We do all have our own ideas on what makes a place beautiful and worth visiting, and on what makes a trip memorable. In my opinion, unexpected adventures to hidden places are the best ones. Therefore, when my university friend Foni invited me to visit his village and its surroundings in the middle of Central Java, I didn’t think twice and seized this opportunity. During that time, I was an exchange student in the traditional city of Jogjakarta, Indonesia, and was craving to learn more about the javanese culture and explore the countryside. We departed from the central station and took a local train, and despite the journey was three hours and a half long, time flew very fast due to the picturesque landscape of rice fields and volcanoes that could be contemplated from the window. 

On the way to Central Java

Once we arrived in Purwokerto, my friend’s hometown, I already knew I would not regret my decision to join him. Purwokerto is located at the feet of Mount Slamet, a stratovolcano higher than 3 000 meters. Its activity shaped the environment which is home to a dozen of small creatures, which we could observe while walking around or while enjoying a cup of coffee sold in one of the countless warungs (locally owned small stands).

A new little friend

After resting a bit in my friend’s home, we continued our adventure on motorbikes to the first local attraction: the Curug Jenggala waterfall located  Baturaden. Despite the large number of waterfalls in the region, this one is the most impressive one due to its size. It is possible to observe it from a wooden made bridge. The most courageous travellers can also go for a swim underneath. 

Afterwards, we made our way to the hot springs in Pancuran. The weather kept changing and we were soon surrounded by a dense fog, which gave a magical aspect to that place. Pancuran isn’t well-known among international tourists, however the benefits of the hot water have been recognised for decades. 

The fog in Pancuran

We ended our day by hiking around with some other friends who joined us later on. One of my thoughts was that despite the places we visited were definitely worth going to, they were barely advertised despite their potential to benefit the local communities.The entry to the attractions only required a very small entry fee. Each place also seemed to be pretty well managed, with almost no garbage around. This trip definitely was one of the highlights of my stay in Indonesia, and Purwokerto and its region is an area that I would recommend to all kinds of visitors. I am sure it will seduce you with its smiling and ready to help inhabitants, its hidden attractions and its surrounding nature. It is an amazing place to disconnect from bigger cities and relax. Due to its simplicity and charm, I can easily consider it as one of my favourite places on Earth.

  • Gabrielle
  • : An Erasmus Mundus Master Student in Tourism Management, I have been travelling around Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand and Europe in the past few years.
  • : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
  • : This is the first time this story has been published.