30 March 2018

A Long Weekend Getaway to Lampung

Lampung is a province in the southernmost tip of Sumatra Island in Indonesia. it is the first part of Sumatra to encounter when crossing Sunda Strait from Java Island. Like usual seaport area, Lampung weather is very hot, even in rainy season. In February, the temperature was around 28-30 degrees. The capital city Bandar Lampung is one of the cities where you can enjoy sea and mountain together. The city is passed by the Barisan Mountains, a row of mountains stretched along Sumatra Island end to end between south and north. If you find a city with mountains view fascinating, like I do, then you should come to Bandar Lampung.


Barisan Mountains view from our hotel in the middle of the city

How to Get to Bandar Lampung From Jakarta


There are 2 ways to go to Bandar Lampung: by the air or by the sea. The flight from Soekarno Hatta Airport to Radin Inten Airport in Lampung takes about 1 hour. It sounds like a short trip ya? However you have to take into account the time you have to check in before departure, usually 1 hour for a local flight, not including the delays of take-off, landing and luggage claims. So total would be like 2.5-3 hours. That is the same amount of time you would spend by taking a ferry between Merak Seaport to Bakauheni Seaport. The duration of ferry moving is actually only 1.5 hours, but the waiting time for boarding and getting out of the ship takes about 1-1.5 hours. Therefore, there is not much different time between taking airplane and ferry. The differences are in the distance between your place in Jakarta to Soekarno Hatta Airport and Jakarta to Merak Seaport, and the distance between Radin Inten Airport or Bakauheni Seaport to your destination in Lampung.

The flight ticket varies between Rp.250,000 to Rp.700,000 one way, depends on the airplane company and the schedule. The price for taking your own private car via ferry is flat Rp.374,000/car for any ferry company and any schedule (including all passengers inside the car, no matter how many people! Too cheap, right?). Another way is by taking a public bus (Damri) from Gambir in Jakarta to Bandar Lampung bus station which has different ticket price for each class:
- Business AC IDR 155,000/person
- Executive IDR 200,000/person
- Royal IDR 235,000/person

Our ferry to from Merak to Bakauheni

Taking flight is more expensive but we are sure it is convenient enough. Meanwhile taking ferry really depends on your luck. You may get a good ferry or a bad one. When we went from Merak to Bakauheni, we were quite lucky that waiting time was not that long (total 2.5hours) and we got a very nice ferry where we can sit or even lay down on a sofa inside aircon-ed room for free. However, on our way back to Jakarta, we got a lousy ship. They provided an executive room with normal seats (not sofa) and we should pay extra Rp.10,000/person. Still cheap, tho. It also took longer waiting time (total 3 hours). Previously most of the ferries between Merak and Bakauheni were poorly like that but nowadays there are more ferries that provide better service. Now we can also book ferry ticket online via https://www.indonesiaferry.co.id/ but we are able to choose the schedule only, not the ferry company (and I don't know which ferry company operates in which schedule). One step at a time. Hope Indonesian ferries keep improving.

What to See in Lampung


Lampung is famous for Elephant, because of Way Kambas National Park in East Lampung, a conservation center for endangered Sumatra Elephants. Unfortunately, we did not go there during this trip and did not see any elephant except their statues around Bandar Lampung. We went to Bandar Lampung on a mission to attend our beloved cousin's wedding so our time there was much occupied with the event but we could squish some places to visit, mostly culinary.

Puncak Mas
Puncak Mas is a new recreation place on top of a hill, around 400 meters above sea level. With entrance fee IDR 20,000/person and IDR 10,000/car, visitors can enjoy Bandar Lampung city view from above. It has facilities like a food court, toilets, and praying rooms. To experience more thrilling adventure, we can go up into 5-7 meters high tree houses, and they're all free. There is also zip bike (or sky bike or sky cycling) attraction for another IDR 20,000/person. Even though it was a public holiday when I went there but there is not much queue either for tree houses nor zip bikes. Visitors with small children can entertain their kids in the playground with a short tree house, some swings, few slides, a seesaw and a carousel. All the games are free of charge, except the carousel (IDR 10,000/kid). The place also provides accommodation for tourists who want to stay, and it charges around IDR 500,000/room.

Zip Bike and Tree Houses in Puncak Mas

Masjid Agung Al Furqon
Al Furqon is the biggest mosque in Bandar Lampung that can accommodate around 2000 people. It consists of 2 floors where the first level is used for multipurpose Islamic event such as a wedding, and second floor for praying. Most mosques usually have a round shape dome but Al Furqon is unique with its pyramid-shaped roof, nuanced in green and white. There are also a 100 meters high tower and Wali Songo relief in this complex. Wali Songo is the legendary 9 saints who were spreading Islam across Java Island around 400-600 years ago. Lampung is certainly not in Java Island but maybe they want to adopt Wali Songo spirit by painting them in Al Furqon mosque.

Pantai Bagus / Bagus Beach
The soft white sands and calm sea waves and bright sun lights welcomed me on my last afternoon in Lampung. We were on the way from Bandar Lampung to Bakauheni sea port to take a ferry back to Jakarta and stopped by in this Bagus Beach. Bagus means good, and that's exactly what I think about this beach. The first good thing about this beach is the location only 500 meters from the main road between Bandar Lampung and Bakauheni, so travelers can stop and take a rest there for a while. The other good things are not too crowded, no annoying sellers, many big shade trees, free cottages to sit and instagrammable spots. The entrance fee was only IDR 15,000/car.

Feels so peaceful here in Bagus Beach

Menara Siger / Siger Tower
Siger is the traditional crown of Lampung bride in gold color. We can find this logo easily everywhere around Lampung. In Bandar Lampung, almost every shop paint this logo on the top of their walls, including famous chained fast foods like Pizza Hut and KFC. It proves Lampung people have a good sense of culture. In 2008, a building shaped like Siger was built on top of Gamping hill, about 110meters above sea level, near Bakauheni to mark the place as 0 kilometers and the gate entrance to Sumatera Island from Java Island. Ten years later (2018), we can see the place has not been taken care; the wall paint has peeled off, broken windows, dirty floors, unusable binoculars, and not much information about Lampung like it used to have. However, we could see the view of ocean and ships going in and out Bakauheni seaport.

Menara Siger

What to Eat in Lampung


Lampung has a lot of delicious foods but mostly inspired by its neighbors like Palembang and Padang. Here's the list.

Bakso Son Haji Sony
Bakso (meatball) is a food that can be found in any part of Indonesia. Why is this Bakso Son Haji Sony very famous and has 14 stores in Bandar Lampung? It must not be for its service. When I and family had lunch in its main store in Tanjung Karang, we hardly got a seat and no one helped us. There were only 2 menu choices: Meatball Noodle and Chicken Noodle. It is hard to order specific request such as "meatball soup only without noodle" because they would always bring the standard one: meatball WITH noodle, IDR 15,000/portion. If you wait, you will never eat, so better take what they put on your table. Maybe it's better to come here in the afternoon and not during meal time. Nevertheless, the meatball contains a lot of meats and less flour, and the soup is very tasty. They also offer frozen meatballs in a package to bring home, together with its seasonings.

Begadang Restaurant
This is a very famous Padangnese restaurant with 5 outlets in Bandar Lampung. Its specialty is Ayam Pop, a white fried chicken. Not like the usual Ayam Pop, they fried and mixed it with eggs. Other than this menu, I think it is just a usual Padangnese restaurant.

Fried Ayam Pop in Begadang Restaurant

Pindang Meranjat Riu Restaurant
Pindang is a technique of boiling and salting fishes so it will last longer and be tasty. Some fishes that are suitable for this technique include catfish and mackerel tuna. These Pindang fishes then are cooked into a spicy fresh soup. Even though it is a specialty food from Palembang, we can easily find it around Bandar Lampung. One of the well-known restaurants in Bandar Lampung which serves this is Pandang Meranjat Riu in Jl. Pangeran Antasari. The restaurant provides some private cottages where visitors can sit comfortably on the floor, and also the usual seats. Good thing for a family with small children is they have a playground.

Pempek 123
Just like Pindang, Pempek originally comes from Palembang. Just like Bakso Son Haji Sony, there are many stores of Pempek 123 around Bandar Lampung. We went to the store in Jl. Jend Sudirman, the nearest one from our hotel. We arrived around 10 AM to buy the frozen one to bring back home, but the Pempek was already sold out. They said the Pempek will be available again around 1 PM, so we ordered and paid, and (someone) came back later to collect them. Personally, I like the Pempek and even like the sauce more. It is very tasty and extremely spicy.

Yen-Yen Souvenirs Center
This souvenir shop is focused on foods only, no keychains or t-shirts. It sells Lampung special snacks, for example, Kemplang fish cracker. Its texture is quite hard, but this cracker is very nice to eat with its companion sambal. My other favorite is Dodol Durian!

Hmmm thinking about the above-mentioned foods make me drool and want to visit Lampung again. If you are tired of Bandung or another holiday places in Java Island, I think Lampung can be a great alternative to visit for a weekend gateway from Jakarta.

2 comments:

  1. Mbaaak... Kalau ke Bandar Lampung lagi kabarin yaaa... Mari kita bertemu! 😁

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    1. Waahh kamu di Bandar Lampung toh, next time kalau kesana lagi pasti aku kabari hihihi :D

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