Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 5 March 2015 • Destination
For some urban dwellers, it’s a joy to wake up to the sound of nature. Birds singing, monkeys vaguely calling in the distance, and the subtle morning rays creeping through the window panes, are a few things that some people look for when traveling back to nature. As do I. Unfortunately, that was not what happened when I woke up at Echo Homestay in Harau Valley, West Sumatra. Although located right in the middle of a narrow gauge, I didn’t wake up to such ambiance. I was too tired to wake up that morning after a bike ride through the valley the day before. Having said that, I did have a great sleep underneath the sheets of the bed in Echo Homestay bungalow. I woke to the alarm clock, however Waking up after a good workout was second best, I guess.
Its name is a bit unique, but panning the surrounding area you could why it’s called Echo Homestay. Being in a narrow valley, it’s easy to bounce your voice to the high rising karst.
The echo game that I used to play when I was a kid on landscapes, tunnels, and empty rooms were easily repeated by screaming my head out to the wall of meaningless words. Although the echo at the Echo Homestay wasn’t the best, it was very entertaining. You don’t get to shout out carelessly, too often once you’ve grown up. Well, unless you’re a rock star.
The common dining area has its special traits. Since the homestay is located right at the opening to a valley, the walls are close to each other, making it a grand dining experience, facing a high wall cliff that stands so close before the accommodation. Usually, venues sell their open view to an open space, the opposite of Echo Homestay. As the dining area was closer to one side of the cliff, it was also elevated above a stretch of land filled with rice paddies and veggie gardens. The ambiance was different and nice.
The homestay also has a bonfire area, where you can request while eating barbequed local sweet corn. In an area that is a bit elevated and fresh, a fire can help heat up the air. And so can barbequed corn. They can also organise the Kawa leave tea, made of coffee leaves. It kinda tasted like coffee with a bit of charcoal taste to it, but dominantly tea. The unique part of the tea party is the glasses we drank from. It’s usually served in a coconut shell. It gave a tad umph to the dark liquid. It’s also the signature tea drink around the area.
The Echo Homestay Rooms
There are several types of rooms and bungalows at the Echo Homestay. The main house is shaped like a huge ‘rumah gadang’, the typical local traditional house. This and another huge structure housed several rooms, of which, I didn’t catch a glimpse of.
There are small bungalows spread around the area. Some bungalows were slightly more elaborate than others, being neater. I happened to stay in a simpler room, which was actually really cute. It had a sitting room, aside to the terrace chairs, to have guests. It also had a double bed behind custom-made wooden separator. The spacious mezzanine had a single bed, sheeted and all. Of course, with two other friends, we decided to drag that single bed down to the main bedroom, so we could share the room and have pillow talk before bed. The bathroom had natural elements with natural rocks dominating the interior. Surprisingly, there was hot water shower but was very limited, as they used a solar heating system. We managed to share the loot between the three of us.
Another facility that Echo Homestay has was the drivers room. Being a bit far from Bukittinggi, it understands the need for a place to sleep for drivers that make weekend trips for its visitors. So, there are small huts that can cater to a few drivers, along with a shared bathroom for them.
You can also rent motorbikes at the Echo Homestay, but I failed to ask the price of it.
Recommended: The Echo Homestay Ecolodge is especially nice for family retreats or a group of friends. The calm surroundings are great for a getaway with things to do like walk through rice paddies and eat good food. Solo travelers might be more into the budget homestay like Abdi Homestay, which know each other with Echo Homestay Ecolodge, unless they have a good amount of budget to spend.
Rooms were about IDR450,000 / room which included breakfast for three people in 2014. Considering prices increase by the end of the same year, prices probably are higher at the moment. The room itself can contain up to a nice 6 person if they’re willing to sleep on the floor.
You can contact the Echo Homestay by phone at +62 752 7750306 or check their landing page at www.lembahecho.blogspot.com.