Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 23 April 2016 • Destination
Take a patch of the moon’s surface, a few gallons of hot water spring from Sari Ater, an Ubud backdrop, a sprinkle of wacky dust from Mad Hatter, and you get a hot water pool in Ciseeng, Bogor. When meeting up with Cumi, fellow Indonesian travel blogger and a character fit to be as strange as Beetle Juice, he mentioned his visit to Ciseeng hot spring. After expressing my overly eagerness to see such an absurd setting, he was kind enough to take us there because it would be pretty hard to find on our own. We’d love the company, anyways. All we needed was a car, which we don’t have. But fate intervened when Mazda Motor Indonesia kindly lent us the All New Mazda2 for a test drive. This sophisticated car was just the right shuttle for visiting, what I refer as, the moon patch.
Though Cumi had been there before, it’s hard to remember the exact turns on the outskirts of Bogor. All turns look alike and sign systems aren’t the best. So with the wrong turn, we ended up passing between markets, asking locals, and following hunches, until we fell off the surface of the earth. We seriously fell off the GPS grid!
The road ended us in a small tight village. The housing was dense, yet there wasn’t much sound around except for a small event. We asked the local’s permission to park our car in a small opening before trotting the rice paddies to reach the moon patch. The walk in the rice paddies added more bizarreness to the odd spot, as we walked through puddles, through high grass, and jumped in mud trenches. Hardly a route to the moon. On the adventurous side of it all, it was a lot of fun and a nice change to the usual city scene.
In the middle of the rice paddies and fishing ponds lies THE huge elevated rock. From the foot, I could see the rough terrace-like surface, a result of crystallized sulphuric water. It wasn’t until we climb to the top that we finally saw the craters.
The hot spring seemed like it came from the clearest and largest hole amongst the four blue pools. Shape-wise, they were close to perfect circles. The surface of the rock was rough, like pictures of the moon’s surface. There are two pools that can be sit in and two that were only enough to wash your feet.
As initially planned, we were to sit in the pool and treat it like a natural Jacuzzi, that it is. Vira and I sat in the main pool, gazing to the surrounding green scenery, embracing what was actually happening. A natural hot pool in the middle of a rice paddy field. With Bali establishing spa or making open bathrooms facing rice fields, Ciseeng hot spring can deliver the same idea but brings it down to the rawest form. It was the real deal but strange. Naturally, we couldn’t stop questioning ourselves and why the hell were we doing there.
The list of absurdity slash fun of this destination was easily established. First of all, it’s not established, hence we hardly were on a leisure journey but clearly dressed for it. Second, because I insisted we pose as if we were in a Jacuzzi in Bali, we dressed down in our swimmers, while a handful of people were fishing and working in the surrounding fields. Third, it was coming into the middle of the day so it was hot. Fourth, it was during the equinox, one of the two times the sun is the closest to the earth, so it was HOT! There we were, ready to jump in a hot water spring in midday of the hottest period of the year.
The most absurd thing about it all was, it was so hot, being in the pool actually was slightly cooler than being outside of it.
Why even bother visit?
When people are looking for something off the beaten track, not touristy, but still enjoys nature to the fullest, then this would be the place. There are no entrance fee (well none at the moment), no hawkers to sell you things, heck there isn’t even a sign system to show you where to go. And for those looking for a mind-boggling brief trip around Jakarta, this is it.
I would recommend visiting during morning, so the area would a little cooler and, being the first one in, it would be a fresh clean pool. As if it wasn’t weird enough, it could be more awkward meeting more locals that are working early. Sunsets are also recommended time, but locals said that the craters are pretty packed at this time. It’s local entertainment.
We visited Ciseeng with the uniquely small yet macho All New Mazda2, GT version. Design-wise, I consider the car to be masculine, even though the color was pearly white.
I’d have to say, I was very pleased with its size. For a quest to a remote place like Ciseeng wit small and tight roads, it was an appropriate size. It was also convenient and not overly flashy to park at an open lot at the last village.
As for features, honestly I was pretty excited when we had the chance to try the GT version, being the most sophisticated model of the pact. I had been excited since their product analyst, a passionate man about his products, explained the Kodo Design and Jinba – Ittai principles, incorporated to answer challenges from the previous designs.
Both Japanese principles summarized as breathing life into the vehicle. I interpret it kinda like being Patlabor or, its Hollywood version, Pacific Rim. The machine comes alive with its driver.
It had a very centralized cockpit, with many buttons and gizmos within arms reach of the driver’s seat. Some of the new and impressive technologies were the transparent speedometer or Active Driving Display. Aside to useful, it made us synchronize “Ooh”s and “Aah”s as it actively popped up. It had lights on the side rearview mirrors, blinking on the mirror when detecting presence of objects within the blind spot areas, or Blind Spot Monitoring System. As a radio lover and car-aoke enthusiast, All New Mazda2 had a MZD Connect which was the entertainment center made easy to navigate. It was displayed on a 7” color touch screen. And get this, it had a floor console just below the shifting gear, with a joystick-like device to help navigate the features aside to that on the steering wheel. How Pacific Rim is that?! *explosion.
I love the i-STOP feature where the machine automatically stops when the car stops for a certain amount of time, like at the red light or when stuck in traffic, and then easily restarts. It’s environmentally friendly considering gas consumption. It was interested how they understand fuel availability in Indonesia and adjusted the necessity of 95 octane to 91RON or above octane fuel.
After a weekend use, I do have to say, the All New Mazda2 is a comfortable car to use in the city. It’s not too big but its design makes a statement. It’s perfect for personal daily use, I can totally see it being somebody’s second home, supporting one’s packed activities.
I was very much spoiled having so many features in All New Mazda2 for its driver. Whether it suits your need or not, should really be decided after a test run. For more information on that click here.
Meanwhile, I’m currently still coming down from that moon patch high. It was a fun weekend to say the least, with addition of stopping at Bogor for lunch and what not. I’m still dealing with the aftermath emotional tickles. That’s what I call an absurd fun. What else would you call it?
Really hot day.
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