The Jakarta Post
The Bogor Botanical Gardens in West Java. (The Jakarta Post/Donny Fernando)
If you are looking for a different ambiance within a driving distance of Jakarta, Bogor in West Java is probably your best option.
Located a 1.5-hour drive from the capital, the city is home to the Bogor Botanical Gardens, locally known as Kebun Raya Bogor, Kuntum Farmfield, as well as various traditional dishes.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Rainy City:
How to get there
It’s quite easy to reach Bogor from Jakarta as there is a highway connecting the two cities.
Driving is the most convenient option. However, those who wish to use public transport can also board a train to Bogor Station and continue to explore the area by angkot (public minivan).
Best times to visit
Bogor is usually packed with travelers from Jakarta on weekends. If you don’t want to get stuck in traffic, it’s best to explore Bogor on weekdays.
Bogor is known as the Rainy City of Indonesia, so it is recommended that you come prepared with an umbrella.
A blue whale skeleton in the Bogor Zoology Museum of the Bogor Botanical Gardens. (The Jakarta Post/Donny Fernando)
The Bogor Botanical Gardens is the city’s landmark.
Occupying 87 hectares, it was founded under the government of the Dutch East Indies 201 years ago.
Presently, the lush garden is known as a family recreational area as well as a field trip destination as it boasts 400 species of palm trees, 5,000 trees and an orchid house containing 3,000 varieties of the flower.
The park is usually packed during weekends. Since it’s located right in front of the Bogor Palace, you might see President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo exercising there on Sunday morning.
The entrance fee to the Bogor Botanical Gardens is Rp 15,000 (around US$1.05) for local tourist and Rp 25,000 for foreign tourists.
In addition to learning about trees and flowers, visitors can also visit the Bogor Zoology Museum, Dutch Cemetery and Raffles Monument.
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Similar to Jakarta, coffee shops are the latest trend in Bogor.
Awal Mula coffee shop in Bogor, West Java. (The Jakarta Post/Donny Fernando)
Those looking for a trendy coffee shop can drop by Awal Mula. Located a stone’s throw away from the Bogor toll gate, Awal Mula first opened its doors on Nov. 14.
Here, coffee lovers can try Es Kopi Amul (iced coffee with a special sugar concoction), comprising gula aren (palm sugar).
“We get the coffee from Smoking Barrels,” Awal Mula co-founder Ricky Sukamto told The Jakarta Post.
Awal Mula also offers a spacious, clean and bright space, making it a convenient place for those wanting to work or have a family gathering.
Maraca Coffee allows guests to read its books inside the cafe. (The Jakarta Post/Donny Fernando)
Besides Awal Mula, coffee lovers are also recommended to go to Maraca Coffee. Here, visitors can enjoy the shop’s signature cubepresso latte or cubepresso soya while reading a book.
Maraca Coffee has two outlets: on Jl. Jalak Harupat and Jl. Salak. The former is more spacious, while the latter is more convenient for those looking for a quiet place to read.
Another recommended spot is Third Wave Coffee Co on Jl. Prof. Dr. H. Andi Hakim Nasoetion.
A little tip from locals: Taman Sempur is currently the up-and-coming place in Bogor. Situated on Jl. Sempur Kidul, the spacious park is equipped with a playground and an all-weather running track, making the park suitable for exercising or a fun time with children.
Besides enjoying the fresh air at the Bogor Botanical Gardens, travelers are also recommended to sample various local cuisines at Jl. Suryakencana, also known as Bogor’s Chinatown.
The long stretch of road is within a walking distance of the Bogor Botanical Gardens. Here, food enthusiasts can sample soto kuning (Bogor-style beef soup), tauge goreng (stir fry bean sprout served with tofu, rice cake and yellow noodles), asinan jagung (grilled corn served with spicy and savory sauce) and soto mie,
Soto Mie Ciseeng uses pork ribs, radish and fried chives for the soup. (The Jakarta Post/Donny Fernando)
Since Jl. Suryakencana is in Chinatown, bear in mind that the soto mie is slightly different from other soto mie in Jakarta.
Soto Mie Ciseeng is among the popular soto mie sellers in Bogor. Here, a bowl of soto mie consists of pork ribs, pork meat as well as pork intestines. The soup sets Soto Mie Ciseeng apart from its competitors. Using pork ribs, vinegar, fried chives and radish, the soup presents a tantalizing savory flavor with a hint of sweetness.
Visitors are welcomed to feed the animals at Kuntum Farmfield. (The Jakarta Post/Donny Fernando)
Those visiting with children are recommended to visit Kuntum Farmfield. Boasting a village-living experience, children can feed animals, such as goats and chickens, or play with rabbits. As for the adults, they can enjoy the spacious green garden and purchase organic vegetables,
The entrance fee to Kuntum Farmfield is Rp 45,000 per person.
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Bogor is home to a plethora of restaurants, offering both local and international cuisines.
Asinan (fruit or vegetable salad served in a sauce made from chili and vinegar) is among the signature dishes of Bogor.
In the city, you can find a myriad of asinan sellers. However, most travelers look for Asinan Sedap Gedung Dalem, while the locals frequently come to Asinan Ahauw. Tucked inside the Chinatown area, Asina Ahauw serves both asinan sayur and asinan buah. The former consists of tofu, cucumber, bean sprouts and salted vegetables. The vegetables are so fresh you can clearly hear the crunch when you eat them.
Those looking for local cuisines may visit De’ Leuit and sample ikan jambal (salted fish) with sayur asem (vegetables cooked in tamarind soup) and nasi timbel (rice wrapped in banana leaves).
Soto kuning is among the must-try dishes of Bogor. Similar to asinan, you can easily find soto kuning sellers across the city.
As for international cuisines, travelers can go to Kedai Kita, which is known for serving pizza, Macaroni Panggang (baked macaroni) and Pia Apple Pie in the Bogor Central area.
Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels in Bogor, including budget accommodations and four-star hotels.
Those who want to explore the Chinatown are recommended to book a room at the 101 Bogor Suryakancana. Tucked right in the heart of Chinatown, the hotel is within a walking distance from the Bogor Botanical Gardens.
Meanwhile, those looking for a laid-back ambiance can make a reservation at Novotel Bogor Golf Resort and Convention Center.
What to take home
Snacks, such as Roti Unyil Venus, asinan and lapis Bogor are popular things to bring back from Bogor.
Roti Unyil Venus is a small bun that can have various toppings, including cheese and sausage, corn and chocolate. The bread is priced at Rp 1,600 per piece and customers usually purchase at least 10 pieces.
For asinan, travelers usually go to Asinan Sedap Gedung Dalam to buy asinan sayur or asinan buah.
As for lapis Bogor, the ingredients include regular flour mixed with flour made out of Bogor taro. Instead of involving the usual baking technique, the cake is steamed, resulting in a soft texture. Lapis Bogor Sangkuriang is among the most popular places to buy lapis Bogor.
- Bogor is known as the Rainy City, so don’t forget to bring an umbrella.
- If you are traveling without the aid of a travel agent, it is recommended to download ride-hailing apps, such as Go-Jek and Grab.
- The Bogor Botanical Gardens closes at 4 p.m., so make sure to come early.
- Maraca Coffee opens at 3 p.m. on Friday. It’s suggested to check the coffee shop’s Instagram account prior to visiting.
- Shops on Jl. Suryakencana usually close at 3 p.m. It’s advised to come in the morning. (wng)