Photo: Gorgeous.

Kampung Naga

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Scenic Kampung Naga is one of West Java’s few remaining traditional indigenous Sundanese villages, breathtaking in every sense of the word.

Nestled at the bottom of a ricefield-carpeted valley down a punishingly steep and winding river-stone-paved stairway. Halfway between Garut and Tasikmalaya along a jungle-shrouded serpentine highway, an unsignposted side road leads to the main carpark of the village from where you commence the long walk into the fertile ravine.

So green! Photo taken in or around Kampung Naga, Cipanas, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

So green! Photo: Sally Arnold

As you descend, the broadening view reveals a mosaic of dense jungle, patchwork fields and thatched-roof houses. Add a touch of smoke to the mix and the glow of the afternoon sunlight and one can safely say that you will gasp at this magnificent sight, truly an Indonesian Shangri-La.

In the midst of rapid globalisation in the surrounding towns and cities, the villagers of Kampung Naga still adhere to “adat”, the traditional practises and many of the old animist ways of their ancestors, once observed all over Java. Today the villagers also embrace Islam, but with a healthy dose of ancestor worship to a create a unique culture. Adat also dictates the layout of the village and the materials used in the buildings.

Village scenes. Photo taken in or around Kampung Naga, Cipanas, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Village scenes. Photo: Sally Arnold

Interestingly, the village isn’t connected to the electricity grid, meaning gas lamps adorn houses and car batteries power ancient radios and black and white televisions. This picturesque, authentic “living museum” is somewhat of an anomaly—more akin to the villages you encounter in the remote outer islands of Indonesia than in densely populate modern Java.

Guides in the parking area offer to take visitors through the village for about 50,000 rupiah. If choosing not to hire a guide, it’s polite to leave a donation in the village donation box down by the mosque. Although a periodic stream of curious visitors pass by, this is not a “tourist village” so please be respectful when visiting.

No smartphone charging here. Photo taken in or around Kampung Naga, Cipanas, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

No smartphone charging here. Photo: Sally Arnold

A handful of warungs line the carpark selling food and drinks.

Kampung Naga is 30 kilometres southeast of Cipanas (Garut) and is usually visited en route to or from Pangandaran on the southern coast. Buses to Kampung Naga from either Garut or nearby Tasikmalaya take 45 minutes to an hour. The main train line between Bandung and Central Java passes through Tasikmalaya and this makes a good transit point for those coming from or going to Yogyakarta and beyond.

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Kampung Naga
30 kilometres southeast of Cipanas (Garut)
Admission: By donation

Location map for Kampung Naga

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