Monday, May 24, 2010

Witnessing Bromo

I’ve been to Mount Bromo twice, in 2005 and early 2010, but it always bring the same excitement to experience the magical moment which not most people could have, stay awake all night long waiting for sunrise at the top of an active volcano mountain. At 2,329 metres, Mount Bromo is located at East Java, Indonesia and is part of the Tengger tribe. This tribe believes that Mount Bromo is sacred and once a year they celebrate Kasodo ceremony at this mountain.

Here is the information you need when visiting Bromo:

1. Rental car for Bromo Midnight Tour
I’ve rented car to Arema Transport Malang for trip to Bromo from Malang. We used APV, the car was clean, comfortable and the service was good, which is worth the price of Rp550,000. The price is including driver, pick up at your hotel or place, 5-7 seats and drop off at your place in Malang in the morning. Based on my previous search, this is the cheapest rental car at Malang.AREMA Transport
Jln. Soekarno Hatta Kav 1F, Malang - Jawa Timur
Phone: 0341-7080072, 2934996
Mobile – GSM: 081937919249, 081334867101

2. Time travelBest spot to view sunrise is at Mount Pananjakan. In 2005, I spent 3 hours at road to reach Mount Pananjakan. However when I visited Bromo the second time in 2010, since the driver very familiar with the road, it only took 1,5 hours from Malang to Mount Pananjakan but it is definitely one hell of winding road :-D According to the driver, he took the short cut road. However I can’t remember the route name *sigh*.
In order to arrive in time, I suggest you to depart from Malang at 1am in the morning so you can arrive at the feet of Mount Pananjakan at 2.30 am. The gate to Mount Pananjakan will be open at 3am. However you must arrange the entrance fee at the gate. At 3am, the cars will already queue to enter Mount Pananjakan. Hence, arriving early can get you in the first line to enter Mount Pananjakan and find the best spot to view sunrise. Believe me; it is crowded up there even when not in holiday season.
View of Mount Semeru from the Sunrise Terrace
3. Itinerary
The regular itinerary for visiting Bromo is as follows:
a. Waiting for sunrise at Mount Pananjakan.
Entrance fee to Mount Pananjakan is Rp4,000/ person and per car. The sky starts to change colour at 5am and the sun arises at near 6am. Sometimes the clouds are too thick that we hardly see the sun. But if you’re lucky, you’ll watch the sun which looks like an egg yolk. At the same spot of sunrise, you can also see the misty Mount Semeru, the highest peak in Java.
b. Go to Land of Sea (Lautan Pasir) using rental jeep.
For rental jeep to the Land of Sea, it costs about Rp300,000 until Rp350,000. You can rent it when you get there to the local people.
c. Climbing to the top of Mount Bromo.
For some people who are too tired to climb up the steps to see the crater, they can ride a horse for Rp20,000 - Rp100,000. Yes they offer very various price, so you need to bargain to get the best price. The steps are quite tiring and the smell of horse makes them even worse. :-D But once you get up the hill, you’ll witness the active crater and breathtaking view of Bromo crater from above.
d. See the savanna. The savanna view is like a wide grass field surrounded by the mountain. The view is beautiful. It is on the side of your way back to Malang.

4. What to Bring
Here listed items which you must bring to minimize the cost and also for convenience J
a. Flashlight
At 3am in the morning, you need to walk to the sunrise terrace in the dark. A flashlight might be useful.
b. Warm clothes.
Yes, it’s freezing up there. So you better bring wool jackets, sweaters, gloves, scarves, socks and even winter hats. However if you miss to bring those clothes, you can rent them for Rp5,000 - Rp20,000.
c. Medicine and tissues
Since it is pretty cold, don’t forget to bring cold medicine like antangin/tolak angin and balsam. The stalls also sell those items in very expensive price, so you better prepare yourself with one before you go. The cold weather easily makes runny nose and you definitely need those tissues :-D
d. Snacks and drinks
As you will awake the whole night, snacks and drinks help you a lot to stay awake and keeps your stomach from hungry :-D
e. Camera and tripod
At last, prepare your camera and tripod for beautiful sunrise pictures J Tips from me: when you took photos of person in front of the sunrise, you captured the sunrise first with normal exposure and then take picture of the person using internal flashlight. Then you’ll get the person face clear and also the color of the sun.

5. Cost
The summary of how much it costs to visit Bromo is as follows:
Rental car: Rp550,000 / 5 - 7 persons
Entrance fee: Rp4,000/ person
Rental gloves: Rp5,000/pairs
Rental jackets: Rp10,000-Rp20,000/pieces
Rental jeep: Rp300,000 - Rp350,000/4 persons
Rental horse: Rp20,000 - Rp100,000/person

That’s all! So just go there and tell me how your ‘watching sunrise’ experience is! :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Malang Trip

Malang is a city located at East Java, Indonesia, well known as city of flower. This city has cool weather and clean atmosphere, which may be good for flowers and fruit, especially apple to grow.
There’s not much you could visit in Malang city, however surrounding Malang, there are many tourist attraction worth to visit, such as Bromo, which is known has the best view to enjoy sunrise, Selendang Biru beach, which still has the natural beauty of white sandy beach and Batu, the small town which look alike Puncak. Moreover, Malang is an interesting place for those who love Indonesian cuisine culinary.
On the last weekend, I visited Malang to attend my best friend’s wedding. Take an advantage at that opportunity; I planned to visit Batu and Bromo during my visit. Here are the places worth to visit when you’re in Malang:

1. Candi Sumber Awan & Candi Singosari
Years ago, Malang used to be the government center of Kanjuruhan and Singosari Kingdom. That’s why there are many temples found surround Malang, one of them is Candi Singosari. This temple is located at the center of Singosari town, near the road. The temple area is very small and there’s nothing much you could see as the most of the statue has been broken and placed outside the temple.
Candi Sumber Awan is also located not very far from Candi Singosari, however the atmosphere is different, as this temple is located inside the forest, which you need to walk about 400 meters to reach the temple. This is the only stupa –modeled temple in East Java, according to the temple guard.

2. Coban Rondo Waterfall, Batu
Coban Rondo waterfall is located at Pandesari village, Pujon District (about 32 km away to the West from Malang). It took about 30 minutes to go to the waterfall from Malang. The waterfall itself is not very hard to find as there is path walk for visitors to follow, with the view of pine trees on the path side. The height of waterfall is about 84 meter. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful view of waterfall or even swim under the waterfall.
Historically, the word Coban means ‘waterfall’ while Rondo means ‘widow’. It is name under the legend of Dewi Anjarwati, by which the waterfall is the hiding place of Dewi Anjarwati from Joko Lelono, who tried to take her from her husband, Raden Baron Kusuma. Joko Lelono and Raden Baron Kusuma died during the fight, which left Dewi Anjarwati as a widow.
The entrance fee to the waterfall is Rp6,000 / per person or Rp2,000 for motor cycle. It is quite cheap and I think it is an interesting place for having a refreshing holiday.

3. Batu Night Spectacular. Batu Night Spectacular is the new theme park at Batu, which open from 3pm till midnight. The theme park is located at Jl. Raya Oro-Oro Ombo 200, Batu. It offers variety of entertainment and rides, such as haunted house, swing rides, carousel, go kart, cinema 4d, etc. The entrance fee is Rp10,000 / person and for each rides you should pay another fee about Rp10,000-Rp12,000 / ride. You could also enjoy the lampion garden, which looks amazing and colorful at night. The theme park also has food court which offers various foods from Chinese to Indonesia food. On weekend, they have art performance at the stage in the food court and dancing fountain like in Grand Indonesia, Jakarta. It is a good place to spend the night with family or friends during holiday, just don’t expect too much with the rides.

4. Bromo Bromo is well known as having the best view of sunrise. If you’re planning to visit Bromo, you could rent a car from travel, which will pick you up at Malang at 1 am and drive you to the Mount Pananjakan to see sunrise. It only spent 1,5 hours to go from Malang to Mount Pananjakan. At Mount Pananjakan, you will be asked for entrance fee of Rp4,000 / person and Rp4,000 / car. To go to Mount Pananjakan, you could use regular car, no need to ride a jeep. But if you’re planning to see the Sand of Sea after seeing sunrise, you must rent the jeep.
The sun is rise since 5-6 am, but if you arrived early, you will get better spot to view sunrise. My recommendation is when you arrived at Mount Pananjakan at 3 am, you go straight to the sunrise terrace (please bring flashlight as the step to terrace is very dark around that hour), unless you wanted to buy some foods or hot drinks at the stalls. Before 5am, you could find seats at the terrace sunrise and when the orange color starts to appear, go to the left – center side of the balcony. That is where the sun will rise. It can be pretty crowded after that, so you better save your spot first, especially if you wanted to have good pictures, without no strangers behind you. J The sun will rise on the front and if you turn right, you could see a very breathtaking view of Mount Semeru.
From the Mount Pananjakan, you could go to Sand of Sea to see the Crater Lake by jeep. The rental fee costs Rp300,000 – Rp350,000. At the Sand of Sea you have to climb up the steps to the mountain before seeing the crater. There are horses available to be ride if you don’t feel like climbing. It cost Rp20,000 – Rp100,000 / horse depending on how you are able to bargain *hehe*

5. Tugu Hotel This is the most exquisite yet mystical hotel I’ve ever known. Tugu Malang houses a vast, priceless collection of antiques influenced by the Javanese Babah Peranakan (the hundreds-years-old mixed culture between the Chinese migrants in Java and the native Javanese). You’ll find many rooms filled with the historical pictures, statues and antique furnitures. The most interesting is each room has historical stories and even though you didn’t stay at the hotels, you can have a tour of the hotel with the real tour guide for free.

6. Bakso Pahlawan Trip Malang is famous for its meat ball (bakso) dishes. You may have taste the meat ball soup anywhere, but there is special menu, which you’ll rarely find in other places, Grilled Meat Ball (Bakso Bakar). You don’t eat them with soup and it tastes sweet. It costs me Rp5,000/ bowl and there are 5 grilled meat balls in one bowl. For the meat ball soup, it costs Rp1,000 / item. You can mix them with bakwan and tahu, also.
Honestly, I don’t really like the grilled meat ball as it is too sweet for me, but it is always fun to try new food, right? The meat ball soup served here is better, I think.
The food stall is located at Pahlawan Trip street, near the Ijen area. Overall, the place is clean and the price is worthed, so just give it a try and enjoy Malang speciality food :-)

7. Toko Oen During colonial times, Malang is awarded as the loveliest town at East Java. Until now, you will easily find places with Dutch atmosphere around Malang, one of them is Toko Oen. This Dutch cafĂ© is famous for its homemade ice cream and bakery. Visit here for an afternoon break at Malang. The ice cream quite expensive range around Rp20,000 – Rp50,000 but the taste is real good.

8. Inggil Restaurant
Aside from an ordinary restaurant, Inggil provides Javanese food and oldies atmosphere. The food tastes good, especially the mango chilly, but most of all what makes this restaurant extraordinary is it has pictures of old advertising and pictures hanging on the wall and antique stuffs like old radio, gramophone, and other stuffs. The price is not very expensive around Rp30,000/person. This restaurant is located at Jl. Gajah Mada No.4.

9. Sentra Keripik Tempe
Last but not least, you must visit this place to buy gifts for people at home. It is located at Jl. Sanan and there are many stores which sell almost the same items. The biggest one and located on the street side is Lancar Jaya. While others which is also famous and not very far from the street is Burung Swari. Price at each store may slightly difference but no bargain is allowed. You’ll find keripik tempe, keripik buah, bakpia and other snacks of Malang specialties. Price of the keripik is ranging from Rp6,000 – Rp15,000.
So I think that’s all about Malang. I will put separate blog entry for information of Bromo. Just wait for my next writing,ok?!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Learn to Speak Few Japanese Phrases

As you know, Japanese people highly appreciate their language, even more than English as International language. Hence, when you're in Japan, if you say in English, "Do you speak Japanese?" do not confuse when they have "No" as the answer.
So I recommended you to learn some basic Japanese phrase before you travel to Japan. Here are some useful words and phrases:
Notes: Remember that Japanese pronunciation is more like Indonesian than English, example: "A" is pronounced as "A" not "Ei" as in English.
Yes = Hai

No = Iie (it sounds like: iiiie)

Thank you = Domo Arigato

Thank you very much = Arigato gozaimasu

You're welcome = Douitashimashite

Excuse me = sumimasen

Goodbye = Sayonara

Good morning = Ohaiyo gozaimasu

Good afternoon = Konichiwa

Good evening = Konbanwa

Good night = Oyasuminasai

I don't understand = Wakarimasen (read: wa ka ri ma seng)

Japanese = Nihongo (read: ni hong go)

I don't understand Japanese = Nihongo wakarimasen

How do you say this in English? = Kore wa Nihongo de nan to iimasuka?

Do you speak English = Eigo o hanashimasuka? (read: ei-go-o-ha-na-si-mas-ka?)

What is your name? = Anata no namae wa nan desuka?

Nice to meet you. = O-ai dekite ureshii desu.

How are you? = Ogenki des ka?

Onegai shimasu = please *
We can use this to order food, ask for help, etc. You can also use "kudasai" for ordering something. Example you want to order mineral water, you'll say "Mizu kudasai". "Kudasai" is used more in sentences.

Where is ... = ..., doko desuka?
For example you want to ask, "where is the toilet?". Toilet is "otearai". So you'll say: "Otearai wa doko desuka?"

What is this? = kore wa nani desuka?

How much is this? = kore wa ikura desuka?

For more phrases and words and how to pronounce them, please see this videos from Yuu Asakura, I think her video is very helpful to learn basic Japanese quickly :)

Have fun learning Japanese!