Saturday, May 19, 2012

Batu: Day 2

Batu - Bromo, Day 2 : 29 April 2012

We started our day with breakfast which comes with the hotel package. Breakfast was fried rice and soto ayam soup with vermicelli (padahal bihun je kan hehe).

Aha there was incident after the breakfast. Want to know more? Read on ;)
Razeif went back to our hotel # 1 (there are 2 branches of Gradia, our room was at #1, breakfast at #2, but it's just a 100m walking distance apart) to arrange for the check out, while the rest waited at the breakfast area. Mas then went for the loo. Then it was already more than 15 minutes or so. I was starting to have doubts. Probably Mas was having a bad stomach ache? So I decided to check her out. Only then I realized she was stuck in the WC! One of the staffs there was prying open the latch at the door, and within a few minutes she was free. Poor Mas had to endure being stuck in a lavatory! Then I asked her did she scream for help? Yeah she did, and she banged the door too! Luckily someone was passing by, or it would have taken quite some time to get out. Lesson learnt: next time check for your friends if they are missing for more than 10 minutes. She was calm though after the incident, so all was well and we were roared for our next activity - picking apples yeah! Oh but before that, we would be stopping by at the Coban Rondo waterfall.

The waterfall is 84m high, generating a high powered water gush at the bottom pool - I wonder how much hydro power it could generate. The water was cool and refreshing, but we didn't bathe - didn't bring any change of clothes. Oh, the waterfall has a legend too -the tale of Prince Raden Baron Kusuma and Princess Dewi Anjarwati who were held by a man named Joko Lelono. He fell in love with the princess. A fight ensued, but both men died. The princess was taken by her guards to the waterfall and waited for her prince there. But he never came back and she became a widow. In Javanese widow is called rondo and waterfall is coban. It was then that the waterfall was named Coban Rondo. Info taken from here

Coban Rondo

We then proceeded to one of the apple orchards at Batu. Oh yeah - Batu is a high terrain area with cool weather - sort of like Cameron Highlands. So our room at Gradia had no fan or air conditioning. It was all natural air circulation.

We then stopped by Wisata Payung - stalls lined up by the roadside of the hilly terrain with a fantastic view of Batu. At first we wanted to have a light snack there - just chilling and enjoying the vista - but since we still have a lot on our agenda - we decided to takeaway the jagung bakar. We only had our instant sachet (it's their style there in Indonesia where they hang the 3-in-1 instant sachets on display and you choose which is your desire) hot coffee and tea there. Ah, being big eaters, all the jagung bakar were walloped before we even reached the apple orchard lol!

But before going to the apple orchard, we passed by one of Jemaah Islamiyah's explosives expert and mastermind Dr Azahari's (who was once a UTM lecturer) house where he was shot by a police sniper and one of his disciples blew himself up (destroying the house as well) after they were ambushed by the special forces Densus 88. More info on him here.

Dr Azahari's house

I've never been to an apple orchard before. I didn't expect the trees to be so low that I could pick the apples without having to climb ladders. For 6 ft tall Ezad, he was a standout there - but to his disadvantage - he had to stoop a bit to pass through the low trees. The apples were crunchy and ready to eat! We just had to wipe them a bit - no chemicals/insecticides were used- so they claimed. We were told to pick the greenish-white coloured ones - those were sweeter and juicier. I always thought the red ones were juicier. Or maybe this is only applicable to Batu's apples?

As for the entrance fee, we paid IDR 20,000 (RM7) with all you can pick and eat, or if you want to bring back the apples, you pay another IDR 10,000 (RM 3.50).

Ladang epal

After the apple crunching, we left for lunch at Waroeng Bambu - a cool bamboo constructed restaurant floating on a huge fish pond where you can dip your feet / soak your legs in the water while eating and feeding the fishes. Really. Don't believe me? See here.

Take a closer look at our lovely legs hehe

Dip dip

The food there was good too I think they are Sundanese food. We ordered  the delicious ayam bakar. Yummy! We were famished by then (although we just ate some apples and corn before lol!)

Ayam Bakar yummeh!

After filling in our tummy, it was time to visit the animals at the Batu Secret Zoo. Hmmm I have some reservations going to the zoo after feeling a bit of a letdown somehow at Zoo Negara last year. But boy was I wrong! There were many exotic animals (at least to me heheh) here and they were active. I imagine my Partner In Crime would have love it coming here :-p

Among the animals here are the biggest rodent in the world, weighing in 10 kg and they can swim! (and they looked quite cute heheh), but don't worry, I thought they look cute, unlike the ones you find at the backyards. Other animals at the zoo include meerkats, exotic monkeys (such as common marmoset, golden headed lion tamarin), albino kangaroos, slow loris,  the friendly, cute & cuddly binturong (bear cat), polka dot stingray (like my polka dot clothes hehe), my favourite kitty family - lynx, puma, white lion, among others. The zoo are divided into sections of the animal or area category such as the savannah land, tiger land, tropical, reptile, marine life etc. We actually really enjoyed ourselves at the zoo - we spent about 4 hours at the zoo!

slow loris

golden handed tamarin

from the savannah section

the cool savannah setup

giant swimming rodent

cute n cuddly binturong

polka dot stingray

We had our dinner at the zoo restaurant as the journey to Bromo would be quite far and take about 3 hours, and probably there aren't decent restaurants otw. There is a section of the restaruant which rotates, but it only caters for 4 person per table. Since our group consist of 6 persons, we just sat ourselves at the stationary section.There are also stalls selling t-shirts and souvenirs outside the zoo - which I should have just bought here, as we later found out there wasn't enough time to shop for souvenirs at Surabaya the next day. We also stopped by at some souvenir shops before departing for Bromo - got myself a local apple bakpia (sort of pau).

We reached Bromo at midnight and just went to bed as we were already very tired and we had to start the next day in the wee hours of the morning at 4am local time. Now why is it so special that we had to rise early? Wait for the next post ;)



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