Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nusakambangan, an Indonesian version of Alcatraz?

Cilacap, everytime i heard that city, all i can think of is Nusakambangan prison, one of the famous prison that located in the island of Nusakambangan, about 5 mins ferry ride from Cilacap harbour.

Having a group of friends who love to travel is a gift for me who also tends to love travelling. The idea of going to Cilacap, one of my friend hometown popped while we're discussing our next trip to Banda. Since there will be a-4-days-off in May, my friend, Mas Danny ask us to join him "pulang kampung" to Cilacap. He planning on going to Cilacap with his wife, Mba Terry and daughter, Kande. At that time, I'm still influenzed with one serial about Alcatraz, replied "YES" right away. I thought the prison might be the same with Alcatraz (yeah, rite!). Beside me, there's one other friend, Attriya who willing to join the trip, so you can say me and my friend escorting the "lil fam" back to their hometown (LOL).

Our trip itself actually start from 16May and ended at 20May, yet 9-10hrs drive between Jakarta to Cilacap made us spent 1 day on the road. After a hard day at the office, me and Attriya waiting at a mall nearby my office waiting for Mas Danny to pick us up. We're using a 150K-cost travel that day. Due to an extreme traffic, we decided to pich the travel to a-less-traffic-location, that would be Gelael, nearby tebet. After 1 stop by at the restaurant for a super late dinner (or maybe an early breakfast), we finnaly arrived at 8AM, the next day.



Don't want to waste time, we all took bath and suit up for a city stroll, without any specific destination. Our first stop was the harbour to Nusakambangan prison, to know the procedure for visiting west part of the island. After got all the info we heading to Benteng Pendem, located in Teluk Penyu beach. Benteng pendem is a Dutch Fort which built in 1861. Actually there's 2 part of Benteng Pendem, one in Teluk Penyu Beach and the other one is located at Eastern Nusakambangan Island. The forts were connected with underground tunnel, yet it's no longer usable. Currently tourists can visit the fort located in the other side by using a small boat, with cost of 10K (if i'm not mistaken) per person return. To go inside the Fort we have to pay about 3K (again, if i'm not mistaken) per person, at each fort. The fort is quite interesting, nice place to have a photo shoot or maybe to test your guts? (LOL). Aside of benteng pendem, we can also visit a-whitey-sand-beach in the eastern of Nusakambangan. As for food, no need to worry, there's a stall (restaurant?) which can provide us any kind of local food, such as Tempe mendoan, tahu masak and instant noodles. Ah yes, we're are allowed to build a tent and stay there for overnight, well that if you want to *evil laugh*. After a long day at the fort-slasshed-beach we of back for some rest, on the way i bought my mom a gift, a bunch of her fav, "ikan asin jambal" and eat some of famous local dish, satay martawi.

Day two in Cilacap. Today's schedule is visiting the "whealty prisonner". We're all packed up (bring loads of foods in the trunk) and ready to explore the-forbidded-west-part-of-Nusakambangan. Well, actually this part of the island is forbidden for tourists as this is where the prisons located. Yet, since there's nothing seems to be impossible in Indonesia, we manage to arrange a 500K-rate-simple-tour to the island, the warden became our guide (strange isn't it?). The rate given is for a car, not person. A ferry took us (and our car) to the island, it only took about 5-10mins ride. Once we arrived at the island, a warden come to us and introduce himself as guide. He took us wander around the island, and tell us some stories about the prison and the island itself. I'm quite amazed with the prison's conditions, it's way much better than i thought it would be! WOW! Yet, however I don't feel quite satisfied with the tour as there were so many spot are closed for tourists visit (e.g. cave, etc), half day to explore this island don't seems enough for me as there's a beautiful white sandy beach at the other side of the island, where we could've spent more time there.


Finish with the short tour, we're heading back to the city and ate lunch at a stall nearby Damri bus station. They called it "soto damri". I couldn't tell the difference between this soto with the original soto ayam, but overall i think it taste quite good, moreover it's cheap. Having the car parked at the Damri's parking spot, seduce us to look around and ask for bus back to Jakarta. It turns out they sell it, way cheaper than the travel we use earlier. So, with no hesitation we book 5 seat for tomorrow night! On the way heading back, we stop by at a snack shop to buy gift and at a beach (forgot the name though) just to see the afternoon view. Cilacap is a small city, no nightlife (?). We're planning on spent the last night here drink some coffee, yet by 9PM the shops already closed (LOL).

Last day in Cilacap. Having heard that the wife of Mba Terry's gardener pass out yesterday, we decided to visit his home in Purwokerto, a 2hrs ride from Cilacap. I can't say much about the city, as we only stay there for an hour. But on our way back to Cilacap, around Banyumas, we stop by at this soto restaurant for a Soto-Sokaraja-Lunch and bought ourself few boxes of Getuk Goreng at the store nearby. Oh how i fall hard for those soto and getuk goreng! The taste is sooo delicate!  Once we arrive at Cilacap, it's already afternoon, time to pack our things and get some rest before heading back to the crowded yet missable Jakarta. A-minivan-taxi pick us at home and took us the cilacap bus station where we take Damri bus to the big town. Time to say goodbye to lovable Cilacap, untill we meet again!

Though it's not a well arranged trip, yet i felt excited and enjoy during my time at the city of "fake" alcatraz. I might visit city again, someday. Anyway it was one of a fun trip i had this year, thanks a bunch Mba Terry, Mas Danny, Kande, Ibu and Bapak for the lovely hospitality :)

Note : All photo courtesy of @ynnadr