Flores : Gili Lawa (VLOG)

I cant stop sharing about Flores. Seems like it was the best destination that i went to this year. Breathtaking views, enjoyable sea-swims, challenging tracks, life-on-board experience, and a bunch of crazy friends as a company. Indeed the most memorable trip of year.

Besides Padar island, one of the best sunset spot in Flores, Gili Lawa also offers a great place to enjoy the setting of the sun. The hike up is not as hard as Padar island, but the track is longer than Padar. We took about 45-50 mins to go up since our stamina was not as fit as the other trekkers. Haha.

Our tour guide, Mas Ovela lead us to less common hill for us to enjoy the sunset. Apparently there’s many spots or many hills to hike in Gili Lawa. You can choose which hill you want to hike, depends on your preference and your skills (of course).

Gili Lawa has different topography *speaking like im an expert. HAHA* than Padar island. Why? Because these hills has a lot of plain / flat areas for us to rest or just sit there and watch the view from above, where in Padar island, i cant barely remember if they have any flat areas during our hike to the top.

Gili Lawa is super recommended if you wanna stay on top of the hill and sip your beer while enjoying the sunset. If you’re lucky like us, you can whale-watching from above as well! Yessss, WHALEEEE.. you read it right! We were so lucky that time, that we can watch 2-3 whales spraying its water out from their blowholes. How awesome is thatt! And we also watched how people on their speedboat were chasing after them to get a closer look of the mighty creature of the sea.

Since we went during the dry season, most of the grass were already turned brownish. The colour just like the savannah in Bromo, Java area. The locals said, the hills will all turn green during the rainy season. Cant decide which on is better, i think i will love both. haha.

Gili Lawa separated two islands and two seas. Gili Lawa itself also consist of Gili Lawa Darat and Gili Lawa Laut. This hill is just so unique, every part of the hill uncovered different views, and you just have to visit this beautiful hill of Indonesia. ❤

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Most photos are taken by Salam Ransel.

Kelor Island – The Steepest Hill of Labuan Bajo (VLOG)

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‘You can do it, Jenita!’ screamed the girls who already reached the ‘pit stop’ faster than me.

‘Aaaaa..! I’m confused now.. which way to go?!’ I panicly replied

‘You see the rock bigger rock on your right? Step on it and move forward!’

‘You sure?? I’m afraid i’d fall’ – I felt that the steepness of the hill is already more than 50 degrees, that i would fall anytime if i move wrongly.

‘Bend down more. Try to hold on to the rocks’

Finally after collecting all my courage, i can reach the ‘pit stop’ and the Top of the steepest hill of Labuan Bajo.

I thought it was only me who struggle my way up to Kelor hill, since i didnt see how the other girls went up because im too busy setting up my camera for vlogging (even though the vlog result still has a lot room of improvements. hahaha). But it turns out that all the girls faced the same problem with the hill. Indeed it’s a challenging one.

Our Guide, Mas Ovel already told us before we went down from the boat that this hill the most challenging of all hills in Labuan Bajo area. The smallest hill yet the steepest of all. And Mas Ovel hiked Kelor like it’s nothing. We are all so amazed that he and his partner Mas Ian can just hiked it without any struggle. Guess practices do make your moves perfect.

Kelor Island is reachable with one-hour of sailing with normal boat from Labuan Bajo, and 30 minutes of Speed boat. Apparently it’s also one of favorite place for the locals to spend their weekend too. Cause when we went down, we talked a bit with the locals and they said it’s a nice place to just hang out and relax, and for the kids to swim and snorkle.

Ohh, talking about how to go down from that hill is another interesting story. After we enjoyed the pretty sceneries and the hues of blue, we literally slide down the hill (using our butt) in order to go down. hahaha.. It was such an effort, such an experience and such a funny story to tell now (even though it was not that funny when we did it back then) haha.

But hey, we did it! and my suggestion is, do go there with a bunch of your good friends who will always tell you that you can do it, and who will spend the happiness together when you are all up there. Or i assure you it will be the most miserable 20 minutes of your hike. Unless you are a pro already, then maybe the cheer is not needed anymore.

Hope you enjoy the VLOG and the pictures displayed below! ❤

 

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** The ‘Pit-Stop’ whereby all of us hold tightly to the only tree there. Thank you Tree for you’ve been a great ‘Pit-Stop’ for us to catch our breath**

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** The two pictures that sums up of how we went down the hill. My black pants turns dark brown after that. haha.  **

Most photos are taken by Salam Ransel, edited by me.

 

 

WaeRebo – Mysterious Village amidst of Flores Mountains (VLOG)

‘Yeayyy.. We finally here!’ said us happily with panting breath yet still full of excitement.

‘We should take a picture guys!’ said one of us while taking her camera out

‘Ladies, Welcome to WaeRebo Village, I am sorry that you cannot take any picture or video or do anything before you enter the Main House and prayed by the Chiefs of the village’ said our kind and funny local guide who suddenly turned so serious by that time.

Out of a sudden, this seven noisy girls became very well behaved and listen to the instruction of our local guide. We were escorted into the dimly lighted Main House  with a heavy cigarette smells all over the house.

The chiefs of the village greeted us with their warm smile, asked us to seat in a row, and they started the welcoming ritual. All guests must be prayed over first with Manggarai language (the local language). The purpose of the ritual is for all the guests to be kept safe at WaeRebo, because they still believe the human and the spirit in WaeRebo are still living together and helping each other.

After the praying session ended, we were escorted to one of the guest house to drink some Robusta coffee as their welcome drink. I am not a big fan of coffee, but since i am already there, and i want to respect their culture, there i was, sitting quietly and pouring sugar to my coffee and listening to some stories of the village that we will spend the night at.

A mysterious village – that’s the word that came to my mind after visiting this UNESCO World Cultural Herigate site. Relax, nothing mystical during our stay. I would say that it’s a mysterious village, because no one knows how long this village has been there for. It is only written in the history that someone named Empo Maro, an adventurous man from Minangkabau, West Sumatra sailed his way to the East side of Indonesia, and established this village. The story on why Empo Maro sailed away from Sumatra and how he ended up establishing this village on a mountain top is still a mystery.

Our two days one night stay at WaeRebo is very memorable (at least for me). I never stayed with local people before. When some high-schools in Indonesia has live-in programme (staying in some Indonesian village and live like villagers), my school just had some outings to some places in Jakarta. Yeap, thats the minus point of studying in National Plus school back at that time.

For some of you who have done the ‘live-in’ program. This trip may offer you the same conditions, where you got the chance to stay with the locals, eat with the locals, listen to the local’s music, bath in a cold-water with minimum lights (they only have lights from 6-10pm), sleep on floor with a thin mat accompanied by another traveller at your sides (Yes, it’s a communal type of stay, luckily it was seven of us, so we got the side space for ourselves), no air-con but super cold, and use torchlight whenever you need the bathroom once the sun goes down.

It was a super memorable trip, apparently the city girls can survive staying in Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped 5 levels of traditional house) in the middle of rain-forrest with two-three days without any-connections to the outside world. Hahaha.

How to go to WaeRebo 

*DID some VLOG along the way* Hope you like it – sorry for the shaky videos, as i literally took it while i hiked.

WaeRebo is located at the heart of Flores mountains, if you are looking for a pleasant, serene and nicely-isolated feeling of mountain scenery, and of course with the high cravings for interactions with the locals. WaeRebo is a perfect place for you to go.

It was such an effortful journey for us to reach this traditional village. We need to fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali (since no direct flight from Jakarta or Singapore). Let me break down for you on how i reach there from Jakarta:

– Jakarta to Bali : 1 hour 50minutes (flight)

-Bali to Labuan Bajo (Flores) : 1 hour 15 minutes (flight)

-Labuan Bajo to Dintor : 6 hours of bumpy car ride

-Dintor to Denge Village : 20 minutes of car ride

-Denge Village to the foot of the mountain : 10-15 minutes of Ojek ride (motorcycle)

-Foot of the mountain to WaeRebo : 2 hours 15 minutes of a quite challenging hiking

Imagine how effortful the trip was. It feels like you are travelling to the other part of the world, which is still located in Indonesia. hahaha. Lucky i have a fun travelling partners with me!

We decided to join a local tour for the whole Flores trip, because we heard that if you go by yourselves, the local people may overcharge you for everything, since they still have minimum access over there.

Fun-Facts about WaeRebo

-They only have 7 Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped traditional house) with 6-8 families in each house, and they cannot add the number of the house.

-The 7 house that we see now is already renovated, and built with NO nails at all. They have 5 levels in every house, but the locals can only stay at the first floor, since the 2nd to the 5th is to save their harvest.

-Stone altar in the middle of the village cannot be seated on nor walked through it, since they still offer their offerings to their God on that altar in every rituals.

-Electricity is only ON from 6-10pm by solar power.

-The Rain-forrest that we hiked to WaeRebo has stunning biological diversity, including many kinds of birds that will always sing along your trip.

-WaeRebo locals work out on their coffee plantations (Robusta, Arabica and Luwak). They also sells their ethnic handwoven cloth that you can bring home. Price is about Rp 600.000

-Received UNESCO World Cultural Heritage award on 2012.

**ps : do bring warm clothing since it will turns very cold at night and you can bring sleeping bag if you want to (saw some european brought that for sleeping)

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Photos are all unedited, Taken by Me and Salam Ransel

Taipei Must Visit : Hiking Xiang Shan

Who’s up for Hiking? Say Meeee! *Meeee..!*

Well.. Actually hiking is not my thing, really. haha. I prefer zumba or yoga for my workout regime, hunt for some food, catch movies, or just sit for hours and chit-chatting with friends for leisure. But in order to get greater things, sometimes you need to things that you dont really like. Hiking for examples.

Many people said that i need to hike Xiang Shan (Elephant Mountain) when im in Taipei. A place whereby you can do some exercise to burn those night-market snacks’s calories, breath some fresh air that the nature offers and see the beauty of Taipei’s from above.  Since the sun was shining so brightly and the weather was not that cold anymore now. I quickly asked some friends to accompany me to go up there.

Xiang Shan has one of the easiest hiking trail in Taipei compared to other mountains.  They built stairs for us to climb up. Which makes it more tiring in my opinion. haha. But rest assured, cause they have some pit stop for us to rest.

Me and my friends went up by 11am, and stopped 4-5 times to catch our breath. Well, my breath to be exact. My two friends apparently are so fit, they did not seem they need some rest. haha..

After about 45 minutes of hiking (including rest time),  finally we got to the top!

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In order to take pictures in this spot, you have to Q up. and apparently it’s not that easy to take this pictures. Cause firstly, we need to climb up one huge stone, and one of my friend need to climb up the other stone to take this pictures. haha.

All in all, it was a great experience, and i lovee the sceneries up there, especially when i was standing on the stone (eventho it’s a bit scary up there, and was so afraid that i might fall down. haha). It is indeed a must visit place if you have more time in Taipei. I would love to come back here during night time, the city lights surely will it picturesque.

Actually This Elephant Mountain trail doesnt stop here, you can continue all the way to Nangang, the eastern part of Taipei for 3 more hours.

How to reach Xiang Shan Hiking Trail :

Take MRT to Xiang Shan Station (Red Line), take EXIT 2, follow the road – walk alongside till the end of the park, take left, and follow the road until you saw the entrance of the Xiang Shang Hiking Trail.

Mount Ijen, a place where i met myself

If You Travel Far Enough, You will Meet Yourself – David Mitchell 

First of all, i would like to say, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you! wishing you a greater life ahead in 2015! New Hope, New Faith, New Joy! ❤ ❤

Few weeks ago, i went to Mount Ijen, Banyuwangi, Indonesia. A mountain that not as famous as Bromo, but it’s so challenging that i can put that quote on this entry. Me and 9 other friends were in the search of Blue fire. People said, there’s only 2 places in world to see the Blue Fire phenomenon. One is in Iceland, and the other one is in Bondowoso/Banyuwangi, Indonesia. Aren’t we supposed to be proud being Indonesian ?? haha.

We reached Surabaya (Juanda Airport) around 2pm, and immediately go to Bondowoso, East Java, Indonesia. The travelling time from Surabaya to Bondowoso took about 5 hours time, and from Bondowoso to Mount Ijen takes about 2 more hours.

Technically, it was one full day without sleep.. we reached to our Hotel at Ijen around 8.30pm, took some shower, grab some diner, and we must go again to Mount Ijen at 11pm. was thinking to take some nap in the van, but too bad.. the road was very bumpy and we couldnt sleep at all.

But the universe marveled us when we got down from the van, we saw myriad of stars that is so beautiful that makes all of us stand in awe. *udah kyk di tebar aja itu bintang2 sama Tuhan*. if only i know how to read constellations. haha.. Tried to capture the pretty stars, but too bad. our technology is not that advanced. haha.

We started the Hike at 1am. the guide said, if you are in your prime conditions, the hike will only takes about 1 hr..

and guess how long did we take ??

we took 3 freaking hours to go up there! just to see the Blue Fire..

me and one of my friend was not in the prime condition, so we stopped a lot of times to catch our breath. Well, as for me, im not an outdoor and sporty type of girl, even a 20 minutes hike was so darn tiring for me. haha. Anyway, i want to thank all my 9 friends who had been so patiently waiting for me when i was so exhausted.

The hike was crazy i may say.. the uphill is intense.. no lighting at all, so all of us use our phone torch light to light the way. the air is thin as we are going up. and high cliff on our left and right side.. *ngeri kan boo.. udah gelap. terus kiri kanan jurang* then when we are about to reach the peak, the sulphur smell was so strong that it hurts our throat.. and we made the biggest mistake that day.. we did not bring any water.. *goshh.. everyone was about to faint already.. only 1 person brought 1 bottles, so we just shared it among us.

DSC_2799*resting area in the middle of our Hike. there’s one small shop *warung*, but it only open at 5am in the morning. =( *

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*the eeriness in the middle of the night* horror ya booo kalo pake flash, ga tau yg ke capture apa. haha.

Mas. Rofik, our guide was so calm and composed when telling us to be careful because our left and right was a 100 meters cliff which end at the some forest. so, if we misstep..  well.. it’s a goodbye then.

Thankfully the 10 of us can reach the peak of Ijen safe and sound that morning, but too bad the Blue Fire was not that light because too much smoke and only vaguely seen. Mas Rofik said, we must go down to have a clearer view of the blue fire..

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picture source from here 

We expected to see something like above pictures, but from up there, it’s just like Batman’s vague spotlight.. just a 2 blue dots appeared. All of my friends decided not to go further to the crater, because the trail is so crazily unbelievable.

But my heart said, GO! you are here already.. if you dont get to see the Blue Fire, at least you can see how far you can go.. how far that you can push yourself to reach for goal. Finally, only me, Bern who agreed to go down the crazy trail. and you know what??

It was the craziest thing that i have done in my life! it was still dark, and the trail was vaguely seen and rocky. it’s just like rock climbing i may say. i was very afraid that i will slip and fell down. Thank God there was Mas Rofik, our guide that hold my hand tightly so i didnt fell over. The trail was very very difficult to walk down. i was about to give up so many times, because i slipped a few times and i was super duper afraid that i will fell down, and cannot go up again to the mountain peak. it was no joke one of the scariest moment of my life.

Finally, in the middle of our way down, we can see more the 2 spots of the Blue Fire.. ya..ya.. i know it’s far from expectations. the thick smoke covered all the blue fire. =( But it’s okay! It’s the Journey, not the destination, right ?. =)

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and below is what we saw when the morning comes. The Ijen Crater

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*As mentioned, The very thick sulphur smoke that hinder us from seeing the Blue Fire =(.. This smoke is somehow poisonous, so we must use this ‘darth-vader’ mask to breath*

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*The Ijen Crater, one of the most acidic lake in the world!*

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After ‘relaxing’ a while at the crater, we went back up to meet our 8 friends. and this is how the trail looks like!

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It was so crazy, right? and did you see the man in-front of us ? He is carrying 70-80kg of sulphur.. Yes.. he is a sulphur miner for one company. they got paid about 900 – 1000 rupiah for each kg.. so, their total income per day is only around 60.000 – 80.000 Rupiah..  ( 8-9 SGD) depends on how strong they can carry it up..

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Tragic isnt it ? Rich land, yet so many unfortunate people that need to risk their life everyday to go up and down this dangerous trail just to get a living. They are selling the some small sulphur for souvenirs as well that range 10.000-15.000 Rupiah.

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*di gandeng sama Mas Rofik. muahahha.. Btw, This Mas Rofik is just like God who is guiding your way. as described earlier that it was so dark and we only have minimum light from his small torch light. and the best part is.. he was walking down backwards while holding my hand and show me which rock to step.DSC_2870

see how rocky it is? it’s so much easier to climb up than to go down. Stories told that a HUGE  rock about to fell down, but it never fall until that day. ahh.. cant imagine if it really fell and hit some people below. Also, we have been told that 1 week earlier, one French Lady slipped, fell, knocked her head, and passed away on the spot. Me and Bern heard this when we are already back at the mountain peak. Else, i think we would not be so brave to go down to the crater.

and we were up again at the Peak, we saw this breathtaking view! all of us so shocked to see the trail that we took last night. haha

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and we Reunited with the 8 others!

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and on our way down, we saw the sun just rise up! but still misty and smokey. so didnt manage to capture the sun well. =(

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and saw this beautiful view as well.. so calming, right ?

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and Finally, we reached the pit stop whereby they have the small shop or ‘Warung’. 1 bought 1 bottles of water, and finished it all in one shot. haha.. so thirstyyy..

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*pardon my face. haha.. lagi minum pas di voto. haha*

After resting for a while, we continue our walk down that took us another 3 hrs.

Well, maybe this mountain is a very easy track for some people.. but definitely not for me.. haha. But i really learn something that day, that i dont easily give up for things. and im proud of that. haha.. hopefully this trip can be a good reminder for me to push harder in 2015 to achieve my life goals! cheers! ❤

We Dont Stop When We are Tired. We Stop When We are Finished!

Most Photos Credit to : Refocus Photos

** Took some videos when we were at the Ijen Crater.. sorry for the not-so-good video.. **