a pleasure-hunting monkey.
Some people may say that we can’t go back to nature during a short getaway while living in Jakarta. Because we might have to go a little bit outside of the city to find the perfect destination. But I really had a pleasure time during my recent visit to Portibi Farms in Cicurug area in Sukabumi, West Java.
It was actually a photo of Citaman waterfall captured by a good friend of mine that first stole my heart then introduced me to the farms. I was drawn to visit the waterfall and when I searched the internet for a place to stay around the area, I found the Ekologika Lodges on Portibi Farms, one of the nearest lodges to the waterfall. As it is also close to the foot of Mount Salak, I knew that that was the destination I was looking for, to get closer to the nature. After all, “Portibi”, in the language of my Batak ancestors from Sumatra, actually means earth.
Together with Indah, I took a train from Jakarta to Bogor Station, followed by the Bogor-Sukabumi track and stopped at Cicurug Station. Then, we continued our journey by taking the local ojek (motor cycle taxi) to go straight to the farm.
Imah Guru of Lodge Ekologika
From my visit, I met the owner, Jocean Bowler, who brings his visions and design to the farm and the lodges, while his wife Ayu works on the details and the interiors. The buildings are influenced by the old Sundanese Wiwitan architecture and a little bit of Californian mountain lodges.
I stayed at the Imah Guru Lodge where the magnificent view of two other mountains afar, Mount Gede and Mount Pangrango, greeted me in the morning.
Nestled around 100 meter downhill from the main building, Imah Guru, is claimed to be one of the most romantic spots at Ekologika Lodges. This one-bedroom bungalow is actually a wooden house that was originally built about 60 years ago in Wonosari in Central Java. The Ekologika Lodge’s team especially relocated the material and rebuilt the house in the area.
The other lodges are just as interesting. There are a number of rice barns that they turn into the Leuit houses with bunk beds for single travelers and backpackers. The main building and the Leuit houses are crafted by master craftsmen from Kasepuhan Ciptagelar, a kingdom at the southern part of Mount Halimun, with design that combines the owners’ visions.
Another highlight is the fact that the lodges are using a solar power system as the source of electricity. There is a limited access to charge gadgets though, but who needs a gadget if there are a lot of fun activities to join with the people around? Ekologika Lodges on Portibi Farms teach us that there is something more important than loving the earth. It is the relation and interaction among humans.
Chasing Citaman Waterfall
Trekking to the waterfall was my first purpose to go there. But when an American volunteer girl welcomed us with bare feet at the entrance, I knew that this place will take me closer to the earth through their other fun activities.
The first activity we did was trekking to Citaman Waterfall with a local guide from the farm to lead our way. After a one-hour hike, we didn’t waste another second to plunge ourselves into the clear pond with water so fresh at the base of the waterfall. The waterfall was also so quiet from the crowd – there were only our group and another one visiting the waterfall on that Saturday afternoon, and it made us feel like the waterfall was ours alone.
Aside from the farm tour and vegetable-picking every morning or afternoon, another fun activity at Ekologika Lodges on Portibi Farms is actually the meal time. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on a buffet style, and guests can enjoy their meal on a long communal table, together with other visitors. This instantly became one of my favorite part of the day, as I got to make new friendship.
And when it comes to the food, Portibi Farms serve fresh dishes that are free from artificial flavoring. Most of the vegetables are sourced from the farms and other ingredients are from the local market nearby.
I think, every dishes served there is my favorite. But the salad with the yogurt and mint dressing was the one I most remember.
Without a doubt, a trip to Portibi Farms as well as stay at the Ekologika Lodges, go trekking to Citaman Waterfall and experience the simple farming life are splendid for a weekend getaway. Guests can also make an impromptu visit to Portibi Farms without spending the night. However, please note that reservation for the accommodation and dining experience is recommended – you can do this through their website, where you can also choose the fun activities you would like to do.
Portibi Farms & Lodges Ekologika
Jl. Ekologika, Pasawahan, Cicurug, Sukabumi, Jawa Barat 43359
This post has been published originally on Bali & Beyond Magazine on January 2017 edition.