The Couple’s Road Trips preparation!

Welcome to the summer holiday!

For those who are living in a tropical country, maybe summer holiday is definitely not a special thing to do, simply because we have the sun all year.

But not here in France. Since I am living here, I found that holiday is very very important for French people (or European in general), especially during summer. Usually, they already plan a few months ahead to plan for summer holidays, either they will travel around France or overseas.

And this year will be the first summer holiday that I will spend with my husband and his family. Although, this is not the first vacation with my husband, because this past few years we spent the holiday together in Indonesia. What makes this summer holiday feels special because we will do our first road trip to several cities of France and Switzerland, by using train and bus!

What I mean with a road trip here, it is not like what Keluarga Belo did with their campervan (For those who did not know, they are Indonesian Youtubers, if only you watch their Youtube channel), we are not that rich anyways, but we will visit some cities where our friends and family who lives both in France and Switzerland.

Maybe some of you already know that in 2016 I lived in Geneva for 3 months for my fellowship. Since then, there is always a love and hate relationship with this city.

Well, anyways. In this blog post, I would like to share with you things that we have to prepare for our summer road trips! Since we will leave our apartment for one month, so we have to be prepared more.

What do you mean prepare more? Since we live in Rouen only two of us, no maid, no family, having friends and neighbours are very important! Why I said that? You will find the answer below.  

Disclaimer. Even the title is about the holiday, we will still keep busy with our works. My husband will keep busy working on his thesis and I will keep busy with editing videos for vlogs (subscribe to my Youtube channel), writing on blog post also writing on my special project.

Can we do it all during our holiday? Bismillah, let see!

So what we have to prepare?

1. Decide which transportation will you use? Book and buy!

First thing first, either by plane, train, bus or car, you have to decide which transport you will use during the holiday. But in our case, most of the times we both always prefer to go either by train or by bus, so we can enjoy the scenery. Since we will travel to some cities in France, before we will go to Geneva, we are checking which train and bus will be cheaper to go to the destinations. Most of the times, we are avoiding to buy tickets during the weekend (to go or to return), because usually, it will be more expensive. The same as the bus, during this trip, we will try to go by bus which will be more than 3 hours drive, which is challenging! But the good thing using the bus in France (or Europe) for a long trip, they have pretty comfortable bus seats (spacious space, socket and WiFi!).

The best thing to do in advance is also to compare the ticket price either by train, bus, hitchhike car or plane before you go.

2. Where you will go and stay? Draft your itinerary!

Since most of our trips actually to visit friends and families, so we do not have to worry about a place to stay, except our destination to Geneva. We will stay in my husband’s friend place in Dijon, the grandma in Nouan-le-Fuzelier, in the villa booked by my mother-in-law in Bretagne and in Geneva, we have found our host to live few days from Couchsurfing!

Been a long time since I join with Couchsurfing and I was stopped to use it for the past few years, finally, I decided to re-active it again (and changed the name with my husband) and also open request for the traveller who needs a place to stay in our apartment (say Hi to us here!).

Drafting itinerary always fun for me! But we will only draft an itinerary maybe for Dijon and Geneva, because the other places are planned by the grandma and the mother of my husband, so basically we just need to enjoy and relaxing. But for those, who love surprises and challenges, you may also can do or go to some places which not in your itinerary or plan yet.

So do what is good for you and your partner (or friend)!

3. Check which places you want to visit

Wants to go to museum? Park? Hiking in the mountain? Check places you want to go through the internet first! So you know which day they usually open, what time they will open and close, how much the ticket price, etc. Because some of places, either in Europe or France, will close every Monday or Tuesday. So, check it carefully and decide where to go with your partner, prioritize which places you really want to go first, how long you will stay there and… ENJOY!

4. Weather-check!

Even sometimes weather forecast not always right, but at least it’s good to know the temperature in places you will visit, whether it will be very hot, raining, windy, etc. Why? So you will know what kind of clothes that you will use and bring to that place. Whatever the weather forecast said about the weather, always be prepared your raincoat, umbrella and scarf!

5. Get set, rolling and… packing!

Bag pack is always a good idea and very practical! But, since we will leave for a month and I don’t really have a big bag pack, so we decided to bring one suitcase and two bag packs which we will bring by ourselves (coz we both will bring our laptop!). Don’t forget to make a packing-list, so you will not forget to bring essential things which you will definitely need when you travel.

My packing list!

Rolling, rolling, rolling… I always rolls my shirts, dresses, pyjamas, shorts, etc, if I want to do packing, it’s not because it will saving more space, but also it just looks RIGHT and well-packed. Since my husband will bring a lot of books for his research thesis and me with my essential girl things plus my camera gears, so we decided to bring one suitcase to put our clothes, toiletries and books. So we just put our laptop, charger and journal in our bag pack.

Since its summer, I will not forget my lifesaver: suncream & face spray

6. Clean the apartment and then?

Another important thing to do is… to leaves your apartment in a clean and neat condition. Moreover, if you will leave it more than a month. Why? Because you just feel better when you know and make sure all things are clean when you leave and when you will be back again from holiday. No dirty dishes, no dirty kitchen, leave the refrigerator empties, empty the trash bin, no dirty bathroom and bedroom, etc… all things should be very clean! It’s actually up to you, but we prefer that way.

7. Checking all your electricity, gas and water on the day you will leave also very important! So you will not waste it if you will leave it for long time. We also ask a help to our neighbour to taking care our plants while we will have vacation, last but not least… LOCK YOUR WINDOWS AND DOOR!

… and let’s GO!

Happy holiday all!

9 Tips Jalan-jalan ke Versailles, Paris di Perancis

Beberapa waktu lalu, saya mengunjungi pacar (sekarang sih udah jadi suami, hehe) di kota Paris. Sebenarnya, suami saya tidak tinggal di Paris nya, tapi lebih ke selatan dari Paris, namanya kota Orléans. Jaraknya sekitar 130 kilometer, kalau naik kereta intercity sekitar 1 jam dari Paris. Tapi waktu itu kita nebeng di apartemen sepupunya yang berada di kota Paris, jadi biar kemana-mana juga lebih dekat. Semenjak pertama kali ke Paris tahun 2015 lalu, emang sebenarnya udah pengen banget ke Versailles, ya udah ada di bucket list banget deh intinya. Tapi waktu itu karena waktunya juga gak banyak, cuma 2 malam di Paris, jadi ya skipped dulu deh sambil harap-harap bisa berkesempatan lagi untuk balik ke Paris.

Dan, alhamdulillah, ternyata benar-benar dikasih kesempatan dan rezeki lagi, sama orang tersayang pula kesananya! Ihiy. Akhirnya saya membuat itinerary perjalanan selama di Paris selama seminggu lengkap dengan catatan, transportasi, waktu dan semacam what to do selama berkunjung ke tempat-tempat tersebut. Salah satunya, saya bilang saya pengin banget ke istana Versailles!

Apa sih Versailles? Itu dimana? Ada apa aja disana? Terus apa aja yang menarik?

Sebegitu cantiknya ya ❤ Foto dari Pinterest

Sabar, sabar gengs, saya coba jelaskan satu per satu ya.

Bagi yang belum tahu, belum pernah kesana, atau sekadar baru denger soal Versailles. Jadi, Versailles ini dulunya istana dan kediaman utama kerajaan Perancis sejak tahun 1682 di bawah Louis XIV hingga awal Revolusi Perancis pada tahun 1789 di bawah Louis XVI. Dan istana ini menjadi saksi adanya Revolusi Perancis pada zaman itu, dimana Marie Antoinette menjadi salah satu tokoh yang cukup terkenal dan berpengaruh saat itu.

Versailles kini menjadi salah satu situs warisan dunia UNESCO. Biasanya, istana ini digunakan untuk acara-acara penting, seperti; upacara-upacara, Royal Opera dan apartemen kerajaan; untuk apartemen kerajaan seperti Grand Trianon dan Petit Trianon yang terletak di dalam taman; ada juga pedesaan kecil yang dahulu kala sengaja dibuat untuk Marie Antoinette tinggal dan Taman Versailles yang sangat luas dan dilengkapi dengan air mancur, kanal dan kerbun berbunga. Luas seluruh area istana ini sekitar 1.000 hektar. Pokoknya bagi yang pencinta sejarah Eropa, Perancis khususnya, pasti bakalan suka banget sih sama tempat ini! 100% guaranteed.

Look at those ceiling details ❤
Setiap ruangan gaya dan warna wallpapernya beda-beda dan penuh warna, juga dominasi gold. Keren banget ya
The golden gate of Château de Versailles

Nah, jadi di post kali ini, saya mau coba kasih beberapa tips ke teman-teman yang pengin banget ke Paris, tapi bosen kalau cuma stay di kota nya aja, jadi kali ini kita main-main ke Versailles dulu ya. Sebelumnya, ada beberapa hal yang harus diketahui terlebih dahulu:

1. Pilih musim dan waktu yang tepat untuk berkunjung

Musim terbaik untuk mengunjungi Versailles sebenarnya pada musim semi dan panas, karena bunga-bunga bermekaran dan pepohonan akan terlihat sangat cerah dan penuh warna. Walaupun juga harus siap-siap dengan ramainya pengunjung yang datang dari berbagai belahan dunia. Di musim dan waktu tertentu biasanya, area fountain dan taman memiliki beberapa events tersendiri yang bisa di cek disini.

Catat ya, istana Versailles ini tutup setiap hari Senin, Christmas dan Tahun Baru.

The best place to hide, isn’t it? 😀

 2. Baca dan pahami dulu sejarahnya

Lebih baik sebelum kesana ketahui dulu sedikit mengenai latar belakang dan sejarah istana Versailles, jadi semakin bisa meresapi suasana dan cerita dari setiap ruangan di dalam istana. Minimal bisa Googling mengenai sejarahnya, baca beberapa buku, nonton beberapa film yang memang menceritakan atau menyinggung soal sejarah Perancis, berlatarbelakangkan istana Versailles, seperti; Marie Antoinette.

The Hall of Mirrors, galeri pusat istana Versailles yang sempat difungsikan sebagai aula untuk beberapa acara penting keluarga kerajaan

 3. Berangkat pagi atau menginap di kota Versailles?

Sebenarnya ke Versailles itu lebih baik berangkat pagi sekitar jam 7 atau 8 pagi dari Paris, untuk menghindari antrian yang panjang dan udara juga masih sejuk. Terlebih kalau tempat menginap kamu agak jauh dan di pinggir kota Paris, karena waktu tempuh bisa sekitar 1 jam sampai ke Stasiun Versailles Château Rive Gauche.

Atau, kalau memang masih banyak waktu, dan mau mengunjungi istana Versailles dan sekitarnya, bisa menginap 1-2 malam di Versailles village. Suasananya beda banget sama di Paris, kita seperti kembali ke masa lalu, kotanya super indah. Dan ada beberapa pilihan hotel untuk menginap dengan kisaran harga EUR 85/night, kalau mau ada juga kok Air BnB disana dengan harga yang jauh lebih murah di mulai dari EUR 50/night.

Kota Versailles itu emang bagus banget sih, kalau next time ada waktu lebih banyak juga kayaknya saya pengin coba menginap dan eksplor kota kecil ini, di luar dari istana nya yang maha megah.

4. Kenakan baju dan sepatu yang nyaman + gak ribet

Ini juga hal yang penting banget sih, kalau kamu berencana untuk summer kesini, pakai kaos simpel dan jeans udah paling juara. Karena panasnya Paris dan sekitarnya itu juga gak beda jauh sama Jakarta, bedanya less pollution aja sih paling. Terus, karena kalian pasti akan banyak jalan kaki dari stasiun ke istana dan keliling taman Versailles, paling the best ya pakai sneakers! Untuk perempuan-perempuan, I definitely will say no to high heels, stiletto, even flat shoes or whatever it is. Karena secapek itu gengs jalannya, percayalah Versailles gedeeeeeee banget.

Berjalan di sepanjang labirin ini. Kalo ada yang nonton film Parfume, pasti familiar sama labirin ini?

5. Naik RER C, pilihan terbaik dan termurah

Terletak di departemen Yvelines, sekitar 20 kilometer (12 miles) barat daya dari pusat kota Paris, untuk ke Versailles sebenarnya mudah banget! Kalian bisa dengan mudahnya mengakses dengan menggunakan kereta RER C. Untuk mengetahui rute dan stasiunnya dimana saja, bisa dilihat disini. Kereta RER C ini berbeda dengan jalur Metro, jadi pastikan untuk beli tiket di vending machine yang ada di stasiun. Kalau gak salah, tarifnya sekitar 7 euro (PP) dengan lama perjalanan sekitar 1 jam. Saya sarankan sih lebih baik untuk beli langsung PP dari Paris, untuk menghindari antrian lagi saat pulang dari Versailles. Karena biasanya saat menuju kembali ke Paris, di stasiun akhir Versailles Château Rive Gauche itu rame banget, apalagi kalau high season.

6. Jangan lupa bawa bekel makanan dan minuman

Sebenarnya ada restoran, kafe dan tea room yang menjual makanan di istana Versailles, tapi percayalah, mendingan kalian siap-siap untuk bawa beberapa makanan kecil atau mungkin seperti sandwich, croissant, buah, roti atau lainnya yang mudah dibawa dan dikonsumsi disana. Karena banyak sekali orang-orang yang akhirnya duduk-duduk di tangga bahkan di taman untuk sekadar ‘piknik’ dan menikmati udara yang bersih di Versailles sambil makan siang.

Bassin d’Apollon (French) or Fountain of Apollo (English) di sekitar sinilah rata-rata pengunjung membuat area “piknik” dadakan, sebenarnya ada juga bagian taman lainnya

 7. Jam buka? Tiketnya berapa? Beli Dimana?

Istana mulai dibuka pukul 9 pagi dan tutup jam 6.30 sore, tetapi untuk Grand Trianon dan Galeri hanya buka pada siang hari saja. Kalau mau jalan-jalan ke taman dan kebun buka setiap harinya, dan bebas biaya, kecuali jika ada acara Musical Fountain Shows dan Musical Gardens.

Begitu kamu memasuki area istana, di sebelah kiri ada kantor penjualan tiket ada yang namanya Ministers’ South Wing (letaknya di sebelah kiri lapangan The Cour d’Honneur ya!) harga tiketnya EUR 20 untuk semua area, dan EUR 27 kalau kamu mau nonton Musical Fountain Shows atau Musical Garden. Kalau kamu hanya ingin berkunjung ke istana aja dan area taman, harganya EUR 18.

Nah, kalau menurut kamu sehari gak cukup untuk ke Versailles, mereka juga menjual tiket yang berlaku selama 2 hari berturut-turut dengan harga EUR 25 dan EUR 30, kalau kamu mau nonton acara Musical Fountain Shows. Selain bisa beli on the spot, kamu juga bisa beli tiketnya secara online di websitenya ini, untuk menghindari antrian.

8. Persiapkan dan charge semua smartphone, kamera, iPad dll

Lagi-lagi ini menjadi salah satu hal yang penting buat saya dan mungkin juga buat kalian. Karena Versailles memang seindah itu geng dan sayang untuk kita lewatkan. Jadi, jangan lupa untuk mengisi batere gadget dan kamera kamu sampai full ya!

9. Tips khusus: bagi yang mau bawa anak-anak

Ini penting banget buat orang tua atau keluarga yang ingin bawa anak-anak. Istana Versailles mungkin bagus banget kalau kita mau mengedukasi anak-anak mengenai sejarah Perancis dan mencoba untuk memperlihatkan suasana yang ada di sana maupun hanya untuk bermain-main di taman, tapi coba pikirkan dua kali ya kalau kamu mau membawa anak-anak kecil yang usianya masih di bawah 5 tahun. Karena selain tempatnya luas banget, takutnya anak-anak udah terlalu capek dan keburu merengek mau pulang. Belum lagi, ada peraturan di Versailles yang melarang pengunjung untuk membawa stroller, baby chair, pushchair atau gendongan bayi yang ada kandungan metalnya. Kalau kamu membawanya, kamu harus menitipkan barang-barang tersebut di free left luggage yang sudah mereka sediakan disana.

Sebagai bonus, kalau kamu masih merasa capek setelah muter-muter di istana Versailles dan mau ngopi-ngopi atau snacking atau juga mau makan malam sebelum balik ke Paris, tenang aja, gak jauh dari stasiun Versailles Château Rive Gauche, kamu akan menemukan beberapa pilihan kafe dan restoran ala Perancis yang juga bisa memuaskan lidah dan perut kamu lho!

Nah ini pedestrian nya, asri banget ya ❤

Oh guys, satu lagi! Di Versailles juga ada toko oleh-oleh yang sayang untuk ditinggalkan, soalnya barang-barangnya lucu banget buat dijadikan oleh-oleh atau kenang-kenangan, harga dan barangnya bervariasi, mereka menjual kartu pos, alat tulis, mainan anak, cokelat, permen, sabun, tas dan sebagainya, desainnya ala ala oldies klasik gitu!

ini cokelat yang dijual di dalam toko souvenirnya 🙂

Kira-kira itulah beberapa hal yang penting dan harus kalian perhatikan ya kalau kalian ingin berkunjung ke Istana Versailles.

Bagaimana gengs kira-kira? Masih ragu untuk melihat secara langsung keindahan istana yang luar biasa cantik ini?

7 Things You Have to Know before Travelling to Labuan Bajo, Flores (Our Version)

Now I knew why people who have been to Labuan Bajo will not stop talking about their experience and to post their favourite pictures on their social media.

Well, it actually happens to me.

I just can’t stop to post everything about our honeymoon in Labuan Bajo, Flores. With all those magic islands, sparkling and crystal waters with turquoise and deep blue shades were successfully hypnotized us. The first magic that I barely saw with my own eyes in my own country.

Located in the mainland of Flores island in East Nusa Tenggara province, Labuan Bajo is the main point if you want to do trips to Komodo and surrounding islands, the home of the famous Komodo dragons. Historically, Labuan Bajo was the territory of Portuguese in the 14th till the 15th century and made it as the main transaction region from the Portuguese, as they are very rich with coffee, coconut, cacao and hazelnut.

A lot of things you should know about Labuan Bajo, from its history, how to get there, the village, the culture, their ethnicities, to the Komodo dragons, before you will go to this island. Therefore, in this post, I would like to share some important things you need to know, for those of you who are planning to go on vacation in Labuan Bajo which I am sure you do not want to miss!

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Welcome in Labuan Bajo

1. Check the weather and the ‘right’ season.

I am sure you do not want to go to the beach while the weather is bad, the tide is high and the view looks more grey-ish than green or brownish. It is known that the best months to visit Labuan Bajo is in between June to September, during the summer months. Usually, in October until February or March, they will have a rainy season and the tide is higher than usual. But June – July admitted as the peak season in Labuan Bajo, while August – September which the least crowd.

I guess you prefer to take pictures with those kinds of natural beauty colour like this right?

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The view from Rinca island

 2. Book your ticket in advance.

This is one of the common important things that advised by other travellers as well. Wherever you want to go on vacation, it will be better if you book your flight ticket in advance. It will save more of your money and you definitely can use it for other expenses.

If you are Indonesian, better to book your flight ticket at the latest, 3 months prior departure and if you are foreigners, try to book 5-7 months in advance. The cost if you depart from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo (round trip) is around IDR 2.000.000/each (EUR 120; USD$ 138). There is some airline company which have a direct flight from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo, from the high class to medium class airlines. But if you depart from Bali to Labuan Bajo (round trip) it cost around IDR 1.850.000/each (EUR 111; USD$ 128).

For your notes, there are only a few Indonesian airline companies who have flight schedules and routes to Labuan Bajo, including Garuda Indonesia, NAM Air, Batik Air, Wings Air, Lion Air and Citilink.

3. Book your trip and accommodation a few months away and avoid weekend trips

There are a lot of travel agencies which have some optional trips that can adjust to your budget. From the fancy one with a phinisi boat to the budget trip ones with the wooden cabin boat. It depends on how many people will join with you on the trip, usually the more the cheaper (yet the merrier). If you will go on a vacation with your family or best friends and wants something luxury, you can go with the phinisi boat ones. But if you will go by backpack, the wooden cabin boat also good.

If you will arrive Labuan Bajo one day before your liveaboard trip start, better to book your one-night accommodation in advance, especially if you will go there on the peak season. There are plenty of choices of the hostel, homestay, hotel room and even, resorts. Most of the hostel and hotel also provide WiFi in their room. The range price for the hostel with a bunk bed per person IDR 70.000/night (EUR 4.50 or USD$ 4.80) – IDR 150.000/night (EUR 9 or USD$ 10.20), while a hotel room price starts from IDR 200.000/night/person (EUR 12 or USD$ 13.60) to IDR 2.000.000/night/person (EUR 120 or USD$ 136) which already luxurious one. Last time, we booked a hotel room in Beta Bajo Hotel for IDR 500.000/night/room incl. breakfast, the service and location are great!

Last but not least, usually the trip package will also include the entrance ticket to go to the Komodo National Park (Rinca, Padar and Komodo islands), but there is also travel agent which does not include the entrance ticket fee into their package. In this case, we definitely will recommend you to avoid weekend trips, moreover if you will go to the Komodo National Park areas. Because the price is even more expensive than the weekdays one.

Which again, its better to avoid and save the money maybe to explore another touristic place in Labuan Bajo right?

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4. Choose your local phone provider.

For those people who are working on their social media more often, even during your vacation in Labuan Bajo, to avoid bad connection, maybe because the area is still limited to receive a phone signal, there is no WiFi network, but your ‘job’ requires you to update your vacation every single minute (coz maybe you are a vlogger, travel blogger, celebgram, etc), you have to prepare for the worst worst case, that you have to buy the local phone provider called, Telkomsel. As they have extensive networks and a good internet connection. I used Indosat Ooredoo, but it was not working at all even I was in the road, the hotel and the airport. Well, I was not get paid by mention all of those companies, but it is indeed, based on my personal experience.

 

5. Hailed the sunscreen.

For people who have a very sensitive skin that easily gets burn from direct sunlight and heat, I highly highly recommend you to bring and use all of your sunscreen product! Even you really want to get tanned, but sunscreen is still the most important because it will protect your skin from the excessive sunlight and reduces the appearance of sun damage.

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6. Prepare your cash money!

Although you will find the ATM machine and the money changer easily in the downtown, it is better to prepare cash money in Labuan Bajo. In the hotel and medium-high class restaurant and cafe, they usually provide the EDC machine so you can pay either with your debit and credit card, but if you want to go to souvenir shop or market, buy some street food or small food shop, give some tips for your tour guide, ranger and boat crew, it is better to prepare your cash money.

 

7. Bring all your ‘travel gear’ with you (hint: camera and smartphone!)

If you kind of person who really loves to take pictures coz you really love photography, a blogger or vlogger or simply just because you only want to keep your memories with you, it is better to bring all your ‘travel gear’ to Labuan Bajo. Be prepared to charge all your camera, from an action camera, DSLR, mirrorless camera and smartphone. Oftentimes, they will have limited electricity and its socket in the boat.

Prepare all of your travel accessories with the waterproof one, as you might want to capture and record your best moments while swimming and diving with the shark, corals and all beautiful clownfishes. Oh, yes bring your drone to see and capture Labuan Bajo from above, if you have it too.

Trust me, every corner of Labuan Bajo and its surrounding islands is so pretty and very Instagrammable that you don’t want to miss it!

The rest, you can thank me later and be ready with the real adventure 😉

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Honeymoon Series #5 : Why you should choose your honeymoon destination in Labuan Bajo, Flores? (Day 3 – FIN)

Yaaay, finally the last day!

So, early in the morning, we sail our boat to Taka Makassar! Once we parked the boat, I was surprised when I saw another beautiful crystal water, white and pinkish beach sands, a lot of fishes and corals.

Look at this beauty…

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The real Vitamin Sea ❤

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Welcome to the island of sands

The name has no connection with Makassar region in Sulawesi, but Taka Makassar means the island of the sand. It has clear turquoise water and swallows water, which makes big boats aren’t able to get near to the island, that is why they usually ride a smaller boat either from Manta point or Komodo island.

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Who doesn’t love to be here?

Me and my husband had to swim from our boat to the small island, it is very small even smaller than basketball field. It was very good to swim in there because of the wave quite stable, compare to the pink beach yesterday. We were with Italian tourists when we were there and they found giant sea-turtle nearby Taka Makassar.

On this island, I met and got to know with another tour guide which originally coming from Flores. She was very nice and very informative! We shared a lot of things about Labuan Bajo and Flores, include what was happened that time in Labuan Bajo. She told me, she and her friends joined with a demonstration in the centre to fight the construction of big and luxury hotels on Rinca and Padar islands. She looked very stressful because she doesn’t want people ‘destroy’ the real beauty of Labuan Bajo and other islands. But people who have the power, only thinking about their business, how to build a luxurious hotel so they’ll gain more profit without thinking about the impact of it.

“Imagine, if Komodo dragons will lost their ‘comfort’ and origin habitat?” she said.

I nodded but suddenly my mind was full with her voice.

I just cannot imagine what if it really happens.

Deep sighs

Well anyway, after spent a few hours in Taka Makassar, we went back to the boat and went to Manta point which located quite close from Taka Makassar. We had to find a spot in a deep blue sea water to see Manta, and guessed… we found it! I was not brave enough to go to underwater anymore to see the Manta closer, but my husband who always curious to hunt all Mantas we found.

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Look at this big Manta ❤

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He tried to see the Manta closer

Finally, after we saw around 4-5 mantas, we went directly to our very last destination, before back to Labuan Bajo harbour, the Angel Island (Pulau Bidadari). This is a private island which located 20 minutes by boat from Labuan Bajo. It surrounded with beautiful white beach sand and one of a good place to do snorkelling and diving.

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Our Garuda boat, view from Angel Island, Labuan Bajo

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Angel Island, Labuan Bajo – Flores

Surprisingly, when I sat on the beach sands, I saw very clear there was a baby shark swim in the seashore. And after, my husband was curious, so he hunts the baby shark on the other side of the seashore and finally, he found it!

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Baby shark dudu~duu

It was not that big. And our tour guide told us, they also have many sharks on this beach, that is why no wonder if we found few baby sharks in there.

Finally… we went back to Labuan Bajo’s harbour and picked up by the driver, then they dropped us at the hotel.

Well, that could sum-up our honeymoon stories. It might not a romantic one like in a movie, but we really enjoy every moment that we spent together. Even our skin got burnt, 3-days with the smell of salty hair and all over our body, but we enjoyed a lot the beauty of Labuan Bajo and other islands has offered to us! For those who want to have a romantic, fancy and luxury honeymoon, maybe Bali and Lombok will be a better choice. But, for those who want a real life-adventure, full of challenges, build a ‘teamwork’, and lay down in the rooftop under the million stars… We definitely recommend Labuan Bajo is the best choice!

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There’s no sunset as beautiful as in Komodo island ❤

Additional information:

We booked our trips with PERAMA Tours and we chose “Explore Komodo National Park 3D2N” for a private boat, so last time only me, my husband, the tour guide and the boat crew on board. The price for each person IDR 4.000.000 (USD$ 280), so last time we paid for IDR 8.336.000 (USD$ 642, include the administration fee). It was not cheap for me, because actually there is a lot of tour and travel agency who offered a less expensive tour than the price we’ve got, (maybe) also with better facilities. But, we feel good with our tour guide, which we called Mas Goi! He is very nice, smiley, good French (even better than me), helpful and has the talent to take pictures, of course! Hahaha

The Garuda boat was very clean, the boat crew was very nice and helpful, our tour guide was very kind and very informative, oh yes, I almost forgot, the food was delicioussss and rich with Indonesian-taste! ❤

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Bon appétit

Honeymoon Series #4 : Why you should choose your honeymoon destination in Labuan Bajo, Flores? (Day 2)

Born in a big city like Jakarta, has shaped me into who I am today. Living well, went to a decent school and university, got a decent job with… ya, I could say, enough salary. I even don’t have to cross to another island by the boat or to hike another hill only for a living. I am not trying to underestimate people who are doing that way, I even really appreciate what they do.

At least, that’s what I thought last time when I was on Padar island, one of the big islands in Labuan Bajo, Flores. I really appreciate people who are starting to make money in there, that is why no wonder if the price in Labuan Bajo and surrounding island, not much different compared to Jakarta. In some things, the price even higher. As we know, it might not easy for them to get some of the food products in their area, because lack of accessibility and availability to get all of the food products.

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The first night we stayed in the small boat, with limited electricity, no AC or fan, no wifi, even worse no phone signal, makes me realize two things. First, how hard my life was if I have to do it for 7 days without those things. And the last, the positive sides, me and my husband tried to live with those limitations with our own way, we talked and laughed more, we shared stories.

He was the one who always gave me his spirit to support and cheers me up. For example, last time when we hike in long and high stairs in Padar island, he kept patiently support me. He always told me that I can do it to the summit, even I am the one who wasn’t feeling that way. For those who already went to Padar island, I am sure you know how it feels. The hills have a lot of stairs till the peak, some even only have stones step. Our tour guide even told us, a few years ago they even did not have the stairs, so people had to hike with little bit steep and slippery land.

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The struggle was real right?

As you can see, the island is mostly savanna-covered, surreal landscape fringed by bright green-capped mountains. It’s all surrounded by three turquoise bays and each one of the bay’s beaches has different coloured sands; one is more pearly white (the right one), the other is charcoal black and the third is a baby pink one. Which makes it a very rare combination, yet makes it a very unique island.

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Our journey is still long, but can we always hold on to each other hands, no matter what will happen in front of us?

The second day actually was my favourite day! Simply because I finally could see the Pink beach. The pink beach was already in our bucket list, even before we got married. And I can’t believe, after 2 years made the bucket list together, we finally made it there! I was speechless and happy at the same time, I feel like I don’t want to leave the beach. After snorkelling for 15 minutes, then I just sat on the beach, felt the pink sands and the sea water on my skin. That was very PINKISH! The wave was a bit strong at that time, which made me and my husband were carried by the waves a few times.

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Happiest kid on earth ❤

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Pink beach, salty hair, tanned skin

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Every August is my parents’ birthday months, so here we wrote birthday wishes for them ❤

Well, finally I had to face the reality that we had limited times to stay in the pink beach, so we went back to our boat and continued our journey to the Komodo island.

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The road which connects the Komodo harbour to the Komodo National Park entrance gate

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The Komodo National Park entrance gate

For me Rinca island looked wilder than in Komodo island itself, they also have a seashore, I don’t really know if its allowed and safe to swim in the seashore, but I saw there are few foreigners who swim in there in late afternoon. We can also easily found reindeer, monkey, wild boar, and beautiful birds on this island.

Actually, our tour guide already mentioned that we can’t expect to see Komodo dragons a lot in here, because many of foreigners complained that quite rare they could see Komodo dragons in this island.

Because last time it was already a bit late in the afternoon, like around 3 or 4 pm, we decided to take the short trek one. After 5 minutes walk, we found at least 3-4 Komodo dragons which were in the middle of the forest. Foreign tourists were gathered with their groups and exchange to take pictures with the Komodo.

So we did too!

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With a huge Komodo dragon

The sun slowly sets, after accompanying my husband to buy some Komodo souvenirs, then we back to the boat to enjoy our last night in our Garuda boat. We were so lucky that we had a brand new boat with 2 nice crew boat and a very good captain! When we parked our boat on the other side of Komodo island in which a place where the house of villagers lived in, all of sudden came two little kiddos who paddled their ‘boat’ which was only made of thick styrofoam, came close to our boat.

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Look at how they paddled their ‘boat’!

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Yes, they came to our boat to sell their souvenirs. They brought small Komodo dragons, pin and magnetic refrigerator. I was very amazed yet feel pity with them at the same time. After school, they have had to help their parents making money for their lives. With very limited English that they have, they tried to persuade my husband to buy their souvenirs.

When I looked at them, I suddenly had mixed feelings. I still feel so lucky, blessed, grateful with my life but at the same time, amazed by them. They really inspired me to live my life even we have to face many difficulties, obstacles and challenges. I really wish they will always be healthy, growing as smart kids and enjoy their childhood while they can.

Can I get some ‘amin’…?

(to be continued)

 

Honeymoon Series #3 : Why you should choose your honeymoon destination in Labuan Bajo, Flores? (Day 1)

Yaaay… finally, my motivation to write about our honeymoon experiences in Labuan Bajo has come! Actually, we went to Labuan Bajo on last August 2018, exactly the same day as the Opening Ceremony of Asian Games 2018. Well, just a week after our wedding day.

So we took a flight from Yogyakarta to Labuan Bajo by NAM Airlines, I still remember clearly it was very early in the morning like around 6 or 6.30 am and then we had transit in Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali for about 1-2 hours. The flight ticket price was around 2 million Rupiah each person. It was a little bit expensive because we bought the ticket probably like 2 weeks prior to departure.

Finally, after 45 minutes flight from Yogyakarta to Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali, then transit for an hour and continued our flight to Labuan Bajo for 45-60 minutes where I was one of few Indonesian among the seas of foreigners in the plane, we finally arrived in one of our dream islands to visit!

We were very excited as we arrived at the airport, moreover my husband! Because to visit Komodo Island is one of his biggest dreams since he was a kid, we really don’t know if its coincidence or fate, but seeing him looked so amazed only by the Komodo big sticker at the airport, I felt beyond happy too.

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My bubz’ happy face ❤

Once we arrived and got our baggage at the airport, we went directly outside to find transportation to the hotel we booked. You will easily find a lot of taxi drivers who will be waiting for either you want to go to your hotel, harbour, central and other spots in Labuan Bajo. The price will depend on your destination, but the driver will ask where do you want to go and the address. If you want to go to the hotel or cafe or harbour, it is located in the centre so the price will be around 50.000 Rupiah/one way.

We booked a hotel room in Soekarno-Hatta street, which still located in the central part of Labuan Bajo, named Beta Bajo Hotel. First, we booked for a night, because the next day in the morning we lived on board, which was my first experience. The first day in Labuan Bajo, we spent half-day at the hotel and in the afternoon we explore the centre and to see the sunset, had early dinner in Le Pirate cafe and after had our ‘dessert’ in one of Le Creperie in town! Yummmz

Read: Honeymoon Series #2: Le Pirate Restaurant, Labuan Bajo, Flores – Indonesia (Review)

The day after, at 09.00 in the morning our tourist guide picked up us at the hotel then we went directly to the harbour by car.

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Our ‘Garuda’ boat

So this is our private boat, that we booked through Perama tours. We had cabin bedroom with bunkbed. They also have one bathroom, other bunkbed room, deck bedroom, very small kitchen area and a dining place.

We were very happy and very enthusiast to explore some islands in Flores. At the first time, I felt a bit worried because I ever got nausea in a boat a long time ago when I went to the Thousand Islands. But surprisingly I did not really feel that way, but just because it was very windy and I still feel sleepy, so I decided to sleep in our bedroom.

Oh ya, we saw few dolphins swim on our way to Kanawa island before!

When we arrived at our first destination, Kanawa Island, I feel like “OMG, I never saw the sea which very clear, clean and full of beautiful corals and fishes!”. We spent a few hours on this island, that time was a bit crowd already, but more with foreigner tourists than Indonesian people. The waves were not that much, so it was easy to swim around the island. Last time, we found a lot of colourful starfishes, that’s why we have to be more careful to not step on those starfishes.

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Corals and crystal clear water

So far, Kanawa island is one of our favourite spots to do snorkelling in Indonesia!

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Kanawa island pier

After we prepared, they brought us to explore Loh Buaya or well-known as Rinca Island. It is the largest Komodo dragon habitat in Indonesia. Last time, it was a little bit confusing when I bought the ticket in the ticket office because they have 8 ticket papers, which for me such a waste and not effective at all. Here are the price lists we paid:

  • Entrance ticket at the Komodo National Park (weekend): IDR 7.500
  • Entrance ticket to Rinca island (foreigner on weekend): IDR 225.000
  • Entrance ticket to Rinca island (Indonesian on weekend): IDR 50.000 + IDR 20.000 = IDR 70.000
  • Ranger fee ticket in Rinca island: IDR 80.000
  • Activity ticket for trekking on Rinca island: IDR 5.000 x 2 person = IDR 10.000
  • Activity ticket for observation the wildlife: IDR 10.000 x 2 person = IDR 20.000

See? In total, we paid for IDR 412.500 for 2 person or equal to EUR 23. If you go there on the weekdays, the price could be cheaper than written above. The ticket price applies to both islands, Rinca and Komodo (in case you go to this two-island on the same day). You definitely can choose whether you want to try the short, the medium or the long track one which will take around 2 hours or more.

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Loh Buaya pier

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The entrance of Loh Buaya, Rinca island in the Komodo National Park. P.S: Don’t ever buy a coconut in there, the price was 2-3 times higher than the normal price. We deeply regretted, haha

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Hope my face explain everything, lolz

In this island, beside Komodo dragons, you also will see a beautiful scenery with big hills, dry grasses, trees, wild reindeer, monkeys and birds. This island located 3 hours by boat from Labuan Bajo. It is better to go there in the morning or afternoon around (3 – 4 pm) to avoid the strong sunny day. From our guide and the ranger information, Rinca island has a lot of Komodo dragons than in the real Komodo island itself. We found around 9 – 12 Komodo dragons in Rinca island. Last time, because it was already in the afternoon around 3 pm, so we chose the medium trek. I was almost lost my breath when we hike the hill because it was very high and steep at the same time. But we glad that we made it to the top of the hills!

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Preggo female komodo

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This wild reindeer waiting to be eaten by Komodo dragons

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Standing among high hills at Rinca island

After finished our trek in Rinca island, then we went directly to the boat to continue our final destination in Kalong island, where we stopped before evening to see flies kalong or bats above the sunset skies. We feel amazed by all the kalongs which flew above us but it was a wonderful experience to see such beautiful landscape during the sunset with all those flying bats!

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Peaceful yet beautiful sunset in Kalong island

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Hope this blurred picture will give you all the vision how we feel amazed by those flying bats

Do you want to know where we went on the second days?

The story will be uploaded next week, so stay tuned and ‘follow’ my blog to get the notification!

Honeymoon Series #2: Le Pirate Restaurant, Labuan Bajo, Flores – Indonesia (Review)

Rooftop bar with a view

Feels like we were in Bali, that’s what I thought when we visited this restaurant. Located in the central part of Labuan Bajo, Le Pirate restaurant has four floors which the Ground Floor is the hotel reception, 1st floor is the main restaurant, 2nd floor is the Le Pirate hotel and the 3rd floor is the rooftop bar. I also wanted to book their hotel during our stay in Labuan Bajo, but last time it was full-booked on the dates we were there.

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Le Pirate Restaurant was taken after dinner

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Le Pirate restaurant interior design

We went there to have our early-dinner time on our first day in Labuan Bajo. We ordered two pad thai, vegetable one for my husband and seafood one for me, Vietnam spring roll, and 2 lemon squash. It was around 4 or 5 pm in the afternoon, so it was less people.

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Food we ordered

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Seafood pad Thai

For me, the price quite pricey both for food and drinks, almost similar price in Jakarta and Bali, to be honest. For the taste of the pad thai itself, was quite good. I could say 7.5 out of 10. The Vietnam rolls were so-so, 7 out of 10.

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Vietnam Spring Rolls

We also went to the rooftop bar just to see the view of Labuan Bajo harbour from above. There were a small swimming pool and some places just to relax and lay down your body. You can also buy and enjoy cocktails drinks from the bar.

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Source: Le Pirate website

I will recommend you to visit Le Pirate restaurant if you want to feel fine dining with a good view also with your loved ones or if you just want to have some good drinks with friends on their rooftop bar. The sunset view was magical!

Location: Jl. Soekarno Hatta, Labuan Bajo, Flores 86554 

Opening Hours: 7.30 AM – 10.30 PM

Estimated price: 30.000 – 100.000 IDR

Honeymoon Series #1: First Impression being a Vegan in Loving Hut, Yogyakarta (Review)

Well, I was in Yogyakarta last month during the familymoon with my husband and his French family. We basically visited some touristic places when we were there, some good cafe and restaurants, as well as did some adventure at Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta. That was 2nd times visit for me and my husband, the first one was just last year. And just last month we have seen quite a lot of changes in Yogyakarta, such as the big pedestrian walk that they built in Malioboro area as well as other new cafe and restaurant. Who does not love to walk in Malioboro? Many street foods, shopping places, souvenir shops, street art performance, etc.

This year, since we visited with his family, we tried to visit a vegan restaurant because they are a true-vegan! Well, I am not a vegetarian nor a vegan, but in this post, I will try to recommend you one of the best vegan restaurant in Yogyakarta (at least from my experience). This vegan restaurant was recommended by my mother-in-law.

The restaurant called, Loving Hut. It is a vegan restaurant, which absolutely not using any animal products. As a human who is basically eat everything (you can call me an omnivore, lol), that was my first time to eat in such kind of restaurant. We went to the Loving Hut Express, the place quite small not like any other restaurant in Yogyakarta, but the location was well located just in the central part of Yogyakarta.

A little bit about the history of this vegan restaurant, since the first restaurant has been established and founded in Taiwan in 2008, the restaurant has been successfully dominating the vegan restaurants in some of the European and Asian countries. Currently, the restaurant has the franchise which spread to 23 countries with more than 155 outlets, including in Indonesia. They also have its franchise in the United States, Canada, Panama, Germany, France, Spain, England, Czech, Austria, Australia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

I was thinking to be a vegetarian or vegan is the scariest and impossible thing to do. Because I just can’t imagine my life without egg, chicken, seafood, cheese, milk, and any animal product (BRB, CRYYY). But since my husband and his family is a vegetarian or even a vegan, so I gave a try to this resto.

WHICH WAS SOOOOOO DELICIEUX….

I have some preference for vegetables and fruits that I usually eat and only some of the vegetables that I can eat it raw, which the rest should be well cooked. And in here, we can choose both the raw or cooked. They even have a cabinet glass which there are so many foods that you can choose for yourself, which for me more like Nasi Campur or Nasi Rames, but still contain vegan products.

I was very curious about the Burger that they have in this restaurant so I ordered it. OMG, when I took the first bite, I feel like I was in a Burger King!

No, it wasn’t exaggerated feeling!

Because the size was quite big and surprisingly the “HAM” was almost exactly the same as in there. Look at this… Sooooo YUMMMMZ!

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Sorry I did not take a proper picture for this, coz its YUMMM

I can be a vegan every day if all the food I eat would be like this.

I was not tried a lot of food in here, but my mother-in-law also loved the salad and juice they have it there, it was all fresh and delicious, as she said! My husband loves the vegan kwetiau and the Seven Seas delight, which contain seitan kind of meat, vegetables and rice.

Here, you can definitely choose and order some kind of food like vegan meatballs, vegan satay, vegan kwetiau and basically almost everything, you name it, they sell the best vegan food with Indonesian taste.

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Image from Google

It was not more like a restaurant but more like a small cafe or warung, since the place is not really big so you have to come earlier or just after dining time or you will have to wait to get the table. The price also very affordable for a good quality and healthy food!

So, for those of you who will come to visit Yogyakarta, you should try to eat in Loving Hut Express!

Location
Loving Hut Express
Jl. Moses Gatotkaca No A18
Gejayan Mrican Yogyakarta
Telp. 0274-562959

A Tale from Yogyakarta #1: The Sultanate Water Castle

I always love to visit Yogyakarta, both for pleasure or works. Not only because of the cheaper price for almost everything, but Yogyakarta always has its story or memories for their visitors. Usually, Jakartans always love to have a short escape to Yogyakarta, just to avoid a busy and ‘crowd life’ in there. I think some of Jakartans agreed of what I said. We are just in love with the weather, the street, the food, the atmosphere, the souvenir places, the cheap batik, the historical site and many more.

Yes, I love visiting the historical site in every cities or country I’ve visited. Taman Sari in Yogyakarta is one of the examples. I have visited the water castle once with my fiance during our trip to Yogyakarta. Been several times visiting Yogyakarta, I just went there once and it was last time with him. Taman Sari becomes an Instagrammable place that you should visit while you are in Yogyakarta.

Once upon a time— the Sultanate of Yogyakarta built the water castle as the royal garden of the Sultanate. It was built in the midst of 18th century and was very famous and commonly used as a bathing place. Built during the reign of Sultan Hamengkubuwono I (1755 – 1792), the first sultan of Yogyakarta and was completed by the time of Sultan Hamengkubuwono II. There are few version of this water castle histories, according to Kitab Mamana in Yogyakarta Kraton, the project leader for the construction of Taman Sari was Tumenggung Mangundipura. He had travelled twice to Batavia to learn all about European architecture, no wonder the architecture of this water castle has marks of European style. It was also built three years after the Giyanti Agreement—the agreement between Prince Mangkubumi, the Dutch East India company and Sunan Pakubuwono III which divided the eastern half of the Sultanate of Mataram in Java was given to Pakubuwono III with Surakarta as its capital, while the western half was given to Prince Mangkubumi with its capital in Yogyakarta—as a resting place of the First Sultan.

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Umbul Pasiraman or also known by Umbul Binangun, the main area of Sultanate’s Bathhouse

Maybe some of you have already visited Taman Sari while you were in Yogyakarta. As you all know, currently, the water castle has turned into one of must-visit touristic place in Yogyakarta. In some part of the castle is well-preserved by the local government and communities who live around the castle. A long time ago, it consisted of 59 buildings complex and some of them were fell out after an earthquake happened in 1867, which destroyed several buildings and drained the water features. And the only building which has restored is only the bathing complex.

Umbul Pasiraman or commonly referred to Umbul Binangunis—a sultan’s bathhouse for princesses and concubines are punctuated by high walls on each side. Umbul Pasiraman has 3 pools named Umbul Muncar, Blumbang Kuras and Umbul Binangun which is decorated with the fountain and can be accessed through two gates to enter the West and East part. In the North, there is a building used for the places of the sisters and daughters of the sultan, while in the South there is a tower used by the Sultan to clean the concubines and his daughter who was bathing below.

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Another part of the bathhouse

When you walk out from the main area of the site, you will see the underwater tunnel that used connected to the lake, but since the water had been drained it is now used for the community settlement. To get to the place, you have to pass the Tajug, the hallway which connects Taman Sari with the palace and also Pulo Kenongo. This wide underground passage is to secure the Keraton from a dangerous situation. There are many secret rooms in this area. When you exit from the Tajug, you will see the former Pulo Kenongo which was once overgrown with kenanga flowers.

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Tajug, the hallway

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Me in Sumur Gumuling, an Istagrammable spot in Taman Sari area

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Me posing in the hall connects to the place where the Sultan looking out the ladies’ shower in the water castle

We also went to Sumur Gumuling, the underground mosque as the place of worship for the royal family. To get to the centre of this mosque, we had to pass through the long and dark alleys. Arriving in the middle of the mosque in the form of a square-shaped place with 5 steps around.

I recommend you to visit Taman Sari during the morning because usually, they will close early in the afternoon around 3-4 pm. The location it’s easy to access by becak or motorcycle or private car. It’s close to Keraton and Alun-alun Utara.

 

Address: Komplek Wisata Taman Sari, Taman, Patehan, Kraton, Patehan, Kraton, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55133