"Once you go there, you will always want to come back. Dieng itu ngangenin."
It was one of my producers who told me about Dieng and their Culture Festival. She used to go there with her boyfriend (husband, now) and it's always an unforgettable time they had.
So I bought the ticket, found my trip buddies, packed my bag, and left.
We took the bus from Jakarta to Wonosobo from Daan Mogot- the nearest terminal from our office.
I met new friends at the bus; thanks for the 16-hours-ride, Pahala Kencana! Aldo and Fadil sat next to me and we started to greet each other and it turned out we were heading to the same destination. So hello, new friends!
We got off the bus in front of a school at Wonosobo and took an angkot to Plaza Wonosobo. From there we took a minibus to Dieng and arrived around 10.30 AM.
First thing we did once we arrived: tried the famous Mie Ongklok. There was a little incident at the Mie Ongklok place, but we got another new friends because of that, hehe, thank you, Universe.
The local committee of the festival led us to the camp ground and we started to build our tent.
We still got time until the Sky Lantern Festival and Jazz Atas Awan that afternoon. We decided to hire a local elf-driver and spent our time visiting Telaga Warna and Sikidang Crater. It was a one chill and fresh afternoon. But when the moon started to show at 5 PM, boy.. the cool breeze started to give you some chills.
We hurried back to the festival area, ate bakso and tempe kemul quickly to warm our stomach, and prepared ourselves for the Sky Lantern and Jazz Atas Awan.
I could say that.. that was one of the most magical and whimsical nights of my life. In the middle of freezing breeze, the sky was full of colorful lanterns floating up, up, and higher to the dark of night.
Not long after that, the fireworks party started and we were so excited. Most people were clapping their hands and screaming in joy.
Next to the lantern and fireworks area, Jazz Atas Awan had started. It's located near the Candi Arjuna.
By that time, we were all freezing from head to toe. The temperature was almost 0. But people danced and jumped. They made a bonfire, hugged with each other.
I was looking for my friend, Abe, who came from Jogja that night. We successfully met in the middle of thousand people without cellphone signal/receiver. After happily met each other, we went to the main gate to eat the also-famous Dieng potato.
It was past midnight when I went back to the campground. The temperature kept dropping... until it reached -5. Ice, ice all over the tent. People sat near the huge bonfire and I heard there's someone who suffered hypothermia but thankfully she/he quickly got treated by the committee. All was well.
Back to the tent, hiding under the sleeping bag, I was thankful for the whimsical night Dieng gave.
I could say that it felt like sleeping in the big freezer because it was tooootally cold. Nothing beated the ice and cold breeze. The lowest temperature was at 3-4 AM I guess. The tent and even my sleeping bag were wet.
It was such a great relief when the sun started to rise. Warm light! I came out from the tent and this view below greeted me.
Now I do understand why Dieng is called 'negeri atas awan'.
Oh, Dieng. You're full of surprises.
Friends were awake, we did our own things. Me and one of my friends, Alyn, decided to walk around and ate some breakfast. We met Rheza, my office mate, and his girlfriend, Windy, while eating at the nearest foodtruck.
We were pretty late for the Ruwat Gimbal, but I honestly didn't really in the mood for the ritual. It was really crowded anyway.
I did come to the ritual, though, tried to capture some moments carefully. But all I found was bunch of people, so... yeah, hehe.
At the end of the ritual, the kids were taken to another place and I got this chance to capture one of them.
Not long after that, I went back to the tent and packed up all things. It's time to leave. Our train left Purwokerto at 9 PM and it's still a long way from Wonosobo to Purwokerto.
The main road from Dieng to Plaza Wonosobo were blocked because there was a truck broke down in the middle of it. No minibus wanted to go down. It was stuck.
It's impossible to take a minibus then we had to find another way. Suddenly we became a kinda-hitchhiker (haha) and a truck driver let us in his truck. We reached Plaza Wonosobo at 5 PM and took another bus in a rush. Arrived safely at Purwokerto Train Station at 8-ish PM, yay.
I do agree with what my producer had said before. Dieng is magical and I got hard time to move ooon!
I miss you, Dieng. Thank you for what you've offered, I will go back to you someday. <3
(Psst, there will be Dieng Culture Festival 2015 coming soon this August, if I'm not mistaken, and I definitely encourage you to visit there!)