Friday, September 9, 2016

Bandung | Things To Do...

I thought these places are abit unique, not the normal attractions that we always visit when in Bandung. And as they say, sharing is caring...

Ranca Upas
Recommended by Kama, we head to Ranca Upas, a family oriented camping ground, picnic place and adventure activities venue, also available is the deer breeding and conservation facility managed by Perhutani (a state owned enterprise managing State Forests). Often visited by travellers from both local and international, weekenders and holiday makers enroute to Kawah Putih. Due to its close proximity to Kawah Putih, facilities, convenience and affordability, Ranca Upas is fast becoming a popular spot for outdoor activities.

Covering 215 hectare, it is one of Bandung’s conservation for flora and fauna such as Jamuju (Dacrycarpus imbricatus), Huru/Medang (Litsea Angulata), Hamirug (Vernonia Arborea), Kihujan/ trembesi (Albizia saman) as well as a variety of birds and deer. At the height of 1700 above sea level, and at an average temperature of 17c, it is no surprise that the vegetation around this province covers a large spectrum of variety and weather type.

Camp ground entrance fee
Ticket : Rp.10.000/pax (weekday) & Rp. 15,000/pax (weekend)
Motorcycle : Rp. 3.000
Car : Rp 5.000
Camp : Rp 10.000 per night

Dusun Bambu
This is one thing I wish Malaysia copied.

It is simply amazing!

I have seen many posted about this place and I managed to finally visit this amazing place, I even skipped my lunch to ensure I get great photos and covered their ground. Dusun Bambu is a natural tourist spot located at the foot of Mount Burangrang Cisarua; presenting visitors with unique restaurant design such as Lutung Kasarung, Burangrang, Kampung layung and etc, aside from villas and modest activities for visitors which includes archery, paintball, cycling, hiking and camping. Not to worry, there are activities catering for kids too, there’s playground and Rabbit Wonderland.

Dusun Bambu
Jalan Kolonel Masturi KM. 11
Situ Lembang, Cisarua
Kabupaten Bandung Barat
Jawa Barat 40551

Entrance fee
Ticket : Rp. 15.000 p/pax
Parking for four wheel vehicles : Rp. 10,000
Parking for two wheel vehicles : Rp.5.000isure

Operating hour
Daily from10am – 9pm

Kawah Putih
Famously known as one of Bandung popular attractions for both local and international travellers, Kawah Putih or Putih/White Crater is located approximately 50 km south of the city or a 2 hours journey. It is a dormant and andesitic stratovolcano (a "composite" volcano) volcano; now managed by Perhutani Unit III Jawa Barat dan Banten (Forestry Unit No III for West Java and Banten). 

Noted for its bluish to whitish green colour (depending on the concentration of sulfur and the temperature or the oxidation state), this unique site has become a famous spot for video and wedding shots.

For more story/info, please click here.

Armor Kopi; a hipster jungle café
In Bandung mystical secret forest; Armor Kopi set foot, proudly. Unless introduced by locals, many would have not known this place existed. Hence. I would highly suggest for one to drop by at this Raya Forest Garden (Taman Hutan Raya), especially popular among the Bandungnites. Their hidden gem.

A must sample here would be their local coffee such as Luwak of East Java, Kayumas of Ijen Plateau, East Java, Kalossi from Sulawesi Toraja among others. As for food, try their Pisang Keju (banana fritter with cheese), tauhu isi goreng (fried tofu), cireng bumbu rujak (fried seasoned aci with palm sugar sauce), bittebalen (meat-based snack) and risoles (rissoles). Coupled with the beautiful scenery and fresh air… you wouldn’t want to go back to Bandung city. Trust me.

Click here for more story.

Trip of Wonders– Indonesia Social Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with Tourism Indonesia.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sijangkang | Selangor's Natural and Intangible Wonders

Promise you, this will be a short entry as I am very much speechless when I visited this beautiful and astounding place. And still am, as I write this piece. Nothing changed. Nothing will change my view of this place.


Cost approximately RM1mil plus a lot of hardwork and what us Malaysia call ‘semangat bergotong-royong’, the community of Sijangkang recycled this piece of empty mangrove land to an attraction for both locals and outsiders. Determine to make SIjangkang a popular and a go-to destination, the locals self-funded this project and built a 1km mangrove boardwalk with the intention of further expansion. Hoping to turn this site into a family oriented hang-out, a nature extreme park, a place for nature-lover to enjoy the wonderful wildness and for the historical buff to explore the history of Sijangkang and its first ‘benteng tali air’ of which they are proud of. There is an activity for everybody.

Mangrove boardwalk. Sounded easy and simple right.
As I walk, I was in awe of the execution and their attention to detail, the local team even placed a description of the plant in order to educate the younger generation of our nature, inclusive of Sijangjang tree. Yes….. Sijangkang is a tree.

Along the boardwalk are huts/gazebo for one to rest or have a picnic break. During high tide, one can even take a board ride…. Hemmmmm (I would love this). Aside from the boardwalk, they also build a jamboree site or camp ground together with barbeque pit. A playground, picnic spot, public toilet, solate place, small warung that sells evening food (kuih-muih) and etc. Very thorough right? I told you that it is very well thought through. ‘Impressive’ is an understatement.

Not to worry, as of my trip there, the boardwalk is free or perhaps by now it would cost RM2-5 of which I feel everyone will and can easily oblige. I do encourage for us to donate, to encourage and support their effort.

When asked ‘Who built this boardwalk? Who is the contractor?
The answer was “Kita. Orang kampong, secara bergotong-royong. Yang ada kudrat, sedekah kudrat, yang ada duit, sedekah duit. Dan yang mampu bagi bahan, kita dapat bahan”. He answered proudly.

I too was proud when I heard this.
Makes me feel blessed being a Selangorian.

Eat. Travel. Write – Selangor Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor), Tourism Selangor and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bandung | Kawah Putih Crater

Kawah Putih; noted as one of Bandung  famous tourist spot. A volcanic crater just 50 km south of the city or a 2 hours journey will take you here - Kawah Putih or Putih/White Crater; a dormant an andesitic stratovolcano (a "composite" volcano) volcano since 1600 that is now managed by Perhutani Unit III Jawa Barat dan Banten (Forestry Unit No III for West Java and Banten).

What unique is that it changes colours from bluish to whitish green, or brown, depending on the concentration of sulfur and the temperature or the oxidation state. Even the rocks around the crater has been leached into whitish colours due to the interaction with the acidic lake waters.

#TravelTips 1 : To get good pictures a d avoid tourist crowd, try to arrive by 9am.
#TravelTips 2 : To avoid morning fog, arrive by 9am too, which means ideally one is to depart Bandung by 7am.
#TravelTips 3 : You can park at the lower hill parking area and take the 'angkot' up.

Since the last volcanic activity some 1600 years ago, Kawah Putih is known to be relatively stable, hence it has become a popular tourist spot for locals, however less known to the foreigner. Due to the popularity amongst the locals, an estimated of 300,000 tourist has visited this awesome place despite the strong sulphur smell. As it has developed into a commercial and large tourist destination, facilities such as shops, parkings, snack stalls, toilets are made available. You can also do an easy hike to Mount Patuha from Kawah Putih; if you are up for it that is.

#TravelTips 4 : Bring a face mask. Alternatively, you can buy one at the shops there.
#TravelTips 5 : You might get dizzy due to the sulphuric smell – at any/all sulphur crater
#TravelTips 6 : Bring a bottle of water as your throat gets dry.

Indonesian state-owned forestry firm starts to develop the site as a tourist spot in 1991, over a hundred years after it was first documented by Dr Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn in 1837, a German botanist. I find it remarkable that plants still grows beautifully here and if you are lucky enough, you can see species of animals and birds including eagles, owls, monkeys and mouse deer.  And if you are unlucky, you will bump into wild boar, panthers, leopards and pythons. Ahaks...

As there are 2 craters in Bandung, located at the opposite of one another, you might be curious on the differences. Well, there is a huge difference between Tangkuban Perahu Crater and Kawah Putih, namely :

Kawah Putih
Located at south of Bandung
Fewer touts to bother you
Offers a more unique sulphuric  landscape
Accessible till the crater lake

Tangkuban Perahu
Located at north of Bandung
Touts haunt you everywhere
Offers a more unique mountainous landscape
A short hike is required to reach the crater lake

#TravelTips 7 : Use sunblock when you visit to Kawah Putih, don’t be fooled by the Bandung cool temperatures.
#TravelTips 8 : Do not stay too long at the crater as you might find difficulties in breathing.

Hopefully, this should assist you in decision making when traveling to Bandung.

Entrance Fees
Foreigners : IDR 30,000 (USD2)
Locals : IDR 15,000
(If you are doing a self-drive, you can parked at the gate and then continued using ontang to proceed to the crater (cheaper option)

Trip of Wonders– Indonesia Social Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with Tourism Indonesia.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Bandung | Armor Kopi - A Forest Cafe!

Derived from "ARabica Multi Origin”, Armor Kopi owned and flew with This Name. This uniqueness. This Brand.

Located in the secret forest; neighbouring to Alice of the Wonderland, at the corner of Dorothy of Oz, facing the Potter’s home, Armor Kopi made their presence felt, made known that they existed, that they are alive (and kicking).

Everyone from the mighty land afar; as high as Beanstalk Jack, as far as Shrek’s Far Far Away land and in the deep mystical forest of Maleficent will drop by at this Raya Forest Garden (Taman Hutan Raya. Ahaks), a garden only known to the Bandungnites, a forest they hold dearly and hide from us foreigner. Not wanting their best hidden secret (coffee) stolen from them. But we, the Southeast Asia ToW Avengers got to know, and here to seek the truth; to broadcast to the public, to draw foreigners to this fabulous coffee place and claim as first experiment and experience.

I strongly believe that a good coffee can make one high, especially in this wood as I see flatlays of kuih being taken before tasting their coffee and photoshoot takes place before eating the yummeh kuih. In fact, I don’t think they are high on coffee, in fact, I have a feeling they are high with excitement, of the quaint location, of the hardwork, effort and creativity put in by the Armor team as well as by the hospitality extended. It is not normally to get a good coffee and a yummeh kuih in the forest; a mystical secret forest, mind you. You would too. I bet.

As if Arabica is not enough to please everyone, they offers Robusta and Liberica as basic coffee with four tea choices namely Green Tea, Black Tea, Oolong Tea and Honey Milk Tea (from IDR10,000-18,000). Tea is only food if one is adventurous, and if you are those adventurous few, try their Luwak of East Java, Kayumas of Ijen Plateau, East Java, Kalossi from Sulawesi Toraja among others. I would also suggest for you to sample the Pisang Keju (banana fritter with cheese), tauhu isi goreng (fried tofu), cireng bumbu rujak (fried seasoned aci with palm sugar sauce), bittebalen (meat-based snack) and risoles (rissoles).

Having a full range of coffees (and snacks!) from Indonesia, justifies their popularity and superiority here. This is fully verified by the presents of us; the Southeast Asia ToW Avengers, all geared and game to outdoing each other… for cuppa joe. And trust me, it is totally worth it.

Tak percaya?
Cuba lah…. Pasti nak lagi dan lagi dan lagi….

Armor Kopi
Jalan Pakar Barat
99, Taman Hutan Raya Ir. H. Djuanda
 Ciburial, Cimenyan,
Bandung 40135

Opening hours:
Weekday  : 9.00am - 9.00pm
Weekend : 8.00am - 9.00pm

Trip of Wonders– Indonesia Social Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with Tourism Indonesia.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Banyuwangi | Baluran National Park

THIS was the reason am overly excited over.
Savannah. Baluran.
Enough said.

I received an enquiry on Banyuwangi over Twitter one activities available here aside from Kawah Ijen and I suggested Baluran National Park. There are 3 National Parks in Banyuwangi; Baluran National Park, G-Land (Grajagan), and the remote Alas Purwo National Park, where else Meru Betiri National Park is located nearer to Jember.

The savannah plain has made Baluran famous and often talked and visited of for those heading to East Java. And obviously  I share the same liking, am absolutely thrilled over the savannah to the extent of bringing the right outfit to snap some good photos of which I did not lah. Due to the standard reason : lazy.

This is my whole experience during this trip…

We took the bus to Baluran National Park, what surprises me is that the bus or own vehicle can drive into this national park. As much as it is convenience, somehow I rather have a ranger jeep to take us in, it will be even more perfect if the jeep is painted in tiger stripe (my closes encounter to a Africa Safari experience). Of course, this is just a hope, being on a bus stole the experience bit. I guess… Nothing can beat a bumpy jeep ride while ‘parting’ the stream/river, or a cheetah on the jeep roof chilling, giraffes peeping into the jeep window asking for food or seeing a herd of elephants lazing and gazing. This will be a perfect customer experience.

#TravelTips 1 : Allocate half a day at least, no speedy/quickie trip here.

Yah, we did not have the above. Nevertheless, we had fun. Perhaps because we were busy monkeying around that it makes us feel right at home. Ahaks!

The journey from the entrance to the savannah took us almost an hour and my aim was to take a certain spots that I saw on Google, so the plan is to team up with people that are as kiasu as I am – Edgar from Eazy Travellers. And the game plan works perfectly well. To. The. T.

We bot kept rushing to all the hot spots, even to the extent of ditching people on a toilet break and ran to THE hot spot. I mean…. If you this Pokemon Go is bad, you should look at us. We can easily beat the crap of Pokemon Hunters. Hehheheheheee…. Like real lah kan. Drama ajer lebih.

#TravelTips 2 : If you love photography and Microsoft, then this is THE place. The pictures will tell you why (macam gambar Microsoft Window kan kan kan).

While I was so dressed down, the Indonesia Influencer was working it, ‘travelvoguer’ was the new name for travellers cum fashionista. I was green with envy (atas sebab terlalu segan, buat rugi jer).

#TravelTips 3 : Bring props and 2-3 attire, google some sample and you will have the best photoshoots in town.

#TravelTips 4 : I personally think that sunset adds the drama into the pictures, hence I highly recommend that you arrive around 4ish to get a day light photos and wait till sunset.

Remember I mentioned about the tigers, cheetahs, giraffes and elephants? Yeah…. None here so worry not. You won’t be eaten alive by these feisty beast, the changes getting bit by a cobra is higher though. Banteng or Bos javanicus (the endangered wild cattle that predominantly exist in South East Asia) is to look out for when you are here, aside from banteng, try to catch a pack of Sumatran dhole (wild dog), or hunt for a Indian muntjac (also known as red muntjac and barking deer), Java mouse-deer, fishing cat, Javan leopard and Javan lutung. Famous bird species in Baluran are the green peafowl, red jungle fowl, Malabar pied hornbill, rhinoceros hornbill and lesser adjutant.

#TravelTips 5 : If you love the wild life photography or National Geography type of photography, then this is the place.

Just before we hit the twilight hour, we made a move for dinner and back to the hotel.

#TravelTips 6 : You MUST MUST sample all the local delicacies in Banyuwangi, you will not regret it. Trust me on this.

Trip of Wonders– Indonesia Social Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with Tourism Indonesia.

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