Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
I begged Vira to take me along on her journey to Pangandaran, West Java. I’ve been there before but I had to SOB my way in because she and some of her Komodo gang was going body rafting. I was lucky enough to replace her cancelling friend. The idea itself was so much fun, imagining going down the river as if we were the raft itself. The truth is, it wasn’t adrenaline pumping as I imagined it to be, but it shifted to an awesome stamina enduring joy in the river. We swish-and-swashed, splish-and-splashed, climbed and jumped the Green Canyon river rocks for 4 hours before finally meeting our final test. We chickened out *blushing ashamed. And with good friends that I’m sure of are mocking us secretly :P, we had tons of fun, had a great time, and released that city tension for just one weekend.
Body rafting with Ki Sunda Adventure. They provide service for small and big groups. Ki Sunda provides the safety helmets, leg guards, and safety jackets you required for the adventure. They also provided our lunch of homemade food complete with the coconut drink straight from the coconut.
Ki Sunda Adventure
(+62) 85 223 173 821 / 85 223731 415
Located not far from the Green Canyon Parking lot
Contact Person Azmi Mubarok (Olog)
Ugh! Stuck working in Jakarta for a month. Although it was a privilege this time, it still drained a lot of spirit being stuck in THE city of cities, personally speaking. My father had just passed away and I had to take care of personal matters before leaving to site. After about a month working in the HQ, I couldn’t stand it. I could feel the negativity of the city consuming me. I had to do a trip, even if I had to leave my mom during her mourning days. I know, it sounds a bit harsh, but I felt that it was better than me being bitter around her. And seriously, my mother is a strong and humorous woman. She let me go under one condition, no dangerous activities. (Don’t you just hate it when your mum warns you?! It reeks of karma).
I’m also blaming my itchy feet as we speak. So, 10 pm one Friday night, we gathered at a fast food chain enjoying an infamous burger and delights of choice. Once assembled with a total of 4 girls and 2 boys and full appetites, we headed in to the night to Pangandaran.
The drive took all night. I failed my function as the second driver of Endi since he was all hyped about it and ready to conquer the south road. Most of us dozed off. Norman was the designated navigator. We got lost a little bit and almost got hit by a truck, but that’s nothing unusual in Indonesia. We arrived in the morning all fresh and hungry and hyped!
A Travel Celebrity
Indohoy is proud to present Luciana Nancy, or known as Uci, an Indonesian travel celebrity. Uci is the winner of the ACI detik.com travel contest. She won a lot of prizes and gained instant fame as a female traveler. And it was a happy happy joy joy journey with this Yay Yay Nehi nehi girl. Raawwrr!
It was a big deal for Indohoy to be able to travel with her and also Endi, another chosen contestant. We were keen to be contestants of the next round of the race. But my sentences are in past tense, we failed the first screening. Oh well!
The main event is the body rafting event. Basically you become the raft itself and you glide yourself down the river and cascades of the rocks. I’ve done the body rafting thing before at the Green Canyon with the Puspita gang. But this time I heard it’s going to be for 4 hours, so I knew it was going to be more exciting. The idea of being thrown around by water, splishing and splashing for so long, sounds really awesome!
We took a package of body rafting with Ki Sunda Adventures. We were greeted by the leading guide, who helped us put on our gear, prepared us, and briefed us on the activity. It was then and there, we decided to use our diving booties, hiking sandals, or walking shoes which we all prepared. Tips: If you’re gonna do this activity, best to have hiking sandals or diving boots. The rocks can be pretty sharp and unpleasant with bare feet. Flip-flops won’t cut it. And of course to complete our do’s, we had to put on our ultimate gear of war, our shades!
So we geared up and were hurtled like cows. Literally! There was another group of 10, so the whole herd was about 16 people including us. Whadya know? Apparently we weren’t pioneers of body rafting! *facepalm. Anyways, back as cows. We were put in a truck and drove about 30 minutes on asphalt and dirt road to nowhere. On the road we saw cows roaming free and eating grass watching us poor humans ready to be sold somewhere. Talk about trying to be empathic towards human trafficking.
We suddenly stopped at a board saying “Saung Reservasi Janggala”. No river in sight, but the guides pointed down. We hiked down a dirt road to finally see a green river stretching in the distance. We were pumped. After 15 minutes of hiking down we found the river very calm and clean. We couldn’t wait, we were the first to be in the cold waters.
For the first 30 minutes we drifted with the streams flow. We climbed a few rocks, but we basically floated on our backs and enjoyed the high rising canyon walls with trees at the top ledges. What? That’s it? We’re doing this for 4 hours (as planned)? This is a walk in an Indonesian park (seriously, Indonesian parks are tiny!). I was disappointed at first. The guide did explain to us, during dry season, the water level is lower and there is less turbulence in the cascading waters. The rivers are calmer and there would be more walking over rocks. Did we come on the wrong season?
Coming in the first hour, I realized. It’s not going to be as a piece of cake as I thought. If easy was described as a piece of cake, then hard would be to eat the whole cake, right? The rest of the 3.5 hours was the whole cake. Doing the same thing for 4 hours was exhausting. We were constantly in the cold water, climbing up and down sharp rocks, trying to keep our balance from falling face first, and jumping over rocks. Sure there were about 5 guides to take care of this big group but you gotta stand on your own feet first, right? I couldn’t imagine what skinny Endi that hadn’t slept, was going through. He was rattling like a rattlesnake in the presence of a mouse.
It was more about endurance than it was about adrenaline rush. By the time we got half way, we chomped down every single snack and gulped every single drop of water we brought with us. We were tired yet nowhere near the end. But hey! It wouldn’t be Indohoy if we didn’t have fun! Of course we did. Don’t think of any nonsense now!
I could sense the end. I’ve seen the rocks that we saw at the end of the 4th hour. I’ve been here before, which means the end is near. We came to what is called a ‘pemandian putri’ or the ‘princess bathing spot’, which basically is a spot with drizzling fresh water. And it was nice. We then drifted down the river as the usual mob did. But then… came the ultimate test…
‘Batu payung’ or Umbrella Rock was the 7 m rock people jump off from. I couldn’t make up my mind of doing it or not. After a stupid 10 minutes of thinking, I chickened out. I couldn’t get my mum’s ultimatum out of my head. I feared karma striking me. Vira backed down also (Vira butting in: Even from the 1,5ish meter rock I already backed down, call me chicken I don’t care, I freaked out at the sight of water so low to which I had to jump in! Arrggh!!! ). We chickened out. We’re sorry for not taking that leap of faith, maybe age has gotten the best of us… this time. Well the boys and Uci did jump. Our favorite reaction was of course Endi. He’s one word reaction was “Balls…!” with a painful look. Uci got a good spanking from the water too. Do we regret not jumping? Seriously, are you really gonna make us answer?!
FYI, the wet season offers something different. The waters will be higher, murkier, but you will enjoy the rafting experience as it should be. There would be more turbulence and speed. The trip wouldn’t last 4 hours. But that, my friend, is another reason to come back.
The body rafting experience was exhausting. We didn’t realize it at first, but we started to notice once we flopped our bodies on the mattresses of Villa Monyet. We had a few other agendas up our sleeves, but after the shower that late afternoon, there was no point of doing any of them. All we wanted to do was laze around and reward ourselves by doing nothing important.
We didn’t have to go out for dinner and still had a great meal. We snuggled in blankets enjoying the cold summer nights. Some of us even ended up slumbering on the porch of the bungalow rather than the bed itself to hear the ocean waves breaking and the moon amongst trees. It was a perfect summer evening…. Minus a boyfriend, unfortunately :p (All you single guys out there, this is a hint! *wink, wink*)
It was no less lazy the next day. Had a relaxing breakfast, a little stroll before finally leaving the villa at 1 pm. Man, we’re slackers! We could have gone to another waterfall not far from Pangandaran, early that morning, or swim in the ocean, or something, but we didn’t. But I feel no regret. I am reminded why people should take vacations during weekends. Both body and mind needs that relaxation. Whatever your preference is, one must let go of obligations sometimes. And apparently, I needed it especially for my mind.
Come to think of it, it was a journey full of personal shame. Vira and I surely did not jump Batu Payung, but can you imagine, our travel mates have been all over Indonesia but none of them have been to Pangandaran! How could they? Pangandaran has been a popular coastal destination since way back when and it’s so close to Jakarta (where they spend some of their lives). Oh the scandal! (We’re really trying to get even here… ehehehehehe…)
Villa Monyet provides a special dinner for its visitors. With previous notice you would be able to dine the old Indonesian way. With your bare hands and on a leaf. You can enjoy grilled seafood and liwet rice, or flavored and pot cooked rice. We happen to drop the request not soon enough, so we only got liwet rice, grilled fish, some raw beans, and a glop of traditional chilly paste. And I can tell you, that’s all you need to make any Indonesian happy. We were famished and could actually eat the floor if it wasn’t for our limited teeth abilities.
Maybe because were really hungry, but it was really good. There’s a sense of gathering and fun, struggling with your hands to chomp up that fish. Especially if you are, as Vira is, a fish head eating maniac. I personally like to move around the stomach and bones. No one is a huge fan of the meat in Indohoy hahahaha…
The ordeal will cost you IDR 50,000/person.
From a picture uploaded by another friend that had done this adventure (geez that’s confusing), we learned that it’s good to eat at Kang Ayi’s restaurant. Out of the menu, we learned that the seafood fried rice is good, the pastas are to stay away from, and the potato something (it’s some kind of potato omelet) tastes better than we expected. Juices are cool, black coffee are OK.
The food took some time to prepare. But I guess, if you’re on the beach, there isn’t any hurry. Prices ranged about IDR 10,000 – 25,000 / dish. It’s a price well paid for such proportion.
Mang Ayi Restaurant is located at Batu Karas beach, about 5 minutes drive from Villa Monyet.
This venue was randomly chosen on the road. It was time for dinner and to switch drivers. I couldn’t tackle the south road at night. It’s well known to be filled with trucks, busses, and is very steep. So we just chose any ol’ resto to munch. It wasn’t bad at all, really. The food was good, and we cleaned up the dishes pretty dry.
It was a typical Sundanese restaurant where you eat lesehan style (sitting on the floor to enjoy your food). There are fish ponds in the restaurant and there’s even a stage for any event. We had fried Gurame fish, with water spinach, tofu, tempeh, and this and that. Yum!!
This is one of my favorite parts of the story. We slept at Villa Monyet or Monkey Villa. Not sure why the owner named it so, but we didn’t really care. The venue is a 2-storey huge high thatched roof bungalow. The owner lives on the first floor with another room that you can choose to occupy. It’s clean and comfy, but to be honest, I didn’t really bother to check it out. Because I was satisfied with the main room on the second room.
The second floor contains a huge room enough for about 10 people. It can comfortably fit 3 queen size beds with more space to walk around. The roof is thatched, reaching about 5 m high giving a lot of space to circulate air. The bathroom is spacious and is open to fresh air and seems like the neighbour can snoop around during your showers and your number 2’s. The balcony is vast facing trees to the beach, AND! Equipped with a hammock. Seriously, do you need more persuasion? Are you a robot??
The huge room at Villa Monyet costs about IDR 400,000 – 700,000 / night depending on season. Interested? Call away!
Apip +62 852 234 89218 or Nana +62 878 613 561 68
This venue provides rooms and service as it is promoted. It has clean modern rooms and is well decorated. It is located right at the heart of Batu Karas activity. It looks so nice, but.. how could you prefer this to Villa Monyet? Are you a robot??
This time we were lucky to borrow Vindhya’s car for the weekend. She must have been a sweet daughter since her father gave her the keys. Since she doesn’t drive, Endi was our main driver. I got to tag along because I could lend a helping hand by driving.
So easy to explain this part of the deal. We were brats! We drove ourselves everywhere and we stuck together. We could eat where ever and when ever. Not much to say, really, other than “THANK YOU VINDHYA! WE LOVE YOU!”
I think we spend IDR 400,000 on gas alone. For the 6 of us, that sure is a great deal!
If you rent a car in Jakarta, that would cost you about IDR 500,000 / day excluding driver and gas.
The cheaper way to get there from Jakarta is take the bus from Kampung Rambutan or Rawamangun terminal, costing you about IDR 90,000 / one way.