When a friend asked me to join him and his friends on a 3 days trip to Baduy
, I said YES on that exact second! I then called my mom and some of my closest friends to share the excitements. Their reactions were like "Are you fit enough for Baduy?" and "Don't they eat people there?" and "Be careful, my friend went there, got lost in the jungle, then got chased by a tiger!" and "You're joking, right? You DO know that in Baduy you have to WALK for HOURS, up and down the HILLS, right???"
Hmmpphh, ok, those were definitely NOT the reactions I was hoping for, and it made me quite pessimistic. And for days my head was filled with thousands of what ifs and supranatural stuffs. But I had paid for the trip, so I thought to myself "What could possibly happen to me? It's not like I'm climbing Mount Everest! What the hell, I'm going!!"DAY 1
Our group left early in the morning from Jakarta
and the trek begins...
Around 2pm (I kinda forgot), we arrived in Ciboleger and had lunch. After a portion of rice, fried chicken, sayur asem, cold Teh Botol Sosro, several cigs, the group leader said, "OK people it's time. 45-90 minutes trek depending on your pace. We're heading to Gajeboh where we will spend the night. Get ready." My friend said to me, "This is it, T. Our fear factor." I replied, "If something should happen to me, you can have my Canon DSLR." :p
The trek to Gajeboh was OK. I wouldn't say it's easy, but I still had time to catch my breath so it's still do-able. The weather was FREAKING HOT though!!! Along the way I was busy with my camera while from time to time cursing the unbelivably steep trails. We passed through several streams with slippery rocks, up and down the hills, AMAZING views.
Outer Baduy village
It took us 60 minutes to get to Gajeboh, roughly 2.5km. We're staying at locals' house (more like a hut, really) and spent the evening exploring the surroundings. There's a river nearby, Ciujung River, with bamboo bridge. Kinda freaky at first when I stepped the bridge, but it's totally safe. The local Baduy guide told me it took 100-150 people to build the bridge and they fixed/changed the bridge once a year to keep it strong and safe. It's amazing to see with my own eyes, a huge bridge made of BAMBOO and some plants (I forgot), no nails, no ropes, no man made stuff whatsoever! Everything they use for this bridge (and their huts, and many other bridges), all came from nature.
Baduy tribe, by the way, refuses anything modern as this is against their beliefs. But as time flew, there are Baduy people who started to accept a little modernity (please underline the word little).
me on bamboo bridge
These kinds of Baduy is called Outer Baduy. And the true Baduy who still refuse all kinds of modernity is called Inner Baduy. There are only 3 Inner Baduy villages (Cibeo, Cikertawana, Cikeusik). The rest (like Gajeboh), are Outer Baduy villages. From the Ciboleger 'gate', the nearest Inner Baduy village can be reached around 4 hours hard trekking.
After sunset and it's getting dark, we gathered back to the house for dinner, chat, singing (you know, the usual camping activities). Peeing was a bit tricky at night. It was so dark (there are no lamps in Baduy. Lamps = man-made, remember?) and the "spot" (there's no toilet in Baduy) was a bit of a walk. But the night was magical and peaceful. I was standing on the hill. I could see the moon's reflection on the river. I heard beautiful melodies coming from traditional flute played by local people from a far.
one of the streams we passed
The weather was nice, the air was fresh, I could hear the sounds of frogs, grasshoppers, around me people were happy and laughing, I looked up and see thousands of stars smiling at me. What a night. What a feeling. What a life.... DAY 2
Everyone were grumpy this morning. We went to sleep late that first night, probably not long before sunrise. According to our itinerary, by 8.30am we should've start our trek to Cibeo (one of the Inner Baduy village). It was already 8.00 and we voted NOT to go to Cibeo and just trek around Outer Baduy villages (the trek to Inner Baduy is very steep and difficult). I thought this was good news as my feet were still aching from yesterday's trek. Oh boy was I wrong....
We were walking like FOREVER.
baduy women doing activities at the river
Passing several villages (each village is seperated between 45-60 minutes walking). It was nice to see the locals and their activities. In Baduy, everybody work. Men, women, even children. There's no school in Baduy, no religion, no chaos, no crime. As usual, I was busy with my camera while (for sure) cursing the steep trails. The further we walked, the steeper the trails. And finally after HOURS of walking up and down and up and up and up that hills, I gave up. I told the others to go on without me. I was sweating like hell, trying to catch my breath, my knees were trembling, I just couldn't (and didn't want to) climb anymore. I walked to the nearest house and threw my backpack and myself on the terrace floor. The lady of the house offered me a drink, and I just lay there for God knows how long, until the next group arrived (we were seperated into several small groups).
Some people from the last group decided to stop as well, and one of the guides offered an alternative trek without too much climbing.
So yeah, I ended up walking again. We were taking shortcuts and followed our guide. Most of the time the trails don't even have paths, so there were times when I slid, jumped down, climbed (literally, with both hands), and holding a branch while swinging the rest of my body to the other side (Tarzan-ish style). Since it's a shortcut, we didn't pass any village. Instead we went through the jungle. It was fun, and I didn't curse the trails.
We got back in Gajeboh probably around 4-5pm (forgot). I took a quick bath (more like showering myself with waters flowing from the river, which was VERY REFRESHING). Baduy don't have bathrooms. So it's either go to the river, or use the small "chamber" covered by bamboos.
the bamboo bridge and the village on top of the hill (can you see it?)
The first group arrived almost sunset and they all threw themselves on the terrace floor of the house. My friend showed me pictures of places and things that I missed today. Dammit. They looked awesome. Oh well... next time I'm here I HAVE to go there. And Inner Baduy too! (hmm I should probably start exercising from now :p)
A trip to Baduy Village is very recommended. You can go back to nature, trekking in the hills while enjoying the beautiful scenery, and see the culture of Baduy people. There are many facilitator in Jakarta who can arrange your trip and guide you there. Please keep in mind that Baduy have strict rules about modernity. For example: foreigners are only allowed in Outer Baduy, and not allowed to enter Inner Baduy area. Electronics whatsoever is not allowed to be use in Inner Baduy.
me and the inner baduys (they're our local guide)
Soap, shampoo and other chemicals are not allowed. Please consult with your guide to what you must not do, and what you can do.
That night we went to sleep early heeheehee.DAY 3
At noon we left Gajeboh and head to Ciboleger. Took some pictures there and had lunch while waiting for our bus. Hello civilization! :p
Kinda sad to leave.. but one day I will be back for sure... I have to conquer those hills!