Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 2 November 2009 • Itinerary
Finding a great beach scene is actually easy in Indonesia because it is an archipelago. These beaches range from the established areas such as Bali, to the raw beaches of Sumur Village that we visited. This tiny village turned out to provide so many fun things to do.
First we reached a small island called Badul. Seems like this island is the smallest there, it’s only about as big as an indoor soccer field. Not much vegetation, they’re just branches and merely amount of leaves. To get to this island from the boat, we had to hop in to a canoe and dropped off one by one. The shore was too shallow. But we could also reach this island by swimming. Umsini, our rented boat, just waited in the distance.
On the Badul island, beside enjoying the white sand of the whole island, we didn’t forget to enjoy the nature underneath the water by snorkeling away. The reefs around the island are still intact, even though the types and colors tend to be darker and less various. Only in some parts, we could find reefs with outstanding colors. In the deeper waters, an underwater city was located. It reminded those that had the chance to lurk, of the movie “Shark’s Tale”, because it had elevated structures. Neat! But what’s more exciting is the many types of fish swimming around with many colors such as yellow, grey, blue, red, and stripy patterns. These fishes move within the reefs cracks. Some move in solitude, and some work in a colony.
After satisfying ourselves at Badul Island, we decided to continue the trip. The day was rolling in to noon anyways, and the sun would soon be above us exactly. After picking us up with the canoe, the Umsini boat navigated to our next destination, Mangir island, the island that was soon to be our place of rest. In the middle of the trip we bumped in to a boat that sold fresh fish. Yup, right in the middle of the ocean. So we moved in closer and chose a few fishes; it would definitely spice up our lunch and dinner later on. The sellers are probably used to trading in a large amount of fish, so we had the guts to ask the small fishes FOR FREE! We weu weally weally gwateful -big gwin- (twanslate: thank you oh kindest fishewman!)
Weather is not something we can predict. A few moments ago we were soaking the sun on Badul Island, but on our way to Mangir, it suddenly rained cats and dogs. It took more than an hour. What can we say? We had to cramp in the navigation compartment, which was built like a small hut, inhibiting the rain on ourselves and our belongings. After the afternoon cleared, we then reached the island.
Mangir Island is very different to Badul. Besides of its size around four times Badul, there are a lot of trees that mimic a forest decorating Mangir Island. Yet, the beaches and the sand are similar, white sand filled with broken reefs and remains of shells.
The first thing we did is to find a strategic spot to set up camp. We chose a location on the south part of the island because of its relative flat surface, it has a soft sand base and its position close to the beach. We brought along two tents and cooking equipment. The main menu was fish that was bought, err… given to us previously for free. We cooked up flavored rice, not with your traditional spices such as onions, chili, etc. but err… spices… ready… from instant noodles. We’re practical, thank you! Turned out that flavored rice was pretty good. Of course, it had a lot of MSG. Doesn’t matter whatsoever, we don’t eat like this everyday.
There were actually two stoves, one was a portable gas stove that we bought from Jakarta and the other was the oil stove that we borrowed from Umsini. Unfortunately, none of us city kids could use lite the oil stove. We were born past that era.. (^_^)
The day was still young when we completed our meal. So there was no harm in using the rest of the beautiful afternoon to stroll around the island or go back snorkeling away. We chose to circle the island. Walking on the shores – and sometimes having to venture through mangrove roots that crossed over and the steep landscape – made our journey much more adventurous and exciting. It took only about 45 minutes to go around it. Before the sun set, we made it all way around the island and back to our tent.
To face the dark night, we couldn’t rely on flash lights. Fortunately, we were lent a lantern from the Umsini boat. But again, we failed to lit up this traditional source of light. (Talking about poor survival skills..) We Finally were Forced to Face the dark night wiF only the help oF a Flash lights and Frobably a bon Fire. Check out the f’s man!
When the night turned really dark, it still rained a little, but we decided to make a bon fire and continue to cook the fish that remained. Unfortunately, before we finished cooking, the rain poured even harder. We all retreated to our tent and ate what we could find out of our stash. (Eating raw fish wouldn’t be interesting unless we do it in a sushi restaurant.)
Watching the coastal sunrise
We didn’t sleep like babies as most vacation offers. But, on the contrary, it helped us be such (way) EARLY birds the next morning. Of course our goal was to enjoy the morning or the moment when the sun rose.
The day became brighter when we started breakfast with what was left of our stash, bread, corned beef, and instant noodles. We still had a few hours before Umsini picked us up. The remaining time we used to swim, snorkel and not to forget to take more and more pictures.
The condition underwater of Mangir Island was quite different with those under Badul Island. Snorkeling too early is not the best time. Water current is time of year and day makes the water quite murky with the turn over of sands. But venture a little further and a little later in the day, you’ll find a different scenery. It’s worth it. However, the reefs on the south part weren’t too impressive, because many were dead and the water wasn’t clear. The north area was much beautiful, and apparently a part of the reef rehabilitation program. Many tagged corals were found on the beach. Hope some of them survived.
About 10 o’clock in the morning, Umsini arrived to pick us up while we were still packing up the tent and tending to other of our stuff. We didn’t forget to bring along the trash we made while we were on the island because we’re such angelic city kids (^_^). The small canoe brought us up on the Umsini and back to Sumberjaya village.
I have to say, the trip was a relaxing trip.. And great just to forget work and troubles. Couldn’t even remember even if I tried, well… for a while that is. Ah yes, a getaway indeed. Till the next gate…
It’s a perfect place to do a vacation, especially for those living in the city, you’ll have new experiences and forget the busy city life for a while. It’s a 5 hour ride from Jakarta. Arriving at Sumberjaya village, Sumur district, Ujung Kulon. Leaving at 10 pm from Jakarta got us there by about 4 am. The sea air seeps your lungs freshly once we set out of the car, because this village is located just on the beach.
While waiting for the sun to rise, we enjoyed a cup of coffee and hot boiled Indomie (the most well-known brand of instant noodle in the country) in a local shop that opens to the wee hours of the day. Interestingly, this vendor also trades various herbal drinks or what Indonesians say Jamu, starting from ‘Jamu Fatima Grass’ to ‘Jamu Healthy’. Not to forget, we also prayed Subuh at the closest Mosque, which has a unique way to awake those that must pray: 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Subuh! (It reminded us of a New Year’s Eve countdown..)
We have to go home now ?
On the way back, after arriving at Mr. L. Matang’s about 11 am, we took our time to rest a bit and clean ourselves from the sand and salty sea water. In the mean time, hmm… how can we get home?
The locals offered us to rent a public transportation. This is an alternative. This car was said to take us right to the step of our front door. We asked the extended family of L. Matang to seek this car out. Even though the price was a bit expensive for its league, about Rp 600,000, we had to take the car because it had already arrived at our base. By then it was at 2 pm.
On the way, there was some strange gesture from the driver. He stopped a few times to meet somebody. Turns out, he didn’t have his driving license and was looking for one through his friends. Whoops, this could be some case if we had to deal with the police on the way. On one of his uncountable stops, he left the driver’s seat to seek out a license. Coincidently, a bus heading for the town called Serang happened to pass just at the first large village we met. We decided to hop off and hop on the bus. We eventually took a 4 hour bus ride to Serang costing Rp. 25,000 from this point, which was about half way of our trip back. It was raining half the time, meaning the bus could go faster. Another bus and Rp 25,000 took us back to Jakarta. The seats were small, but it had AC. That’s all that mattered ahh….
The bus actually ends at Kampung Rambutan terminal-Jakarta, but we stopped in the middle of the inner city highway at Pancoran at About 9 pm. Yes we can do that here, you look surprised ;)? From this point we took a taxi back home at Karet Raya where we flashed our tan. And this ended our trip to the fun-shiny-rainy Ujung Kulon.
The Boat Ride
The fun starts at from the boat ride going around the area. To enjoy the beauty of the islands that are located around the Ujung Kulon area, the only way is to rent a boat. With only a name in our heads recommended by a friend, we looked out for the house of L. Matang which is known to provide services in renting boats to cross to these island.
L. Matang’s house is actually quite modest, but distinct compared to other houses in the vicinity. After meeting and chitchatting with him, we then knew, that Mr. L. Matang is the man for renting out boats. From this chat also, we found out the name and characters of the surrounding islands.
Initially, we planned to visit Peucang Island, because we heard that it was the best island around. The beaches and reefs are said to be the best amongst all the islands in the area of Ujung Kulon. Yet, to get there we needed a lot of dough (around Rp 2,500,000 per boat) and also more time. It’s the furthest of them all. Eventually, we agreed to visit the closer islands and was recommended Mangir Island to camp out. Anyways it was way cheaper (Rp 1.000.000 per boat).
After preparing our gear, we strolled along the beach where the boat we rented, called Umsini, was located. Then on our crossing, we passed such beautiful islands, beaches, and peeked everything beneath the water which was more intriguing than we imagined. This boat will take to where ever you want in the area.
The whole trip cost us Rp 2,226,000 or Rp 371,000 per person. That includes everything, and I mean everything. The bus fare, the car rent, the boat rent, and the snack.
Car rent from Jakarta to Sumur Village : Rp 500,000 (include gas)
Bus ride from the closest town from Sumur village to Serang : Rp 25,000 / person
Bus ride from Serang to Jakarta : Rp 25,000 / person
Boat rent for island hopping (Mangir and Badul islands) : Rp 1,000,000 / boat
The rest is for our snack and drinking water.