West Java is one of the provinces in Indonesia that was not on my radar. It’s probably because it’s so close to Jakarta, a city where I’m based in. I find I want to explore places that are further away than a place I consider in my ‘backyard.’ However, since my aunt married with a man from Garut I’ve wanted to visit the town.
You see there’s actually quite a lot to do around Garut. You have Dodol, you have to see Kampung Naga, one of the traditional Sundanese villages, and buy leather things from Sukaregang. That’s what my uncle always told me. Long story short, I never had the chance to visit my uncle in Garut. The timing was always wrong.
When Kampung Sumber Alam got in touch with me and invited me to explore Garut, I couldn’t say no. The town, famously known as Swiss van Java, because it is located in a valley surrounded by a few volcanoes, is actually a nice weekend getaway from Jakarta. With the cold temperature and the scenic views, it is a perfect place to relax and take a break from the busy city.
From Jakarta you can either take a bus directly to Garut or do a combination of a train to Bandung and travel by minivan from Bandung to Garut. If you go by train and minivan, like I did, the journey takes around 5 hours. The train journey takes 3 hours and the minivan takes 1,5-2 hours. I recommend you stay a minimum of 2 nights in Garut.
I’m preparing an article about things that you can do in and around Garut, but for now we’ll talk about Kampung Sumber Alam. The resort, with Sundanese concept architecture, is located close to Mount Guntur. The views from the resort are amazing.
While there are plenty of options of places to stay in Cipanas area, Kampung Sumber Alam is one of the best options. Cipanas is on the outskirts of Garut, but is one of the most popular areas to stay if you are planning to explore Garut.
Speaking of Cipanas, in Sundanese Ci-Panas means hot water. One of the special things about Cipanas is that all the homes come with natural hot water by default. It’s funny how the staff told us that in Cipanas the actual ‘luxury’ is cold water. I’m not sure if I agree on that 😉
So back to Kampung Sumber Alam, first of all the resort has a lot of different types of rooms. We stayed at their Junior Suite and location wise, I think it is definitely my favourite area in the resort. It is indeed a bit far from the lobby, and the main pool area but that is the charm. It was very serene and relaxing.
The Junior Suite is a great deal for 4 people the cost on the weekend is Rp 1,500,000 per night. Each suite has 2 floors and 2 double beds. The suite has an outdoor dip pool and it was the greatest treat. Ok, imagine this, soaking in an outdoor warm pool at night, looking at the stars, while chatting with your friend(s). Super relaxing. Can’t think of other good ways to end the day. Btw, the hot water doesn’t have the smell of sulphur like you often get at hot springs.
Oh, I can still recall when Mumun and I just laying down in the terrace of the suite and enjoying looking over the lotus plants on the lake in front of the resort. As I mentioned, the suite has its charms.
Kampung Sumber Alam has a lot of facilities to offer. One of the highlights is the big warm swimming pool by the restaurant. From this swimming pool you can see Mount Guntur if the weather permits. As I mentioned earlier Garut is located between Mount Guntur, Cikuray and Papandayan. Cipanas is really close to Mount Guntur. The other interesting thing in the resort is the Kids Games Area that has various types of traditional Sundanese games for kids. They also have a mini outbound area, spa/massage service and function room.
I should mention that the staff in Kampung Sumber Alam Resort goes the extra miles to make sure you enjoy your stay. We arranged a morning hike to Mount Papandayan with Kampung Sumber Alam and it was one of the best hiking experiences we had. The guide, Ricky who was also a member of staff at Sumber Alam, patiently walked with us to Hutan Mati and the Ladang Edelweiss in Papandayan.
Before visiting Garut, I have no clue about the town. My knowledge was limited to Dodol, Kampung Naga and Sukaregang, which is famous for its leather products (this is how my uncle tried to sell me Garut). After visiting Kampung Sumber Alam Resort I realised that Garut has a lot of things to offer.
There is Cangkuang Temple, Mount Papandayan, the history of Dodol (really interesting!), and the famous Domba Garut (Garut Sheep) to name but a few. I want to go back soon.
However though I said Garut (and its surrounding) has a lot to offer, Garut especially Cipanas area is also a nice place to go to just relax. I can imagine myself staying at Kampung Sumber Alam and practically doing nothing else besides relaxing. Soaking in hot water until my skin wrinkles up like a prune… 😉
Have you ever visited Garut? What did you think of the area? Are there any places you’d recommend visiting?