We had rented a self drive car and wanted to visit Java's South Coast. Doing the research it became apparent that the area has yet to experience mass tourism and hotels and home stays are few and far between. I also found it difficult to work out where accommodation options were in relation to beaches- which seemed to have different names and locations depending which online resource I used.
I finally happened upon Villa Tentrem which seemed to be near Kukup Beach, which is about 5km from Baron beach which is mentioned on most maps. ( the villa is actually closest to Sepenjang beach, next down from Kukup)
We had slight problems finding the villa from the directions provided by Roswitha, the German owner, but were eventually guided in by phone by her Indonesian husband. The villa is set back around 500 metres from the beach along a small winding track and up a hill into woodland.(the final 100 metres is quite steep in the heat with a bag!)
Roswitha was waiting for us and showed us round the villa which is a traditional Javanese bungalow. It was built a couple of years ago to a traditional design and has the feel of a village long-house. Lots of wood, multiple shuttered doors opening to a nice terrace and a very high wooden roof. There's a small kitchen and bathroom with traditional bowl and ladel as a shower - the cold water was very refreshing in the stifling heat. The bed had a good mosquito net which is needed- the villa is quite open so you do get insects in. In fact, you should expect visits from all the woodland creatures which fly,hop and crawl into the villa. A number of geckos live in the roof and we loved listening to them sing in the night, though you do need to watch out for droppings on the floor! We also had an amusing encounter with what became known as the Magic Toad. My partner alerted me to this rather large amphibious visitor to the bathroom and I was about to apprehend and remove him when we heated the distant rattle of a scooter delivering our meal ( a restaurant at Kukup will deliver local food to the villa). I therefore postponed the toad hunt until I'd received and paid for the food. I returned not 10 minutes later and the visitor had vanished. The door was closed and there were no other possible exit points. The only possibility was that he'd leapt into the toilet and used that as an escape route or he really WAS a magic toad!
The villa has a semi open roof and we were hoping sea breezes would cool us in the night but it was a particularly still night and we had to resort to using the fan provided but slept well then.
The beaches and villages near the villa were nice but not spectacular when we visited. The tide was out, leaving a lot of seaweed covered rocks exposed stretching to the waves breaking a few hundred yards distant. Walking on the beach we also saw lots of red jelly fish washed ashore. Therefore we resisted the urge to swim. None of the villages have much development - mostly stalls and a couple of restaurants with some scattered home stays - I wouldn't recommend turning up without booking accommodation.
The biggest draw to Villa Tentrem is the peace and tranquility. It really feels like a house in the woods and sitting on the terrace listening to the waves crashing, the wind in the trees and the birdsong is a lovely experience. There's also a lovely viewpoint with wooden shelter at the top of the hill and we enjoyed watching the sunset from there with some welcome cooling sea breeze.
In summary- the big plus point is the isolation afforded by the villa- you literally feel you're alone in the woods. Eating options are limited unless you cook for yourself or call for a takeaway at the local restaurant, so if you're looking for nightlife and 5 star resorts it isn't for you. However the villa itself is lovely - spacious, traditional and clean. If you want to be close to the sea and nature you'll love it.
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