It's a fact. The tropical fantasy of palm-fringed beaches, golden sunsets and lolling about in the sun can indeed become tiring. So when the sweat and grime becomes too irritating, smart Jakartans head to the hills. They're looking for winter - the joys of the cold - and in the nearby hills of Puncak, a lucky few find it. Puncak means 'the summit' and is a stunning pass through a volcanic massif called the Parahyangan highlands or 'Abode of the Gods'. A winding narrow road was built through the pass at the beginning of the 19th century at a height of 1,450 metres. Mountains Gede, Pangrango and Salak feed a network of rivers through lush hillsides, many dotted with tea plantations. The Puncak hills are also dotted with villas where the wealthy flee alongside busloads of young sports or school groups. It was the Dutch colonialists who first made Puncak a destination, as they did with nearby Bogor city, where they built a palace and botanical garden. Some members of Jakarta's elite now keep a second or third house in the Puncak for getaways. Many embassies or companies provide villas for staff too. There, at a villa tucked beneath frangipani and pine, the fresh air, dramatic vistas and winter food are breathtaking. Key to the decor is the open-hearth fire, flanked by tall stacks of fragrant firewood and scattered cushions. Even if the fire cannot warm the whole house, simply having it as a possibility is invigorating. At one such exponent of modern hill town style, the vast lounge is open-plan, with stone walls rising to lofty rafters. A wooden terrace growing from the lounge and sheltered from the rain is overgrowing with blooms. Double duvets and steaming hot spring water don't stop this from being a cold place near the equator; first nights are shivering and kept short by the shock of silence broken only by birdsong or rain. Somehow air conditioning never quite achieves that sensation which only cold weather can bring. To this band of jaded Jakartans, it is a mental douche, spurred on by dips in the icy, pine-fringed pool before a dash back up the slope to the fire.