Cool and cold places appeal to me so much so that when I was asked to spend a weekend in Lembang, not an ounce of hesitation was dropped.
Lembang is a tiny municipality 16 kilometers north of the city of Bandung in West Java, Indonesia. It sits at the foot of Mount Tangkuban Perahu and has an elevation of between 1,300 and 2,090 meters above sea level. The weather is generally cool to cold year-round (18-25 degrees Celsius on average).
It was midday when we reached the village of Cikole. There was a drizzle when we arrived. The cool breeze hugged me in a warm welcome and it started to feel like home.
Home for that March weekend was Grafika Cikole, a resort with facilities for camping, accommodation (hotel and cottages), outbound and outdoor team-building activities, and dining (two restaurants).
The whole facility is within a pine forest with strategically placed cottages and tents that blended well with the landscape. The terrain is hilly with lots of steep slopes. At the higher elevation one can glimpse of the mountains that surround Bandung regency.
Lembang is akin to Baguio City in the Philippines and Cikole reminded me of Baguio’s Camp John Hay. The pine trees in Lembang are so tall that looking up was like trying to figure out where Jack’s beanstalks end. Thick moss cover most tree barks and they lend a rustic touch to the not-so-dense forest. Giant ferns complement the landscape. Trails, mostly covered with concrete tiles and wittily named, lead to interesting and Instagrammable spots within the resort.
Nights were chillingly cold. I especially loved my evening walks. The breeze made the weather colder, the whispers of the wind through pine needles provided some eerie vibe, and the insects, frogs, and other creatures created a symphony of sounds while I traced the trails in darkness with faint lights from the cottages lending some illumination. It was a cuddle weather.
It rained in two of the three days we were in Lembang. It was so chilly, 17 degrees Celsius was probably the coldest, and it was wet. On the third day, we were blessed with a warmer, drier, sunnier but cloudy, yet still cold, weather — much like spring breaking in. The birds appeared joyfully in a big number. I watched them clean themselves while I ate breakfast, sipped a hot cup of coffee and drank fresh strawberry juice. It was a blast!
Aside from basking in the sights and climate, we visited Mt. Tangkuban Perahu’s crater (a five-minute ride away from Grafika Cikole), The Farmhouse (15 minutes away), and Kawah Putih (White Crater) of Mt. Patuha in Ciwedey (71 kilometers or 4-hour drive away).
Lembang exceeded my expectations. If given another chance, I would be more than willing to stay for another weekend. But not in a Grafika Cikole accommodation again.