(Embrace yourself, this is going to be a loooong post!) Yes, I went to Indonesia last June. It was honestly a sudden decision. Mom had been bragging me about coming back and I kept on resisting; hoping that I could plan an escape to somewhere in Europe. After days of "yes" and "no", eventually, I decided to go back.
This vacation was a bit different than my previous ones. My lovely traveling buddy, Jessie, was spending her vacation too in Indonesia — so we planned to meet up in Jakarta and planned to do something different! I've done few travels with Jessie (including the Easter road trip) and she was usually responsible behind the wheel. So this time, we were gonna do another exciting backpacking trip without placing her behind the wheel, of course 🙂 .
After doing some research, we came up to two main destinations: Tidung Island and Bandung. To be honest, I wasn't very excited about visiting Bandung. I had seen enough of Bandung on my previous travels to Indonesia; so I had enough of it already. Kawah Putih seemed like a nice place to visit, but I couldn't figure out how we could go there without a car. There were some public transports to go to Ciwidey but I wasn't brave enough to go there without any boys accompanying us. Renting a car could be an option but it's too costly for us (yes, we had Euro but we're still student! We're a cheapo!!!) and plus, I didn't think I'd allow Jessie to drive in dangerous Indonesian roads. Though she did drive in Indonesia on a number of occasions, it's still different — she was used to drive in right-hand traffic and in the flat roads like in the Netherlands. So going to hilly Kawah Putih was definitely a NO NO.
I also heard that one beach in Banten (which I forgot the name, it's definitely not Anyer) was quite nice to visit. But again, transports became a huge obstacle for us. I was too cranky, why was it so hard for us to do backpacking in Indonesia?!? All of my friends were either busy working and studying so there were practically no one to accompany us. And that was the reason why I haven't been traveling around Indonesia — I just haven't found a traveling buddy yet!!! Well, eventually, Tidung Island became our only choice. We were a bit hesitant to go there, to be honest, because we didn't know what to expect. We were two short girls, one was a bule (Westener :P) which always attracted people's attention and one was just a normal Indonesian girl but apparently felt insecure in her own country! And my mom kept reminding me: "This is NOT Europe! You can't do anything you want here!" Grrr. After doing a lot of thinking, negotiating with parents, and collecting our braveness, we set our foot for Tidung Island on one Tuesday morning.
Tidung Island is one of the 105 islands of Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), located north of Jakarta. The island can be reached by a boat from Muara Angke for Rp. 33.000 (3 hours) and a speed boat from Marina Ancol for Rp. 30.000 (+ Rp. 13.000 for the entrance to Ancol; 1.5 hours). Due to safety reasons, we opted for Marina Ancol. We were sooo glad we did that, because we were shocked to see the boat of Muara Angke when we arrived in Tidung — it was too crowded that it looked like the boat was going to sink! :-S Thankfully, the speed boat from Marina Ancol was WAAAAAY better, cleaner, and safer than the one we just saw. We arrived in Marina Ancol at around 7.30am (the boat was supposed to leave at 8am) and there were only 3 spots left — lessons learned: come a bit early! (it was on Tuesday and the school had started; so imagine how it'd be in the weekends). After eating a Rp. 10.000 PopMie (we were ripped off!!!) and waiting for almost 30 minutes, finally, there were some announcements that the boat was leaving soon and the names of the passengers would be called one by one. The WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me?!? Jessie and I were looking at each other and laughed our ass off! Seriously, was this a school or something? Well, yes, apparently, they did it. They called all the passengers' names one by one (and it's not only one boat! There are several boats departing at the same time!!). After our name was called, we had to walk to the hall of shame… all the way to the harbor to board the boat. It was the most inefficient thing EVER! What's the use of the ticket, seriously? They didn't even check the ticket until we were in the middle of the sea! Were they going to throw us off the sea if we didn't have the ticket?!? This was seriously hilarious!!! Oh my dear Indonesia, we need to learn how to be efficient, okay?
The view of the sea around Marina Ancol was not lovely at all. The sea was just BLACK. All black. Jessie and I went to King's Lake in Germany last Easter and the lake was all green and clean. It was really sad to see this, seriously. Unfortunately, the horror had just started. We were really shocked to see all the garbage and trashes in the sea, even after an hour journey from the harbor! I couldn't believe what I just saw! It was the most disturbing thing to see these piles of trashes, from all kinds of plastics, styrofoams, to lamps, polluting our lovely sea. I felt so helpless and shameful that I couldn't do anything. Seriously, there were LOTS of them, floating in the sea, only few meters distance from each other! It was just unbelievable!!!! Damn, I hate Jakarta! I seriously hate the city for causing this :'( .
The trashes that I saw really dropped my mood to the lowest. I couldn't help thinking that Tidung Island would be very dirty. But alhamdulillah, it wasn't as bad as I thought. When we arrived, we rented a bike with Pak Hasbi whose house was very near to the harbor. We didn't have any place to sleep, because we wanted to see the place first before we decided to rent. We were a bit cautious about this, as we were only two girls — we just wanted to make sure our accommodation was safe for us to stay. After looking at few places (and most of them were lovely villas for around Rp. 300.000/night — they were too big for us!), we decided to stay in Pak Hasbi's place for Rp. 150.000. It was good enough for us — a king's bed with a HALF air conditioner (the other half was for the other room… hahaha! It was divided by a thin partition. So you could clearly hear the people staying in the other room! But good thing we owned the remote controller for the AC! LOL!). The room also got a toilet + shower. It was just a normal village house, so I couldn't expect much from it — in fact, I was quite happy with it.