July 24, 2008


Have you ever been traveled to Ujung Kulon, Banten, Indonesia?

I was there, and it was the ever memorable and unforgettable trip to the south-western tip of Java Island.

There are many amazing place to go when you arrived in Ujung Kulon, such as Cidaon where you can watch the wild ox having an eat, Cigenter river where you can go along the river watching the rainforest nuance and animal by paddle the canoe, Tanjung layer where you can find the lighthouse – the scenery from the top of it, is very amazing. Going to Ujung Kulon is not completed if doesn’t pass by Ujung Kulon National Park. As all people already know that the park is one of the world heritage sites, since here lives one-horned rhinoceros species (Rhinocerus Sondanicus) which is nearly extinctive. This park is a refuge for dwindling animals and plants. Besides the rhinoceros, there are around 700 varieties of plants including 57 rare species. Here, also lives: lutung (Presbytis cristata) – kind of monkey which have long tail, the wild ox of Java (Bos javanicus), tiger (Panthera tigris), surili – kind of monkey (Presbity aygula), 270 species of bird.

The other place recommended is Peucang Island, don’t questioned, it is like a heaven! You can stay a night at this small beautiful island during your trip to all places mentioned above.

I went to Peucang Island by group, the group was about 10 people include me. At the time, 4 years ago, the travel only cost Rp. 250,000/person or about USD 35/person including meals, barrack for sleeping, and other administration matter. It was very cheap travel to Ujung Kulon, since many people have to pay more expensive than this. Well, this is maybe like backpacker, with limited accommodation. So, don’t hope to get luxury traveling, take it whatever there is.

We leaved for Cilegon in the morning, and arrived at Sumur – Labuan at noon (Peucang Island can be reached by many ways. However, the common way is only two ways. First, taking a boat form SUMUR – Labuan - Anyer. Sumur is a small fisherman village.You can take a boat here to deliver to Peucang Island which the cost is about Rp. 1.5 Million or about USD 156 per boat. The capacity of the boat itself is about 15 – 20 persons, made from wood which has been modified. The other way is through TAMAN JAYA village. This village is the nearest to the Ujung Kulon National Park. You can also take a boat to Peucang Island).

We had still able to take dhuhur prayer in the mushola (little mosque) near the Sumur beach. We continued the journey by boat and it only took around 3.5 hours arrived at Peucang Island. The travel along the sea was also amazing. Feel the sea water spark in our skin, the wind blow along the sea caught up our face. Strong sea wave happened when we passed by the “Selamat Datang” bay because it directly face the ocean, however after we through that bay, the wave is not as strong as it is. The wave became friendlier, as we entered the Peucang Island border. Peucang Island located between Panaitan Island and the tip of Ujung Kulon peninsula. The water around was so calm and quiet. Soon, we reached the small harbor of Peucang Island. As we getting closer, we could watch the white sand became more and more large. It’s amazing! The white sand beach was glowing, reflected the sunshine. Blue coastal marine was very clear as you could see the fish back and forth inside of it.


The motorboat started to dock in the jetty. Here we are, in Peucang Island. Wow! Unbelievable, we could stand our feet here!

Walked down the Peucang Island gate, there were a lot of long-tailed monkeys roam about the lodging house. Actually, in there are kind of lodges, of course with different price. If you still want comfortably as like in the city, you can take luxury hostel “Flora” which facilitated with AC, hot water, refrigerator that cost around USD 50/room/night. Lodge “Fauna” - moderate price – is a wood building consists of 7 rooms, which each capacity of each room is 3 – 5 persons. However, the cheapest is lodging, that we were stay a night, just a building like barrack; we can rent a bed for sleeping. For meal, we bring rice cooker, and other food that already cooked. If you want to try restaurant menu, there is a restaurant also in this Island which provides both Indonesian and International menu.


In the afternoon after get some rest, we decided to go to Cidaon where we could see wild ox feed in the large grass field. To reach this area, you must accompany by the Jagawana (they are the park ranger who have familiar with this area) as a guide. So, we sailed again to the Cidaon, but it didn’t take to much time. In Cidaon, there is an observation tower where we can watch the wild animal. Unfortunately, we found not of the wild ox, just some peacocks seen in the field. Having some pictures in Cidaon, we back to Peucang Island due to the day turned by night.

Night at Peucang Island is also amazing. However, you must put your jacket on your body. The night wind is so cool. We watched clusters of fishes swim near the jetty. They were so visible under the sea water crowed around the wood bridge. Feel like to fishing!


The next morning, we watched sunrise in the beach, than swimming to feel the cool blue coastal water. The sea water is really clear and blue. We could see all creatures under the water, swim along. Many little fishes, colorful could be seen, beautiful corals, etc. It was the first experience swimming with many fishes around us, didn’t realize that some jellyfish touch our skin make us feel little pain and itchy.

Feel satisfy, we took some breakfast in the lodging, then we continued tracking to Tanjung Layar. Again, we went by boat to Cibom and continued by foot to Tanjung Layar where we could find the old lighthouse. At Cibom, the beach is full of steep corals, so to get the land we should continue with little boat named “sampan”, well be careful here, watch your stuffs not fallen into the sea water. Actually the water level is only about 100cm height when we should change with little boat. Little accident happened, one of my friend lost his balance, he fallen with his camera.


Tracking to Tanjung Layar only took one hour, passing by the tropical forest that fully of big trees that mostly wound around with parasites like liana and epiphyte as the characteristic of this forest. After about one hour walking, we arrived at the lighthouse. The view from here is really amazing. As far as the eyes take a look, it was like a blue sea water carpet with coral landscape and green forest at the edge. What beautiful scenery!

Just after noon, we arrived in Peucang Island again. After have some lunch and dhuhur praying, we were ready to leave Peucang Island. It is hard to leave Ujung Kulon, we still wanted to explore. There were several places we’ve visited yet due to our limited time. We left our heart in this Island. Hope someday we’ll come back here.


The weather was very nice as we left for the Island. We were so happy, made fun with joke, singing, etc. But it was dramatically changed when in the middle of our way. The weather was not too good during our sailing back to Sumur. It was probably stormy in Indian Ocean that directly facing to “Selamat Datang” bay. It was hard wave attack our boat. Adrift and buffeted in the sea, and look not too far away from us, a boat nearly sank. The boat helper continued, harder and harder to scoop up the water that entered the boat, just to keep our boat stable. All of us were very frightened, silence, and prayed all along the way. How if we couldn’t passed it? Fortunately, after we passed by the bay, the wave has subsided. What a relief!

Nearly 15.00 pm, we arrived at Sumur. Take Ashar prayer first in the Mushola, then continued driving to Cilegon. It was not as smooth as we predicted. The road from Sumur to Labuan is up and down, and the condition of our hired-car was not good. We even had to stop for while, for cooling down the car engine. We were drop in Labuan to have dinner at “Padang” food stall, then continued driving and arrived at Cilegon at 19.00pm.

Still dare to go Ujung Kulon? Who’s scared?

Here are some TIPS before you go to Ujung Kulon :

  1. Don’t forget to eat malaria tablet before and after the trip (I forgot to eat them! May be the malaria’s mosquito recognized that I am from Banten also! It’s just a kidding!)
  2. Take much mineral water, food, and don’t forget some medicine. To reduce your budget, you can bring several stuffs and material for cooking
  3. Recommended to take your sunglasses, sunblock and hat
  4. If you like to dive, don’t forget your diving stuff
  5. Flashlight and batteries are must when you are going for tracking or paddling, and don’t forget to use anti mosquito lotion before you enter the forest.
  6. Sleeping bag may be necessary when you plan to sleep in the open nature
  7. Avoid visiting Ujung Kulon in the rainy season (I went there just at the end of dry season! No wonder). Bad weather usually hits at November until March.
  8. Don’t ever try to feed the animals even its look so tame
  9. It is advised to use park ranger to guide
  10. Don’t throw the rubbish, just collect it and throw it in the trash bin
  11. And don’t forget to bring camera, there are a lot of beautiful sceneries to be taken

July 22, 2008


The Largest Tropical Fruits Park

On last annual family gathering, July 6, 2008, PVC – 2 plant members decided to go to Mekarsari which is one of the most famous places to visit by family, especially during the holiday season. It was very terrific vacation I’ve ever had. Why? Not knowing the description of this garden and what are in there (we just know that we can pick some fruits), we left for Cilegon at 07.30 am and arrived at destination at 01.00 pm. That’s long and very tired trip, bad traffic jam, children cried & hot temperature. Oh, thank God I didn’t drive the bus!

As the bus entered the gate (the ticket is very cheap, only Rp. 10,000 or about USD 1!) and parked in the pa
rking area, most of us very confused. That’s very large area, where to go? The leader told us that the given time to walked around only 3 hours, after take ashar prayer, all of us should gathered again in the parking area. Didn’t care about the time, just looked for the meal first, since it was lunch time. We walked along the side which there was flags from around the world displayed at the flagpole.

My wife was very frustrated, since she must carry our restless-little daughters. I though they were very hung
ry too. So, I decided to go to the nearest food stand. The only nearest is Kentucky Fried Chicken, and it was so long queue. After an hour, we could get some eat.

After got some eat, it’s time for traveling! Wait! It very crowded! Look at the map site, the nearest place is “Family Garden” which near to 4D theater and mosque. Curios
what in side, we took ticket for only Rp. 5,000 or USD 0.5/person. In Family Garden, we found the traditional villages nuances. There is an area for planting paddy, plow paddy field, bathing buffalo in the mud pool, vegetables garden, fishing pool, mini zoo, chickens coop, riding a horse, cows, and also there is large grass field completed with gazebos to take a rest.

Honestly, for me, whom grew up in the village, it is not really exciting. However, my daughters love to play around in the Family Garden. They were very excited, rolled over their body in the grass, run over the grass, climbed the tree, and enjoyed lied down in the gazebo.

Having a looked at the two of them, happy, run and chase after each other in a large green grass field, I feel the freedom in their mind. Although, just for a moment and not had a chance to visit all area at Mekarsari, I just already knew what kind of holiday or place that my children will enjoy. I promised I will take them as much as I can to introduce the Indonesian culture.

Oh, by the way, for everyone who want to go to the Mekarsari for not having experience like me, here the all about and tips.

Mekarsari garden is the largest conservation center of tropical fruits biological variety in the world, especially prime fruits collected all over Indonesia. It is also the place for research of agronomy and plant breeding. Mekarsari is built in ex rubber plantation in Cileungsi, Bogor, West Java. The area is around 264Ha, 70-80 meters above the sea level. It can be reached about one hour from Jakarta.

What are in side the Mekarsari? The area is divided in 5 zones and here they are:

  1. CENTRAL PARK, there is waterfall building named Puri Tirto Sari, Camping Ground for camp activity, picnic Park covered by green grass.
  2. FAMILY WALK ZONE, in the family walk zone there are: Garden Center located in front area where you can find variety of fruit prime seeds, flower plant, medicine herbal, etc. You can also ask for consultation from the officer all about planting. In family walk zone there is also Paradiso Park where you can enjoy the nature nuance surrounding by green fruit plants, it is best for gathering with your family. In Family Garden you can find the villages nuance, you can make a lot of activity with you kids here, learn how to plant paddy, learn how to plow paddy field, bathing the buffalo, fishing, riding a horse, pick fresh vegetables, etc. Dewi Sri 4D theater located also in family walk zone, you can enjoy the 4D film, Countryside, Wiratama Lake where you can have a sail by boat go around 20 acres lake, Fruits & handicrafts/souvenirs shop where you can buy fruits and souvenirs from your family at home
  3. GREEN LAND ZONE, you can find the center of nursery (variety prime seeds), greenhouse melon, the zalacca palm and its fruits, star fruit, etc.
  4. WATER ZONE, Lotus Park where you can find lotus covered and bloom in the water park providing beautiful scenery, Water Sport Activity like water bike and water ball, Outbound Area where you can feel your adrenalin raise with vary of outbound activities like flying fox, cargo net, monkey bridge and it is also available for kids, in the water zone also a park for gathering.
  5. MEDITERRANEAN AQUATIC ZONE, here you can enjoy Mediterranean Park and can enjoy sleeping in tree house called house of Leo.
  6. FESTIVAL POINT, here is the center of bazaar, festival, and sometime there is famous band or actress perform in the stage. During the holiday season, there is also parade of clown or puppets of many characters that kids usually like, e.g. puppet of Dora the explorer, puppet of Barney, puppet of fruits, etc.

You may say it is very large area to visit!

Of course it is. Mekarsari is the largest breeding of tropical plants in the world, remember?

Well, firstly you can take tour by train that provided for seeing around, it is cheap enough. When we pass by the greenhouse melon, it is suggested to stop by for a while. We can pick up directly the melon when harvest season. There are a lot of varieties of melon here, like golden light melon, jade flower melon, glamour melon, golden langkawi melon, etc. After satisfy seeing around with the tour train, we can rest in the waterfall building, this building is very unique, from the top of building water
flow as real as waterfall.

Tourism Park
has already collected around thousand plants from species variety. Beside the real seed, there is also cross breeding seed which created in the Mekarsari Laboratory, like Nangkadak, Cempeka, and Pedakka. The three of this are cross breeding between jackfruit and Cempedak (it is another kind of jackfruit), the taste is sweet like Cempedak but the shape is like jackfruit. If you interested to buy the seed, they are provided in the Garden Center.

If yo
u are still confused not know where to go, it is suggested to pick a tour package. Mekarsari provided a lot of packages to easier us in enjoying this largest fruits park area in the world. There are a lot of tour packages, picking up the fruit, children fun play, outbound, education tour, planting paddy, camping, plant tissue culture, etc. The package price is varying, around Rp. 50,000 – 100,000 (USD 50 – USD 100).

For your information also, in this park there is giant flower, Amorphophallus Titanum!

TIPS visiting Mekarsari Tourism Park:

  1. Call the information center hence before, for getting information of the best time for visiting the park, what fruits are harvest, etc. because not all season the fruits are harvest. You don’t want feel disappointed only to see plant without fruits hanging on the trees, do you?
  2. Don’t forget, the park only open for public every Tuesday - Sunday at 09.00 am – 16.00 pm, west zone Indonesian time. Remember, Sunday is closed!
  3. Wear t-shirt or the clothes that made from cotton.
  4. Don’t forget to bring umbrella or hat, unless you want to walk around with the heat of the sun directly at our head.
  5. Finally, don’t try to go Mekarsari at the kids holiday season, it is around end of June until the middle of July, you won’t find anything fruits to pick up, beside it will be a terrible traffic jam. However, you can visit it early in the morning, if you lucky.
  6. For you who love adventure, why doesn’t try to stay a night at Leo tree House.

Address : Jl. Raya Cileungsi Jonggol KM. 3, Cileungsi, Bogor.
: +62-21-823-1811/12/13
: +62-21-823-1475
Email : sales@mekarsari.com
: www.mekarsari.com

July 13, 2008


My little daughter, Azka, asked to go to mountain yesterday. I don’t know why, maybe she just got inspiration from one of Indonesian’s children song that she got in her playgroup. I think most of the kids like to sing “Naik, Naik ke Puncak Gunung” too.

So we decided to go to PINANG HILL, since it is the only higher landscape in the Cilegon area and commonly use for the biker for their exercise or the people who want to take a walk with environment nature all around. Actually, the people are use to call PINANG HILL as and PINANG MOUNTAIN, but I think it is not high enough to be called as mountain so I just say it as hill.

PINANG HILL can be accessed by two alternative ways, but if you have your little kids with you, I suggest you to take a route from radio transmission station of PINANG HILL post. You will find that this route has been paved and the slope is slightly, so it not will make your kids too tired. You also can take your vehicle along with you if you probably not feel like to walk.

After had breakfast and bath, we headed for PINANG HILL. The guard in the entry says that it will take about 30 minutes by foot. So, me and hubby agreed to walk, since we thought what we be here if we didn’t go for walk? Azka was very exciting. She asked me to sing while we were walking. In singing a song for my kids, I do like to change or substitute the lyric. I change it with some word to enrich their vocabulary, and sometimes I make it in English.

Climb, Climb to the Mountain Top
It so high, it’s so very high
In the left and right, I see everything
There are a lot of trees

When we saw flower, butterflies or other beautiful creatures, I will sing:

Climb, Climb to the Mountain Top
It so high, it’s so very high
In around of us, I see everything
Beautiful flowers and butterflies

Saw beautiful yellow leaves falling, and covering the street along us:

Climb, Climb to the Mountain Top
It so high, it’s so very high
In my way to walk, I see everything
Leaves are falling from the trees

Saw the bright sky:

Climb, Climb to the Mountain Top
It so high, it’s so very high
In the sky so blue, I see everything
Beautiful white clouds and birds are flying.

And of course the sound of nature:

Climb, Climb to the Mountain Top
It so high, it’s so very high
In the surrounding, I heard everything
Birds sing, and the blowing wind

It’s so beautiful place to go, you can see the yellow leaves falling. How beautiful it is, just remind me that Qur’an says none of these leaves falling without Allah’s permission. These yellow leaves covering the street, it just looks like a yellow carpet of leaves. Azka and Aqeela really like the sound of the yellow and dried leaves crashed by our foot. Azka said: “Bubu, daddy, it is the music of leaves”, of course in Indonesian. My daughters really are enthusiastic, see how they concentrate play the leaves and wood stick they found. It is a new adventure for them

Many years without doing outdoor activities such as climbing or hiking, this journey to PINANG HILL made me feel sick all over the body. My back and my legs were painful to carry a lot of burden, since I also have a lot of fat surplus in my belly. Oh God, I just realized that probably I’m overweight! I never dreamt before that my body could enlarge like this, how skinny I was in the last 7 years. Besides that, Aqeela, My second little daughter, 2 years old, she refused to walk when we climb the hill. She wanted me to carry her along the way. Oh may! However, fortunately, she insists to walk when we went down the hill. Oh, what such a clever girl! I didn’t think she has known that climb is more tired than go down! :(

Well, the positive thing is I just realized that this kind of activity is very good for educating our children than to leave them watching television. Hey, where have you been! I was to busy to take them to get close with the nature, where they can learn many things. Emm, next month I’ll take them to RUMAH DUNIA – GOLA GONG in Serang.