Best Travel Moments in 2013 and Why I Want to Travel More

Medischfun travel quote

Approaching the end of 2013, it’s time to reflect and make resolution for new year ahead. Maybe sounds cliché…make resolutions for new year and maybe some people will forget theirs soon after the trumpet blown and fireworks blasted. But I am not that type of person. Every year I usually make big goals to be reached and usually I work hard to accomplish them. Last year it was Thailand which gave me the travelbug. Trip to Thailand opened my eyes and reminded me of my other passion (besides Medicine), is to travel.

Since I was a kid I want to travel the world (well, who doesn’t?). Me and my family travelled a lot, although only domestically, but they always encouraged me to see the world, gather experiences, and taste everything new. The most important thing they taught me is to pursue my passion, no matter what it is.

I grew up with the passion to see the world, then, I fell in love with Human Medicine. When I entered my Medicine study, I don’t want to forget my travel passion, so I sticked a World Map on my bedroom wall. My very bestfriend who know me very very well always sent me birthday card with text : “Hope your wishes to travel the world will come true”.

This year, I learned and experienced a lot, and here I write some of my best travel moments, because some memories are just too precious to be forgotten and worth to be written (typed?) down so it will last, hopefully, forever.

#Unforgettable View

It was a scenic view of rice fields, long and thick bamboo forest, surrounded by green hills, blue mountains and clear blue sky which took my heart away. A road to Batutumonga peak in Tana Toraja, the Land of the Dead located in South Sulawesi. The road is long and bumpy, but sitting on the motorbike for almost two hours with aching pain on your butt is nothing compared with the price…

Batutumonga Tanah Toraja South Sulawesi

#Unforgettable Experience

To sat inside a bamboo hut, ate pa’piong (traditional Torajan food, pork with spices cooked inside a bamboo), under the hut was living pigs walked around, waited to be slaughtered, meanwhile in front of me was living and anxious buffalos, stood there watching their friend’s bodies laid on the ground, cut and left only head and horns… Next to me was another huts, full with people in black clothing, the relatives of the man who died a year ago, mummified and kept in home until the family ready to held the Torajan Funeral Ceremony, and buried (or put inside the stone grave) after then.

Torajan Funeral Ceremony South Sulawesi

#Unforgettable Fun

Transformers The Ride, USS. Hell yeah it’s good to be kids again! To enjoy the ride, experienced those visual high-tech and felt as it were real, screamed, laughed, and tensed at the same time. Funny was, even on that moment, for a short second, I felt a serene and grateful feeling. A kind of feeling that I want to smile as wide as possible and say “oh thank you God for let me live and experience this fun”. Absurd maybe, but it happened to me. Or maybe it just the endorphine. :D

Transformer the Ride USS

#Unforgettable Challenge

You haven’t go to Ubud if you haven’t visit Tegalalang. Okay so I took the challenge (actually challenge myself), to bike to Tegalalang. Tegalalang rice fields is maybe one of the  most scenic beauty of Ubud, but it was not the yellow rice fields, nor the smile of the local female farmers which made it unforgettable, but the feeling from a accomplished mission. It was the sweat under the heat, the tiring muscle, the grunting and the self-motivatalk during the journey that made it unforgettable. How I smiled (and relieved) when I finally reached Tegalalang, how I beat the challenge, and how I survived from 10 km biking through some steep hills. It was the survival that made it unforgettable.

biking ubud tegalalang

#Unforgettable Sunrise

Sanur Beach, Bali, the first time I finally made an effort to woke up early to saw the sunrise. I am not a morning person, and after several times I failed, now I know that only persistence can beat laziness. Why choose to snooze if you can experience a view like this?

Sunrise Sanur Beach Bali

#Unforgettable Near Death Experience Feeling

I didn’t realize that I have Fear of Heights before. I am not afraid when I have to ride a roller coaster. Well, I am afraid a bit when I stand in high building. I freaked a little when I use a very very high escalator (like those in some of Singapore malls). I freaked a lot when I have to walked through an old wooden bridge that cross a big river at Maribaya Waterfalls. But I became crazier when I walked through the OCBC Skyway at Garden By The Bay, Singapore. Hell, it is 22-metres high from the ground, with the 128-metres steel-net floor and big wind blew from side to side, I was lucky my heart didn’t stop beating! Will.Not.Do.This.Again.(But.Happy.To.Did.That.Though)

Garden By The Bay OCBC Skyway Singapore

#Unforgettable Overland Journey

I love overland journey! It’s hard to choose between 8-hours journey sat inside the night bus from Makassar to Tana Toraja, full moon outside, mountains, hills, and Gunung Nona view in the midnight, chatted randomly with my travelmate and also one of my bestfriend, no luxurious or fake smile service nor comfortable seat, but I felt so peaceful and comfortable with myself, or 9-hours comfortable night bus ride with massage chair from Johor Baru to Penang, when I awaken by a glimpse of light from the morning sunrise and the beautiful view from Penang Bridge was the first thing I saw. Hmm…I choose both.

Penang Bridge Malaysia

#Unforgettable Food

Despite a lot of arguments toward which is the best Babi Guling or Suckling Pig in Bali, I choose Babi Guling Ibu Oka as the best for my tongue and tummy. A bit pricey, yes, but it worth the size, taste, and experience. I still dream the taste of crispyness and the thick fat under the fried pork skin. Damn, why now I feel like Hannibal? Read the full review and story about Babi Guling Ibu Oka here.

babi guling ibu oka ubud bali

#Unforgettable Drink

Black and strong Toraja Coffee. A sip of this thick black coffee is one of my favourite way to start a day.

toraja coffee

So, why travel? Because I want to collect memories and experiences, not things.

“See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security” – Ray Bradbury

My Dream.

My ultimate dream is to travel the world. And not by group tour. But to live in several different places for quite a long time. To know new cultures. To blend with them. Maybe some couple months in Siberia, then China, then Italy, and so on. I want my life to be a long life learning. And everyday is a chance to learning something new. Everyday is different and full of mystery.

I want my life unexpected. I want my life full of knowledge and adventures. I want to cross the Great Wall, climb (if it possible) Grand Canyon, take a visit to Niagara Falls, swimming with Whale Sharks. I want my life to full of possibilities. And flexibility. I don’t want to stick in the office for eight hours a day, doing paperwork and the only view I can see is skyscrapers and missed the sunset, stuck at the traffic instead. I want my life to be free. Free to choose and free to do what I want to do. Even if maybe it is a stupid thing or false thing to do, i want to do it anyway, because nothing is truly right or wrong, it’s only merely a new experience to learn and live with.

I want to see a lot and experience a lot, not only read it from books or watch it from TV. I want to see the real view of nature, of animals, of traditional cultures, taste real foreign food, swim in the real sea or lake or lagoon, fly in the real hot balloon air. I want to meet real foreigners and talk to them, if possible, learn their languages, and exchange knowledge as much as possible. I want to live my life like that. I want to be that kind of person.

So, where should I start?

-random writing in the middle of the night-

Turnamen Foto Perjalanan Ronde 38 : Membaca di Stasiun Kereta Api Nongkhai

Nongkhai Bangkok Train

Sebagai penyuka perjalanan darat alias overland, kereta api merupakan salah satu moda transportasi favorit saya, jika dibandingkan dengan bus atau mobil. Suara “gejes-gejes” yang menemani sepanjang perjalanan merupakan salah satu alasan yang membuat saya jatuh hati dengan kereta api. Entah kenapa suara “gejes-gejes” itu bagaikan musik yang bisa membuat hati ini adem. Nyes. Selain karena “gejes-gejes”-nya, traveling dengan kereta api memungkinkan saya untuk menikmati pemandangan dengan cara yang berbeda. Perjalanan yang lebih “slow” dengan rute yang seringkali melewati tempat-tempat dengan pemandangan cantik membuat saya selalu berusaha memprioritaskan perjalanan overland dengan kereta api.

Salah satu stasiun kereta api yang berkesan bagi saya yaitu Stasiun Kereta Api Nongkhai di Thailand. Nongkhai merupakan kota kecil di perbatasan Thailand-Laos. Untuk menuju Nongkhai dari Laos, bisa menggunakan bus dari Vientiane yang akan melewati Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge. Dari Nongkhai kita bisa menggunakan sleeper train untuk menuju Bangkok. sleeper train kelas dua pun menurut saya sudah sangat nyaman dan bersih. Karena saat itu saya kehabisan tiket sleeper train dengan fan, maka saya terpaksa menggunakan sleeper train dengan AC seharga 688 THB. Harga yang tidak terlalu mahal untuk perjalanan selama 12 jam, karena dengan sleeper train maka saya bisa menghemat biaya penginapan untuk satu malam. Ini salah satu metode traveling favorit saya, karena jujur, saya tidak terlalu suka mengeluarkan uang untuk penginapan. Kalau bisa tidur sambil berpindah tempat, kenapa tidak? Hehe…

Nongkhai Station Thailand

Stasiun Nongkhai lokasinya cukup jauh dari Terminal Bus Nongkhai, tempat seluruh penumpang bus dari Vientiane diturunkan. Saran saya naiklah tuktuk, karena apabila berjalan kaki seperti saya (What a mistake! But glad that I did it though) maka akan memakan waktu satu jam. Bukan masalah jarak melainkan masalah cuaca yang panas, terik dan menyengat, yang membuat perjalanan dari terminal ke stasiun saat itu begitu menguras tenaga. Sungguh hati ini girang tak terkira ketika akhirnya berhasil mencapai Stasiun Nongkhai, meskipun tampang sudah amburadul dan penuh debu jalanan.

Pemandangan unik menyambut saya di depan stasiun. Gerbong-gerbong lokomotif berwarna ungu cerah di tengah-tengah rimbunnya tanaman hijau tampak bagaikan oase di tengah stasiun yang gersang. Jelas, gerbong-gerbong ini sudah pensiun dari tugasnya mengangkut penumpang. Pada plang di depan gerbong-gerbong tersebut saya membaca : “Railway Public Library Nongkhai Province”. Wah. Perpustakaan di stasiun! How unusual! Memasuki area perpustakaan mini tersebut, saya cukup terkesan karena selain disediakan kursi-kursi kayu panjang (yang dengan segera menjadi lapak saya untuk tiduran), majalan-majalah (kebanyakan dalam bahasa Thailand), di sana juga disediakan Wifi yang sangat kencang. Yipie!! #fakirwifi. Sayang gerbongnya saat itu sedang ditutup, sehingga saya tidak bisa masuk ke dalam gerbong hanya di area “taman”nya saja. But still, it was fun! I wish stasiun-stasiun di Indonesia juga bisa menyediakan educational spot seperti ini…

Membaca di stasiun. Why not?

Membaca di stasiun. Why not?

Apakah kamu penyuka perjalanan darat juga seperti saya? Coba lihat stasiun-stasiun dan terminal-terminal favorit para traveler di Turnamen Foto Perjalanan :)

Weekly Photo Challenge : Community

Khoo Khongsi Clan’s name plates of family inherited

Khoo Khongsi Clan’s name plates of family inherited

The first words occured in my mind when I read about this weekly photo challenge theme by Daily Post is : “Chinese Clan”.

Based on Oxford Dictionary, community means :

  1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common
  2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common
  3. Ecology a group of interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or occupying a specified habitat

Clan, however, preceded more centralized forms of community, a close-knit group of interrelated families.  A Chinese clan is a patrilineal and patrilocal group of related Chinese people with a common surname (e.g. Lie, Hoo, Tan, Khoo, etc.) sharing a common ancestor and, often, also an ancestral home.

Well, China has the biggest population on Earth (more than 1,3 billion!), and we can find Chinatown in many places outside China. Although my anchestors are from China, and I also have a Chinese name, but the thought about Chinese clan house was never occured to me before (I am a failed Chinese!! Forgive me Grandmother! :p), until I visited Khoo Kongsi Clan House in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

The Khoo Kongsi clan forefathers came from Sin Kang village in Hokkien province, South China. They emigrated from there to Penang and built Khoo Kongsi clanhouse for members of the Khoo family in 1851. The clan temple was built in 1906 when the Khoo clan was at the peak of wealth and reached the great status and superiority in Penang society. The temple itself is a form of grandeur art, with the statues, paintings, carved pillars in shiny gold colours.

 

The Khoo Kongsi is known as the most majestic Chinese clan house in South East Asia. The clan, Khoo Kongsi clan, together with Cheah, Yeoh, Lim and Tan Kongsi, were known as the Five Big Clans, formed the backbone of the Hokkien community in early Penang. The Khoos were among the wealthy Straits Chinese traders of 17th century of Malacca and early Penang.

 

Today, Khoo Kongsi is a historic site, due to its location in the UNESCO World Heritage Site area of George Town. I wonder how they used to live in this clan house, must be very interesting, to live together in one clan community. And the fact that the house is still there and well preserved after more than 150 years proves that blood is thicker than water.

Meninggalkan Jejak di Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Pemandangan unik yang melepas kepergian saya dari Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Stiker-stiker ini awalnya diberikan kepada setiap pengunjung Mansion untuk ditempelkan di tubuh sebagai tanda pengenal. Menariknya, di samping gerbang pintu keluar stiker-stiker ini kemudian ditempelkan begitu saja di dedaunan tanaman pot hias ini. Tampaknya para pengunjung ingin meninggalkan “jejak”nya di sini.

Saya pun menempelkan stiker kecil berwarna hijau kuning cerah milik saya di salah satu daun tersebut…

Secercah perasaan “I’ve been here” and  “Good bye” menggelitik hati…

 

Turnamen Foto Perjalanan Ronde 31 : Jejak

12 Jam di Penang, ngapain aja sih?

Weekly Photo Challenge : Grand

Big Sitting Buddha Wat Khao Rang Phuket

Last year I visited Phuket with my two bestfriend. That was one of my happiest moment in life. First time went abroad, after a year of hardwork with no holiday at all, not even a day. It was all about money back there. How to get more and more money. About pretty things and security…Until I got bitten by that travelbug. Well, blame Thailand for its enormous beauty and amazing people. I fell in love at the first place with this country, this Land of Smiles.

During my travel to Phuket Town, I visited Wat Khao Rang, located on the slope of Khao Rang or Rang Hill. Even it is not as popular as Wat Chalong, but Wat Khao Rang is really worth visited, because of the Big Golden Sitting Buddha, the first big golden Buddha statue built in Phuket. After hiked several (or maybe hundred) stair steps, and I hardly could catch my breath, I saw this Buddha golden statue on the top of the temple. The size is enormous and I was charmed with the whole view, the smiling Buddha and the nature scenery behind it, high trees and clear blue sky, white clouds, clean air with some light scents of burned incense… I could feel my effort was so worth it. That moment of happiness, excitement and also peace…when I saw this grand image of Buddha himself.

Weekly Photo Challenge : DailyPost