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:
Its website:

And then there are also a few others in the neighbourhood:
This museum is located a bit farther than the others. Its website:
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:
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.
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