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Maratua: Land Exploration
It's not all only about the beach
Haji Mangku Lake - It's not only about beaches, it is about lakes, ponds, caves & many more!
The other reason why my excitement level is nurtured well in Maratua is because this island is not only about beaches. Grab a bike or motorcycles from the locals & you will be amazed with various astonishment which Maratua could provide. I am not sure about the bike but renting a motorcycle for a day costs you 150k IDR.
Getting a guide is also a good idea since some of the attraction points are located remotely inside the jungle. Guide is usually priced around 150k - 200k / a day. Just contact the person in charge for your homestay / room to check or plan your land trip. Anyway, whatever arrangement that you prefer, it is suggested that you deliberately set up one whole day only for land exploration in Maratua.
Night at Maratua, with the stars cover all the sky.
Getting there ~
After finish your visit at Sembat Cave, you will need to get back again to the north and park your vehicle just before you cross the river via a long narrow bridge from Bohe Silian village. From there you can continue your trip by walking but be reminded that you can only visit this lake (actually it is not a lake, it is more than looked as a pond. But locals always call it lake) during the low tide window. Otherwise, you can only reach there by using speedboat which can cost you much more money especially if you are having a solo trip.
Haji Mangku's trail alongside the beach during low tide. During my visit (Oct - Nov), the low tide window occurs between 11AM to 2PM.
Keep walking for another 15 minutes by the sea-shore until you can find an abandoned wooden pier which is protruding from the jungle side. Climb that small cliffs then head your way through the forest for another 6 minutes. The lake - or pond - is supposed to be not far from there.
Honestly, I’d recommend you to bring a guide or at least someone that knows about this location in order to avoid lost. Above markings are easy to recognise but those were only there during my visit last time. I mean, I couldn’t guarantee that the wooden pier is still there during the time you visit Maratua. There is also no exact path that will lead you to the pond when you were crossing the jungle. This can potentially make a confusion or worse, you can get lost inside the jungle if you head for a wrong marking. Therefore, get an accompany for a safer & fun travel.
Once you arrive there, the first thing that you need to do is Jump !
The pond itself is not much different with Sembat’s, both are amazing. The colours turn out to be a magnificent blue while the sky is clear and the sun is right on top of us. The best entry is certainly by jump! For exit, just swim across the small cave and you will be on the other side of the pond where there is a climb-able cliff available to get you to the ground.
Haji Mangku Lake
I start my excursions by going to the most southern village in land, which is Bohe Silian Village to visit Sembat Cave. At this case, you will pass the airport construction site then keep going south until you reach Payung-Payung Village. Heading more to the south until you arrive at the village and once you are already there, then ask the locals about this cave whereabouts. Actually the place is quite easy to recognise since there is a street mark available that will direct you to the alley to where Sembat Cave is located.
Walk for 10 minutes & you will finally arrive to the first Maratua wonders. This small cave with the blue lagoon on the end side is simply looked amazing before my eyes. Pay for one jump there to make sure that this memory will be stamped well deep inside your mind. Don’t bathe too long here since you still have several awesome ponds which yet you need to visit.
Sembat Cave - The first Maratua wonder, yeah I'd love to say that since the cave & its pond is really awarding !
From the main street, walk about 10 minutes through the limestone forest. But don't worry, there is a small path on the middle so it won't get you lost.
That Hidden Cave
I believe that this cave is quite impossible to reach without any assistance from the locals. Well, even only a few locals which know this cave whereabouts. Sukur is located deep inside the forest without any traceable path. Hopefully a development will take place and this cave becomes easier for access.
I went there with a group of 4 local teens. Initially, I had a chat with the homestay owner and he was then introduced me to his son - Dandi - who agreed to bring me around the island for this land trip. And for this one, he even brought more friend - which ended up for 4 of them - because he also didn’t know it well were the exact location of this Sukur Cave. Basically, more eyes mean more opportunities to get to the correct way.
Even though we have 8 local eyes already, still we got lost during our way there to Sukur Cave.
We parked our vehicle on the sideway before the jungle - not far away from Teluk Harapan village. Then we blindly take about 20 minutes walk going through Maratua Karst Jungle. After that, the group was dispersed & they asked me to wait there for awhile. In other words, we were lost.
I spent about 15 minutes awaiting for them to get a good news whether we found the cave or we need to return back to the village. Then someone yelled from afar, claiming that he made to get to the cave. Directed by his voice, we were heading there together for another 15 minutes walk and voila, we finally get to Sukur Cave!
How on earth they could detect this kind of cave inside a green tropical forest when the cave is just looked like as a hole. It is not a huge hole from the surface and there is no single alley or path that lead to this hidden cave. I really amazed the boys. Afterwards, we turned on our torches and we were slowly going under. It was totally dark there but I spotted another blue lagoon available on its base. The cave is short, only about 20 meters with a beautiful stalagmite crafted on its walls. Then, 2 of my new Maratua friends started to take out their T-Shirts and do another jump.
My guides, as well as my friends, during the whole land exploration in Maratua.
What an outstanding scenic view. The pond boasted its clear blue water even though it was only lit by a minor sunlight that could breach in through a small rock gaps on its ceiling. It is a happiness when I know that the earth can be this beautiful. Later that day, we walked back to our motorbikes were and then continue our way to Maratua Port which is located north of Tanjung Harapan Village, where we spent for another 30 minutes for sunset celebration. Such a sweet day !
Where to go next?
Apart from above detailed explanation which I personally consider as a special spot, there are still another interesting destination that you can try for. Batu Payung, a rock which is shaped like an umbrella, is located in Payung-Payung village & some locals said that this is one of Maratua historical site. As I stated earlier, Maratua also has a jellyfish lake which is called “Haji Buang” Lake. The location is not far from my homestay but during my season, the path was temporarily blocked by the airport construction works so I was not able to pay it a visit.
Going up to the north and just before Maratua Guest House - a resort which is owned by Junaidi - you can find another lake which stores another freshness. Head for the most southern part of this lake to get the most exotic view. Another jump will not cost you a sin. Afterwards, we passed another miles up to the north to arrive at Maratua Port. Dandi said that this spot is good for fishing as well as to witness a beautiful sunset. Such a romantic spot he said. Lovely!
Batu Payung Beach - An attraction & a historical site which is located on Payung-Payung village.
Since Maratua structures are consisted of Karst, no wonder that there are plenty of caves & underground ponds available for your exploration. That’s why I have said it before that getting a guide shall be totally worth since you’ll be able to manage a full day journey to explore its land jewelries. Get a boat and you can even explore further to the east for Bakungan Island. Surely, you will always find a new way to discover here in Maratua because the island is not much touched - at least until this year.
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