Effective Communication and Culture Change are Essentials to Attract and Retain Young Aviation Professionals in the Future


MONTREAL, 27 September is the most remarkable day in my life. Excitement was literally seen from my cheering face – not due to seeing this an opportunity for my career progression, but I still disbelieved myself that I could have proven my mission to share my 7 year work experience as an Airline Public Relations and sharing my ideas to face the challenges such as: aviation technical and non technical shortage.

I stood there on a podium of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization)’s General Assembly hall to present my own ideas in front of more than 500 distinguished guests consisting of Director of Air Navigation Bureau, States Delegations, Aviation professional organisations, Academia and Students.

As the first Indonesian youth who has ever got selected at ICAO’s Young Aviation Professional programme since its launching 4 years ago. I felt very proud, not just knowing the fact that I am not a pilot nor engineer, but only a Communications professional who has deep passion for this industry since age 9.

This opportunity enables me to see God’s grace who always holds my hand and leads me to His plan despite failure, rejections thus I could deliver my personal mission.

I proposed several points that might be able to consider such as the importance of effective communications, stop using gender biased approach to promote one or two professions in aviation, regulations that flexes aviation institution to make aviation education more affordable, nurturing the millenials generation, respect other skill set and diversity, and the most important thing is to change the CULTURE. No more arrogance, superiority, and silo culture to enhance collaboration. Given that aviation as a system – means people can’t work alone and everything we do in aviation is important to keep the sustainability of this industry. Every small starts matter, so let us keep the good work!

To see the full presentation click here:

Here is the complete draft speech of my presentation:

Director of Air Navigation Bureau,

Mr. Stephen Creamer,

All States Representatives and Delegations,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 Good morning, Bonjour, Selamat Pagi,

  • Welcome to Montreal to all of you who have flown from all over the world. I am sure you must enjoy this lovely winter in Montreal.


  • First of all, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Air Navigation Bureau (ANB) who has succeeded to establish this conference today. I would also like to thank for inviting us the YAP to participate in this auspicious occasion.


  • My name Kleopas Danang Bintoroyakti and I am also known as Dan. I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. I am a 7-year experienced aviation professional with background in Communications and Business Development, specific to aviation such as airlines and airport operator.


  • I am currently on my third rotation with the YAP program with the Air Transport Bureau (ATB) Economic Development department. Prior to this rotation, I had worked with ACI with the Economic Policy team, and IATA with the Operational Safety with specific project to design and propose safety communication strategy for internal and external stakeholders.


  • I realised my aviation passion since age 9 and I began to participate in AvGeeks’communities since age 17. Playing flight simulator game, joined in online forum discussion with other fellow aviation enthusiast were part of the activities.


  • My passion is indirectly brought by my family whose for 3 generation; my late Grandfather who are among the early generation of Indonesia’s commercial pilot back in the late 50s, my Father, and older brother who are currently active commercial pilots and my 2 aunts still fly as flight attendants.


  • So, where I come from? Indonesia. My country is the largest archipelago country in the world which consist of 17,000 islands spread along 5.600 kms from east to the west, occupied by more than 260 million population. Indonesia recorded 127 million air passengers in 2016 and it is expected to increase in the future. It has 19 scheduled airlines and 45 non-scheduled airlines, a total 283 airport across the archipelago, the 28 of which are international airports, managed by Angkasa Pura 1 Angkasa Pura 2.


  • There are more than 65,000 people work in aviation industry, running technical and managerial positions in many aviation key players Indonesia.


  • Air transport facilitates the mobility of millions of Indonesian people, tourists, distribution logistics and our exports. Even our airspace, the largest airspace in Southeast Asia plays important role to support air traffic management from the North hemisphere to the South Hemisphere and vice versa.


  • This slide talks about aviation stakeholders that I have tried to map from macro view. As we can see there are so many stakeholders who collaborate together to make this safe industry even safer.


  • SLIDE 5: The aviation’s future outlook is very bright. It was projected that by 2034, passenger and cargo traffic is expected to double than in 2016, with an average growth rate at 4.5% per year. Aviation is also set to provide 99 million jobs or double than in 2014 and contribute to increase the world average GDP to $5.9 trillion in 2034. This data proves that aviation boost economic prosperity and opening new job opportunities.


  • The confidence has also been reflected by the States and airport operators’ commitment to invest in airport development projects; in their priority list to anticipate future demand. This one is part of the work that I did during my rotation with ACI, and it was published on ACI world report August 2017.


  • SLIDE 6: Ladies and Gentlemen, although the projection of air transport look promising in the future, however, there are still challenges facing the industry. Driver of change such as terrorism, global income inequality, labour union, environment, including aviation skilled professional shortage. These challenges are to be faced by the next generation aviation professionals.


  • SLIDE 7 & SLIDE 8: Therefore, I can say that Aviation is a complex, highly regulated and dynamic industry. We must remember about the rule of the balance scale: where protection and production must be balanced. Protection means that we must infuse safety in every aspect and everything we do, while at the same time, we must be able to generate revenue to ensure business sustainability.


  • SLIDE 9: So how does it like to work in aviation? To me, working in aviation is a bitter sweet experience. Indeed we could enjoy some great benefits such as travel opportunity, fairly good compensation and working in a multicultural environment. However, we must deal with some challenges such as: high investment for training, culture and language barrier, it’s a 24/7 business so you must be aware and ready should there be something happen.


  • SLIDE 10 : These pictures show us several available careers in aviation industry and they play crucial roles in aviation. This boy, Adam Mohammad Amer who recently blew social media’s attention with his knowledge about cockpit. To me, he is the sample of the next generation ‘Z’ aviation professionals.


  • SLIDE 11: In addition to technical skillset, managerial skillsets are also needed by the industry. Here I would like to share my previous work experience as an aviation PR. This function is getting more important, because aviation has always been a business of TRUST, therefore having a solid, timely communication strategy for reputation is mandatory.


  • The function of aviation PR is notable when a crisis takes place. During my 6 years experience, I have dealt with some crisis situation from all level of crisis, such as emergency landing, air crash that involve hundred of lives or dealing with natural disasters, volcano eruption which affects operation hence stranding thousands of passengers.


  • We must work with a proper strategy to counter every noise that will jeopardise our reputation. We work not just with internal stakeholders but also to external such as the media, families of the victims, Search and Rescue Agency, regulators, NTSB, etc. Timely, opened, transparent, and Putting-people-first are paramount in communication; because every action we take must be communicated very well as it has some risks for legal implications.


  • SLIDE 12: Ladies and Gentleman, we can’t deny that millenials are the future of this industry – millenials grow up with technology which enables us to easily access information, hence it is also easier for us to set our life goals including choosing our future career path. To me, the Maslow’s theory on the hierarchy of human needs still relevant, only the process for one individual to reach self-actualization now might be a little faster. Thanks to social media.


  • SLIDE 13: There are actually plenty of things that we can use to promote young talents to join in the industry, millenials like to travel right? Working for aviation industry will enable them to travel for free even for business not leisure and to see the world, and working for aviation will allow them to expand their international exposure no mateer where they work.


  • I believe those values must be consistently communicated to them, despite all challenges, such as: high investment in its education that has the potential to hamper growth of pilots.


  • Therefore to summarize this presentation, I would highlight possible 5 solutions: First, encourage aviation stakeholders to work together in creating a more attractive recruitment procedure to attract young generation. It is important to optimise the benefit of latest technology and communicating the advantages. Also stop using gender-biased marketing tool that associate one or two particular professions in aviation such as male pilot, or female flight attendant.


  • Second, collaborate with non-aviation stakeholders such as development bank, to fund those who have the potentials professionals but constrained by financial difficulties, or alternatively the States government probably able to support through provision of regulations to benefit aviation institutions hence more affordable.


  • Third, Nurturing the millenials generation, because we are the future of aviation industry. The previous generation must give them clear guidance about how the industry works, but still listening their aspiration. Fourth, In order to retain those millenials who have worked for this industry – it is important for companies to shape a friendly corporate culture, to minimise the silo or gap between current generation and future generation or between one function and other functions.


  • We must prevent superiority, arrogance and silo corporate culture and we should  encourage transparency, participation, innovation, gender equality, respect diversity, and other skillsets. This should be one of the main goal for human resource training and development, in order to enhance collaboration.


  • SLIDE 15: the Fifth, always involve aviation enthusiast community. This just a sample of what they have in Indonesia. ‘Indoflyer’. Although I was no longer active these days, but from my past experience I must say community helps companies to educate the public about aviation. The power of Word-of-mouth is stronger and powerful than paid advertisings. In fact, it is easier for industry players to identify different applicable skillsets from a community, because the member come from various background such as banker, lawyer, doctor, or other professions – who are intested with aviation, just simply because they often fly for business. Community is a true asset that we can use to recruit talents.


  • Last but not least, I would like to thank for everyone’s attention to my presentation. It has been an honour for me to stand here and let me encourage my fellow young aviation professionals: no matter what we do in aviation, our contribution are important to keep the sustainability of this industry, so we directly keep up with ICAO’s No Country Left Behind’ mission. Every small starts matter in aviation, so let us keep up the good work!! Thank you, Merci Beaucoup, Terima Kasih.



Aviation, Movies, My Life, Travel, Uncategorized

What? Me? Appointed as YAP 2017?


I remembered that on 25 January 2017 at 2300 hrs (it’s the aviation way how to write 1100 PM) I came back from work after spending more than 14 hours at the office, finishing business plan proposal and found an email coming from Montreal, Canada telling me that I had been selected as successful candidate for ICAO’s Young Aviation Professional Programme 2017.

Excited? YES. It was a mixed feelings between disbelieve, excitement, sadness, proud and confused.

At that time, I thought the email was a wrong addressed or even a spam. But I later digested what was actually written there and yet questioning, ‘Have I been really selected?’. The story began when I found an information on ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) on YAP vacancy. I subsequently thought what was YAP, was it something like an internship program, or development program? I had no clue.

As a aviation enthusiast, airplane and airports have become my main interest. I have been raised by 3 generation of pilots and flight attendants, making this industry not just simply a hobby, but I want to always contribute for the industry. Therefore I decided to study Aviation Management Masters course in Coventry University.


For your information, ICAO stands for International Civil Aviation Organisation. It’s a United Nations’ specialised agency for aviation and it’s a one kind agency, different than others such as WTO, UNICEF, UNESCO and others, as this agency works directly hand-in-hand with the industry.

ACI (Airport Council International) is a non-profit organisation that lead global airports which objective is to advance the interest of Airports to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations. As of 2017, ACI serves 623 members operating 1,940 airports in 176 countries.

IATA (International Air Transport Association) is also a trade organisation that lead airlines around the world in delivering the best quality to support the global aviation industry. Currently, IATA records 263 airline members which represents more than 80% of global traffic.

And Young Aviation Professional Program, is a 12-month graduate development program initiative which is run in collaboration with ACI and IATA. The successful candidate will be rotated to the 3 organisation (average rotation takes 4 months) and will be holding specific responsibility to support the main expertise in the area of technical, environment and economic development.

But first thing foremost, how did this happen?

When I returned from the UK back to Jakarta in September, I was completely clueless on what I should be doing after my Masters. I kept looking what’s available out there, until I found a post regarding this YAP 2017 vacancy, shared by my colleague back in Coventry. First I was like, ‘Oh forget about this, but let’s try’. Yes, the analogy meant a lot to me because I thought ICAO was like creme-de-la-creme of this industry.

The fact was that I had gone for interview here and there, and deciding where should I work afterwards. Luckily, I finally secured an offer coming from subsidiary company of Indonesia’s largest airport operator, to perform a role as Business Development Manager and I started my first day on the 1st November.

Accepting that position was one of the life changing experience. Because I definitely left my comfort zone as a PR professional. My previous career before my Masters was Public Relations or commonly known as Company Spokesperson. I was lucky enough to have had a chance of doing a career that broaden my vision towards aviation industry. My first job was with American’s Public Relations firm, Weber Shandwick based in Jakarta and worked closely with Singapore Airlines as their client for 3 years, and then I moved to AirAsia where I spent the last 3 years with them, learned a lot about low cost carrier business and crisis communication management (QZ 8501 incident).

The business development manager position which I recently accepted was completely enhancing my vision to aviation industry from a different perspective, the Airport point of view. I had spent all my life working with airlines, full service and low cost and once I completed my masters degree, I was always curious to work for the airport. It was more complex and I worked with one of the greatest mentors who previously worked with Indonesia’s flag carrier.

Switching the mindset from airline to airport was one of a challenging task that I have to deal with. I was in the position to ensure business profitability so that I had to work mostly with numbers, doing financial forecasting and ensuring the business is complied with safety security, border, and the business practice. I had really enjoyed my days working for the company, in fact I was in the state of comfort. I met so many talented people, and we got along very well.

On 25th November I had to come back to London for a week for my graduation. And when I touched down in Heathrow, I suddenly received the email saying I had been shortlisted. I was flabbergasted, disbelieving, but I said yes to proceed for Skype Interview the following week in Jakarta. During the interview itself, I was completely nervous, not just because the time difference, (AM in Montreal, PM in Jakarta) because I was interviewed by 7 people that consisted of ICAO, IATA and ACI. Initially, I thought I would have only been interviewed by 3 people from the respective organisation. The interview went pretty quick for 7 people. We had to answer the questions in a concise manner and efficient. It was like the most interesting job interview experience, as I never done Skype Job interview before.

Right, back to the main business, after I read the email twice, no, it’s actually 4 times. I tried to digest the point of the email, and later I was assured that I had been selected. ‘What? Me?’ I went directly to my parents – who were sleeping at that time, and I excitedly shouted loud that I had been selected by the ICAO. I still could not believe at all, and on the other hand I was very proud of myself. ICAO, ACI and IATA launched YAP program since 4 years ago, and I was the first Indonesian to be accepted in this prestigious program.

“The announcement came in late January and I was initially expected to report by mid February but due to circumstance they decided to move it to 1st of March! I only had 3 days to think and decide.” Nervous? I completely was.


After consulting with my parents, and my current employer at that time, I had decided to accept this challenge. Only for one year, but I believe I would learn a lot of things from this program. So I decided to go. ICAO later assisted me with guidance on visa application. I applied the visa by end of January and they said the target of my reporting date would be 1st of March. Everything went smooth and the process were a bit of rush, especially finding the accommodation. Luckily, I secured my place right before I arrived and on 24 February, I flew to Montreal.


I never thought of what Montreal city would be like. I never planned on coming to North America, or even Canada before as I thought this country was just too far away from Indonesia. Even before I stepped my feet on Qatar Airways from Jakarta to Montreal via Doha, I still could not believe it.

Once I arrived in P.E Trudeau Airport then I believed that I would have had a new life and experience here in Canada. I had one week to get familiarised with the city, and on 1 March my first day officially started. For this year’s YAP were selected from South Korea, Pakistan and Indonesia. We were welcomed by the ICAO, ACI and IATA representatives. Surprisingly to me, that the Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu attended the welcoming event.

Dr. Liu made a welcoming speech, and to my surprise that in her speech she said that the competition for this position was very tight. We had been selected out of approximately 500 global applicants.

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What is Montreal like?

Montreal definitely made great first impression to me. Although what I could see from my plane minutes before we touched down was merely snow and frozen lake (yes it is very cold during winter time), but the city is actually very vibrant, and laid back. Bare in mind that people here speak in two languages: French and English. It’s very challenging indeed but once you are here, you will get used to it. It’s easier for you to learn the language directly from the Native speakers, and people here are very open minded.




The city may be incomparable with London, but, it has a lot to see and the fact that Montreal is way cheaper than London. It also looks very chic and reminds me to Paris. The city has a good integrated transport system, Metro, Buses and Taxis therefore commuting becomes more convenience. They said, the city doesn’t look good yet before summer, but I still like it in the winter, let alone in summer? I live in a French neighborhood, or to be exact in Parc Molson neighborhood. It’s a 20 minute from Square Victoria where my office is located. I decided not to live in city center, and trying so hard to find a lower duplex with backyard which allowed me to do activities during the weekend. The fact is, I found this amazing 3 and a half duplex with big bathroom, kitchen and backyard!


My rental house in Montreal

There is always start for something. Patience made it perfect right in time.

I will write more about this one year amazing experience. But the thing is, the main purpose of my writing here is to inspire the young generation, especially those who love aviation to catch for your dreams. I realise that most of those dreams are focused in Pilots or flight attendant jobs, but aside from that, there are plenty opportunities out there that you can still contribute for the industry. I started my career in this industry from Corporate Communications role 7 years ago and I felt blessed to ever get into this role that has opened so many opportunities for the industry because we are able to see the issues from the macro view.

The key is to accept that life is a continuous learning and full of surprises. Never let things let you down easily when you know you are having tough times by being underestimated by people. Just stay positive, consistent and be confident of who you are.


‘There is a garden between the wrong doing and the right doing, and I will meet you there” – Rumi (My favorite Poet)





Friends & Hang Out, My Life, Uncategorized

Living in the UK

It’s been nearly 3 years since my last post, as the days had been pretty hectic with my previous work in AirAsia and I actually have been living in the United Kingdom for a year now. The main reason of my moving is in order to pursue my dream of obtaining Masters Degree in Air Transport Management.

I will not sharing my student life here, basically  living as student is same elsewhere. You have a very tight budget, sleeping in an accommodation, cooking for yourself, managing your own money. However, my living experience in the UK had been quiet memorable, and I have survived for a year getting away from home! This is the longest period I have gone away from home, and nobody had ever thought I would have left my career for a higher education somewhere very far away from Indonesia.

In fact, I never thought that I would move to the UK. Never. My previous trip to London in April last year was aimed at ensuring myself whether UK was the best place for me to continue my Masters, and it turned out that I liked it, hence I decided to move.


Coventry is a city located 1 hour (train journey) and 2 hours (bus journey) from London. The city is one of the metropolitan borough in the West Midlands. The reputation of the city itself was not really prominent for the locals – the old saying often refer Coventry as a place where the elders will send their children if they are naughty or disobey –  in fact for Indonesians, the city has become very much popular due to the existence of affordable University. Yes, that is correct, living in UK sounded to be very overpriced to some people, but trust me when you live out of London, everything is 70% cheaper, even cheaper than Australia.

Coventry is a city that is closely related to automotive, yes this place is the birth place of latest invention in UK automotive industry, say Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and where the development of turbo jet engine began by Frank Whittle, this man was known as one of the British RAF Air Commodore. Coventry also has a famous cathedral, one of the famous relics left from the German invasion back in the World War II.

The city now is known to be a University student. Coventry University has contributed significant income for the city as many international (including myself) has chosen to study in the University. My first reason of choosing this University is that because the course I wished to take is a bit niche, means not every University in the UK or even in the world offered the course I am studying now. However, the price is quiet reasonable and not too far from London. Although most of my colleagues in London asking why did you choose Coventry, those three reasons always came up first to explanation. The closest big city is Birmingham which is known to be the second largest city in the UK after London, but strangely I found the city is much more boring than Coventry.

My ‘affair’ with London

Despite the fact I live in Coventry but I spend most of the time in London as the city is reachable for 2 hours by bus, and my house is close from Pool Meadow coach station. Very convenient journey that I can go for one day, or staying for couple nights. London is different than any other city in the UK, we can say it is a metropolitan city and for a boy who used to live in Jakarta, we must love the metropolitan city.

While other students prefer to spend their times in Birmingham or traveling around the United Kingdom, I decided to use my money wisely in London. Why? I think London is the future, I came to London not only to refresh my mind but also to widen my circle of networks, no matter where I work in the future. It’s one of the world’s financial capital of the world!



There are four seasons in UK in one day

The diversity which is a combination between modernity and yet historical sites makes this city seems very vibrant and you cannot only explore this city only for one day! I partially lived here as I always come and go, and friends who have taught me a lot of things, including how to commute in London and walking through alleys and hidden gems that the city has to offer.


Yes, this picture is possible on Sunday. I took my risk to cross the Westminster bridge just to get photo. Thankfully I wasn’t hit by the bus.

London is a capital city which serves as the central of politics, business, arts and trade. Just like Jakarta, my hometown which is the capital of Indonesia. The city gets very busy every peak hours which is between 8 – 10 am in the morning and 4 – 6 pm in the afternoon. There are so many interesting places to see and yet there are vast options of attractions you see. Museums, parks, gallery, and shops. London is also known as the capital of creative economy in the UK or probably in the Europe, where you can find many interesting stores selling interesting stuff. To me London, is just different, my favorite landmark, the Big Ben means a lot to me. As whenever I visit the city, I must walk pass the building and hoping to listen the chimes.

After 2 or 3 months of your visit you will find yourself familiar with the tube system which looks complicated on the map. The city map of London is actually not easy to explore. The city situates in a complex design which is not divided by blocks or grid square. And every corner of the area looks similar to each other, especially when you are in the West area. Nottinghill Gate, Paddington, Kensington, Earl’s Court are some of famous posh areas in the city that offer affordable accommodation for tourists compared to the ones in Central London. These areas connected by two busiest tube lines: Piccadilly Line (blue line) that connects London to Heathrow Airport, and Central – District Line (Green and Yellow line).


Transport for London doesn’t only cover tube and bus but there is Boat services that starts at Pier along the Thames riverside.


Going out in London could mean overpriced splurge to some people, including myself. The tube is very much convenient to be used with Oyster Card issued by Transport of London (TFL) in which tourists or Londoners can use to to travel London by tube and bus. The card applies daily cap based on the Zones you travel. For example, the maximum daily cap of the Oyster Card is £6.30 for zone 1-2 and more expensive to cover more zones, as there are 6 zones in the greater London itself.

Bus is less reliable than the tube, due to traffic jam which sometimes are inevitable due to higher car volume during peak hours, or the road construction. As a foreigner who lived in the UK, I notice that many prominent cities have undergone massive road construction, causing traffic diversion. This can be overwhelming especially in the busy motorway that links into London city such as M25 or the M5. M25 is famous for its congestion in the morning.


This is how it feels like to drive on Monday morning on M25 motorway

Nonetheless, the city’s atmosphere doesn’t stop people from visiting London. The city is a great place to eat and drink! The English pubs and local restaurants spread around London for example some of the famous ones that you might be interested to visit: The Albert’s in Westminster, Old Bells in Fleet Street, Wheatsheaf in Borough Market, Ten Bells in Barbican, Admiralty in Trafalgar Square and many others. To all of you who prefer a more fancy atmosphere you can go to Sketch Bar, Social Eating in Soho, The Manor in Clapham, Gong Bar (Shangrila’s The Shards) and any places that you can browse on the Trip Advisor. Some areas such as in Neal’s Yard, Carnaby, Piccadilly Circus also offers numerous interesting restaurants.

In regard to affordable restaurant and if you don’t mind takeaways or at the park, you can always go to Pret-A-Manger, Gregg’s or any takeaway food sold in Tesco Express or Sainsbury. Try their patisseries, affordably delicious.


My favorite Patisserie in London. They serve dozens of tasty cakes and a very nice hot chocolate!



Living in London has become dream for everyone, including for those Britons outside London who thinks the city is a land of dreams. London’s position as the capital city of United Kingdom conveys significant importance, while in contrast making it as a secluded city where the wealth seems to centralised only in the city.

To all visitors who firstly landed their feet into United Kingdom must think that London represents the country. In fact, it is not. London is a multicultural city which occupied by foreigners and immigrants. The best way to explore the UK is to go to their countryside as this country offers many tourism attractions in the countryside part such as Castle Coombe, Cotswolds, Winchester, or if you fancy to experience locals’ holiday destination you drive southwest to Devon or Cornwall where you can visit a few number of beautiful cities such as Torquay, Paignton, Plymouth, Land’s End.



Well this is just an intermezzo before I end this post, but is it worthwhile to mention the Brexit issue since this became major concerns for Londoners questioning the future of the city’s position as one of the world’s financial capital in the world. I was there when the referendum occurred. The achieved referendum results, suprisingly had led the UK to separate out of the European Union and it does not seem to favor the stability of sterling due to lack of investors’ trust.


My Life, Travel, Uncategorized

Heaven of The East: Only 19 Hours in Saparua Island Part 2

This post is the continuation of my previous trip report to Ambon that I posted last week.


The sunshine had appeared a little high and bright when I was awakened by my phone alarm at 6.00 AM local time. I looked out to the window, the dawn had started to break as the orange lights shed through the clouds.

“It’s time for us to get ready,” I told my friends who were also awakened from their sleep and packing their stuff for our 1 night getaway to Saparua.


We packed sufficient clothes and amenities for our less than 24 hours stay in Saparua, an island which is located in the East beneath Seram Island.

Travelers who come to Ambon must demand a side tour, which means a side tour to let them seeing another perspective of the Moluccas archipelago through island hopping.

You don’t need to worry when you come to Ambon, you are even already satisfied with the beauty of its nature and the Ambonese hospitality. The capital city of the Moluccas offers remarkable excitement and adventure. But to those who expect to see more nature, and testify their adventurous side, then they should go to other islands – especially to those rural islands.

Our initial plan to Saparua was supposedly took place from Sunday until Monday, but unfortunately the plan had to be cancelled due to transfer boat unavailability. In Moluccas, especially in Saparua whereby most of the residence are Christians, Sunday is their authentic ‘Sabbath’. People do not work nor travel during that day so do not wonder that most of restaurants, shops and even transportation services are not in service on Sunday.

I previously called the hotel that we booked earlier, Mahu Lodge (www.mahulodge.com) and informed them that there wasn’t any boat hence we decided to change the plan onto the following day. We really thank god that the owner didn’t mind to change the date for us. We also asked Pak Paul, the owner of Mahu Lodge to assist in providing a car that would pick us up from Haria harbor, and he accepted our request.

Pak Parjan and Pak Ismet were not going with us that day. We had asked them not to pick us up as we’d rather going to Tulehu using the hotel’s cab. Kiky, our taxi driver had been waiting for us at the lobby. After taking shower and having quick breakfast we met him at the lobby.

Selamat Pagi Pak Danang, I’m Kiky your driver for today!” he greeted me with a big winning smile.

Selamat Pagi Pak!” I wondered how could he have known my name.

The taxi means a rental car here in Ambon. It’s not like the usual taxi you saw in many major big cities. The car has no brand at all and without meter. The usual fare they’d give as the flag down is about IDR 150.000 (USD 12) one-way. We have no stand point at all to bargain as everything in Ambon is fixed price, and yet we couldn’t imagine how far it was the harbor with our hotel.

Pak Kiky then walked us to the car that he parked at the drop-off area. “Let me take all your belongings,” he said nicely, grabbing 3 of our duffle bags with his two hands.

“The journey to Tulehu would take for approximately 30 minutes, not far,” he said as he sat on the driver seat and turning the car’s ignition on and he also played a full playlist of Ambonese song from his tape.


Throughout the journey , we chatted with Pak Kiky, another person whom we met in Ambon. He seemed quiet nice, chatty and helpful. Although his voice sounded a bit firmer than a typical Javanese like me, but he wasn’t necessarily meant to be angry. It was just a way how he expressed his opinion, and yet, he was often heard humming to the song. Another casual treat in Ambon, a free singing performance in every corner of the street!

We talked about how could most Ambonese sing very well. He giggled when we asked that question. He said it was a blessing that each Ambonese has – that they are naturally created with a unique vocal cords. Pak Kiky told me his son also sings like he does, to our surprise his son was one of Indonesian Idol top 20’s contestants. He failed to make to the Top 10 but he’s still making it as his main career. Kiky also said he had several experience to be the personal driver of Indonesia’s famous starts, such as Glenn Fredly, Anang, or even Daniel Sahuleika during their visits in Ambon.

We were completely amazed to his story, but the story must end when we reached Tulehu harbor. The harbor apparently wasn’t that far from the hotel as we reached punctually of what time Kiky had expected – 08.00 AM. Kiky then helped us with our bags, and accompanied us to the ticket counter.


Tulehu harbor is the main gateway to Ambon, as most local boats depart from and arrive at this harbor.

“It’s Monday, and I believe you must get used to the crowd, don’t you?” he said.

“Well, this isn’t pretty bad.” I said. The sun was glaring very bright and the temperature was somewhat too hot for my grumpiness tolerance.

IMG_0754But to be honest, the natural lighting made me willing to keep taking pictures.



We were standing in line to buy the tickets, then we decided to go with VVIP class which cost IDR 125.000 (USD 11) one way to Saparua. We completely had no idea what the boat was like, I figured there was a big ship parking at the jetty which I thought was our boat, but turned out I was wrong.

“The ship hasn’t arrived yet, so please wait inside,” the ticket agent said.

We were informed that the boat would depart on-time and we would be notified when we’re ready for boarding. Pak Kiky bid good-bye to us and wished us had a pleasant trip to Saparua. We still had one hour to kill, and we decided to wait inside the waiting room.

The waiting room wasn’t that packed and we met some people whom we assumed also waited for the boat to Saparua. We met some well- Food sellers, newspaper boys, until porters were all around the building. What surprised me not only adults but kids were also ‘working’ around here, offering their helps to take our bags to the boat.

The 12 year old boy who worked part time as a porter at Tulehu harbor approached me, sitting next to myself and babbling in some Ambonese accent. It took me sometime to mind-digest what he was saying.

“What are you doing around here kiddo?”

“I’m working part time as porter besides school,” the boy said.

“Aren’t you supposed at school?” I wondered.

“It’s a holiday today,” he said shyly. At first I thought this kid was a bit special as he seemed to look a bit hyperactive, but subsequently I understood that this kid was just being shy talking to strangers. I just remembered that it was a public holiday date for the day of silence.

“What grade are you?” I asked

“Grade 8” he said smiling.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I want to become a policeman,” he said. “Oh that’s great, you should study hard and reach your dream,” I said.

I unzipped my bag and handed a small carton of chocolate Frisian Flag which I wanted to give him. The boy was politely rejecting my offer, and he said “I don’t want anything. Thank you”

I was completely surprised that he refused my offering. “Why? I thought we all love milk,”

“No I don’t want that..” he shrugged his head. I approached my hand to him, but he stood up and ran a little away from me.

“What do you want then?” I asked, laughing. “I want to help you bringing your bags to the boat. Then I will deserve for money,” he said.

I was completely surprised how could this 12 year old boy could’ve said something like that.

“But I can help myself with bag, It’s light” I politely refused his offer.

“Okay that’s fine with me. I will only receive money from what I deserve, which is helping guests with their bags,”

From what he told, I quiet understood that this young boy only wanted money, but he wanted money not from begging but the money which he deserved by working himself. He made me learn something about this city, I don’t mean to stereotype but most of people here have a real big pride, they don’t chase you to buy their products once you say no.


Ambon-Haruku-SaparuaSource: www.starfish.ch

At 08:30 am our boat looked like had arrived at the jetty. Many people who aimed for Saparua began to walk out the Terminal and proceeded to the pier, including us. It’s an open air pier whereby the sun light was glaring towards us and we were just too shocked to see how the boat was literally packed by people from the first boat ride. It was somewhat an extraordinary thing to see, I was completely wondering how could the boat still floating since the boat was overcapacity. There was even a man bringing his motorcycle at the forward deck and hundreds of people sitting outside the cabin.


I bit my lips, creating a sign of wary. My other friends were also frowning towards what they saw. “Are we gonna be okay?” I murmured. “Hopefully, yes.” One of them said.

We couldn’t instantly boarding the ship as we had to wait until the rest of the passengers inside disembarked. The process took around 30-40 minutes and we were on the pier standing. The heat was burning as hell. We were trying to look at a bright side, that we will be going for snorkeling later. We saw a few foreigners were disembarking from the ship, I notice they were from Netherlands, speaking dutch. I came to them, asking whether the boat was safe enough or not. They laughed. “Oh it was a flawless ride, don’t worry.”


Once everyone disembarked, we were permitted to board. The VIP passengers were let to board first to the top cabin. The boat crews helped us to board the boat, there was no stairs only firmly nailed board which they presumed is strong enough to handle the weight of approximately 200 or even more passengers.

IMG_0772The cabin

IMG_0857What is the difference between VIP class and Economy Class? The VIP class is at the top deck while economy class is located at the bottom deck. However, your economy class ticket can be used to sit anywhere except VIP cabin section. Where else? The observation deck near VIP class, on top of the forward deck, or even on the roof deck.

The journey to Saparua would take for 1 hour. Once we entered the VIP class cabin, I thanked god it’s a full comfort. Fully air-conditioned, the seat was likely taken from the old plane’s business class cushions spacious legroom and a (not working) television. It’s a free seat anyhoo! not assigned on the ticket you bought. So just make sure you sit near your friends. It was actually my first speed boat ride after years. To reduce my paranoid, I tried to locate where the life vest were located, and how far my seat was to the emergency exits.

The ship departed on-time. The turbine engines sound were heard from the cabin, and we sped at a maximum speed. My friends fell asleep throughout the journey, and I decided to wander around the cabin. The observation deck was packed by many people that time, and I walked out to check what it felt like to be there. Wow, the view was apparently much better from there!. We could see the Banda Sea widely, and I noticed there was a small stair leading to the roof deck.



“Be careful, you could fall,” a guy reminded me.

After compromising with myself, I tried to climb the stairs, just hoping I could get good balance. To my surprise, there was a group of young men sitting on the roof. I dared myself to further climb up and walked on the roof deck. I must admit, the view was even gorgeous from there! The roof deck was supposedly a restricted area but nobody gave a damn to people who sat on top of the roof deck. A group of young men said hello and reminded me to watch every step.

IMG_0874Please do not comment on what I wore, I know it’s supposed to be short sleeve not long sleeve (wardrobe malfunction)



The view was completely beautiful, I could see mountains, white sand beaches from the distance and yet with the beautiful cloud lines painted on the sky. From here we could see our direction clearly, after passing Haruku Island, a man pointed me where Haria harbor was. “We still have 20 minutes left, that’s where we’re heading now,”


15 minutes before arrival, the boat reduced its speed and we arrived on-time at Haria harbor. The passenger load wasn’t as heavy as the returning boat we saw this morning. We disembarked from the ship and met Aldo, the guy that Pak Paul sent to pick us up.

“Hello Pak Danang, Welcome!” Aldo said. We shook hand as a symbol of introduction.

“Welcome to Saparua, Pak! This is where the nature remains,” he said.




Saparua is an island where mostly lived by Christians. Once you get off from the harbor you will see a tall church building which was being renovated. Aldo walked us to where he parked the car, I firstly thought the car would be Avanza or Kijang, but it turned out an old Toyota Kijang which is configured as a public transportation, or Angkot as what Jakartans said. Pak Aldo immediately started the car and drove us to Mahu Lodge, located in Mahu village. The village is located about 20 kms from the harbor and reached within 20 minutes.

The road in Saparua is mostly surrounded by farms and plantation, and the road is already asphalted.

Aldo mentioned that Saparua is the island of singers. Many good Indonesian singers are originally from this island, Ruth Sahanaya was one of the local’s best singer names he mentioned. And yet Saparua island is the last resort for foreign tourists who seek for serenity and hidden underwater surprises in the Moluccas archipelago.

Aldo told us many stories about this island, starting from the touristy potential that the island has to offer, until the recovery story post civil war which occurred during the 1999s. This island also occupied by many tribes in extend of which each of them are divined based on its own unique characteristic.

The only thing that surprised was the no service bar on my phone. They told us that Telkomsel was the only provider that operates here, while 3G connection had just recently available since the following 4 days. Lucky for me, means I could be literally unreachable for the next 19 hours.

The car finally arrived at Mahu Lodge. Pak Paul and his son, Johan greeted us as soon as we alighted from the car. Behind us was apparently a car that brought a group of French divers who were also on the same boat with us.

10247455_10152135203743541_5458236537556507598_nThe front gate of Mahu Lodge (courtesy: Mahu Lodge Facebook page) – I kinda forgot to take a picture of the lodge itself so I took it from their page

IMG_0939Mahu Lodge Garden

IMG_1031Flags hanging as the decoration of the restaurant

Mahu Lodge is a moderate resort that welcomes for anyone who wants to stay in Saparua. The hotel has a quiet big area and has its own jetty. When I browsed about any accommodation in Saparua, Mahu Lodge apparently the first hotel appeared on the list. The price is also very reasonable, Rp. 400.000,- (USD 37) for 1 room with 3 beds per night, including 3 times meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). However, it is excluding shuttle (drop and pick-up) car fare Rp. 150.000,- (USD 12) one way excluding driver tips), snorkeling price Rp. 150.000,- (USD 12) per pax.


Apparently they were the group of divers that Pak Paul mentioned us earlier. Pak Paul later showed us the triple room, an old spacious room with 3 beds and the bathroom is very clean.

Pak Paul and Johan reminded us be ready at 12.00 pm as the diver group will depart and we will go along with them. Actually none of us going for diving that time, only snorkeling, but we could share the boat with the diver group. The weather was fantastic that day. The sun was shining and the sky was clear – quiet good for us to enjoy the sea and the swim.

We were led to the jetty where the speed boat parked. We also met the leader of that group French divers who apparently speak Bahasa as he lives in Manado. He’s a very hospitable and chatty guy, his aura represented a very professional diver and so are his colleagues. The brought 3 suitcases full of their diving equipments while us just 3 light duffel bags.


1397903_10151868577288541_1926457498_oHere is what the boat looks like. I forgot to take the picture of the boat therefore I grabbed this picture from Mahu Lodge’s facebook page (Courtesy: Mahu Lodge Facebook page)


Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset


We left the jetty as soon as we’re ready. There we also met Pak Nus and Johan the 2 diving guides who were also in charge to take care of those three innocent kids from Jakarta who were not professional even at snorkeling (Read: Me and my friends).



The boat was speeding fast on the sea. We were sailing to the North east part of Saparua Island, Itawaka which is known as one of the best diving spots. Pak Nus and Johan told us the diver will make first stop at the shallow water area where we could also jump off to enjoy the corals.


The speed boat journey was very enjoyable. We could get to know Saparua Island much better, seeing many white sand beaches, clearly pristine water and some untouched areas. Johan said that we were coming in a good season, March is the limit of the bestest season of the year here. We were then stopping at a shallow water area, and he said we could start the snorkeling then.



My friends looked quiet enthusiastic with this activity although I somehow felt a bit worried of coming down. I can swim but whenever I snorkle, I have tremendous paranoid of seeing sharks or any dangerous sea animals, and that happened when I jumped off the different side of the boat, and I saw a very wide yet clear vision of the sea. I swam almost half round of the boat to reach my friends, because my mind began to say I was chased by a shark.

IMG_0977The water..


I could not control my breath even using the googles and the fins, I could not believe that these equipment rather imbalanced myself. “Danang, just stay calm,” one of my friend said. Yeah right, the calmer I get, I will float myself.

The boat keeper looked at me quiet strangely, he might’ve thought I couldn’t swim. But until 15 minutes when I finally got calmer I decided to go back to the boat. “You look funny down there, what happened?” the boat keeper asked me.

I simply tried to speak despite my gasping, “I was completely worried of seeing shark, I had a severe paranoid down there,” What I was trying to say was that I am not even a beach type and I don’t snorkel most of the time, as I prefer cities, hills and mountains. I looked down there, and jumped again. Finally, I could find my peace seeing those beautiful corals and group of small tuna fish swimming with me.

The boat keeper later told us they would have to go to pick up the divers, therefore it means they would have to leave us here for a while. I started to panic again as what if this-or-that happened, but the guy said “Don’t worry you’ll be fine.” My friends were asking them to throw our life vests just in case. I shortly had no idea what that was about, but the guy indeed threw the life vests towards us.

The boat was leaving as soon as we got our life vests. I wondered what we would do alone and when the boat would pick us up. My friends were floating with the life vests, looking down to the corals beneath them. Apparently, Johan whom we thought was diving with the French divers, he appeared to the surface and he came to accompany us. He told us just to stay around the area as he was preparing an area for our lunch later.

“The boat will come back here for lunch,” he said.

Since we started to starve, we decided to swim to the shore. Just so you know there isn’t lots of beach where you can lay down in Saparua, usually only a small area of rocky sand beach as this island is mostly surrounded by rain forest or mangrove.






Not long after 20 minutes, the boat headed to our direction. Johan instructed it was lunch time. We were just resting on the shore, while the diver group maintained on the boat, eating their lunch. I grabbed my outdoor carpet which I brought from Jakarta to cover the rocky surface – just to make it more comfortable for us to sit down. The lunch was simple but they still suit our tastebud quiet well: Indomie and fried egg with rice!




When the lunch time was over, we were heading to another point, where we were left again for the diver groups. The diver groups were taken to a deeper sea for them to explore. Pak Nus and Johan asked what we would like to do, my friends and I asked to stop us somewhere we could lie down. Johan suggested us to stay at a beach near the coral islands. The beach was not a white sand beach, still rocky but it has wider area for us to lie down, relaxing under the coconut tree. The place was good, not letting us get in tact with the sun. It was simply the best place to rest, I even fell asleep.

About an hour later, the boat picked us up as the diver group was finished with their activity for the day. They said they would continue to Nusa Laut island the following day. We headed back to Mahu Lodge to continue our next activity. It was still 4 o’clock pm in the afternoon while the weather was still good enough for us to go and see around Saparua. Pak Paul had prepared a car that we could use to drive around Saparua. After having short bath, we were ready for our city tour. Pak Nus accompanied us with Boy the driver.


We were taken to an old Portuguese port “Duurstede” – known as the oldest Portuguese fort in Moluccas. This is where the Portuguese colony landed in Moluccas for the first time. The fort is located on a high elevation, we must climbed dozens of steps up to the entrance. The fort’s condition itself is half restored, but some destroyed brick walls – which were believed to be the leftover of weapon warehouse and prisons – still remained in there.

Most of this blockhouse part is open-air. The fort was likely designed as a defense blockhouse where the soldiers could observe what were coming towards them. The observation floor also has a gorgeous scenery, overlooking Banda Sea and it has a long white sand shoreline behind the building.


The view is indeed gorgeous from here and we could see the beautiful surrounding area as well.

IMG_1041This is where the Portuguese first landed in Moluccas

Pak Nus later told us to return to the car, as he would drive us to the white sand beach we saw from the fort earlier. “Let’s go, we should make to every place before catching sunset at Mahu Lodge later,” he said. The beach was not that far away, only less than 5 minutes drive. The beach is very clean as what you’ll always see in the Moluccas, but it’s very quiet there unlike Liang beach or Natsepa.

Pak Nus suddenly ran into one of his loyal client, a foreigner who was coming from Switzerland. We were introduced to him, his name is Bruno. Apparently, there was a few small cottages built near the fort near the beach. A 50-year old guy was sitting under the gazebo, enjoying his afternoon with Gudang Garam and a tall glass of black coffee. We were talking there for 30 minutes and we actually amazed to know how this man had fallen in love to this island just to see the underwater world’s beauty in Nusa Laut island which to him is not comparable to any diving spots in the world he’d been. It was his seventh visit to Saparua and he stayed for 2 weeks with his wife who also loves to dive. I looked at my wrist and watch and it was nearly 5 pm, I remembered that we still had to see a must seen thing in Saparua. The sunset. Pak Paul told us earlier not to miss the sunset that we could watch from the jetty. Therefore, we said goodbye to Bruno, and wished him a pleasant holiday in Saparua until the following week.

We arrived back at the hotel 15 minutes before sunset. I asked Pak Nus to speeded the car and once we stopped the car, I alighted and immediately ran to the jetty. Pak Paul later joined us as we were getting into a casual conversation as we’re waiting for the dusk to end. Just see how beautiful the sky drew itself.


Pak Paul told me that this jetty was one of his favorite place. He didn’t install any lighting in this area to make it as it would disrupt your vision while enjoying the sunset. And yet, the place is also very quiet there, even less of wave splashing sound. I was completely amazed to the beauty that this place has to offer. From there we could see Seram island, and some mountains from the distance. The sky’s color was kinda mixed between red, yellow, orange, and purple as it reflects on the seawater surface, just like in the paintings.

During the conversation, Pak Paul asked me a question, “How did you know about Mahu Lodge and Saparua? our hotel is only known among the divers?”

“From the internet, we actually was looking for a few alternatives for island hopping, since Ora beach is quiet impossible for us, we were looking for an island closer to Ambon,” I said.

He laughed. “That’s why when you called me at first, I was questioning what made you wanna go here. This place is more famous among the foreigners, less local tourists,”

My friend added, “Yeah, that’s kinda true. Because people in Jakarta are talking about Ora beach, less of them talk about Saparua,”


I took a deep breath, still felt disbelieve on the view I was seeing that time. The tranquilty had been triggering myself to an emotional state of mind. I thanked my God to create our nature.


The sunset made almost the end of our holiday as that was our last night in the Moluccas before going back to Ambon early in the dawn. When the sky had turned to dark, Pak Paul asked us to get back to the room as they were preparing for dinner. “Aldo and his wife would treat us with their amazing voice, we’ll sing along tonight!”

Although there were only 6 of us stayed at Mahu Lodge that night, but Pak Paul treated us with keyboard performance during dinner time. We gathered with other guests including Aldo who played the keyboard and his wife who performed her beautiful voice all night long. I was even asked to sing with her, although I felt quiet shy at first but in the end I made it.



Aldo and his wife singing!


406838_10150516162338541_151998712_nThe dining area (Courtesy: Mahu Lodge Facebook page)

Pak Paul, Johan and the rest of Mahu Lodge crew mingled with us that evening. Finally at 11 pm we wrapped up the night with a very good memory. Pak Paul suggested us to have enough sleep as we will be transferred at 6 o’clock am the following morning, means the wake up call would be 5 o’clock am. We decided not stay up late, after packing our stuff, we tucked in our bed.

At 5 o’clock in the morning, we were awakened by a pleasant voice which I believe coming from the church nearby. We were called later for early breakfast at 5 o’clock and we were curious to know where the singing came from. We thought Pak Paul must have played a song from his audio speaker, however he said that the songs coming from the church which does it every morning. Lovely!

IMG_1066The tasty homemade bread and local coffee for breakfast

When the clock showed to 6 o’clock am Pak Paul called the driver who would transfer us to Haria harbor, we then bid good bye to him and his son and other staffs for their super kind hospitality. It was very sad though to leave this island as I understand that there are so many things that we haven’t explored and we felt our visit then was too short, even less than 24 hours. The journey to Haria harbor took for 30 minutes and once arrived we bought our ticket immediately and boarded the ship. The sky was looking very beautiful that morning, the sun had woken up from her sleep and ready to shine.


Overall, my trip to Saparua had given such an extraordinary enlightening, not just how grateful I am for the chance to see God’s beautiful creatures but to meet so many blessed people who are willing to share that blessings to us. My last trip to the Moluccas provided a never ending story that I would share to my family, friends and colleagues. The experience was totally different than any other holidays I’ve had overseas, and I would surely come back and explore more islands in the Moluccas.

IMG_1077Mount Salahutu, Ambon

Visiting Ambon and Saparua has literally opened my eyes, that there are so many things in Indonesia are worth to explore. When you’re letting yourself to let go off your comfort zone and explore more complex situation from which you are used to, then you will be able to transform into a new person. Thank you for the hospitality Saparua. Like I’ve said before.. I’ll be back.


Thank you everyone!



Summary of our itinerary and how much we spent? This is based on 3 pax (excluding flight ticket)

Day 1 (29 March 2014):

Depart Jakarta GA 640 (00.30) Arrive Ambon (07.30 LT)

Liang Beach -> Ambon City Cathedral -> Lunch -> Latuhalat -> Lelisa Beach (Collin Beach) -> Natsepa (back to hotel)


Car rental day 1: IDR 600.000,- (USD 57)

Gasoline: IDR 200.000,- (USD 18)

Foods: IDR 250.000,- (USD 20)

Day 2 (30 March 2014):

Breakfast 08.00 AM – 09.00AM Depart for Amsterdam Fort ->Immanuel Church -> Wapauwe Mosque -> Pasir Panjang Beach -> Lunch at Dede’s -> Petak 10 Souvenir Shop -> Australian Funeral Monument (Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery) -> Back to Natsepa

Car rental day 2: IDR 600.000,- (USD 57)

Lunch: IDR 275.000,- (USD 23)

Tourism site donations (3 places): IDR 150.000,- (USD 12)

Groceries (snacks, drinks, foods): IDR 230.000,- (USD 20)

Dinner (Room Service): IDR 170.000,- (USD 15)

Gasoline: IDR 100.000,- (USD 9)

Day 3 (31 March 2014):

Early transfer to Tulehu Harbor (STD 09.00 am/ STA 10.00 am) -> Saparua Island à Mahu Lodge Snorkling started at 12.00 PM followed by Lunch until 15.00 PM -> 16.00 PM Duurste Fort -> 18.00 PM Back to Mahu Lodge for Sunset.

Taxi to Tulehu Harbor: IDR 150.000,- (USD 12)

VIP speed boat ticket to Saparua: IDR 125.000,- (one-way) (USD 10) per pax x3= IDR 375.000,- (USD 32)

Transportation from Haria to Mahu Lodge (Pick-up by Hotel): IDR 150.000,- (USD 12)

Accommodation (Mahu Lodge) 1 room for 3 pax: IDR 400.000,- (including Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) (USD 36)

Snorkeling: IDR 150.000,- (per pax) (USD 12)

Transportation (Car Rental) around Saparua: IDR 150.000,- (USD 12)

Tips for driver, keyboardist and singer: IDR 250.000,- (USD 20)

Day 4 ( 1 April 2014):

Early transfer to Ambon from Haria Harbor (STD 07.00 AM/ STA 08.00 AM) -> Ambon City -> Karang Panjang (Christina Tiahahu Monument) -> Ambon’s Siwa Lima Museum -> Transfer to Airport for 14.45 hrs LT departure to Jakarta (GA 647)

Transportation from Mahu Lodge to Haria Harbor (IDR 150.000,-) (USD 12)

Driver Tips: IDR 100.000,- (USD 9)

VIP speed boat ticket to Ambon (Tulehu) (IDR 125.000,-) (USD 10) per pax x3 =Rp. 375.000,- (USD 32)

Car rental day 3 (IDR 600.000,-) (USD 57)

Gasoline: IDR 100.000,- (USD 9)

Tips: IDR 200.000,- (USD 18)

Total: IDR 5.725.000,- (USD 

Natsepa Conference & Resort: IDR 820.000,-/ night x 3 = IDR 2.460.000,- (USD 213)

Total Expenses: IDR 8.185.000,- (USD 711)

Expense per person in total: IDR 2.728.333,- (USD 237)

If plus flight ticket: IDR 3.300.000,- (USD 286) per pax

Grand total expenses per person is: IDR 6.028.333,- (USD 524)

*The foreign exchange mentioned above is capped at 1 USD = IDR 11.500,-

**This budget is considered as a moderate budget travel / non backpacking or low cost budget, excluding shopping.

***You should spare IDR 1.200.000,- (USD 100) for emergency or shopping budget.












Colorful Kunming (7-11 December 2013) ; How Great Thou Art

Hi all, after being away from blogging for a while, I would like to share you some photos that might inspire you to visit a city that I recently visited, Kunming.

I flew with AirAsia to Kunming. A great experience to fly with the world’s best low cost carrier. From Jakarta, I took the first flight to Kuala Lumpur using AirAsia Indonesia (QZ), and connecting to Kunming for 2 hours with AirAsia Malaysia (AK). The schedule is very convenient, the flight arrived in the afternoon, not too late before dark.

I will not say too much here, but my photos will speak themselves, how beautiful the city is. If you guys happen to seek nature and serenity, this place is very recommended.

All pictures are taken by iPhone 5. I am a proud iPhone photographer.

Kunming is located in Southwest China, not too far from Hanoi and this city has a lot to offer. I feel so grateful to get a chance to visit this city for a 5 days trip. Colorful city, all seasons, spring weather, authentic heritage and cultural. For those who had visited Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou before might find this city a bit different. This city doesn’t have MRT only bus, and the capital Kunming is not as packed as those three cities. However, there are still some areas that can be found similar such as Dongfeng Road the shopping district (similar to Wangfujing Road in Beijing or Nanjing Road in Shanghai).



Kunming from 20th floor, New Era Kunming Hotel.


Besides Dong Feng area, Kunming has some night market shops that you can find around the area. What I found was strange was, I couldn’t find folding fan, and fridge magnet for souvenirs, only accessories, furniture, clothes, and foods.


One of the souvenir shops I visited.

Apart from shopping indulgence, Kunming pleases its visitors with many natural attractions. You should complete your journey by interacting with nature. It may takes big effort for this but the experience you’ll get pays off the hassle.

Xishan (West Mountain)


Xi Shan (West Mountain) is the closest natural site to Kunming city. Located in the west side of the city this mountain’s elevation is around 2.500 meters high. From this mountain you can take cable car, which is not the usual cable car. This thing will make you feel like flying off the mountain, and for those who have high altitude phobia are actually not recommended to take this.


Trees Underneath.

What I wore? Asics Onitsuka Tiger Mexico Mid Runner


Cable car track



Finally, I reached the top end!

What I wore? Brown Wayfarer glasses: Tom Ford, Unbranded scarf, Blue Sweater : Next, Blue Jeans: Nudie, Watch: Swatch Irony

Yunnan Nationalities Village


Colorful trees captured in Yunnan Nationalities Village in Kunming. As I mentioned earlier, Kunming is known as Spring City. It offers the best weather and you will get all season here!

When you are in Kunming, visiting Yunnan Nationalities Village is a must. This village is similar to a recreational park which showcases Yunnan’s tribes that account to 25 tribe nationalities. You will get to experience their lifestyle, visiting the mock-up of their house, watching performance, and most importantly this park is designed flawlessly gorgeous, lots of trees, lake and many more.


The lake in Yunnan Nationalities Village somewhat makes you feel like being in Europe


What I wore? Brown Wayfarer glasses: Tom Ford, Unbranded scarf, Blue Sweater : Next, Blue Jeans: Nudie



Cui Hu Lake


Cui Hu Lake Park, Kunming. This is where you could play with the seagulls. The seagulls are known to fly from Siberia to Kunming every winter, making this lake as their playground.



Let’s see the gulls closer


One of ancient buildings in Cui Hu Lake Park.

Stone Forest Park

I also managed to visit stone forest park, the biggest stone forest in China and probably in the world. The stone forest park is formed million years ago, when the earth moved and the sea water eroded. If there is stonehenge in the U.K, in China there is stone forest park. The stones were formed nearly thousands years ago in giant sizes. What makes it interesting, the local folks still believes in the romantic Ahei ann Ashima love story which becomes a substance of the stone forest journey experience. The tour guide says we must use our imagination in ord enjoy the stones. Your imagination will lead you to think of many unique shape that represents things around us.


What I wore? White long sleeve Polo Shirt, St. Michael (Marks & Spencer) black sweater, Burberry Scarf, Zara black leather gloves and Brown Swatch Irony.




There are many lake inside the forest


They believe this is the Ashima stones. The left tip is the head and the two on the right is believed as flower bucket that she carries all the time

Jiaozi Mountain

I also got a chance to visit Jiaozi Mountain, the highest mountain in Yunnan (4.200 m below sea level or approx. 12.000 feet) which is also known as a snowy mountain. The mountain is located at Liuxijiang district, 4 hours ride from Kunming. The weather is extremely cold up there so you will need to prepare thick jackets, layered shirts and sweaters.


The view along the way


What I wore? Knit Blue Sweater by H&M, Knit scarf by H&M, Honey pants by H&M, Leather gloves by Zara, Suede winter boots: Unbranded

The snow is not an eternal snow, but only seasonal. The mountain isn’t covered by snow during my visit, only some areas due to the season transition from autumn to winter. Despite there is only less snow at that time, but I was still grateful to go up and see the beauty nature.




The frozen waterfall


Do not ever step on the ice. This one was accidentally taken right after I slipped on the ice. I asked someone to help me taking a picture of me sitting on the ice, but it turned out I slipped on the ice and hit my elbow against the rock.






Enjoying Sunset from 3.800 meters above the sea level

Guangdu Ancient Town & Copper Palace

The two final places we visited were Guangdu Ancient Town and Copper Palace. These sites mark China’s solid culture which has been established for hundred years. The ancient town is secluded around the wall just like forbidden city or Nanshi Old Town in Huangpu, Shanghai. only the area is smaller. The district now has transformed as a shopping area selling foods, souvenirs, clothes, flowers and many more.

Just right before the old town, there is a river that occupied with seagulls. This is also a quiet interesting attraction for the tourists to feed the bird and they would fly to you.


Siberian Seagulls at Guangdu Old town

What I wore? Grey turtleneck by H&M, Knit scarf by H&M, brown belt by Next, Leather gloves by Zara, Khakis pants by Dockers


Guangdu Old town

What I wore? Grey turtleneck by H&M, Knit scarf by H&M, brown belt by Next, Leather gloves by Zara, Khakis pants by Dockers





What are your 2014’s wishes?




Reminds me of a Golden temple in Kyoto, Japan



To conclude I actually very enjoyed my last trip to Kunming. I didn’t know anything about the city, but when I was assigned to visit the city, I felt so grateful and being even more thankful for my creature. China has always been a favorite destination to me, as I am a person who rather enjoys hills, mountains, and nature than beaches. I sent some of the pictures to my friends and families, they were even asking where I had been. I said Kunming and they were like “Oh? Where is it?” I said China.

Kunming is known as spring city, but it gets very cold in winter, so if you are planning to visit between December – March 2013 just prepare your thick jackets or sweater, gloves and scarf. The Jiaozi mountain isn’t covered with snow in early December, if you want to feel the snow you may visit in January – March.

In my own perspective (if I could compare this with two others like Beijing and Shanghai is still different. Kunming has less population but the city is still the central industry in Southwest China. It hasn’t any MRT or subways like Beijing and Shanghai, public bus is the main transportation. If you guys want to visit Kunming, I recommend you join local tour or commute with Taxi if you are unsure about language barriers.

In terms of shopping, in Kunming the night market offers you many products starting from clothing, accessories, home decorations, until electronics. It is cheaper here! I think due to proximity to Guangzhou, this city could sell more cheaper products.

Since the nature tourism is very important here, you should go to the outskirts city. Climb the mountain and see how the nature treats your eyes. Last but not least, Kunming is a worth city to visit!


Good Morning! is a good start :)

Good morning everyone!

I found a cute video when Melbourne control tower greeted Garuda Indonesia’s pilot with Selamat Pagi! or ‘Good Morning!’ prior take off and prior contact the Melbourne Departures.

The video was made and posted by an airplane enthusiast (named mickeycbd) from Melbourne, and here’s the link to the video on Youtube.

Have a great day all!! 🙂

Aviation, Friends & Hang Out, My Life, Travel, Uncategorized

Flight Experience: Jakarta – Denpasar GA 438

Hi all! I think it’s been a while since my last post, and by this opportunity I am so pleased to share you on my last air trip to Bali from 11 August to 14 August 2012.

It’s my another trip after June 2010 where I last visited the island to visit my brother who used to study in Buleleng, and I felt that this trip was special as I went with my own friends, so, no parent guidance! (HA!) and it had been too long since the last time I flew with plane.

Our trip was scheduled on 11 August 2012 at 0930 hrs along with my 2 traveling mates and one of them also bringing her mom and grandparents as well. We arrived at 0700 hrs at Terminal 2F and it looked like that people had started to fly out town to prepare for Idul Fitri holidays. The long queue line annoyed us a little bit, moreover, my traveling mood suddenly gone when I was about to check in myself at the counter, saying that I had to report at the waiting list counter. My friend was confused why I was directed to the counter – despite my concession ticket was confirmed. The officer told me that I could get on my actual flight, however, he asked for my understanding that the flight was overbooked and he offered me a seat on the early flight which had begun boarding that time.

“Are you okay if we get you on a flight to Bali immediately? Don’t worry we’ll put you on C class” he said.
I just nodded and he printed my boarding pass immediately. “Your flight will depart at 0745, and the boarding had begun. Would you run to gate F4 , they’ll drive you to the parking stand,” he said.

I was a bit overwhelmed about they finally found a solution to depart me earlier, though on the other hand I was a bit worried if I could make it on-time to the plane or not. Thank god that my friend and her family later arrived at the airport and I greeted them instantly “Great you come already! It’s nice to see you all, I am sorry I won’t be on the same flight with you, they asked me to fly on this hour’s flight,” I sounded like I made a single conversation and they were looking confused.

My friend looked a bit impressed with my dress behavior. “You wear suede loafers , Long shirt and khakis to Bali?” I only nodded and i think it did not need any explanation. I always dress up before flying. 😀

Airplane is always becoming a good object to be captured by anyone

I ran so quickly to gate F4. I was not complaining about this situation FYI, as this happened for so many times but what troubled me was that this sudden notification knowing that my ticket used to be confirmed. Oh well I shan’t sweat this stuff. Anyway, once I arrived at the Gate, they were waiting for me, and they put me on a bus, I was with 5 other standby passengers. I thought the plane was the one parked at gate F4 but they said, the plane was on the remote stand.

Boarding ran smooth. (Oh well, we were like the last 5 passengers!) the 4 other passengers were Japanese who were supposed to continue their flights to Haneda via Denpasar. I could see how relieved they were once we reached the plane. “Selamat pagi,” as usual the purser greeted me in a smile. “Hi, morning purser!” I said cheering up, and also smiling to the second flight attendant who assisted me with my seat, Oops, looks like the only 1 aisle seat left was dedicated for me. “Silakhan, Mas,” she smiled. “Thank you very much,” I replied. After saying Thank you very much, the young lady began to chat with me in English. I got another confusion, why she had to.  I was going to put my luggage on the overhead bin, but I knew that the flight attendants were busy preparing welcoming drinks, so I was looking for extra space alone, I opened the overhead bin, checked and closed, checked again and closed. No space for my cabin sized luggage. Damn. It’s not like that they would put my luggage down and last minute check-in baggage right?

The young lady returned and asking “How can I help you?”, I said “Oh I was looking some spaces for this luggage,” she sighed, it seemed like she’s giving me the oh-why-must-you-carry-luggage-on-board look. I read her face and saying “I know, I am sorry about this, can you help me?” She was smiling, Okay, don’t worry, she pulled the bin leveler above row No.3, and she took out some bundles of in-flight newspapers and blanket. She tried to put my luggage in, but didn’t fit in as there were another luggage. She grabbed the paper back in the bin, and she tried the bin above my seat. “No i tried,” she looked more confused, then she tried to take out some newspapers out again and, after some efforts, my luggage could be stored. The next few minutes, the door closed.

I looked tired, and yet I was totally wrong to wear my sweater on that sunny day, and jeans, and a pair of loafers. I hate to board the plane in a rushing mood. But thank god the flight attendants were very helpful and calming my mood. I was sitting next to an American man who just made his first visit to Indonesia. I noticed he’s on a business trip, and he was flying to Bali for his connecting flight to Perth later that day. When you fly with Garuda to Bali, don’t assume that they’re all coming to Bali, but some tourists could be on their connecting flight to Australia, Korea or Japan.

We chatted, my hobby when traveling alone is meeting new people, especially when I fly on a business class. Sometimes the benefit you’ll get is not just a more pleasant service and experience, but you’ll get to widen your network with your seating mates. But this time it wasn’t like my last flight from Timika to Denpasar  when I accidentally drop my seating mate’s apple juice glass, but we lasted introduced ourselves each other. On this flight, I helped the man fixing his table during meal service. This man whom I finally knew working for a big oil company, found difficulties to fix his table that made him a bit comfortable. The flight stewardess was also trying to help, but her hand couldn’t reach the table as the man was sitting in the window seat. I assisted the man when I noticed he needed a help, apparently the tray was lack of one screw on the tip, and I told him not to pull the tray and held the tip by the armrest.  The flight stewardess later was looking at me, she smiled and wonder how I knew it.

My seating mate was busy capturing photos of Mountains on our flight route with his iPad, I started the conversation by telling him the Mountain names of what, and he sounded excited. When our meal came, we picked the same choice, it was Nasi uduk with Rendang and anchovies. They gave us two options, fried rice or uduk rice with rendang and anchovies. The taste was delicious. I always prefer Indonesian foods to any Western foods, even I can give up steak for Nasi Liwet or Gado – Gado.

The plane landed safely and smooth after an one hour – forty minutes flight. My first impression of Bali airport now is wow! the Airport is currently under massive expansion. I just wonder where the domestic travel had gone, the plane that I came on then was scheduled to fly to Kupang via Denpasar. I was stopped at the domestic terminal, and I was amazed with how small the arrival hall due to the development, hopefully the new airport will soon complete. The domestic terminal was relatively small but not too crowded that time, and I was waiting for my friend at the baggage claim, hoping that to meet them there, apparently I remembered that the other domestic terminal near the international terminal. I walked out immediately and shocked with the crowd that I never expected before.

Two of my friends who just arrived in Bali one hour later.. Mba Mela and Sitha

With Sitha, and Joshua at Warung Made

Some of my two friends arrived finally at the regular domestic terminal and we headed to Kuta, Seminyak, and we stopped by at our private villas before heading to my favorite beach in Bali – Nusa Dua! 😀

I have no conclusion for my flight experience, but all I can say that Garuda Indonesia service is always remarkable each flight. I always get some new experiences which is different from any other flights!! 🙂

Next trip:

Jakarta – Dubai – Amsterdam – Paris – Rome ( December 2012)

Jakarta – Shanghai – Beijing – Jakarta ( March 2013)

Jakarta – Seoul – Jakarta (June 2013)