February 17, 2016

Batu Secret Zoo

Address: Jl. Oro-oro Ombo no.9, Batu, East Java 
Phone: +62 341 597777
Website: http://www.jawatimurpark2.com/batu-secret-zoo/

This zoo is part of "Jawa Timur Park 2" complex (or for short: JaTim Park 2). So even though you just want to see the zoo, your ticket can also get you in to the Wildlife Museum (Museum Satwa) that lies just beside it. The Wildlife Museum exhibits a collection of well-preserved animals.

The zoo itself is bigggg. My friends & I spent about 3 hours there.. and that was done without stopping for food, skipping the kiddie rides (of course) and going through the last parts of the zoo in a bit of a rush because we had prior engagements. We went inside the museum for a bit but as soon as we noticed it was quite big as well, our tired feet made us choose the exit door :)

That is why I feel you should allocate at least half a day if you want to explore the zoo and the museum. That said, you can easily make it a whole day experience.

The most fun part for me was taking pictures wih a few of the animals. There was a fee of course, but they said the money will be used for conservation purposes.

January 1, 2016

Museum Angkut (Transportation museum) in Batu

Address: Jl. Terusan Sultan Agung no. 2, Batu, East Java
Phone: +62 341 595007
Website: http://www.museumangkut.com/

The first floor of the Museum
This museum, located in Batu, holds an impressive collection of transportation related pieces. It claims to be the largest in Asia. But besides that, certain parts of the complex are built as a "movie studio" so there are lots of great photo opportunities! You can pretend that you are in Jakarta or even in Europe. No wonder it can be jam-packed on the weekends.

The ticket price is not cheap by Indonesian standards: IDR 60,000 on the weekdays IDR 80,000 on the weekends (Dec '15). But, in my opinion, it is well worth it!

The car of Indonesia's 1st President and...
... his helicopter 
Replica of the Majapahit ship

"Jakarta" area

November 29, 2015

Batu, a city with modern tourist attractions

Batu is a small city in East Java, well-known originally for its apple production. It is recently gaining popularity as a main tourist destination due to several modern attractions such as Museum Angkut (a huge transportation museum) and recreational parks Jatim Park 1, Jatim Park 2 and Batu Night Spectacular (BNS)
I've even heard from locals that development is underway for Jatim Park 3!

Actually, because of Batu's cool air, it has always been the go-to-place for people in the surrounding cities who need a quick break from their hectic city life. Previously, people would go visit its Apple-picking farms and Selecta park.

How to get there?
Since it has never been a main city, to reach Batu you can either take a train/plane to Malang or Surabaya followed by a 45-minute or 2,5-hour drive respectively.

I will blog about Museum Angkut in my next post...

Alun-Alun Batu (Batu Square)

August 23, 2015

Kota Tua, Jakarta's Old Town

This is probably the second most mentioned tourist destination of Jakarta (after Monas). It lies on the northern part of Jakarta, but quite easily reachable if you are adventurous enough to take the TransJakarta bus. If you get on the BlokM-Kota route (Corridor 1) which goes through Jakarta's main street Sudirman Thamrin, you should get off at the very last station: "Kota".

The Old Town has European-styled buildings, a reminder of Indonesia's past being under Dutch rule. Most of the buildings are now turned into museums, so this is why I think the Old Town is quite interesting to spend a whole day at.
Jakarta History Museum
At the main square, you can easily explore:
- Jakarta History Museum (also known as Fatahillah Museum)
- Wayang Museum (houses a large collection of Javanese puppets)
Its website: http://www.museumwayang.com/
Its website: http://www.museumsenirupa.com/

And then there are also a few others in the neighbourhood:
This museum is located a bit farther than the others. Its website: http://www.museumbahari.org/
Bank Indonesia is Indonesia's central bank. I have never been to the museum before, but my friends all think the museum is quite entertaining. Opening hours info can be found on the Bank Indonesia website: http://www.bi.go.id/en/tentang-bi/museum/Default.aspx
Mandiri is one of the government owned banks. 

After exploring all the sights, you can have a nice meal at cafe Batavia, just opposite of the History museum. The interior here has a colonial feel to it. Many people come in just to take pictures because the prices are a bit high for us locals. For more affordable cafes, I prefer the few cafes near the side entrance of the square: Kedai Seni Djakarte, Historia Food Bar, Bangi Kopitiam.

Another great thing to do in Kota Tua is to take a bike ride. Bikes can be rent independently or with "driver" who acts as a guide as well, telling the history of the neighbourhood.
Colorful bikes for rent

Sadly, I must mention one thing: 
Beware if you go to the Old Town during the weekends/holiday season. It can get verrryyyy crowded and veryyyy littered as well :(
Best to explore it on a weekday.

September 7, 2014

Bogor Botanical Garden (Kebun Raya Bogor)

Last week I went to the Botanical Garden in Bogor (in Indonesian: Kebun Raya Bogor). Bogor is just a one-hour drive from Jakarta so it is a nice alternative if you want to get away from Jakarta during the weekend. 

The Botanical Garden is hugeeeeee. Coincidently, the presidential palace (Istana Bogor) with its famous deers roaming around the ground can also be found here, although you need special permission to enter. Besides that, the Orchid House is also one of the places people come to see. There is even a Reflexology Path.

With a lot of ground to cover, walking around can be tiresome. Luckily, you can also bring your car. 

We entered through Gate 1 (there are many gates). The entrance fee was IDR 15,000 per person & IDR 30,000 for the car (August 2014). You can also join the mini tour carriage to help you navigate around this huge garden (since there seems to be a lack of signposts!). 

For this trip, we wanted to have a cup of coffee at the cafe which lies inside. It used to be called "De Daunan", but has now gone through some management changes and is called "the Grand Garden". 

In front of the cafe, there is a pond which is very serene and man-made looking, but just straight ahead you can enter back into the "wild forest" with tall trees and large roots crawling above the ground. I loved it!!

Pond in front of the Grand Garden Cafe


Some cute myths:
- The red hanging bridge. Legend has it that if you cross the bridge with your lover, your relationship will not last. 
- Pohon sejodoh (meaning: soulmate tree). Two trees standing side-by-side form "pohon sejodoh". They say anyone single should sit on the bench in front of it and pray so that they will soon meet their soulmate. Beware, those already with a partner should never sit on this bench! 

For more information, please go to its website: http://www.bogorbotanicgardens.org/
A general map is also there to print out (seriously, there is a major lack of signposts in the garden!): http://www.bogorbotanicgardens.org/intsite.php 

If your timing is right, you might catch a glimpse of the giant flowers blossoming (Rafflesia patma, Amorphophallus titanum).
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