Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 13 December 2009 • Itinerary
Since the map showed us that the next city was a decent city, so Situbondo here we come! Along the way, we passed Paiton, the huge – yet wonderful to see at night – power plant that basically lights up Java. Damn huge and shiny! Passing through, I suggested that we should stay at a place marked with a palm tree on our map – Pasir Putih or white sand. You can probably guess what I thought it was about?! It’s located just before Situbondo from our direction. We took a random hotel on the road, which seemed to be open. The back part was pitch black and we figured it’s just the forest since there was so many along the way and turns out…
THE ROOM WAS BESIDE A GREAT BEACH! Woohoo! I thought it would be some beach but didn’t think it was this good! The water was calm, clear and clean! There were no waves at all and the ocean was flat! As a water sign, I couldn’t resist to dip my feet in to the water. Splashing around with Aji! A boatman then offered us a boat ride for Rp 50,000 for the whole boat for about an hour. He seduced us in seeing the corals which he claims are great. I couldn’t refuse this offer especially knowing that if all 4 of us went on the boat trip, it would only cost us a quarter of the price each. Yay!
It’s true, the corals were excellent! It was an extensive area of hard corals. Come to think about it now, we were stupid not to jump in the water and just saw these corals from the boat using a glass box. We didn’t jump in because of the sea urchins and we thought that it would take us a longer time to prepare and clean up, considering we had to head to Bali ASAP. But regret in the end does nothing! Little did I realize then that it was great to go on a sailing boat. You don’t have to shout out to say something competing with the sound of machine. It’s just the sound of the water hitting the boat. Kewl! We could gossip easily!
Anyways… I would recommend this area to anyone, especially those that love to swim and snorkel. But don’t forget to bring your gear cos it’s not common for people to rent out snorkel gear.
We then continued our trip to Bali. On the way, we saw Lori’s, small trains to pull cargo. I was surprised to see them since I’ve never seen them before. The trains are from the colonial days and are functioned to pull sugar canes from the plantation to the factories. East Java is well known to produce this commodity till today. Hence the Lori’s that still work. Passing Situbondo it was already lunch time. We again randomly picked a shop that mainly sold snacks of the area, which happened to have a restaurant. And again, we were lucky to find a yummy restaurant with a reasonable price!
Ketapang port was our next mini destination. Ketapang is the port, and only port, to cross to Bali from Java and vice versa. To Ketapang port, in Banyuwangi, you would pass the Baluran National Park. I’ve been to this park and it’s a beautiful ground to explore. It has a savanna with wild dears, peacocks, forest roosters, white ass bulls, and there is an area for snorkeling… actually for sentimental reasons, this is where I snorkeled the first time… . For me, it was like seeing Africa in my own country. It has that dry scene and safari ambience to it. Oh don’t worry, Africa is still on my list.
Driving along, we finally met another coastline; the line that shows you Bali on the other side of the straight. You can cross with or without a vehicle. Crossing with a vehicle would cost Rp 94,000/car. As the driver, my papers were checked..
Ferry officer: “Where are you guys from?”
Mumun: “Jakarta :)”
Ferry officer looking up and down at Puspita.
Ferry officer: “Wow, you guys are lucky to get this far.”
Mumun thinking “Hey!”
We turned off the car and hopped on the deck, to make pictures and catch the afternoon sun. Our trip took about an hour. This strait is quiet interesting, meaning, the speed of your trip really depends on the current. So don’t put your money on how long the trip would be… wait a minute… maybe you should… to make the trip interesting!
Starting the car… was… again, challenging because it didn’t want to start. Add to that, the starter housing came off with the key when we tried to jiggle it a bit. This happened in front of the officers, or as we came to know Pak Salim, just as they asked if we had trouble. Oops… After all the cars headed out, all the officers and us gave Puspita a little ‘support’. I guess we had some witnesses because once we came out of the ferry, some people was just smiling and laughing at us. We assumed they saw our incident through the huge ferry door. But we loved the attention Puspita got! After a farewell for Pak Salim, the crew, and a little ‘extra reward’ for them, we headed off.
The port entering Bali is called Gilimanuk. Entering Gilimanuk port you can feel the Bali atmosphere. The first feel would be the checking of your ID. Since the Bali bombings, security became tighter. IDs are checked even for Indonesians. Such a weird feeling to be suspected by your own people, but I guess that’s fair enough for the people that were screwed by those from outside of their island. Around this port is the Bali Barat National park. Another destination recommended since it has lush dense tropical coastal forests. You can also find the place where they breed Jalak Bali or the Balinese bird which is beautiful and is endangered. A purpose for all those birdwatchers.
A 4-hour ride is what took us to Denpasar and another hour to Kuta ‘cause we had miscommunications with Bondy. We planned to stay at his small town house (should we say?) during our stay. This time he was staying near Kuta. He got married since our trip in new years, and moved to this small so-called town house complex. Knowing Puspita had some trouble, we put her in a VW shop to get it fixed within 2 days. From here we took a taxi to get munchies at the famous “Warung Made” in Seminyak.
We then contacted the car rental which was located just around the corner. I’ve used this rental before, during our new years’ trip. I liked the service so I thought I’d use it again. We rented a Karimun Estillo which was a perfect city car for the four of us. Me and Sally kinda exchanged looks on who would drive. I got to go first.
Funny thing was… we had to adjust ourselves again, suiting this car. We hit the brakes too hard, turned the wheel too much, and countless times mistaken the wiper with the turning sign. As if we have never driven a modern car before?! Driving Puspita needs more focus than the usual car considering the pedals, size of the body, the loose stirring wheel, and unreachable horn. So, we kinda fixated ourselves to it a bit too much. That night we just went home and gossiped about the trip to Bali not knowing for certain what we are to do tomorrow.
The random restaurant was called Rumah Makan (translated: restaurant) Malang which was located on the left side of the main road. We mostly tried the traditional dishes such as rawon, rice with seafood sauce, etc, but nothing special.
We also tried their special cold drink which was filled with tape (read: ta-pe) or fermented cassava. It was a great drink considering it was a hot day. The tape was sweet enough complimenting the syrup in it. After calculating, each person spent about Rp 20,000 on their meal and drink. A very reasonable price considering the great taste of the food.
This shop also offers traditional snacks from the area. You can get tofu crackers, the Tape in boxes to go, jackfruit crackers, all sorts of local goodies for your taste buds to explore. And the owner is really nice and friendly.
Seems like Warung Made has already made a name for itself. Many have known this place to get great food. Since none of us have tried it before, we decided… what the heck! We are young. We knew that it was well established for tourists and expats, but who cared! We gots to try this place out! It was a Friday night, dinner time, and jammed packed. Luckily we got a table!
The menu had a wide range of variety. I happen to pick Nasi Campur Bali. Last time I had this nasi campur was in Ubud, the Kedewatan place. And I hearted the blend of food in it, so I had to have another go. Nasi Campur Bali has so many side dishes to eat, and at warung Made all is goooood! There is your 3 types of veggies, 2 types of chicken, and two types of chili paste. This place is a bit pricy for us, but I think it’s worth money and the occasion! Prices of dishes start at about Rp 50,000 per meal.
You can see how well established this venue is. It provides entertainment such as traditional dances in the small stage in the middle of the venue. It also plays you Balinese songs in between dances to give you that Balinese ambience. And the weird thing about it was, it had small shops selling local-made handicraft . So it was kinda like a small food court in a mall. Turn you off? Don’t be! Because it’s a great atmosphere!
We spent the night at some random hotel we chose, called Pasir Putih hotel. Pasir Putih is a small city.The receptionist was already asleep and that was at 10 pm. It looked like it’s located beside the beach but that night we couldn’t see if it was a good one.
We took one room with AC, and TV and inside bathroom for Rp 150,000. After a whole day worrying about Puspita, a good bed would do the trick. Unfortunately Aji had to sleep in the sleeping bag on the floor because there was only 1 queen size bed. But overall it was a great room and quite spacious.