Pasar Rame – Medan, North Sumatra

Pasar Rame – Medan, North Sumatra

Pasar Rame is one of the most famous traditional markets in Medan.‘Rame’ is derived from the word ‘ramai’ which means crowded in English. Established since 1973, most of the stores have been passed down from one generation to another. As the centre of family businesses, you would expect that each of them offers unique features or Pasar Rametaste from one another despite of the similarities of the goods sold. Some of them might be better or more famous than the other which is usually reflected by the price. So, one rule that you should bear in mind when visiting this market is never forget to haggle and haggle. Therefore, mastering some local Hokkien phrases like kuice (how much for asking price) and kamsia (thank you) might come in handy for this situation.

Aside of daily necessities, some highlighted goods that you would find here:

  • Varieties of sweet fermented fruits

One thing that comes to mind for most Medanese when we mention Pasar Rame would be the sweet fermented fruits. Here, you could find some fruits like snakefruits, mangoes, ambarellas, nellikais (a kind of orange), nutmegs, guavas or even the rose apples (also known as chompoo). You would find that those fruits are either dried or pickled with varieties of sweetness level offered to customers. Each store would offer a slightly different taste according to the heredited family recipes from each store.

  • Local light meals

Some highlighted light meals that you should try while you are at the market would be pecel (vegetables with nut topping and chip known as peyek), misop (rice noodles or fettucine known as kwetiau with meatballs and chicken meat), es campur (shaved ice topped with jellies, red beans, and fermented cassava plus coconut and brown sugar sauce). These light meals would just be perfect to recharge your energy after a tiring shopping day.

  • Traditional Chinese clothes and accessories for Chinese Lunar New Year

Pasar Rame is also ideal if you are looking for some traditional Chinese clothings, delicacies, and handmade Chinese accessories (both for religious occassions and souvenirs). It’s best to avoid buying them here when it is closer to the Lunar New Year since the price would be skyrocketting due to the high demands.

Location and operational hours:

Location: Jalan Thamrin, next to Thamrin Plaza

Operational hours: Morning (06.00 or 07.00 am) – Afternoon (05.00 or 06.00 pm)

Direction: From the Central Train Station, it takes only around 8 minutes by taxis or bikes.

Parangtritis Beach (Part 1)

Parangtritis Beach (Part 1)

When it comes to beaches, the first popular destination within Indonesia that pops up in most people’s mind would be Bali. However, what most people don’t realize is the fact that there are some amazing beaches located at Java Island as well. One of them is known as Parangtritis Beach in Yogyakarta Province.

Parangtritis BeachThis particular beach is famous both for its breathtaking view and for being a sacred religious icon in Yogyakarta. When it comes to its scenery, Parangtritis Beach is definitely not going to disappoint all of of its visitors. Aside of its spectacular sunset view, the visitors would also be amazed by its phenomenal sand dunes. This combination is not commonly found in any other beaches. Having said that, your trip to this iconic beach would definitely be one of those memories that lingers for quite some time.

As mentioned earlier, another thing that contributes to Parangtritis fame is its role as a sacred place in local people’s belief. Parangtritis Beach is believed to be the entrance gate of mystical ocean kingdom at the southern seas of Java Island ruled by Queen Kidul. Due to this belief, all visitors of the beach are advised to avoid wearing green which is the queen’s favorite color. Local people believe that if this rule is trespassed, bad calamities would come upon you. Because of this belief too, this beach becomes the location of various spiritual ceremonies conducted by both the Yogyakarta keraton (monarchy) members and the surrounding civilians. The ceremonies are usually led by one local spiritual guardian of the beach and are held to commemorate special occassions occurred in the monarchy such as the new king coronation or the wedding of a royal member.

Best time to visit: Sunset time (± 06.00 pm – 06.30 pm)

Location:

Parangtritis Beach is located ± 28 km from Yogyakarta or ± 30 km from the city center. It is within the area of Kretek Regency, Bantul, Yogyakarta Province.

GPS Coordinate: -8.0207581,110.3124376

How to get there:

By private car:

  • There are two main routes heading to Parangtritis Beach from Yogyakarta.

First route: Yogyakarta – Kretek – Parangtritis

Second route: Yogyakarta – Imogiri – Siluk – Parangtritis

By public bus:

  • Head to Giwangan Bus Terminal and catch for public busses that head to Parangtritis Beach
Parangtritis Beach Part 2

Parangtritis Beach (Part 2)

Parangtritis Beach (Part 2)
Parangtritis Beach Part 1

Pantai Parangtritis

In this second article about Parangtritis Beach, we will see some available activities that could be selected from if you have got the opportunity to visit this beach.

What to do:

  • ‘Strolling’ around the coastline

Just like the other popular beach destinations, one thing you could do at this beach is strolling around the coastline while enjoying the soft black volcanic sand, wind breeze and the waves’ sound. However, at Parangtritis beach, you could enjoy this popular beach activity in several ways.

First option would be to ride a horse that is usually accompanied by a trainer in case you are still a beginner. Afraid to ride a horse directly but still want to be in a proximity with this elegant animal? Then the option of riding a bendi (traditional horse carriage) would be perfect for you. If you would like to do a more thrilling activity, then perhaps riding an ATV would be more suitable for you. But regardless of the method, strolling around the coastline of Parangtritis is obviously the best way to enjoy its picturesque scenery.

  • Watching the sunset

The experience of witnessing an amazing sunset moment is also possible at this particular beach. What makes the experience at Parangtritis more unique than the others would perhaps be the chance to enjoy the view while enjoying the local light snack like grilled corn and iced coconut drink.

  • Visiting the sand dunes

A one kind only of experience at Parangtritis Beach would be to visit the sand dunes within the beach area. As the only sand dunes in the country, this natural phenomenon is unique since sand dunes is only formed in places with hot and dry climate like most desert areas not in places with high rainfall and tropical climate like Indonesia. The material of Parangtritis sand dunes comes from the ashes of neighboring active volcanoes like Merapi. By natural process, these ashes are then flowed to the adjacent rivers to the sea. Once it reaches the sea, the volcanic ashes are then brought by the waves to the coastline and flown by the wind to form the sand dunes.

  • Parawedang hotspring

Here, you could also discover the only natural mountain hotspring that doesn’t contain any sulphur in it. The water is believed to be effective in healing skin diseases and allergies.

Merapi Mount – Sleman, Yogyakarta

Merapi Mount – Sleman, Yogyakarta

Merapi MountLocated at ± 35 km north of Yogyakarta, Merapi Mount has been one of the most famous and most active volcanoes in Indonesia. In fact, its most recent eruption happened only a few years ago, in 2010 to be exact. This last eruption has transformed the nearby villages located at ± 4 – 6 km from the top of this mountain into an area filled with volcanic ashes and houses’ remnants.

Despite of its frequent eruption, Merapi Mount is one of the most scenic and picturesque places that you could ever be in your life. In fact, local villagers have taken advantage of the recent eruption to promote Merapi Mount even more. Most of them offer a tour package that includes the visitors to trek along the abandoned villages. For the last few years, this area has been allowed for public as the volcano is deemed as temporarily save by the national meteorological department. However, it is strongly advised to always check the last status of the volcano prior travelling in the vicinity areas.

What to do:

  • Witnessing the beauty of Merapi Mount from top

Eventhough the journey to the top of a mountain would always require big effort and struggle, this would always be paid off once people reach at the top and overlook the breathtaking surroundings. This case would also be true when it comes to hike Merapi Mount. In fact, the reward would even be more rewarding as you could also witness the beauty of Merapi Mount’s lava inside the crater.

There are two main routes commonly used to hike to the top of Merapi Mount. The first route would be from Kinahrejo Village that is situated at ± 2 km east of Kaliurang. The climbing field from this route would be very steep with the distance to the top is 9 km. The journey to the top would take ± 10 hours. Another route would be through an area known as Selo Kabupaten Boyolali located in between of Merapi and Merbabu Mount. To reach this area, you need to take the bus heading to Kartosuro from Yogyakarta. From there, continue your journey to Boyolali that would lead you to Selo. The journey to the top would take ± 5 hours.

  • Merapi Lava Tour

If you are not a fan of mountain climbing, you could perhaps try the option of touring around the Merapi Mount slope areas. The tour will usually be using a jeep car that would take up to 4 people. The length of the tour could also be chosen (long or short) depending on the course that you choose.

Best time to visit: Morning time before the Merapi Mount is covered in fog.

Malioboro (Part 1)

Malioboro (Part 1)

Malioboro is actually one of the main avenues in the city of Yogyakarta and stretches out as long as 2.5 km. It is also considered as the imaginary line that connects the three of Yogyakarta’s most sacred and respected places, Parangtritis Beach, Keraton (Palace) Yogyakarta, and Merapi Mountain.

Malioboro would always be crowded by visitors day and night. During daytime, Malioboro is the most popular shopping destination at Yogyakarta. At both sides of theMalioboro Street avenue, you would see rows of both stores and hawkers selling a diversed collection of souvenirs (traditional and modern). There are also a number of tourist attractions located along Malioboro. You would also dicover a line of neatly parked becak (helicabs) and delman (traditional horse carriage) along the pedestrian paths offering a range of city tour packages. As a result, the traffic here would commonly be quite bad as it would be packed by visitors who would be busy doing some souvenirs hunting, visiting the tourist attractions along the street, or even touring around the street with becak or delman. Meanwhile, during nightime, Malioboro would transform into the center of street culinary destination at Yogyakarta.

What to do:

  • Shopping

At Malioboro, you could find many affordable traditional souvenirs like batik (clothes with traditional pattern drawn by hand or printed by machine), blangkon (Javanese traditional hat), keris (Javanese traditional sword), wayang (Javanese traditional puppet) etc. Aside of cultural souvenirs, you could also hunt for popular culinary gifts like bakpia patok and yangko. The most famous store at Malioboro would be Mirota Batik as it offers the most complete collection for both cultural and culinary gifts with affordable prices.

  • Street culinary

At night, both of the pedestrian paths would be packed with rows of traditional food hawkers. Here, you could find most of the famous Javanese and Indonesian traditional foods like gudeg, es dawet, ayam penyet, and even durian. What makes the culinary experience at Malioboro unique would be how the street eateries are set right at the side of the street with lesehan style. It means you would enjoy your food while sitting on top of mat with a low table (like what is commonly found in Japanese restaurant).

Location:

It is located at Jalan Malioboro and located at the city center area of Yogyakarta.

GPS Coordinate: -7.7935099,110.3656956

Malioboro (Part 2)

Malioboro (Part 2)
Malioboro Tourism Malioboro Part 1 Previous article has informed us about general information as what to be expected when you visit Malioboro. Now, the second article would focus more on the tourist attractions that located at this particular famous avenue. -Keraton Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta’s Palace)

Keraton Yogyakarta is currently utilized as both cultural and governmental center of Keraton Malioboro, Malioboro TourismYogyakarta Province. It is also the residence for Sri Sultan, a title given to every king and governor of Yogyakarta Province. Keraton has been claimed as the best model for Javanese traditional architecture. This is based on the fact of how every detail and position of each structure in the keraton complex was built according to the traditional Javanese values. The whole Keraton complex was finished in 1790.

Operational hours:

Every day (08.30 am – 12.30 pm; Fri-Sat opens until 11.00 am) -Vredeburg Fort

This fort is both a museum and tourist attraction that was built during the reign of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I. This fort started our as a very humble clay and wooden structure but was later transformed into a heavily equipped fortress by the Netherlands out of fear towards the Keraton development at that particular era. Nowadays, you could find a collection of various tools and weapons from the revolution period displayed at the fort area. As for the museum, you would discover diorama depicting the conditions of Indonesians during the colonization period by the Netherlands. There is also a movie room that would show a movie about the struggle of Indonesians to achieve their independence.

Operational hours:

Closed on Mondays; Tues-Fri (08.00 am – 04.00 pm; Sat-Sun opens until 05.00 pm) -Beringhardjo Traditional Market

The name Beringhardjo is a combination of two words ‘bering’ and ‘hardjo’ which mean both banyan tree and prosperous consecutively. So, the name Beringhardjo could be defined as a banyan area that would bring prosperity to the society. The combination of these words was based on how this market was used to be a banyan forest and has been the center of economic activity since the past until now.

At the market, you could find various batik with unique traditional patterns, traditional handcrafts, and delicacies. This market is particularly famous for its wide selection of spices which are used as main ingredients for jamu (Indonesian herbal drinks) that could help to heal lots of diseases.

Maimun Palace – Medan, Sumatra Utara

Maimun Palace – Medan, Sumatra Utara

Maimun Palace is one of the famous icons of Medan. It is the heritage from Deli Kingdom and was built during the reign of King Maimun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah that was the 9th king of the kingdom. It was built in 1888. It occupies an area of 2,772 m2 and has 30 rooms in total. It’s dominated with yellow, a colour that represents Malay culture.

Maimun Palace

What to do:

  • Enjoying the palace’s amazing architectural design. Its architectural design is really unique. It is a compilation of several cultural influences likes Moghul, Middle East, Spain, India, Netherlands, and Malay. The Netherlands’ influence could be seen in the design of the high as well as wide doors and windows. Some of the palaces’ doors also encompass sculptures that are quite similar to the ones from Spain. Meanwhile, the arcades found at the roof are heavily influenced by Moslem influence that was popular in Middle East, India and Turkey during that era.
  • Finding out the history of Kings of Deli. As you visit the palace, you could see the pictures of the king’s family, antique furniture from colonial era and various weapons. One of the famous weapons showcased there is Meriam Buntung (Amputated Cannon). There is a folklore that explains why it is in amputated condition.
  • Traditional Malay music performances. They are usually held twice a year as part of the gathering celebration among the king’s big family. In addition, they are also held every Friday night as part of family cultural occasion known as rawatib.

Location, operational hours, admission fee:

Location: Jl. Brigjen Katamso, Sukaraja Regency (kelurahan), Medan Maimun Subdistrict, (kecamatan), Medan, North Sumatra Province (Sumatera Utara)

Operational hours: Monday-Sunday, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm (Closed for special ceremonies)

Admission fee: Rp 10.000,- (donation for the palace maintenance fund)

Direction (by cars/motorbikes):

From Kuala Namu International Airport, take the airport railway that would take you to Medan Central Train Station (Stasiun Pusat Medan) located at Jl. Stasiun Kereta Api. From the train station, head southeast toward Jl.Perniagaan Baru for ± 500 m. Afterwards, turn left onto Jl.M.T. Haryono for ± 47 m. Then, turn right onto Jl. Palangkaraya for ± 450 m. Lastly head to Jl. Brigjen Katamso and drive for ± 750 m towards Maimun Palace that would be on your left. (courtesy by Google Maps).

Estimated time required (with no traffic):

  • Train travel (45 minutes) + cars/ motorbikes travel (10 minutes) = 55 min/ ± 1

Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach

If we talk about beaches in Bali, Kuta Beach is definitely going to be on the list. Despite of many criticisms from both local and international visitors due to its overdevelopment issues, Kuta Beach is still going strong as one of the favorites in Bali and thus deserves the crown as one of Bali’s icons.

What to do:

Kuta Beach offers you with plenty of what-to-do list options. If you happen to stay nearby, you could start your day by doing some light exercises such as strolling or jogging along the beach coastline. As one of the beaches with long coastlines in Bali, you could enjoy your stroll or jog without fearing of running out of paths too fast. As the morning continues, you could extend your exercise by playing some volley balls. In the northern side of Kuta Beach, there’s a court where people could use to play this particular sport.

Kuta BeachAs the day progresses, you could start your noon time by sunbathing, surfing, or having lunch in one of the warung or even some high end cafes and restaurants across the beach. If one of your itineraries in Bali is to learn how to surf, Kuta Beach is just right for you. Here, you could find varieties of packages offering surfing courses that range in both prices and level of difficulties.

To complete your day at Kuta Beach, you could simply sit around in one of the local cafes or any spots on the beach to wait for the sunset. Afterwards, you are still welcomed to stay on the beach to enjoy the amazing night scenery in the surrounding Kuta area. You don’t have to be cautious about the security in Kuta Beach during night time.It’s because there is still a significant number of crowds here even at night time. Kuta Beach is in fact always filled with visitors 24/7.

Best time to visit:

  • Exercising: Morning (as it is still not very crowded)
  • Sunbathing and surfing: Noon – afternoon (12 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
  • Relaxing and watching sunset: Afternoon (4 p.m. onwards)

Direction:

It is located at the centre of Kuta area, surrounded by well-known hang out places such as Beachwalk and Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel. It is a 10 minute walking distance from Poppies Lane I and Poppies I, the paradise for all backpackers in Bali. It is also located near Ngurah Rai International Airport (15 minutes – with no traffic)

Estimated time required (with no traffic):

  • from Ubud: 1 H; from Denpasar: 30 min; from Nusa Dua: 30 min

Kotagede (Part 1)

Kotagede (Part 1)

One important reason why Yogyakarta has been famous as a tourist destination is its rich Javanese cultural heritage that has successfully been maintained for generations. Until now, the residents of Yogyakarta are known to be proud of their keraton (monarchy) and the traditional Javanese values. Because of this, you would discover how lots of Javanese values are interwined in many aspects of the locals’ lives like their foods, handcrafts, language, etc. However, there is a place that would allow you to ‘travel back through time’ to witness the old Javanese city (kota tua). This historic place is Kotagede.

Kotagede can be categorized as one of the most established cultural reservations in Indonesia that has managed to attract numerous domestic and international tourists Kota gede, Kotagedeannually. Once you step into Kotagede, you would undeniably feel its strong historical feeling. Not only the layout of the city has been preserved pretty much the way it is since the ancient time but also you would find hundreds of old buildings that dated back as early as the 1700s – 1930s. This is all possible since Kotagede used to be the capital of the ancient Javanese Moslem kingdom known as Mataram. As a result, you could notice a lot of both Javanese and Moslem influence in the architectural style of these historic buildings. As you pass by each of this structure through the narrow alleys that have been there since Mataram era, you would discover a lot of traditional elements and even stories of the old Kotagede. And what makes it even more unique is how most of these buildings are still occupied by the locals that still keep their original features. There is even a popular old building that mix both Javanese and European architectural sytle known as Rumah Kalang.

Location:

Kotagede is still part of Yogyakarta but it is located ± 5 km from the city center.

GPS Coordinate: -7.828262,110.39986

How to get there:

By private car:

  • From Adi Sucipto Airport, head to Janti T-intersection which will take you to the Ring Road. Once there,  turn right once you encounter an intersection to head out from the Ring Road. Follow along the street until you discover JEC (Jogja Electronic Center) where you would see another intersection. At this intersection, go straight towards Kotagede.

By Trans Jogja bus:

  • From Adi Sucipto Airport, take Trans Jogja with 3A route and get off at either Tegalgendu or HS-Silver bus stop. The journey would take ± 30 minutes.
Kota Gede Part 2

Kotagede (Part 2)

Kotagede (Part 2)
Kota Gede Tourism Kota Gede Part 1

The second article of Kotagede will highlight some of the most popular activities that are usually done by most visitors when dropping by at this particular old city.

What to do:

  • Exploring the iconic cultural buildings

First stop on your journey back to history at Kotagede should be the Mataram Kings cemetery complex. Arriving at this site, you will be greeted with an artistic gate influenced by the old Hindu architectural style. You would also encounter the Abdi Dalem (the loyal servants of the Javanese Kota Gede Tourismmonarchy) dressed in traditional Javanese clothing guarding the complex for 24/7. Visitors of this complex would be required to rent the traditional Javanese clothing before entering the cemetery area since this place is highly sacred among the locals. Another stop on your list should be the Kotagede traditional market that located ± 100m from the cemetery complex. This market has been operational since the ancient kingdoms era until now. The building and location of the market have been sustained to the way it was until now eventhough it has undergone some renovations. Only at this market that you could feel the same shopping experience as the ancient ancestors of the Javanese.

  • Hunting for silver crafts and jewelleries

Kotagede is not only renowned for its historical values but also for its silver crafts and jewelleries. What makes the them really exceptional is how they are all handmade by the local artisan community. There have even been some well-known methods for making the silver goods discovered by the local artisans and passed down for generations. Therefore, you would see how each silver product possesses delicate detail of Javanese style carvings. You could purchase silver goods at small family-run shops or at big factory outlets where they will also show you the silver crafting process. If you are interested in handcrafting the silver yourself, there are a number of places offering some courses ranging from short until long term programs.

  • Tasting the traditional culinaries

One of the popular traditional culinaries is sate karang Kotagede. It’s a sweet beef satay with three kinds of sauces to choose from, nutty sauce, soy sauce, or kocor sauce. This cuisine will be served together with a traditional beverage known as beras kencur (sweet rice drink). As for the popular culinary gift, don’t forget to buy some kipo (cake made from rice flour with sweetened grated coconut filling) for your beloved ones waiting back at home.