Thursday, 10 September 2015

What to Do in Saumlaki, Indonesia

Saumlaki is the main town in the island of Tanimbar. Honestly, unless you are here for work, there is little to attract you here. The facilities are still limited, and the locals are not as friendly as the ones in major cities or towns around Indonesia. However, if you happened to be in town, then this would probably serve to help you out when looking for places to visit during your down time. Do note that these are pretty limited as this town is still basically starting out. The few rows of shophouses can probably attest to that. Most food and products are still more expensive than what you would find in Ambon, a slightly bigger town.

During my stay, we rented a small van (public bus?) which is open-air and can fit about 12 of us. LOL. Usually locals just hailed any passing ones and pay a small amount of money to hitch a ride basically to anywhere they want. We chose one that looked reasonably well-maintained and off we go! Just for your info, the van took us for a whole day and excluding fuel, we paid only about USD 30. Fuel costed about USD 5-7 then.

Our first stop was a small village called Tumbur. This is somewhere along the road heading to Larat. The journey was quite long as the van was not exactly comfortable with the lot of us, but we managed. *grim smile* Tumbur is actually famous for its woodcarving and upon our arrival when they found we were not locals, the amount of people rushing out their wares to sell was quite…mind blowing. They also have weaved products and those are known as “ikat”-weaving. It is similar to Sarawak’s (Malaysia) “kain pua” weaved by the local people (Iban). Personally, maybe because I have seen similar products in my own hometown of Miri, Sarawak, I did not feel overly impressed with the wood works. The foreigners (non-Asians) in our group on the other hand seemed really taken in by the locals’ works and paid up quite a hefty some for some carved figurines (patung “Tumbur”) and ship models after bargaining. Haha I would probably bargain some more but I guess for them the price was pretty cheap due to their currency.

Check out some of their works:

The Tumbur-weaving I mentioned
One of the houses we went into to check out their wares
Our next stop was a small river on the way to Pantai Weluan, a pretty empty beach very far down. The road was no longer tarred the nearer we went to the beach so the journey was quite tedious. The small river is quite pretty with its greenish water (eutrophication, perhaps?) and we took a few shots before heading back to our van. I was quite hesitant to loiter around there. Somehow, images of crocodiles coming up from the river popped into my mind. Shhh!

The must go in Saumlaki according to our van driver cum tour guide is their statue of Jesus located on a hill in the Olilit village. We spent about an hour climbing up to the statues, taking different photos of the few statues of Jesus. This is their largest Catholic church in the area and a mass was in session when we were there. The church-goers were mostly friendly and curious about the group of tourists who were gawking around and taking photos of everything that remotely resembled anything. The view from the hill overlooked a distant beach and was very picturesque. The statue of Jesus was aptly named “Kristus Raja” literally translated from Christ is King.


 Next up, we were off to the beach. Finally! Here the guys spent some time running around in the water -.-“”” while the rest of us decided on a more dignified approach. Well, if you can call scooping up big mouthful of “rojak” (a mixture of local fruits in a paste of freshly ground peanut, tamarind juice, and brown sugar) using tiny plastic spoons as fast as we could into our mouth anywhere near the epitome of dignity. LOL. What? We were hungry after the whole afternoon of bumping around on the pock-marked roads in tightly enclosed space.

All in all, it was a pretty fun day with lots of laughter mixed in even though I was a little carsick by the end of the day. Will I come back? Probably not, unless it is for work. :)

No comments :

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...