Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 18 February 2012 • Itinerary
The will was simple. We wanted to see the Anak Krakatau Mountain. The plan was set. We were to travel with Oystein Andersen, a Norwegian stranded in Indonesia that had grown fond of the volcano for sometime now. He had prepared everything, including a camping trip on Verlaten Island across Anak Krakatau. The reality? An enjoyable mess! The weather wasn’t very friendly so we had to spend most of our time on main land, and to tell you the truth we don’t know how to tell you about it. In short, it was a lot of laughs, uninformative, and one of our most memorable trips yet (wait… every trip usually is khihihi…). Eventually in the last 6 hours of our trip, the sun came up and permitted us to goof around with the baby volcano for 2 hours. Nothing was lost except a campfire and its song, which we will have to do in the future.
The plan was to camp at Verlaten Island and enjoy the mountain for about 24 hours. It ended with 2 hours hiking up to the first hill due to bad weather
Sun Set View is a hotel right across the Carita Marina. Rooms are sufficient for our sudden stay.
There are various eateries around. One of them is Pasir Putih Restaurant not far from the hotel.
The other is Ibu Entin restaurant where we bought our local snacks.
How to get there
We took a rental car for a 4 hour ride to Carita. Then a 2 hour speedboat ride to the Krakatau.
There are several choices of public transportation including busses for IDR 25,000 for more than 5 hours. It’s no walk in the park but it sure is cheap.
Visiting a volcano is nothing special in Indonesia and we’ve posted up a few similar experiences such as Tangkuban Parahu, Bandung and Bromo, East Java. Volcanoes are always around the next corner in this fertile country. My personal interest was to see the succession of life. I studied Biology and specialized in Ecology. Krakatau, and in the near future Merapi, is a great example to see early stages of life from nothing; as my lecturer continuously repeated in class. You’re not yawning yet, right?
Anak Krakatau means the child of Krakatau. Some might know it as Krakatoa, but as Indonesian we don’t use this name. From all of the name origin, I especially liked the idea that it came from the words ‘Kagak tau’ which means ‘I don’t know’. For me, that’s as real as it gets.
The mountain is the child of the famous mommy mountain that erupted in 27 August 1883. The eruption was so big, it created summer-less years and the world wide dark sky was said to be the inspiration of Bram Stokers’ Transylvania’s ambience in ‘Dracula’. Can you imagine years without summer? Without the sun? The horror!
Anyways, after crossing a really gut bumping trip on a speedboat for 2 hours, we finally set foot on Mount Krakatau. I had already lost my breath looking at Rakata Island. It is the remains of the Krakatau Mountain and it looks like a piece of it was chopped off! I lost even more breath when we arrived on Anak Krakatau. There’s a different mindset to it. We’re at sea level and yet we’re on a mountain?
We did have a local guide with us. Pak Syamsul was supposed to take us but he had family matters to attend to. His replacement was wasn’t bad at all.
Because we didn’t have much time, we had to scamper quickly up the mountain. Oystein had warned us not to go up to the summit for safety reasons and we respected that. So we climbed only to the waist where most visitors reach. Lord knows how unfit I am. Not only was it steep, hot, and without shade, the slope was covered with sand dust, making it twice as hard to hike. But the workout was rewarded with a SPEC-TA-CU-LAR view! You could see the vast ocean, the neighboring islands, and the raw Krakatau in a 360-degree view.
The great thing about climbing Krakatau is that it’s really unpredictable since it’s highly active. The scattered rocks around us were coughed out by the volcano and could have just landed there the day before we came. You have to be fairly yet constantly aware. There is no doubt there is a chance that you would have to immediately run down and leave the island. It’s living on the edge! Literally, rock on!
Meet the geek, Oystein Andersen
We found Oystein’s site from the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum. We were curious to pick his brain and we needed an outsider’s point of view. So we agreed to split the cost to Krakatau. We won’t say much about him, you can just check his page. He also brought along Irma, his girlfriend, who was funny and outgoing. I think she is just a tad bit mental 😛
It was pretty weird listening to information about the Anak Krakatau from a foreigner. We were Indonesians learning a part of Indonesia from a foreigner?! The shame, but an experience I enjoyed very much. It proves how we take our country for granted.
Overall, he will guarantee a satisfied trip. He will do the very best to make things happen, and will deeply apologize if he can’t (even if it’s not his fault). A relieving thing is he partners up with one of the best local guides, Pak Samsul, making me happy that he’s still empowering the locals.
I’ve visited Carita Beach in the past at a time where traveling was a luxury for me. In the euphoria of sun, beach, and freedom from my parents, I remembered it as a great beach. It was also where I learned how to body board and jumping in the bigger waves while the others chose to stay in the swimming area. Ah memories…
The memory fell apart once I set my foot back to this same beach. The beach was really dirty, super crowded by the weekend mob, and far from the colorful sunny settings that I once experienced (but of course it was a rainy day). The will to reminisce my first body boarding days, disappeared.
We walked along the beach trying to enjoy the moment, but it was too hard. I couldn’t do it. I just wanted to rush back to the hotel and washed my feet that had been soaked in the dirty ocean. The Indonesians didn’t feel bothered about the trash as I could see they were still having a good time; but not for this girl. Brrr….
Snuzz & eye liner
Still stranded on the Java side of the Sunda Strait, we waited for the weather to be kind. By 9 am the next day, there were still no signs that we could hit the sea and visit Krakatau. So, we waited rock and roll style m/: Getting high with make up on!
Irma has really neat eyeliner applied to her eyes. I’ve always wanted to learn how to apply it so I was ready for some lessons, and Vira jumped on the bandwagon. We glammed up!
We also tried the mini-bag of nicotine called Oystein’s Snus. Have you heard of it? It’s tobacco in a pouch that you insert between your gum and upper lip. I hesitated to try it. I’m not a big fan of smoking (but I don’t mind other people trying to kill themselves :P). Vira had a go and loved it. I though well, Vira isn’t dead, she became a bit loony, and it was a long wait for the weather, so what the heck?!
Snus is crazy stuff! Within seconds you will instantly have this flying sensation like a buzz. Everything is so light. I seriously doubt that Oystein is ever sober in his life.
The aftermath was a disaster! Since we weren’t used to it, we felt sick. Vira threw up and we both ended rollin in our beds trying to keep a grasp of gravity. Our eyeliner was gone. Our mediocre hotel room looked and smelled like a crack house. We talked through the experience and laughed at how stupid the situation was. Talk about a rock n’ roll life! Kids, don’t do drugs nor snus and love your parents.
A Better Campfire
This is just a small tip for those that want to have fun in your trip. Find something to do that has little to do with the trip. In the past, the pineapple dance has succeeded us. Charades hasn’t failed us. This time I had specially rehearsed the ‘Campfire Song’ Song made popular by one of my favorite characters Spongebob Squarepants. Hey! Don’t give me that look! That cartoon is genius and you know it. Here’s what I’m talking about.
It entertained us darn well and it was the theme of our song. We failed to sing it at a real campfire since we failed to camp out on Verlaten Island, so we’ll have to do it again one day. I’m sure Oystein and Irma have already caught its bug.
We should mention that the local team Oystein had trusted to take us to Krakatau provided an excellent lunch. We were famished since we had a late lunch, but it really was really good, complete with the drinking water and fruits. Oh the fruits were superb! The Mangosteen and Mango were ripe just right for our likings. Slurp!!
Pasir Putih Restaurant
We had dinner at Pasir Putih restaurant, not far from the hotel. The seafood was pretty good and we had a really big dinner, complete with grilled fish, squid, and some veggies. Not to forget the tofu and tempeh.
The venue was nice; enough to have a good grub.
Pasir Putih Restaurant
Jl. Raya Carita KM. 10 Labuan – Banten
Phone: +62 819 0525 7547
Otak-Otak Ibu Entin
The power of Twitter is undoubtedly super. Tweet where you’re traveling and your followers (don’t you love that? makes you feel like a King!) will tell you what to do and what to eat in the area. We got a recommendation to eat this Ibu Entin otak-otak by Vindhya who’s also a friend of ours.
It was actually a diner with otak-otak as its main specialty. Otak-otak is this snack made of fish meat, eggs, spices & herbs, grilled in banana leaves. Grew up mostly in Lampung where otak-otak is one of its special dish, I’m not easily with just any otak-otak 😛 And while the Ibu Entin otak-otak ain’t bad, still I personally prefer the one produced in Kalianda, Lampung. This one tasted a bit too tasty for my liking.
By the time we were there they have 3 restaurants already with the first one opened in Labuan Ratu. This proves that a lot of people are actually fond of their otak-otak.
We stayed at the Sun Set View Hotel (no, I didn’t spell it wrong), located just across the Carita Marina jetty/port, as recommended by Pak Syamsul. The room was ok. It had a loud AC, the bed was sleep-able, and it had local TV channels.
The best part was the pool where we eventually swam in. We just had to get some water on us and it wasn’t going to be on the beach, thank you.
Breakfast was a bit disappointing considering we had to wait for the cook. If we had left early in the morning, we definitely wouldn’t get any. And a fried egg costs IDR 10,000. That’s pricey.
We left our lives in Oystein’s hands from the moment we rendezvoused in Jakarta. He hired a car, rented the speedboat, and organized our camping trip. We just followed.
A car trip from Jakarta to Carita takes about 4 hours. But you need a really good driver to reach that time through the weekend mob and the pot-holed highway. If you opt to take the bus, you can hop on an Asli or Murni bus from Kalideres Bus Terminal to Labuan, Serang, or Pandeglang, and continue with an angkot to Carita about 10 km. Or hop on a bus from Kampung Rambutan bus terminal and hop off at Cilegon, continue with angkot that goes to Labuan.
A speedboat can take you to Mount Krakatau. There are several speedboats that you can rent directly on Carita Marina. We’re not in liberation to provide you with this information on public space, but we can negotiate it under the covers. Contact us! *whispering