Wednesday, 9 December 2015
South-East Asian Adventures: a homestay and a floating village in Cianjur (via Jakarta), Java, Indonesia
I'd been told that Java, the next Indonesian island on my trip, was going to be very different to Sumatra. Indonesia only became a unified country 70 years ago - before that it was merely known as "The Spice Islands" which, let's be real, sounds pretty damn cool.
But because of this late unification, each island is very different. Indonesia was colonised by the Dutch for a long time, and that Dutch influence is particularly strong in Java - I loved all the traditional Dutch-style architecture, benches and street-lamps, which seemed almost silly considering how near Holland is to home compared to Indonesia.
The first stop in Java was Jakarta, the capital. But I'll be honest with you, it was a bit rubbish. It's the financial and business centre of Indonesia, but there's pretty much nothing to do or see. The shopping malls and cinemas are great, I'll give it that, and we did have a nice drink in the traditional Batavia Cafe, but I don't urge you to go to Jakarta. There are far better places in Java, as you will soon see, dear friends.
However I did sample a very delicious local speciality in Jakarta: Ketoprak.
OK, I will readily accept that it looks awful in the picture but it was SO TASTY! It was basically fine noodles, beansprouts, cucumber and tofu in peanut sauce, and for once the sauce wasn't too spicy for me. Winning.
From Jakarta we ventured south to a village near Cianjur. It's not a particularly special place, however the reason we were there was to spend the night at a local homestay.
Now, homestays out here aren't what you might think (or what I had thought anyway). A homestay does not mean you're literally just staying in some random family's spare room, they're more like B&Bs, with the option of lunch and dinner too.
Ours was a lovely one - have a look around:
We stayed in a big room with a nice mezzanine level and dividers between each two beds for a bit of privacy.
What I loved most about the homestay, however, was the home-cooked food.
Boy, did we feast!
Here's the lunch spread:
And although I didn't take any snaps, I'm tempted to say dinner was even better! And we were given lots of fresh fruit, juice and jasmine tea too. It was fab.
In between our lunch and dinner feasts, we ventured out into the countryside and to a floating village!
It wasn't anything like I'd been expecting and I found it kind of crazy to think that people really lived there. We had a look around on a boat and were even welcomed into one of the homes on the water. The contrast to our lives was astounding and it was rather humbling.
We made some cute new friends too!
Some of the girls even popped their feet in the water for one of those fish-bite massage thingies! (After hearing a few horror stories I was too chicken.)
Sure, there was no aircon back in the homestay that night but it was still great to spend a night in a legit Indonesian home. The owners were so nice too!
And the next morning we hit the road once again... I was really getting into this whole backpacking malarkey. (I know, I'm as surprised as you are.)
© Handbags and Cupcakes. All rights reserved.