Bogor, City of Rain

Pakuan Pajajaran, Buitenzorg and Bogor

This time visitingjava wants to share some stories about Bogor, a city which located about 60 kilometers to the south of Jakarta. Many people said that Bogor is ideal for weekend escapism due to its location which simply can be reached by people of Jakarta whenever they need a fast-relaxing place near their office parking lot. So, why Bogor is so special for the Indonesian and how Bogor counted as one of the most promising city in West Java? Here are the stories for you.

Before we talk about the modern Bogor as we can see today, there is a long road before Bogor can stand up alone as an independent city. The history of Bogor started in the era of Javanese Kingdom around 5th century. Long time ago Bogor area was known as a settlement of Tarumanegara kingdom. This kingdom was recorded as the oldest state ever created around Indonesia. Tarumanegara kingdom compete (directly) with Srivijaya kingdom (a kingdom from Sumatera) to rule entire West Java area. Many battles forced Tarumanegara kingdom to set a transformation for the kingdom and in the year 669 M, Tarumanegara transformed into Sunda Kingdom. The new kingdom took a place between two main rivers (Ciliwung River and Cisadane River) as the capital of the city and that ancient settlement was the embryo of Bogor. The Sunda kingdom city was called Pakuan Pajajaran (its sundanese) which can be described as a place between the parallel/rivers. During the era of Sunda Kingdom King Siliwangi or also known as Prabu Siliwangi was the notable leader who respected either by other kings or his servants. The coronation date of Prabu Siliwangi (june 3rd) was proclaimed by the modern government as the city celebration day.

Pakuan was once destroyed heavily by the aggression of Sultanate Banten in the year 1579 and during the 17th century Pakuan was gradually passed to the hand of VOC as the colonialism era began in West Java. The first colonial settlement was the Tanuwijaya camp which built as the checkpoint area for further area development. At the first effort, this settlement was totally destroyed by the eruption of Mount Salak in the year 1699 and after several years the colonial government tried to re-establish the settlement. Second change was succeed and during a relative short period Pakuan grown into an agricultural settlement. For the successful effort, Tanuwijaya was crowned as the founder of Bogor Regency in the year 1701.

Further settlement development was continued and Pakuan attracted more people to come and in the year 1746 The governor-general Gustaaf Willem van Imhoff (who led the settlement) instructed to unite all areas surrounding the Bogor Palace, Pakuan and other settlements into a new administrative city named Buitenzorg (Dutch) which can be described as “No worries”. (Yes, most people who live there at that time had no worries at all since everything can be found easily at Pakuan). Since Buitenzorg used as the name for this area, the name of Bogor Palace which is the important building for the Governor-General simply called Bogor Summer Palace.

(LEFT : Map of Java during the Dutch colonial era and RIGHT : Bogor Summer Palace main boulevard)

(Left : Map of Java during the Dutch colonial era and Right : Bogor Summer Palace main boulevard)

A new leap for Buitenzorg happened in the year 1817 when the Botanical Garden developed by the Colonial government. This Botanical Garden claimed as one of the world’s largest gardens during the 19th century. Everything seems to be ok in Buitenzorg until another eruption of Mount Salak in the year 1834 destroyed Buitenzorg and since that time all of building construction in Bogor was changed into a shorter and sturdier structure. 43 years after the Botanical Garden was established, exactly during year 1860–1880 the biggest agricultural school was established in Buitenzorg and this achievement brought a new title for the city as the most developed city in Indonesia. As the extraordinary development that established in Buitenzorg, in the year 1904 Dutch East Indies relocated the administrative point for their colonial government to this city while the management remained in Batavia.

During World War II and the Indonesian Revolution Era, Buitenzorg was controlled by the Japanese Forces (year 1942 – 1945) and the name of Buitenzorg was changed into Bogor an Indonesian name that used until today. The name Bogor itself came from Bhagar (which means cow, it’s an ancient Javanese) this name reminds all people that the city was very famous for its agriculture environment. Today, people of Bogor are very proud that their city has the best agricultural institute in Indonesia and The Bogor Summer Palace became a historic point of interest for worldwide travelers.

Bogor, small and smile

This humble city is known as one of the satellite cities of Jakarta which formed BODETABEK with other cities Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi within a Mega-polis concept to support the major development of Jakarta as the Capitol of The Republic of Indonesia. With total area that reached 118.5 km2 and land elevation 265 m above the sea level, Bogor is perfect for water preservation. Since this city was established near to rivers and an active volcano (Mount Salak) we can see clearly the soil is good enough for any kind of crops. Most people who lives in Bogor are Sundanese (west java’s tribe) and based on 2010 census total population of Bogor reached 950,334 people, not as crowded as other Jakarta’s satellite cities.

It’s easy to find people walk around the city in Bogor and surely they don’t have to be worried about air pollution. Fresh air and pure water supply is the advantage of Bogor area if compared either with Depok, Tangerang or Bekasi. Frequent rain showers (almost every day is a rainy day in Bogor) simply makes this city unique and people who came to Bogor always feels this city is quite romantic for a couple. Ok, i don’t want to ruin your fantasy about a romantic couple night (with rain showers) so we’re move on to the next subject.

Besides romantic rain showers, Bogor also offers adrenaline rush attraction for worldwide travelers and Taman Safari Bogor is the place for the adrenaline junkie. Only in this place you can meet with thousands of wild animal without parental advisory on the screen. This place is challenging yet relaxing since you will enter the attraction with a vehicle and end up at the amusement park within the artificial jungle. Well, i guess if Taman Safari Bogor could spend more fund for some “out of the box” research about how to bring the Dino back, then Jurassic Park could be established in Bogor.

(LEFT : The entrance gate of Taman Safari, Cisarua Bogor and RIGHT : Yeah sure dude, take my picture and don’t forget to brag it on your Instagram)

(Left : The entrance gate of Taman Safari, Cisarua Bogor and Right : Yeah sure dude, take my picture and don’t forget to brag it on your Instagram)

It is recommended to visit Taman Safari Bogor with families and don’t forget to close the window (of your car) when you arrived at the wild animal region. You never know about the mood of those wild animals and its better to play it save rather than to play it brave. Finish with the adrenaline rush attraction you can take some photos with animals at the photo booth and enjoy various animal attractions at the animal stage. Many people enjoying taking photos with the white tiger, I think he is quite calm and got a good self-confidence dealing with his fans.

For travelers who wants to conquer Mount Salak (2.211 meters) they are recommended to ask guidance from local rangers since Mount Salak is an active volcano and surely there will be more risk to conquer it without any preparation. Mount Salak is also known as a mysterious place for all mount-climbers since there are many supra-natural experiences happened during the effort to climb this mountain. I am sure all of mountains around the world has a specific route to minimize the risk and it is a wiser option to take a month full of fitness preparation before taking the challenge to conquer mount Salak and don’t forget to take a pray for the effort.

(LEFT : Mount Salak, the supra-natural mountain in Bogor, West Java and RIGHT : The beautiful Parahyangan Agung Jagatkarta temple which located near to mount salak)

(Left : Mount Salak, the supra-natural mountain in Bogor, West Java and Right : The beautiful Parahyangan Agung Jagatkarta temple which located near to mount salak)

Exploring Bogor is not a complete experience if you don’t visit the historical Bogor Summer Palace and Bogor Botanical Garden. All visitors of Bogor Summer Palace will be amazed with the old-school architecture of this historical building and other interesting point is you can explore Palace courtyard which turned into a playground for hundreds of wild deer.

(LEFT : A Pathway to Bogor Summer Palace and RIGHT : Group of deer around the Bogor Summer Palace)

(Left : A Pathway to Bogor Summer Palace and Right : Group of deer around the Bogor Summer Palace)

Some of artistic statues give us a clue that the first President of the Republic of Indonesia, Soekarno got a brilliant taste in arts. On the other side of the Bogor Summer Palace, you can find the entrance to the famous Bogor Botanical Garden, a sanctuary for thousands of species which categorized as a rare one such as a Rafflesia Arnoldii. This flower simply turns everyone’s head when they saw it in the middle of Bogor Botanical Garden. Why? Well you will find the answer when you came to this place. The Giant trees of Bogor Botanical Garden also ideal for landscape photography and those trees reminds me to the Great Deku Tree from the famous video game series The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time (It was a memorable video game title for me and my brothers).

(LEFT : one of the fountains at Bogor Botanical Garden, a perfect place to relax and RIGHT : See, that’s why Rafflesia Arnoldii will turn everyone’s head once they arrived at Bogor Botanical Garden)

(Left : one of the fountains at Bogor Botanical Garden, a perfect place to relax and Right : See, that’s why Rafflesia Arnoldii will turn everyone’s head once they arrived at Bogor Botanical Garden)

Visiting each city in Java means you will deal with local dish and Bogor got a special dish for travelers called Asinan. Actually this dish is a kind of vegetable blend or fruit blend which served either at noon or night. Some people refuse to eat this dish in the morning since the taste of Asinan is lightly spicy and sour. It is perfect side dish after lunch and before dinner but no problem if you want to try it in the morning. Sure we can talk about this dish on the next Visitingjava’s article.

(LEFT : Vegetable Asinan with peanut sauce and cracker and RIGHT : Fruit Asinan with fried peanut and spicy soup, which one is your choice?)

(Left : Vegetable Asinan with peanut sauce and cracker and Right : Fruit Asinan with fried peanut and spicy soup, which one is your choice?)

Next, there is roti unyil which could be your snack at the hotel. Roti unyil became very famous for travelers since there are 26 custom breads to choose (chocolate, cheese, corn and even banana) so you don’t have to be worried about an allergic to nuts, just choose the chocolate one. Small shape and big smile i guess that’s what we can see when someone ate roti unyil.

(LEFT : Roti unyil display, simple and crowded - either by the bread or long queue of people who want to buy it and RIGHT : Roti unyil in a box, they are ready to be taken home)

(Left : Roti unyil display, simple and crowded – either by the bread or long queue of people who want to buy it and Right : Roti unyil in a box, they are ready to be taken home)

Yes, the shape is smaller than the usual bread but it’s perfect for a single bite (just throw all into your mouth and no more bread for your friends, uppps… smilleee you can buy another one if your friend gone mad). Roti unyil packed nicely and one piece of Roti Unyil is sold around 1,500 rupiah (you can buy 10 pieces in a box and mix the variants as you like).

Puncak Pass is another attraction of Bogor for travelers who like to enjoy mountainous environment with large tea plantation area and foggy atmosphere. A cup of hot chocolate of tea could be a nice way to spend your vacation at Puncak Pass. Many resorts, villas and hotels offer an interesting package for worldwide travelers and you can stay at Puncak Pass after a full day of Bogor city exploration. Some of local cafe and restaurants provide all night long entertainment such as live music show. Other kind of entertainment also available at Puncak and only few people with certain codes can access it, so you need to ask local guide about this one since i don’t deal with that kind of entertainment.

(LEFT : The tea plantation scenery at Puncak, Bogor, West Java and RIGHT : Don’t forget to hit the brake since this is not a WRC stage with foggy challenge)

(Left : The tea plantation scenery at Puncak, Bogor, West Java and Right : Don’t forget to hit the brake since this ain’t WRC stage with fog challenge)

For football fans, PERSIKABO is one of the local football clubs that quite good (in overall achievement) during some years of participation in Indonesian football league. This team established in the year 1973 and secured the champion title in the year 1995 (Indonesian Second Division Football league). PERSIKABO or also known as Padjajaran Army or Bogor Deer owned by PT. Karadenan jaya and played a match at their home base the PERSIKABO Stadium (total capacity reached 25.000 seats). Their fans called KABOMANIA a.k.a. PERSIKABO Lovers and they are also fanatic to the team as well as the other football team fans around Indonesia.

(LEFT : The home of Persikabo football club in Cibinong, Bogor Regency and RIGHT : What a fun goal celebration, but that’s too bad they failed to advance to the premier division)

(Left : The home of Persikabo football club in Cibinong, Bogor Regency and Right : What a fun goal celebration, but that’s too bad they failed to advance to the premier division)

Some routes to Bogor

Since Bogor is one of Jakarta’s satellite cities so the simplest ways to go to Bogor is take a bus or train from Jakarta. If you take a bus or private vehicle (from Jakarta) there are the old route through Jakarta-Bogor main road and Highway/TOLL road called JAGORAWI which is a main access to Bogor and Ciawi. It is only take about an hour to go to Bogor by bus or private vehicle in a condition there is no traffic jam during the trip through JAGORAWI TOLL road. You will arrive at Baranangsiang Bus Terminal in Bogor and simply change the transportation to the smaller one called Angkot. Bogor is also famous for its Angkot (which outnumbered the private cars) so don’t be worried about transportation in Bogor.

(LEFT : No, that’s not the abbey road, that’s Baranangsiang Bus Terminal, the main bus terminal in Bogor and RIGHT : With a huge number of angkot, you don’t have to worry about mass transportation during vacation in Bogor)

(Left : No, that’s not the abbey road, that’s Baranangsiang Bus Terminal, the main bus terminal in Bogor and Right : With a huge number of angkot, you don’t have to worry about mass transportation during vacation in Bogor)

If you prefer a train then you can buy a ticket of intercity train route Jakarta-Bogor. The train service provides Air Conditioner and dedicated carriage for women-children so you can enjoy the trip from Jakarta to Bogor without worrying about pick-pocketing or sexual harassment which sometimes happened inside the train carriage. An hour trip by train (or less) is good enough for anyone who concern about safety and time management during their vacation.

(LEFT : What a nice architecture of Bogor Terminal, it reminds me to the Gladiator movie, MIDDLE : KRL, the train which is directly connects Jakarta-Bogor and RIGHT : A map of KRL route, Jabodetabek Division)

(Left : What a nice architecture of Bogor Terminal, it reminds me to the Gladiator movie, Middle : KRL, the train which is directly connects Jakarta-Bogor and Right : A map of KRL route, Jabodetabek Division)

As for suggestion, you can visit Bogor, anytime you have spare time while visiting Jakarta either for business or leisure. Short stay for about 2 or 3 days in Bogor surely will give you enough time to enjoy the hospitality and recharge your energy. So, whenever you came to Jakarta, please remember there is City of Rain which always opens its gate for worldwide travelers and see you soon in Bogor.

By Amar Pujo Wicaksono

(Contributor at visitingjava.com)

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