Monday, January 7, 2019

Not everything in Belitung is about Laskar Pelangi

True as it can be.
Despite the fact that beautiful island is made famous by the movie Laskar Pelangi, many might not know that it has more to offer. All you need is to give it a little more time and space to appreciate the island as it is, then you will see Belitung as Belitung. I was tasked to write 3 entries on Belitung trip, having to complete the first one of which I felt rather easy (everything about Laskar Pelangi), this time around seems hard to share it in a listical manner without injecting my personal take on it. So I figure, let’s be blunt about this, let’s put my thoughts with some background facts to the list below.By the way, this trip was sponsored to promote the new Garuda Airlines route to Belitung via Singapore.

Slower pace
I have been to a few cities/towns in Indonesia, am yet to experience an Indonesia island that moves in a more leisure pace as Belitung (then again, Indonesia has 17,000+ islands). Located in Selat Sunda, to the west of Sumatra, Belitung was a quiet (quieter is more like it) island back then till the Laskar Pelangi fame brought the world’s attention to this pristine island. Yet, it feels as if time stood still, everyone is ever so friendly, no hurry in live, the tendency to appreciate mother nature seems to be higher too. Perhaps the decline of tin mining industry slows everything down, till now.

Jalan Warkop 1001
This was the second thing that excites me when Eka and Oki highlighted about the Jalan Manggar or Manggar Street. Not a coffee lover, but the smell of a coffee being brewed tends to make me ‘high’ for some reason thus stopping and sampling the famous Belitung coffee became a must. I managed to sample the Belitung coffee (with milk) as well as the Kongi coffee; a Belitung equivalent of Starbucks. Apparently this coffee is the one that will make you fall in love with Belitung (katanya lah).

I was made to understand that coffee is the lifestyle of Belitung, it started during the tin mining ear where you can see all the tin miners stopping by a warkop (warung kopi) before kick-starting their daily routine at the mines. After awhile, it became a Belitung lifestyle to lepak at a warkop. In fact, some warkop (like seriously, a tepi jalan warung kopi) has wifi to encourage younger patrons to stop by. Starbucks-Starbucks tak main lah… warkop pun ada wifi hokkay.

Don’t be surprise as most warkops tend to be slightly creative with their menu. My advice is to go with a few friends and each orders different drinks and food, the best way to sample local culinary *wink*.

Danau Kaolin
Once was an active kaolin mine, this danau or lake resembles the famous Turkey site – Pumakkale (but now not anymore). The turquoise blue water pops-out against its milky white sand, an instagrammable sites that is now restricted (yeah, swimming is highly DIScourage). Having said that, one can still stop by enroute to the airport as you probably need 15-20mins or so to take some photos.

Dermaga Kirana
This place is rather unique and is situated just across the street from SD Muhammadiyah site, do make a point to stop by as there are a few Rumah Kong there (shell like rattan hut). There is also a café by the name of Owly Café at the end of the Dermaga Kirana if you feel like you wanna lepak and laze around and perhaps just enjoy the calming mangroves riverscape. According to the locals, this place was built as a place for the locals and tourist to ‘photoin suka-suka’. Not wanting to go against the advice, I also photoin-photoin, suka banget gue *cheeky smile*.


Burung Mandi Beach
The name inself raised the curiosity in me, translated to ‘Bathing bird Beach’ makes me wonder the history behind its name. Pestering the guide was not helping as they themselves did not know how the beach got its name but one thing for sure, I realized that all the fishing boat that is docked there has a carved bird in front. I suspect there bathing bird and the carved bird have a deep dark secret that is waiting to be told (eye squinting trying to figure out the secret). 

As of now, I am here to appreciate my rojak buah with fresh coconut drink while enjoying the Laskar Pelangi breeze gently brushes my face. Drama sangat.

Kampung Ahok and Rumah Ahok
Ahok's home in Belitung, popularly known as Kampoeng Ahok has been renovated 3 times), the Rumah Panggung architecture is made of 'kayu bulin' (kayu belian) of Rumah Limas design in Palembang.

The actual house that the family is living in is located right across Kampoeng Ahok (last photo). Ahok or Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (chinese name : Tjung Ban Hok) grew up in Manggar, Belitung. He was the Indonesian People's Representative Council and Regent of East Belitung as well as former governor of Jakarta.

Kwan Ying Statue
Like any other Kwan Ying Statue and temple, this one is located on a hill overlooking the sea. The colourful temple is definitely a good venue for photo shoots but other then that, there is nothing much. I would suggest to give this a miss and spend more time at the Museum Kata.

Fam ‘Getaways’ Trip to Belitung Island is made possible by MTN Getaways.

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