“I want to travel so bad! Need refreshment. Don’t have to be a spectacular kind of trip. Just drive outside (but still near) Jakarta and have some leisures, please!” I said that to Titiw. And after having some tiring bloody discussions, my girlfriend and I had agreed upon the idea on the destination. Yes, as you have already seen on this post title, Garut We Went!
Why Garut? Simple! It is located near Jakarta our lovely hometown (drive-able). Cool weather anticipated with hot spring. Culinary good, not the greatest but good enough. Fairly CHEAP! I think such combinations are sufficient enough to get rid of the fatigue of living in capital town.
When we brought up such ‘need’ to our friends, the positive responds came from Umen, Nidinda, Ipik, Oke, Audrey, Sarah Diana, Putri, Bram and Farchan. Almost identical with my companion to Pulau Perak trip. We then had an initial plan to drive Garut from Jakarta. We understood that we have to provide at least three cars but as far as the discussion was going on, we could only provide two cars, i.e. the Audrey’s and Ipik’s. Both of them are city cars with only four seats available each. As we could count precisely, the number of participants would be eleven.
Although this plan has been discussed for a month and a half, we finally made a decision not to drive Garut and took a Big Bird, instead. No, no, it is not a giant condor that can be ridden just like the very-uber-cheap-CGI-Indosiar-serial. It is the famous brand in bus charter which is operated by the biggest taxi company in Indonesia.
Pursuant to my research, the distance between our meeting point at Plaza Festival, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, Kav. 22, South Jakarta to our reserved Hotel Tirta Merta II, Jl. Raya Cipanas No. 134, West Java is approx. 206 KM. So, I think, based on such consideration and also the issue of cars availability, taking a DELTA which has specification of:
- 10 – 11 Seats;
- Full AC;
- Reclyning seat with safety belt;
- LCD TV with DVD player;
- Sound system;
- Radio calling;
- GPS system.
was a smart and wise move/decision.
In addition, if you charter a Big Bird, it means that the rate you pay shall include the driver and the fuel. The TOLL tariff is not included in the price. As for the meal allowance for the driver, we all agreed to give the voluntary meal allowance (a tip as well in the end of the tour) to him. We even asked him to sleep in our (men tour participants’ bed room) on an extra bed but he politely refused. I think it was called professionalism.
Here comes the story of the journey:
Friday, 15 November 2013
Almost of all the participants have gathered at the meeting point.
On schedule, we went Cipanas/Garut. The rain was pouring down that night. As you can imagine, Inner Ring Toll to Cikampek Toll + Friday + afterhours + pouring rain = Earth Hell! Again, we were grateful since all we had to do was seating comfortably, watching music clip video, laughter sharing and most importantly sleeping in serene.
I have a love-hate-relationship with a bus driver. Their way of driving is typical. In one side, I love that the driver can always overtake other cars through a path between two parallel lines (‘cari jalan’/’selap selip’) even in a bad congestion. On the other hand, sometimes I worry to have an accident (never happened and hopefully never ever ever happens in my life).
The AC is centralized so if you are not a type of person who can bear with a ‘very cool’ AC, please help yourself by wearing a jacket. For me who is 176 cm tall, the gaps between the seater rows were tolerable.
Saturday, 16 November 2013
We stucked in a very bad traffic jam in Rancaekek. First, I thought that it was caused by a flood but finally I knew that there is a factory on the left side of the road which its giant ‘tronton’ trucks were queuing to exit to the road. Again, if only we drove by ourselves.
Eventually, we checked in to the Hotel Tirta Merta II. Farchan has already been there since he lives in Garut. We booked two bed rooms which are pretty basic but comfortable enough to sleep in. The room rate was Rp 325.000.
There were two queen size beds, fit enough for five medium to big men. The room was equipped with a TV which broadcasted local TV stations. The bathroom is clean with a seat closet and a traditional bath tub which fit enough for two persons to soak in warm water.
After took a bath, we went for lunch at a small warung which served Sundanese food. On the way to such warung, we met a group of students who acted as weirdos (we assumed that they were on the college orientation period). I ate a portion of white rice, a fried chicken breast, a tempe and a tahu completed with two kind of sambals. As for the drink, I went for a glass of soursop juice. They all costed me for Rp 22.000.
The DELTA took me and friends to Talaga Bodas. Looking from the road we went through, we even more felt grateful to have chosen Big Bird as our transportation. The infrastructure was very poor! Bumpy road and fit only for a car and a motorcycle. Left and right side of it are the ravines.
We took a brief stop at a point which allowing us to take some photographs with Gunung Sadahurip (the lost pyramid) as the background.
Reached the Post I. There were some locals (I do not know whether they were a government official or not) stopped us to collect Rp 3.000/person to pass through. Initially, the locals told us that the bus could not go since there has been some works (I don’t know for what development). It meant, we have to take a 20 minutes-walk from Post I to Talagabodas but out of no where, the rain pouring down! After a negotiation, they allowed us to take the bus to Talagabodas passed Post II so we didn’t have to take a walk.
We finally arrived at Talagabodas. Taken from wikipedia, Talagabodas (which means White Lake (refer to white crater lake) in Sundanese is a stratovolcano in West Java. The volcano is about 25 km to the east of the town of Garut was built up of andestic lavas and pyroclastics. Fumarples, mud pots and hot springs were found around the crater lake. Changes of the lake color occurred in 1913 and 1921. The diameter of crater lake is less than 2 km and lies at an altitude of 1,720 m or 1,020 m above Garut plains.
After walked for about 15 minutes from the lake, we arrived and then took a soak in a hot spring. It is actually a natural hot spring but then a ‘pool’ was built to accomodate the water. Don’t expect a nice ‘pool’ since it was more like an unfinished building foundation poured by water. We after all enjoying the hot spring for about half an hour.
The mist was slowly but sure covering up the hill. We decided to go back to the town to have a dinner.
At an intersection which filled with food cadgers along its each four ways, we had our dinner. My groups, i.e. Titiw, Nidinda, Farchan, Putri and Ipik first tried a siomay ‘M. Ilen’ at the edge of the intersection while the group of Sarah Diana, Audrey, Bram, Umen and Oke consuming soto ayam at the opposite road.
Three siomay, one boiled egg, one boiled potatoe, two meatball-tahu costed me Rp 10.000. Haven’t been satisfied enough, our group decided to try soto ayam where another group has eaten. The price of a portion of it was Rp 14.000. Apparently, the group of Sarah Diana haven’t also been satisfied yet they tried to find some more foods. Without any recommendation, they ate again at the M. Ilen.
Just an intermezzo, before we tried to eat siomay at M. Ilen, Nidinda asked me a bet for what did the M stand for. I guessed it would be ‘Muhammad’ and Nidinda gambled it was ‘Mamah’. When I finally asked the cadger, he said that the M stand for …….. ‘Mang’. Nidinda almost jumped her heart out, she thought she was right. Nice try Nidi and be better next time!
SWIM SWIM SWIM! Our next stop was to swim at Hotel Sumber Alam located not far from our hotel. Their pool is big enough, almost at the same size as the olympic’s I would say. The tariff was Rp 20.000/person.
The water was a bit hotter than the natural hot spring at Talagabodas. Decent cleanliness. Not too many swimmers. As you can guess, we played the ‘Werewolf’ game inside the pool as well as man riding wrestle. The light and the shower would be turned off passed 22.00.
After having rinsed in the shower room, we then went back to our hotel on foot. Ate the martabak telor and keju we bought on the way to Hotel Sumber Alam while sharing a gossip in the men’s bed room until midnight.
Minggu, 17 November 2013
Take a bath checked, prepare our belongings checked! While waiting the lunch time, Titiw, Nidinda, Audrey, Bram and I tried the fish spa. It was a small pond, fulfilled with a lot of Garra Rufa a.k.a. Doctor Fish.
Lunch before heading back to Jakarta at Cibiuk. A lot of menus we ordered here and ended up with a bill that costed us Rp 73.000 each.
Dropped by some souvenirs center. There were foods, snacks and leather craft shops. The snacks prices varied from Rp 10.000 – Rp 30.000 (for the average ones). A large leather men’s belt was priced Rp 100.000.
The DELTA drove us back to Jakarta under the pouring rain. Indeed we delivered the business to the driver while were sleeping, eating snacks, watching the most unscarry horror movie, listening to the music, etc etc.
Titiw and I were dropped off the exit gate of Jatiwaringin Toll. Yes, the meeting and dropping point was at Plaza Festival but you can request the driver to dropp you off at another location (as long as it don’t change the main route).
All and all, I will definetly travel with you guys anymore with Big Bird as our transportation. Sumatera over land (and sea) maybe?
[Photographs by Rame-rame. Edited by myself]