East Java: Charm At Height

East Java: Charm at Height

As many may believe, I'm so much addicted to turquoise shallow water bank, I couldn't agree more. My last trip to home island where addiction have been hailed by three-week straight long vacation at the end comes to end as this small 72-seated turboprop is just right away to take off, leaving the runway alone bordered by no far white shorelines in the north. I'm heading to the sky but the sight down there still remains clear, just like sparkling sea today in a very good afternoon weather.

Garuda Explore turboprop ATR72-600 at Sultan Muhammad Kaharuddin III Airport of Sumbawa
Transiting at Lombok International Airport for three hours could be that so boring. Although, thanks to good 3G internet connection -in spite of desperate deactivated free WiFi at waiting room at that time- that keeps my device firmly clutched in my hand, surfing on the bookmarked webs, reading news online, even sometimes juggling myself in super epic Logo Quiz and Geography Quiz, are kind of pain-killers that may charm every gloomy boring moment at airport. Some other passengers decide to have a perfect end-holiday nap as they might be infinitely drowning in a dream of dream like Inception scene, expecting Monday would return a decade later from now on. Unfortunately all the dreams out of the blue cease when a warm announcement informed by a pretty girl next to the gate ask all passengers bound for Surabaya queuing for boarding pass check before entering the aircraft. Bang!

Upon arrival at Juanda Inernational Aiport of Surabaya, nothing much to do but immediately getting on a minivan for IDR 90,000 to Malang, a growing tourism city two-hour away in the south.
(Notice that $1=IDR 13,600)

It has been the third time of mine visiting this "Kota Bunga", for the same reason: wandering for no reason. Well, I just aim to trek on Mount Bromo for this moment. There is always new impression toward the city, not only for its growing popularity for study destination but also the fast growing number of newly built attraction at its altitude. And at this time "Museum Angkut" is on my random random list. Checked!


At 685 m above sea level, based on information displayed somewhere at observatory tower, Museum Angkut is situated. And at this height, no wonder a wonderful panoramic view could be easily captured through lens. Not to mention the very well designed and managed duplicated urban streets of some renowned cityscapes, the well refurnished retro cars, wheel race track, and some more attractions are well paid off with only IDR 90,000. (For conversion in USD please refer to previous currency exchange rate, I'm not much interested in discussion about the rate these days as weakening Rupiah is unfortunately still plummeting and have no idea when rebound put back)

Mount Bromo

I google out somewhat how to access the infamous awe-striking mountain, Mount Bromo, from the town. My search finally ends up on Backpackers Borneo , a Borneo-based trip organizer with branch office in Malang. As they offer very reasonable fare for one-day Bromo trip, I immediately contact the due person and confirming my book. Luckily I'm in, considering it should be booked at least a week in advance, and thus joining other 8 subscribers who happen coming from Jakarta. I met these new fellows at night by Taman Balai Kota where 4-wheeler is parked over there, an off-road use ride that will take us to the next level of journey. I'm so much excited and expecting this trip would be that as extreme as the ride might seem.


Three-hour long midnight trip reaching the top could be that darn sleepy. Though, thanks to the cowardly frigid weather and steep trekking route that inevitably makes me juggled with curious mind over self-convo "Hey, how long anymore would it take to witness the beautiful sunrise?". Hold on, no pain no gain! At the end, a flash of illuminating orange-yellowing ray over the east is likely to appear. Spectators are lining up already up there, some are just too excited. Local and foreigners mingle in deep curiosity, witnessing the first spectrum of hopeful ray could be something like "practicing ancient Egyptian religion, Ra is coming down onto Sahara, May glory be with Him, hail!". And yes, I am among the crowd and the synchronized vibe is on.
Right down there, a majestic cohort of remnants of ancient mega eruption dating back then in the long past, roundabout volcano with skyclimbing sulphurous fog is definitely unresisting attention, well, I can say one of world's rare splendors. Mount Bromo is no less than God's finest creature, on the other hand, it is where the priest of Tengger's Hindu lay down hope of perpetual Deity's bless upon the Tenggerese and their mother nature.



Too bad, I miss Kasada, a sacred religious sacrifice ceremony of Hindu Tengger who devote offers to Sang Hyang Widhi, which was held just a day before, definitely not a serendipity. However, I can clearly still overlook and hopefully feel the nuance of celebration through the Tenggerese themselves who pass by with offers in their hand. And one robust standing Hindu pura beneath  feet of the mountain over there, is a center of spirit that solemnly shares yesterday devoting prayer to its visitors.



Not far from the ridge complex, lush savanna by the hill and "whipering sands" are two must-to-visit points. Forget about driving/riding license, I try to ride cross-country motobike cruising the strikingly vast black dessert, meanwhile my friend driving effortlessly 4-wheel drive at up-to-you speed. And we could be that wild at acceleration, no rules applied. Don't try this at home!



Enjoy your ride!

I'm Simply Back

You might be wondering why I have been - after few months - out of dashboard, no blog entries, no updates. No need to defend myself but deliberately explaining in detail in timeline of what have been happening or I have been doing could be sufficient answer, assuming those wouldn't be excuses, I expect. No worries, some photos of my trip in the upcoming post featured with its aligned description, I wish, could calm everything down.

My last blog entry was on February, quite long ago. It was exactly 6 moths back or in the word I can say "Half year and pretending nothing happened!". Not until someone on Facebook shared an article "Why you should write even if you think nobody is reading", bang and I should be back!


I have no idea how March treated me and having no exact description how to help you figuring out what was happening as the earth keeps rotating as usual, just a firm reminder of trip in Japan exactly 4 years ago, when earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern part of Honshu Island (March 2011). In addition, few days of March were full of preparation for my Master degree application.


Moving out to capital Jakarta until May as I got job offer working as a temp for one most renowned Boston-based consulting firm. April, I could say, the best part of working experience. Joining a small team consisted of accomplished colleagues with top-notch MBA degree from world's best university, namely Harvard, Columbia, Kellogg of Northwestern, was my leapfrog in attempt of stepping into professional career. Moreover, it was the moment I learned a lot about business case and efficiently professional teamwork. 

Surprisingly, April appeared to be a friendly month. A week after I submited my application for master degree program, a good early April in the morning I got notified and sent an LoA from one university in the Netherlands stating that I was accepted to join its master class focusing on Environmental Sciences in upcoming winter 2016. 


Work, work, work it out, ouch!


June happened to be turning point, continuing my work as research assistant as I was normally doing. Arranging and conducting interviews with stakeholders at some institutions in capital Jakarta, pushing daily ridership by commuter train and public bus (integrated BRT) for Bogor-Jakarta route, not to mention the crazy traffic jam as it has been long time assumed "normal situation", were kind of June. Don't forget about a not-so-appealing-birthday with no cake, no candle, no party but lying on curvy bed. Putting my head in a bid of expecting-perfect-rest but happened to be headache.


Trip itinerary and ready for escaping off the beaten track!
Stay tuned on upcoming post(s)!

Guide: How To Fly Across the Archipelago Without Pair of Wings?

For those who are currently residing or frequently commuting to or from capital Jakarta, recent days might be not as pleasant as usual. After a couple days ago city of more than 10 million was awarded the worst traffic jam on this planet (read), now the Indonesia's biggest city is facing another classical issue, flood. There is no much to do but enjoying the dramatically make-over change of the city fa├žade, setting louder music on earphone amidst honking cab, and of course, submerging into fiesta of auto cabaret. If you are brave enough, take a deep dive and voila, swimming into the inundated surface.

Jaw-dropping or frowning? Forget about fiesta in the city as the sparkling roadway and high-rise buildings are just too illuminating and tricky that may beguile you. It may lead you to jeopardizing hypocrisy toward formidably believing that perfect metropolis does really exist meanwhile conspicuously you are driving at less than 10 km/hour. But, too early to give a mark until you take on an airplane and escaping far away through the nearest runway.

There is no sin to say "so long" to this beloved capital city for a short while, until you know where to land safely and sound and head to. For some inquiries I have been accustomed being asked, "How far from Jakarta to X city/town? How long does it take?". In fact X city/town does not exist on this vast archipelago, or perhaps it does, somewhere over there I have never traced through with scrutiny.

Intentionally I was googling on Google Image in order to find some assorted maps that represent the near alike figure of Indonesia landscape all well-overlaid with flight map and legend. Non sequitur. Rather than displaying what I requested in search bar, it came out with a suggestion "Did you mean: Indonesia flood?". No thanks. I'm done. One taken from Wiki archive and another one of ASEAN map from a blog, I think two are enough. The rest I have had Photoshopped and little touch of Ms.Excel to work out and done. The result as follows. Voila!

In order to make a perfect escape, there should be planned in advance with very detailed preparation, so that everything would incur as expected. Nonetheless, it would be more perfect - as if perfect is not superlative but exponentially unlimited - to randomly hop an airplane as on 2012 movie before the last runway damaged. Either escape away to sunny beach or serene mountain, it all is up to you and your available budget as long as you don't mind not pirating and taking control over cockpit. 

The photoshopped figure above were purposedly made to allude to designated final destinations available to be visited before doomsday in the archipelago, either from the currently 12th busiest airport in the world, Soekarno-Hatta international Airport or the classical least popular Halim Perdana Kusuma airport at heart of lately inundated city.

And here we go!

First, define the category of place or natural landscape you would like to leave for.

  • "Let's go the beach, beach, beach!" Well. If you have come up with this option, then all colors deserve every point of your interest and ready to kneel you down for very confusing choice. Every destination from A to AD offers formidable sand (pink, white, black, pepper-like), sunbeam, or stuffs acquainted to sea. Most of Indonesia's capital provinces are just nowhere but next door to blue or turquoise sea. You name it.
  • "We are the champions, my friend" If you think yourself is being possessed by Queens' spirit and animating yourself stranded doing yoga at peak of mountain. Then let the captain knows. He/She will navigate you off to now fortunately relieving options. Let me give you a clue. Pick city D, N, O, P, G, and AD in your bucket list, they are easily to be discovered and just no far from nearest formidable mountains namely Merapi, Semeru, Bromo, Gunung Agung, Rinjani, Bukit Barisan, and last but not least the awesome snow-covered Jayawijaya in the easternmost province.
  • Why only staring at the sea? As long as wave is still wavy, don't take chance for granted. Do surfing instead!. Pointing out the alphabet could be as darn-easy as tracing down the southernmost spot. City such as Q, G, F, O, P, and AB has it all for wave bender. Thanks to Poseidon deep down in Hindia Ocean for rippling sea to travel off shoreline that remains friendly yet challenging wave. South wins!
  • Put your own category or drop me a message.

Secondly, if you unfortunately happen to have or potentially to have air-sickness talent within an half hour. Hold on! Put your bag on overhead storage and grab airsickness bag right in front of you then puke elegantly as (pretendedly) nobody  knows, even person next to your seat. Take the shorter trip as possible, my suggestion goes to black zone, still worthwhile though.

Thirdly, flying within archipelago could be so expensive? Taking much time particularly escaping to red and purple region? Or you might wonder how to escape away through passing by yellow line legally at the expense of costly smile of immigration officer? Take a look on below map. Then let yourself stranded in neighboring countries. Be cool and swag as they might not know your city is being inundated.

Fourth, bear in mind that blue icon means you may take on an airplane without making transit, just go straight instead.

  • Looking for the nearest one? Go straight to Singapore then. Slurp Merlion's fountain water as much as you could but don't die there.
  • Want to hone your Malay language skill instead of your proficient Bahasa Indonesia? Call Mr.Tony Fernandez to help you booking his plane, then fly to KL. Another one? Fly to northern tip of Borneo island where yellow is a sacred color. Brunei will definitely welcome you with relentlessly abundant appetizer.
  • Sunbeam is just too intense, how about shiny in the night? Ask captain to navigate you away to Bangkok and landing right in Patpong without being injured. Don't forget to ask stewardess to prepare parachute in advance.
  • Having undoubtedly proficient skill in accountancy? Why not counting islands in the Philippines if you are too tired of counting your dollars Rupiah. If only it still causes you weary, take a peaceful rest (not rest in peace) under coconut trees. Take an airplane to Manila now!
  • Saigon or Ho Chi Minh city? "What's in a name?" asked Shakespeare. It's Vietnam and say Xin Chao. What are you waiting for? Pack your bag, sit down relax and fasten your seatbelt, say "Xin Chao". Vietnam is waiting.
  • "Black, black, black and blue". And don't ever you dare to throw your grenade! Yangon, Vientiane, Phnom Penh and Hanoi are the furthest by far. Not because they are literally far but it forces you to make a stopover before your escape mission is successfully accomplished. Unfortunately Mr.Pilot can't help you much to drop you by at each of these cities directly as Jakarta is not directly connected to. Unless you rent a super expensive private jet like a boss.

Lastly, not only "but not least", it is urgently important instead to be addressed. If you are still unable to secure a booking one of opportunities offered in order to escape away from this semi-exceptionally ordinary metropolis, due to budget constraint, busy being labor force, etc. Rather than complaining much, close the door and engross beneath blanket. Sleep and keep dreaming until water will have receded. Honking cab and its siren will be an alarm when you wake up some times later. Let the airplanes do their business as usual.