Work Trip Takes Me Places

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

This time I’ll share my stories about some highlights of my trips in last couple of months. Fortunately, currently my work gives a lot of chance for me to travel and one of my job description is dealing with cities. Yep, that’s a blessing.

Soooo, let’s start with Cirebon. Cirebon is only 3 hours away from Jakarta by train which costs you around IDR 150,000 for one way ticket and you can find many schedule options in a day. Well, what’s interesting in this city? To be honest, I don’t think that it has many interesting spots, but the foods are worth to taste. Well at least, in coincidence with the project that I’m currently dealing with, Masjid Raya At-Taqwa Cirebon is sure to visit.

Masjid Raya At Taqwa
Masjid Raya At Taqwa

As a religious city, the existence of the huge mosque suits the city really well. It is located in the central of the city and really near to the main train station. The architectural style of the mosque characterizes tropical buildings and equipped with four turrets and a 65-meter high tower. The presence of two fountains on the right side and the left front of the mosque complete the beauty.

Did I already mention the food before? You should try its ‘Empal Gentong’ and ‘Empal Asem’. Damn it’s so tasty! Empal Gentong is a spicy curry-like beef soup which is similar to gulai that usually cooked with firewood stove in gentong (clay pot). Meanwhile, Empal Asem is similar but it is cooked without the coconut milk. My favorite place to eat these delicious food is at ‘Empal Asem Amarta’ (Jl. Raya Plered No. 37, Batembat, Cirebon).

Empal Gentong and Empal Asem. Tasty !
Empal Gentong and Empal Asem. Tasty !

Next is Palembang. It’s one of big cities in Indonesia which made me kinda excited when my workplace told me to go there. It’s about only one hour trip by plane from Jakarta. Yep, it’s even faster compared to me driving from home to the Soekarno Hatta airport. Anyway, there are two highlights from my visit to Palembang. First is its famous Ampera Bridge. Well, yeah, most people will tell you to visit Ampera Bridge when you come to Palembang because it is the landmark of the city. It connects Seberang Ulu and Seberang Ilir, two regions of Palembang, crossing Musi River. The 224 meter bridge is actually designed as a vertical-lift bridge, but now  it can no longer be opened to allow ships to pass. However, since I only spent a couple of days there and my schedule was tight, I only took the picture from inside my taxi.

The view of Ampera Bridge from inside the car
The view of Ampera Bridge from inside the car

When you come to Palembang, it will be incomplete if you don’t give yourself a chance to eat the famous local food, ‘Pempek’. And it took me by surprise that actually Palembang has many variants of food beside ‘Pempek’. Where have I been? Well, besides ‘pempek’ and ‘tekwan’, it was my first time to eat ‘Martabak Har’, ‘Model’, and ‘Celimpungan’ (i know, the name sounds funny), and I like every one of them! Hahaha. I know, I’m such a bad reviewer when it comes to food, but well, I like it. What more can I say?

Some of the signature foods of Palembang
Some of the signature foods of Palembang

Okay, next is Tarakan. Have you heard about Tarakan? It is a city located in Tarakan Island in northern Borneo. Tarakan is once famous as a major oil producing region during the colonial period. It had great strategic importance during the Pacific War and was among the first Japanese targets early in the war (which makes the city has several historical sites from the war). Since 2012, it became part of the newly established Indonesian province of North Kalimantan. Anyway, by visiting Tarakan, it was my first time stepped my foot in Kalimantan. Achievement unlocked! If you want to go to Tarakan, most flights will take you by stopping by first to Balikpapan with around 5-10 minutes transit. Overall, it takes  3 hours from Jakarta to Tarakan (2 hours from Jakarta to Balikpapan, 1 hour from Balikpapan to Tarakan). And FYI, Tarakan has WITA (Central Indonesian Time) timezone.

As a small island, the weather in Tarakan is extremely hot when I visited there. However, I visited several interesting places there. I went to historical museum (quite small, named ‘Museum Rumah Bundar) which displays relics from Japanese invasion. The shape of the building is also one of a kind because the roof has semi-circular shape). And then I also went to Rumah Baloy, a traditional house of Tidung Tribe which is very interesting and . This place also sells traditional souvenirs of Tidung like jewelries, fabric, ornaments, and other interesting stuffs. Finally, I went to Amal Beach, which is located quite far from the center of the city, but if offers you a beautiful view of blue sea and blue open sky, and also places to eat alongside the beach. Believe me, Tarakan offers you really delicious seafood you can wish for. Kapah (a kind of scallop), shrimp, crab (try kepiting soka!), they are all great. Super great! Oh, and big :D. Actually, there are other interesting spots that you can visit such as Mangrove Park where you can find Bekantan apes there. Derawan Island is also located nearby Tarakan, if you have more time, people say it is recommended and worth to visit.

Amal Beach

Tidung Traditional House

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So, that’s all I can share for now. I’m going to continue my story next time.

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