Golden Sunrise From The Peak of Sikunir

There’s always a brighter side to every story.
Even to the most devastating one.
That’s what I believe.

What’s the key to seeing the brighter side of a bad situation?
How to keep walking in a dark tunnel, that seems to have no end?
To have your hope anchored firmly to the One who is in control upon your life.
To keep a fit and well-trained faith, even when things seem to make no sense.
To have an unshakeable conviction that when things don’t happen the way you want it to be, it’s not the end of everything.
In fact, it’s a beginning of something that you would categorize as better.
To remind yourself that it’s never a setback, but it’s a setup that will launch you to higher places.

Pardon the poetic side of me. But you get the point. Hopefully.

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The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry Nydia Orlatta 22

Taken by Nydia Orlatta.

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Sitting at 2350 Metres Above Sea Level

The trip to Central Java that I had last April could be defined as an evidence of what I wrote in the paragraphs above. Departed from Jakarta by train, along with 8 travel companions (which, for some of us, this is our first travel-together experience, hashtag hopefully there’s no drama), all of us left the big city with high hope to hike Mount Prau. We wished for a clear night sky for star gazing, some of us were tripod & camera-ready to capture the milky way, while the rest simply longed for their first hiking experience.

Sadly, that’s not what happened.

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The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 17

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In the middle of our train ride to Purwokerto we found out that Mount Prau has been temporarily closed due to bad weather. Two hikers died of a lightning strike on their way down from the summit. I don’t know about the others, but part of me responded like a kid, blaming the weather (which indirectly blaming God) and asking for an explanation why that sort of thing had to happen when we were already on our way there. We couldn’t postpone or cancel the trip.

Sometimes life is just like that. It doesn’t give you time to stop. It pushes you to move forward and deal with whatever it is that comes your way.

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The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 12

So we continued our trip and decided to enjoy it the best way possible. Whether we end up at the top of Prau or not, that’s totally beyond our control. But even if we can’t, that won’t stop us from having fun. After a short, yet remarkable, culinary experience at Purwokerto, we continued our trip to Dieng Plateau by car.

Dieng welcomed us with drizzle and fog. There were no stars. The local guide suggested us to forget about Prau and hike the Sikunir Hill instead. With such weather, it would take more than a luck to be able to watch sunrise the next morning. However, we went to sleep with our hearts full of expectancy. We didn’t get to hike Prau. That’s okay. Now, we might not even be able to watch the sunrise. Hell, no. I refused to believe that. “We are going to watch the most beautiful breath-taking sunrise tomorrow!” So I said, stubbornly, in my prayer.

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The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 09

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At 3-ish AM, we all woke up and prepared ourselves for Sikunir. The car we rented took us to the basecamp, at the bottom of Sikunir, where we had to continue the rest 900m (about 30 minutes or less) of the trip by foot. If you’re a first-timer, don’t worry too much about bringing a lot of stuff, all you need is  bottled water, jacket, and pair of comfy shoes. The route was already carved into stairs, which makes this place a very tourist-friendly destination.

When you are almost at the top of the hill, you’ll find rest area with toilets and chairs. From here, you can choose the left path that will take you to a lower viewing point, or the right path that will take you all the way to the top of the hill. For sure, I chose the right path.

As I climbed my way up, I looked up at the sky and saw no fog or clouds. The star-decorated sky was more than enough to lit up an indescribable hopeful feeling within me, whispering to me that within only a few hours I’d witness a breath-taking sunrise with my naked eyes.

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The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 01

The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 08

The time gap between our arrival at the top of Sikunir to the appearance of that stunning strike of orange in the midst of a dark-blue sky wasn’t too far away. The moment she appeared, time stood still. The orange line then started to grow bigger and forming a circle, igniting the surrounding sky with a combination of magenta and purple. The dark blue sky transfigured to a lighter shade of blue, accompanied with white puffy clouds.

I smiled and uttered a thankful prayer. Apparently, Sikunir is listed as one of the best sunrise spots in the world, and is included as one of the five best sunrise spots in Indonesia (along with Bromo, Ijen, Borobudur and Punthuk Setumbu). Who would have thought that Sikunir, which was originally a second-option turned out to be the best spot for sunrise-watching? Our eyes were being pampered like a good session of massage and spa after being polluted with only laptop and phone screens, and smokes from old vehicles in the city for years!

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Gerson’s eclipse. LOL.

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The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 15

My limited words could never perfectly describe the beautiful scenery. Hopefully some of the selected photos here will answer your curiosity. Although, if I could give you an advice, schedule a trip to Dieng with your friends and experience it yourself! The trip only cost us about IDR 1,2million per person with train (to Purwokerto) and airplane tickets (from Semarang), rented car, and a nice homestay with hot water, clean bathroom and comfortable beds! It would cost you cheaper if you eliminate the car renting cost and airplane ticket.

We left Sikunir with empty tummy, yet with hearts full of memories! Near the car park, there were some local food trucks that provided breakfast (like a bowl of warm instant noodle, and Dieng’s signature sweet potato balls).

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The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 03

The Perks Of Being Twenty Prau Dieng Plateau Sikunir Sunrise Travel Jawa Tengah Explore Discover Lifestyle Indonesia Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 02

This trip has been such a good reminder to me that it’s never the end of the world when things go south from how you want it to be. When life slams its doors and screams rejections towards you, don’t let yourself get carried away for too long. Use it as a launching pad to seize whatever good news that will come after the dark. Who could ever predict that what was once considered as the second-best option turned out to be your ultimate memorable life experience.

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Cheers to this awesome travel companions! (Nydia, Bella, Dennies, Kevin, Praba, STP, Luis, and the other Dennis).

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

PS: More stories from this Dieng trip will be up in other posts (hopefully, soon)!

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Postcards From Central Java: A Short Getaway With A Lifetime Memory

Going for a meeting during Jakarta’s rush hour can be quite a tough decision-making moment that its citizens have to face. You gotta choose between driving your car – or sitting comfortably at the backset of your Uber ride – but will be most likely late for your meeting, and order an online ojek (bicycle ride) that is twice faster yet could be quite tormenting with the humid weather and pollution rate.

If it’s for a meeting, or any time constraint events, I’d always choose the later.

Last Friday, I had an after office meeting, and only had about 1,5 hour to get into the meeting point. Thanks to Jakarta’s traffic, Google Maps told me that it would take about 2 hours. Not wanting to be late and in the name of trying to impress my potential client, I ordered the online ojek and hoped that I could get there in only 30 minutes.

However, I spent 1 hour and 15 minutes sitting on the motorcycle, with my driver trying his best to avoid every traffic jam that we encountered. The moment I arrived at the meeting point, I was drenched in sweat, and I stink like an old bus muffler. I walked directly to Topman to buy new clothes only for the meeting, and well, yeah for a wardrobe upgrade (LOL).

Anyway, spending 1 hour – which almost caused me a back pain – on a motorcycle, fighting your way through Jakarta’s cruel traffic made me missing a short getaway that I had just few months ago to Central Java. I’ll post details about several places and experiences that I got from the trip in another post. It was quite a short getaway over the weekend, yet it gave me one of the most remarkable memory that would last a lifetime.

As for now, please enjoy 9 best photos from that trip!

 

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The sky is blushing when the sun greets her in the morning.

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Sun-kissed.

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A loner looking for some gold.

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Because everything today has to be captured.

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Rockin’ my yellow jacket.

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Sitting above the clouds.

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A nice morning talk on the top of a hill.

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When you have the gleaming sunrise as your backdrop.

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The heights didn’t scare me. Imagining my camera fall down and hit the rocky bottom did.

Wait for more details of this trip, will ya?! Geesh, I literally have tons of content lining up to be posted here. Speaking of which, one of them will be good news and A BRAND NEW EXCITING stuff for The Perks of Being 20! Curious enough?

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

Get Lost, Bring Home Photos – A Postcard from Central Java

One of the thing that makes travel fun is photography. What started as a hobby is now something that I take very seriously. I wouldn’t want to travel without having a camera in my hand. It takes the fun away. Sometimes people told me that photography takes away the full enjoyment of traveling, but it could also be the other way around, right?

Jumping back to November when it was only a week to my 24th birthday. I was bored in Jakarta, waiting for my graduation while I had nothing much to do in the past few weeks. That was until I decided to take a sudden trip to Central Java that was only planned a few days before.

My mission? Take a buttload of photos!

After a total of 2 trains, 6 buses, 1 motorcycle ride and a few hitchhiking, I finally had my mission completed!

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From an antique shop in Semarang.

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Lawang Sewu wasn’t that creepy at daytime.

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4 AM, Prau summit. She was probably texting mom.

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Sunset view from 2565 MASL.

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Although it was the same sun that I see every morning, looking at it from Prau totally gave a different feel.

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Teletubbies hils.

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While I was walking down from the summit, locals were spotted working hard as early as 7 AM.

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Locals walking up to their work field.

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Telaga Warna, definitely a must visit in Dieng!

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When nobody’s there to take photos for you, think of ways to use the self timer feature.

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Leaving Dieng, heading to Wonosobo. What’s there in Wonosobo? Tasty Mie Ongklok!

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I met this fisherman at Rawa Pening. He was quite a joker.

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A fisherman fixing his nets.

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Trying to make a living. I don’t think the cigarette is helping, though.

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Please don’t fall off.

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Taken at a train museum in Ambarawa.

From those 5 days, I took photos from Purwokerto, Wonosobo, Dieng, Prau, Ambarawa and finally Semarang. I could never forget the thrill of running in the rain, riding bikes and falling off a tree for the sake of good photos! That trip made me feel very much alive again! Well, I bet every trip is only worth it if we come back fresher than ever.

What about you? What adventure awaits you this coming holiday season?

PS: You can see more photos from Central Java in a piece that I wrote about Dieng. More to come in the upcoming weeks!

Keep exploring,

DR. (@demasryan)