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 : Eerie

[DO NOT READ WHILE EATING]

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.

Indonesia in Five Colours

Capture the Colour photo blogging competition by TravelSupermarket.com is back! Again, the competition is to choose five original shots from your travel experiences, and each shot representing the colors : blue, green, yellow, white and red. Last year I also participated in this photo blogging challenge and it’s been really fun! So of course  I want to participate again this year. This time I will share five colours that represent my home country, Indonesia.

Blue : Amirul Mukminin Floating Mosque, Makassar, South Sulawesi

The tranquil Amirul Mukminin, the first floating Mosque in Indonesia

The tranquil Amirul Mukminin, the first floating Mosque in Indonesia

Built in 2009, the first floating Mosque in Indonesia, Amirul Mukminin Mosque, has been a highlight to many visitors who comes to Makassar, South Sulawesi. Located at Losari Beach, only few meters from the Fort Rotterdam and La Galigo Museum, this Mosque offers charming and tranquil beauty of its own. The picturesque blue sky as a background and sea below, matched with the ornamental light blue dome, this mosque has attracted a lot of photographers to capture the magnificent scene. Amirul Mukminin Mosque also named 99 Al Makazzary Mosque, that name symbolized one of the High Priest of Masjidil Haram, Syech Yusuf.

White : Hanoman, The King of Monkey, at Kecak Dance, Uluwatu, Bali

Hanoman, the King of Monkey in Ramayana epic

Hanoman, the King of Monkey in Ramayana epic

Hanoman, considered as the central character in Ramayana epic, which he participated in the war between Rama and the demon king Rahwana to rescue Rama’s wife, Shinta. The story has been passed from generation to generation and being as old as the Hindu itself. Now Ramayana story is commonly played in Kecak Dance, Bali. Kecak Dance, which is well-known for its mystical sense, since there’s no music played but instead use the rhytmic sound “cak-cak-cak” sung by dozens male dancers. Hanoman himself played an essential character, like a real monkey, which is fast-moving, intelligent, playful but also humble and fearless. Watching Kecak Dance itself at Pura Uluwatu, with colorful Balinese dancer wearing colorful dancing costumes, the humming sound of “cak-cak-cak”, clear blue sky above, and accompanied by the light of golden sunset, is one of the unforgettable experience in life.

Green : One Day at Rantepao, Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

A mosque in the middle of Land of Thousand Churches, Tana Toraja

A mosque in the middle of Land of Thousand Churches, Tana Toraja

Tana Toraja is a region in the highland of South Sulawesi, also called “Land of The Dead” and “Land of Thousand Churches”. The first name is given because of the famous ritual of Torajan Funeral Ceremony, “Rambu Solok”, where they held a big feast to celebrate the death, include sacrifice dozens of buffalos and hundreds of pigs, also the tradition to “keep” the dead one mummified from days to years inside the house called “tongkonan” before the feast is held. The last is called because of the massive numbers of churches built in Tana Toraja, since most of the people are Christians. But in the middle of my random-walking through Rantepao, the capital city of Tana Toraja, I found this mosque, covered with beautiful green-coloured-dome, can’t be more serene and free as it seem. The beauty of diversity. (Also seen at Turnamen Foto Perjalanan)

Red : Toraja Traditional Woven Cloth, Sa’dan Village, North Toraja

Natural-dyed traditional cloth, handmade by women in Sa'dan Village, North Toraja

Natural-dyed traditional cloth, handmade by women in Sa’dan Village, North Toraja

This traditional cloth made by handmade-yarn from cotton that grew in local garden at Sa’dan Village, North Toraja. When I was stumbled upon this colorful clothes and motives, I hardly believe that all of this made and colored by natural sources, with only hand and weaving tools, but the fact is, it’s true. Nowadays, only small amount of women do weaving in Sa’dan Village. With the coming of massive industrialization, traditional woven fabric become threatened and leading to its extinction. Only one 83-years old lady left that still do the traditional yarn-spinning. Whereas, Torajan traditional woven fabric is considered as a high value art that should be well-preserved. The question is : Would we?

Yellow : Welcoming a New Day at Sanur, Bali

Sunrise at Sanur Beach, Bali

Sunrise at Sanur Beach, Bali

A new day, a new beginning. As the yellow flag waved freely in the middle of tranquil morning at Sanur Beach, a new excitement inside me began to rise. New day! New hope! New spirit! As the gentle wind stroked my hair, then a new me was born again. Nothing can compared the serenity of a calm sunrise in the morning, moreover the sunrise in Sanur Beach, which is considered as the most hunted place to welcoming the born of the sun once again. Boats waited to be sailed once again. Women awaked to pray and give offering to Gods once again. Children opened their black-browned eyes like a new baby born. Yellow flag waved…

And now here are my five nominees :

1. Danan Wahyu from Danan Wahyu Sumirat

2. Wira from Wira Nurmansyah

3. Halim from Jejak Bocah Ilang

4. Angga from Catatan Ransel

5. Efenerr from Efenerr

Good luck to all! ^^

~happy traveling, happy life~

Weekly Photo Challenge : Foreshadow

Grandma Panggao, 83 years old, the only yarn spinner left in Toraja

Grandma Panggao, 83 years old, the only yarn spinner left in Toraja, South Sulawesi

Indonesian traditional handmade woven textiles has been widely known for their beauty and considered as a high value art among art collectors from all over the world. Not only because the beauty, but also because of the essence of works of arts, which requiring a high skill and of course, time. Grandma Panggao is the last Yarn Spinner not only in her village, Sadan Village, but also in Toraja. Even reaching 83 years old this year, she still do her everyday work, spinning yarn from cotton that she get from her own garden, with her hundreds years old spinning tool.

Nowadays, young woman have no interests in spinning yarn, she said. With the progress of machine and textile factory, people prefer working with machine instead of preserve the traditional culture. Is this a foreshadow to traditional woven arts extinction?

Weekly Photo Challenge : Foreshadow