‘A romantic little village’ is how Sir Stamford Ruffles once described Bogor in West Java during colonial times.’ Little village’ does no longer apply, because the city, located some 60km south of the capital Jakarta, has grown to a population of over 1 million. But, a romantic charm persists to this day.
Add friendly people,a cool climate, breathtaking volcanoes, jungles and waterfalls, great food and one of the world’s oldest and largest botanical gardens and you’ll want to pack your bags and head to Indonesia straightaway.
Botanic Garden Image by Ian Riley wikepedia commons
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An important role in the enjoyment of any trip is the choice of hotel. You can’t do much better than with the Hotel Aston Bogor. Providing all necessary creature comforts, the hotel is suitable for families as well as for solo travelers. A natural river runs through the lush grounds where you get a first impression of the great nature which makes Bogor such a coveted ‘escape’ from hot and crowded Jakarta. Relax in their full service spa and then set off the explore such main attractions as the Botanical Garden or the Jungle Water Adventure Park, all within easy walking distance.
Of course, being in Indonesia you’ll also want to use one of the colorful local rickshaws known as Becak.
What to see and do in Bogor and surroundings
You simply cannot skip the Botanical Garden. Located in the city center next to the presidential compound of Istana Bogor, this paradise of tropical vegetation covers 210 acres and is home to nearly 14.000 different trees and plants. The garden has many sections, the most remarkable being the water garden with giant water lilies, fish and birds which live in the park and the Orchid House full of the most exotic specimen. Or get lost in the massive maze garden. There are also monuments reflecting Bogor’s British and Dutch past, such as a memorial to Lady Raffles.
A logical next stopping point is the presidential palace right next to the Botanical Garden. The building originates from 1744 under Dutch rule but was destroyed in an earthquake. The current palace dates from 1850 when it was rebuilt. The Botanical Garden was once the palaces’ backyard and even now it is surrounded by lavish grounds. Strangely no president or anybody else lives there, but deer, once brought over from Nepal roam the grounds freely and are much loved (and fed) by visitors.
Bogor is divided by two rivers and located in a basin surrounded by mountains, jungle and volcanoes. The highest peaks are volcano Salak and Mount Gede. Naturally, no visit to Bogor is complete without venturing further afield.
Visit the Tea Estate and enjoy some horseback riding at Gunung Mas. You can join a guided tour to learn about Java’s tea culture.
Admire West Java’s largest Hindu temple, Pura Parahyanan Agung Jagatkartta. Tourists are not allowed in the inner temple but you can enjoy the beauty of the buildings and even more green gardens.
This is just a small selection of attractions to wet your appetite for a visit to Bogor. You can swim under waterfalls, hang glide in the mountains, hike and rock climb or simply enjoy a variety of great food at the Ah Poong Floating Market.
Just don’t forget to bring umbrella and raincoat. Regardless to which time of the year you visit, all this abundance of vegetation has a reason: it always rains, even in the dry season.