Indonesia Day 4
Part of my original itinerary was to climb Mt. Merapi, but I ended up canceling it. Just by observing the everyday weather (temperature), I knew it gets terribly cold in the mountains and I was unprepared for that. I wanted to replace my hiking plan with another outdoor activity. Looking at the tourist map, the closest ones will be Parangtritis Beach (28 kms) and Cerme Cave (22 kms). But the beach didn't appeal that much to me, so I asked my friend Zakiy about the other options I have and asked him for directions. Apparently, they are quite difficult to get to and there are no direct buses going there. Again, the "damsel" was saved "in distress". He offered to just take me to them places. I never wanted to take too much of his time again like what happened the other day. But a few minutes later, he's already in the hotel picking me up.
Before I rode the bike, he smiled and asked "You don't ride motorbikes in the Philippines, right?" I answered "Yeah". I mentioned that to him the first time he took me for a ride. And he knew that our trip to Solo the other day was the longest I've ever been on a motorbike. I had no idea that we are going to have an even wilder ride that day. Maybe that was the other reason too why he brought me a different helmet. Devious guy haha. I unknowingly subjected him again to another long drive. It is 50 kms going to Gunung Kidul where the caves and the beaches are. He told me it's shorter in distance compared to Solo but he never mentioned that the roads are more dangerous!
|Jogja to Gunung Kidul|
Gunung Kidul literally means South Hills. It is in the southeastern part of Jogja. It is a karst region which means majority of it is made up of limestone hills. That is also why there are presence of numerous caves in the area. Soon enough we were traversing up and down the winding roads of southern Jogja with heaps of full sharp curves. My daredevil driver was even overtaking big buses and fully loaded trucks in blind curves. Geez. I don't even have a travel insurance! My Mom won't let me travel alone anymore if she knew what I've been doing! But that was so thrilling and fun! ;) The way going there is also very scenic. The limestone formations, the teak tree forest, the lush plantations and the wind across your face, uh-mazing! The jitters and the joy at the same time are pure ecstasy.
|it's so un-paired! ;)|
We made it to the base camp in an hour. Woot! The life-threatening journey has paid off haha. I guess if we were in a car, it'll be half an hour more. Among the options offered, we just took the Goa Pindul and Goa Sriti Package. Goa is the Bahasa Indonesia word for "cave".
|ready to go|
We were just five in our group. We were with three local buddies. I spotted just a few foreigners. Aside from me, there were just two European young girls and one Chinese family. There were two guides assigned in our group.
|here we go guys!|
We entered the cave through the river. It's an underground river similar to what we have in Puerto Princesa, Palawan only way smaller and narrower. It is 350 meters long.
That was how dark it is without the camera flash, as in super dark.
|now with flash|
You have to be careful in some parts inside the cave or else your head might hit some of the stalactites. It is very dark inside. You will only see what's being lighted by the guides' lamps.
There are many interesting formations inside the cave and a lot of bats too. Unfortunately, the guide only speaks Bahasa so I can't tell many things about the cave. My friend just translates everything to me.
Before passing through the exit, there's a large chamber with a big hole. This part is also swimmable because it has a deeper water level.
You can leave your tubes and swim on your own in this part of the cave. Well, I am a non-swimmer so I just stayed floating there hehe.
|define chill :)|
My crazy swimmer friend dived from the cliff inside the cave. Now I understand why he wants to take a break from writing his papers haha.
|look who's enjoying here|
It took us 45 minutes to finish this course.
|Goa Pindul exit behind us|
That was a fun and refreshing activity. We enjoyed it a lot! Next is cave spelunking! :)
Not too far from Goa Pindul, we were transported to the jump off point of Sriti Cave. You will be provided with helmets before you proceed to the cave.
|ready for the next adventure|
You have to trek for about 15 minutes before you reach the actual cave entrance. At that time, it was only us who enlisted for this activity so we only have one guide.
|easy, very easy|
|then it's gets more exciting|
The trail was easy. The only thing that makes it difficult is the darkness. We only have one light which is coming from the guide's tiny head lamp.
|my friend always behind me|
There are also parts of the cave that has deep waters. The water here was so much colder than in Pindul. Well, this is an enclosed cave all the way. No slightest amount of sunshine penetrates here.
|where we at now?|
It's an exciting cave I must say. It's a series of dry and wet courses, of narrow and wide pathways.
|it's like a huge hand grabbing you from above|
I actually didn't know how lovely this is cave is until I saw the photos. It was too dark inside for me to see everything hehe.
I was just happy and thankful that our guide loves to take so many pictures haha. Terima kasih!!! :)
|blind in the dark|
The cave is 100 meters long and it took us about an hour to finish spelunking.
Like the other places in Yogyakarta, there are also stories and legend about this place. They say the King has hidden in this cave during the Dutch colonialization. Another story is about a King who became a bird and a rock. Too many Javanese folklores.
|swimming in a cave? why not?|
This by far was the highest level of water inside the cave. I asked the guide if it gets any higher than this, but he said it doesn't. I'm not sure if he just doesn't want to scare me haha. It's the first cave I've been to with water that high. It wasn't alarming though. It's very safe.
|yey! we made it!|
Then the 100 meters was over. Zakiy was asking me if I'm okay. Well of course, I was. This was nothing compared to the 4 hours of spelunking in Sagada and the more rigid cave in Islas de Gigantes in Iloilo (both in the Philippines).
We were transported back to the base camp after this. They have bathrooms there where you can take a shower and change your clothes. About my oversized one shoe (Size 9), no it didn't slip off my foot. I survived those two caves without losing it haha.
If you're seeking for adventure and outdoor activities in Jogja (aside from hiking Merapi), I recommend you to try this! It's an invigorating break from the temples and the sight seeing tours. Then, time to head to the beach! :)
What to bring:
1) Extra set of clothes
2) Headlamp or torch light
3) Waterproof camera (but a regular camera will do, the guides are expert on handling your cameras without getting it wet)
4) Toiletries and towel, they don't provide these.
Address: Karangmojo, Beriharjo, Gunung Kidul
Contact No: (0274) 7138725; 0813 9276 7101
Rates: Goa Pindul - Rp 30,000; Goa Sriti - Rp 25,000
Note: Their website is in Bahasa Indonesia.
“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands but a continent that joins to them.” ~Francis Bacon