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Friday, May 22, 2009

Request by Friends - Tips for travelling in Indonesia

Before departing

1. The power socket in Indonesia is a two pin type. For camera & handphone charging for those charges that uses 3 pin type, you have to buy a universal travel adapter/converter. A good unit could be bought from Tesco for less than RM20-00.

2. Convert Ringgit into Rupiah at money changers at your local town. Forget about converting your money at the airports or in Jakarta. They would charge you steep comissions.

Tips in Jakarta

Airport – there are bus coaches that can take you direct from the Bandara to Bandung (Bandara means Bandaraya Udara – airport la – apa lagi!). Not sure of the fare per person. Only available during day time.

Beware : at the airport/harbour/busstop/trains take good care of your belongings. The situation is just the same all over Indonesia. There would be porters running around to make a grab at your belongings, “kononnya ngak apa-apa, sekadar menolongin saja..” (even though the distance travelled tak sampai 3 meter from the Bandara’s exit to the taxi/van), they will charge you for it. They woule prefer to be paid in Ringgit or other foreign currency. The use of the airport trolleys are free, get one for your personal use at its designated place, but if you take one from a porter, they would charge you for duit kopi.

The cheapest and safest mode of travel from the Bandara to Jakarta (several locations) would be via airconditioned specialised DAMRI airport busses. It will cost Rupiah 20k one way to the various terminal. Please determine the destination before boarding i.e. Block B, Rawamangun etc.

Kalau naik teksi to reach Jakarta– in addition to the taxi fare in the region of Dua Ratus
Ribuan rupiah.. you will also have to pay tol charges!

Try to avoid travelling to Bandung on saturdarys or weekend. It is just a waste of time stuck in massive traffic jams.

If you are staying in near Sarinah area (near Tanah Abang the most happening place for Malaysian) – there is a travelvan company by the name of BARAYA – they call it “Travel” which would cost you Rupiah 35k per person. It departs every hour till 10pm. Believe it or not, Baraya operates in Sarinah Mall’s McDonalds. They have no ticket counters at all – just open table dalam McD tu. It is some sort of a win-win situation for McD as Baraya passengers would patronise McD.

If you prefer a luxury travelvan, then consider taking Cititel. Cost per person would be Rupiah 65k and the terminal in Bandung would be located in Jalan Dipatiukur – right in the heart of Bandung.

Security is tight near any American establishment in Jakarta – would you believe that to enter McD you need to go through a metal detector! Shake hands & make small talk with the policeman that guards the metal detector. He will allow you to take photos of you and you family @ the metal detector.

In Indonesia, before boarding a taxi ask the driver : Argo? If the ansyer is “iya” the taxi uses the travel meters. Look around for the sign “Tarif Bawah” to enjoy cheaper rate. Try as far as possible to blend in or else they’ll play around with the pricing of goods (if in Tanah Abang in Jakarta or in Pasar Baru in Bandung). Dishonest taxi drivers also tends to take a longer route! If you have a GPS and the latest GPS maps, switch it on!

Having a pocket pc helps. One can download the latest Bandung Map (with its attractions). Another alternative – just upload the map unto your handphone camera or digital camera (assuming that your camera has the zoom future to look at the map clearly). Fumbling around with a physical maps would invite enterprising Indonesian travel guides (tah betul tah tidak) to provide “assistance”.

Attractions in Bandung - Shopping

The many factory outles (FOs) in jalan Riau/Dago.Amongs the best would be the Secret Outlet, Stamp, Cascade, For Men, M&M, Banana something... and many more. Paling best, yet mahal sikit, would be Rumah Mode, located in Jalan Setiabudhi. (note : the list is endless...you have to have a good eye to spot/distinguish fake products).

For Pasar Baru Bandung – it is the same as Tanah Abang. They have high quality kain cotton here for sale. Please take note of our own Malaysian cotton prices – mahal giler.

Do not change RM into Rupiah in Jakarta. The rates in Bandung is much higher. If you have USD, make sure the bank notes are still in very good condition. Terlipat sikit, they would simply kurangkan rate tukaran – aku dak kena ari tu!

Good Ole-ole from Bandung would be Kopi Bandrek (kopi halia/sarbat) but they also have other flavours to suit your taste. There are many brands, but the best that I had would be Kopi Bandrek Hanjuang (Hanjuang is a name of a place in Kota Cemahi, Bandung – I had the pleasure of being invited to visit the factory recenty. Hanjuang also produces micro hydro generators. I had shown a video footage of a portable micro hydro generators to some high ranking officer in my organisation – depa sume terkejut sebab tak sangka, they are more advanced than us!).

For ladies other than kain baju, langsir & tah apa tah dpea suka boring would prefer to buy pastries from Kartikasari. (note : they would not last long, lambat makan, berkulat!)

Another alternative for cheap ole-ole would be the various T-shirts cap Bandung. Look for it at Pasar Baru. Beli banyak >3 & always insist on discounts. (estimate 20 ribu/5 ribu per piece)

Arts & History

Visit Saung Anglung Udjo... (translation – “Rumag Angklung Udjo”) - have to check the times of the show. If you got extra time or have a tour guide, just ask them to lalu a place known as “Bandung lautan api” – no need for you to get down from your transport.. sambil lalu aje – a little bit of history lesson pun bagis juga for general knowledge. At downtown Bandung, there is a road by the name of Jalan Asia-Afrika – if the guide is knowledgeable, he would know why is named that way.


Tangkuban Prahu – to see volcano creater or kome pi rendam kaki air panas kat Ciater. (apalah sangat menengok benda2 ni..nothing much there in Tangkuban Prahu... tunjuk dalam National Geographic pun ada, kalau nak mandi air panas kat Kedah, Ulu Langat, Kerling & Rembau pun ada)


Do try Sundanese dishes or Masakan Padang Sederhana (Sederhana is a brandname for masakan minang – sort of a franschise. A good Sundanese restaurant, Riung Sari would be located just in front of The Secret Factory Outlet. Rumah Solsis (near the parking lot of The Secret Factory Outlet) is a halal food outlet. All of its sausages are made in Indonesia (Jakarta) but they do not sell it elsewhere other than Bandung. Try yg paling pedas & paling power. Take it with “Frestea” (flavoured tea) a Coca-Cola licensed product. There are many flavours to choose from (ala... mana lak aku nak pi cari Frestea ni kat Malaysia). Minum “Teh Botol” tak main la. (Information on Rumah Solsis obtained from a relative that works there as finance manager).

And yet, there is another place recomended by by brother – Rumah Makan Raja-Raja Melayu. I have never been to that place, so I can’t comment.


It would be a great assistance to have a guide that speaks and understand the Malay language? It would only cost you a small upah of Rupiah100k for her time to bring you around Bandung town. Kalau convert duit Malaysia berapalah sangat. All tambang angkot & taxi guide & makan dia, kome la kena bayarkan, murah je.

Please drop me a line. You would not regret it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Perjalanan sejarah manusia diwarnai munculnya raja-raja besar atau kaisar yang mengubah wajah dunia. Mereka datang, berperang, dan melakukan penaklukan sehingga terbentuklah sebuah empayar. Akan tetapi, kejayaan yang dibangunnya lambat laun runtuh, sepak terajangnya pun berakhir dengan kematian.

Ketika hidup, Genghiz Khan mampu mengalahkan Parsi, kekhalifahan Islam, dan juga Eropah. Pada usia 53 tahun dia terjatuh dari kudanya dan akhirnya meninggal dunia. Sebelum meninggal dunia, dia berkata, "Aku tidak bahagia karena aku tidak berupaya mengalahkan seluruh dunia." Kemuliaannya lenyap begitu saja.

Alexander The Great diakui sebagai salah seorang pemimpin yaang paling pandai sepanjang zaman. Dia mampu menaklukkan tiga benua. Akan tetapi, kegemilangannya sirna begitu saja ketika malaria menyerangnya. Sebelum meninggal, dia berkata, "Kalau aku mati, buatkan peti mati dan beri lubang di kiri kanannya. Lalu, julurkan tanganku lewat lubangnya agar semua orang melihat tanganku bahwa waktu aku mati, aku tidak membawa apa-apa."

Allah memberikan kekuasaan kepada siapa pun yang dikehendaki-Nya. Dia berkuasa mencabut kembali kekuasaan yang telah diberikan-Nya itu.

"Katakanlah, 'Wahai, Tuhan Yang Mempunyai Kerajaan, Engkau berikan kerajaan kepada orang yang Engkau kehendaki dan Engkau cabut kerajaan dari orang yang Engkau kehendaki. Engkau muliakan orang yang Engkau kehendaki dan Engkau hinakan orang yang Engkau kehendaki. Di tangan Engkaulah segala kebajikan. Sesungguhnya Engkau Mahakuasa atas segala sesuatu.'" (Ali Imran, 3:26)

Dialah Maharaja, Zat pemilik semua kerajaan di dunia dan akhirat. Dialah Malikul Mulk.

Di dunia ini, Dia berikan kesempatan kepada manusia untuk menjadi pemilik atau raja, yang tentunya kepemilikan tersebut tidak mutlak. Sewaktu-waktu kepemilikan itu akan diambil kembali. Sebagai pihak yang diamanahi, manusia jangan merasa memiliki secara mutlak. la harus rela ketika amanah itu diambil pemiliknya. Di akhirat, Allah menampakkan dirinya sebagai pemilik tunggal kerajaan akhirat. Pada saat itu, semua yang dimiliki manusia musnah. Mereka dibangkitkan dan dikumpulkan dalam keadaan tidak memiliki apa-apa. Ketika itu semua bertekuk lutut di hadapan-Nya walau ketika di dunia ia seorang raja.

"Pada hari ketika roh dan para malaikat berdiri bersaf-saf. Mereka tidak berkata-kata kecuali yang telah diberi izin kepadanya oleh Tuhan YangMaha Pemurah dan la mengucapkan kata yang benar." (QS An Naba, 78: 38)

Oleh yang demikian :

Semua yang kita miliki adalah amanah. Maka tunaikan amanah sesuaai dengan keinginan Zat Pemberi Amanah. Apabila memperolehi amanah, tidak selayaknya kita sombong dan merasa amanah itu hak milik mutlak. Kita harus rela apabila amanah itu diambil pemiliknya.

The ever changing goals

On this day my boss instructed me as follows:

"The goal post kept on changing... not that we are complaining, but now....even after making educated guesses, we can't even see where is the goal post!!!"...

So what gives?..

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Menulis dan terus menulis..

Dengan menulis aku ada
Dengan menulis aku hidup
Dengan menulis aku membaca
Dengan menulis aku dibaca
Dengan menulis aku mengetahui
Dengan menulis aku diketahui
Dengan menulis aku mengerti
Dengan menulis aku dimengerti
Dengan menulis aku menghargai
Dengan menulis aku dihargai
Dengan menulis aku berubah
Dengan menulis aku mengubah
Dengan menulis aku beribadah
Dengan menulis aku berdakwah
Dengan menulis aku bersaudara
Dengan menulis aku mengabdi
Dengan menulis aku menjadi diri sendiri

Zaenal Arifin Thoha, budayawan Yogyakarta.
Meninggal 2007.