Lolong Durian Forest
On the island of Java, on the northen highlands, south of Pekalongan harbour city, there is a small village in the middle of the tropical forest. And this village is very unique due to its remarkable durian production. It is definitely a place you have to visit at least once in your life if you are a durian lover.
Durian is a fruit with distinct shape and scents. With durian, it is pretty much love it or hate it relationship. For some people, it’s their favorite fruit, and others cannot stand it in any way due to its odor. Durian is very popular in the south east Asia. It is widely sold in both traditional and modern market or on the street vendor.
Durian has tall evergreen trees. The fruit can weight up to 2 kg and is fully covered with sharp thorns. So one must be very careful in carrying it and not to bleed the fingers. Even peeling the durian can be very tricky. It is known that orang utans, elephans and even tigers also eat durian (and I wonder how they eat them).
Due to its nature, durian can cause serious injury if it falls on someone’s head and pretty severe damage if it fall on your car. With those torns and that weight, from that height, we wanted to make sure to park our car in a save place. But in the middle of the forest and on the narrow street, we did not have much option. We were lucky. No single durian fell on us that day.
As far as I know, there is no public transport to the Lolong village or to Durian forest. So one has to rent a car or motorcycle to get there.
Little did we know, there is a beautiful river flowing from the highlands to the java sea. The water is clean, flowing through rocky cascades. It is transparent and tempting if it flows in the flat area and turns to white foamy stream in the steep terrain. Unfortunately the river is not easy to reach from the main road and we did not have the right shoes to climb down the slippery path to the water, so I just took a shot from a far. It was not easy due all the trees to get the picture of the river. The next time we go there though, I will make sure to bring an appropriate pair of shoes with me.
In the forest, on the way to Lolong village, there is an area on the right side of the road, where one can stop, rest, purchase and eat fresh durian. One can also take a small walk in that area, but make sure to look upside and identify where the durian hanging on the trees and avoid them. Even though there is a saying in Indonesia that says ketiban durian runtuh (translated: getting a fallen durian), means receiving an unexpected fortune, you do not want it to be too literal.
Like teak forest and many other homogenous tropical forest, other types of trees also grow in the area. Banana trees and a lot of brushwood can easily be found here.
Opening a durian requires a certain skill. First, one has to be sure that the fruit is already ripe. An expericienced seller can disinguish not only the ripeness of the fruit, but also the variety of the fruits. There are a lot of known durian species and a lot more that has not been identified yet. In Indonesia, the most common variety are durian madu (honey), petruk, bentara, ligit, kani and Otong.
above is an unripe durian that we asked the seller to open it for us, only because of curiosity. I know, we were wrong, should have just believed the seller and open another ripe one
If I’m not mistaken, this one was durian madu. To be honest, I cannot tell anymore which one belongs to what species. There was too much knowledge to absorb, too much delicious durian to be eaten and too little time. And of course because you buy it directly in the forest you can get cheaper price. But if you are not satisfied with the price, you can always haggle, something fun that is totally unpopular in europe.
This tiny durian is my favorite one, the smell is not as strong as the other, but the flesh is the sweetest. Unfortunately this one is very rare.
After eating durian, it is very important to wash your hand to get rid off the smell. My uncle told me a simple trick to remove the smell from your hand. You should grasp your own hand so that your palm is completely covered and dip both of your hand in clean water and rub all the durian flesh away. after that, use a soap, It was quite effective. The water that we used that time is taken from a natural spring and flows through a bamboo pipe.
Beside eaten fresh, durian is often used in traditional sweets such as Jenang and Gelamai. The durian aroma can also be mixed in candy, milk and ice cream. The seed and flower can be cooked and the rind and the leaves can be used as medicines. The local people also use the rind as mosquito repellant.
Durian is known as the king of fruits. Nevertheles, durian is a controversial fruit. because unfortunately, the odor does not only repells the mosquito, but also people with sensitive nose.
If you do not like durian, you can still visit the forrest and the village to enjoy the scenery and fresh air. If you have extra clothes and extra money, you can also enjoy rafting here. You can rent all the equipment for rafting together with a coupon to eat in a fish restaurant in the outskirt of the forest. After the meal, you will be taken back to the village to get your clothes or whatever things you don’t want to get wet. There is also a durian festival once in a year with a lot of contest you can participate in.
If you do someday visit the forest, please help protect the forest and do not litter 🙂