The last time I went for a Hike was at Manusela National Park in Central Maluku - Indonesia. Gunung Binaiya (Mt. Binaiya, 3027 Amsl) located in the heart of Seram island - Maluku. It's well known as the home of an ancient plants called Chintya Binaiya (Pakis Binaiya). Also the home of thousands of endemic species like Moluccan kakatua Seram (Cacatua Moluccensis), King Parrot, kuskus (phalanger orientalis), and rusa (cervus timorensis moluccensis). With a completely covered dense forest, a breathtaking karst topography also the diversity of its flora-fauna, Mt. Binaiya has given me the most unforgettable hiking experience, yet still the hardest mountain I've ever climbed. I bet that you'd like to read the story and probably a quick glance to see the beauty of the mountain, below…..
Previously on my #PostGrduationTrip We've spent about a week in Ternate. Ternate has given us the perfect-tanned skin because its exotic beaches that we couldn't afford. It was on October 14th, 2015, we took a flight from Ternate (Sultan Baabullah Airport) - Ambon (Patimura Airport).
That was one fine day in Ambon, The sun perfectly shined with a vast blue sky when we were arriving. That was the very first time for both of us to be in Ambon but at that time we've already had a full-listed foods to try and a hundred places to see. Mt. Binaiya, its our first destination during our visit in Ambon, this story will tell you about the long-exhausted-journey to the one of the highest peak in Indonesia.
Ambon (Airport)- The Tulehu Harbour (Small kind of Harbour)
Mt. Binaiya Located in another Island called Seram Island (Ceram Island). From the Airport we took a car to Tulehu Harbour for (250k - 400k Rupiah), we didn't have choices at the time because we had to be at the harbour before noon to catch up the boat schedule. On the other hand, we had to stop by at the hyper-mart supermarket in Paso to complete our supplies for hiking such as gases for stove, source of protein like meat and etc. Arrived at the harbour we immediately bought two tickets to Amhai IDR 125 k was the price of the boat (each person) called Cantika Torpedo, after everything was clear and at 02.00 PM we were leaving Ambon heading to Amhai - Seram Island.
But I recommend you to rent a car instead, more time means less stress
Amhai Harbour - Masohi
The day was ended up with a beautiful-sunset when we arrived at the Amhai Harbour (Seram Island). As the boat docked, Leody prepared our belongings meanwhile I was looking for transportation for us to Masohi. We took Ojek with just 20K rupiah and for only +- 25 minuets rides to a downtown of Masohi
It was already night, so we decided to stay at the hostel nearby bus station Called “Penginapan Samudra” this hostel is highly recommended as the ojek driver told us. Masohi was quiet and Lil-bit creepy at that night, after we had dinner, we immediately rest for the next day dealing with hiking permit preparation!
Ojek is the easiest and cheapest kind of transportation for you while you stay in Masohi.
There are several affordable hostels nearby Masohi’s Bus stations, Mine was only 50K rupiah / person.
Masohi - Tehoru / Yaputi
Early in the morning, we went to Manusela National Park office (Jl. Kelang No. 1 KotakPos 9. Kode Pos 9751) to complete our permit as well to gather all information related with Mt.Binaiya. This office is the one and only place for you to obtain the legal-permit whether for exploring Seram island as well as hiking on Mt. Binaiya.
Since was established by Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry on 8 April 2014 as a National Park, Manusela national park has a-lot-of things to do such as (hiking, trekking, bird watching, caving, diving, snorkelling, and etc). On the other hand, because of its rich of flora and fauna, to obtain a legal permit whether for hiking or exploring this national park we have to follow the prevailing-regulations to prevent irresponsible acts like Wildlife Smuggling and Illegal Logging.
If it sounds pretty complex for you, here are several easy steps and things you should prepare so that you can easily obtain your hiking-permit for Mt.Binaiya:
- Your own Medical Certificate ! I do recommend you to obtain this, long before you depart to Ambon, However you could possibly obtain it as well at the local hospital in Masohi. But it will take time !
- Copy of your Id/KTP (Indonesian) or passport (Foreign).
- Several documents that should be signed, in agreement to not entering forbidden places on the mountain during hiking and especially for the leaders that responsible for the safety of the group as well as local people (Guides and Porter).
- If these steps yet, still sounds too much for you, you can easily reach up MR. WILIAM LOUPUTI (0822-3835-8198) the employee of Manusela National Park. He will happily tell you all what you need to know about the National Park.
It was almost noon at the time we finished and finally got our legal permit for Mt. Binaiya. As I already mentioned on the list above, it is better for you to obtain your Medical prescription/certificate long before you depart to Ambon, because we didn’t prepare for it so we have to wait for a super-long time for a doctor to come to process us, on the other hand we didn’t yet complete our supplies for hiking !. And so we ended-up at the edge of time also in hurry to catch up the public transportation, meanwhile we have to be in Piliana before night.
I do still remember everything was completely in hurry !!. Leody took our belongings at the hostel and with Mr. William, who accompanied me to buy the ticket’s car to Yaputi and a quick stop at a traditional market . At 1.30 PM we were leaving Masohi towards Yaputi.
I forgot the exact price for the car tickets, it was around IDR 75k - 135k. simply you can ask Mr. Wiliam and he will happy to help you to arrange your transport to Yaputi.
Yaputih - Piliana (BaseCamp)
A 4 hours drive straight to Yaputih. We passed villages and a beautiful long-shore scenery of the Banda Sea. I fell into a deep-sleep, meanwhile leody as usually busy with his phone and camera. We crossed a river called Kawanua River. The river itself, I could confirm, it was wide enough to be crossed without a bridge with only this type of city car (Avanza). There was actually an unfinished bridge, locals said, it has been a decade since the government started to build the bridge again, but on the night a Flash flood often occurs and all the construction equipment swept away into the sea again and again. *What the worst was, we have to pass this river again in the night on the way back to Masohi since this was the one and only way back.
We dropped by our driver on intersection road in Yaputih at 5 PM still near the shore. We were asking the local the way up to Piliana. They said, It was impossible for us to reach Piliana before night, we have to rent an Ojek from this intersection and continue with an hour walking through the unfinished highway project.
A bad-broken highway road took our Motorcycle up. At the end of the road, we continued by walking, behind us was the sun that almost lost in horizon, While in front of us a covered dense forest conspire like it was showing us the path to Piliana. we had walked when the sun was completely sinking, Then, from afar we saw a torchlight that we were sure that was Piliana. Arrived at the traditional gate of the village, there was someone approach us and willing to gave us a direction to Bapa Raja’s (Piliana’s chieftain) house. This chieftain’s house known as the base camp for hikers to stay a night before and after trekking. Bapa Raja was really nice as well as his wife, we had a long night chit-chat and an Indomie (Indonesian kind of instant noodles) was served by his wife with some hot tea, classic, but it always tasted like a noodle from heaven #IndomieSeleraKu #NoEndorse #YaahGituDeh.
(StartTrekking) Piliana - Ayemoto
The climbing tracks: Yake river - Yamhitala - Luku amano - Aimoto
After a short ritual (some kind of traditional ceremony) and we finally met our guide, his name (Ka’ Bet), we started around 09.00 AM in the morning.
Ka Bet leads our way up, followed slowly by us, As we climbed up for one hour we passed Sagu Plantation and entered an untouchable forest that shows us nothing but nature. The path above Piliana was often steep, slippy and muddy, we also passed some rivers like Yake and Yamhitala. After 4 hours walked, my breath started heavy same as my carrier bag and I started to count on my step, wondered how far we’ve been left Piliana. We were halfway of Aimoto, the tracks were getting difficult yet still excite us, sometimes we glimpsed and saw Kakatua were perching on the edge of tree like they were watching us.
Around 04.00 PM we finally reached Aimoto. I immediately cooked for our dinner since we haven’t had lunch on that day, meanwhile Leody built our tent and Ka Bet fill up our water supplies. We decided to overnight at Aimoto.
Guides and “preferably” also porters are necessary !
A Short Ritual (traditional ceremony) is a must before you start hiking.
Aimoto - Isilali
The climbing tracks: Dataran Ailunasi - High Camp (Lunch) - Manukupa - Isilali
The night wasn’t that cold, I fell into a deep sleep for 9 hours and woke up around 07.00 AM in the morning. As usual, I cooked for our Breakfast while Leody and Ka Bet prepared the stuffs. we had breakfast with boiled rice and some of instant foods from supermarket, while the sun rose above us and the birds chirped rhythmically, still the best breakfast-time ever. After everything was clear, we were leaving Aimoto at 09.00 AM towards Isilali. With each carrier bag full of water supplies that made it double-up the weight. Each of us carried 10 L of waters + our own belongings and some of mountaineering equipment like a tent and whatsoever. I’m not gonna lie, that was pretty insane, a rough terrain and a breathtakingly-heavy carrier bag on my back. Perfect Mt.Binaiya was Perfect!
We walked under the dense rain tropical forest, stepped among the roots of the trees. As we climbed higher, the forest increasingly dense with all the trees were overgrown with vines and moss towering above us. After 4 hours walked we reached High-Camp, Isilali was still 3 hours away from High-Camp so we decided to have our Lunch instead.
From High-Camp the weather started cloudy conspire like it was going to rain, we were leaving high-camp at 02.00 PM. Ahead of us an open-wide hill with a karst topography on its path, as I know that Isilali located in the valley just after the hill. An hour afterwards, we finally reached the pick of the hill and passed by with another group, they told us that Isilali only 30 minuets away from here. We arrived at Isilali around 05.00 PM it was almost dark at the time, we set our tent inside the shelter (that small cabin). We only had some biscuits and chocolate-jam for dinner, since we should afford to use water because we still had 3 days more to survive on the mountain.
On that time, we hiked on dry season, most of water sources (the springs) were dry out, the water like literally disappeared from its source. It’s better for you to consider the season first, before planning to visit Mt.Binaiya. We Passed another group, they told us there was nothing left the water sources were totally dry out.
Isilali - Nasapeha
The climbing tracks : Bukit Bintang - Puncak Bintak - Nasapeha
Late that night I woke up to the sound of raindrops. I groped to the outside of the cabin into the dark hopping for the rain to fill up our water supplies. But it was nothing outside, only the sounds of crickets chirped monotonously. I felt sick and full of hopelessness at that time the rain wasn’t falling or perhaps it was just a hallucination caused by shortage of water and the starved stomach. I trapped in a dilemma and indescribable sadness.
The next day was so bright with the sun shone and the vast blue sky opened, we were about half way from the peak of the mountain. Off course we had a breakfast on that day before we started, since this track (Bukit Bintang) was the most unbelievable track of Mt.Binaiya. An open wide path, silver-grey of Karst boulders mixed with some pebbles lie tumbled along the way to the top of Bukit Bintang.
Within 3 hours we have climbed Bukit Bintang and left Isilali far beneath us, the top of the hill was still beyond. I look back down the valley and started to talk to myself: How did I come so far ? Why did I do this to myself ? Did I already pass this boulder ?. I kept walking through the rhythm of my boots tried to forget that I already suffered an extraordinary thirsty. For another hour I was toiling while counting every step, beside me on either side of the tracks, there were ravines, if I took irresponsible and a careless step I could possibly slide down lost into its ravine and not be found again.
The sun blazes Above when I arrived on the top of The Hill. Slowly I’m invaded by a daydream and profound tiredness also an overwhelming longing to sleep, while I was waiting for Leody and Ka Bet I laid myself among the rocks and closed my eyes.
Nasapeha - Camp in Between - Puncak Binaiya
The climbing tracks: Puncak 1 - Wayfuku 1 - Wayfuku 2 - Puncak (The Peak)
After an hour rest on the top of Bukit Bintang, still we have to move our feet. A hard wind was blowing from valley brought a white cloud passed our way. As we went down, the scenery in front of us started to mesmerise, the combination between Karst Topography, a lush-green of the valley and another peak towering from afar.
We walked down towards the valley, behind us was Bukit Bintang stand with a vast blue sky above its. For only 45 minutes walk, we were finally reached Nasapeha campsite. We had our lunch there and at 1 pm we continued. As we had planed, we’d like to overnight in between Nasapeha and The peak nearby Wayfuku-1, it would make us easier to reach the peak in the next morning to catch up the sunrise.
Around 04.00 PM we finally found such a perfect place to overnight located just before Wayfuku-1. After the tent has been set up, I laid my back in a tent for a while and was enjoying the breeze.
Soon afterwards, I savoured of a few hours of freedom and solitude just by watched the sun started shrinking and suddenly the sky turn into orange. From afar the cloud gathered like a huge cotton candy, among the cloud there were several peaks of the mountains that looks strongly showed up, far beyond from where we were, the horizon was stretching from its west to east with a single straight orange-line like it was blended with the ocean.
The Peak of Mt.Binaiya.
The next day we woke up around 03.00 AM. On that time the wind was blowing hard into our tent, the sky was full of stars that dazzled us. In the restless condition, we pushed our limit, forced our own self to fully wake up, and kept in our mind that the warm of the sunlight on the top of Mt. Binaiya was 100% better than just a sleep. The path was becoming more steep, we walked among the slopes that quite slippery with some pebbles on it. For almost two hours, we’ve passed several hills, we were finally reaching up the highest land on Maluku around 05.00 AM and within five minutes later the sun, that all the universe and we have been waiting for on that day showed up….
(Going Down) Puncak Binaiya - (Lunch) Pos High Camp - Aimoto (overnight)
Another things you should consider first about Mt. Binaiya :
- Most of the mountain is sometimes really dangerous to reach, but, never quite inaccessible.
- Be a responsible hiker ! Take a careless step you could possibly slide down lost into its ravine and not be found again.
- You should consider about the season. During the Rainy season the terrain in muddy or swampy but have a lot of water sources (the springs). On the other hand, During the Dry Season (summer), the terrain become somewhat “easier” but most of the water sources are drying out.
- You should consider about the negotiation of permit.
- I was helped by MR. RUL MAKA, try to reach him first if you have a plan to visit Seram. He will happy to help or IRTON (0821-9920-4042) from the Hikers Community in Masohi.
- I lost 5kg during a week hiking on Mt.Binaiya, Binaiya was completely blown my mind !
In the end, Mt.Binaiya has taught me about one thing, the ability to survive disappointment. Mt. Binaiya one of several mountains I’ve been up to that I could confirmed has a rough and strenuous terrain, as we had to hike almost continuously either in muddy and slippery terrain, or among the ravines to the steep slopes, also in a dry season. However, I’m happy with those struggles, breathing in the pure air, walking and surrounding by Lush-Green from the forest. I couldn’t explain more about this bounding between me and the mountain.
Thank you so much for always reading my story, I do really appreciate it.
Ask me anything (http://ask.fm/Gemdra)
More from me (https://instagram.com/gemdra/)
Another Stories of mine also submitted on www.gemadrakel.com