|Suli Bawah Beach, Ambon|
One of my biggest concern about Indonesian is the fact that many of us are not aware of how beautiful our country is. As the world’s largest archipelago, this country is bound to be very, very, beautiful. It is located right in the centre of the equator line, making sure that it is warm all year long, and thus is a perfect place for so many floras and faunas. It is said that if you come to Indonesia then you can actually see almost all species of animals and plants the world has to offer.
I understand that. But on the other hand, I’m also aware that not every single area in Indonesia is a tourist-friendly area, both to local tourists and to foreigners. The fact that traveling within Indonesia could be more expensive than it is to explore our neighboring countries is also one good reason why people would choose to travel aboard.
Anyway, I hope that by writing about juuuust a little piece of heaven on the far east of the country will help to provoke people, especially Indonesian to look a little closer to the land that is blessed to be ours.
So in Ambon, I practically beach-hopping here and there, and found beautiful beaches that you just have to put on your next retreat/traveling/beach-ing (is that even English? xD) list!
Natsepa Beach: The People’s Beach
According to my cousins, Natsepa is definitely one of the most famous hang out place in Ambon. And they weren’t lying about it. Natsepa especially famous for its rujak (fruit salad with peanut sauce) and coconut ice.
|Rujak stalls overlooking Natsepa Beach|
You so HAVE TO go see this place! Try those rujak, ask for your second and third plate, drink that mouth-watering coconut juice and enjoy the perfect beach! Natsepa’s rujak is really a thing. Culinary program on TVs should feature this dish. Delicious, crunchy, fresh and just… so perfect to eat while you’re enjoying the beach. There are lots of rujak stalls along Natsepa Beach. Their rujak tasted almost the same, so don’t worry. just take your pick, sit and eat.
The stalls pretty much looked like this one. Most of them sell the same food, rujak and coconut ice (10,000 rupiah per glass). Some stalls sell other ordinary food like meatballs soup and noodles too. But they’re like, side dishes. The main thing is the rujak. And it is all that matters. 😀
|Fruits selection for Rujak Natsepa|
The fruit salad itself contains of lots and lots of tropical fruits. Pineapples, guava, starfruit, papaya, mangoes (yum I LOVE mangoes) and also some fresh cucumbers. If there is any fruits that you prefer not to be included in the rujak you could just tell the seller. Mostly the sellers are women and we call them usi according to the local laguage of Ambonese. The fruits are cleaned, cut nicely and then mixed with the special peanut sauce.
|Usi’s preparing Rujak Natsepa. My mouth is officially watering right now at the moment.
I think the main ingredients that make rujak Natsepa was soo sooo good is the peanut sauce! The peanuts left not thoroughly crushed so you got this crunchy effect when chewing your rujak. The peanut sauce used here is so different from the usual rujak sauce I ate in Jakarta. Definitely a must-try when visiting Ambon!
The peanut sauce is naturally spicy, as it is the best falvor to go with the fruit salad. But of course, you can always communicate with your usi, they will gladly adjust the fruit salad to your likings. All you have to do is ask. Usi at Natsepa Beach are very friendly. And they work fast too, being used to have a lot of people asking for rujak all the time. I visited Natsepa Beach two times on my 10 days stay in Ambon. Why? Because of the rujak of course!
You can have this rujak by paying 10,000 rupiah per plate. Here you can also order the special sauce, in case you would like to bring the sauce home and make your own rujak. My mom used to buy a jar of the peanut sauce (around 15.000 – 20.000 rupiah) to bring home and mix it with whatever fruit she can grab back home. Hahaha.. But really, it’s very very delicious.
The thing about Natsepa Beach is, it actually nailed it in bringing people together. Unlike other beaches in Ambon that are mostly quite and private (we’ll get to those later, don’t worry), this one is the people’s beach. You can find all type of beach goers here: family, group of friends, couples, someone who’s traveling to the beach alone on just because she wants to enjoy the beauty of the beach while reading a completely random book (
I felt the sharp jealousy struck for the local residents because they have this beautiful beach within their reach and as their main recreation form. There is only 2 or 3 shopping malls in town! And people go there when they really need to buy something. In times of need for stress relief, they run to mother nature. Anyway, this part of Natsepa Beach is also known as Suli Atas Beach. The distinctive mark would be that island on the background. The locals called it the crocodile island because it resembles a crocodile
Suli Bawah Beach: A Quiet Retreat
Suli Bawah Beach is actually the extended part of Natsepa Beach. The best time to go peeking around is definitely in the morning, before the sun is high at 11.30 am. Around that time the tide is high so the view although still amazing, is not as impressive as the view you got when the tide is low. I don’t know what exactly the reason why this beach is far far far quieter than Natsepa Beach. It is almost easy to understand that those two beaches are actually one beach.
To reach Suli Bawah Beach all you have to do is walk along the shores for about 5 minutes and voila! Welcome to Suli Bawah! …that, doesn’t make sense, I know. The other fun way you can try is to rent a boat and take the water route. You can rent the boat for 45 minutes by paying 35,000 rupiah.
This is the boat. According to the boatman, it could actually hold up to 7 people on board. According to my mother, that’s suicide. Actually, my cousins and I, all 6 of us, and the boatman, board that very boat without my mom and my auntie’s knowing. Then… after that they kinda freaked out because they think the boat can only hold maximum 5 people inside. They saw us in the middle of the sea, all 6 of us inside the boat and then they started to curse in local language. Hahaha..
The boatman was very very friendly. You can see that he was actually grinning behind me, over my hyper-enthusiastic behavior because I get to ride that boat. He talked to us, explained a lot of things about the sea, and the fishes and the birds and the corals and everything. He was even wearing a santa hat, merry christmas sir! He also taught me a little about rowing a boat, which, clearly is not my biggest hobby.
The ride was fun, except that my cousins were very nervous because that was their first time riding and I guess everyone thought about “what will we do if this thing made us drowning in the middle of the sea” haha.. Actually, that is very rare to happen. But I do adore my cousins for being brave to try. I told them that they don’t get to go to Ambon every month, or maybe every year, and even if they did, tit probably will take us some years to get everyone together like this year. Considering that, we might as well enjoy all the fun! I think that is one of important factor in exploring. We have to got the gut to explore all the wonders around. Here’s some view along the ride!
I strongly suggest you guys to go try this. Ride from Natsepa Beach and then stop at Suli Bawah. The beach is really beautiful. The moment I got there, I was thinking: My, my. My very own private beach. Real nice.
Because again, this beach is actually the same with Natsepa Beach, but it has different atmosphere. It was calm, because it has less crowd there that Natsepa has. The sand was also whiter and softer, like you can literally lie down there and feel like not wanting to move for hours.
One thing I did notice was they also sell rujak here, but it doesn’t taste as good as one in Natsepa Beach. Also, you will need to pay 1,000 rupiah to enter this beach. I suggest you start from Natsepa Beach. It is also called Suli Atas beach (yeah, I know. I told you they were actually same beach didn’t I? :D). It’s around 13 kilometres from the city of Ambon. As usual, you can take angkot to get here. Take the one that has Duren Patah written on top of it. Keep in mind that if you take this angkot from Pattimura Airport, they will normally cost you 5,000 rupiah. It’s a pretty far from the airport. So if you have read my previous post here and I told you to fight the angkot drivers if they ask you to pay 5,000, don’t do it to Duren patah angkot drivers. From Duren Patah, take another angkot to Suli and let the driver know that you want to stop at Natsepa Beach, they’ll understand you perfectly. Other way around, rent a car, but it probably will cost you at the very least 250,000 rupiah. To enter Natsepa Beach you will have to pay 3,000 rupiah for each person.
Beside indulging in rujak and coconut ice, swimming or building sand castle, you can also get the fun of riding the famous Banana Boat. It’s 125,000 rupiah for a 30 minute ride, and it is really a fun way to spend time in Natsepa Beach. They will take you to the middle of the waters aaaaand probably will flip you over from the banana boat to the sea. That is seriously fun! Put your life jacket’s on and have fun!!
When people asked me whether i’m more like a beach-type or a mountain-type of person, I… can’t really answer for sure. I spent my last birthday climbing a mountain for the first time and although it was not an easy way, I think I would love to do it again. Climbing another mountain. But for now, I am totally, totally absorbed in the beauty of the beaches, the ocean, the blue-green waters, the smell of the sea, everything about beach. I’ve been to some other beaches and by far, the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen is here, in Ambon. So, people, put Ambon on your next travel list. Once in your lifetime you just gotta see a truly beautiful beach. Go see her, I am pretty sure you will have nothing to regret!