Arriving at Sumatra during the Ramadan was an odd experience after an overnight tiring bus-ferry-bus trip from Jakarta.
In the morning, the Teluk Betung, the older part of Bandar Lampung, that we can call the center, looked more like an abandon city, with the streets almost empty of traffic and people, closed shops and restaurants, empty markets… a feeling of numbness that wrap this place on the first day of the Ramadan, a totally opposite image of the usual pace of an Indonesian city.
But Bandar Lampung is far from be appealing for a tourist, but is not totally deprived of interesting things, like the Vihara Thay Hin Bio an old Chinese Buddhist Temple, where the quietness and solemnity of the place is surrounded by the red color that dominates all the interior of the temple, where huge candles burn permanently. This is the core of the Chinese neighbourhood, a community that settles down in Indonesia during the Dutch colonisation.
Visiting the Pasar Ikan Gudang Lelang, a fish market nearby the Impoverished port area gives another vibe, where the activity is still going on. Despite the slow pace, resulting from fasting that is observed during the Ramadan by the Muslim people, roughly from sunrise until sunset, the harbour are was the most vibrant place in Bandar Lampung during the day, where smiles peek from everywhere.
But as the sun reach the zenith all the city change, and lots of people move around, looking for the Ramadan treats to breaks the fast. The ground in front of Pasar Seni gets fill with the smell of the food, that a delight for the senses and a temptation for the stomach.
And just in front of the temple is the Aneka Sari Rasa, a keripik shop famous in town!! Kiripik is a typical Indonesian snack, a kind of chips made from banana, cassava, sweet potato or even jackfruit… and apparently Bandar Lampung is famous for the Kiripik. At the Aneka Sari Rasa, a shop dedicated almost totally to this chips you can find all the different versions, from sweet to salty, from chocolate to strawberry flavors… and there are dozens of workers there (in Europe for a shop like this you’ll don’t have more than two employees) willing to sell you something and super excited to have a foreigner there… It was impossible to resist to such an earnest and kind staff, and I end up with some packs of pisang kipirik, banana chips! Enak!!
Where to sleep at Bandar Lampung:
The Guest House Palapa is more a hotel than a guesthouse, but offer good conditions to spend one night, modern and very clean; it has with different types of room, some with shared toilet. The breakfast is included but I left too early to try it. Some rooms don’t have a window but all rooms have air-conditioner, but considering the location nearby the main road is better like that. There are single rooms (100.000 Rp), shared toilet and without window but with air-conditioner.
The staff is friendly but don’t speak much English but will try the best to help you, although it looks that they are not used to receive foreigners and maybe will be difficult to get information.
If you are coming from the East (Java or Bakauheni) you probably pass by Tugu Adipura (also called simply “tugu”), a crossroad with elephant statues playing football in the center of the roundabout. From here you just need to walk 200 meters to reach Guest House Palapa.
Address: Jl. P. Diponegoro No.154-156, Enggal, Bandar Lampung
Contact: (0721) 261617
Guest House Palapa: room prices[/span6][/columns]
Arriving at Bandar Lampung:
If you are coming from Java you’ll probably arrive at terminal Tanjung Karang.
If you are coming from Padang, Bengkulu or Krui you’ll probably arrive at Terminal Rasabaja.
From any of these terminals, there are public buses locally called “angkot”, a minivan, usually very, old with a big sound system. The colour of the angkot is according to the route they do. A trip in one of this angkot cost you around 5.000 Rp.
Maybe you need to take more than one to reach your destination, but the drivers will help even if they don’t speak any English, dropping you into the right place and pointing you the next angkot. I found the drivers at Bandar Lampung very friendly and honest!!!
There are also buses, green colour, modern and with air-con. To go from Tugu Square to Terminal Rasabaja you can take one of these buses to the center of Bandar Lampung.
How to go from Bandar Lampung to Krui:
From the Terminal Rasabaja, there are public buses to Krui. Is very difficult to get precise information about schedules.
At the terminal, you need to look for the PO. Krui Putra office where you can buy the bus ticket to Krui (phone number: 0812.7202.2251). It wasn’t clear but I think they sell tickets for different bus companies.
I took the Metra Sari. It departure at 7 a.m. and arrive at Krui around 2.30 p.m. The ticket cost 70.000 Rp. The Metra Sari has a very old bus, without air-con… thankfully it was a cloudy day, but still it ends up being a very tiring trip, particularly slow when the bus reaches a mountain area where the road gets very steep and winding.
I heard the later other companies have better buses (green colour) with air-con, but couldn’t get any information about this service to Krui.
There isn’t a bus terminal in Krui, so you can just ask the driver to stop anywhere you want, along with the main road.