Scotsabroad's Weblog

May 20, 2012


Filed under: Indonesia,Jakarta — scotsabroad @ 5:26 pm

This weekend was 4 days long so we had an opportunity  to get out of Jakarta. We drove the 40km to Bogor and stayed at the Novotel for one night. The Lonely Planet says the Novotel is arguably the best hotel in the city. Definitely. Bogor, cooler and higher than Jakarta, was a tiny hill village until the Dutch selected it to be the seat of the first Governor General of Java in 1745.  Since then, it has been the chosen retreat of starch collared colonials and, more recently, wealthy Indonesians escaping the stifling and crowded capital. Bogor is now almost a suburb of Jakarta and the roads are choked with the overspill of the capital’s perennial traffic problem. Our hearts sink whenever we see food vendors appear on the roadside at Bogor, wading through lines of slow-moving traffic holding up their bags of tempe, as this often means that their potential buyers will be stuck in our cars for hours and perhaps getting hungry. Also, local establishments along the roadside advertising the use of a WC mean we might not be going anywhere fast either. But this weekend we were lucky and home to hotel took almost exactly 60 minutes. The Novotel could almost be a weekend dinner date destination says Shona.

On our last visit to Bogor we didn’t visit the Botanical Gardens known as Kebun Raya. Refreshed from our night in the hotel we drove to the centre of the city and found the main entrance to the gardens. There were no parking facilities, so we parked further down the street and then walked up through fruit and vegetable sellers and past baskets of live rabbits, we assume for the pot – while constantly dodging the green angkot minibuses. The guidebook says, crowds flock to Kebun Raya on a Sunday.

Once inside, on this Sunday, the park was busy but not crowded. Shona bought a unique handmade batik scarf  from local children to support their young enterprise project. We headed for the Zoological Museum and wondered why many of the stuffed animals looked as if they have been varnished all over. Bizarre painting of the mouth and eyes.  By the look on some of the animals faces it seemed some might have been stuffed while still alive. Lucas got quite upset until Shona reassured him that they wait for the animals to die first (a lie, she knows, but she didn’t want to put him off zoological museums for life). The skeleton of a blue whale hangs outside (again… painted) washed up on the South coast of Java in the early 1900s. We walked the beautiful gardens heading towards the Governor’s House ( Istana Bogor) but were unable to get access due to a moat separating the gardens from the palace. It seems there is another entrance for the Presidential Palace. The guide book does say the palace displays Sukarno’s erotic art collection – and children are not allowed inside. So, the boys cool off with an ice-cream from an ancient Wall’s cart. The prices most up to date.

Families sit everywhere tucking in to packed lunches. A scout group arrives, the first of many, happily marching around the park with thick walking poles and big rucksacks. Being foreign we have not brought our own lunch. We look for a cafe. We are prepared to eat but we begin to be bitten by mosquitoes so we head back to the car and back to Jakarta. Very pleasant visit.


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