Typically when you think of Indonesia, it’s all about romantic overwater bungalows with brilliant blue waters below or tranquil meditation retreats made to calm the mind. But, there is also an adventurous side to the country, a side that will have your heart pumping and knuckles turning white.
Bandung Off-roading is made for thrill seekers. It was made for me.
Vintage Land Rover jeeps pulled up in front of Dusun Bambu leisure park, where we had just had a relaxing lunch overlooking a row boat filled pond that was lined with wooden villas. Let’s just say that this peaceful visit was the calm before the storm, Wonderful Indonesia had wanted to mix our visit up a bit.
It was time to spice things up with adventure.
The back of the jeeps were equipped with bench seating to fit a handful of daredevil passengers. Five of us hopped into an off-white one chosen solely because it reminded me of my Jeep Wrangler back home. There were open-air side windows and a fabric lining on the top just in case of rain. Each seat had a strap overhead to hang on to.
These straps would come in handy.
We were each given a mandatory helmet then started our journey on a smooth paved street through town. We turned off onto a gravel road that took us through a village and a short ways into the forest. There was a bit of bumpiness, but nothing more severe than mild airplane turbulence.
Why was I even wearing a helmet?
I naively thought that the mile of gravel road was the off-roading part, a little light adventure for the tourists. I was wrong…so very wrong. It turned out to be a great addition as one of the top adventurous things to do before you die.
After driving about twenty minutes we made a pitstop at a tailgate party of sorts. Our caravan of a half dozen vehicles stopped in the middle of the dirt road where table and chairs had been set up, and classic rock music was blaring from a large speaker.
A bright red coffee cart was waiting to serve up a hot cup of joe.
We spent a short time here drinking our hot beverages and taking selfies in the tall trees.
Then things got serious.
We were given a safety warning before carrying on any further.
- Don’t put any part of your body outside of the car
- Store your cameras back in their cases, so they won’t be banged around and get damaged
- Hold on to the straps on the roof of the inside of the jeep
We started on a more rugged path through the Jayagiri Rainforest where the barren dirt passages were more of a suggestion of a direction rather than an actual maintained road.
We could hear screams from the cars in front which was an indication of what may lie ahead. In some sections we were deep in muddy water, while others had us wedged between high dirt walls on each side. Countless times I was bounced off my bench, sometimes falling back in my seat and other time onto the floor of the jeep.
This ride was a testament to the Land Rover durability.
Many times the driver would simply ask, “right or left”. This question was really meant just to determine how adventurous we wanted to be. Did we want to be bounced out of our seats possibly ending up on a neighbors lap or just be tossed up and down?
We always chose the more adventurous route.
On several occasions, this option led the jeep to getting itself stuck in the mud and then having to expertly maneuver its way out, or even worse need to be towed by another vehicle.
Once we had driven for just over a hour it was time to turn around and return the same way we had come. I’m not sure if it was better or worse knowing what to expect on the return.
Either way, it was the same adventurous ride on the way back.
And I held on tight.
The good news is that I made it back all in one piece with only a couple minor bumps and bruises.
- Bring a change of clothes just in case you get sprayed with mud, which happened to the passengers in one of our jeeps.
- There will be opportunities to stop and get out of the jeeps, so wear sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Contact Bandung Offroad to book and check Wonderful Indonesia for other ideas for your trip!