Immediately after our trip from Kawah Ijen, we made our way to Sukamade, which was a three hours car ride. We met up with our Sukamade guide at his home to pack up only for clothes and necessities required for one night & put the rest of our luggages in his home. After which, we headed to Cafe Ijo for lunch.
Initially, the owner of the eatery thought that we were part of this essential group so they took off the covers of all the food shown in the first picture and asked us to dig in. After our guide informed them that we were by ourselves, they apologized and mentioned that we can only choose whatever we would like to eat from the counter. So we had mixed rice with whatever toppings we like as depicted in the second picture. They gave us dragonfruit juice as well and everything tasted so delicious with a cozy vibe added to it since the food is homemade!
Summary of our Sukamade Trip
After our lunch we took the guide’s jeep up multiple steep slopes for an hour and boy was the journey a dizzy one! This will cause some people to have serious motion sickness if you are prone to that. After that sick journey up, we finally arrived at our Sukamade homestay. At first,we could choose the home we wanted to stay in but in the end, we were assigned a home as a huge Indonesian family wanted to stay together so they were assigned homes close to one another. Our home consists of three beds and a basic toilet. Since we were in a village area, the style of the home is as such, thus the toilet is very small and comprises of only a toilet seat without cover and an enclosed area to keep the water in so that you can use the pail to shower yourself. This is very old school style and I used to do that when I visited my grandma in Jakarta about 17 years ago. The worst thing was the homestay did not have heater so we had to shower in cold water. Thankfully, the weather was hot so we do not mind showering in cold water after sweating it out. However, there were not much space for brushing teeth so Crystal and I went to the back of the home to brush teeth using the mineral water we had. I only use mineral water to brush my teeth in villages and India since I wear retainers at night and need it to be hygienic.
We had about an hour break before dinner and once again, I love homemade local food. These people of the turtle conservation did not fail us. Please be aware if you are afraid of cats though. We had to sit outdoors and there were cats meowing around & mosquitoes sucking our blood while we ate. I am not scared of cats but mosquitoes never fail to bite me no matter where I go so putting on mosquito repellent is definitely essential!
The Mother Turtle
At 9pm, they called us to gather and gave us guidelines on what should and should not be done at the turtle beach while waiting for the mother turtle to appear. We had to separate into groups of five and slowly enter the beach via the “forest”, which was a 20-30 minutes walk from our homestay. When we finally arrived at the beach, they instructed us not to even touch our cellphones since the turtles are sensitive to light and would only appear if the sky is completely dark. The turtles are also sensitive to sound so all of us had to hide at an area away from the waters of the beach. One ranger will be stationed with us, while another two rangers will be hiding near the sea area. After about half an hour, the mother turtle appeared. Since the rangers have already prepared a huge hole for the mother turtle to be “trapped” there as shown in the second picture, the rangers could only appear in front of the turtle after it has been “trapped” in the hole. After which, they will start taking out the eggs of those produced by the mother. Can you believe how many eggs this mother turtle has produced overnight? The rangers managed to take out about 70 eggs from the mother turtle before releasing the turtle from the hole in order for the turtle to head back to the sea.
The Morning After
The turtle guide informed us to wake up at 6am the next day so that we can release the turtles back to their natural habitats. I thought that we could catch the sunrise then but when we woke up, the sun has already risen because Sukamade is one hour behind Singapore’s timing. We spent about 2-3 hours at the beach releasing the turtles one by one while taking pictures and videos of each move. We were also goofing around at the beach area for a bit after releasing the turtles. Take a look at the video I have created above for a summarized version of my experience traveling to Sukamade!
After having fun at the beach, we came back through the “forest” back to the homestay area to check out where the rangers store the turtles at. If you look carefully at the pictures above, the different turtle breeds of different ages will be stored in different pails and nets.
The Last Breakfast
The people in charge of the homestay prepared breakfast for us before we took off to make our way down the steep slopes for an hour via the jeep. As always, the homemade food tastes scrumptious and the fruits such as the red dragonfruits and oranges covered in green skin are naturally very sweet!
While going down the steep slopes via the jeep, we kept stopping at anywhere along the way that attracted our attention. For instance, we stopped to take a look of the old school well (depicted in the last two pictures) so that we can take pictures with it since we have no wells in Singapore. Marvin also enjoyed being on top of the jeep, while the car was in motion so we also climbed up to the top of the jeep to take pictures together with the crew.
After dashing through the river with the jeep, the guide brought us to have coconut water and I have no idea where he got the huge knife from but he assisted to cut the top of the coconut for us so that we can hydrate ourselves with electrolytes and such. Crystal also wanted to have a cut with cutting the coconut and she did it! Just look at my video in order to witness it! About three quarters down the steep slopes, the jeep, which carries the huge Indonesian family, that were right in front of us broke down so we had no choice but to walk down the steep slopes for about 15-20 minutes and the walk was insane because I was in flip flops and had to go through tonnes of rocks down the slope! After arriving at the jeep guide’s home, we finally repacked our luggage and made our way to Mount Bromo with our driver. We were so pleased with our jeep guide so we gave him quite a lot of tips.
As written in my Kawah Ijen entry, the Sukamade itinerary is included in my 4D3N program. I am looking forward to edit a video and update about my Mount Bromo trip soon!
The last time I met Sandra was in February 2015 when I last went to Hong Kong. So we had our reunion 3 years later in June this year. It is so sweet that she makes time for me whenever I pay that country a visit and the best thing is she always have the latest updates on the newest and best cafes to head to. We met at the SOGO outlet located at Causeway Bay in the morning before she took me on a Ding Ding ride to Tai Hung. Say hi to one of the newest cafe on the block and that is none other than Elementary!
G/F, 15-16 School Street, Tai Hang
The chef that opened this cafe is also the same person that brought you famous restaurants named Mama Malouf and Catch located at Kennedy Town. I have never been to those restaurants but heard a lot of ravings about it. When I saw the menu, I was so happy to see healthy food and beverages served because I wanted a healthy breakfast since most Hong Kong food served in the morning are wanton noodles, roast pork rice and such so I ordered The Holy Kale as depicted in the second picture, which comprises of fingerling potato, mushrooms, cherry tomato and my favourite quinoa topped with crispy poached egg. On the other hand, Sandra got herself the sourdough and heirloom tomato with balsamic caviar topping the lemon yoghurt and decorated with Thai basil. The dish is nicely topped with two poached eggs as well. My dish costs HKD$128 (USD$16.34 / SGD$22.54 / CAD$21.59), while hers costs HKD$118 (USD$15.07 / SGD$20.78 / CAD$19.90). To be honest, I found Sandra’s dish more appealing than mine but my dish puts a good start to my diet that day! As shown in the forth picture, Sandra had the Berry Beet, while I went for the Kale, Carrot, Apple juice, which costs HKD$58 (USD$7.41 / SGD$10.21 / CAD$9.78) and HKD$40 (USD$5.11 / SGD$7.04 / CAD$6.75) respectively. Really enjoyed the juice combination and how it is not too sweet. Also, I love how they decorated my drink with the kale leaf! The entire cafe experience with 10% service charge costs a total of HKD$378 (USD$48.26 / SGD$66.56 / CAD$63.75). This is somehow almost the same costs as dining in a cafe at Singapore but it is the high quality food and healthy way of preparing the food that entice me to come back in the future.
Dinner – Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm
Set Lunch – Thursday & Friday 12pm-3pm
Brunch – Saturday, Sunday & Public holidays 9am-3pm
As Elementary also serves set lunch and dinner, I hope to come back again to try their other dishes but I am sure there will be new cafes popping up the next time I come back.