Cica’s Holiday- Going East – Part 1

Wheeew, I haven’t exactly visit this page for a long time, there are a lot of bike riding notes are missing as I didn’t have the time to write. O well,  will finish when I had the chance though, in the meantime I will write the last travel we had with Cica while it is still fresh on my brain.

So, after a thorough and careful consideration plus a little bit of Yufi’s ambition to have a father and daughter adventure – leaving me out of the picture when he says “adventure”, yes I am only the hula girl hahaha, we decided to go east this time. Yes, we are going to East Java with Batu as its main destination, with Bromo as the cherry on top then Jogjakarta as a place to cool off afterwards.

This is not exactly Cica’s first time to overland travel, we drive extensively and regularly to Pandeglang to visit my brother and his wife who live there, it is also the last resting place for my lovely dad.  Bandung is also not an estranged place for Cica, we have been up and down Bandung many times.   We have dragged her for Batu Karas trip the other day, which took about the same long hours as if we were travelling to Jogja.   She has had this trip to Karimun Jawa in which we drove to Jepara not to mention tagging along with me for my business trips  (yes, I haven’t wrote that as well, damn…there are a lot of missing stories that I need to write).

Anyway, this is going to be the longest overland travel she has ever experienced (not if we are going to Sumatra next year….) careful plan has been arranged and set, from the small things like straightening your legs in between drive, then to note on cities in which KFC outlets exist…

As usual, my itinerary freak husband already presented me with a long itinerary completed with bullet points consisted of time, day, place, activities  – yes, you would read it like this “at this time of hour we would be in this place doing bla bla bla”. As much as I got annoyed with his meticulous details and perfection to his master piece, this time he left a big gap in the time department for things like traffic jam, resting, Cica’s siesta, etc.   So we would be like normal people having a holiday and not troops going on an exhausting drill 😛

But some places were already highlighted which means is a must visit place. The itinerary looks like below, this was the first draft version…


Okay, not dragging too long on the intro, we start the note from..

DAY 1.  Jakarta – Pemalang – Solo

We left home at about 5-ish in the morning on Saturday,  hoping we could reach Solo in the afternoon.  From what people said it takes longer than before to reach Solo by car, last time we went to Solo, Yufi and I rode in a motorcycle, so we wouldn’t know how it is going driving a car.  Most of the time I took a plane to Solo for business trips hence traffic was not an issue hehehe .  Checked my Twitter for “LewatMana” tweets,  it turned out that from Cikampek to Cirebon there was a hell traffic jam, some people tweeted that they’d been in the car for 4 hours straight and it didn’t move an inch.  So we had to think fast, deciding to take Subang – Cirebon route….bloody long and an awful journey plus the road traveled was not exactly as smooth as baby’s ass.  Adding to my dismay was I left my laptop at home – yup I cannot go anywhere without my office laptop, my horror came true, a client while I was in a middle of nowhere called in asking for a revision and some addition to a report which I sent the night before we left..bloody hell…so I called Nissa and write an email on my mobile so she could add whatever it was needed to add on the report – Yufi gave me the look, ya hani sorry for this, I always have this chronic paranoia when I left my laptop at home when I traveled even for my holiday..I might add that the laptop is an eternal member of our family as it tags along wherever we go eheheheh

Anyhow, we popped up on this road which was kinda familiar – then it came back to my brain, as last time on the way back from Jepara after Karimun Jawa trip, we passed this road as  a shortcut to Bandung (wasn’t exactly a shortcut, I am telling you), we continued to Cirebon’s highway (I totally forgot what it was called errr PALIKANCI?) hahayy the road was not crowded o well it was full with a looooong trail of containers and they were pretending that they were a race car trying to take over each other..good God.  After entertained by this street comic, we stopped over at the MURI Record gas station to pray and have our lunch, they didn’t have much to offer but it was pretty okay for stuffing our tummy before reaching the next city, Pemalang to drop Mbak Uut, our assistant to her home.

We arrived at Pemalang close to lunch time, dropping mbak Uut at her home

Anyhow, we left and reached Kendal at 4-ish, Semarang at 5-ish and we were greeted by rain on the “gate” of Semarang, it was raining cats and dogs,  we took the inner Semarang Highway popped up in Ungaran the got stuck in traffic for 2 hours,  the road was a steep new concrete, making Jessie’s engine roared so we had to turned down the air con so she could creep up the road peacefully.  By the time we looked at our watch it was close to 8 PM, O nooooo I was soo bloody hungry, we had equipped Cica with her food so we kinda calm knowing she had some nibbles and not an empty stomach.   Continued on to Salatiga then Boyolali before finally reaching Solo,  it felt like a thousand hours maaaaan

Finally I think we reached Solo as close to 10 PM at night with tummy banging from hunger. Not forgetting for making a stop at KFC at Solo Grand Mall for Cica’s dinner then we checked in at Hotel Ibis Solo, Cica decided to call it a day, wanting to spend the time lying on the bed on her own, while we were a bit worried as we were planning for eating out at Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu at Keprabon.  We headed out from the room and got a becak to take us to Keprabon…when we arrived, there were an array of “lesehan” which all written with the same name “Bu Wongso Lemu”, last time a field supervisor from Solo told me which one is the “real” one, but I couldn’t think no more hahaha all I wanted was eat.

Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu never fails putting a smile on my face
Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu never fails putting a smile on my face

Cica called, I think she realized that she was all alone and sleepy so we rushed back to the hotel.  Changed our clothes and finally straightened up our back and legs….what a bliss…holiday has started I thought before lost in a dream…

DAY 2.   Solo – Tawangmangu – Madiun – Kediri – Pare – Batu

We woke up a bit early as the itinerary police reminded us that time is precious, we looked for seems having breakfast outside on the street stall was more interesting than in the hotel.  We found out that, the Sunday was a Car Free Day for Solo so a lot of people having fun strolling on the street with the family or a group of teenagers riding their bikes.  Cica pointed at a Roti Maryam stalls where the Roti was abundantly covered with chocolate rice – yes, it is her weakness, chocolate.  She ate that while we ate a clear chicken soup with rice in a bowl, heaveeeeeennnn.

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After having our breakfast, as always Cica who has a soft spot for water (read: Swimming Pool) asked whether she could take a dip for an hour or so in the swimming pool, the reason we choose a decent hotel with Swimming Pool is actually a strategy in order for Cica to enjoying the road trip before reaching our destination…yes, it hurts our wallet but nothing compares to a happy, big smile from her face….we will take her slowly out of this comfort and making her a true backpacker hahahaha

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After an hour having fun in the swimming pool, we had to call it a day as our next destination is waiting.  We cleaned up, packed our bags and headed to Karang Anyar, which leads to our next destination..Tawangmangu.  It is a popular destination for local tourist like us, last time we passed this road was with a motorcycle so whenever it refuses to go up you have your legs as an extra engine, but with a car?  ehemmm our car is a commoner car, it is not a 4 wheel, 3000 CC engine car…but we take a good care of her so we have a big faith in her for climbing the steep asphalt of Tawangmangu.  Jessie started to creep up slowly, in front of us was a Fortuner, it looked like the car had a trouble climbing up, good God what about us, I thought (sounded dramatic aye, it wassss  a very dramatic situation, last time I passed this road in car was in 1990, where the road was even steeper than this, and the car was successfully moving backward, and we had to wait a couple of hours for its engine to cool off, me and my brothers were traumatized :P) Jessie crept slowly, we could only use 1st gear to climb up, and there was a bloody angkot blocking our way not to mention motorcycle riders was riding their bike in high speed going down while we are about to drop our heart climbing up….finally we made it to the top, thank God and sweet Jessie Rawksssss!!!

Despite the dramatic scene, on the way up we were served with greenness and cool air, although the sun was shining brightly.  The place was filled with people as well, mostly young people.  They were enjoying a bowl of bakso which sellers were abundant in the area.

enthralling view of Tawangmangu greenness
enthralling view of Tawangmangu greenness
Beautiful view we rarely seen in Jakarta
Beautiful view we rarely seen in Jakarta

We made a stop at the top, took some photos, get some snacks before continuing to Telaga Sarangan.

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After spending sometime we continued on to Telaga Sarangan, we reached there around 11 am.  It’s been a like ages ago since I visit this Telaga Sarangan with my dad, couldn’t believe that I could visit this with my family too.  The place was packed with tourists mostly familyand young people, because exam for senior students have had over so they took time to relax

Cica was so keen on getting on the boat so there we went having a boat ride around Telaga.  It is actually called Telaga Pasir, just because the lake was located in Sarangan, people then called it Telaga Sarangan.

always have a thing for “kelomang”

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Dark clouds shadowing the mountain yet couldn’t take away the smile from my baby’s face

As other tourist places in Indonesia, the lake itself was kinda dirty, it is a pity though, we have beautiful places from East to West, yet Indonesian are lack of awareness (or just totally ignorance) to keep the beautiful places clean.  Come to think of it, the lake gives an enormous support to the local economy yet most do not appreciate it by throwing rubbish to the lake or some corners.  It would be different if the lake is located somewhere overseas, both local government and local people highly aware of taking care of the place to always in its mint condition so tourist would love spending even longer time there.

Okay, enough for my concern.  After spending almost 2 hours, we had to get going and continue to the next destination, Batu.

Actually, my auntie originated from small city close to Sarangan, when we told her we passed the city, she shrieked and hoping she was with us so we could drop her home hahahahaha

Anyway, it was about 2 pm when we reached Madiun and my tummy was screaming for food.  So made a stop at Madiun Plaza to stock up on KFC, yes tell me about being bad parents but anything to keep her happy in this journey is important.   Cica is the world famous picky eater and could actually stand not eating anything unless it is her preferred food…but along the journey her food repertoire was increasing at least a bit.  Done with the KFC,  then it was our turn, I really wanted to eat pecel madiun and Googled for famous pecel eatery in the area, the name Warung Pecel SBY or Nasi Pecel 99 came up.  The Warung itself located in Jalan HOS Cokroaminoto, and famous because SBY was eating the pecel there last time.  It was really nice and the unique taste of basil leaves accentuate the whole taste of the Pecel.  For us Jakartan, the cost was considered bloody cheap comparing on the enormous amount we ate there.

Nasi Pecel Madiun
Nasi Pecel Madiun

Done with our lunch, we continued to next leg of the journey, Batu.  We passed Nganjuk, which I visited a lot when I was still in Synovate and agriculture was my specialty.  The city seems crowded compare to the last time I was there.  We sort of missed our turn in Jombang, made a u turn and finally get on the the right road, you cannot really trust GPS here is Indonesia.

We passed Kediri then Pare then Pujon, it was raining cats and dogs when we passed Pujon, and when we were reaching batu there was a land slide so we had to queue for quite sometimes.

Finally, we arrived at Batu at around 8 PM, had a trouble finding Hotel Sumber, its location is rather tricky especially for us tourist.  We asked to a street stall lady, she didn’t give much help, even adding more to our confusion.  Her way of directing people to an address was ” nganan, ngiri, lurus nanti nganan, nganan iki loohh naaah nanti ngiri…” whaaaaatttt???  thank God, the GPS was working well so we could find the hotel.

The hotel was homey, very quiet I guess because not many people were staying there at that time.  Quite expensive for a “melati” class hotel but it gives guest comfort I guess.  After unloading our stuff to the room, we went out to Alun Alun for dinner.  Cica developed a fond for “Sop Iga” the result was for the whole Batu, Malang, Jogja trip, that’s all she asked for.  The Alun Alun itself is a fun place, like other Alun Alun in most Javanese cities, this is a place for locals to gather and hang out.


Alun Alun Kota Batu Malang
Alun Alun Kota Batu Malang

The Batu officials seems to take a good care of the Alun Alun, adding nice children playground with soft floor so they wouldn’t get hurt.  There were some cute lampoons in animals shape like rabbits and cows, not to mention Ferris Wheel, which I bet, would looks good in the morning – that’s my first aim for tomorrow taking the picture.  There was live percussion using drums and Aqua gallons which was very interesting and sounded really good.

After spending about 2 hours there we went back to the hotel and we are through for the day, soooo tired.

DAY 3.   Exploring Batu (Batu Secret Zoo, Batu Night Spectacular, Alun Alun Batu)

Good morning Batu!!!!


Ferris Wheel of Batu in the morning
Spectacular morning view of the Alun Alun Kota Batu


This was the D day for Cica, the day she had been waiting for.  Waiting to have a real life encounter with King Julien of Madagascar Movie :D.  It’s true she Google on what she could find in Batu Secret Zoo and she was so thrilled finding the fact that Lemurs were part of animals collection of the Zoo.

After having our breakfast, we went straight to Batu Secret Zoo ,  located about 10 minutes drive from Hotel Sumber.  The complex was consisted of Museum Satwa, Pohon Inn hotel,  and Batu Secret Zoo.  Next to it was Eco Green Park which we didn’t have time to visit as Cica was mesmerized by all animals in the zoo we ended up visiting the Zoo twice,  2 days in a row.

The ticket was affordable, since we visited weekdays, we only had to pay Rp.65,000 per pax includes Museum Satwa and Batu Secret Zoo.  You need to add another Rp.30,000 for Eco Green Park I guess.

The Museum Satwa was quite comprehensive, it has various animals diorama from Dinosaurs, Mammoth and ancient sharks.  Not to mention all animals that children are familiar with including insects and all.  There are details explanation on every animals and diorama, with funny fonts so it was really appealing to kids.  There are some spots which visitors can take pictures.  The place was really clean and well maintained.  Again only local tourists making it dirty by throwing empty mineral water bottles to the corner – what a shame while trash bin were abundant around the museum.

Cica was so hyper asking this and that, looking around the museum herself.  Finally after more than an hour, we got out of the place.

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We had lunch in the Pohon Inn buffet, the food was okay, not special and quite expensive actually.

We saw Cica was a bit sleepy, since Yufi already put her siesta as part of the itinerary we decided to go back to the hotel first and let her have a siesta then come back to Batu Secret Zoo, but this was the wrong decision.

Finally we landed at Batu Secret Zoo, Cica was so hyper especially about to meet King Julien, started taking pictures here and there with her android.

In overall the zoo was taken care really well, there were some maintenance happening as we were visiting, it was kind of quiet (yup that was the problem we went back there a little bit too late, the zoo close at 6 PM we went back there around 4-ish, this was the reason we visited it twice)

The zoo itself is consisted of indoor and outdoor areas, all fixed with ceramic tiles. The indoor part adopted an open space concept which means flow of fresh air was not a problem.  I quite like the settings of the zoo.  First we entered the gate, and quickly found animals going around freely either  in their cage or on ground with fence , we sort of taken into a circular route from top to ground floor without realizing it.  Cica was all excited especially there were some knowledge boards displayed along the route.  The Zoo, I think divided into a couple of sections, including inner building zoo, outdoor zoo where you can see big animals like hippo and friends, baby zoo, safari ride, and amusement park.  Cica was stoked, not like she had never been to a zoo before, but to children this zoo is not as tiring as Kebon Binatang Ragunan for example.  She can go around with energy still intact.

The food sold inside the zoo was also very affordable, not like amusement parks in Jakarta where they usually sell twice the price.

The entry gate
The gate which leads to King Julien, showing a big smile
Some of the lemur family
A glimpse of King Julien
The outdoor part of the Zoo
Interesting knowledge boards
Another knowledge boards
The aquarium section
Baby Zoo and cute Pony horse
Definitely cute mini chicken
Safari ride

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We had a rest in a nice a barn shaped cafe, it made you feel like you were in Holland or something.  They sell a really  nice coffee and home made donuts which I had to made a special order for Cica in case she was overdosed with chocolate – last thing we want was for her allergic to come in this journey

Barn Cafe at Batu Secret Zoo
Barn Cafe at Batu Secret Zoo

We were overwhelmed by the view as well as weather as it was really nice, plus the cheap price for massage made us intrigued to try the foot massage resulting the Zoo was closed when we finished no one was around except some employees and we had to get out from employees’ door hahahahahhaha

Will continue on spending the night at Batu Night Spectacular tomorrow 🙂 🙂


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A life admirer and a wanderer

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