Johor – Kota Tinggi

After attended a wedding in Batu Pahat, we then moved to Kota Tinggi. BALIK KAMPUNG time! Stay for about 4 days just to finish our annual leave for this year. While we’re in Kota Tinggi, we squeeze some of our times to visit the town itself. Bukan tak pernah pergi town dia, but we didn’t discover everything there. The only thing that we did when we’re in Kota Tinggi town is to buy groceries, fresh vege and meats at KIP Mart. The plan started when MIL asked us to buy some stuff from Kota Tinggi town and off we go!

Our viewfinder all the way from FF’s house to Kota Tinggi town.

Our first stop of the day is definitely the Kota Tinggi Museum. We’re so keen to visit the place since Kota Johor Lama is actually situated in Kota Tinggi Johor where it was believed that the history of the Kingdom of Johor began here. Unfortunately, the Kota Tinggi Museum is currently under renovation and we actually misinterpret between the Kota Tinggi Museum and the Kota Johor Lama Historical Complex. Kota Tinggi Museum is situated in Kampung Makam, Kota Tinggi and exhibits the history of Johor Sultanate. Meanwhile the Kota Johor Lama Historical Complex approximately 27km away from Kota Tinggi town via Desaru to Tanjung Langsat road. You’ll experienced the fort when Kingdom of Johor became a powerful one and able to fend off attacked from Acheh several times and several ;Malay ;settlements.

We then randomly drive through Kampung Makam and we saw a big signboard of ‘Makam Tun Habab’ or The Grave of Tun Habab. Me and FF keep recalling and arguing on who is actually Tun Habab on the way there. We finally got the answer from the signages by Tourism Malaysia spotted there.

Tun Habab whose full name was Tun Abdul Majid Tun Habab (Habib) Padang Saujana Johor, was the ‘Bendahara’ or Chief Minister of Johor during the reigns of Sultan Ibrahim Syah 1 and Sultan Mahmud Syah II. Tun Habab was installed Sultan of Johor following the death of Sultan Mahmud Syah II who had no heir. He took the title Sultan Abdul Jalil Riayat Syah IV and in 1700 moved the administrative centre of the state from Kota Makam Tauhid to Kota Panchor.

Tun Habab left a rich legacy in the states of Johor, Terengganu and Pahang. His daughter Tengku Tengah, married Daeng Perani, who was one of the five sons of a Bugis King. The present Sultan of Johor descended from that line. A son, Tun Zainal Abidin, became the first Sultan of Terengganu, whose descendants continue to rule the state today. Another son, Tun Abas, became the Governor of Pahang. His descendant is the present Sultan of Pahang.

Source: Tourism Malaysia Signages (in front of The Grave of Tun Habab) ;

So, from all the long explanation, you now know that Tun Habab is actually the great great great-grandfather to the present Sultan of Johor, Terengganu and Pahang.


We then drive further up to the end of the road and we saw Pengkalan Kota. From here, we can actually see the overall view of Sungai Johor. As mentioned in the Johor Tourism Website, this place has served as a very important role to the Johor Sultanate where several spots along the banks are the ;centers ;of capital of Sultanate.



The old blocks of arch at Pengkalan Kota. I guess, local authorities should do something to maintain the place. Tempat ni cantik sebenarnya. ;DSCN8399-2

Fishing equipments that we saw from the villagers there. ;DSCN8400-2

Right after that we turned back to the main road and we saw another grave which is ‘Makam Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Di Julang’. I guess, Sultan Mahmud are frequently appeared in our secondary history textbook and the reason why that he was called and referred as ‘Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Di Julang’.

The Sultan was killed at the young age of 24 by his general, Laksamana Bentan. The story goes that he was ambushed and killed while being carried on his way for his Friday prayer.

Laksamana Bentan killed the Sultan to avenge the death of his wife who was ordered to be killed by Sultan Mahmud. According to the legend, Laksamana Bentan’s wife was pregnant at the time. One day, she met with some palace caretakers who were on their way to the palace to deliver a bundle of jackfruits. Desirous of the jackfruits, she pleaded with the caretakers to allow her to have some. The Sultan became furious when he discovered that some of the jackfruits were missing, so much so that he ordered the Laksamana’s wife be killed.




We left Kampung Makam right after that. FF came up with an idea to have our lunch here in Kota Tinggi town instead of rushing back home. So, Belangkas Mahkota it is! I saw the shop the very 1st day i was here for my reception in Johor. That was basically 3 years back. I repeat, 3 years back and we only got the chance to taste the famous horseshoe crab today! Finally. The signature dish is definitely the ‘Belangkas Masak Sambal’. This is my 1st time trying where all this while ‘Belangkas’ definitely falls under the exotic food kind of group for me. Seriously? Belangkas? My first question to FF is that are we permitted to eat Belangkas sebenarnya? Silly me right!

Belangkas Mahkota is situated at Jalan Tun Sri Lanang (right after the bridge going towards KIP Mart. Turn left when you see the Petrol Station on your left). This is not the only signature dish that they served. They do have Asam Pedas Ikan Sembilang (we tried this too and its super duper tasteful! Worth trying), Kupang, Siput Gong Gong and others.


The meat is slightly similar to sea crab meanwhile the structure of the egg are a lil bit firm and elastic. I definitely leave the egg for FF since it’s totally not my kind of thing. But the overall taste of the sambal are good! 2-3 days after eating, I got a whole spots of pimples on my forehead and cheeks. Like a lots! Still recovering till today ;even though ;it’s almost a week! I guess, ‘Belangkas’ should be listed as one of the thing that I’m allergic to kot.

Oh ya, the shop are open from 10am to 2pm. It become crowded especially around 12pm since it’s a lunch break. You might one to get there early so that you’ll not be ;disappointed if you really want to taste those.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Johor – Kluang Rail Station

Assalammualaikum and Hi there!

We were on our road trip balik kampung again! Yes! We had a wedding invitation way back in Batu Pahat and we decided to extend the whole trip since we’re having a long weekend due to Christmas. What a coincidence. Did I mentioned how we love the public holiday so much!

On our way to the wedding, FF decided to reroute our original plan by stopping by in Kluang. He really wanted to try the original Kluang Rail Coffee and here we are. I guess, the last time I was there is somewhere way back during my university era. And that was 6 years back? Wow! Kluang really developed into a bustling town since my last visit. I can see a lot of new shop lots, malls and others around. Oh ya, not to forget, they have McDonald’s now!

The business hours. We were there somewhere around 11.30am and we thought we only have 30 minutes left. At that point of time, we guess we could make it by swallowing everything that we ordered. We waited till 12 noon and they didn’t chased us out. The business run as usual. I guess, they don’t have any break on Saturday and Sunday (it’s just my assumption).




FF with his coffee. Muka puas hati gile while waiting for his bread and half boiled ayam kampung eggs. I guess we compliment each other. I love to see and learn new thing around meanwhile he’s really into food. He made me tried a lots of food all this while. Pantang je dengar ada orang cakap tempat nie best, there we go!


Check out the delicious toast bread. Melting butter and kaya! Oh my!

On the way to the station, we saw the brand new branch of Kluang Rail Coffee at the new developed shop lots. But i guess, most of the them who came over and over again preferred the one at the Railway Station. I guess, we just love the authentic atmosphere and feeling right. A cup of coffee and the sound of train passing by. The best! Oh ya, i guess no one should miss this local dish which available for breakfast and also in the afternoon.

Right after that, we walk around the old railway station. As for me, at that point of time, my view is definitely RUSTIC, OLD and VINTAGE.

One of the charming places to visit in Kluang is the Kluang Railway station, in service since 1915. Like nearby Sungai Mengkibol, the railway passes through Kluang town, basically cutting it into two halves. As the road to the town is temporarily closed for the train to pass, local residents once said that when the trains approach Kluang Railway station, the entire Kluang town stands still. The station itself withstood the test of time and should be of interest for those who have passion for nostalgic photographs.







There goes our one hour Super SHORT trip to Kluang.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Surabaya – Part 6 (Surabaya City)

Right after the Reog Ponorogo performances at Balai Pemuda, we then moved to Masjid Cheng Ho. At that point of time, we’re lucky enough to witness a wedding solemnization in between local muslim and a Chinese converted. On overall, it can be considered as a very small mosque. I’m totally not sure on the total amount of ‘jemaah’ that can fit it. Basically, the design of the mosque was influenced with a Chinese Architecture. At one glance, it really looks like a Chinese Temple.




Our next destination is definitely the ‘Makam Sunan Ampel’. ‘Sunan Ampel’ (also known as Raden Rakhmat) was one of the Wali Songo, who spread Islam in the Land of Java. He can be considered as the focal point of Wali Songo because several of them were descended from him and studied with him before. It’s prohibited to snap a photo of the grave. If you ever tried to snap a photo, a security guards or local peoples will warned you out. So, just be careful since the whole area of the grave are packed with locals.

Oh ya, i almost forgot. We did meet up with one of the local, Pak Mustajab who gave us a long explanation of the history of Wali Songo. I considered him to be at the age of early 80’s and he talked fluent English! I’m impressed. He told us this is one of the things that he inherit from the Dutch Colonial period.

The pathway to the ‘Makam Sunan Ampel’

The water pot. This is only used for drinks and not for other purposes. Some might misused it!

The mosque. I got impressed with the whole structure and the architecture of the building. I took my sweet times to look around. Oh my!








Just next to the main mosque, you’ll see a whole street of market. They called it as ‘Pasar Ampel’ or Arab Market and it’s really a big one! You can really find good stuffs here especially Arabian carpet! Besides, i could see dates, prayer mats, telekung, tasbih and others. Just name it and you’ll get it here!



And at one of the corner, you’ll came across the ‘Makam Mbah Soleh’. Don’t be suprised when you see 9 numbers of graves which belong to the same person! Mbah Soleh was believed to be one of Sunan Ampel student and the cleaner or caretaker of the Sunan Ampel Mosque. Throughout all the articles by local, i found out the same stories as following:

Mbah Sholeh, said a history, is a loyal follower of Sunan Ampel, who during his life diligently to help build and clean the mosque. One time, Sunan Ampel involuntarily sighed, “Ah, if Mbah Sholeh still alive, of course yard mosque is not dirty like this.” Immediately, Mbah Soleh who have died, suddenly appeared and immediately help Sunan Ampel clean the mosque. Miracles were repeated up to nine times, until his death in 1478 of Sunan Ampel in Ampel. Mbah Sholeh ever died later buried in the tomb complex north of the old Ampel Mosque. Here, we could see nine tombstones lined up neatly, as a sign of Mbah Sholeh ever lived and died nine times. On the west side of the mosque, there are grave Mbah Sonhaji or also known as Mbah Bolong.



The graves of National Warrior and others

Our next destination is definitely the House of Sampoerna. The most awaited destination of all. Definitely not into tobacco! Bau pun sebenarnya tak boleh since hubby don’t smoke. Even my brother as well. But the most attracted me is definitely the whole processes of the traditional ‘kretek’ cigarettes. I know i shouldn’t do this, but i really need to capture it! Once in a lifetime. Furthermore, i don’t have any intention of studying the whole processes of the cigarettes making pun. Sorry Sampoerna!

Check out the number of staff there. You’ll be impressed on their working speed as well. Like seriously! Laju gile! Couldn’t explained it here.

The mould used for printing purposes.


This was spotted inside the toilet. Unique! The wallpaper was made from the original packaging of the cigarettes.

They have a very nice photos collection here. Cantik sangat! I got stucked here staring at every each of the photos. Nostalgic sangat.

The original logo since 1913.

A slight info of Sampoerna is that they are the largest Indonesia tobacco company ahead of Gudang Garam and Djarum. It’s already a public company owned by Phillip Moris International way back in 2005 when Putera Sampoerna sold his family shares and led another company with his son Michael Sampoerna.

The main building.


The house which is next to the main building. It was believe that the owner really wanted that the house to be built next to the factory so that the whole family members could take charge of looking after the business. This is no longer the official residential to the owner send the company has been sell of to another company.


Masjid Nasional Al Akbar (Masjid Agung Surabaya) completed way back in 2000 and it was the 2nd largest mosque in Indonesia. One of the unique characteristics of this mosque is that it was equipped with a 99 metres of tower and view tower can be assessed by the visitor at the height of 68 metres from ground level which could accommodate 30 persons at one time.

The view of the tower.It produced such green effects due to the window tinted.DSCN7915-2


The building.


The single door leaf was totally heavy which is 250kg and it was made from solid wood of ‘Jati’. Therefore, special hinges was designed and custom-made due to the heavy weight. There’re only 45 number of door (which is 90 numbers of door leaf in total).

Finally, the Suroboyo monument. This monument is exactly in front of Surabaya Zoo it is really an iconic symbol where it was believe that Surabaya name was derived from the words of ‘Suro’ (shark) and ‘Boyo’ (crocodile) in a battleship.

In overall, i really miss Bromo a lots! Bromo was totally amazing!

Simply me,
Zara AB
The Province of Chroma

Surabaya – Part 5 (Balai Pemuda – Reog Ponorogo Dance)

We gonna had another Pak Supir today which is Pak Marji since Pak Asyirin have to attend a wedding in his neighbourhood. Pak Marji arrived somewhere around 8.30am and i told him that we wanted to go straight to the Grahadi. In the Colonial Era, this is the residence of the Governor of East Java. Along the way i’ve made a short discussion with Pak Marji asking him about the performance that they normally had every weekend which is ‘Reog’ at the nearby Balai Pemuda (Youth Hall – one of the historical building in Surabaya). ‘Reog’ dance is actually a vagarious traditional dance originated from the glorious of the Kediri Kingdom around the 15th century.

Reog is a traditional Indonesian dance form. There are many types of Reogs in Indonesia, but the most notable ones are Reog Ponorogo (East Java) and Reog Sunda (West Java). Although both share a similar name, there is no connection nor similar theme among these traditions. Reog Ponorogo seems to be the kind of dance drama that demonstrate physical strength and extravagant lionpeafowl mask and costumes, while Reog Sunda is a lot more like a traditional musical dance drama and comedy.

Source: Wikipedia

Me : Pak, di Balai Pemuda itu lagi ada upacara kebudayaan ya jam 8.30 pagi? Reog? Bagus ngak?

Pak Marji : Saya juga ngak pernah tonton. Mungkin bisa ke sana dulu. Dekat aja ni.

Once we reached there, we parked our car and as mentioned by Pak Marji, the show gonna start just in a few minutes. Just right in time! I browsed around the area and my eyes keep roaming looking for a subject. Basically, we really don’t have any idea what is ‘Reog’ is all about. Luckily, the girl next to us explained the whole stories of ‘Reog’ since her husband is also the main player of ‘Reog’ and eventually from Ponorogo itself. She explained to us confidently. The one we’re going to watch is Reog Ponorogo. I bet we’re the only non-Indonesian there. I considered the performance to have a full house crowds and i told myself that this must be very interesting.

Spotted the small players of ‘Reog’. Cute huh? Can’t wait to see them to perform.DSCN7812-2

Reog is a traditional dance that become the main identity for Ponorogo Regency. Reog National Festival is held every years along the anniversary of Ponorogo regency and Grebeg Suro celebration. Reog dance is also staged full moon nightly in paseban, Ponorogo town square. Reog told about the struggle for a prince who will propose to a beautiful princess. Reog Ponorogo tells the story of a mythical battle between the King of Ponorogo and the magical lion-like creature called Singa Barong. Singa Barong is a large mask usually made of tiger’s or leopard’s head skin, upon the mask attached a large fan adorned with peafowl feathers. The Singa Barong mask was notoriously heavy, the dancer of Singo Barong bear the mask about 30 – 40 kg weight and supported by the strength of their teeth.

Source: Wikipedia

Check out the main dancer who are wearing the Singo Barong mask weight about 40 kg! Oh my. And they did a few stunt by turning the whole body, slammed themselves on the floor and immediately stand up. Imagine that! As mentioned the whole mask worn by a man by biting the wood inside the mask.


The Singa Barong mask and one of the main player (with black shirt). They are also called as ‘Dadak Merak’.

The person behind the mask. I told them that I’m super impressed with their performance. Amazing!


While waiting for the next performance, i saw this one group of young girls called ‘Young Jatil’ or ‘Jatil Kecil’ teasing each other before performing. They are super cute! This dance originally performed by a handsome, youthful teenage boys wearing a colourful costumes. But today, young female dancers usually played the role and this will be the 2nd performances of the day.




Them, ‘Young Jatil ‘ while performing the ‘Jaran Kepang’ dance which is similar to ‘Kuda Lumping’ or ‘Kuda Kepang’, horses made of weaved bamboo. Formerly, these horse-riders were played by men called Gembak.



The third performances is definitely the ‘Young Warok’ or ‘Warok Kecil’. A Warok is actually an honorary title of local hero or strongman of the village that possessed both exceptional spiritual and physical strength. The dance itself is demonstration of physical strength of the dancers. That’s the reason why you can see a lots of stunt during their performance.


The fourth performances are the ‘Young Ganong’. Love this one. They are like teasing each other, making jokes and even playing around with the crowds. Basically, it’s just like a 2 way communication and interaction with the crowds. Kudos to the performers! Check out the lil’ one.



The final performance is the main attraction of the show where it is performed by all the Reog dancers. We spent around 1 1/2 hours there under a hot direct sun. That’s the price that we have to pay. It’s free. Who doesn’t love free stuff. So Malaysian! Hahaha.


The official merchandise.

In overall, i enjoyed the whole show. Oh ya, the total number of Reog team is between 20 to 40 members together with the musician. If you’re in Surabaya, don’t miss a chance to watch Reog at Balai Pemuda (Youth Hall) every Sunday at 8.30am.

We will continue our journey on Part 6 – Surabaya City.

Simply me,
Zara AB
The Province of Chroma