The grounds of Tanakita in Sukabumi offer visitors a chance to experience a trend that has been sweeping across many parts of the world.
“Glamping”, “luxurious camping” or whatever else its may be called, offers participants an outdoor experience while keeping many of the comforts of plush, urban life intact.
Located 100-kilometers (km) from Jakarta and 96-km from Bandung, Tanakita is located in the beautiful countryside of Sukabumi's Cisaat district, adjacent to Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park. The final stretch of road leading to Tanakita is narrow and a little bit bumpy. It goes through Situ Gunung Nature Park before finally leading to Tanakita.
After a greeting from the camp’s staff and enjoying a welcoming cup of tea and coffee with fried cassava and banana fritters, visitors are taken for an afternoon walk to the hills to Tanakita's latest addition, a lavish villa called Villa Merah (Red Villa).
The two-hectare camping ground is equipped with separate toilet areas for men and women as well as shower rooms with hot water and washstands, all designed in a natural-yet-chic style.
A common area in the form of a two-story house is equipped with a lounge, dining space and gazebo.
Immediately I was drawn by the lush greenery and the vast blue skies. Not only was the view stunning, it also felt fresh and liberating.
Soon, however, the scene was overshadowed by mist and drizzle.
“The weather here is always unpredictable, especially in the afternoon,” Tanakita representative Piping said.
His words came true a moment later, as the afternoon sun began to shine again – though the drizzle remained.
Checking in inside my camping tent, I was surprised to see how big it was.
According to Piping, the 20 square-meter tent had room for eight adults. The tent was divided into compartments of one, two, and three single beds, each with its own pillow and sleeping bag. A trash bin made from bamboo, a shoe rack and shirt hangers was just outside the tent.
During your time in Tanakita, be sure to trek to the Sawer Waterfall inside the Situ Gunung Nature Park, located some 1.8 kilometers away from Tanakita. After, visit Situ Gunung Lake for its even more refreshing views and test your adrenaline at Tanakita's flying fox facility.
Later in the day, as I sat with Piping, he shared the story of how the increasingly popular campsite first came to fruition.
“We started out as a group of friends who loved to venture into the woods and hike up mountains,” he said.
“We then had this dream about turning our favorite activity into a business. The ‘five-star camping ground’ concept was born when we had to organize a camping event for a client who wanted a hot-water shower at the camp site,” he recalled, laughing.
A lack of experience in running a business and in dealing with bank loans did not stop them from realizing their dream. Finally, 11 years later in 2005, they were able to buy their own piece of land that is now Tanakita's ground.
The name “Tanakita” itself was derived from the Indonesian phrase “tanah kita”, which means “our land”.
As the night fell, dinner was served in the common area, accompanied by an acoustic band playing anything from Indonesian folk songs to top 40 hits. At the center of the field, a bonfire was lit and benches were placed here and there.
As the dinner ended, an assortment of traditional late-night snacks were rolled out, including grilled corn-on-the-cob, banana fritters with cheese and chocolate sauce, and free-flowing bandrek (a traditional drink made from palm sugar and ginger).
We all sat around the campfire and the band played on into the night.
At around 11 p.m., most people were already in their tents. I too was eventually lulled into slumber by the band.