IF YOU are wondering where Lampung is, it’s the province at the southwestern end of Sumatra Island, facing Java Island. It may not be on your radar when it comes to traveling to Indonesia, as Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bali are the more popular destinations, yet Lampung has so much to offer.
Lampung, where the volcano Krakatau is located, has many natural attractions – mountains, smaller islands, rivers, waterfalls, and forests. We came to the province’s capital, Bandar Lampung, through an overnight train from Palembang, South Sumatra. We stayed for two days and a night at the Emersia Hotel and Resort, which offers a breathtaking scenery of Bandar Lampung and the coast, before we proceeded by bus and ship to Jakarta.
It was an adrenaline-rush morning adventure in Tangkil Island. Getting there, we had to take an hour-ride from Bandar Lampung to Mutun Coast and then five minutes to cross the sea to the island. Naldo, the owner of the island, personally picked us from the coast and took us on his speed boat to Tangkil. The white sand beach stood out in contrast to the blue waters surrounding it. After exploring a portion of this tiny piece of beauty, we rode one of the inflatables and braved the waves as the speed boat took us around the bay. It was a fun morning, which we capped with a delicious lunch of seafood and vegetables served on banana leaves, like our version of a boodle fight.
One of the popular destinations in the province is the Way Kambas National Park, located in East Lampung. It is home to Sumatran elephants, tigers, and rhinoceroses and various animal and plant species. The Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, which is a breeding center, is found inside the park, but it was off-limits to visitors at the time when we were there. Instead, we made our way to the Elephant Conservation Centre where hundreds of elephants are housed. An elephant hospital was also set up in the compound to oversee ailing elephants.
One of the interesting sites we visited was the Taman Purbakala Pugung Raharjo in East Lampung. It is where megalithic stones are found. Stones are arranged in a quirky way and we weren’t allowed to step inside the stone formation. Within the formation were long rocks standing upright like phallic symbols. Within the site was also the Punden Berundak, which is a sacred mound used for religious ceremonies. In the vicinity is a natural spring that flows to a pool, used for royalties. The site is cloaked in mystery and I wonder how it was used in the olden days.
If there is anything delightful in Lampung, it’s coffee would be at the top of the list. We had fine Robusta Lampung coffee at the Cikwo Coffee and Resto where we ate traditional Lampung cuisine, including the Seruit, which is a mixture of fish, sambal, and a few ingredients like Tempoyak, or fermented durian. No need to fret because the fermented durian doesn’t have a smell, interestingly. Another café where we spent our afternoon snacks was El’s Coffee, where they process and serve their coffee in the most interesting way. We had Mochatella where the coffee was served as frozen cubes. They also had ice-drip technology as a way of brewing coffee.
How about you? Are you ready to brave and enjoy the waves, the wild, the mysteries and the delights of Lampung?
All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels blog.