Category Archives: Indonesia Blog

Kota Gede Mosque and Mataram Kings Graveyard Complex

This mosque is very interesting as unlike some mosque that i know, it is more convenient for someone who maybe are more “liberal” moslem. You can just walk to the mosque comfortably, joining prayer without strict rule especially if you do not wear hijab.

This mosque is the oldest mosque in Yogyakarta, which was built in the  midst of 17th Century. Because of this period of erection, the mosque is more Javanese ambience, even it is Javanese culture-friendly.

The mosque was built by Sultan Agung, the King of Mataram who was a Hindu-Buddhist king. It shows that the king was very tolerant to another religion. Before entering the mosque you will meet a paduraksan gate.

If you go further you will meet another big wall, with similar paduraksan gate made of a brick.  That is the graveyard of mataram kings and royals. To enter the complex , visitors must wear Javanese traditional fabric which is available there. I was so intrigued to see the tomb of the kings which i know from story in my childhood. And so i was asked to wear Javanese batik fabric, there are three sheets, 1 jarik, 1 kemben, and 1 selendang. As it was late afternoon,  no woman in the changing room, so i wore them on my own by seeing a picture hung on the wall of the room.

Abdi dalem, the royal servants who guard the complex accompanied us to the complex. There are many of tombs. There is a building a the corner. He showed half tomb which located outside building, and half of it in the building while he opened the door, he explained that that was the tomb of Ki Ageng Mangir. His tomb is that position because he was an enemy and also a son in law of Panembahan Senopati, the first king of Mataram Islam. To check the tale of Ki Ageng Mangir, you can klik this link :

Inside the building, there are many tombs, but what i remember are: Panembahan Senopati and Jaka Tingkir or known as Karebet. Inside i can smell incense sent all over the room.

Not far from the graveyard located a well, which is believed to have virtue. And there are bathing place for woman and man. There is also a pond full of fish. In the past it was used by Panembahan Senopati as ritual ablution facility before praying.


Kalibiru: Rural Tourism , Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, Idonesia

Well, some people mention Kalibiru as  a National Park, while it is not. Kalibiru is a rural tourism destination managed by local people. Kalibiru  indeed has a potential.  It is located at the lines of lush green Menoreh Hills.

Kalibiru is located 450 m asl, about 40 km from Yogyakarta city which can be reached by about 60 minutes drive. The road to Kalibiru is narrow due to its location in rural area. But along the drive you will pass interesting view, of farms, village, and mountains. Kalibiru is designed for small scale tourism that some bigger group on coach will not be possible, except if they use local 4WD.

From the peak you can see Menoreh hills with water reservoir. There are 3 view points where visitors can be photoed with the beautiful dramatic (some say instagramable) panorama.  And as Kalibiru is getting more popular, now, weekend is usually crowded. That climbing to the view point has long queue. It is better to visit on weekdays. Visitors will be tied using rope for safety and local photographer will take some pictures and visitors can have copy by paying some amount of money. If you plan to climb to the view point, do not forget to wear pants or trousers.

There are some food stalls located near the parking area. They have local menus, from gudeg, chicken, and rice.


PICTURES: Ketekesu, Torajan Traditional Village, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Ketekesu is one of the most popular destinations in Toraja. The houses of tongkonan are still preserved well and visitors can see the burial of the villages at the back of the village. There are three kinds of burial of Ketekesu villagers: house burial, cave burial and hanging burial. 

The house are decorated beautiful with color of black red and white with the bulls skull at the porch. 


Sunset at Embung Nglanggeran (Retention Basin), Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta

Late afternoon in Yogyakarta usually is popular with seeing sunset at Prambanan Temple or Ratu Boko Temple or Parangtritis area. But actually there are other places we can see to enjoy sunset. As a sunset lover, and yes i do love seeing sunset more than sunrise, this time i went to Nglanggeran with a friend.

Nglanggeran is located in Gunungkidul Regency and it take s about 1 hour drive from  Yogyakarta City. It was actually a sudden plan, as i remember i met the amazing local young man , Mas Sugeng, who pioneered to develop the area of Nglanggeran for its potentials for tourism.

If you love trekking, you can do the trekking option to the peak of Gunung Api Purba (ancient volcano), passing some nice vista of mountain through big ancient lava rocks, which reminds me of The Flintstones.  If you are willing to reach the peak please be prepared with stamina, i find it a difficult for someone who rarely work out. If you do not want to reach the peak which takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, you can only reach the first view point which taes baout 30 minutes walk.  The hike will be much more informative and enriching if you have local guide with you.  I myself do not climb to the peak, as i was not ready for the hike. But the view from the peak must be  mesmerizing as we can see the water retention as well.

We then visit chocolate home industry end enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at Griya Coklat, located just about 2 km  from Nglanggeran ticket box.

About 3 km from  Griya Coklat, located the retention basin, which i like very much.  It is recommended to visit on weekdays as it is quiet and serene.  I love the view of the water with green mountains in a far. And on the west, yessss, a sun which set slowly.


Dua Warna (Two Colors Waterfall ) , North Sumatera

Dua Warna Waterfall or literally means Two-Colors Waterfall, also has other name: Telaga Bitu Waterfall. It is located on 1475m latitude and its height is about 75m falling at the upstream of Sinembah River and was formed by the eruption of Mt Sibayak, hundreds years ago.

The waterfalls have two colors, blue color with cold clear water with a mossy cliff. While the other one  has clear transparent water, and warm.  Both waterfalls are separated by smaller waterfalls decorating the cliff.

The access to the waterfall is challenging, and can not be accessed through river, as there are rocks covered in moss which blocks the possible path. The only way is by climbing hill slope passing forest of Mt Sibayak for 3 hours.




Sipiso piso Waterfall, North Sumatera

This waterfall is located not far from Tongging Village, on the 800 m latitude, surrounded by pine forest.  The waterfall height is about 120 m ans has been popular among domestic and foreign travelers.

Before heading to the waterfall you can overlook the waterfall from a view point located on top of a hill, with Karo land as the background, and aslo you can see the exotic Samosir island in the middle of Lake Toba. Afterwards  you can proceed your trip to the waterfall along slope. The trek is easy, there are stairs built for visitors. Total trekking would be about 1 hour. Along the trek you can stop by at some scenic places of Lake Toba. Arrival at the lake you can enjoy the music of the walling water, pine trees and maybe lunch you carry.


If you are from Medan, you can take bus or rent car to Kabanjahe Town, about 2 hours drive. And from Kabanjahe to the waterfall location is about 24 km or can be reached within 30 minutes drive.


Tongkonan: Tana Toraja House, Sulawesi

Tongkonan is traditional house of Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi. The architecture is very unique with the shape of the roof is like a boat.  It is said that the boat-shaped is inspired by Chinese empire ship in the past. And Tongkonan still occupied by the Torajan.
Tongkonan derived from tongkon which means sit. Tongkonan was the center of government in the past and also to see how the Torajan life changes. The house is not owned by individual, yet it is owned collectively in a family tree.
Toraja has a strong traditional culture and those must be obeyed in the daily life within the community.
Tongkonan upper part, usually used the keep weapons and other valuable belongings. While the middle is residential area.
Tongkonan has 3 rooms: North, South and Midle. Usually, the north or called as Tengalok is for children bedroom, living room and for ritual. South room is functioned for the head of the family. And the middle room or Sali used as dinig room, kitchen and to put dead body if any member of the family die.  The lower part is used for chickens and livestock and to keep farming tools.
There are 3 types of Tongkonan: Tongkonan Layuk, Tongkonan Pekaindoran and Tongkonan Batu Ariri. The first mentioned, Tongkonan Layuk is where religious is manadeg. Tongkonan Pekaindoran is used for custom and tradition function. And Tongkonan Batu Ariri is a supporting tongkonan.
In Torajan believe that god things arrive from the North and their ancestors came from the north.  No wonder that Tongkonan faces north. And the barn faces the south.
In Torajan culture, Tongkonan is symbol of mother and barn (alang sura) is symbol of father, that both built face to face.
Tongkonan is decorated with bull head, which shows the social and economic status of the family. The bull head is attached at the pilar at the front area. The more bull horns in front of the house , means the family has higher social class. Bull usually is sacrificed whenever family member dies.
Tongkonan of royalties are different from common Tongkonan. That of royalties has different decorative motives and more refined.

Kenjeran: Chips Home Industry

Kenjeran is located in Bulak district of Surabaya. Different than the central of Surabaya which are mainly business, in Kenjeran area you can still see fishermen village with their various activities, such as drying fish or fixing fishing net.

Local people also has process their fishing into chips. There are many kinds of chips you can buy and try here, such chips of fish skin, fish stomach, and various fish chips.

Since 2016, Kenjeran has its new building for fishermen to sell chips, smoked fish and souvenirs and stalls selling seafood menus.

Some villages are painted in colorful color to make the village more interesting for visitors.

Pulau Samosir (Samosir Island)

Samosir Island lies in the gigantic volcanic Lake Toba. Samosir Island is administratively a regency. It is 245,714 Ha, consists of  an island and lake.

Samosir Island can be reached from Medan by 4-5 hours driving to Parapat and then cross to Tuktuk wehere there are  most of hotels and homestays can be found.

Samosir temperature ranges from 17-29 Ded Centigrade, and humiditi rate: 85,04%. The indigenous people of Samosir Island is Batak tribe consists of Batak Toba, Batak Karo, Batak Simalungun.  Samosir is considered as the origin of all Batak ethnics. There are numerous of historical sites in Samosir Island.

  • King Sidabutar Grave, known as the first person living in the island. To enter the grave area , one must wear ulos, weaving from Samosir. 
  • Ambarita Village, where there are old  traditional Batak houses can still be seen. And there is a megalithic remains, a big court table made of rock which is locally known as Batu Persidangan.

Samosir has abundant of interesting places such as:

  • Pusuk Buhit Mountain, the highest peak in Samosir Island
  • Sampuran Efrata Waterfall
  • Lumban Suhi Suhi Village, the village of Ulon weaving maker
  • Aek Rangat Hotspring
  • Sigale Gale effigies
  • Parbaba Beach
  • Museum Hutabolon Simanindo
  • Museum Batak Tomok
  • Tele Tower View Point
  • Aek Natonang Lake
  • Aek Sipitu Dai Spring
  • Batu Hobon Site
  • Sidihoni Lake



Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo: Home of Orang Utan

Tanjung Puting National Park and Biosphere Reserve is located  in Central Kalimantan, in Kalimantan Island or also known as Borneo Island. The indigenous population is Dayak tribe which is still faithful with animist belief. 

Tanjung means a peninsula, administratively is part of Kotawaringin Timur with its office in Sampit and Kotawaringin Barat with its office in Pangkalan Bun.

The Park covers swampy alluvial peninsular between Kumai and Serunyan River and Sekonyer River in the north . And since 1978 the southern boundary has been extended until Serimbang River to Segintung Luar River.

The Park has various vegetation types, such as dry land where species like Shorea spp, Mysristica, iron wood can be found and the swamp forest, mangrove and coastal forest.  And the most famous fauna live here are Orang Utan (Pongo pygmaeus) and probiscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus). Both primates were discovered during Dutch colonial era in the 1930s.  Both live in the swampy and dry land.  Other primates live here are: agile gibbon (Hylobates agilis), long tailes macaque (Macaca fascicularis) , ppig tailes macaque (Macaca nemestrina), red leaf eating monkey (Presbytis rubicunda) , silver leaf eating monkey (Presbytis cristata). Deers, civet, leopard, squirrel can also be found here. The most significant bird here is storm’s stork (Ciconia stormii), and there are other bird species that are most of them are endangered.

Visitors usually visit to see Orang Utan in its habitat and centered around orang utan rehabilitation center by cruising through Sekonyer river.  Below are the interesting spot in Tanjung Puting National Park:

  1. Tanjung Harapan which has information center, orang utan feeding, Orchid,  Herb, and trekking route to from Tanjung Harapan-Pesalat-Pondik Tangguy.
  2. Pesalat, reforestation area
    Pesalat is the second camp which can be visited by visitors or researchers. Activities can be done here : camping, trekking, herb garden and planting trees. 
  3. Pondok Tangguy
    This third camp visitors can see orang utan feeding, short trekking trail and long trekking from Pondok Tangguy-Pesalat-Tanjung Harapan.
  4. Pondok Ambung
    This third camp usually visited to observe wildlife, night trekking and tower.
  5. Camp Leakey is the last station for visitors in Sikonyer river route, This is a must-visit camp in Tanjung Puting National Park. Visitors can see orang utan feeding, trekking and information center is available here.
  6. Camp Leakey
  7. This is a must-visit camp in Tanjung Puting National Park. Visitors can see orang utan feeding, trekking and information center is available here. 
Now Buluh Besar river is also developed for tourism, is part of Tanjung Puting National Park located at Teluk Pulai Resort, here visitors wil sail the natural forest along the river, deer sanctuary, wildlife observation along the river.
Arut Tebal is another river in the national park located in Sungai Cabang Resort, which has white sandy beach, turtle conservation and release baby turtle.