Last weekend I went to Cirebon with my colleagues. We went there by Cirebon Express train from Gambir on Friday evening. We arrived in Cirebon at around 9 PM.
From the station, we walked for about 3 minutes to Hotel Slamet. The architecture and interior style are like those in the 1970’s. The room and bathroom were clean enough by my standard ^_^.
After we put our things in our rooms, we went outside, looking for supper. Near the hotel, there was a porridge shop but we skipped that one and went to a small warteg across the street that opens round the clock.
Some people said that warteg is the original Indonesian fast food. All you need to do is point your finger at the food that you want to eat and the warteg operator will put it on your plate and serve it to you. Then, you go to your seat (you could sit in front of the food racks and take more portion while you eat if you want to do so) and enjoy the meal. After you finish everything, you go to the warteg operator and mention everything that you have eaten and he/she will calculate how much that you have to pay. Rice and hot tea are free. You can eat & drink as much as you want. Amazing, right? kekekeke.
While walking back to the hotel, we stopped by at a small stall on the side of the street to have our second part of dinner. Hehehe. It was 30 minutes before midnight. We ordered tempe medoan. This small stall had several unique variations of tempe mendoan beside the original one. There were tempe mendoan with egg, with chicken, with sausage and with cheese.
After finishing the tempe, we went back to our rooms and rested.
The next morning, I woke up early and took a walk to the train station and took some pictures.
When I was taking pictures, one of the officers at the train station came to me and we talked a bit. He said that he was shy to be photographed because he never looked good in the pictures. Hehehe. Then I asked him about the train. While in Gambir, I noticed that the final destination for Cirebon Express was Tegal. The officer said that several services of Cirebon Express in a day go to Tegal as well.
We also chatted about the station building. It’s an old one but well maintained except for a part in the upper wall. The officer said that there’s a leak on the wall but they were still unable to pinpoint the source. They tried to re-plaster the wall but every time the rain pours down, the wall starts to leak again.
This blue car is called angkot. Angkot is an abbreviation for Angkutan Kota or City Transportation. There were a lot of angkot in Cirebon with several routes. Different number goes to different route (in this picture, the number is D5). But according to one of the angkot drivers, even though there are designated routes for each number, the angkot can run freely outside their designated routes. So if you don’t book a car to go around the city, you can just stop an empty angkot and negotiates the price with the angkot driver to rent his service to the places that you want to go. The fee per ride per person is around IDR 3k – 5k. One agkot can carry up to 12 passengers. So if you want to rent the angkot, the fee will be around IDR 40k – 60k per destination – depends on the distance and your negotiation skill ^_^.
After the walk, I went back to the hotel and met some of my colleagues in front of it. They were on their way to the porridge shop near the hotel for second helping of the breakfast (the hotel provided breakfast: a portion of Nasi Uduk per person and it was delivered to each room at the requested time – the night before, we were asked about what time that we wanted the breakfast to be served). I went there with them and had a portion of green beans porridge.
Back at the hotel, we packed our things and checked out. Then we moved to Amaris hotel (a budget hotel chain operated by Santika Group) across the street. We just wanted to feel sleeping at a more modern hotel for our last night in Cirebon. After we finished the check in procedure, we went to explore Cirebon.
Our first destination was Keraton Kanoman (Kanoman Palace). We were told to take angkot no 6 from across the street (from in front of Hotel Selamet). We told the angkot driver that we want to go to Pasar Kanoman (Kanoman Market) and asked him to let us know when we arrived there. It was a short ride for about 5 minutes. We paid IDR 3k per person.
At the junction where the angkot driver told us to get off, we looked around for the sign to the market and finally asked a local person to show us the way. It was a very hot morning and I wished I brought my sunglasses.
After walking for about 3 minutes, we arrived at the market street. It was a busy market street with lots of local delicacies as well as fresh vegetables and fruits. It was quite a challenge to walk among the vendors, becak and other people.
After another 3 minutes, we saw a small road on the right side with an arch. My friend asked one of the locals and he told us to go through that small road to reach the Keraton Kanoman. There were market buildings on each side of the road and this small road was even more jammed than the big one.
At the end of the road, there was a gate with big yard but there wasn’t any sign whether this was the gate of the palace. We looked around and assumed that this was the right one and went ahead. At the inner side of the gate, we saw a terrace with blue posts and blue ceilings attached to a building. There was a big yard and big trees that shades the yard from the scorching sun.
An old man came to us and welcomed us to Keraton Kanoman. He said that unlike the other palaces in Cirebon, visitor can visit this one for free. He told us that the royal family still live inside the Keraton. Wow.
This Keraton has a building that housed the royal family treasures. It was locked and the old man offered to open the lock if we want to see them. But we declined his offer and enjoyed the shade while taking pictures.
It was about 10 minutes walk (perhaps it was shorter but it felt longer because of the sun) from Keraton Kanoman to the more famous Keraton Kasepuhan. The access to Keraton Kasepuhan was a lot easier. It has a wide road and parking space for buses. When we arrived there, there were buses from out of town carrying students on their school field trip. Here, we have to buy a ticket. IDR 8k for Indonesian adult and IDR 10k for foreigner.
There were 3 buildings inside the Keraton complex. The main building (shown above) was where you could see the antique furniture from a doorway as what these students did:
The building that housed the royal treasures were on the right side of the main building. Inside this building there were antique things and several ‘guides’ would politely asked you to leave money. They said that the money would be used to maintain the treasures. Hemmm….
Outside the Keraton complex, we took a rest while drinking cendol with young coconut flesh and brown sugar syrup. While my colleagues ordered the drinks, I went to the ticketing office and ask the lady officer there on how to reach Trusmi. Trusmi is a village about 20 minutes from the city that is well known for the Batik. The lady said that we should walk or ride a becak for IDR 5k if it was too tiring to walk to the main street. From there, we should take angkot and get off at the village gate.
After drinking the cendol, we walked to the main street and my colleague decided to rent an angkot to take us to Trusmi. We stopped an empty angkot and my friend negotiated the price with the driver. He agreed to take us to Trusmi with a stop to have lunch at a restaurant on the way there for IDR 70k – at first he asked for IDR 100k but he finally agreed at IDR 70k after we convinced him that we wouldn’t take a long time at lunch.
We had lunch at Empal Gentong H.Apud. Empal Gentong is the local food of Cirebon. It’s a beef soup with coconut juice in its soup base. Another variation is called Empal Asem – beef soup with clear soup base.
It was a short ride from the restaurant to the village. If you want to go to Trusmi by angkot, you’ll have to walk quite far from the village gate to the Batik outlets. Seeing that it was a long walk from the main street to the heart of the village, we decided to re-negotiate the angkot rent price with the driver. He agreed to wait for us shopping and took us back to our hotel for another IDR 50k. So the total agreed price was IDR 120k.
There were a lot of Batik outlets in this village. We chose to go to the wholesale center. It was a big 1 story building with adequate air conditioners. We spent about 2 hours there. There were a lot of Batik varieties with various styles and qualities. The price for Batik shirt started from as low as IDR 40k. A silk Batik shawl was only IDR 35k.
While waiting for my colleagues to finish their shopping, I noticed that the owner of the store hold a world record for the youngest person owning a large wholesale batik store at 22 years old. Another interesting things to see inside the store was the big pillars with Korean celebrities posters wearing Batik.
Back at the hotel, we rested for about 1.5 hour and then we went to PGC by angkot no 6 from across the street. PGC is a market building at the city center. We went to a souvenir shop there that sells local delicacies such as Krupuk Melarat (colorful crackers that taste somewhere between too salty and too sweet), Gapit, Tjampolay Syrup, etc.
Then, we went back to the hotel by angkot no 5 to put away the bulky Krupuk Melarat and other souvenirs that we bought.
We had dinner at Nasi Jamblang Mang Dul that was located across the street from Grage Mall. We took angkot no 5 to get there. Nasi Jamblang is a portion (a small one) of rice wrapped in teak leaves. There were numerous dishes available to choose to eat with the rice – mostly were fried such as fried tempe, fried tofu, fried mashed potato (Perkedel), etc.
After dinner, we went to the tempe mendoan stall near the hotel. The one that we also visited the night before. This time we only ordered the original tempe mendoan and we also ordered grilled banana with cheese and grilled toasts with cheese from the stall nearby stall.
That’s how we spent 2 nights and a day in Cirebon.