Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 6 October 2011 • Itinerary
It’s such a shame not knowing the treasure in your own backyard. In that spirit, my pal Jaka and I took a voyage to Lampung, where we both grew up until our teenage years, mainly to see what Kiluan Bay, a new hype in beach traveling, is all about. It’s not literally in our backyard, but it’s only 4 hours away from our parents’ homes. I mean, I’ve been to as far as Komodo National Park and he’s been to the Europe for god’s sake, what’s 4 hours drive compared to that?
From Jakarta to Lampung:
By plane: IDR 200,000– 400,000 / pax / one way. Airlines: Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, and Garuda Indonesia.
By ferry and land: Ferry ticket IDR 30,000 / pax from Merak port in Cilegon, Banten Province, to Bakauheni port in South Lampung. Then bus or shuttle car to the city of Bandar Lampung.
Or DAMRI bus direct from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung IDR 110,000 – 150,000 / pax / one way.
From Bandar Lampung to Kiluan Bay:
You can rent a car for IDR 350,000-500,000/ day or take a shuttle car directly to Kiluan (I think it’s only at 1 PM and the other way around is at about 8 AM) for IDR 60,000 / pax.
By a private car: leaving from Jakarta, prepare about IDR 500,000 – 600,000 for the whole trip. In this case, for a trip of 2 persons.
Dolphin watching is what Kiluan Bay is famous for. Though more “intelligent” dolphins can be watched easily at theme parks, watching them hopping in and out of the water in the middle of the ocean has its own sensation.
The dolphin tour requires taking a small wooden boat that’s more like a canoe, called jukung, for 2 passengers max (plus 2 boatmen max). The tour started at 6.30 AM with many other jukungs. It took us 30 minutes to get to the area where the much sought-after creatures usually hop around.
We basically chased the dolphins around just to see them upclose. Sounds like we’re disturbing their peaceful life, doesn’t it? But the boatmen turned off the machine once we were coming near the dolphins, so it wasn’t so much a nuisance, I suppose.
We were lucky to see so many dolphins doing their dolphin thing (hahaha..sounds like a smurf language), cos it has happened that not even one dolphin show up. It was like they actually enjoyed performing in front of humans who admire their cute and cheerful movements, and surprising appearances. A really entertaining performance * flippers clapping *
The dolphin tour (about 2 hours including the jukung ride to and from the viewing spot) cost us IDR 300,000 / jukung. Cloudy sky and the rain finally ended our tour a little bit too soon, and it was quite an adrenaline rush to be riding a canoe that slim in the middle of the rain and a bit wavy water. The life jacket was quite a comforting element though, it was worth the IDR 10,000 rent.
We didn’t go into the forest, though trekking was actually one of our options, partly because I hurt my foot when snorkeling, partly because… well, lazing around seemed to be a good idea, too. Sitting and chatting at the hut in front of our bungalow, walking along the shoreline and relaxing on big stones, then just sitting on the sand, waiting for the lunch call.
Snorkeling is something one could do at Kiluan Bay, but I wouldn’t really recommend it especially if you’ve snorkeled at the central or eastern parts of Indonesia. It couldn’t compare. Plus, the water was quite wavy, I found it hard to keep my balance and I kept bumping into sharp corals. It was the snorkeling trip where I got the most scratches on my legs, feet. The fishes were pretty and diverse enough, but it had a poor visibility. Who knows in other seasons. I was there in May.
Staying at a cottage on a beach, it would be ridiculous if you didn’t have barbecued seafood. At the afternoon on our first day, a fisherman caught this huge and heavy fish called lumadang, which I had blogged about some time ago. And then it became our dinner… Yum!!
On the first day, just before we got to the Kiluan Bay, Firman (hopefully I got the name right), the trip’s ‘guide assistant’ who directed us the way to Kiluan from Bandar Lampung (he rode in the car with us) took us to a really nice beach named Pantai Pasir Putih (translates to White Sandy Beach), thought it wasn’t really white sand.
It was really kind of Firman, considering he had to walk limping and after a while his leg hurt a little. I made it clear that we didn’t have to go so far but he wouldn’t stop. Wow, some spirit he’s got!
I can’t remember where to make turns, but I remember clearly that we had to walk up and down a footpath to get there. It was gorgeous but wasn’t really swimmable due to the waves. We stayed for about 15 minutes and then took off to Kiluan Bay.
The next day, before we took off back to Bandar Lampung, Mr. Makmun offered us another tour. It was a good 45 minutes ride by motorbike, and more by car. But he didn’t recommend us taking the car because the road was too bumpy and hilly.
We took 2 motorbikes, one for each, driven by Mr. Makmun and his cousin. They took us to this rarely visited beach called Batu Layar. Seriously, that was the second bumpiest road I’ve ever taken on a motorbike (the bumpiest was in my Loksado trip here).
It was kinda scary but exciting at the same time. And no, Jaka and I didn’t really care for no helmets. The wind was too nice not to blow my hair covered by a helmet. Besides, there were not enought helmets 😛 Aaaaand it happened. * cue: dramatic music * Mr. Makmun and I fell from the motorbike! Hahahaha..but we were alright, it only gave me a few scratches on my left knee and muddy pants and jacket.
The beach itself wasn’t really a laid-back relaxing and running in slow motion kinda beach. Most of it was really rocky, and we needed to walk through a forest to get there. Do wear a pair of comfortable soakable (yay, another word I’m making up!) shoes.
They claimed it to be a Maya Beach look-alike. They called it Batu Layar (layar means ‘screen’ or ‘sail’) because the formation of the big pointy rocks one in front the other resembles organized screens or sails.
It felt really nice to have seen a gorgeous place that only a few have. We would’ve stayed a bit longer if only it didn’t start to rain and we didn’t have any more dry clothes. But it didn’t matter, cos there was no hiding from the rain in such a forest. So we might as well took off by the motorbikes. Less than halfway the rain stopped, which was right before we fell from the bike. I ended up wearing damp clothes and Jaka a dug-out shirt and a towel as his pants on our way back to Bandar Lampung..hihihiihi… I salute him for getting out of the car to draw some money from the ATM (later when we got to Bandar Lampung) with such a ‘couture’ outfit! * oh shoot, I didn’t take a picture of it!*
Mostly seafood and please bring your allergy medicine so you can taste the fresh fish, lobsters, etc. For our 2D1N stay, we only needed to pay IDR 35,000 / pax! That includes rice, fried or grilled fish, and instant noodles, excludes lobsters.
When waiting for our little boat to transfer to the cottage, we saw some fishermen with their lobsters freshly caught and to be sold to the market. So the next day we insisted on having lobsters as our lunch. After a bit of hesitation, the ‘tour’ attendant finally agreed and then grilled us lobsters. Extra charge of IDR 50,000 / lobster. Not bad at all!!
Our dinner was superb. Thanks to our next door neighbors, which was a family of 4 plus the uncles, who brought loads of food supply and shared them with us. Good thing that Jaka prepared the famous bakso(much like meatballs) from Bandar Lampung that he bought at Bakso Sony, in a very big amount, so we also contributed to the dinner fiesta.
Eating is really something that can unite Indonesians. We didn’t even talk to the family until dinner started. And the conversation turned out to be much fun, with topics from food, tourism, gossip on locals officials, and politics. All was done in a gazebo where you’d need to apply anti-bug lotion.
Makmun had prepared a room for us in the one and only bungalow at a beach only about 20 minutes jukung ride from the main land. Actually this beach is also a part of the main land, but it’s a much more hassle to get there by land cos you’d have to go through the forest.
The wooden bungalow consists of 3 bedrooms (with no beds, just mattresses), a bathroom (with no lightbulb), and a common room (which is an empty room with windows). It’s very minimalistic but quite the typical of what I’d expect in a vacation on a beach. The hammock is missing, but they got huts.
And a few meters from our bungalow there’s another hut where they (the locals acting as trip organizer slash guide) sleep and cook for us.
I strongly recommend you to apply bug lotion or spray. Mosquitos were harsh on us! And beware of other bugs. I got stung by a bee and took a shower with a centipede staring at me on the wall. Gave me goosebumps a little, but oh well, we were in the middle of a forest, what could you expect, right? Also, bringing your own linen and pillowcase would be wise, too. Unless you’re not easily eeked out. (I just made that word out, eeked!)
The room cost us IDR 300,000 / night. If we were to rent the whole house, they were gonna charge us IDR 500,000.
Lacking an international airport, you’d have to fly to Jakarta first and then fly or take a ferry and or bus to get to Lampung. We went by Jaka’s jeep (strongly advised, or better yet a 4WD, for a trip to Kiluan Bay) and we spent IDR 270,000 for gas, IDR 270,000 for ferry (total for the car and us plus highway fee), leaving from Jakarta.
But when private vehicle is out of the question, then here are some options for you:
Plane ticket ranges between IDR 200,000–400,000 / one way /pax from Jakarta to Lampung.
By ferry and land:
Go by bus from a bus station in Jakarta with a fare of IDR 15,000 – 25,000 to get you to Merak Port in Banten province.
Then get a ferry ticket for IDR 30,000 / pax, for the AC class.
Proceed with a 1,5 hours ride by bus to Rajabasa station for about IDR 20,000, or by shuttle car to the city of Bandar Lampung (but I forgot how much the fare, sowwwyyy..!!).
Or take the DAMRI bus direct from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung IDR 110,000 – 150,000 / pax / one way, depending on which class you take.Economy or Eksekutif class.
They leave from the Gambir train station in Central Jakarta. You can purchase the ticket a couple of days prior to departure date or right there and then. As applied to any transportation means, weekend tickets are in higher demands.
The fare includes ferry ticket, and the trip will take about 7-8 hours in normal situation (no traffic jam or road work). Most passengers would stay sitting in the bus when it’s parking in the vessel because it’s more comfortable (with AC on) and they (I, included) hate having to go through the heat and carbondioxide-polluted area where vehicles park, to get to the passenger area. But it is actually dangerous. You’d be much safer to be on the passengers deck if (God forbids) ever an accident happen to the ferry. If you’re the type that sleeps deeply no matter where you are, you might wanna ask them to wake you up when the bus has entered the ferry. The seat ticket is included in your DAMRI fee, so you just need to ask your bus driver for the ticket before you go up to the passengers deck.
As for the schedule, DAMRI bus leaves Gambir at 8 AM, 10 AM, 9 PM and 10 PM. From Bandar Lampung to Jakarta it leaves at 10 AM, 9 PM and 10 PM.
To Kiluan Bay
From Bandar Lampung you can rent a car that seats 5-7 pax for about IDR 350,000 – 500,000 / 12 hours or call up a shuttle car that will take you directly to Kiluan at certain times (1pm from Bandar Lampung) and pay IDR 60,000 / pax, if I’m not mistaken. The distance is said to be only about 80 km, but it takes 4 hours straight to get there, due to the hilly and bad condition of the road.
Along the way to Kiluan Bay we saw a number of beautiful beaches, one of them named Klara. It’s short for KelapaRapet, which means coconut (trees) being planted close to each other. We didn’t see many coconut trees, but maybe we should’ve get off of the car.
And before that, we went past by Mutun beach. I’ve heard about it being recommended by locals as a tourist attraction. But honestly, I thought it was just ordinary, just okay. Maybe it’s all the facilities (huts, boats to transfer to nearby islands, and canoes) that sold the place. Hm, a little business lesson there.
There weren’t many places we could go around. To get to other islands, obviously one should take a boat or a jukung (canoe-like small boat). To get to other beaches, there’s no public transportation. So it’s either you go by your own vehicle or talk the locals into taking you there for some fare that’s agreed upon.
Sleep (bungalow) : IDR 300,000 / room
Dolphin tour : IDR 300,000 / jukung / 2 pax
Eat : IDR 30,000 / 2 people
Instant noodles : IDR 5,000 / portion
Lobster : IDR 50,000 / lobster
Village retribution : IDR 10,000 / person
Life jacket : IDR 10,000 / person
Jukung ride to the bungalow & back : IDR 50,000 / jukung
Car park overnight : IDR 20,000