Selasa, 13 April 2010

Crossing the Ocean to Celebes.


This is a past-journey, quite long ago, 4 years backward, in 2006. It's one of my university student activity, some more, the aim was exploring the traditional architecture by staying at some unexplored and quite-remoted areas. By doing that, the product was likely called a research result, and should be delivered to other as architecture knowledge materials.

So, there I was.

Went across the ocean, from Tanjung Priuk Harbor (Jakarta) to the island of Celebes, took 3 days on the ship includes the two stopping points (Surabaya and Makassar). Don't think that I got a beautiful ship like a Titanic. Haha. Of course not. It's a big Pelni ship, and there are many people inside, squeezing to get the space. In the morning time, the bathrooms are flooded with overflow water, and the queue was terrible. We didn't book rooms (there are 20s of us who joined this program) because of the tight budget, but because of the name of our university and the ability of our leader, we can get one spacious hall for all of us, right under the floor of ship crew's rooms. :)

{Our basecamp on the ship.}

{We were watching sunrise and sunset from the ship.}

After few days on the sea, from the seasick attack until get used to the sea waves, so we were on the land! Our feet were on the ground of Celebes, for me, it was for the first time in my whole life. Yay. It was Buton Island, city of Baubau, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Actually we wouldn't spend our first days in Baubau, our plan was going to Pulau Makasar (Makasar Island) on the first whole week.

One night of the proper beds in a proper rooms, bathrooms, and water, so we were ready to across the sea once again (only in minutes counting), using the small boat headed to Pulau Makasar. Pulau Makasar was a small island, with medium amount of families. The nice people from Baubau government gave us a nice house as our one-week basecamp, very near from the harbor. So, the whole week we were working hard to collect all the info of Pulau Makasar, wrote down the interviews, drew the traditional houses, mapped the island, took thousand of pictures, learned the language, observed the culture, blended with the local people, and of course played on the beaches. And indeed it was fun and unforgettable moment in life.

{Pulau Makasar}

The beaches were very virgin, never touched by the stranger. There are many kids every afternoon we walked the beach, they showed off their skill in swimming and catching the fishes. Honestly said, they're very smart and really like to live in Pulau Makasar, as they knew 100% how to live as beach boys (most of them were helping their parents to fish in the middle of the sea at night, and then to go to school in the morning).

{Heaven named beach. Isolated and beautiful.}

{One morning sunrise from the best spot to see it.}

{Boats were parked, and the fishermen took care of their seaweed's farm.}

We learned that Pulau Makasar people actually are mixed community from several area, not only from Buton (Southeast Sulawesi), but also came from Makassar (South Sulawesi) and some other areas. Their accent is a bit different from the original accent of Buton's people. Their culture also was not too strict as like another Buton's areas. But, after all, the area was still very special.

{One traditional house in Pulau Makasar.}

{How Pulau Makasar land looked like.}

After one incredible week in Pulau Makasar, came along with the people of course, we moved to another area to see the "House Sliding" ritual. Sliding in term of moving, the house was really being moved, by human's power. Since we never seen that kind of ritual, so we were curious to attend the ritual. The area name was Sorowalio.

We stayed at a house of a kind esteemed villager, a young family with two cute children. They gave us their living rooms and one front room, so we had a shelter to sleep at night. The ritual was very crowded, many men gathered on the house which was going to be moved. The house was a traditional house, usually called "rumah panggung" or stage house or tall house. It's the common traditional house which can be found in various areas in Indonesia. The traditional house in Southeast Sulawesi usually was built without nails, that's why they can move the house without worrying the house was going to destroyed. Though the sound of 'House Sliding' was very light in our ears, but still, to move it was very tough. They needed many men, even our men were also join to help moving the house. After long hours of pushing, and debating, and shouting, and commanding the people, so the house was really moved. Only few meters, but it was moved! So, someday, if people ask you 'what is the heaviest thing you have ever moved?', then you can answer 'a house!'.

{"House Sliding" ritual, where the man tried to move that big wood house.}

{We were lucky to get the offer, to attend one ceremony named "Mataa". The people were celebrate a year full of prosperity and fortunes.}

And after a long journey to two different areas, so finally we got to move to the main area in Buton, the Palace area. Fort Wolio Palace, the most honoured area, where all the children of the King live. The area was bordered with thick walls, legendary said it was build with egg white to put the stones altogether. The fort was built on the 15th century, when the Sultan Buton III ruled the kingdom. Many stories regarding this fort, includes the moment when Arupalaka was hiding in one small cave at the out side of the fort, and Hasanuddin was the one who hunted him when he occupied the Buton Palace.

{The infamous Fort Wolio.}

This fort was placed in the highest point of the island, so we could watch the sunrise and sunset everyday. We could see the all the city below and the sea faraway there. It was really beautiful place, and yet has so many historic stories behind.

{Baubau city view from the highest point.}

In the end, remembering that island make my heart thump. Thanks for the sweet memories, faraway across the ocean, I'll keep it safely my dear traveler friends.

*All the images are credited to my traveling companions, and it's the courtesy of Baubau Excursion Team 2006.

*You can travel to Baubau by using aeroplane to Makassar or Kendari (from Jakarta), and then continue to Baubau with bus or another ship. Not cheaper, but can save your time. But, mostly, Baubau people who travel back and forth to Jakarta always use the ship. You can also book a private room in the ship with attached bathroom, and the quality is good.

*For another information about Buton's tourism (culture or nature), you can visit Great Buton website.

Rabu, 07 April 2010

Blast from the Past in Melacca.


Melacca Map (Source : Google Image)

It was one of my weekend getaway. Melacca!

The most lovely impression I got from Melacca is the historical ambience! For you who are the fans of historical places, you should visit Melacca, the smell of Portuguese troops is still around.

I went to Melacca from Singapore. Easily can take a direct bus from Singapore, or may try the cheaper way by go from Johor Bahru (can be reached from Singapore by bus or train). Or if you are in Kuala Lumpur, you can also reach Melacca by bus.

I, myself, took a shelter bus to Johor Bahru from Singapore (Queen Street) with my companions, spent almost 1 hour to get to Larkin - the bus terminal at Johor Bahru. And unfortunately, the bus tickets to Melacca were sold out! So, we searched for another alternatives, such as taxi or travel car. After comparing the fares, we decided to take the travel to get to Melacca, slightly cheaper but yet it's more comfortable rather than a cab.

We arrived late in the afternoon, still have few hours to go around. Melacca is a small city, but you absolutely need a taxi to take you around. I once tried to walk around the city, from the hotel to the city center, but I found it's kinda weird since the pedestrian sidewalks is very rare, and of course the local people would stare at you strangely. So, better take a cab if you want to have a quite long trip. Or, you can take a tour with "hop on/off bus", the bus come once in every hour, but still you have to ask where is the stopping point to catch the bus. You can pay the fare directly to the driver (believe me, it's not so expensive).

The most beautiful place in Melacca (and also my favorite) is the riverbank on sunset. You should spent your sunset moment there, sit at the riverside, or hang out at one of the cafe there, and catch the sparkles of the sun at the river water. It's romantic and beautiful.

Laksamana Cheng Ho Temple

River bank

When I searched Melacca from the website, before I went there, the top topic of Melacca is its Red Church. So, I visited Red Church. And I've just realized that the area of Red Church, Stadhuys, and buildings around it, is the heart of the city. The most economic activities happen in that area. We can find everything there ; souvenirs, seafood, tourist destination place, all are walkable. Another historical site which amazed me was A Famosa, a fortress which was built by Albuquerque. A Famosa was making my heart beating faster, since it's an old site which was built in 15th centuries, and also it was really beautiful.

The Red Church

A Famosa Gate

A Famosa Fort

A Famosa

There are also another places that can be visited, such as the Maritime Museum Melacca and Stadhuys (City Hall).

One City's Side of Melacca

Maritime Museum

View of Melacca from Stadhuys

After all, I do love history, and that's why Melacca has left a footprint in my heart.

Bus information from Singapore, Johor Bahru, or Kuala Lumpur to Melacca : Journey Malaysia
Hotel information in Melacca, with various range of price, you can click here.
Or, for the budget trip, you can search for hostel in Melacca.

Oh well, happy traveling! Don't waste your weekend at home. :)

Minggu, 04 April 2010

Three Little Pieces of Ngayogyakarta.


Ngayogyakarta is an alias of Yogyakarta. The name of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat related to the Kingdom of Yogyakarta, named in Javanese way. Located in Central (South) Java, can be reached by bus, train, or airplane from Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia). A historical and cultural area, with humble local people. We might meet many traditional clothes wore by the locals, it's because they highly appreciate their Javanese culture.

Put aside the central city life, we go a little further away from the city of Yogyakarta. Kaliadem. One of the low point from the volcano of Merapi, more or less 6km from its summit. This is the place where the hot lava from the crater was flowing down, setting afire the buildings and vegetations on it.

Let's visit another beautiful places, not nature, but the infamous temples. Both are the heritage from different religion, Buddhism and Hinduism. Prambanan Temple and Borobudur Temple, located in two different side of Yogyakarta. And both are worth a visit, at least once in a lifetime.

For complete information about Yogyakarta Tourism, you can visit Jogja website. You might find more valuable information regarding tourist destination places inside and around Yogyakarta. Happy traveling! :)