Friday, July 31, 2015

Desa Ngadas: The Village Above the Clouds

The kind people of Desa Ngadas will forever touch my heart. 

The whole Tengger Tribe showed me such benevolence that I couldn’t imagine that I deserved. Desa Ngadas is the highest village in Java and one of the coldest but its people are the warmest and welcoming of all.  They are simply the most wonderful people I have ever met by far in my life.

Straight from Yogyakarta, together with my Indonesian travel blogger friend, Acen we decided to do a 15-hour journey to an off beaten track towards Mt. Bromo through Desa Ngadas to experience the living of the villagers even for a small period of time.  

We arrived at our homestay around 11:00AM, knocked out by the fatigue we’ve accumulated in the past 4 days exploring Java. Acen and I found ourselves dropped dead in our room - a powerful sleep that pretty equivalent to a night long sleep. It was 4:00PM when we were awaken from our own deep reverie, haven’t had our lunch so we stepped out of our homestay and explored the village to find some good street food. 

Acen with the owner of our homestay in the kitchen.

While walking in the long straight narrow street, I couldn’t help myself to mesmerized by the landscape – a lush green plantation lodged on the mountain slope while the fog blanketed the whole village. Every person in the village we have crossed gave us an ear to ear smile and a delightful greeting. We also met a family who pleasantly staring at us while we’re still afar and by the time we reached their place they asked us to come inside in their house to have some snacks and a cup of tea, in gracious response we stopped and engaged in a quick chit chat with them as if we knew each other before. They even asked us to stay that night at their house but I though that's too much and we already had our homestay, such hospitality to a total strangers, so sweet of them. We had also couple of photos with the family before we continue to our stroll.

At the near end of the street, we saw a decent home stay; the door was widely open that seems they were really inviting somebody to come in. A woman in 40’s approached us to come inside and she let us see the different rooms available, pretty better than our homestay. The kind woman also bid us to have a hot coffee with their local delicacy and we all seated nearby the fireplace to compensate the cold weather in the village. I don’t know what they were talking but she and Acen were talking in Javanese language. I just fascinatingly stared and listened at them. According to her, as interpreted by Acen, their primary living in Desa Ngadas is agricultural populace which is said to have existed in this sanctuary for hundreds of years. Over the epochs, the inhabitants turned surrounding forest to plantations with considerable variety of crops, from cabbage, onion, potato and vegetables.  There are three faiths in the small village of Desa – Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, all are encompassed with a great measure of lenience. Delightful conversation ended with happy full stomach and a new acquaintance, promise to come back in Desa Ngadas and next time will gladly visit in their homestay.  Astonishingly, the people never harden their hospitality to the visitors.

and this is the kind woman, the owner of this homestay

Our exploration then continue, again a family invited us to come inside their house but we just smiled back and politely opted to endure our walk for we were in search for a mobile network signal that time because unfortunately signal in the village isn’t that good. I kept asking Acen why the Tengger Tribe was like that, I mean, the huge hospitality to us were really touching. Few steps, we saw cute little kids and I was keenly to have a photo with them. They are so lovable with their soft pinkish cheeks. Perfect combination of beautiful place and a wonderful people.

I thought we met the essence of going in a homestay perfectly, mingling with the locals, trying their food, hearing their stories and being connected with them - cultural immersion indeed!

Almost all of the villagers courteously welcomed us in their modest hamlet. A simple showing of their hospitality left a large impact in my heart and the sweetest smiles are forever engraved in my mind. The Desa Ngadas is the home of genuine people with compassionate souls. The locals’ friendliness can definitely warm visitors in this village cuddled in the cold zephyrs from the massifs.


  1. Wow ... Such a lovely place to stay ... And the people are very friendly too!
    I think I will love staying in the village for a couple of days just to relax!

  2. Nice story, Kirk. Proud of you...
    But I must say that your face is like a local, not a tourist hehehe

    1. Haha. I'll visit your hometown, Solo next time. Show me some hospitality tooo. Kidding!
      Thanks for welcoming me and Acen in Yogyakarta!

  3. Woah. Nice place you found there! :)

  4. Woah! Nice place you found there! :) Will try to visit this soon when I get to Indo.

    1. You should, Essa. Feel the love of the Tengger Tribe to their visitors.

  5. This is a great story Kirk. One reason we travel is to immerse ourselves to the culture of the place we visit. And you exactly did just that. And based on your story I think I will fall in love with the people of Desa Ngadas because of their heartfelt hospitality. Great job Kirk.

  6. This is quite an interesting village. Hoping i would be able to visit them as well. You're so lucky!

  7. Got here via Oman's. You have an interesting blog and I learn new things from reading your posts. Expect me to be here more often. (stalker-mode)

  8. Great photos, Kirk! I'd love to go back to Ngadas. I miss the climate and the tranquility of the village. Perfect place to relax.


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