumun up much earlier than she would’ve liked. I sometimes out-wake (is that a word?) my alarm clocks. I’m just cursed as an early riser.
One more thing. I often really enjoy typing on my laptop directly after I wake up at 6 a.m.
Am I workaholic that way? I don’t think so.
But I guess that’s probably where the problem lies.
The lack of sleep has made me prone to sore throats. I swear to God I’ve been sleeping earlier more than I used to. But I guess it hasn’t been enough. They say that the only cure to flu is to rest well. I admit, there have been times where I couldn’t resist the temptation to go out and exercise, or finish writing until 2 a.m. And, pssst.. I’ve actually enjoyed being drugged by the doctors when their meds forced me to rest. Too bad, sometimes even that I struggle to stay up against.
So maybe the problem is me. I like to be awake too much. And now it has cost me my first dive trip.
I tried to take as much rest as I could from the start of this dive trip, like on the plane or in the hotel. I’m still hoping that this is just me taking a rain check. True, the chance of diving with my friends (and husband) had passed, but it doesn’t mean I’ve passed a chance to dive around Bunaken at all!
Whether I’ll be back here or not, the most important thing is that I’ve learned my precious lesson.
I. Need. To. Sleep. More.
Do you have the same sleeping problem with me? Or could you please give me tips to like sleeping more?