First Day at Vietnam
- Tue, Jan 3rd 2012
I’ve been waiting for this day. My first big trip. Will travel 3 countries, 7 cities in 18 days!! EPIC! My mission is to celebrate my birthday in another country. Haha.. When I bought the flight tix to HCMC on September, I didn’t buy the return tix. I was thinking to travel Cambodia cos it’s just 6 hours to go from Vietnam. After had negotiation with my boss, then I got 18 days off. Great!!
So Vietnam, my first country in this trip. I traveled with my 2 co-workers. We arrived in HCMC (Saigon) round 8pm. Our bus to Da Lat is on 11pm. So we still have couple hours to have dinner. We were starving then we heading up to District 1. On our way, my God I was surprised to know that Saigon has so many motorbikes!! Really!! Even in one road, you can’t find cars, only motorbikes. First impression? – CROWDED and NOISY!! Same as Jakarta.
Then we have a seat on Pho 24. A bowl of Pho Bo (white noodles with beef) cost only 70k VND fulfilled our starving tummy. Right after dinner we took a taxi to District 5 to catch our bus. Sleeper bus cost 200k VND for one way trip will take us to Da Lat. The bus was so comfy. They provided it with blanket, mineral water and wet tissue.
I was too tired after 3 hours sitting on a plane. Then I suddenly fell asleep.
- Wed, Jan 4th 2012
6 hours on the road sleeping, at 5am in the morning we arrived at Da Lat. Morning breeze blows, fresh air but freakin cold!!! I never thought it’s gonna be this cold. I assumed it was 15 degrees. Damn I didn’t prepare my socks or gloves.
While waiting for the minivan that will drop us to our guesthouse, i wanted to book the same sleeper bus going back to Saigon on the next day. But I found hard to communicate with those operators. They CAN’T speak English!! My God, it successfully took my nerves!!! I was trying to explain it to them, even when I wrote it down what kind of bus that I want, they still can’t understand. Okay I give up for this. First disaster since I arrived.
My Vietnamese friend help me to book this guesthouse named Biet Thu 14. Cost only 500k VND per night for 3 people. It supposed to be 250k VND per night but because it was still on high season and everyone coming to Da Lat to see Flower Festival that held till Jan 3rd. So every hotel or guesthouse raised their price. But still it was pretty cheap if divided for 3.
We arrived at our guesthouse at 5.30am. Okay, 2nd disaster was about to come. The owner of the guesthouse – Mr & Mrs. Thuc - again, CAN’T speak English!! WTF!! And we had misunderstood here. I was trying so HARD to explain that we just wanted to drop our luggage. Not to check-in in that early morning. Cos we knew that our check-in time is on 12pm. We could wait. But this women don’t understand what I was trying to say. She kept open the room for us. My assumption was if they open the room, we should pay for 2 nights. So it’s gonna be 1000k VND. And yes, they asked for the money. We should pay at that time. We refused to pay. They hold our passport. I’m trying to call my Vietnamese friend but his phone is switched off. I can’t reach him until 6 o’clock he called me and I just gave the phone to the owner. They had long conversation in Vietnamese I cannot understand. All I know they were arguing so hard. Until we had a deal. We should pay 650k VND per night. 150k VND more than we supposed to pay. Okay, it was all right. It was not too much. Cos I’m tired of arguing and fighting. Enough fighting since I was in a bus station.
It’s 6 o’clock in the morning. I can see smoke comin out from my mouth while talking. Never be in this kind of situation and it was cool tho!! Haha..
After taking a nap for couple hours then we rent motorbikes cost only 100k VND per day for a matic moto. We finally met with a guy who can speak English very well. Thankfully God for it. Before we go, I asked him several questions about Da Lat, mostly about the distance from one to another place we want to visit. He helped us much. All right!! Maps ready!! We are ready to explore this small city of flower.
Learn How to Tolerate and Appreciate
The first picture is a mosque, named Istiqlal. Located in the central of Jakarta-Indonesia. It was established since 1978. The architect name is Frederich Silaban. He is a Christian. It is the biggest mosque in South East Asia.
The second one is a Cathedral Church. It’s a Roman Catholic Cathedral. This current cathedral was consecrated in 1901 and built in the neo-gothic style, a common architectural style to built churches at that time. It is located right next to Istiqlal.
I don’t have any idea why these worship places was built next to each other. But this thing can teach us how important the religious tolerance. And to appreciate each other. Also as you can see the architect of the Mosque is a Christian. If only we could reconcile this world with no war, sure this world would be much more beautiful and worthy to be living on. Give peace to all.. :)
KRAKATOA TRIP - Indonesia
Finally i have the opportunity to go to Krakatoa. Last weekend me and several friends from couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.org) went there to see that amazing volcano.
September 23rd 2011 — on a Friday night after finished my work, i went to the meeting point which was in Slipi Jaya Mall then we took a bus to Merak Harbour. It was a midnite when we arrived there and the big ship were arrived over 12am. We reached Bakaheuni Harbour after 3,5 hours sailing in the ship and have been sleeping all night long.
September 24th 2011 — At Saturday early morning from Bakaheuni Harbour we took mini van (angkot) that have been chartered by our agency to go to Canti Pier. Took at least an hour to reach Canti. As it was an early morning, you just could feel the morning breeze from the village. A fresh air to be inhaled and you could see rice paddies along the way.
From Canti we directly go to Sebesi Island, where there’s a homestay to stay for 2 nights. It was a long ride by the way. Though we were all tired, but we ignored it cause we’re gonna snorkling soon and hike the baby Krakatoa!! Were feeling so HYPED!
After lunch our boat is ready to take us around to do islands hopping and do snorkling first. Our first spot was in Sebuku Island. But the spot wasn’t good enough. Thousand Island still better. The sea was too deep, so we can’t see inside clearly. Also the wave was too big that makes us hard to swim and stands stable.
When we have done with our snorkling thing, the boat took us to Krakatoa Island where the baby Krakatoa is located. Again it took a long time to go, about 2 hours from Sebuku Island. The character of the sand on Krakatoa Island is black, a deep one. Because it has been contaminated by the lava and volcanic dust.
One, two, three we were hiking the volcano!! A long way to reach the top of the hills. The higher, more difficult and slippery to be hiked. Though i was using my trekking sandals, in the end i have to walked barefoot haha. I felt so tired, i made so many stops. My friends who had reached the top, encouraging me. Mangesh an India man took a pic of me by the time i have reached the top!! Hell yeah I MADE IT BABY!!!! :D
From the top you could see the blue and wide of Sunda Strait. Baby Krakatoa is an active volcano, hence you could see the sulfur around it. But i didn’t smell the sulfur at all, maybe it was because i was too happy and didn’t have time to think about the smells of the sulfur. Just suddenly gone. Overall it was AMAZING!! God is really GREAT!!
The sun goes down so fast. And the rangers told us to hurry to getting down. It was already 5pm, the rangers are afraid that we would probably face the bad weather while sailing back to Sebesi Island. Cause as i have told you above, it took approximately 2 hours sailing from Sebesi to Krakatau.
And yeah we had such a bad one!! o.O It took longer than we should, it was too dark sailing in the night. The sea breeze blows so hard. And the sea water gushed into the boat. But the sea water was quite warm in the night. I could see the expression on the faces of passangers on board. There was tired, worry and fear. Some were trying not to feel what was happening. They tried to sleep anyway. Some got sea sick. Thanks God i didn’t.
Round 8pm or 8:30pm finally we reached the pier on Sebesi Island. Everyone looks happy having their dinner and we had a bonfire after. There were Ann & Josie from Germany, Maartje from Netherland, Mangesh from India, and Me, Fanny, Karin, Ela, Endah, Kiky from Indonesia. In a bonfire we were singing our each National Anthem. The Indonesians felt proud to sing our “Indonesia Raya” in front of the expats. So either did they. We are all united in diversity.
Tired of laughing, sharing some stories, and playing games in a beach underneath the sparkling stars, one by one were going back to the house and fell asleep. We are ready to explore another islands in the next morning!!
September 25th 2011 — It’s a Sunday morning!! Means the last day we are here. We did snorkling time once again in Kumang-Kumang Island - not too far from Sebesi before going back to Jakarta. I didn’t do the snorkling, i was having my period (DAMN!! *well i’m not supposed to tell y’all bout this one haha). So me and the rest who wasn’t gone snorkling made many photos in a boat. Some did fishing.
It was very hot that afternoon, so i got the sunburnt and got tanned. Was happy to got tanned actually :p
On 2pm after snorkling and lunch, we are preparing our things to go back to Jakarta. So sad to leave the island. 3 days staying together in one roof, making us feels like a family. I’m gonna miss them so much and hope to have another fun trip again someday for sure.. Yeah, someday.. :)
i agreed with number 2!! :D
Rather than checking themselves into Heartbreak Hotel, many of the broken-ups hit the road to shake the blues. And why the hell not when there’s a chance to meet someone else (and be able to send postcards back to an ex)? Eat, Pray, Love was proof that Javier Bardem is just waiting for you to ditch that bad relationship and find a new love in travel.
If you want to travel must have COURAGE TO GET OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE because THE FEAR GET YOU NOWHERE! So if you want to travel, should have the guts and the courage to explore the world.
“I was in India for 3 months and Nepal for 3 months. It’s amazing! Be careful of Indian men. It’s really dangerous for women at times. Men get respect. The culture, religion, people, language, etc. change from each state you go. Like Himachal is very mountains, beautiful scenery. Tibetans dei lama :) Girls don’t get hassled as much up there. Rishikesh is amazing. Must go.” -Alex Hussey-