Curug Malela: “Indonesia’s Little Niagara”, “Mini Niagara”. Said people who don’t feel that “Curug Malela” is good enough to stand on its own without a tacky slogan. Like a book with little sticker “Mega Best-seller”, “Recommended by Paris Hilton”, or “Sold One Million Copy”, they’re marketing hype, and marketing, my friend, has a tendency to over-exaggerate. From what I’ve learned all these years reading tourist’s reviews from the internet with tons of tacky slogans, I set my expectations not too high to avoid later disappointment.
Early October, I went to Curug Malela after midnight with a group of 11 people: 9 in a 15-seater minibus, the other two in a 4-WD truck. The first 2 hours ride from Jakarta was smooth enough, but the real horror started after that. The road to Curug Malela in West Bandung was very awful (not surprisingly). The local government did a very good job to let the road damages unbroken.
Actually, Curug Malela was only 72 km from Bandung, so even if the car was traveling in a slow 50km/h, it’d be 2 hours top to reach Cicadas village where the waterfall was located. But in reality, it took us 3 hours to reach Cicadas in a wild bumpy ride, especially on the village’s road where the minibus worked really really hard just to maintain its balance.
We stopped at the last settlement in the village to park the minibus. It couldn’t go any further because of the road was too demanding for the minibus. So, we spotted at a small kiosk in the village and enjoying some hot tea in the middle of a chily morning. There were three alternatives to reach the waterfall: a 3 km walk, hire an ojek, or ride a four-wheel-drive car. A normal car couldn’t survive the path to the waterfall. We chose the third options: Riding a 4-WD badass truck. 1 hour later, we arrived at the parking lot, from there it was all the way down to the waterfall, approximately 1 km walking down the small path. Nobody was there except us, so we could enjoy the waterfall in peace.
A few minutes later, a middle-aged guy accompanied us in the waterfall, he was some kind of a guard. Later I discovered that some people had swept away in the stream while swimming, or caught in a sudden flood in rainy season, so I think after those incidents, the management assigned a guy to supervise visitors to ensure they didn’t do something stupid while having fun at the waterfall.
I thought that after 6 hours of bloody ride, I would swim between the streams, refreshing my mind by washing off the stress in cool clear water, but I just stood there, in front of the waterfall, watching mother nature’s creation in amazement, enjoyed the thundering sound of the waterfall.
It was so loudly peaceful.