I'm so excited to write this feature as there are so many reasons why you should join the Bandung Hash House Harriers. If you're new to the area, want to meet great people and see a different side of Bandung, then this is for you. Plus it's fun, keeps you fit and there's even a bit of drinking afterwards. So why wouldn't you want to join them?
The proud crest of the BHHH
So, where do I start? Firstly, in a nutshell, it's a small group of locals and international people that meet together a few times a week for a walk or 'hash' as they call it. They all have different fitness levels so you can walk or run the route. After a fun walk; but a walk with a twist, it's back to the starting/meeting point for a social evening (but more about that in a moment) and sometimes a bite to eat.
Such a mix of views on the hash
Before I give you more details I best explain the club has it's own "language", which will make sense when you read below or join them.
Where do they meet?
It's hard to say where they are based as every week the meeting place is different within the Bandung and Lembang area. The best bet is to check their Facebook page for further details or expat in Bandung groups as they display the 'hash' meeting points, times and dates.
What to bring?
These steps were as hard as they look!
There really isn't much you need to bring with you. I wore comfortable trainers, socks, jogging pants and a sports top. On a personal level, I had expected to 'hash' though more countryside areas, as it turned out, this 'hash' was more through local villages. As I was showing my arms a little I felt a bit exposed, so next time I would wear a top with long sleeves. I also took a little cash to buy some water on route and a change of clothes and basic toiletries for after.
What's the walk/the 'hash' all about?
My first circle – the pre hash talk
The 'hash' can be walked or ran – it's up to you. There was even a lady that used walking poles when I joined them. It was about 5miles (which is around 8km). The route I did undulated a lot and that's putting it nicely. The 'hash' route varies every week with a new 'hare'/person plotting the route.
The best thing about this walk was that it was done in a treasure hunt style, I think that's the best way to describe it? Before the walk, all the 'hashers' gather for a briefing. It's explained that you need to look for 'Hansel and Gretel' style markings that point you in the right direction. For our 'hash' we were looking for chalk markings, chalk dust and small piles of cut paper. They always would occur on the left-hand side and to be honest this is what turned a fun walk into an amazing journey. Not only did I explore parts of Bandung I had never seen before and meet some truly interesting and fun people, but we also had a mini-adventure. We spent half of our time looking for the trail, backtracking when we went wrong and if you find a circle on the path, it's decision time! Meaning that you had to work as a team and explore the different route options until someone called 'on on' to confirm the correct way. Together with this reason and the fact they are a really nice bunch of people, no one gets left behind.
What happens after the 'hash'?
If you find a circle you have to work as a team to discover the right path
After about 2 hours, my group was the last to return, we made it back to the starting point. If you don't complete the 'hash' before it gets dark you must just directly walk back to the meeting point. After a great walk I didn't think my afternoon could get any better, but then the second part of the meet happened. They call it 'the circle'. I don't want to give too much away but it did involve a beer or two, singing, a lot of belly laugh moments and a little more beer on top of that. Then to re-fuel the 'hare' had prepared a fantastic pasta with a vegetarian option.
A bit of Hash Harrier History
Great views but it was a long way down
I personally had never heard of this group before but it's a worldwide phenomenon. It's said that they date back to 1938 when a bunch of British officers in Kuala Lumpur started going on a weekly run. The 'Mother Hash' still runs in Kuala Lumpur on a weekly basis with about 80 members. These Hash clubs are now found all over the world. And I tell you what, the next time I'm settling into a new location I'll be keeping my eye out for one as they are the perfect way to have a laugh, meet new friends and explore the area.
I highly recommend this group and really hope you can join us.
See you at the next 'hash'