Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
You’ve read our stories on Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel and the activities we did there. On the same trip fully supported by Jababeka, we also ventured to nearby places: the Cikadu Village and Liwungan Island.
Jababeka, as claimed by our tour leader, plays a role in helping the villagers develop commercialims of the land to support local economy, though unclear just how big their role is.
One of the commercialism that was pointed out, which was our first stopping place after a 20 minutes ride by bus from the hotel, was a snakefruit (or salak) plantation. Sloping down from the village’s narrow gravel main road, we roamed about in the plantation, guided by Pak Nana, the chief of plantation. Having only one subordinate, they work hard to produce better and bigger fruits. The snakefruit planted here is the birus kind, about half the size of regular snakefruits that you’d see a lot in Bali (salak bali is one of the most popular kinds of snakefruit in Indonesia). Salak birus is said to ripen and fully grow in 7 months time, and for now the fruits are sold only in nearby areas.
There are a lot to be done to optimize the 8 hectares plantation, like exterminating the pests, fixing the land contour, and anticipating the weather. Sounds like they’d need a bigger troop than just the two men to do all that!
Walking about 20 minutes to the other side of the village, into the neighborhood, we got to a handicraft center. Located among the village houses, the gazebo is actually a traditional dance training center, borrowed by the craftsmen while their workshop is said to be being built somewhere in the village.
Having a land with abundant coconut trees, they make use of the spathe and turn it into decorations and lamp shades, to later be sold as souvenirs. A photographer in our group gave them a good input, that they might need to produce smaller souvenirs, ones that are much easier to carry home by tourists. Cumi, one of the bloggers in the group, thought that maybe it would help the craftsmen a great deal if Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel or their sister resort Kalicaa displayed these products in their villas and bungalows, to sort of help marketing to visitors. I agree.
Crossing the sea about 30 minutes by wooden boats from a small port is Liwungan Island. On the way there, we saw a lot of seagulls hunting for fish. “You should’ve been here much earlier in the morning to see even more seagull flocks,” said the boatman.
To be included in the itinerary, I expected spectacular scenery on Liwungan Island. Arriving at the island, we were given serene Instagram-esque framing of the jetty. Then walking a bit to the beach, I wasn’t impressed. Compared to the beaches in Indonesia that I’ve seen, this one was just okay. There’s a boat wreck on the shore, which was quick to be made as photo background by the other bloggers. Not feeling like taking selfies or anything like that, I agreed when Wahyu and Radit, reporters in the group, suggested to check out the well in the forest. I needed something else to see.
Guided by Pak Yanto, the island keeper, who lives there only with his wife and kid and no one else on the island, we walked to see his water resource among the trees and bushes. Then continuing the walk for about 15 minutes following the path Pak Yanto had made in advance, we arrived at a beach on the other side of the island. I was just starting to click clack with my camera, trying to see an interesting angle of the spot – believe me, it wasn’t easy – when the tour leader yelled out that it was time go back to the boat. Say what??!
Reluctantly I fringed down the shore on the way to the jetty. The walk was not pleasant with so many sharp corals on the beach and none of us was prepared with booties. Tree branches were in our way, making it even harder to get to the jetty. Distance-wise, the route was perhaps closer to the jetty, but I think trekking back through the forest would be faster and a lot less pain.
If you happen to stay at Tanjung Lesung Beach Hotel and take interest in visiting this island, you could ask the hotel staff to arrange the trip for you. On better days, people snorkel around the island – I have no idea how good the underwater view is, though. Or have a chat or two with Pak Yanto. I mean, how often do you meet anyone living practically alone on an island, with no boat in possession, and loads of island story to tell?