Early Morning Call for Sunrise at Tugu Rimau, Pagaralam |By 4.15am, we left for Tugu Rimau, a viewing point located at 1,821m above sea level. Automatically, I found myself defying the sleepiness in me because the uphill ride pumped in enough adrenaline to keep me awake. Who would not when you must pass the sharp winding hairpin bends in dark! 40 minutes into the journey, we reached an empty parking area. The skies above were littered with stars. For a second I was contemplating the milky way shot but gave up on the idea for the sun was about to rise. Little by little, the city of Pagaralam revealed herself. Remember, we arrived late at night and had not seen the city proper as just yet. The sun rose behind the cloudy skies, but the light shone over the tea plantations that surrounded Tugu Rimau.
Just before sunrise…
“What is the significance of Rimau (tiger) with this hill?”, I asked Pak Selamat, our tour guide in Pagaralam. Rimau was the mascot for the South Sumatera province when it hosted the National Athletics Event in 2004. Tugu Rimau was the venue for parasailing events and mountain biking. Tugu Rimau is a statue of tiger dressed in the traditional costume of South Sumatera and holding the torch.
Without the egg-yolk sunrise, you can still capture the beauty of Pagaralam tea plantations.
On the way down, we made few stops in between to shoot some photos. During the first stop, we met Ibu Kasinah, a Javanese woman, who was on her way to the plantation to pick the tea leaves. She obligingly agreed to demonstrate the tea-leaves picking as we did what any travel bloggers would. Non-stop shooting…
Further down, I suddenly caught eyes on a dozen of women who shouldered baskets while picking tea leaves. That’s the subjects I have been wanting to photograph. But to reach them, required us to walk through the maze of tea trees and muddy, wet trail.
Tugu Rimau is also a starting point for those interested to hike Mt. Dempo or Gunung Dempo. It is an active volcano with 7 craters and 400m lake. Bucket-listed!
We went back to Villa Gunung Gare to eat breakfast and clean up. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the villa surrounded by tea plantation. We packed up for the next destination in Pagaralam, Air Terjun Tujuh Kenangan. I was hoping for a waterfall within walking distance from the car park. But this one involved 30 minutes trekking to the waterfall, which is known to the locals as Cughup Tujuh Kenangan. The ascent took us through the coffee plantation. Not long, we reached a flat land that provided the view of the nearby jungle. We had to cross few streams by tiptoeing on the rocks. Fairly easy crossing.
There are other waterfalls in Pagaralam that can be visited such as Chugup Mangkuk, Chugup Embun and Chugup Lematang Indah.
Pagaralam surprised me with being the land of thousand megaliths. When I was brought to a paddy field, I was mistaken by the huge stone blocks scattered in the paddy field. (I was not the only one for there were other bloggers who captured the wrong subjects.) Walking through the entrance gate, the cemented path led me to the Tegur Wangi Archaeological Site.
It was predicted that the location was settled by ancient community and used as a place of worship. According to the folklore, the locals held special tradition by offerings of food, flowers, clothes and jewellery.
Although some of the best megaliths from Pagaralam have been kept in National Museum in Jakarta and the Muzium Balaputra Dewa, Palembang, there are many megalith stones either in solitary or in groups, human heads and figures carved on them, three-leg dolmen, stone burial chambers and many stone carvings of humans and animals can be found in Pagaralam. It is believed that the megalith stones may date as far back as A.D. 100. As we did not have much time to visit at least 68 other sites for the megalith stones, we did see plenty in Muzium Balaputra Dewa on the next day.
After spending the day exploring Pagaralam tea plantation, waterfall and megalith stones, it’s time for lunch meal. The owner of Lesehan Lembur Kuring Karjak welcomed us as we disembarked from our coaster. Built in 1999, Lesehan Lembur Kuring Karjak is frequented by many for its gurami or tilapia dishes and for the breathtaking meal over the gazebo above fish pond. From afar, one can enjoy the view of Pagaralam and the mountains.
The owner mentioned few special Pagaralam cuisine served at Lesehan Lembur Kuring Karjak such as ikan gurame asam manis (sweet sour tilapia), gurame bakar (grilled tilapia) and ikan mas masak kuning (goldfish in yellow soup). The set also came with a plate of light brown, crunchy and tasty Sundanese deep-fried tofu known as Tahu Sumedang. Try a bite with the bird’s eye chili!
Before leaving for Lahat, we stopped by at Kebun Jeruk Gergah Sidarhan. I swear I have grown fond of Mandarin Orange Juice during my trip to South Sumatera. With only Rp10,000.00, we were able to roam the farm of 460 mandarin orange trees of 3 species. Batu 55, RGL and Siam Pontianak. You cannot pick the mandarin oranges yourself. But you can buy the mandarin oranges from the plantation at the price of Rp30,000.00 per kilo.
We continued travelling for 2 hours to Lahat, where we would be taking the night train at 10pm. But first, we got to freshen up at Hotel Grand Zuri Lahat. The best hotel in Lahat; the room’s new with fast internet. So, I would definitely recommend staying here for a transit to Pagaralam or Palembang.
To vary our travelling experience in South Sumatera, we took the Sindang Marga night train from Lahat to Palembang. Please don’t be confused. The station in Palembang is known as Kertapati (Kpt). You can buy the train ticket at https://utiket.com.
Lahat train station is rather quiet. We waited for Mbak Esanur to print our train ticket from the kiosk located outside the waiting area. Before entering the waiting area, the train master required our passports to verify the tickets.
The train arrived slightly after 10.35pm. Our seats were in the Executive B coach. The seat was very comfortable. Not long after we were properly seated, the train conductor came to check our tickets and blankets were distributed to everyone in the Executive Coach. It can be very cold in the coach, so consider bringing a jacket with you.
There was also a plug to charge your gadgets for every seat.
Until then, see you in Palembang.
The trip to South Sumatera was made possible by the invitation of Ministry of Tourism Indonesia in conjunction with International Mussi Triboatton from 8 – 12 November 2017. Thank you for the wonderful experience.