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Bogor

Everything you Need to Know about Bogor

Bogor, former capital of the ancient Sunda Kingdom and home to one of the world's largest botanical gardens, is located about 60 kilometres south of Jakarta on the island of Java. Known as a centre for art, culture and tourism, this city of 800,000 people boasts some intriguing and historical sights including Bogor Palace, museums, theatres, and cemeteries, churches and other sites dating back to the Dutch colonial era. Considered one of Indonesia's most green and attractive cities, Bogor has a number of lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and protected forests in its vicinity for nature lovers to enjoy.

Bogor has a rich history dating back to the seventh century with its founding as the capital of the Sunda Kingdom, then called Pakuan Pajajaran, 'The City Between Rivers'. It was renamed Buitenzorg, 'Without a Care', under Dutch control, when it served as a summer retreat for the Governor-General. It later became an administrative centre when the British controlled the region in the 19th century.

Connected to Jakarta by a major toll expressway and a rail line with regular scheduled train trips, Bogor is easily reached from the capital city and is a popular weekend escape.

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Bogor Attractions

Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya) is the city's most famous attraction, with more than 20,000 plant species, 400 types of palm trees, dozens of bird varieties and verdant rainforest to explore. Since opening in 1817 it has been a centre of research for naturalists from all over the world, as well as a delight for families to wander around and enjoy a picnic in the green surrounds. Next to Botanical Gardens is the Zoological Museum with thousands of exhibits.

Bogor Palace is a compound of 28 hectares featuring colonial era buildings and a park with a herd of tame white-spotted deer. Bogor Cathedral it is one of the oldest Catholic Churches in Indonesia, built in 1750. The Buddhist temple Hok Tek Bio, dating back to 1672, is one of the oldest in Indonesia.

Bogor Museum of Ethnobotany is a unique place exploring the relationship between people and plants with 1,300 artefacts made from botanical materials including household items, toys, clothing, and farming, fishing and musical equipment.

Sukarna Gong Factory is the last remaining maker of the traditional percussion instruments in West Java. See the hand-carving of wooden gong stands and watch as artisans use traditional methods to craft these lovely bronze ceremonial instruments.

Bogor Restaurants & Dining

Bogor boasts a range of dining options from cheap and cheerful warung (food stalls) selling local fare to international cuisine, as well as all the global fast-food chains for those who must satisfy their Big Mac attacks and KFC cravings.

Near the Botanical Garden is the Pasar Bogor market teeming with food and fruit stalls, while inexpensive food may also be enjoyed in air-conditioned comfort at the Pujasera on the top floor of Bogor Plaza shopping centre nearby. Jalan Dewi Sartika and Jalan Pajajaran feature night bazaars with local food, seafood, baked goods and other inexpensive dishes. Don't leave without trying Bogor's local specialities, asinan (pickles) and tauge goreng (grilled bean sprouts).

For traditional Sundanese food, try the buffet-style Jongko Ibu or Rumah Makan Si Kabayan, where diners sit in bamboo huts with garden surrounds. Gumati restaurant on Jalan Paledang has traditional and modern dishes with Sundanese flair, with views to Salak Mountain from its romantic garden setting.

Pia Apple Pie on Jalan Pangrango offers tasty sweet treats in an outdoor setting. Those with a sweet tooth might also try Death by Chocolate & Spaghetti restaurant with decadent brownies as well as a menu full of soups, salads, pastas and other western dishes. Macaroni Panggang on Salak 24 offers up a mouth-watering range of pastas and western dishes in a cosy, outdoor family-friendly setting.

Bogor Nightlife

Bogor's nightlife scene is decidedly less lively than Jakarta or Bali, and it can be difficult to find restaurants outside of hotels serving alcohol. That said, there are some cafes, bars, pubs and karaoke spots to enjoy on an evening out in Bogor.

Salak Sunset Cafe is the place to find an ice-cold beer as well as local and western fare in its informal setting. The Warbal Cafe is another friendly bar popular with western visitors, featuring beer and live music. The third floor of the Bali Blitz nightclub features a full bar serving beers and cocktails, and dancing with DJ music. Enjoy some billiards matches at Lips Pool & Bar, which also has live bands and house DJs. Vu's Lounge is where the aspiring young executives of Bogor go to see and be seen, with a billiards room, karaoke hall, drink specials, DJ music and regular themed events.

Bogor Shopping

Shopping in Bogor is a fun treasure hunt where one can find both traditional arts and crafts of West Java and the latest fashions. For souvenirs and handicrafts, the area around the Botanical Gardens is a good place to browse, with wood carvings, dried flowers, embroidered products and other hand-crafted items to haggle for.

Pajajaran Street is home to a number of factory outlets selling shoes, handbags and clothing at bargain prices. Fashion items are also found along Raya Tajur and Kutalampa streets. Botani Square is Bogor's largest mall in the centre of the city, featuring many international brands of clothing and electronics, coffee shops and fitness centres. Ekalokasari Plaza is a modern shopping centre with upscale boutiques and trendy cafes, located on Jalan Siliwangi. Robinson Bogor Plaza, a major department store, is just up the road from the Botanical Gardens.

Bogor Activities

With plenty of green space and forests, lakes, hot springs and waterfalls nearby, Bogor offers a good variety of places to enjoy the great outdoors. Puncak Highland, just outside the city, is a cool, misty escape with tea plantations, lakes and protected park areas. Up here you'll find Taman Safari Park, a breeding centre where rare species including albino tigers, rhinoceroses and Asian bears may be seen roaming freely. A night safari tour is also available, and there are campsites for those who wish to stay overnight.

The highland area is also home to the Gede-Pangrango National Park, Cibodas Botanical Gardens and the Gunung Mas Tea Plantation. Hiking, boating, white-water rafting and fishing are among the favourite outdoor recreational activities to enjoy in the area. The road leading up to the highlands is lined with fruit vendors, handicraft sellers and snack stands.

Salak Volcano offers some lovely hiking grounds with waterfalls and hot springs. Tours are available for those needing some guidance through the hills. Other areas with hot springs and waterfalls are Cipanas and Cibodas.

Bogor has a good selection of golf courses including the Rancamaya Golf & Country Club and the Novotel Bogor Golf Resort.

Bogor Information

Bogor's city centre is 54 kilometres from Indonesia's major airport in Jakarta, Soekarno-Hatta International (Soetta) Airport. There is taxi service and regular bus service to Bogor on the DAMRI line (16000 rupiah), a two to three hour trip. Best to avoid rush hour times or the trip may take up to four hours in heavy traffic.

Economy and air-conditioned buses depart regularly from the Kampung Rambutan bus station in Jakarta (7000 to 10000 rupiah), reaching Bogor within an hour or two via the Jagorawi Highway toll road.

Regular scheduled air-conditioned express trains operate every day from the Gambir Railway station in Central Jakarta to Bogor (13000 rupiah), while economy train trips are available from Kota Station (2000-2500 rupiah). Unless you are keen on a hot and crowded ride, the economy train is best avoided.

With the highest average rainfall levels in Java, Bogor is rightly called the 'City of Rain' so be sure to bring your umbrella!

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