After Yogyakarta I made the journey to Cianjur, an area around 3h drive from Jakarta. I had heard about the Cianjur Adventure Homestay from another traveller whom I met in Bali and had long since decided to spend my final days in Indonesia at the programme. It was one of my better decisions as I found myself in a tranquil corner of Java, largely untouched by tourism and free of the hassles I had battled with elsewhere.
The homestay programme is really the only hotspot for tourists to the area, and featuring in the Lonely Planet, it is not unpopular by any stretch. I arrived to find around 12 other residents at the house which is large and has been extended to accommodate it’s increasing popularity. This does not take away from the experience however but simply adds to the fun, sharing the adventures with others. It also acts as a great place for travellers to connect, particularly those heading East from Jakarta.
The accommodations are basic but comfortable and the host, Yudi, excels in his role, working tirelessly to ensure that everyone has all that they need. You pay a base fee per day and receive 3 hot meals, a room to yourself and access to a range of activities run by guides who live on-site. The staff are also available to help with onward travel arrangements and all go over and above to ensure that your trip is as easy as can be. It’s a great place to unwind and let the team take the lead.
The offered tours of the local area are unique and diverse, with something for everyone at reasonable, all-inclusive rates. I opted for the most popular ‘rural village hike’ on day one, taking me to visit a small Sudanese community in the mountains. Along the way we passed some of the most beautiful rice paddy and volcano views of my trip and it was great to be in an area that was still fascinated by their visitors rather than exhausted with them.
For my second day I went out to the floating village on the lake, equally un-touristed other than by those staying at the homestay. The boat ride around was an interesting insight and we then sat at one of the houses, fish nibbling our toes as we dipped our feet into the pools out front and ate mie goreng prepared by our captain’s wife.
Cianjur was as back to basics and un-travelled as anywhere I went in Indonesia and offered the perfect ending to this chapter of my adventure. I was able to really see inside the community and understand that in other areas although they have become hungry for more from the tourists, it is really just that competition is steep and they have to fight to make a living. Here that was still a long way into the future and I dearly hope that it stays that way for years to come.