Travel Guide A Weekend Escape in Cirebon

Travelling is something very intimate for me; it is something memorable and private. I mean I could make many friends but I wouldn’t go for travelling with any friends, with any people. I will travel only with the people I’m comfortable with (unless I take an open trip, obviously), I’m selective about my travel mate. So having known and spending many times of night-out, party and girl’s talk session with this girl for almost 3 years, Lia is my kind of people. Of course travelling together is a totally different matter than just hanging out, but for a short time travelling, we still can tolerate each other’s habits.

Unlike me, she is not used to a long walk (1 km is already a long walk for her). If she’s alone, she would absolutely take a motorbike taxi even just for 500 meters distance, but with me she’s willing to walk further, not further than 2 km though. If I’m alone, I would just walk if the distance is only 3 km, but if I’m travelling with her, I will agree to take taxi or becak. Things like that are important to be communicated before travelling as it is requiring some tolerance.

This time, Cirebon becomes our weekend escape destination because we are aware that if we stay in Jakarta, we will spend the same amount of money (even more) for food, party and shopping like if we go for a weekend nearby. So there we are, taking a morning train to Cirebon in hectic Saturday morning after the party the night before. I take a precaution by telling her that the train is at 9 am, while in reality the train is at 9:40 am because I know that she will come at the very last moment and we will be in too much hurry. Guess what, she makes it to the train station at 8:55 am.

Lia and Me in Sunyaragi Cave

Cirebon is located at the north side of West Java, it was and still is a port city. During 15th century, Cirebon was still not established; the port was only a small fisher village called Muara Jati with numerous of foreign ships came for trade with the local. This trading activity was what brought Islam developed in the area. Recognizing the enhancement of the trading, the Port Officer named Ki Gedeng Alang-Alang moved the habitation 5 km away to the south. At the further enhancement, Cirebon was established with Prabu Siliwangi as Adipati Cirebon (Grand Duke of Cirebon).

So finally, let us present you the travel guide for Cirebon.

1. Getting Here

Cirebon can be reached from Jakarta by bus, private car and train. For a hassle-free experience, we consider the train to be the best option for the same reason of taking train to Bandung during the weekend (traffic jam reason).

You can refer to the tiket widget on this website to search the best price and schedule option for the train to Cirebon from your city origin.

2. Getting Around & Attractions

Getting around this city by becak would be so nice if only the becak drivers don’t apply such high price to the visitors. We can’t understand how on earth they’re asking for IDR 200,000 for Keraton hopping within radius of 3 km.

So enough said, we confidently take a cheaper and more comfortable option to travel, no other than an online taxi (grabcar and uber, whichever offer the lowest price).

  • Sunyaragi Cave (Tamansari Gua Sunyaragi)

Sunyaragi name is taken from Sansekerta language, Sunya signifies silent or quite and Ragi signifies body. There is no reference showing when Sunyaragi was built, but the built of Sunyaragi was for place of meditation of the Cirebon Sultans and the family.

Coral Texture of Sunyaragi Cave

Sunyaragi consists of several meditation caves and the Mother of all caves is Gua Peteng (Dark Cave) used for meditation to obtain the body immune. Some other caves were used for other purposes from meditation place to obtain the eternal position in the kingdom to the place for food storage. Some mystical myths are believed for this establishment, one of them is Perawan Sunti statue (statue of Sunti the Virgin). This statue is located right at the entrance of Gua Peteng, due to the time and environmental condition; this statue doesn’t really look like a statue anymore, so we really didn’t notice its presence. The myth says that if there is a virgin (normally unmarried women are called virgin in Indonesia) touching this statue, it will be difficult for her to find a soulmate. Well, we did touch this statue before knowing the myth, so doesn’t count (fingers crossed).

Facing Gua Peteng and Perawan Sunti

  • Kejawanan Beach

Kejawanan Beach

Located at the north side of West Java makes Cirebon facing directly to Java Sea, so the second thing that we expected was the beach, but…………. I think the photos will be self-explanation to why the beach shouldn’t be in any of your expectation.

Pantai Kejawanan Child Play (or not anymore)

  • Keraton Kasepuhan, Kanoman and Kacirebonan

The Symbol of Keraton Kacirebonan

During the Sultanate of Kacirebonan, the results of the division of territory after the decease of Pangeran Girilaya (Girilaya Prince) to the three of his sons were the Sultanate of Kasepuhan and the Sultanate of Kanoman.

Keraton Kasepuhan Cirebon

Those two animals on the above photo are a white tigers, a symbol of Prabu Siliwangi family, located at the main entrance of the Keraton Kasepuhan Cirebon.  Keraton Kasepuhan was an Islamic Kingdom, the place of throne of the Founders of Cirebon and is still now the center of the Cirebon Sultanate.

Local says, during Presidential election, if the President candidate doesn’t take a visit to Sultan of Cirebon to obtain a blessing, the candidate will fail to be elected as President. And that was happening during 2014 presidential election.

Inside Keraton Kasepuhan Cirebon

The other two Keraton are located not far from Keraton Kasepuhan, so after the visit to Keraton Kasepuhan, we continue this Keraton hopping to Keraton Kanoman and Keraton Kacirebonan.

Keraton Kanoman Cirebon

  • Great Mosque of Cirebon (Masjid Agung Cirebon)

We have difficult time to spot this Great Mosque of Cirebon. The name is Great Mosque, Masjid Agung, supposed to be big and noticeable. In fact, the mosque is located in the complex of Keraton Kasepuhan and covered by the bazaar at that time of visit.

Actually, we expect more than this image of the oldest mosque in Cirebon built by the Grace and Glorious Sunan. We just take a short visit of it as soon as we remark that the mosque, a sacred place, is used as food stalls and picnic.

The Great Mosque turns to be Food Stalls

  • Others

The famous cuisine in Cirebon is Empal Gentong, it is a soup with slices of beef inside, very tempting for a meat lover like me. So I taste my first Empal Gentong in Ibu Nur restaurant. Impeccable!

Empal Gentong Ibu Nur, Cirebon

The other famous cuisine is Nasi Jamblang, it is rice with some other by options (e.g. chicken, meat, egg, veggies) and presented on the teak leave (jamblang leave). We still don’t get it why it is so famous.

4. Travel Tips and Cautions

  • If you tend to travel around Cirebon by Becak, negotiate and learn from the GPS where the destinations that you want to visit first. Then you can settle on how much you are willing to pay for that. You won’t want to pay IDR 200,000 just to go around radius 3 km.
  • While visiting Keraton Kasepuhan, prepare the small money, small like IDR 500 or IDR 1,000 just to please your mood. During our visit, in every entrance, people are asking for donation. We only donate once at the main entrance and the rest of the entrance when we are asked for donation, we told them that we did give at the main entrance, they said something like, yea but its different part now. We are not sure what the donation is for so we feel like we are robbed little by little, and yes it gives us a bad mood for the rest of visit that day.

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