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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.
* * *
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 ☺