Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer / Eid Fitr Holiday in Belinyu, Bangka

As I promised, here is a simple story of my trip to Belinyu that I had during Summer/Eid Fitr Holiday.

It was started from a wedding invitation that I received from a friend who lives in Belinyu. Belinyu is located in Central Bangka district. If you look at the map, it is situated at the northern part of Bangka Island. To reach there, we have to drive at least for 2 hours from Pangkalpinang. I asked my Couch Surfing Bangka Belitung friends (usually called as CS Babel) to accompany me. One of us rented a car. Normally, the rate is around Rp 250,000 to Rp 300,000 to rent Kijang Innova or Toyota Avanza for 24 hours rent excluding the gas.


It was my very first time going to Belinyu, kinda ashamed for me to tell this because I have been living in Bangka for long time but never got the chance to go there. I heard a lot from people about amazingly beautiful beaches and isles in Belinyu. Fortunately I have some friends who live there, so I contacted one of them, Abdi. He is a good friend of mine since I joined Youth Tourism Ambassador of Bangka Belitung (Duta Wisata Bangka Belitung) in 2010. It was kinda last minute to tell him that my friends and I were going to Belinyu. Luckily, he responded my message quickly. Right after the wedding party, we headed to Abdi's house. He told to us that we could go to Batu Dinding Beach which is located around 100 meters away from his house.


This beach is called as Batu Dinding because of the appearance of the giant rock (Batu) that resembles shape of giant wall (Dinding) facing the sea (as you can see at above pictures).

The beach is situated nearby a cliff whereby a hilly land with great panorama is located. In below picture is shown the view that we can see from the top of the hill. There is small jetty for the fishermen nearby. Area of Batu Dinding beach is actually owned personally by a local resident. The owner collects donation from the visitors. The donation is later to be used for the sake of taking care of the beach and to maintain the cleanliness of the area.

We later left Batu Dinding beach to enjoy our the next stop, Tanjung Penyusuk beach. This beach is a favorable spot for people who want to enjoy its clear water and pretty view of giant granite. Normally, there are more visitors come here during weekend and holiday than weekdays. Especially knowing that this beach is getting more famous by the meantime. You can relish wonderful panorama of the beach and as well as fell the windy air by sitting at the small beach store nearby the beach. It sells fresh coconut water, watermelon, and some snacks. You  may bring your own snacks from home, but do not forget to throw the garbage at the bin, otherwise you can bring your own garbage bag and bring back all the garbage to be thrown away at your home.

Not very far away from Tanjung Penyusuk beach, we can see isles. People call them as Lampu Isle (Pulau Lampu) and Putri Isle (Pulau Putri). Both of them are well known as good spots for diving/snorkeling. My friends and I rented a small fisherman boat that cost us around Rp 150,000 - Rp 200,000 for return trip to Lampu Isle. You may negotiate with the boat owner/fisherman if they ask you for higher rental. Sometimes, they charge the rent per person rather than per group of people. So, my suggestion is if you go there in a group, you better negotiate the rent in group basis than per individual. It is because renting in group basis is sometimes cheaper than in individual basis. It is also better to have local Belinyu friend who can negotiate the rent with the boat owner/fisherman. Hehehe (Thanks, Abdi). By the way, it only took us around 10 to 15 minutes to Lampu Isle from tanjung Penyusuk Beach.

So, what's so special about Lampu Isle? A bit different from Putri Isle, there is a tower located in Lampu Isle. This tower is used as light house to guide people to sail at night. Perhaps, that is why this isle is called Pulau Lampu or Light Isle in english term. Many people climb up the tower to see the view of isle surroundings. The most amazing thing  you can see is the visible coral in the sea from the top of this tower. You will also be amazed by the clarity of the water that enable you snorkeling and see some little fishes and sea creatures swimming in the water too. For sun catcher, Lampu Isle is one of the best place to capture the sunset moment. For photography lovers, prepare your camera and also be ready for the beauty of this isle. Oh ya, this isle is also accommodated with facilities such as fresh water and prayer room. For muslim visitors, you should not worry to pray here ;)

The time seemed to pass too soon. I will be missing this amazing place. Eventhough we didn't spend much time here, at least this trip left such super amazing memory for me. InsyaAllah, one day I will come back again.
Special thanks to CS Babel and Abdi :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summer / Eid Fitr Holiday in Ketawai Island, Bangka

I can see spider webs here and there in this blog. Hahaha. This blog is long out of touch. Even a friend of mine asked me why I do not post anything recently. I said, "Because I don't travel anywhere recently". LOL

During exam time, I already promised my self to have good time travelling around Bangka for my summer holiday. I wanted to reach some places I had never been in this my own home island. So, I finally found right time which was during the Eid Fitr break.

Eid Fitr break in Indonesia is usually for 2 weeks- 1 week before the Eid Fitr day and 1 week after Eid Fitr day. It is a very suitable moment for people who live far away from their hometown to go back to their family's house. We call it as "Mudik". We usually use this moment to gather and share happiness with family and friends. I always get the chance to meet my relatives and friends who live study outside Bangka. The traffic is quite crowded during Eid Fitr break. Especially in Bangka, every house celebrates this special moment by having open house which we call as "Namu" or "Bertamu" in Bahasa Indonesia. You can eat as much as you can in everyone's house. Because each house will serve a lot of foods like cookies, Bangkanese seafood meals like Tekwan and Pempek, and also regular Lebaran foods like Rendang, Ketupat, Lepat, Opor Ayam, etc. Some other people celebrate this moment by going to beach to refreshing with family and friends

I also didn't want to miss this chance by arranging some plans with my friends to travel to Ketawai Island. Here you go....

 Ketawai Island

I arranged the plan to go to Ketawai island with my high school friends. We barely meet each other except for Lebaran. This was kinda last minute plan. Especially knowing that none of us had ever been there before. We did on the spot check about the transport to go there by asking the people in the neighborhood of Kurau. Oh ya, Ketawai island is located in Middle Bangka district. We have to drive about 30 minutes from Pangkalpinang (the capital city of Bangka Belitung) to reach Kurau at first. Kurau is a fishermen settlement. From there we should find a boat that can transport us to Ketawai island. It is recommended to go with quite big number of people (15 to 20 people) to Ketawai island because the boat rent is quite expensive if we travel alone. The rent is around Rp 800,000 to Rp 1,000,000. You can negotiate with the local fisherman who own/rent the boat. It is also recommended to find the boat which is equipped with life vest for safety reason.

After around 30 to 45 minutes (depend on the weather), we will reach Ketawai island. It is recommended to go there in the morning before 12 pm. Because it is safer to go back to Kurau not too late in the afternoon. It is because the weather may not be nice and the waves are to dangerous for sailing. And do not forget to get the contact number of the boat's owner. In case something happens.

 Local people recognize this island by its iconic  nameplate of "Ketawai" as we arrive here. You will be welcomed by light blue and clean water from the beach. The sand is very soft and clean too. You don't have to pay any entry fee here. You may bring your own foods and drinks, but do not forget to take care of the rubbish afterward.

The island is not that big. No cottage to stay here at night, at least you want to build a tent. But I am not sure if we are allowed to stay there at night. There is a family who help to take care of this island. They provide some facilities like a small food and beverage shop, prayer facilities (small surau/mushola), and also fresh water to wash your body after swimming at the beach.

Special thanks to Katomz, my dearest high school friends. You all totally made my day! ^_^

*In anytime soon, I will be posting about my trip to Belinyu, Bangka. So, keep calm! ;-)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Travelling in the Crowded City,Bangkok

I had an unexpected journey to Bangkok last month for 4 days 3 night. So, here you go a simple documentary of my journey....

The crowd at Chatuchak Market

Transportation and Acommodation

I actually had a plan to go to Singapore earlier this year after my examination. But that plan needed to be shifted to another time I guess. Knowing that 3 of my Couch Surfing (CS) friends from Bangka made itinerary to countries in South East Asia, I was thinking that it might be interesting if I also join. Eventhough I can only join them when they are already in Bangkok after backpacking from Vietnam and Myanmar.

I got promotion ticket from Air Asia for RM 202 for return tickets. I think that's pretty cheap. By the way, I only did less browsing about Bangkok. So when I arrived in Don Mueang Airport, I was a bit confused especially to find bus to Khao San Road-the place where I should meet my friends. Luckily in the airport earlier I asked for Bangkok map from the tourism information center. By the way guys, in Bangkok it's pretty easy to find information center.

In previous browsing I thought that I could take bus to Khao San Road by taking bus 59. But I was wrong. It didn't stop there. It is actually very important to ask the bus driver where the bus is going although they don't know really how to speak English. But we can also try by showing the destination from the map. The bus fare is cheap. From the airport to Victory Monument by bus 59, I only paid for 19 Bath. It's around RM 2. Because I was lost and the driver decided to stop me there and suggested me to take to another bus. But I decided to take metered taxi from Victory Monument to Khao San Road. Oh ya, the Bus Stop is kinda unique though. We can only take the bus at particular Bus Stop with particular bus number. Anyway, during rush hour, Bangkok which is already very crowded happens to have traffic jam. Then I have to spend little bit much of money for taxi to Khao San Road. It's around 100 Bath. I think it's better than get more lost hahhaa..

On the public bus

The unique bus stop

Khao San Road is very stuffy. I picture Khao San Road as Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur. Khao san Road is a tourist area and facilitated by low to medium cost hotel or guesthouse as well as shops and restaurants/cafes. I stayed in a low budget inn named "Walk Inn"  in Tanao Road that is just next to Khao San Road. For single room, it is about 220 Bath. And for Double Room, it is about 320 Bath. Both are equipped only by fan and sharing toilet/bathroom.


I eat a lot along my travelling experience, because I love food hunting LOL. Anyway, for foods there are a lot of vegetarian restaurants -especially for Muslim- around Tanao Road and Khao San Road. If I am not around there I eat cut fruits that we can find anywhere at the streets. They are also very cheap. One portion is about 20-30 Bath. The normal meals and drinks that I ate cost around above 80 bath.

May Kaidee's vegetarian restaurant at Tanao Road

Cooking class in May Kaidee's vegetarian restaurant

Cheap cut fruits everywhere

Yummy squids

Finally, the real Tom Yam at Tom Yam Kung Restaurant in Khao San Road

Extreme snacks: cockroach, scorpion, frog, etc.

Tourism Places
Wat Arun 
Entrance Fee: 60 Bath
Before going to Wat Arun we must firstly get to the boat that brings us there. The fee for the boat is 6 Bath. It won't take more than 10 minutes to go there from the port. Yeah, it is very close. :)

Me in front of Wat Arun

Wat Phra Chetuphon
Entrance Fee: 100 Bath
Actually before going to the boat port to Wat Arun, we will pass Wat Phra Chetuphon. In there you will enjoy walking in the temple complex. Each building has huge Budha statue including this giant lying Budha statue.

Monk in Wat Phra Chetuphon

These Budha statues are the common things that you will find around here 

Golden Mountain
Entrance fee: 20 Bath
Just like the name, this tourism place is situated just like on the top of mountain. Well, not as high as a real mountain but we can see the view of Bangkok from here. 

The view of Bangkok from Golden Mountain

Chatuchak Market
Just like Pasar Seni in Malaysia, this market is full of stuffs that we can buy in very low price. Each section of the market sells different things starting from handicrafts, foods, books, to pet.

Inside Chatuchak Market

If you pass the walkway along the way to the Grand Palace and you see a lot of birds. There may be some ladies that stop you and ask you to feed those birds. It happened to my friend and I. I actually smelled something not good at first. They forced us to feed the birds with corn and saying that it's for free and we can take pictures with the birds. At the end after we were all excited they forced us to pay 150 Bath. So, BE CAREFUL!!

Special thanks to Cece Vero

And Bang Ryan