What is Indonesia’s best destination for nightlife?
Well, many would say Jakarta. From its sophisticated wine bars and ultra-hip clubs to its massage parlors and billiard halls – there is something for everyone to enjoy in the Big Durian.
Others however might cite Bali’s Kuta for its low key and unpretentious Australian surfer culture. Beach, Bintangs and babes. What more could a young man want? (don’t answer that: it’s a rhetorical question, obviously!)
Less known, but equally alluring are Bandung - where the women are said to prowl like tigers during the night - and Surabaya with its multitude of attractions for the adventurous hedonist.
And then there’s Puncak.
Puncak?!! You mean that hilly area just out of Jakarta, where the capital city’s stressed out professionals venture at weekends to spend most of the time gazing at tea plantations in soul crushing traffic jams - which of course just makes them even more stressed out?!!!
Yep that Puncak.
And it’s currently one of Indonesia’s hottest tourist spots – at least for visitors from the Middle East.
In fact so busy was it when I passed through (to visit the Safari Zoo I might add) that I had time to leave my car in the traffic jam, wolf down a really tasty Biryani rice dish at one of the local restaurants and then get back in my car before the car ahead of me had even moved!
These are the villages of North and South Tugu (in the Cisarua district of Bogor) and they are bustling with travel agents, car rentals, salons, and supermarkets, and – as I have already mentioned – there are some pretty decent restaurants as well.
But what's behind all the activity?
Well, love. Or lust. - depending on how you look at it.
Someone I met here (jokingly) told me that Puncak was referred to as Jabal (mountain) – but that what the visitors had in mind was not so much one “mound” but two! Hahaha!
Unsurprisingly, the allure of forex for sex has attracted many young "working" women from nearby Cianjur, Cimahi and Garut, but also from Jakarta and even Cengkareng in Tangerang.
The marriages, as you might expect, don’t have to last very long. Married on Friday, over by Sunday is certainly possible – although many chaps are so pleased at having found heaven on earth that they tend to make it last quite a bit longer than that.
Yusuf Kalla, the previous VP and Golkar Party stalwart, once praised the efforts made by foreigners to “ingratiate” themselves into Indonesian society, saying that:
“"If the janda [divorcees] get modest homes even if the foreign tourists later leave them, then it's OK. The children resulting from these relationships will have good genes. There will be more television actors and actresses from these pretty boys and girls."
It's easy to find love in Puncak. If only for a few days!