Saturday, August 03, 2013

Mount Halimun National Park, Where Everthing is Perfect in Imperfection


I heard Sundanese music being played, not far from where I was sitting, from the sounds of Sundanese’s traditional flute to the beat of Jaipong’s melody. The wind softly blew and touched my skins, brought another kind of peace in my soul. My eyes, which were familiar with the horizon turned into red on the roof tops and skyscrapers, never had enough to watch all the rice fields, tea plants, the border of rain forest and a small river passing this small village.      

Laying down on patio, enjoying my early lunch with my new fellow travel buddies. Sharing stories and laughing like an old friends without any judgment. The conversation just flew to where it’s flown away.

I need this kind of break, from the hectic office hour with its tiring politic which make smile loses its meaning. Now I smile and somehow I knew the smile was truly a smile.

We were twelve (from friend asking friend), finally put our footsteps in Halimun Mountain National Park – Malasari Village (Halimun). Umro, Setyawan, Erin, Chiss, Tika, Octa, Adi, Dian, Nat, Eka, Inda and I. This is my story about us in Halimun. 
friend asking friend

Dark of the night couldn’t hide the silhouette of the road, because the stars shine its own lights, replacing the moon which was about to leave that night. The crowded and bad traffics of urban city slowly disappear with its own pollution. The road turned to emptier and empty from any kind of vehicles, when we passed the main and only street passing many villages. The street was not in good condition with many holes in the middle of the road, yet so exciting, well at least for me hehe.    

The bad road became a smooth silky road and we tried to sleep again. My eyes were about to close when the car suddenly shaken when we passed the main gate of Halimun and the road became a winding rocky narrow road with cliff on the right side and the valley on the left side.
the gate
3 AM and the car stopped at some spot to catch the sunrise at 5 AM. Some of us left the car and waiting for sunrise in the chilly weather, while some still sleeping inside the car.

The clouds and fogs slowly disappeared and showed millions of stars. So beautiful and mesmerizing, the view that we couldn’t have where we came from.
“Hey, why is that star moving around among the stars?” Chiss shouted and made me look for the moving star.
“An Alien’s Spaceship?” I said (oh my, that is a normal response when you just watched Ancient Alien the series).
“I think that is a comet.” Some said and yeah I think that was a good explanation.
I saw three falling stars and three, what we called, comets for a whole dawn.

The sky turned grey and the blue color started to appear. Where’s the big yellow ball? Ah the sun looked so shy and decided to hide behind the clouds and only showed its shadow. Well no problem, the view of the tea plantation and rain forest behind it, was beautiful enough to be captured in our mind and in our camera.
Tea Plantation

tea farmer
The grey color of the sky finally gone and the white color appeared blending with the blue, and we continued our journey to the homestay, gone deeper into the Halimun area.

“Welcome.” Mr Suryana, the owner of the homestay, greeted us with smile on his face and warm shake hand.

We spent our first morning relaxing at the patio while queuing to take a bath. The water was so chilly and of course there was no hot water here, in a small village. The chilly water made us shouted “woah” every time it splashed our naked skin. 

After very quick bath, we ate our early lunch, proofed that the breakfast couldn’t hold our tummies down. The lunch’s menu was an ordinary typical Indonesian’s lunch menu (traditional fried chicken, fried fragmented soy (tempe), fried tofu, sour vegetable soup, chili paste and steamed rice) and yet so tasty and made the mouth drooling just to see it’s served.
Done with our tummies, we decided to go to a small river. The river located just on the back of the homestay, between rice fields, which was so tempting to be visited. The water was so chilly and clean.  
the river
We didn’t spend long enough at the river because the rain started to fall and we rushed back to the homestay. The rain was so heavy and completely changed our plan to do our first tracking through the outside border of rain forest. The cold weather and the rain made some of us pull off the blanket and sleep, while the other including me decided to join the sudden basic yoga class for dummies by Eka on the patio haha. Well the environment generally fits yoga class to be held.

In about an hour the class ended by our groans and even the sun still hide somewhere in the clouds, the rain stopped.

Forest trekking track had to be cancelled because the track was predicted would be too slippery and too muddy, while not all of us were prepared to face wet and muddy track. The track was changed into fun trekking, walked along the rocky pedestrian for couple miles and entered the forest just for 200 meters deep, to Cimacan Waterfall.

to curug cimacan
The waterfall was hidden among the trees, pretty small yet so beautiful with its water falls down to the small river which passed the waterfall.
Cimacan Waterfall
Back to the pedestrian, we headed to some kind of ranger’s office and wait for the evening, to see tiny glowing mushrooms. 

The dawn came, darken this side of globe and lighten another side of this globe, million miles away.
“Tikaaaa, did your shirt start glowing?” Dian shouted.
“Yeah I guess. I think we can start the night tracking in 15 minutes.” Tika, the owner of glowing tinted shirt, answered.

15 minutes passed and we headed to short night trekking into forest’s border to find tiny glowing mushroom.

“Okay, stop and stand still, turn off your flashlight now.” Umro, the commander said.
The lights went off and one by one, hundreds of tiny glowing mushroom showed its green soft light, just like stars in the dark sky. We stood in the middle of tiny glowing mushroom’s habitat which is so rare, and amazed by those little things.
the cute tiny glowing mushrooms
The awe became groans when everyone seems had same difficulties to take pictures of those tiny glowing mushroom. Nobody could take it perfectly. The mushrooms were so super duper tiny, the biggest mushroom we have found, was only about 4 mm while the average size of those mushrooms were about 1 mm.
We said done desperately and headed back to homestay, still walked the same rocky pedestrian, where Mr Suryana and family waited us with dinner menu. Oh perfect.

The night well spent with sharing our journey, stories and many random and absurd jokes, until sleepiness picked us up to bed.

4.46 am: I opened my eyes. The sound of rooster was the sign that we have to wake up to chase the sunrise that we have failed to see yesterday. A cup of black coffee was enough to boost our (Eka, Dian, Nat, Adi and me, while the other remain kept sleeping) morning to a lil hike of a small hill.
Well, turned out that the sun still won’t show itself and left us with beautiful view from the top of the hill.
misty dawn

After a delight breakfast, our group was split into 2 groups. Forest group (Eka, Adi, Nat, Inda, Dian, Umro and me) would go trekking, passed the rain forest’s border to habitat of Owa Jawa (Hylobates moloch), which only live in Halimun in the world. The other group called small river group (Erin, Setyawan, Tika, Octa and Chiss) would go to small river behind the homestay and just played around in the area.

Have no idea what small river group’s story but we were enjoy the last trekking, deeper into rain forest’s border for about 1.5 hours “chasing” Owa Jawa.
Mendaki gunung lewati lembah, Sungai mengalir indah ke Samudra, Bersama teman bertualang…”* Dian and Nat sang gently, because in the beginning we were told to make less sound inside the wood.
* climb the mountain over the valley, river running free to the ocean, with friends in adventurous journey…
the path to Owa Jawa's habitat
Owa Jawa's habitat
Bad of luck that we saw no Owa Jawa, even on the high trees where they are living, or from far. Yes indeed the trekking was exciting and we were happy for the track, not heavy but yet still challenging at some point and fun with great trekking buddies. Anyway, in middle of the track, the ranger introduced us to some plant calls Begonia which has stem tasted so fresh, sour, and we can eat it raw, after we threw its hairy skin.
begonia for snack? yeah, why not
Back to the homestay and we had to pack our bag.
Just before we left this beautiful village, some charity show was held by some volunteer’s organization which is care to culture and nature, especially for traditional games and traditional dances. 
I forgot the name of the organization but it consists of young volunteers (most of them were teenagers). Good for them, in the age of fun, instead of hanging out in mall and café, they chose to spend their weekend voluntary to take care the culture, nature and doing social activities. If one of you read this article, please accept my respect for you guys.
the show and the game

Jaipong Dancer
the master

traditional handmade car toys
the volunteers

Halimun has a huge area (more than 100k hectares) with not an easy access. The struggle to drive there was absolutely paid off with the view, the weather, the environment and of course the people who were so welcome and friendly. Nothing fancy, yet definitely worth to visit. 

yes, there's electricity :)
What a wonderful journey and I am thankful for that. Great destination, great accommodation, great environment and great travel buddies. That’s what I call perfection.

We came and welcomed by warm hand shake and big smile. Stayed in, what I call, a good hospitality by the local and by the time we left, warm hand shake and smiling waves accompanied us.
going home
Thank you to Mr Suryana and family (also for the neighborhood) who were so welcome us. Hopefully one day, we can go back where the smile and warm hand shake always waiting.

-       Use trekking shoes. It helps you to enjoy the trekking on rocky pedestrian and in the wood.
-       Trousers will help to protect your skin from bug sting, poison plant and leeches.
-      Bring plastic bag for your garbage, because garbage cans rarely available in this area. Please keep the nature clean from our garbage.
-       Do make less sound when passing into the wood.
-       For walker, the track in Halimun is in medium level.
-       For tracker, the track in Halimun is in beginner level.
-      If you are not comfortable with getting wet, dirty, muddy. Please don’t bother to think about visiting Halimun. There are no fancy things and facilities here. Again, no hot water!

Special thanks to AT for my English translation review


  1. Simple words & pic make an interesting forest natural advanture story. First sight, its not readable. But when I started to read, I cannot leave it ! :) nice !

    1. glad you like it Meike and again thanks for stop by :*