If you’re like me, which means you’re:
A. A city girl who loves to be in nature from time to time, but
B. Not so much the girl-scout-type although not exactly a spoiled princess either, and
C. Cannot stay in a place without proper sanitation due to a slight germ phobia and irritated bowel syndrome, while
D. Still wanting to have a Hemingway-esque-slash-Out-of-Africa experience,
then you should really try Glam Camp.
Glam Camp, known also by the portmanteau glamping or glamorous camping, is where people experience the great outdoors without sacrificing the comfort of living in a hotel. You don’t have to pitch a tent, unroll your sleeping bag, build a fire or cook the food – they are already there for you, prepared by somebody else.
Here in Jakarta, there is such service called Tanakita Five Star Camp that is perfect for a weekend getaway not so far from home. The price may be a little high, Rp 550,000 per person, but it covers accommodation, meals and activities. So it’s actually value for money.
The camping ground is located in Sukabumi, West Java, some four-hour drive away from the capital, depending on the traffic. You can also take the train. On a recent trip, my husband and I took the train from Jakarta to Bogor Station, before switching to another train to Cisaat, Sukabumi from the Paledang Station.
You need to buy the train tickets a week before, because the seats are limited and they are sold out fast for weekend trips. The tickets can be bought online here, and don’t repeat our stupid mistake of not booking the return tickets.
Some say it’s faster to take a public van or bus from Bogor to Sukabumi, which made us wonder what kind of crazy racer the drivers are. But as it turned out, the train was really slow. It’s an old train, and, although nice and has executive class, really took its time. The picturesque scenery of hills and rice fields made up for the crawl, though.
From Cisaat, you can charter a public minivan for Rp 75,000 to get you up to the mountain where Tanakita is located. Luckily for us, the Tanakita people were in town at that time so they picked us up.
The campsite sits next to the Gede Pangrango National Park, about 1,100 meter above sea level. Occupying a two-hectare area, the site comprises an open field for tents; permanent buildings for office, toilets, showers and kitchen; and the dining area, which is a big open tent with a stone floor.
What a sweet change it was to be able to breathe in some fresh, chill air and look at lush green trees and blue sky. Some hills at a far-off point have been sadly cleared by developers, but overall it was a nice view.
Each tent is spacious – up to four adults can sleep comfortably on the mattresses. But more importantly, it has electrical socket! What Internet diet?
There are several activities that you can do from hiking and tubing in the nearby Cigunung River to flying fox (no thanks!) or you can just sit on the canvas chairs and read.
The buffet meals are great, and they provided hot snacks and beverages in the evening like grilled corn and cassava. Working at Tanakita seems to require being able to entertain. Our camp workers could not only create a decent acoustic show, they were also great impressionists with every number performed exactly like the original song.
There was an optional short night hiking, which was amazing as we were surrounded by complete darkness except for our flashlight and the fireflies.
We went on another hike the next morning at the National Park, passing Situ Gunung lake, and going up and down hills until we came upon a waterfall. The water was clear and ice cold, but it was a refreshing break after a two-hour hike.
Going back we took a different route, where at some point some men offered us “Ojek, ojek?” (motorcycle taxi)”. It was perplexing, like an ojek, up on a mountain? Really? Perhaps they’re there to meet a real demand: some people actually hired them.
So the tiny mountainous path along the cliffs was shared between ojek drivers, fellow hikers and mountain bikers. And I thought we were there to escape from traffic jam and air pollution. To make matters worse, there was trash along the way. What a shame.
Back at the campsite, we had one of the best lunches ever with fresh Sundanese food – rice, salty fish, sambal, sayur asem, tofu, tempeh and raw vegetable. Or maybe we were just starving after the four-hour hike.
Time flew and it was time to go home. We rented a public minivan to the city, and then took a bigger van to Bogor. As predicted, the driver was crazy fast, and as usual, he kept letting more passengers in. It was hilarious.
Luxurious camping combined with colorful, third-world style public transportations – I’ll certainly be back in no time.
Read about Hera’s solo adventure in Turkey here and follow @heradiani on Twitter.