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 🙂

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. 😀

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

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

Ada Hutan di Sentosa Island

Sentosa Nature Discovery

Tumbuh besar di kota kecil di kaki Gunung Slamet, membuat gw terbiasa dengan hutan. Nggak terhitung seberapa sering gw menghabiskan waktu berwisata ke Baturaden, Purwokerto. Sejak TK sampai SMA, lokasi wisata yang nge-hits di Purwokerto ya kayaknya itu-itu aja. Baturaden lagi, Baturaden lagi. Setiap ada kerabat atau teman dari luar kota berkunjung, dibawanya ya selalu ke Baturaden. Weekend keluarga pun kadang dihabiskan dengan ngaso-ngaso cantik di air terjun Baturaden, jogging di hutan area perkemahan Baturaden, makan jagung bakar atau sekedar cuci muka di Pancuran Tujuh (okay ini agak nggak penting setelah diinget-inget lagi, hihi).

Suasana hutan dengan pohon-pohon yang tinggi dan rindang, pucuk-pucuk daun pinus yang tajam, aroma sejuk udara pagi dan sentuhan kabut pagi yang dingin menjadi pengalaman biasa semasa gw kecil. Sampai sekarang pun, suasana “hutan” selalu membuat gw teringat akan rumah. Semasa kuliah di Bandung, gw bergabung dalam kegiatan-kegiatan kampus yang sering mengadakan hiking, camping, atau trekking ke hutan. Meskipun gw nggak bergabung di klub Pecinta Alam, tapi sebagai anggota Tim Bantuan Medis, beberapa kali gw berkesempatan kembali ke suasana hutan yang gw cintai. Aroma kayu dari pepohonan lapuk dan aroma tanah yang basah sehabis tersiram hujan berpuluh-puluh kali lebih menenangkan dibanding aroma parfum mahal sekalipun. Beberapa tempat favorit saya antara lain daerah Bumi Perkemahan Cikole, Gunung Puntang, Rancaupas, kawasan Situ Lembang, dan kawasan Konservasi Masigit Kareumbi, dan terakhir, Taman Hutan Raya Dago.

Kesukaan akan hutan ini pun yang akhirnya membawa gw ke Sentosa Nature Discovery. Loh, kok Sentosa? Itu kan di Singapura? Bukannya di Sentosa itu adanya USS doang? Well, ternyata Sentosa itu nggak melulu isinya permainan canggih loh. Di area Imbiah Lookout, berdekatan dengan Image of Singapore, gw menemukan Sentosa Nature Discovery ini. Pertama kali gw agak kaget juga, di saat jalan-jalan random nggak ada tujuan, tau-tau nemu secuplik area hijau yang langsung bikin gw tertarik. Penasaran, akhirnya gw memasuki area Sentosa Discovery Nature ini.

Sentosa Nature Discovery

Setelah memasuki gerbang, ternyata melebihi ekspektasi gw, terdapat pepohonan yang cukup rimbun, ditambah lagi dengan papan-papan keterangan yang sangat informatif mengenai jenis pohon dan habitat yang ada di sana. Awalnya perjalanan dimulai dengan jalan setapak semacam jembatan dari kayu. Menariknya, ternyata jalan dari kayu ini awalnya adalah bekas jalur monorail. Karena jalur monorail kemudian dipindahkan, jalur yang lama akhirnya dijadikan jalur pejalan kaki di Sentosa Nature Discovery ini. Sangat kreatif. Setelah “short walk” di area jembatan kayu ini, kemudian gw memasuki semacam ruang edukasi tentang berbagai flora dan fauna yang terdapat di area ini. Penyajian edukasinya sangat menarik sih menurut gw. Misalnya aja ada video, rekaman suara burung-burung, sampai yang interaktif seperti ini :

Sentosa Nature Discovery

Kalau bawa anak kecil seru nih ke sini. Sayang saya belum beranak #eh. Entah kenapa setiap mampir ke lokasi-lokasi wisata di Singapura itu rasanya selalu dijejeli edukasi. Nggak di museum-museumnya, di Garden by the Bay, di Botanical Garden, di SEA Aquarium, dan di kebanyakan tempat di Sentosa. Salut juga sih, meskipun kadang gw ngerasa overwhelmed, karena buntut-buntutnya kebanyakan informasi malah jadi banyak yang dilupakan juga. Apalagi setelah seporsi Pork Noodle atau semangkuk Bakut Teh  masuk perut, hehe…

Track nature walk di dalem Sentosa Nature Discovery ini sebetulnya ada beberapa rute, tapi karena waktu gw terbatas akhirnya gw memutuskan mengambil rute yang pendek. Secara pake sandal japit juga, takut juga kalo sendirian di tengah jalan kenapa-napa. Sepanjang jalan dikelilingi pepohonan rimbun lumayan menyegarkan pikiran, apalagi suara-suara dari luar sama sekali nggak kedengeran di dalam hutan mini itu. Yang ada juga suara burung dan serangga kadang bersahut-sahutan,  meski gw nggak berhasil menemukan satupun pergerakan burung. Sejauh mata memandang hanya tampak hijaunya pohon dan coklatnya tanah. Udara panas di luar langsung berubah jadi sejuk di antara rimbunnya pepohonan. Meskipun nggak ada embun apalagi kabut, tapi udara bersih yang memenuhi paru-paru rasanya cukup untuk detoksifikasi dari polusi kota yang sehari-hari gw hirup. Sepi dan hening, secuil oase di tengah hiruk pikuk Sentosa.

Sentosa Nature Discovery

Next : mau nyobain jalan-jalan unyu di canopy walk di FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) ah. Ikut? ^^

Sad Story from Pandawa Beach

Pandawa Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Pandawa Beach, Bali, Indonesia

No, this post is not the story about how beautiful Pandawa Beach is. Instead, this is a sad story…

Last month me and my sister visited Pandawa Beach, Bali. White sands stretched along the beach, clear blue sea water, atop us is clear blue sky and hot bright sun that burned my skin. It supposed to be a peace, calm, and nice usual day on the beach, accompanied with the soft sound from the waves crushed far from the shore. I sat on the warm sands, I can feel my toes tingled when it touched the cold crystal clear water below my feet. In front of us a little local boy, maybe around 8 or 9 years old, swam freely, with a google mask on his eyes and styrofoam tied with a plastic rope to his leg, kept him floated. He wore only a green short, looked too big for his thin body, but matched nicely with his brown coloured skin. We chatted a little with the little boy. He told us that he searched for little fishes. He laughed a lot. I like his smile. As I sat there, I watched him swam and did some “attractions”. He tried to surf using his styrofoam, but he fell and fell again, failed to maintain the balance of his body. That was funny though. I laughed several times, and he laughed back. That short moment felt nice and fun…

until I stood up, decided to leave the beach…Suddenly the boy waved his hand, tipped his fingers and made a gesture that means asking for money. I was surprised, but tried to ignore the gesture, smiled, and said goodbye instead. When I  turned my back, a loud-shouting-voice from this little boy reached my ears…

“Hey you crazy women, why you don’t give me money!”

I was stunned.

This little boy with that innocent face…why he said such a thing? Did he learned that from his parents? Friends? Did he learned that from the tourists? Why he expected some money from us? Did he usually received money from tourists? Why he has such a behaviour? Will this behaviour stayed until he become an adult? Is this one of a result from mass tourism?

It just sad…

Weekly Photo Challenge : Eerie


So, Weekly Photo Challenge theme for this week is “eerie“. Eerie means “strange and frightening“. When this word appeared, suddenly I got a flashback from one moment in my life, when I felt exactly “strange and frightened”. That was four months ago, when I was travelled to Tana Toraja, or Toraja Land. Tana Toraja is a regency located at South Sulawesi Province in Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. It was a sudden and impulsive travel, with no plan and no expectation at all before I went there. The only things I knew was that Tana Toraja is called “The Land of the Dead”, there people celebrate funeral and hold a big funeral ceremony with feast and slaughter a lot of buffalos and pigs. But it was just an ordinary story for me, until I attended the funeral ceremony itself, for real…

So it was just an ordinary morning at the hotel, I had no exact plan for that day, first I thought to visit some “cave grave”, “baby grave”, or “stone grave”, taste some local food or maybe just walk around the town, which is not too big but pleasant enough. But, the owner of the hotel offered me to share a “guided tour” with two other tourists from Holland. The guide and this tourist couple looked nice, and the tour highlight is to attend the funeral ceremony, which held at Tanah Bori area, that is a beautiful region surrounded by hills and rice fields. So, even the cost was pretty high, I thought, “why not”? Maybe this is my only chance to attend the Torajan funeral ceremony! Well, who knows? And I never regret my decision…

Imagine a field surrounded by a lot of big traditional bamboo hut. Hundred of people sat, gathered, chatted and ate at this bamboo hut. Most all of them is relatives of the dead, which the body had been mummified and placed in a coffin on separated place, at the hut, high from the ground. The hut was beautifully decorated, with the photo of the dead placed in front of the coffin. People wore black clothes, some wore traditional Torajan clothes, which is bright orange mixed with red coloured clothes, the men wore yellow or brown headband, the girls with golden crown on their head, some older ladies wore traditional hat called “caping” and wore traditional Torajan woven clothes with them…

…but the field was not empty. The field was full with pigs and buffalos. I couldn’t count them because they were so many. Some were laying on the ground alive,each tied to a bamboo…

…and some were dead. Some laid on the ground, left only their body parts.


Some left only their head…

tana toraja funeral ceremony


Well, I warned you before : Do not read while eating.


Weekly Photo Challenge by Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge : From Lines to Patterns

This Weekly Photo Challenge from Dailypost is about shape, lines, textures, and patterns. This is my entry for this week, from the magnificent Marina Bay Sands Singapore, stretch of grainy grey sands in Karimunjawa, to Traditional Torajan Woven from Indonesia :

Weekly Photo Challenge by Daily Post : From Lines to Patterns