I’ve wanted to share the Java Trip that I did earlier this year but the post has been sitting in the draft folder for almost half year now lol. So here it is my Java Trip experience. *drumroll*
Alrighty, first of all, why did I choose Java? Well, it was just because going to Java is much cheaper than going to Boracay, LOL. No, seriously no kidding, the initial plan was to go to Boracay with my all time travelling buddy, Mami Christy. And the reason of the trip? Simply because I am so sick of The (So Called) Intelligent City and she is so sick of her town people (I think) and our adventurous souls are screaming for an adventure ever since the last Penang Trip in 2010-which-was-awesome-and-gave-us-uncountless-interesting-experiences-we-can-talk-about-forever-omigod-asdfghjkl…
As a true backpacker which cheap flight ticket is very essential to support the possibility of the trip, return flight tickets were bought 6 months before the trip. I got the open jaw tickets on promotion that costs +/- RM278 for the flights of Kuala Lumpur-Semarang and Yogyakarta-Kuala Lumpur. I found the price is pretty decent since AirAsia usually will charge around RM200++ for my return flight of KL-Medan-KL. I got that decent price when I was checking AirAsia website in one midnight and whoring (ops, mind my language) the refresh button like one crazy woman. It was just like a sign that we are meant to go. After I hit the refresh button a few times, the price went down very very very low compare to the minutes earlier. The next day afternoon, I saw AirAsia published ’bout their promo on Facebook, that was like half day after I bought the tickets. So, a suggestions for the beginner budget travelers out there, you gotta visit those airlines websites in the midnight regardless there is no news about any promo. Getting cheap flight tickets requires diligence and luck. That goes 70:30, the diligence works more. Ok, there you go the Trip Advice #1.
Trip Advice #2, book the accommodation from Agoda.com and/or Booking.com. Now this is VERY VERY important, guys! One day I checked out the hotel rate directly from their website and called them up to reconfirm the price, turned out that the price is so much different from what they state on the website. However, the hotel staff was so kind to tell me to book the room from Agoda.com to get a much cheaper price. The problem is, I don’t own any credit card so booking through Agoda.com is not possible. I am thankful to Janina, my smart pretty humble ex-roommate from Germany, ’cause she told me to use Booking.com as it doesn’t require any credit card payment upfront. After all the thorough and desperate research Mami and I did, we decided to stay in Imam Bonjol hostel. Oh, we also did the research on TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet to get references on those hotels/hostels/guesthouses. I am a social network freak so even when we decided to take this hostel, I told Mami to check it out on Facebook HAHA. Yes, I do admit that I’m a freak! Mami finally made the arrangement with the hostel owner and we took a family room with 4 beds because there will be 4 of us. However, it turned out only 3 of us could make the trip so on the day we reached the hostel, we asked to be changed to the triple bed room. The staff is really nice and helpful and the process of down-grading the room is easy and smooth. The triple room was IDR 190k/night and it comes with 2 single bed, one of which is a trundle bed. It has air-conditioner, TV, dressing table, and a plastic chest of drawers for our convenient use. There are 2 shared bathrooms outside the room, bear in mind that the bathroom is an old school type with a squatting toilet 🙂 I had a really difficult time to poo on a squatting toilet, you know, once you use seating toilet you’ll never go back! LOL. But after all, I found the stay quite pleasant, they also give us each a cup of Javanese tea (it is basically just unsweetened tea) and a bun for breakfast. Not bad, eh? Oh, the hostel is also recognized by TripAdvisor and it can arrange a trip to Karimun Jawa too. Aside from that, there is a convenient store downstairs and, in the evening, there will be a small sushi bar outside the store. Very convenient. I would rate the hostel 3/5. I forgot to take some pics of the hostel but found some pics from Google (courtesy of the owner’s blog).
The hostel is located in a very strategic location. It is near Tugu Muda monument and Lawang Sewu. It is also not far away from Toko Oen, the restaurant I really wanted to visit. Since May Ping and I landed in Semarang earlier than Mami, we headed to the hostel and waited for her there. Soon, Hanafi (Oxymoron Herlina‘s brother) came to meet us in our hostel. He was like the replacement for Lina cause she couldn’t join the trip and show us around her city as she was just starting her new job. So, Hanafi took us around instead. Here are some of the pictures of our adventures in Semarang.
A glimpse of Kota Tua Semarang (Semarang Old Town).
Lawang Sewu, literally means The Thousand Doors, the iconic building of Semarang.
Blenduk Church, the oldest church in Central Java province.
The Great Mosque of Central Java, it has sky tower overlooking magnificent view of the city at night.
And my opinion of Semarang? I really did enjoy my trip. I think the city is well maintained compare to other capital cities in Indonesia. Though the city is not too big, some roads are small, and there are still some undeveloped areas, but it is pretty neat. The main road is close to one another, makes it easy to find your destination. I also love the people, they are super duper nice, polite, and helpful. One day we were in a car and saw a demonstration of one bank’s employees, we wanted to capture the daily life in Semarang so we grabbed our camera and took some snaps of it. The police women saw us and they waved their hands towards us with their wide smile so we can take a nice pictures. Friendly it is. Even the demo was well-organized, there is no riot at all. Life is easy and laid-back there. I did love it so much. I think one day I might wanna live there 🙂 And besides, the food are AH-MAY-ZING! I would never find a place full of delicious food with super cheap price. It is so freaking cheap that Mami and I couldn’t stop crying ‘Oh my goooood, so cheaaaaaap….’ every time we paid our meals. It is really heaven on earth! Here are some of the pics to make you drool *saliva river flowing*
Loempia Semarang (the specialty of Semarang) & kembang tahu wedang
Sate kambing 29 in Kota Tua
I really encourage you guys to go to Semarang if you seek a different lifestyle and ambiance. It doesn’t really feel like a metropolitan city because people there are very friendly and not ignorant. But it is not a small town either. Of course, it is the capital of Central Java province. Duh! Besides, things are CHEAP there, worth every penny you spend! I will definitely come back only for the culinary hehe.
Alrite, guys, hope you find this post helpful. Sorry if it’s too long ’cause all the memories were just flashing back as I typed and I get overly excited 😀 Write you again soon for Java Trip Solo and Yogya editions. ‘Til then, au revoir!