In the middle of October, my friend at work told me about a holiday package arranged by the office for the New Year Holiday. I was considering at that time whether to go or not. However, I realized that I would have been finished my thesis defense in the end of December, so this trip would be a perfect gate away for me from the boring-frustrating-draining thesis life.
Without a third thought I picked up the phone and registered my self to join the trip.
December was finally coming to life, Thank God I finished my thesis defense on December 17th. I was proud of myself that I could finish this on time. This achievement is incredibly important for me as I felt like I had lifted up the weight of responsibility on my shoulder. (I know this is exaggerating but bear with me people). Therefore, I then gave myself a reward by joining the trip to Pahawang island. After the defense I had a week to prepare and plan everything needed for the trip.
Travel Tips 1: Plan your itinerary as detail as you can. This can help you a lot in preparation and worth doing to save some space in your luggage
We departed to Lampung on December 29th. The road trip should be taken for 8-10 hours in total, but it turned out to be 12 hours. We were way too patient passengers. It was at 3 AM when we arrived at "Bandar Lampung City" iconic sign. There were 2 buses in our trip and both buses decided to stop for a while near the iconic sign. Almost all of the passengers got off from their bus to take picture or just walk a little to stretch the cramped legs. I refused to go out, but my friends resisted to at least took some pictures. And finally I joined them walking to the sign.
You can't see me. I'm the invisible grim reaper.
Finished from the selfie tradition, we did not continue the road trip but waited one more hour at the Islamic center nearby, as the adzan for Fajr prayer would be heard soon. The mosque in this Islamic center is huge, wide, but strangely it only has one small restroom and it is quite far from the mosque. I genuinely hope that the restroom facility in Indonesia would get better, no matter where it is. I'm quite sensitive person for cleanness. Regardless the uncomfortable things such as restrooms and else we rested and prayed well here. The girls even had time to put some make up and perfume.
Some more hours driving from the Islamic center, we arrived at Embe beach. The gate was still closed when the buses entered the beach. There was no one there yet. And this was perfect! wasn't it? The beach felt like it was ours. Blue water, smooth sands and the sound of waves made everyone excited. Some woke up from their sleep, some put smile on their faces, some got up from their seats and for sure, all of us welcomed the beach with our pumped heart.
From left to right: Septi, me, Mbak Leni, Risa
Everyone had a good time taking pictures and exploring parts of the beach. However, we were only able to check in to the hostel after 12 p.m., so we had to stay at the beach much longer than we expected. For the first time, I took a nap in a small hut at the beach. Strange but peaceful. I also had chance to write my friend's name on the sand.
I can say this short trip is a backpacker style. We had lunch at the beach, it was beautiful but you need an effort to fill your plate. And other factors that convince me this is a backpacker trip is the place we stayed for the next 2 nights. The hostel's room was acceptable but it was too small for 3 people. And it would have been great if they had a nicer restroom. We spent one night there full of laugh and gossip, as you can guessed from the girls' talk. We had a fun time!
This is not a picture from my phone. Thank you Google, Sir.
The next day we left early in the morning as it needed around 2 hours to the Pahawang harbor. The on-bus breakfast was delicious and everyone couldn't wait more to go snorkeling. Unfortunately ,when my bus arrived at the harbor, the bus got separated from another bus and went to a wrong boat stop. Then I called my friends, thankfully they hadn't get into the boat yet and they would waited us at the harbor number four. Walking around 10 minutes we stepped our feet at the right stop. The harbor was filled with colorful boats and hundreds of people. I felt a fresh, new atmosphere which was so different from Palembang. This is one of the reasons why I love to go to new places.
I needed an extra effort to get on to the boat. Thank you for all of you who have helped me during the trip! Pahawang island has numerous mesmerizing spots for snorkeling. For a beginner like me, this is a perfect place to learn snorkeling. I never imagined myself have the gut to do this kind of thing. In the middle of an ocean and quite strong waves, I joined the fun at all three different spots. Good job, self! For saying yes for every opportunity lies in front of you.
Travel Tips 2: Wear a completed equipment if would be your first time snorkeling. To prevent getting wounded by the reefs, buy a special socks for diving. You can find it available in many indonesian online shops
The underwater life is magically beautiful but also dangerous. I got more than many scratches on my booth feet because I stepped on the reefs. I needed to resist the salty water that hurt my eyes and throat as well. And I have to mention the struggle to swim against the wave. There was a time, some seconds, when I thought I might be dying because the boat stairs was so hard to reach. Of course every pleasure in life has a price like this, but it worth the fun!
I forget to mention one interesting thing. People took underwater pictures with the guide's help. There are some statues placed under the water and it would be so cool to take pictures with those. At the first try, I gave up as I couldn't hold my breath properly. Then my friend encouraged me to give it another shot. I was convinced and asked the guide's help for the second time. The power of positive mind, I succeed this time. The result? All of us are still waiting for the pictures! Dear guide, please send the pictures asap.
Had enough fun snorkeling, we then went to the guest in an island near the last spot. What a surprising experience that I had here. I stayed with 20 other girls in one house. I was fine though, and other girls too.
We celebrated the new year night by playing games, grilling the fresh fish, and lighting the fireworks. But here's the fact: I and my other two friends were passed out after the game session because we were too exhausted. Therefore, we choose to sleep instead of eat that night.
The next morning, I was grateful to God that I woke up with this view:
Everyone was crazy taking pictures. For sure.
Whoaa I absolutely envied the local people here, at the same time I know they would say "but when you see this everyday, you'll get bored". However, I bet I would be more poetic, philosophical mind than I am right now. When I get dazzled and bored, I would just go outside and meditate or swim. Imagine that. This place only lack of one thing, internet connection. I must went outside the house to a have a 20% signal, at maximum, of my normal connection in Palembang. This kind of thing will be a big torture for the urban people like us.
Before heading home, we stopped for a while at Mahitam Beach or they called it as 'The Risen Sands' i guess because you can see a small sands road arise from the beach into the ocean. The place is an astonishing beauty but i regretted seeing how many debris people had left here.
I surely don't regret my decision to go to Pahawang. The only thing I know is I would have a longer to do list here if I visit this island next time. I'm happy that I end 2016 at a new place and I see that as a new beginning. Thank you for the memories, Pahawang!
Travel Tips 3: Lampung is famous of its Banana Chips for gifts. The price is around Rp 9.000 - Rp 11.000 for 250 gr packaging. You can go to 'Yen Yen' store to get the best price and taste.