Let’s take a moment to mourn Gloria’s foot… *bows head*…
Alright. As entertaining as it is to watch Gloria’s wriggly foot, it’s time to get down to business.
Unlike any of my other travel post, I’m gonna start the roll with the elan vital of any Malaysian: FOOD.
Located on the west coast of the Belitung is the town of Tanjung Pandan. And tucked strategically here is the famous Mie Belitung Atep, serving the island’s namesake- Mie Belitung. Yellow noodle is served on a banana leaf with hard boiled egg, cucumber, shrimp, bean sprouts, and crispy crackers. The jewel of the crown is the broth- perfectly thickened and savoury, yet equally sweetened with a tinge of spicy. Those flavours blend into a tapestry of paradise.
Just a short walk from Mie Belitung Atep is a food truck with THE best. Martabaks. Ever. We popped over twice during our 3 nights there. Here’s a disclaimer though: screw your cholesterol. YOLO!
The Martabak Telor (egg) is sandwiched between two crispy skin. A thin (actually not that thin, tbh) layer of oil glint the surface. A delectable aroma seduce my sense of smell. Then, a bite into the bounty is rewarded with a bursting treat of egg-veg-meat.
(Why do I sound like one of those travel sites now?)
My absolute favourite is the martabak manis, in the form of Martabak keju chokolat. I believe that chocolate and cheese are like tosai and dhal, they are two parts of the perfect concoction. Smack that between two fluffy layers of soft, warm pastry… my saliva runneth over.
(I still sound like an over-enthusiastic travel site. Next, I’ll describe the ocean as a “rippling blanket of teal blue”.)
The best way to enjoy the rippling blankets of teal blue sea is by venturing ONTO the teal blue sea, so that’s exactly what we did. The rental of a private boat and captain cost minimal damage (IDR 1.15 million/RM340 for 4D3N of car rental plus private boat service- a real steal).
The day of sun, sea, and surf started after a hearty breakfast of Indomie. Stomachs digesting the oily noodles, we pile into a long tail boat and headed out with joyful anticipation.
Our first stop was Pulau Garuda. Garuda is Indonesia’s national emblem and name of Indonesia’s national carrier. Garuda is also a bird creature from Hindu mythology. But perhaps it’s not a myth, for one resides on this island, gazing with melancholy at the rippling blankets of teal blue sea.
Spot it/him/her/they in the picture below:
The next bits will be boring so I shall tell the story in rap:
Ayo readers, c’mon it’s time,
Straight out the teal blue, A Belitung state of mind.
The ocean drops deep as does the sand,
I goin’ island hopping cause to island hop is rad.
Within the beaches, life is defined,
But beyond the shorelines it’s a Belitung state of mind.
Yea, yea, a Belitung state of mind.
Batu Belayar, Pulau Babi
Chillin’ in the sun like good ol’ Maui.
Pulau Lengkuas where a lighthouse stand
For 130 years like an ang-moh out to tan,
I’m rappin’ to a snorkel with a school of swimming gunnels
And we say, “this cyan blue waters can’t hold my personality. Bam!”
But that cave with a cenote on Pulau Kelayang is quite the save.
Yea, yea, a Belitung state of mind.
(Okay, that was embarrassing.)
MUSEUM KATA ANDREA HIRATA
There’s a local hero named Andrea Hirata- author of bestselling novel Laskar Pelangi. On top of rocking a beret, the man can write, as is evident by the 5 million copies of his book sold.
There’s a museum dedicated to him and his Laskar Pelangi novel, and it’s Instagrammable as hell. The vibrant colours and splashy aesthetics proved our 90 minutes drive there worth it. (Actually, Zel did the driving, I just snoozed in the backseat.)
Wherever the Alpulkat Sisters go, there will be a hike. In fact, what Gloria does is she pulls out google map, locates the highest peak, and declare “let’s climb that mountain!”
Will we ever outgrow this penchant for marching into leech-infested wastelands?
Not so much a hike, this was more a nature walk. Be ready to feed mosquitos though.
We waded through a grove in pursuit of a giant boulder of which we scaled with nothing but a stretch of rope and pure ab strength.
It took 10 minutes to reach the peak. There, we spent 40 minutes taking pictures, and another 10 minutes coming down. So, that’s 1 hour. It’s a 1 hour hike.
Pro-tip 1: If you’re not keen for an earful from the mild-mannered groundkeeper, the opening time of the park is 9am. Do not arrive at 6am in an attempt to slink in unnoticed.
Pro-tip 2: However, if you must save on the minuscule entrance fee by sneaking onto the grounds before opening hours, do avoid mild-mannered groundkeeper at all cost.
EX-MINING SITE AND CURRENT INSTA-WORTHY HAVEN.
The name is Danau Kaolin. Once a mining site, Danau Kaolin is now the influencers’ sanctuary. Two pools sit side by side. One blue, one green, both probably full of enough radioactive material to create the next X-men. It’s a gorgeous sight. The light drizzle at that time did nothing to faze us.
Mandatory disclaimer: This post was written sober and edited drunk. Which is a reverse of the advice to “write drunk, edit sober”. BTW, writing drunk is terrible advice. That’s how you end up with a story about a spineless coward plucking out his balls.