The concept of “tourist villages” (desa wisata) came about several years ago when the governments of several regencies realized there was much more in the Jogja area to offer travelers than the familiar Keraton, Borobudur, and Prambanan. Villages were given the choice of participating in the program or not, and those who accepted in some areas were given assistance in developing home stays and simple traditional meals, education in basic hygiene, and promoting their natural attractions. This is also an opportunity for tourist revenues to extend to the local people, which is welcomed by all. Overnight stays are available at villages that offer home stays, usually in rooms with private toilets added on to a family’s home.
While the term “tourist villages” conjures up visions of Disneyland, rest assured that they are all traditional hamlets where life goes on – with or without visitors – like it always has. Travelers wishing to experience genuine Javanese hospitality and friendliness in settings that have changed very little over generations will be delighted. Activities range from lessons in whatever skills the village folk have to offer (even climbing coconut palms!) to guided trekking for breathtaking views of mountains, forests and plantations.
For information, directions and reservations, call (or ask someone at your hotel to call for you) the contacts listed below. In planning your itinerary, it is helpful to know that the villages in Sleman Regency are north of Jogja; Bantul Regency is south; and Gunung Kidul Regency is southeast. Day trips to either Bantul or Gunung Kidul Regencies could include a stop at the south coast beaches.