Lost in Translation?

The Quirky Phuket - City Tour

Friday, 19 June 2015

Phuket has so much to see from the beautiful beaches to hilly countryside. We found it cheaper and more convenient to rent our own vehicle to explore all of them. So, we rented two motorbikes for a day. In Patong, motorbike rentals start from THB 200 this includes two helmets while cars start from THB 800.

Make sure you have enough gasoline before you go too far because the gas station is kinda rare. Moreover, the road has some curves, it definitely will consume much gasoline. What needs to be noted is the minimum purchase at the gas station. The price per litre is around 28 THB but you cannot fill your tank lower than 60 THB.

LET’S EXPLORE PHUKET DARLING!
The best time to travel around Phuket is from 9 am – 4 pm. Do not forget to put sunscreen on your skin and wear a long sleeve shirt or jacket when you ride a motorbike, it is highly recommended due to the intense heat at noon. Sometimes, the temperature could reach until 35° C.

We were heading to the southern part of the island, crossing the road in 31° C. I was excited watching the scenery during our trip. I could see the stunning emerald green water of a three-kilometre-long beach and balmy tropical breezes all conspired to welcome us. In between stand several large hotels and resorts. As we headed further south, I noticed a tiny white statue of the sitting Buddha on the top of the Nakkerd Hills. It is known to locals as Phra Phra Putthamingmongkolekanagagiri or just simply call it Big Buddha.

BIG BUDDHA

The road to Nakkerd Hills was in good condition but it had some curves and steep climb. There were elephants rides, restaurants, and cafes along the way to the parking lot. Some young tourists enjoyed hiking up, even though it took them over an hour to reach the top.

Big Buddha is a sacred sites so visitors are asked to dress politely. I was wearing shorts and had not thought that this was probably not exactly appropriate attire, but thankfully there was a lady handing out large decorative Sarongs so that I could still make the visit whilst being respectfully covered enough.


The Big Buddha is 45 meters high, it sits up on a marbled lotus leaves. It has been built since 2001 and there is still a large amount of work going on around it. There was a monk giving blessing to a lovely couple when we entered the arrival hall. In this hall you can read about the history of the construction, buy souvenirs and make donations to help finish the building.


Although some parts are still under construction it is worth a visit.

WAT CHALONG



Another popular tourism sites in Phuket. The vibrant colour and architecture make it a must-visit-place. Remember, it is not an ordinary tourism site, it is also a religious place. Make sure you cover your knees and shoulder or you can take a sarong from the friendly staff before you enter the temple.




The temple was magnificent not only from the outlook but even from inside. The art works and all the buddha statues were grand in a way. I appreciate the interior, it is decorated with wood carving and the walls are covered with murals that tell the life story of Buddha.


I have visited several temples in Thailand. This one is quite impressive and not as crowded as Wat Pho or Grand Palace. I could feel the tranquil atmosphere here. You will feel the same way too, trust me!

By the way, these two tourism sites are FREE of charge, but you may like to leave some donation :)

KARON VIEWPOINT
After cooling down our head in the temple we had to beat the heat to see the other attractions, Karon Viewpoint!  The viewpoint is located along the ring road, half-way between Nai Harn Beach and Kata Noi Beach. It can be tricky to get to without a car, but two wheels are good enough.




You really can see an astonishing view of breathtakingly beautiful white sand beaches edged by the glittering Andaman Sea up there. The closest and smallest one is Kata Noi Beach, then a bit further is the beautiful bay of Kata with its island ‘Koh Poo’, and the last is Karon Beach.

Such a fun half day tour around Phuket before heading back to Jakarta in the evening. Got to thank Egif for managing most of the trip!

TRAVEL EXPENSE - DAY 3
THB 180    | Mini Bus

THB 15      | Bread

THB 40      | Gasoline

THB 18      | Pocky

THB 16      | Collon

THB 6        | Ovaltine Biscuits

THB 10      | MAMA Instant Noodles


Travel date: 27-29 May 2015

The Quirky Phuket - Phi-Phi Island



On the next day we went to the most overrated island of Thailand, Ko Phi Phi and its surroundings. We already booked a one day Phi Phi tour package by Sea Angel Cruise thru Mari Tour Island. This travel agent was recommended by a member of Backpacker Dunia on Facebook group. At first, we got 1800 BHT from Mari Tour Island, Egif bargained the price until 1100 BHT. We were picked up by the travel at 8 a.m and driven to Sea Angel Pier. There we have been offered free tea, coffee and biscuits while waiting for all the guests from other hotels to arrive. Oh, by the way we met so many Indonesians at the pier. It felt like we were going to Seribu Island instead of Phi Phi -.-“.

 A staff briefed us about the dangers on the beaches such as sea urchins, sharp rocks and we also got a warning about the exorbitant prices of food and drinks on Phi Phi island. He suggested us to wear flippers to avoid the sea urchins. For those who did not bring flippers, one could rent them at a modest rate of THB 100 a pair, as well as 2 loafs of toast to feed the fish and a pack of peanuts to feed the monkeys.



We had Jennifer as our guide for the day. A very spontaneous and friendly guide through the entire. She liked to flirt boys during our cruise. Our first stop was at Phi Phi Leh, filming location of the movie “The Beach”. It is also well known as Maya Bay. We were welcomed by a very large crowd of people crawling everywhere. Some of them went for a swim, the rest took pictures. I was a part of the rest. It was hard to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature in the middle of the crowd like in the picture below.

It’s unrealistic to expect the bay as quiet as in the movie. However, Maya Bay has answered my curiosity. Next destination was Monkey Beach, we could get off the boat to feed monkeys. Here as well we have been carefully instructed how to feed them to avoid being bitten. Thereafter, we were driven to a location where we could snorkel and for those who wanted to explore more, scuba diving equipment could be hired at a very modest rate of 1.500 BHT. There were several Pady instructors to take care of the guests. But for us, the snorkeling was quite sufficient and we could see a wide variety of fish. Too bad, we didn’t bring an underwater camera. Unfortunately almost all corrals have been destroyed during the Tsunami in 2004 and only very little new growth could be seen.


After snorkeling we were taken to a restaurant on the beach of Ko Phi Phi Don and a buffet lunch was served. Plenty of food, fruit and salad at a reasonable quality as much as we wanted to eat. From there the trip went on to Ko Khai. It was not so crowded and everyone could get a beach umbrella and two deckchairs for 150 BHT. It’s actually optional, you can pay for it or just sit on the sand eating fresh fruits and cold drinks served by Sea Angel crew. You can also go for a swim or snorkeling in this island. Too bad I was tired. I decided to walk around the island.




Besides its great natural white sand, it also has beautiful huge rocks. My legs got injured while stumbling upon Ko Khai. I slipped on the slippery rocks, blood was running down to my feet. Fortunately, the Sea Angel crew provided a first aid kit on the boat. The last leg back to Phuket was uneventful and we again were taken back to the Hotel in a Mini Bus. All in all we had a very pleasant and enjoyable day.

TRAVEL EXPENSE - DAY 2
THB 1100  | Phi phi package

THB 100   | Fins

THB 80     | Ice Cream

THB 75     | Medicine

THB 100   | Motorbike

THB 10     | Mineral Water

Travel date: 27-29 May 2015

The Quirky Phuket - Bangla Road

I have no idea how much I love Thailand since my first visit in the early 2013. The people with their beautiful soul and the spiritual atmosphere of Thailand make me want to visit Thailand again and again. I actually had a plan to visit Thailand on April 2014, a one way ticket had been purchased but I canceled my trip because there was another stuff to do. Since then, never crossed in my mind to visit Thailand this year until last month AirAsia offered a round way flight from Jakarta to Phuket only IDR 550K (exclude tax) including 3 days 2 nights accommodation. GOD BLESS TONI FERNANDES!

It’s hard to pick people to travel with when the promo is in the short sale period. Moreover if you plan to have a low budget trip, you have to consider the group’s dynamics. Thanks god I didn’t travel with the notorious-trip killers, so glad I went with this bunch!


From right to left : Dioma, Me, Frida, Egif

Besides a very cheap airfare, we also got a very friendly guesthouse in Patong. At first, Egif, the one who was responsible in booking the flight and hotel has booked Relax Guesthouse for our arrival on 22 May but he was having trouble processing the payment. He tried to reschedule to 27 May and changed the guest house to Connect Guesthouse without googling first. It turned out to be the highlight of the trip! 

After 2 hours and 50 minutes flying through clouds, we finally arrived at Phuket International Airport. There was no Airport Bus service  to Patong at evening, the latest service hour to Patong was at 5.30 pm. In this case we arrived at 7 pm. Fortunately, tickets for mini bus to Patong were for sale at THB 180 on the ground floor.  It was cheaper than taxi but more pricey than Airport Bus. They dropped us off in front of Connect Guest House.

When we got out of the car, a group of boys were staring and shouting at us. We were wondering what were they doing. We found the answer right at the front desk of our guest house. We just knew that our guest house is a gay hotel, all staff are gay, lots of gay magazine, gay photos on the walls, free condoms for everyone, and so on. This guest house is located in the biggest gay entertainment area of Phuket. Apart from that we had a nice room with one queen size bed, a bunk bed with AC and Fan. The bathroom was clean and had plenty of hot water. It is easy walking distance from the beach and the Jungceylon shopping complex, about 10 minutes to the beach and 5 minutes to shopping. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this guest house to budget travelers or any other travelers as well.



Our first destination was the sexy yet exciting Bangla Road. The crowds along Bangla at that night reminded me of  Kuta though it was raunchier than Kuta. The music from each bar blended into a deafening mess of sound while pole dancers were busy dancing on a vertical burlesque pole. Street performance, leaflet distributors, pingpong show touts and the brassy transgender who display their “assets” for a price are common things on Bangla Road.



If you are a party-goer seeking for a rowdy nightlife, Bangla is the place to be.

TRAVEL EXPENSE - DAY 1
IDR 601.031   | Flight ticket (round way) + extra charges + Airport tax

THB 180         | Mini Bus from Airport – Patong

THB 25           | TOP UP 100 BHT for 3 days unlimited internet

THB 40           | Dinner

Pic credits: Egif & Frida

Travel date: 27-29 May 2015

A Space to Recharge My Mood

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Last week, I packed some clothes and have a short trip alone to Bandung by train. Why Bandung? because I am so desperately in love with Jajaka Bandung (Bandung boys) . No, joking. Literally joking. I went to Bandung because of the man in the picture below.


Yes, he is Sondre Lerche. He is one of my favorite artists. I know it's not his first show in Indonesia, some of you might have seen him at Java Jazz Festival 2011 or at Dynamic Soundshine 2007. At that moment God has not allowed me to watch his performance yet. Finally, one of my dreams came true last week. I watched Sondre Lerche at Kampoeng Jazz 2013. I really miss being in the middle of the crowd, watching my favorite artists, and singing their songs together with strangers around me. Moreover, it's Sondre Lerche. MAN! I've waited for too long to watch his live performance. 

Actually, I wasn't watching alone. Adit and Aji accompanied me. Adit came along from Jakarta to Bandung just to meet me. Aji is currently studying in Bandung, he provided me the accommodation during my stay there. The things that I love from them is they bought the tickets to accompany me watching my favorite artist, even though they don't know Sondre songs. Hahaha. Sudden reunion happened at that time, I met some of my senior, junior high school, and elementary school friends. 


Besides watching Sondre at Kampoeng Jazz, I also had a little city tour with my AIESEC Bandung friends Eja, Micky, and Oktian. They brought me to some delicious food places that I have never been to. I came back to Malang on Sunday evening by train and arrived on Monday morning. It took 18 hours journey from Bandung to Malang, without any break after arriving in Malang I went to my campus to attend a class. What a sweet escape!






The Hidden Serenity: Goa Cina Beach

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I’ve been living in Malang since 2011 but I never been to Sempu Island, the famous island in South Malang. I often heard about that island, many people said Sempu is really beautiful, a good place to spend your holiday, and the unique thing about Sempu is its lake, Segara Anakan. Segara Anakan is a lake surrounded by the reef and you could see the vast Hindia Ocean from its cliff. Those statements make me so curious to visit Sempu. Fortunately, last week I had several days off and to kill my boredom I went to Sempu with some of my friends. Oh! Satrio also joined us. YAY! I was terribly happy. We went there by car, passed uphill winding roads. Finally reaching Sendang Biru Beach in approximately 2 hours. Sendang Biru Beach is the entrance to Sempu Island. We rented boat for Rp 100.000 to and from Sempu. Too bad we couldn’t make it to Segara Anakan because it’s raining for the last three days. The soil was full of mud plus we didn’t prepare enough. So then, we just played at Sempu Beach.



I have been dreaming to see Segara Anakan since I read an article about Sempu on Travelounge. When the chance came, I couldn’t make it. What a bad luck. I was disappointed. After going back from Sempu we went to another beach. This beach is not far from Sendang Biru, we arrived there in about 20 minutes. We had to pay Rp. 30.000 (Rp. 4.000/person) before entering the beach. After parked the car then we walked across the bush for about 10 minutes and voila!
 

Clear water, white sand, and corals were everywhere here in Goa Cina Beach. The beach was clean, literary clean. Free from trashes. We were taking pictures, swimming, sitting on the corals, running with bare foot, eating snack, and laughing. So much fun. We felt like in our private beach. Yes. There were only us there. Not many people know this beach. No wonder if the beach is still virgin :p

 




There’s no hotel near the beach so if you want to stay for a night or more you can pitch a tent, of course you need to visit security post before camping. It’s strongly recommended to bring a lot of snacks or maybe homemade food because there’s only one food stall. Last but not least be careful with the coral because it can hurt your bare foot easily.


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