In our eastward trip in Java, we made a final stop at a place called Baluran before we took the ferry to Bali. The reason was to visit a little known national park that was dubbed Indonesia’s Africa safari (Turns out that although the place does have a Savannah landscape but we had fewer animal sightings than a visit to your local pet store).
Prior to arrival, Cindy told us our accommodation was a home stay and was one of the cheapest of our trip. Our last accommodation at Kawah Ijen was horrible so expectations were low. It took awhile to find the home as it was situated at a secluded housing area. The home was a one-storey modern brick house. The owner gave us several rooms to choose from, but we chose the one at the back of the house. It wasn’t so much of a bedroom than a converted large open space. There was a large cement platform and on it were mattresses where we would sleep on. It only had a couple of fans but the weather was cooling enough. The backdoor was always open and we welcomed the ventilation after a 8-hour car ride.
As we settled down, I peered out through the small overhead window to the backyard. My jaws dropped. Laid before my eyes was a vast land of paddy field. Waving with the rhythm of the winds were lush green plants that were soon would be ripe for harvest. With the sun setting soon, golden light soon spilled onto the endless greens, to a backdrop of the nearby Mt.Baluran. I rushed to grab my Olympus and fled to the outdoor balcony upstairs. I spotted a farmer tending to the final plots of paddies for the day. Within the horizon, there was neither a sight of road or modern structure, nor were there any sound of pent up evening traffic. I took in the views for a couple of minutes, before snapping away.
Sometimes the best experiences on the road come from where you least expect it. It’s the often ones you didn’t plan for. Or the ones that are not written in guidebooks. And these are the moments that makes it all worth it.
The homestay we stayed at was called Forest Ranger Homestay at Wonorejo, not too far away from Baluran National Park. However, the owners may not speak English. You may need to hire a driver or taxi to get there. Bear in mind the location on Google Map may be couple of streets off, but it’s still in the ballpark. You could also consider staying overnight at one of the lodges in Baluran National Park. Since this region isn’t frequented by travelers, I would recommend that you take it easy and not rush it.
– Olympus OM-D E-M5 body
– Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens
– Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 lens