Some 60 km south of Jakarta, Bogor is the "bo" of the massive Jabotabek conurbation, with 3,000,000 people or so of its own. The town was the capital of Indonesia during the brief British occupation, and under the name Buitenzorg was also the summer capital of the Dutch in the hot dry season. Located 290 m above sea level, Bogor is noticeably cooler than the torrid lowlands, and the place where many of the Indonesian elite have their villas. Once a place of beauty, rapid development has turned central Bogor into the same congested mess as every other Indonesian city, but there are still rivers, canals, red-roofed houses, mosques, churches, trees, flowers and views of nearby Mount Salak to be had.
Bogor's epithet is Kota Hujan, meaning "City of Rain". Statistically, it's the rainiest city on Java, and locals jokingly advise getting any sightseeing done in the morning because it's guaranteed to rain in the afternoon. Then again, tramping through the Gardens can actually be more pleasant in a cool drizzle. Lovers of Bogor will tell you that most of the time it is dry; normally, the rain falls only in heavy bursts late in the day.
Bogor Tourist Information Centre, Jalan Paledang 35 (West side of the Gardens) ☎ +62 251 332775. Hands out rough maps and may be able to arrange palace tours. Open 8AM to 2 PM M-Th, 8 AM to 11 AM Fri, 8 AM to 1 PM Sat.
People in Bogor are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to help you. Be polite and smile, and it will get you very far. English is not prevalent, but basic English is spoken by many in restaurants and in the local warung food-stalls.
If you are a Westerner be prepared for Indonesians asking you for a photo. Do not be shy. They just enjoy visitors to Bogor, and posing for a photo with a smile can make someone's day.
The nearest major international airport is Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport.(IATA: CGK) There are direct Damri buses from there to Bogor Rp 40,000. Another option is by airport taxi that with meter costs around Rp 400,000. Please note that the traffic can be real bad during rush hours (6-9 AM and 4-6 PM) and especially on Monday and Friday afternoon. If you charter a helicopter from Soekarno Hatta airport, you can request in advance for permission to land at Atang Senjaya airport, Bogor. This airport is a military base, but it may be used for civilian flights in the future.
Eksekutif-class trains called Pakuan Express depart Jakarta's Kota station line 11 or 12, with a stop in Gambir, Djuanda and Gondandia station roughly hourly (Rp 11,000). During 10 days before and after Idul Fitri the Pakuan will not stop at Gambir station. Make sure to check the schedule at the station.
Ekonomi-class trains depart Jakarta's Kota station every 20 min or so, but can be crowded beyond belief and it does not stop in Gambir. Nor do some of the Pakuan trains. If returning to Jakarta from Bogor, check the schedule near the ticket booth to make sure the train you want to take stops at Gambir (GMR).
Another class is Economi-AC. You only pay for Rp 5,500 per trip from Jakarta. This train class is cheaper and more comfortable but can be very crowded.
Note: Pakuan Express trains are slated to be eliminated in July 2011.
In case you stay in Jalan Jaksa, the place for backpackers, you are just 10 min. walking from station Gondangdian. All trains, included the Pakuan stop there.
Buses from Jakarta depart from Lebak Bulus, Kampung Rambutan and Kali Deres bus terminal and take about 1-2 hr depending upon the traffic. There are two types of buses available Executive (air conditioned) and Economy.
Buses from Bogor to Bandung take about 3 hr. Executive buses use the Cipularang highway route while the Economy buses are still using the old route via Puncak pass, during weekends they may take a loop through Sukabumi, adding an extra 1 hr).
The easiest way to get to Bogor is to hire a car and a driver; this is relatively cheap; the journey time is about 1 hr. There is more than one road to Bogor, and the minor roads are often the most interesting. By toll highway, Bogor is about 40 min from Jakarta. During traffic jam (rush hours), it will take 80-120 min. Many commuters stay in Bogor and work in Jakarta. On weekend and holidays, the trip from Jakarta to Bogor may take up to 3 hr.
You can take metered taxi to Bogor from Jakarta. The cost will be approx. US$15-30 plus toll road fees of approx. US$2. The trip may take up to 3 hr depending on the traffic. Be cautious during the rainy season (Nov - Mar) because the route to Bogor is subject to flash flooding. It's better to use bigger companies like the Blue Bird Group because with the biggest fleet between Jakarta and Bogor they are the most reliable.
There are many pleasant traffic-free walks in Bogor, alongside rivers and canals.
The traffic in Bogor is chaotic. There is a daily traffic jam in Bogor from early in the morning to late in the afternoon. On weekend and holiday, people from Jakarta often go to Bogor with their cars.
The easiest way to get around Bogor is by angkot, little green minibuses, hordes of which infest Bogor's central streets. Any trip from anywhere to anywhere costs Rp 2,000, paid when you get off.
The downsides to using angkot are that the drivers are reckless and theft is all too common (guard your belongings). Also,some angkot like 02 or 03 only depart from their pangkalan (terminals) when full — 10 min on a good day on a busy route, 90 minutes on a bad day on an unpopular one.
By horse cart
Horse carts known as delman can be found in central Bogor and not too bad an option if you want to cruise around and take a look at the city. The poor beasts aren't very comfortable in the traffic scrum though.
Blue Bird Taxis operate in Bogor, but prepared as they generally can turn up late or sometimes not at all, make sure you call 10 min after ordering to check it is coming. Allow an extra half an hour for your airport taxi.
In the Botanical Garden on a typical rainy day
Botanical Garden (Kebun Raya Bogor), . Bogor's pride and joy, the extensive Botanical Gardens were founded in 1811 as a private garden of the Governor-General's summer residence by Sir Stamford Raffles, who also went on to found Singapore. However, it was Casper Reinwardt who adopted the gardens for more scientific use, with Johannes Elias Teysmann continuing in his footsteps. Today, the gardens stretch out over 87 hectares, parts carefully manicured like the palace gardens they are, parts seeming like wild jungle at first glance (if not for the tags detailing where every tree and plant comes from), with lakes, two rivers and hilly trails. If you're lucky, you may be able to spot a blooming giant arum (Amorphophallus titanum), the world's tallest inflorescence (flower cluster) which can reach an astounding 2.5 m and smells like rotting meat. Bogor Botanical Garden has 5 Amorphophallus titanum collection all from Sumatra (the most plenty collection amongs Botanical Garden). The latest full grown flower occurs at January 2011 and at July 3, 2011 the other flower has height 1.28 meters and predicted will full grown at 3 weeks later for 2 weeks before melted. Open from 8AM-5PM daily, although despite the size they can get crowded on Sundays. Entry is Rp 9,500.
Presidential Palace (Istana Bogor), in the northwest corners of the Botanical Gardens. Originally the summer residence of the Governor-General of Java, now one of the Indonesian president's summer escapes and noted for the 250 tame deer grazing in its grounds. The palace grounds can be visited from within the Gardens, but tours in the palace require 5 days advance notification — however, the Bogor TIC (see Contact) may be able to squeeze you in at short notice if there's a tour going on.
Orchid Garden (Rumah Anggrek), in the northeast corner of the Botanical Gardens. Large greenhouse housing orchids of all shapes and sizes, with two separate halls so there's always something blooming. Entry is included in the Botanical Garden entry fee.
Kujang, at triangle park on Jl. Pajajaran, Jl. Otista and Jl. Baranangsiang. This statue commemorated the struggle for Indonesian Independence by people in West Java. Kujang is a traditional weapon from West Java.
Batutulis, at Batutulis village, Bogor. A carved stone to commemorate King Sri Baduga Maharaja from Kingdom of Pakuan Pajajaran. Created in 1533 by King Surawisesa, son of King Siliwangi Sri Baduga Maharaja (according to Kern/Pleyte and Danasasmita).
Cirauteun, at Cirauteun, Ciampea, Bogor. A large carved stone to commemarate King Pakuan from Kingdom of Taruma (5th century).
Anand Ashram's One Earth Retreat Center, Jl. Raya Bukit Pelangi Km 5, Ciawi Gadog, ☎ +62 818 163391, . Meditation, yoga, self development programs, stress management. Sessions are about 90 min long.Rp 50,000-150,000.
There are many traffic-free walks by the side of rivers and canals. One is reminded, if one squints, of Venice in earlier days. One is likely to encounter colourful little houses and gardens, children flying kites, people bathing, vendors of snacks and spectacular views of Mount Salak. On the edge of Bogor one can walk beside rice fields and fruit orchards.
Fishing Valley Bogor The Biggest Fishing Venue in Bogor. Jl. Pemda Raya no. 107. ☎ +62 251 662808. Freshwater fishing in a valley with Mount Salak view. Carp, catfish (lele, patin) , Nila, etc).
Riverside Golf Club, Cimanggis. ☎ +62 21 8671533. Greg Norman designed golf course. They just changed the management recently and are improving all the facilities. They just added pathways for the golf carts and made the course a cart only course.
Klub Golf Bogor Raya, Bogor, adjacent to Perumahan Danau Bogor Raya. ☎ +62 251 271888. 18-hole golf course designed by Graham Marsh Golf Design. It is located at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level and the setting is natural, with mature trees, natural rivers and lakes. The golf course measures 6195 metres, par 71 with four sets of tee boxes (black, blue, white and red).
Rainbow Hill Jl. Raya Bukit Pelangi, Ciawi. ☎+62 251 272111. Located 10 km from Bogor city. J. Michael Poellot Golf Design Group designed the course.
Rancamaya Golf and Country Club Jl.Rancamaya Utama, Ciawi. ☎ +62 251 242282. Designed by Ted Robinson.
Jagorawi Golf & Country Club (JGCC) Jl. Karanggan raya, Cibinong-Bogor. ☎ +62 21 8790 2488. The only golf club in the country that offers 45 holes of championship golf. The Old Course is the jewel in the crown of Indonesian golf and can stand any form of competition with reputed golf courses anywhere in the world.
Most exciting are the traditional markets, filled with cheap clothing, toys, fruit, vegetables and the like. You should come every Sunday morning in Sempur for "in the morning" shopping while you have exercise. Tons of things and food for breakfast.
Botani Square Jl. Raya Pajajaran, (In front of Tugu Kujang/Kujang Monument), ☎+62 251 838-6658. Food court, convention centre, meeting point. A prestigious shopping mall in Bogor. Easy to access via public transportation. Located next to Terminal (Bus Station) Baranangsiang. 24 hr ATM. It is also recommended for city check-in, with an airport bus to take you directly to Jakarta's CGK International Airport. Located also next to Botanical Garden and Bogor Agriculture Institute.
Bogor's local specialities include pickles (asinan) and grilled bean sprouts (tauge goreng).
De Daunan, east side of Botanical Gardens. Formerly Cafe Botanicus, serves up a mix of Dutch and Indonesian favorites, with lazy ceiling fans and a breezy veranda on a small hill looking over the garden. The rijsstaffel set is popular if a bit pricy at Rp 45,000.
Sotomie Ciseeng. Jl. Suryakencana No. 302. A type of noodle with beef tendons and deep fried chives.
Ngohiong, sold along Jl. Suryakencana. An originally Chinese dish (五香 wǔxiāng) made from flour and scraps of pork, deep fried and then served with tofu, fried potato wedges, a thick sweet sauce and pickles. Halal (non pork) version of the dish may also be available.
Kedai Telapak Gd. Alumni IPB Pelataran Parkir Pool Damri Jl. Raya Pajajaran No.54 Bogor,(Located next to Botani Square on west side of Pool DAMRI Parking Lot in Baranangsiang). ☎ +62 251 8393 248. Green Cozzy Cafe and free wifi.
Gang Selot, at Jl. Ir Juanda, next to SMU Negeri 1 Bogor. This is a good place for a food lover. Varoius food outlets with very cheap price.
Harly's Cafe and Resto, Dadali Street No. 10 (near Goodyear factory and Immigration Office), ☎ +62 251 8347928. Established January 1st 2010. It serves good food and snacks, serves many brands of beer and serves spirits with a friendly atmosphere. It is open from 5 until whenever with a happy hour 5PM-9PM.
Ngeces Dimsum-Pasta, Jl Soleh Iskandar (In front of Yogya Dept Store, Cimanggu, and FoodCourt Ekalokasari Plaza), ☎ +62 813 8097 3972. 10AM-10PM.
Bali Blitz (http://orentzgroup.blogspot.com/), 48A Veteran Street Bogor (10 mon walking from Bogor train station-Jembatan Merah area), ☎ +62 251 838 3368 (email@example.com), . 24/7. Asian, fried rice and other Indonesian foods, served with spicy characteristics. 1st floor has a cafe and an internet cafe, 2nd floor has Bali blitz providing 2 music studio rooms and 4 cozy karaoke rooms, 3rd floor has a full bar, with selection of beers and cocktails, a wide dance floor, private section and DJ booth.
Lips Karaoke Bar and Club provides karaoke, a pool, and a bar
Warbal Cafe is a great friendly bar that serves beer and has live music; the owner speaks English, and it is a good place for Westerners to go.
Cafe Gumati is a lovely cafe overlooking Bogor, you will find Westerners here, too.
It is quite hard to find a bar that serves beer and is not in a hotel. You can find beer is Superindo. If you arrive by train, follow the crowd and at Jalan Kapten Muslihat, 100 m from the station where you see the fastfood KFC, on your right side, about 700 m further you see the sign of Superindo, a lion. By night it is closed and to find some fresh beer, take after the fastfood KFC the first street on your right Cepta Sartika, 50 m in that street on the right side, you can buy your beer until midnight. A bottle of Bintang costs Rp 20,000.
Hotel Bogor Inn, Jl. Kumbang No. 21, ☎ +62 251 832 8134. Cheap, near to Jl Malabar-the favourite place for students restaurants.
Abu Pension, Jl Mayor Oking 15, ☎ +62 251 8322 893. Directly behind the railway station. Lovely food, nice terrace over river. Good info on what to do. Offers kampung tour of the small streets (200.000 Rp). Rooms: double/tripple from Rp 125,000 excluding breakfast. A/C room (double) from Rp 200,000 ex breakfast. Some budget rooms with shared (clean) toilet and shower.
Hotel and Restaurant Mirah Sartika, Jalan Dewi Sartika 6 (From Jl Dewi Sartika 100 m from KFC, enter in a cul-de-sac on your right and there is your hotel.), ☎ +62 251 831 2343. From Rp 350,000 for 2 persons, breakfast included.
Padjadjaran Suites, Jl. Raya Pajajaran No. 17, ☎ +62 251835 9000, . Flat-screen satTV, tea/coffee making facilities and a safety deposit box. Each room has a balcony. Bathrobes, slippers and toiletries are provided. Outdoor pool, spa and gym. WiFi and parking are free. Business centre and meeting room facilities. Laundry and dry cleaning services are available, and a 24 hr front desk is provided.From Rp 900,000.
Hotel Santika Bogor, Botani Square, Jl. Raya Padjadjaran, ☎ +62 251 840 0707, . Underground connection to the Botanical Gardens and a large mall next door. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the interior is very clean with spacious rooms.~US$90.
Novotel Bogor Golf Resort & Convention Center, Golf Estate Bogor Raya (near the 18 hole Klub Golf Bogor Raya), ☎ +62 251 827 1555, . Conferencing, banqueting facilities and rooms set amongst tropical gardens.
Three elephants in Taman Safari
Puncak — highlands and tea plantations along the road to Bandung.
Citarik River - there are two white water rafting companies on this river about 2 hr out of Bogor on the Cikidang Road (turn right off Jalan Sukabumi after the petrol station). These companies are on the way to the beach in West Java, at Pelabuan Ratu. Great river all year round, but peak season is strangely the dry season (May-August), it gets more fun in the wet season, but more unpredictable. Great boats and good fun to be had, plus some bungalows by the river for sleeping.
Taman Safari (20 km east of Bogor towards Bandung) has an impressive drive-through zoo with lions, tigers, hippos, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, as well as plenty of other animals is well-kept large enclosures. There are also some amusement park attractions for children, a water park, a baby zoo, as well as conventional zoo exhibitions including penguins, snakes, kangaroos and Komodo dragons. This is a very well maintained zoo and a much better visit than other zoos found in the region. Admission is around Rp 100,000 per person. When visiting with children reserve a full day. For adults 3 hr is enough to see the most interesting animals.
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