Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Things To Do in Sijangkang

Spending some quiet time at McDonald’s is a bliss.
I get to write on my impending blog post, like a few hundreds of them. Ahaks.

Here we go, my story on Sijangkang.

To tell you the truth, I kept thinking this Sijangkang (village) name came from a legend, a folklore; similar to Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup. I regretted not asking them when I was there… I bet I get to hear some interesting story about how this friendly and homey village got its name. Anyway, that is not the story that I will be telling, I will be telling you a story about how a village able to collaborate harmoniously and create an attractions without the help of government bodies. Purely on dedication. Devotion. And Love for their own village, married with clannish spirit *wink*.

As I we approach the mangrove (I will write a separate story on this cos it is way too amazing to include it here), I was told what and why they do what they did.

If you haven’t heard of Sijangkang then you are on losing end, and I highly recommend that you do a day trip there (or perhaps a full day, day trip there and make sure it’s on Saturday). Start it early I would say, on a Saturday morning (as hinted earlier)…

Local (food) galore
Feast your eyes (and tummy too) with Banjarese and Javanese food, and trust me, you will never regret it. In fact am planning a weekend trip with my cousins just to sample their food. Again.

You’ll get to learn and try our lepat, ketupat, lemper, tumtuman and lepet (a slight different from lepat yah) and if this doesn’t amaze you, try their tauhu sumbat goreng ie tauhu sumbat goreng ayam, tauhu sumbat goreng daging, tauhu sumbat goreng udang and etc. This is absolute delish. Kid you not. Then there’s their nasi lemak, kerabut and dagang (talk about variety, they brought east coast to Sijangkang)… Don’t let me start on their kuih muih of which I forgot to take some pictures.

Don’t miss out on their Banjarese food such as Ayam Berlaos (click hereto know more) and all the fresh seafood catch of the day as well as their fresh petai. Yup! Petai. My. Favourite.

Go Go-Karting at Mozid Racing.
Who would have thought right, go kart racing course in this very suburb place. The price is pretty reasonable and it makes a good place for family activity. No professionals here, except the locals and few outsiders having some fun.

The kart rental is RM35 for 10minit and the track rental for pocket bike is RM20 per day, where else cub prix and private kart is at RM50 per day.

Animal Shelter / Cat Hotel
This is a shocker. The locals started with raring his own cats that later evolve to a cat hotel and cat caring. He also ‘adopts’ abandoned cat. So if you planning to travel far and long, drop by Sijangkang and get them to care for your cat… with tender, loving and care.

Tebu Kepala? Or Kelapa tebu?
Have you tried this before? If not… give a try.. and they didn’t stop it there. There’s jelly version as well, and tebu masak and everything that is sugarcane. Give En. Mustafa Suratin a call if you want to know where you can experience this thirst quenching drink, if you fell in love with it like we did, you can also place an order for event… they do cater for small and big orders. *hint hint*

En. Mustafa Suratin
Lot 31, Batu 8
Sijangkang 42500
Teluk Pangkima Garang
Mobile : +6019-303 5004

Bangkita – Art Lover Heaven!
Ceramic Studio coupled with good looking artist/owner; being the son to the renowned artist Awang Damit Ahmad is a plus (plus plus PLUS) point for you to visit this studio. While you are there, check out their intern’s work as well, you can see how they are richly inspired with their respected mahaguru at HIS backyard. Why here one would ask, well…. With the calmness and peacefulness of Sijangkang, hidden from hustle bustle of Kuala Lumpur, abundant of great food and warm friendly neighbours; it is a no brainer to why an art studio choses Sijangkang as its home. I would too.

And then, there’s Sijangkang Mangrove.
In another blog entry. Watch this space.

Isn’t this village phenomenal!

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, August 29, 2016

Banyuwangi | Kawah Ijen - The Climb

Kawah Ijen.
Sulphur volcano.
2hours climb.
Climb starts at 12am.
Weather at 18c.
OK. Thanks. Bye.

That pretty much sums it all (do I still need to blog? *cheeky smile*).

Everyone has their own experience of their climb up this wondrous Mount Ijen or Kawah Ijen as what the locals call it. But mine was different. Special. Unique. Whimsical. I did not climb up… you heard me right alright. I vomited. That’s why. But don’t get me wrong, the sulphur smell wasn’t that bad, it just that am not well, I have a bad sinus case… so being there enhance it.

I, however, would want to share my journey… of NOT climbing up. Gempak ok cite I… baik you guys baca.

I started the day being informed that I must climb this mountain – it being mandatory, worried being short of breath (thinking I can and will die – drama much kan!), I decided to abide by the rule (I good girl tau) and woke up as early (or late) as 11pm and got ready at the lobby at 12am where they  whisked us from Ketapang Indah Hotel in this rugged macho 4x4 jeep. A one hour journey from Banyuwangi town to the foot of Kawah Ijen, at this point, your nose instantly hinted you that the sulphur smell is similar to rotten eggs (plenty of rotten eggs. Plenty), signalling your brain (and memory) for a face mask (forgot to bring), medicine, water, glove and walking stick. Oh yah! The weather was 18c.

Briefing was done at the mountain foot, there is a toilet near where we park, you can get your gloves from here too, toilet and gloves is chargeable of course. During the briefing we were told that the journey up takes an hour or so, we will be able to see the famous blue flame and catch the beautiful sunrise before we head down. Me with all my gear in place start walking… as I reached the first 200m, I started to feel nauseated. As we walked another 50m, I almost vomit out whatever we ate earlier. I inform the organiser and was advised to rest in the jeep. But this is not the great story, you guys need to read further to know this epic story of mine (epic hokkay).

This old pak cik (old man/old uncle) assisted me to the jeep, holding my arm, worried that I will collapse or faint and chatted with me as we walk slowly. The journey down was nothing great… but what he said touched me “Kita jalan perlahan-lahan ya, supaya selamat. Kalau sakit ngak perlu naik, yang penting kita aman” something along this line.

“We walk slowly down so that we will be safe. We do not need to climb up if sick, as long as we are healthy and safe, that is more important”. Sweet right.

When I reach the jeep, it was locked… he search for the driver while I lean by the jeep. Once the drive unlock the vehicle, he pull down the chair, took out the headrest and turn it into a pillow and insisted I lie down and rest. He then close the door and ask the driver to stay nearby.

He was so fatherly and kind… I was overwhelmed and almost cried, reminded me of my late dad.

I vow to write about his kindness, and so I wrote it. Here. Now.

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

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gili Trawangan | Snokerling in Gili Islands

You can get to Gili Trawangan via Lombok – Fly in to Lombok and a boat ride to Gili Trawangan
Or you can get to Gili Trawangan via Bali (2 hours bumpy ferry ride) – Fly in to Bali and a boat ride to Gili Trawangan

My advise : FLY TO LOMBOK. Unless you are a daredevil and hungry for adventure, then by all means take the boat from Bali to Lombok and return. It is an experience of a life time *wink*.

Having been to Bali 5 times, it is a big surprise to my friends that I haven’t been to Gili Islands, not even to Lombok. The invitation by Tourism Indonesia came at the right time as I was thinking of a quick getaway and wasn’t sure whether Lombok and Gili would be a good choice (obviously I am way too comfortable with Bali, it is practically my hometown). The trip to Lombok wasfull of culture, you can read more HERE. And Gili was… a lot of sea adventure. If you are into outdoor, yeah… this place will be your heaven. But of course, you can laze around as well. Plenty of place and space for you to do so.

Upon arriving on Gili Trawangan, I realised it is almost like a party island. Pubs, bar, restaurant and message place is abundance, diving and snorkel shops is at every corner. Basically, you will never be bored, hungry or unadventurous. It is almost like, the locals in Gili forbid anyone coming to their island be left idle. It’s a major no-no.

Ok. We got it.

Hence (whoever starts a sentence with ‘hence’, duh Lily!), Gili Trawangan is also known as the ‘Mecca’ for backpackers during the 90s. Similar to Goa, Penang, Krabi and many more, it is the famous Banana Pancake Trail that a traveller/backpacker will pass by and stop for a long while before continuing their journey. A term often use for Southeast Asia/Asia route where places such as guesthouses, cafes and restaurants catering to backpackers/budget travellers, and serving a quick and easy to make banana pancakes reminds them of their home back in the west. Due to this reason, Gili Trawangan is the most populated and developed of the nearby Gili islands, namely Gili Meno and Gili Air.

Feeding beach bum and holiday goers with its laid back guesthouses, cafes of every concept and theme, bars that caters for rave, reggae, rock and local music (dangdut?) and restaurant that feed you with delicacies from all over the world (well, almost) and activities that will keep you occupy during your stay here. And guess what? Cars and motorbikes are not allowed, simply to not disturb the peace in these Gili islands.

So, aside from lazing and sleeping (what I do best), I DID try to venture into outdoor activities (yeah yeah… kid you not). I experience snorkelling in Gili Trawangan thus missed the popular swing place (Yup! I did not cover the swing hence don’t ask me for any pictures yah). I learnt that it is a favourite spot for snorkeler and divers; Sponge Coral, Basket Coral, Turtle Point and etc for snorkelers where else Manta Point, Shark Point, Senset Point and many more are a great favourite among the divers; local and international.

If you are into photography, make sure you have an action cam or an underwater cam to snap the coral, turtle, manta rays, nemos and etc photos. Else, do like what I did, get the photos from ThatSoFarah hehhehehe..... Thanks Farah!

For snorkelers, you can rent the snorkelling equipment from the operators located by the beach area for IDR50,000 for half a day, you can also get a guided snorkel tours that will cost roughly IDR75,000 a person. As for diving, for a package of 5 guided boat dives around the Gili Islands will probably cost around IDR2,205,000 or more.

Oh! Before I forgot, other than snorkelling, diving and the swing thingy, you can also cycle the whole island, take the cidomo (horse carriage), catch sunset from the hill, or even walk the whole island; by the beach perimeter of the island, it should take you approximately two hours or so

What else to expect in Gili Trawangan? Check THIS out.

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

Banyuwangi | Ketapang Indah Hotel is simply perfect!

It was a much needed rest.
Ketapang Indah Hotel perfected it.

(To a point I was confuse, should I take a rest and enjoy the room (and bed) or should I take a stroll at the premise, enjoying the deep blue ocean, the lush greenery and the Ketapang Indah warm hospitality).

Either you have or you don’t.
That’s what I usually say when I stay at a hotel. I have certain expectation and I categorise Ketapang Indah Hotel as one of the best in Banyuwangi. 

It is located by the sea. The deep blue see (kid you not), with its vegetation comprising mostly coconut trees and local wild flowers balances well as with the buildings architecture. Keeping their buildings low thus underpowering its presence and structure, calms the inhouse guest, maintaining the holiday mood and the Javanese feel. Decorate in minimalist style, its room is overlooked at god’s backyard of lush greenery and blue ocean partnered with the sound of waves crashing, all this are music to guests’ ears. A definite plus point.

Most room are presented with balcony for one to laze around, perfect for travellers that just got back from the hot and dry Baluran Savannah and the cold Kawah Ijen. Not to mention their kind and friendly hotel staff, plus the generous local food spread help to educate the international guest on local delicacies available in Banyuwangi, Java and Bali.

Six hectares of land, beautiful black sandy beach coupled with welcoming sunrise views over the Bali Strait makes Ketapang Indah Hotel unique. Just 88 kilometres from the hotel is Plengkung or G-Land; a world-class surfing beach within the Alas Purwo National Park. It is not a surprise, if you bump into surfers staying here.

Pool and playground is located near the open concept coffee house and it is just by the beach which is kinda splendid, I personally regreted not joining everyone for a walk by the jetty and beach. They took great pictures there (but then again, they seems to take nice picture regardless of the site).

The ambience, locality and premise aside, in general the check-in was fast and the luggage was brought to our room promptly too. However, I wouldn’t suggest for you to volunteer yourself to carry own luggage as the rooms are widely spread across the premise. But if you trust your ‘sado-ness’ and want to show off your ‘macho-ness’, go right ahead. Oh yah… I was a little bit confuse when heading to my room, after few wrong turn, I managed to handle it well even at night. So yah, it is pretty widely spread.

If you need and seek for great comfort when in Banyuwangi, let it be if you plan to conquer Kawah Ijen or drop by the savannah or any one of the national parks, do consider Ketapang Indah Hotel as the journey takes approximately 1.5 hours (38.2 km) to Baluran National park and 2 hours  (54.0 km) to Kawah Ijen.

What more can I say.
Ketapang Indah Hotel - A Tropical Retreat. A Heaven on Earth.

Ketapang Indah hotel
Jl. Gatot Subroto Km. 6
Kabupaten Banyuwangi
Jawa Timur 68421

Phone :  +62 333 422280

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gili Islands | Things To See...

Few things to expect in Gili Islands (of which many had known) but this was not stated in the blogs I read nor told by my friends, hence I was pretty proud of this photos and my achievement of capturing it. I proudly told Farah and David, and wanted to show them but guess what? Apparently half of our ground saw the same scene and capture similar photos (basically everyone else’s was better than me lah). This is what happened when one decided to take a nap instead of looking for subject matter to shoot. Duh Lily!

Horse bathing by the sea at sunset (making it sound changgih and artsy fartsy. ahaks)

I was taking a walk with no plan whatsoever, no objective, no direction, no nothing; blank. Absolutely blank until I saw this view. I took so many photos thinking mine was the most unique, little did I know… everybody feels the same of theirs. However, among my friends that have been here and did not told be of such magnificent, I guess my photos is still changgih lah kot (or maybe not?!?!)

Divers crossing

Road sign is fun but to see stuff like this is even funner. Hoping to see a  'Cidomos Crossing’ somewhere but nada. Aiyaaaa…. They should have done one lah.

Lonely Information Centre

A place for single seeking information of this beautiful island. Hahhahaaa…. Basically the Information Centre was moved to a nearby location and they are half way tearing this place down.

Morocco or Santorini?

The restaurants, cafés and pubs around Gilis are awesome in décor, I couldn’t ask for more. I was snapping away as nothing lame can be seen; everything was either classy, cool or hipsterish.


In Gili, there is a poster for every scene. And it’ll fit perfectly into the picturesque view..

Garden by the sea

Changgih tak the title. I kept looking at the guy sweeping this picket fence garden, I wouldn’t mind doing any gardening if this was my view man! But I’ll make sure I include a hammock here…. Then it’ll be superbly perfect.


Find. Here is a picture of cidomos. And no, I did not ride on it. Boo hoo...


Enough said.

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

Sijangkang, Selangor | Ayam Balaos - A Banjar Delicacy

No. Not ayam blouse nor ayam ber-Laos (as in the country Laos). Laos is lengkuas or galangal in Banjar language, meaning that lengkuas is heavily used in this delicious Banjar dish.

A Banjar dish is a delicacy by the Banjarese or orang Banjar; an ethnic group from South Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Banjarese travelled to many places in Malaysia setting up settlement (kampungs) in Perak, Selangor and Johor as well as other states. The largest migration took place in the 19th century due to political turmoil and royal family rivalry.

Generally, most Banjarese are are farmers, thus the main focus of their settlements are skewed to agriculture land in Selangor’s Sungai Besar, Sijangkang, Sabak Bernam dan Tanjung Karang, Batu Pahat in Johor and Bagan Datoh in Perak, as well as in Sabah and Sarawak. Their other distinctive skills are painting, jewelry and business.

Bringing with them their culture, customs and most importantly their unique delicacies, namely mandai (fried cured/preserved-marinated with salt jack fruit), pekasam berabai (cured/preserved fish marinated with salt) and of course, ayam balaos (chicken cook in galangal gravy).

Ayam Balaos
The way it is cook is similar to Minang’s Kalio. This dish is usually served during Eid celebration.

Heat the wok with oil
Stir-fry lemon grass till fragrant
Add dried chili paste pre-blended with turmeric till cooked
Then add blend galangal, red and white onion, wait until it is fully cooked (naik minyak)
Add salt to taste and Garcinia atroviridis (asam keeping)
Simmer the gravy paste and add chicken till tender and cooked

Like other ethnic in Malaysia, food is often the primary bond that unites people, similar to other ethnicity, some dishes are cooked during festival that requires villages assistance in preparation and execution (cooking), serving, this act is called gotong royong or rewang. This will foster friendship among themselves. It is still practiced until now.

What sadden me was that the younger generation is losing touch of their roots in terms language, delicacy and custom as most have moved out from the settlements and villagers into the cities. Those that still preserves the culture and heritage are generally the middle-aged 50 years and above; upholding the strong traditional customs values and practices, and are proud to speak the language.

I sincerely hope that the Banjar traditions, customs, culture and heritage does not fade away as modernity takes place as every ethnic group is unique and special.

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, August 22, 2016

Lombok | Sasak Village Sade

The only cultural touch.
And I am contented.

Sasak Village Sade.
Curious. I google to see what they have instore for me.
“Looks interesting… hemmm…” So I said to myself. Still having doubt.
You see, I have a very high expectation when I visited Somba Opu late last year and got a tad disappointed upon reaching there. If the place was properly maintained, it would have been better enjoyed, better appreciated.

The verdict?
It was done right, in every way (if I were to have it my way, I would have stayed there longer but that wouldn’t be fair to the rest and the Trip of Wonders objective). 

Being the largest tribe in Lombok and consisting approximately 3 million inhabitants living here; their traditions, customs, worship and culture evolve around life. Farming and weaving leads and generate income for this village economy and well-being.

Gendang Beleq Dance
The coordination was immaculate (I have to say so myself), we were taken to the Sasak Village, we were greeted by their welcoming beat of Gendang Beleq Dance of Sasak tribe of Lombok Island. It is usually being showcased when officiating an event, wedding function, upon welcoming guests to their village or an event, or even during circumcision ceremony. This is one of the most popular dance in Sasak tribe, centering on 2 big gendang or drum players trying to outdo each other when performing. A mesmerizing, intense and energetic performance indeed. I secretly wish it was longer. And I was flattered to be valued and welcomed is such a grand manner. And that is not all, there are also 3 other traditional dance showcases performed by the local villagers, the head chief also briefed us on the background and history of each dance.

Amaq Tempengus Dance
The other dance that caught our attention and loved by all (kid you not!) is the Amaq Tempengus Dance; about an amaq or father with full make-up mimicking and dancing in a funny way like a Sasak court jester or clown; pantomime-like. Occasionally approaching and teasing visitors for a photo. The photo op session was like by everyone, we were caught off guard when the amaq approaches us but once we recovered (from our momentarily shock), we kept hoping and wishing he come back so that we can get a closely picture of him. A truly dance extraordinaire. 

Petuk Dance
The third dance was Petuk dance, where the dancer dance in a funny style to entertain the audience. It is said that it is performed during circumcision ceremony. It is not known why the kids look happy before circumcision but we suspect that they embrace it as it is the natural course of being a man here. So the locals say *wink/smile*.

Presean Dance
The last dance was a combination of their fighting games to a music, using Penjalin; a rattan sticks in, and an armored buffalo skin thick and hard called Ende, where else the 2 fighters are called pepadu. Presean is the game name and when paired with their traditional music, this dance is called Beleganjur. At times. We noticed the commentator giving spirit to the fighters. This aggressive dance is usually performed during Indonesia Independent day in Lombok, on cultural event such as Bulan Apresiasi Budaya and Senggigi Festival in July.

Nensek (weaving)
Sasak tribe of the Sasak Traditional Village Sade is the largest tribal community that inhabits the Lombok Island in West Nusa Tenggara. The traditions, customs, worship and ordinances are pretty much related to animism, and their livelihood is focus on farming and weaving. The women in Sasak tribe is famous for weaving (tenun) cloth know as nensek. According to the Sasak custom, women are required to learn and know the art of weaving at young age, else they are not allowed to get married. The techniques, patterns and motifs are handed down by their elders and is also one of the ways to earn money for their families. 

The other unique characteristic in Sasak tribe is their home, it is uniquely differentiated by the grass-roofed-houses with bamboo-walls. It has a single room function; catering for both sleeping and kitchen. The famous and iconic Lumbung is a bonnet/curve-like structure or building use to store rice (rice barn). And what is unique here is the flooring of Sasak home is made of combinations of clay and cow faeces, and the result is as strong as cement.

I guess, Lombok is not all about the beach and the sea.
Do drop by Sasak Village Sade if you are ever in Lombok.

#TripOfWonders – Indonesia Social Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with Tourism Indonesia.

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