Kalimantan’s Juhu a Mountainous Treasure

By Grace Susetyo – Burufly (Jakarta Globe)

The local Dayak people are known for their hospitality and friendliness. (Burufly Photo)

As the second largest island in Indonesia, Kalimantan has a number of fascinating destinations to satisfy an adventurer’s soul. One of these less traveled destinations is Juhu village, which is found in the outback of the Meratus mountains. To reach this uncharted village in the middle of South Kalimantan province, one must trek through the dense natural rainforests at an altitude of 560 meters above sea level.

Kiyu is the last point reachable by motorized vehicles on the way to Juhu. From Kiyu, Juhu is about a 10-hour walk for locals who are accustomed to the terrain. However, for visitors who are not familiar with the slopes of the Meratus mountains, it could take up to two days to reach Juhu from Kiyu.

Juhu is surrounded by a carpet of natural green pastures adorned by rocks and boulders. The fresh air of the mountains gives Juhu a comfortable atmosphere. The locals raise free range buffalo that roam and serve as natural gardeners of the meadow — grazing on tall blades of grass and fertilizing the ground with their manure.

To the west of Juhu, one can see Gunung Halau-Halau — the highest peak of the Meratus mountains — coloring the horizon with its bluish hue. Indonesia’s independence day (August 17) is peak season for visitors to Gunung Halau-Halau; hikers from all over Kalimantan climb to the top to raise the merah putih.

Juhu is surrounded by lush forest and break-taking scenery. (Burufly Photo)

Due to the harsh terrain of the Meratus mountains that visitors must go through in order to reach Juhu, not many tourists come here to date. Visitors who do come usually belong to outdoor adventure clubs.

Juhu is still a fairly hidden gem on Indonesia’s tourist trail, given how difficult it is to reach.

The Dayak Meratus ethnic group indigenous to Juhu are known for their hospitality and friendliness. Their houses are made of natural materials found in around the village such as bamboo. However, there are also houses that have wooden walls and tin roofs.

There is only one elementary school in Juhu. According to locals, the late former president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) himself officially opened the school on May 17, 2001.

Would you like to visit this beautiful village? Indra Setiawan in his blog warned you to prepare yourself physically to wade through the jungles. Once you overcome the jungles of Borneo, the view and the surrounding wash away all the efforts.

Writer Indra Setiawan in his blog warned potential travelers to prepare themselves physically to expedition through the jungles of Juhu. Once overcome, the view and surroundings make the strenuous journey worth it.