Dec 31, 2007
UJUNG KULON, WEST JAVA, INDONESIA
9-11 NOVEMBER 2007
After being postponed for almost a month, we finally got our butts down in the rented car that took us to this area in the very west of Java island. Ujung Kulon is actually best known for its wildlife preservation area, and the most attraction there is the single-horn rhino (is that the right term? Do correct me if I'm wrong). But we weren’t there for that, we were there for the beaches and snorkeling experience only.. woohoo..!!
GETTING THERE Leaving Jakarta at about 10pm after shopping for some bottled water, fruits, and snack, about 5 hours later we arrived at Desa Sumur (Sumur Village), Ujung Kulon, Banten Province. Don’t ask me about the route because I slept like 2/3 of the trip. All I know is the closer we got to the village, the smaller and darker the road got. Would be a great spot to shoot horror films there.
SUMUR VILLAGE On the arrival, not knowing what to do or where to go exactly, we decided to fill our hungry tummies with some instant noodles, coffee, and tea. We found some really funny – if not lame - instant-herbs packages in the shop. (Talk about the glorious 80s..) And then the sun started to rise, 4 of us went to the house of .. oh I forgot the man’s name. A friend of ours, Epan, recommended us to rent a boat to this man like he did a few years ago. Mumun and I were the backpack-keepers. Although sleepy, we managed to have fun gossiping while waiting for the other guys until morning came. Some village guys were making so much noise getting their motorbikes fixed right in front of us, making our gossiping kinda distracted a bit. It was too bad that they were polluting the supposedly fresh air and peaceful ambiance of the village. Our plan initially was to cross to some small islands and then stopped at the Peucang island, camp and snorkel there. It turned out that that would cost us Rp 2 millions for crossing (including boat & fuel), and extra cost for entering the island.
Another cheaper option became suddenly more attractive to us, that was crossing to a few other smaller and less visited islands called Badul island and Mangir Island. Rp 1 million for everything, and no cover-charge to the islands!
I would really recommend you to bring your own snorkeling equipments if you’re going tho these uncommercial islands because you wouldn’t find renting places. We were lucky that the boat owner had 3 snorkeling goggles – not in their best condition - and lent them to us, adding to only 1 goggle that Sali (a friend of ours in Jakarta) lent us. Oh, and the boat owner was very welcome that he had her wife cook us breakfast – free fried rice, baked fish and squids were on the house!
Then it was time to get on the boat for about 45 minute ride. My gosh..the view..! It was sooo relaxing to behold such natural beauty of the blue sea, blue sky, and the feel of breezy wind.. I had never felt so home on a boat like this.. :D
Our first destination was Badul island. Because the shore was very shallow, our boat couldn’t dock, so the boatmen got us to the beach by a much smaller boat that could only take us one by one. And it was a kinda awkward time in that small boat because the boatman was very shy and quiet. I tried to make a conversation and he just left me feeling like an idiot talking to brickwall.. hahaha.. Snorkeling was such an amusing moment. We got to see many kinds of fish in various colors and patterns, and also some purplish-blue starfish! (Unfortunately we weren't equipped with water-ressistant / underwater camera.)
But the amusement also came with a downside, that is, we got stung by jellyfish a lot! And the jellyfish were so clear and small that we had a hard time seeing it. They just suddenly came and stung! Not to worry though, as long as you don’t scratch the body parts (sometimes on your face, too), the pain and itch would soon go away. The beach of this uninhabited island was just tempting to take a lot of pictures at (a great place to let out your narcissistic side!) We snorkeled and played around on the island for about 2 hours, getting tanned (it came in a package with playing on the beach, not that we meant to get tanned, I mean c’mon, we’re far from being pale-skinned) and taking lots and lots pictures, at about noon we took off from the island with the boat that was just floating and waiting for us.
One of the new unique things I experienced in this trip is shopping in the middle of the sea. Shopping for fresh fish for our meal, that is. So we ran into another fishing boat, our boatman got our boat close to the other boat, and we climbed into their boat, or just sat on the side of our boat against theirs. A big box of fresh fish was open and we were free to choose our lunch and dinner. Lucky for Mumun’s lack of shyness (haha), she got us three free fishes, simply by asking for free fishes because we needed only those three poor fishes. And the sellers were hypnotized by Mumun’s sweet and innocent plead, I guess.. :P
We were just a teeny weeny distance from the island where we were gonna camp out when the rain started pouring and gradually poured more and more. All we could do was wait in the boat, cos there was no way we could get our stuff dry to the beach.
When the rain finally stopped, we rushed our way to the beach, and made use of Mumun’s and Tari’s skill in getting the tents up. Such handy girls they are! :D Moreover, they were the two most in charge of cooking the fish, rice, etc for our late lunch. I bet they’d survive the longest if stranded on a deserted island.. The island was so small that we walked around it in only less than an hour, leaving Bondy relaxing with his iPod on the beach. We found some pretty little creatures – dead and alive ones – along the beach. And as the day got closer and closer to the setting sun, the sea level got higher, and we rushed to move our tents to safer place. Mind you, it started raining again.. At night the boys managed to cook a fish before it rained cats and dogs.. The rain definitely ruined our plan to have fun digging each other’s darkest filthiest secrets around the campfire. From the girls’ tent, we soon heard loud snoring from the boys’ tent. But girls will be girls. We didn’t let the rain ruin our plan totally, so we still had our gossiping and chatting time in our tent until we got used to the rocky ‘beds’ in the tent and slept uncomfortably ‘til dawn.. zzzzz… It’s our last day on paradise island, so we made the most out of it before the boatmen took us back to the main Java island at 10ish AM.. Make sure to be careful when stepping from one boat to another unless you wanna end up like me, slipping one leg to the water before reaching the boat I was gonna step into. Fortunately Bondy was holding my hand, so he could right away pull me in to the boat, although I did knock my upper knee to the boat, and it still kinda hurts ‘til now (I haven’t got a chance to have my knee checked by a doctor).
It was about noon when we started our way to go back to Jakarta. Getting a ride home wasn’t as easy as we expected. Well, there was an option of taking the public minibus to some terminal and then continue with another, but we preferred to charter a minibus directly to Jakarta. After waiting and waiting, we finally got a deal chartering a minibus including the driver service for Rp 600.000,00 to Jakarta. But only until about half an hour of drive from Desa Sumur, we had to change vehicle ‘cos the driver didn’t have a driver’s license and he was afraid that could be a problem in Jakarta! I didn’t know what to say to that..
But no worries, that actually got us to a more interesting trip. We hopped on a public bus to Serang terminal (Serang is quite a major city there, the bus terminal is about 3 hours from where we started the ride, but turned out to be more than that because the rain caused the bus to move a bit slower than usual). The roof of the bus just near my seat even had a leak! I had to get my waterproof plastic jacket to avoid myself from being all wet! We arrived at the Serang terminal at about 6PM, it was already dark. Just outside of the terminal we had our dinner at a Padangnese small restaurant. Then we crossed the street to catch a bus that goes to Kampung Rambutan Terminal, Jakarta. About 2 hours we were already in Jakarta, got off of the bus – illegally – on the side of Gatot Subroto highway, and then crossed the street and halted cabs to go back home.. The whole fun adventurous trip only cost us each about Rp 370.000,00..!! :D