It takes more than 7 hours from Malang to Situbondo, to finally we see the forest as a part of Baluran National Park. In total, we need around 30 hours from Jakarta to Baluran. A very long journey, indeed.
Time already 7 pm but no light at all on the street makes it look like time already 11 pm or more. We try to drive around the forest to find the entry gate, but darkness makes us difficult to find the gate.
Finally we see one place that has a lighting. We guess, that it may be a guard house or an officer post or something like that. We stop, then me and my friend, Indra, decide to go out and find out what kind of a place is it, also try to find someone who can asked about the direction to reach the entry gate of the National Park.
Once I close the car’s door, I feel so spooky outside! The house is not more than a small wood house. There’s no a sign of people around and suddenly the light looks a bit blurry than we saw before when we found the house on our first sight. The noise from some leaves and branches move by the wind such as a special music background that make the place looks even scarier. After make sure no one around, I am hurry back to the car. This moment feels like in the movie “I still know what you did last Summer.” But I don’t expect anyone comes in front of us with a bloody axe!
We drive forward try to find another clue of the entry gate. Finally we saw another forest officer house but now with a man sitting on a chair. We stop because we believe this time, someone is able to answer our question. Because of their direction, thank God, we finally find the gate.
After pay only 2.500 rupiah/each person and 6.000/for the car (I know it’s so cheap!) then we have to drive inside around 10 km more to find the guesthouse in Bekol. We just booked the guesthouse on our way to Baluran from Malang, we are lucky because there’s an available house for us. First we want to camp outdoor with a flysheet, but later we think that’s impossible since many wild animals around the forest. Better a place with a permanent roof and walls. We don’t want to wake up in the morning with wild bulls eating our flesh, hahaha.
Another bumpy road welcoming us. This time, we should be careful and just follow the road, no matter many hole fill with rain water along the way, we have to drive straight, that’s the suggestion from the Officer. If we try to avoid the hole and drive to the left or right, he afraid then later, our wheels will be stuck in mud or we lost inside of the forest. We rent an “Avanza” car, not the off-road kind of car, but it’s able to bring us arrive in Bekol, applause! Even we had a bit situation when the wheels finally stuck in the mud in front of the guesthouse when pak Bambang, the driver, try to park the car.
It’s quite surprising us when we see the guesthouse. It costs Rp. 400.000/night (it’s like per-person we pay about Rp. 58.000 only). With 1 huge living room, 2 bedroom (1 with air-con, 1 not), 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen, complete with all the household stuff such as stove, gas, plate, bowl, spoon, etc etc. Also there is a hanger for hang our clothes and a broom.
I know this stuff not sounds so necessary and very common in one’s house. But when you are on a trip, those simple stuff can be amazing blessing to make us comfort and happy. For example, we just cook hot water to eat our instant noodles and make coffee. Heaven’s coming! And you will not believe how many snacks we bring on this trip. On our way, every time we look on a supermarket, we just stop and buy snack again, again and again, lol.
The water also overwhelmed, we take shower in hurry, because electricity will be turn off at 11 pm, as normally happens in National Park here, they only have limited electricity because they use a diesel genset.
After shower, we go out to see the stars. They are so many. Many! As I never seen in Jakarta as many stars as I see there. But except stars, also another thing that many outside the house. Mosquitoes! I try to cover my skin with mosquito repellent, it doesn’t work that long. So we prefer to go back inside the house.
While we are sitting on the living room, busy talking and eat the snacks, my friend (again, Indra) who still outside, shout to us, “Hey, I see a wild bull in front of me,” I am rushing go to his place and try to see around, but the blackness make me not see anything that clear, but I see a shadow back the tree, and there’s a wild bull standing there and see us. We are afraid, and I bet, the bull too! I just quietly go back inside, I don’t want to make any incidents by taking his attention and make he hit us with his horns.
Our night is ended, since we wanna wake up in early morning to catch the sunrise on Bama beach, we prefer to directly sleep when the electricity finally shut down at 11 pm. It’s totally darkness and in a good way, it helps us to sleep easily.
If you want to visit Baluran National park, here is the address and phone you can contact : Jl. Raya Situbondo-Banyuwangi KM. 35 Desa Wonorejo, Kec. Banyuputih Kab. Situbondo. Phone : +62333-461650.