Bogor is a unassuming little town somewhere on a highland (290 m above sea level) yet not quite and just about an hour away from the main city Jakarta. It used to be the capital of Indonesia during the Dutch occupation and now a popular place for the Jakarta elites to have a summer home or for a cooling hideaway from the city.
Where is it
Bogor is the answer to escaping Jakarta for a day or even as a weekend getaway. With its cooling mountain area with beautiful flowers and happy animals, it does tickles the naturalists while entertaining the young and restless.
When is the best time to go
It is generally good to go all year round but as being known as the Kota Hujan (city of rain) so it will tend to rain in the evening with overcast clouds threatening most of the times, so if you are here during the rainy season of Indonesia (October to February), try to arrange your outings to start from early in the day.
What to see
Botanical Garden (Kebun Raya Bogor)
Reminiscent of the era of grand gardens of the riches, you will find beautiful flowers, well-tended gardens, fountains, pond dotted with water lilies and orchid garden in a glass house. Stroll around open areas or twisted trails, and even walk across lanes flanked by tall fern trees and colorful flower-filled bushes. If you are lucky you may even see the famous Bunga Raksasa (giant flower) in full bloom.
Located just at the northwest of Botanical Gardens, it is a grand palace standing tall in the middle a beautiful lawn. It used to be the summer residence of the Governor of Java and now as one of the Indonesia President’s summer house. It is famous for the 250 deer grazing its lawn and you may visit it from within the Gardens.
What to do
After the walk in the Botanical Garden, walk around this little town that sorts of reflect on its old golden days.
Decent food overlooking the hills for a relaxing meal. Don’t forget to try their yogurt drink here made from fresh milk from the farm.
Where to stay
There are various places to stay here in Bogor as it is a popular place for getaways and traveling for the locals as well. You may find from budget to mid-range and to high end of hostels, guesthouses and hotels here. Popular hotels here are in the mid-range with good value such as Santika Hotel or Hotel Salak the Heritage *.
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How to get there
First of all, you need to fly into Jakarta, the nearest airport to Bogor, then make you way there via these transports:
The easiest way to get here and also to go to nearby places, you can rent a car with driver if you are in a group and can afford to spare. It will take about 1-2 hours drive to get there depending on traffic. Try to avoid peak hours in the morning (6am-10am) and (4pm-7pm) evening.
You can take the local komuter train from almost any station to get to Bogor.
You can catch a bus at either Lebak Bulus, Kampung Rambutan or Kali deres bus terminal to Bogor and it will take about 1-2 hours depending on traffic. There are two types of buses which is Executive (with air condition) and Economy.
This is the favourite method of the locals, being the cheapest and also better in twisting around the jams, these minibuses will take you there in the maximum priced of 1000 Rp. First, you need to catch an angkot from Kampung Rambutan (bus station) and ask to take to Cisalak. At Cisalak you would need to switch and find another angkot to take you all the way to Bogor.
How to get around
You may walk around this town and on pedestrian friendly paths such as along rivers.
Else for fast access, flag down angkot (minibus) and use it to cover the area. Bear in mind the traffic is also heavy here. Just pay 2,000 Rp when you hop off where you wanted. Just take note of your belongings when squeezing into the angkot.
Well worth to bring family here, especially a delight for kids. It ranges from a ride through the safari where animal dwell in free range, baby zoo for more intimate view and take pictures if you like, bird park hosting many wild birds, and even some zoo-like enclosed animal. The animals here are well taken care of and the place is well maintained.
Go up even higher to the highlands to view the tea plantations and enjoy the cool breeze.
Bring a raincoat or an umbrella as Bogor is being called city of rain for a reason.