Menoreh Grand Land Offers Adventure: Yogyakarta, Central Java

Spending the holidays in Yogyakarta can be very challenging — especially for those who like adventure tourism and outdoor activities.

One example is on offer at the Menoreh Grand Land in Paingan, Kulonprogo, about 40 kilometers to the west of Yogyakarta — about a 35-minute drive. Covering an area of some 10 hectares, the resort offers various outward bound activities and more specifically, airsoft gun war games.

To join in, visitors do not need to bring their own guns, as the resort has all the necessary equipment for rent — including airsoft guns, safety helmets, jackets and protective goggles.
Visitors may choose from three separate — but all challenging — fields: forest, swampland and hilly terrain

“For a two-hour game, the rental fee for the equipment is Rp 35,000,” Hartono, a manager at the Menoreh Grand Land, said while testing the facilities.

The Menoreh war games will have a grand opening in March 2007.

Apart from the war games venue, Menoreh also offers packaged lunches at up to Rp 10,000 per package. All the dishes in the lunches are taken from the traditional meals that local villagers of the area enjoy.

“Yes, we only serve meals of kampong style,” said Hartono. “But if they like, visitors can also ask for additional snacks at a separate cost.”

Hartono, who is also head of the Jogjakarta Animal Rescue Center (PPSJ), said the 10 hectares of land was originally part of an area where PPSJ rehabilitated and treated rescued animals.

However, since the center is required to be financially independent, the PPSJ turned 10 of the total 14 hectares of its land into a commercial zone, offering outward bound activities and the airsoft gun war games.

Now, only 4 hectares of PPSJ’s land is left to nurture rescued animals.

“We are forced to commercialize (the land). Otherwise, we would not be able to survive,” said Hartono.

The PPSJ is known for its efforts in rescuing rare and endangered animals such as sea eagles, spiny softshell turtles, orangutans and crocodiles, many of which have now been released back into their natural habitat.

Previously, the PPSJ was home to some 1,200 animals. Today, the center is rehabilitating nearly 800 animals representing 35 species, while dozens of animals have been moved to other rescue centers in the country.

Menoreh Grand Land was established by the PPSJ in cooperation with the local regental government of Kulonprogo. The facility is expected to boost tourism in the region, especially in the sector widely known as “alternative tourism”.

While Menoreh is scheduled for an official opening during the second week of March, several different groups of visitors have been arriving at the center this week to try out the new facilities.

“We are deliberately inviting different communities in Yogyakarta to try the facilities for free, so that we would be able to standardize the game area,” Hartono said.

Samsul M. Hilal of the Kulonprogo Tourism Office, who is also on the management of Menoreh Grand Land, said that the different natural landscapes of the area was ideal for further development into a resort as an alternative tourist destination.

For example, apart from its hilly terrain, the area also has many large ponds that were used in the rehabilitation of rescued animals.

“We have set the ponds in such a way so that it resembles a swampy field for the war games,” said Samsul, adding that additional adjustments and improvements would be made to make the area more attractive and challenging for visitors.

He added that water sport lovers would also find Menoreh a haven for their hobbies.

“We have the Serang River in Nanggulan here, where visitors can go rafting or play war games on the river. Just make a choice, and we will prepare the equipment for them,” he said.

The war games facility, according to Samsul, presently has 11 types of airsoft guns for the war games. Among these are AK47 models with both steel and wooden bodies and M16 models.

“We are currently stocking more equipment and guns so that when the time comes for its official opening, we will have plenty of them,” said Samsul. He invited all those who wanted to try out the war games facilities to come to Menoreh Grand Land.

Playing airsoft gun war games on whatever battlefield, backed by the beautiful panorama of Menoreh Grand Land, indeed provides visitors with an exciting, challenging holiday option.

In a war game, players are usually divided into two warring parties, each party comprising four or more people.

All are required to wear the safety helmets, jackets and goggles provided to protect against the airsoft guns, which shoot rubber pellets.

Once the battlefield has been chosen, the two parties separate into “camps” to plan their strategy to beat the “enemy”.

A player that has been shot three times is considered “dead” and is out of the game. The group that “kills” all the members of its opposing team first is the winner.

A game can last at least two hours. Afterwards, visitors can enjoy the kampong-style meals that has been prepared by the management according to order.

The meal is served in a piece of banana leaf shaped into a bowl, which is popularly called pincuk among locals. One pincuk meal typically consists of rice, pecel (mixed vegetables served with peanut sauce), fried tempeh and peyek gereh (crackers made of flour and salted anchovies). Young coconuts served with aren, a kind of palm sugar, make the meals even tastier.

“It’s incredible, very exotic. Eating on the bank of a river from a banana-leaf plate after playing a war game is indeed unforgettable. I must try another game later,” Arif, a 31-year-old visitor said with satisfaction.

Slamet Susanto