Sempu Island: A Tour to Remember!!

Vpeee, it seems we are quite late now. We will not be able to return back tonight”, I was visibly distressed!!

Cheer up Man!! We will find something, it’s just 6:00 PM “, Vishnu was still sure we could get something to return back to Malang.

No buddy, there’s no public transportation available now; every other option in this small village are closed!” I emphasized even more and gave him a reason to give it a thought.

From then an endless walk started in search of some means to get ourselves back to our Hostel in Malang.

This is just an initial excerpt from one of our “Tours went wrong” conversation from Indonesia.

We were in Malang district and travelling our way back to Sempu Island, “A small Island famous for its serene Lagoon and Jungle trail” in the Eastern region of Java. Follow my post here, to reach Sempu Island without any Guided Tour.

This is what bring us to Sempu Island...
This is what bring us to Sempu Island…

Sendang Biru Village!!

Sempu Island is accessed through the harbor of Sendang Biru village. It is a small village with not so good connectivity with Malang as discussed in my previous post . Though we were not sure of the same and ended up making our tour quite adventurous.

We started our tour quite late but we were determined to enjoy every aspect of the beautiful Island. We reached back to the village by 5:30 PM. And the disaster happened – the last Angkot (shared bus) to Malang had left already for Turen.

Harbor Area – Sedang Biru

Though we were still relaxed; we were under the impression of getting at least something, even if that could be costly to take us to Malang.

We saw a Tour bus in the Harbor area, and asked if they can help us in dropping down to Turen. It turned out to be an Indonesian government tour bus heading in the direction of Malang.

But, then the answer came out as NO!!

It was 6:00 PM by then already; and that is when I literally panicked and had that conversation.

A long Walk!!

A small village in developing economies are usually characterized by power cuts. Witnessing the same in Indonesia under our pressured circumstances was just a thorn getting deeper in the flesh.

We were walking down the village, waving every passing vehicle in the hope of some help. The evening was getting darker after every passing moment and we were losing all our hope.

Sedang Biru Police Station - This way lead to Harbor
Sedang Biru Police Station – This way lead to Harbor

As the last resort, we entered Police station, explained our condition in usual sign language and asked, if they could help us.

They could!! (“WOW isn’t it!!”)

Option given was to use Ojek (shared motor Bikes) till Turen. Everything was good, but the problem was myself and Vishnu riding separately on two different bikes, which was the last thing we wished under this situation. Sadly, we had to say no to this solution!!

Riding separately on two different bikes, was the last thing we wished under this situation!!

And the endless walk continued!!

Things getting worse

It was completely dark, village had no power, and we were just using our cell Phone’s torch to march through the village. Even the battery of both of our cell phones after long day was ready to die.

Entry Point to Sempu Island
Entry Point to Sempu Island

Now we took turn; while Vishnu was still asking every passing vehicle for help, I was asking people around if there was any way of reaching Turen. The problem was Language; considering we were in the middle of a small village with people who were not very good in English. It was already 7:30 PM by now.

Ray of Hope – Meeting “Ambir”

Students are usually quite helpful, and the best part is their understanding of English. We were lucky that day. A group of students from Malang were residing in the village for some short project tour.

“Hi! Myself Shashank, we need to reach Turen, Can you help us”, I asked a boy standing along the road.

“Hi! I’m Ambir. You are from India??” He asked in English.

“So, good to meet you Ambir. Do you know English”, I might never have been so glad meeting some stranger as I was that day.

Yes, I do. I am a student from Malang. What is the problem?” he asked himself. We might have appeared perplexed from our faces by then!!

I explained my situation to him. He went inside a small shop and came out in a jiffy. “Shashank, there is a problem. All of us are from outside and we don’t have much idea about this place.” That sounds bit disappointing though!

“But, I suggest you not to leave now, as its dense forest ahead; instead take some Home-stay down in the village and leave early in the morning with first Angkot at 5:00 – 5:30 AM!!”, Ambir added. The suggestion seemed perfect under the given situation.

Even that was a great help. Now we had the idea of morning Angkot timings, and the option of sleeping in at some Home-stay.

Adventure was not over yet!

Some days are designed by the Almighty to test your patience and your ability to get through it. We were going through one such day in our life. From adventurous way of reaching Sempu Island in the morning to our long late night lumbering in the village in an ultimate failed hope of reaching our destination, the story was still in making. We were without water and food for more than 12 hours.

Based on suggestion from “Ambir”, we floundered back to village in search of some Home-stay. But almost all Home-stay were either full or too costly for us to afford, given that our IDR was running out and chances of USD acceptance in village were quite less. Besides, the problem was communication, even if someone wished to help us, explaining him our current situation was our biggest task.

Shower of sweet blessing!

We were negotiating from one Home-stay to another with no resort. As communication was going on with one another Home-stay owner, when a lady jumped in.

“Hi!! Myself Amreen, may I know what’s the problem?” We were amused and happy at the same time. Finally there was someone who could understand us.

I explained our story and she listened to it politely. “Wait for few minutes.”, she told. She had a series of discussions in Bahasa(Indonesian language) with owner there . From their conversation and their changing expressions we could easily make out she was explaining our situation to them.

Can you ride motorbike?” she asked. Though not sure what’s the matter, I answered “Yes, I can”.

Great, take this motorbike and follow us”, pointing towards one of the motorbike. “This Home-stay is full, I will take you to another one within your budget” She explained further on her own. We were overwhelmed getting this sudden help in a foreign country.

Trip making moment!

Home-stay was hardly 200 meters away. Amreen explained our situation to owner Ayik Visel.

Ahhh!!” He sighed, and asked us for our identity cards. “Would you guys still want to go to Malang?”, While grabbing our ID cards, he asked us in broken English. I didn’t understand actually.

Amreen explained “Mr Visel is asking if you would like to go to Malang now?” We were still not sure of this question actually. Mr Visel pointed towards his personal car and asked same question again.

I and Vishnu were perplexed and had a quick eye rolling moment. I immediately asked, “Yes, please!! How much do we have to pay for the drop? ”.

“No!! Tidak ada… Tidak ada”, Mr. Visel told. Amreen quickly translate that for us “Mr Visel is not asking for any money, your drop is for free!

We were not sure of what was going on. I have never seen such a gesture from any stranger in my life. Sadly, such gestures now a days do bring negative thoughts as well regarding the motivation for such offer.

But, Gladly I was not alone to take decision that day. I and Vishnu discussed on this and took a leap of faith.

Thanks a lot sir. That will be a great help for us”; said to Mr Visel by showing our serious gratitude towards his gesture.

Great then, my driver will drop you to Turen. Sit and relax for some time. Have some water, tea, Biscuits”. Ms. Amreen was continuously translating everything for us before she left us biding a good-bye.

Our Saviours : From Right to Left - Myself, Billy, Mrs. Visel, Mr. Visel, Vishnu..
Our Saviours : From Right to Left – Myself, Billy, Mrs. Visel, Mr. Visel, Vishnu

In no time, we were joined by Mrs. Visel and one of the neighbor friend of Mr Viesel “Billy”. Billy was quite fluent in English and we had some amazing time discussing lot of things about Indonesia, India, and fisherman’s life in the Village and what not. Mrs. Viesel even offered us if we would like to freshen up, in case we are feeling tired as journey was another 3 hours from village.

Mr. Visel's Car : Our Wonder Wagon..
Mr. Visel’s Car : Our Wonder Wagon..

Before we actually left, we made few Indonesian friends with whom we would always be in touch. This was a life changing incident actually.

Though, from now on I will make sure to note in advance the last public transportation service from any place i’m visiting.

Did you like this story from my trip? Any comments or any story to share! Please comment and do let all of us know of the same.

Thanks for reading and happy travelling!

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