{ a perpetual goodwill and beautiful thinking }

Belitung Weekend Getaway Journal #3: East Belitung and Beyond


The last part of my Belitung Weekend Getaway is here! Sigh. Writing a consistent travel journal feels so excruciating for a procrastinating expert like me... But anyway, enjoy this very last part of it! For the third day of my trip, I went to several places in Eastern Belitung such as temples and some Belitung favourite landmarks thanks to Laskar Pelangi movie that popularised them! Belitung beaches and islands might be the best I ever visited but these places should be on the list too, if you had either watched or read Andrea Hirata's masterpieces.

It took a quite long time to travel from my hotel to East Belitung, due to my hotel location which was a little bit more secluded than the other hotels (that were located near the capital Tanjung Pandan), but the road's pretty smooth and I almost never found any other car (thanks to travelling while not in high or peak season!). By the way, there are lots of things we encounter that were not captured on camera such as Masjid Al-Ikhlas Sijuk, the oldest mosque in Belitung that were built in 1817, and a village named Balitung which is consisted of immigrants from Bali.

Then, in around an hour, we arrived in the very first destination we had today: Vihara Dewi Kwam Im, the biggest and the oldest temple in East Belitung located on the top of a hill. It was Saturday and there are plenty people who were doing their worship there so I guess it'll be great if we keep quiet and respect them by giving them some space. And took some quite snaps before we go. Hehe. 

Short snap before we go-o!

Stairway to nirvana.

Then, we went to Burung Mandi beach, located not far from the temple we visited before. It's quite a relaxing place to chill on every weekend, and I can see some locals having their lunch here or just sitting around. I can tell the locals were just back from the temple and currently having some leisure time with their family and friends. The weather that day were as good as I had on the second day, so it's a really perfect time to sit around at the beach.

From where I sit.

And then, we went to Bukit Manggar, a place where we can enjoy some amazing sceneries from the top of the hill. By the way, Mas Ipit made us see the politician Yusril Ihza Mahendra's house and a whole beach named after him, which didn't interest me at all. (I'm just not that enthusiastic with politics and all of those havocs in Indonesia's politics system. Hahaha)

The next place we went to was Kampoeng Ahok, which is basically just a signage where you can took photographs with to show your support to current Jakarta governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama a.k.a Ahok. Since my grandma's a big supporter of him, it would be nice to linger for some quite time awhile in this place and take some snaps.  

Oh my God! I've been in Kampoeng Ahok!

There is a house behind the signage that sold several merchandise related to Ahok, and if you're Teman Ahok, please do have a visit! And, Ahok's house is located across the street and you can visit the house anytime by filling the guest book. (Mas Ipit said Ahok will read the guest book if he's back in his house. So, he will read my writings, then? Hmmm...) We took several photos in front of Ahok's house, and the housekeeper took us to a donkey barn which belongs to Ahok's younger brother, who is currently the regent of East Belitung.

In front of Ahok's house.

The donkey won't let me pat its head. What an ass. Hahaha!

The next part that were in the itinerary is everything related to Laskar Pelangi, which I love. One of many reason I decided to have a trip to Belitung is my fondness to Andrea Hirata's works. (I recently read Dwilogi Padang Bulan and Ayah!) Anyway, the first place I visited was the lesser known replica of SD Muhammadiyah Gantong. There were absolutely no one else beside us that day, so it was a complete opportunity for us to take as many photos as possible. Aside from the school replica, there is also a traditional house of Belitung we can took photos with.

Here it is. The traditional house of Belitung.

And this is the lesser-known replica of SD Muhammadiyah Gantong plus the author.

Not far from the lesser-known school replica is the coziest and homiest museum I ever visited, Museum Kata Andrea Hirata. It is the first and currently the only literary museum in Indonesia, built in 2010. All I can say about Andrea Hirata from this museum is he's so artsy judging by lots of murals and wall hanging inside the museum, and also a hoarder like I do. (Proud hoarder typing here. Hehehe)

A snap before going in never hurt.

Me, being fascinated by words of Andrea Hirata.

In front of many editions of Laskar Pelangi. That little guy looks like he's peeking on me. Haha.


Words to live by. 
I am just fascinated by the floor.

My favourite spot for the museum!

There's this corner at the museum where they sell Belitung's well known coffee. I ordered a coffee plus condensed milk and it tasted good! And they also provide a small post office at the other corner that will send you postcards if you purchase them!

The lovely traditional coffee maker.

The postcard that I sent to myself arrived at my door around two weeks after I got back from the trip.

After spending some few times in the museum, it's time to move on to the next destination: The much more known replica of SD Muhammadiyah Gantong! It's actually just a spot where you can took some photographs to proof to the world that you've visited Belitung, but it's still worthy enough to visit!

Am I good enough being a teacher? Hahaha.

Obligatory photo.

Mas Ipit's such a creative guide! He found a random hole to snapped this fancy photograph!

We're being punished to stand near the flag pole. Hahaha.

Our journey on East Belitung finally ended. But wait, there's more to explore... In the capital Tanjung Pandan itself! We then went to this beautiful Kaolin Lake to enjoy some quite a view. 

Kaolin Lake was formed because of tin exploitation they made back then. But we never thought it could be this beautiful!

Some substances caused this lake to be this colour.

I jumped the fences to get this photo. Hahaha.

Next, we headed to Tanjung Kelayang beach to see the sunset. It was a bit cloudy so the sunset was not really clear enough for us to see. But it's alright. Belitung is still a beautiful place, isn't it?

The sunset marked the end of my trip in Belitung. Sad!

There's still more to explore in Tanjung Pandan, tho. We had Belitung noodle at Belitung's most favourite place, Mie Atep. Belitung noodle is a noodle dish served with fish cakes, shrimp, potatoes, cucumbers, and emping (melinjo crackers). The broth is thick and tasted a little bit sweet, so I put a lot of hot sauce to get rid of the sweetness! Overall, it's a perfect dish to enjoy and a must eat in Belitung!

Yum!!!

We had another Belitung coffee and shopped some souvenirs before heading back to the hotel. Back in the hotel, we packed our bags and in the meantime, I walked around the hotel. The sky was clear that night I saw the stars. Sigh. Belitung. A beautiful place. 

"Will I come back here?" I wish!


The very last photo I took for Snapchat before I leave.

Belitung Weekend Getaway Journal:

Belitung Weekend Getaway Journal #2: Island Hopping


Finally the second part of Belitung Weekend Getaway journal! I've been wondering if I could ever finish this journal because of my sudden 'preparation' for my 3 months internship, from making portfolio, contacting companies, interviews, and so on. But since I have this really spare time in the weekend, I decided to finish what I start! I won't write as much as the first part, but there will be lots more photos in this post! So, here we go.

As I told you before, I spent the second day of my trip for island hopping. At first I was kinda afraid the weather will be not good enough for us to travel from islands to islands, but thank God it was sunny when the day came! We headed to Tanjung Kelayang beach in the morning around 9 AM to rent a boat. The first destination for the island hopping adventure is one of the finest islands in Belitung, Lengkuas Island. It rained for several minutes on our way to the island, but it doesn't matter and it's not too risky as long the boat will not getting to bumpy. After 30 minutes travelling with boat, we arrived at the island!

First photo I snapped by the time we arrived at Lengkuas Island!

There were group of granite rocks at the edge of the island, and it was a great place to snap some photographs. Mas Ipit told me to climb the group of rocks, which was a little bit slippery on that day. I was so afraid I slip and fall from the rocks (which means I could be severely injured or maybe even worse) but thankfully I could managed to jumped all over the rocks to snap some beautiful sceneries.

The photo result! I look kinda fat here. D'oh.

And... If you're lucky enough for climbing all of those rocks, you'll find a hidden paradise between the rocks! It's some kind of pool that were formed with giant rocks surrounding them. I felt like swimming in a hot spring in Japan! Hahaha.

Happines #1

Happiness #2. The water's so clear! Too good to be true!

Happiness #3. Plus the lighthouse at the background.

Happiness #4. Mas Ipit told me to do some splashing hands movement. Hahaha.

After finishing my business in my 'private' pool, it's time to climb the lighthouse to enjoy Lengkuas Island from the height! The lighthouse is 18 stories and consisted of around 300 steps. And by the way, the lighthouse is named L. I. Enthoven lighthouse, built in 1883 while Indonesia was East Indies.

18 stories was a little bit tiring, but look at the view...

Beautiful view #1. Lengkuas Island from the above is surely breathtaking. Notice my 'private' pool I was there before.

Beautiful view #2. White sand, clear water, with some hint of coral reefs beneath.

Beautiful view #3 plus the writer.

The surrounding sea of Lengkuas Island is also known for its diving spot, with beautiful coral reefs beneath. I tried snorkelling in this spot with the help of Mas Ipit and friends.

The writer tries to snorkel. I tied my hair into an awkward looking bun to keep my diving goggle intact. Maybe I should consider buying a swimming cap? Hahaha.

By the time I finished snorkelling, it was noon. We headed to the nearby island, Kepayang/ Gede/ Babi island to have lunch. This is the only restaurant in the area, and we required to pay IDR 15,000 to enter the restaurant, whether we order foods or not. I ate instant noodle for lunch because I've been craving for one since yesterday. I also ordered some fried bananas for nibbles.

The view from the restaurant.

Some other view of Kepayang Island.

There should be other two other destination for today's island hopping adventure, but due to the high tide, I couldn't visit Pasir Island. So, Batu Berlayar Island will be my last place to visit for today's activity. The island consisted of many giant rocks, so it looks a floating rocks in the middle of the sea.

Posing like a mermaid. Hahaha.

And another swimming session.

If you're lucky enough, you might find some starfishes lingering by the beach. You can take some nice photos with starfishes! And if you're going to swim, it's probably going to be safer if you avoid rocks that have shells and clams on it. They're sharp and can cut your skin easily! Plus, be careful with the wet rocks, you might slip like I do. Hahaha.

It was almost sunset when we finished the island hopping session and it was time for a rest back to the hotel. We're so tired we didn't go anywhere for dinner and ordered dinner to our room. It was probably one of the best island hopping experience I ever had. Probably someday, I'll go back here.

And I called it a day for the second day of Belitung weekend getaway. Stay tuned for the third and the last part of the journal!

Belitung Weekend Getaway Journal:

Belitung Weekend Getaway Journal #1: Arrival and Tanjung Tinggi Beach


Note: It's almost two weeks since my departure to Belitung and I haven't post any single trip journal as I promised in here. Oh no, I'm so sorry. Last week and earlier in this week had been so hectic for me to open this blog (And I'll make another 'Life Lately' post after finishing the travel journal, hehehe). So... Here it is! I hope you'll enjoy reading the story. By the way, happy total solar eclipse for some parts in Indonesia, including Belitung!

As I stated in two previous posts, I recently had another weekend getaway with my mom plus grandma to Belitung, an island located in the east of Sumatra Island, and a part of Bangka-Belitung province in Indonesia Republic. The island is well known for its beautiful scenery, as seen in movies based on Andrea Hirata's best-selling novels such as Laskar Pelangi, and Sang Pemimpi. And... The island was also known for its stannary and had extremely rich tin resources.

I booked an early flight to Tanjung Pandan on the 25th of February, so I had to get up at around 4 AM to get ready to the airport. Everything goes well in the airport, I bought Yann Martel's The High Mountains of Portugal as my travel companion, and boarded to the aircraft on time. I had some kind of bad feeling due to the rainy weather that day and I checked the weather in Belitung to found out there will be several thunderstorms for the next 2 days. I was kinda pessimistic for this trip, hoping there will be some chances for me to enjoy some lively weather in Belitung.


The flight was 40 minutes, which I was so surprised because I can't believe Belitung island is nearer to Jakarta than Bali! That explains why plane tickets to Tanjung Pandan is a lot more affordable than to Denpasar. 40 minutes was such a short time for a flight, so it was almost time for landing, but then suddenly the flight attendant told us that the plane couldn't make it to Tanjung Pandan due to the storm that happened at the airport so the plane should take a quick landing to the nearest airport, Palembang. I heard that the minimum visibility required for landing is 400 metres, so I guess it was an unpleasant weather we had there in Tanjung Pandan.

I expect everyone will be mad by the time we knew we should land in Palembang. But, we cheered and I heard some ladies shouted "Pempek!!!", and soon this will be the most memorable thing I ever encounter while being in an airplane. Soon, the plane arrived at Palembang, and we stayed there for almost an hour. I saw people rushing to the nearest pempek store in the airport, while I was eating my fried chicken (I didn't really crave for some pempek that day, haha). The weather's getting better, time to continue the journey to Tanjung Pandan. It took us another 30 minutes to Tanjung Pandan and yes, we landed successfully. There was still a bit of rain when I finally set my foot in the airport. It was around 1 PM.

For this trip, we were guided with Mas Ipit. He was such a great guide, and took a lot of great photos (I should thank him and mentioned this in my blog because he really was!). Our first destination after we arrived in Belitung is our hotel. We booked a hotel in the Northern Belitung which called Lorin (The same one they had in Solo my hometown!). I chose this place to stay in Belitung for it's location that are a little bit secluded than the other hotels in Belitung. It's located near Tanjung Tinggi beach and Tanjung Kelayang beach, which are two important beaches you have to visit while having your trip to Belitung. Plus, the hotel have its own private beach!

Anyway, due to being in its low season, I booked the hotel in a really low and affordable price at booking.com! Remember to always check on low prices and deals for plane tickets and hotel rooms for you all aspiring backpackers, solo travellers, or how do you define yourself as a traveller!

After taking some time to rest a bit, it's time for adventure! The first place we went in Belitung is Tanjung Tinggi beach, or you may know it as Laskar Pelangi Beach. Just as its name, this beach was featured in Laskar Pelangi, a novel based from Andrea Hirata's novel by the same title. It was 5 PM and the weather was a little bit drizzling, but we still enjoyed the majestic view of giant granite rocks, white sand, and pristine water.

Look on how gigantic those rocks are!

This beach can be reached with a little bit trick. By the way, the beach was not on its perfect condition because of the weather and the month I was there. During February, the west wind was blowing, so there will be LOTS of thunderstorms and the beach will be filled with lots of seaweed.

Rock climbing session resulted in these beautiful shots. The rocks can be a little bit slippery when it's raining. So be careful!


A view from Tanjung Kelayang beach. Lots of boats were here, and you can see a nearby island, Garuda Island. It is named Garuda Island because of the shape of the rocks that resembling the shape of Garuda bird's head and beak.

A mandatory photo in front of a sign that implies I'm actually here. Hahaha.

Another part of Tanjung Kelayang beach.

We walked across the beach until the sun finally set. I was so tired and hungry, so we decided that it was time for dinner. We went to a seaside small restaurant called 'Benaria' restaurant, and ordered some seafoods. Belitung's traditional food is named 'Gangan Ketarap', made from Ketarap fish and extremely rich in spices. The food was served with thick broth and pineapples were added in the soup. The pineapples gave me such a tropical feeling when I tasted the meal! Yum! The other foods we ordered were grilled fish, fried shrimps, and Cah Kangkung. And, we ordered Jeruk Kunci for the drink. Obviously, it was made from a type of orange (or lime) named Jeruk Kunci, and the taste was sweet and fresh. By the way, Jeruk Kunci will be my obligatory drink for the next 2 days in Belitung, hehehe.

Tasty!


After stuffed with seafoods, I decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel. I slept earlier because I'm going to do island hopping on the second day in Belitung (in which I'll write in the second Belitung Weekend Getaway Journal #2!).

Have you ever been to Belitung before? Share your stories with me! I'll be very happy to hear some stories and even share you my experience while being there. See you in the next post!

Belitung Weekend Getaway Journal: