Words: Aulia R. Sungkar
Photographs: Hary Suwanto
Take a side trip to historic Bogor for a welcome retreat from Jakarta’s hustle and bustle
South-East Asia’s oldest botanic garden
At the heart of the city is the 199-year-old Bogor Botanical Gardens, popularly known among locals as Kebun Raya. This 87ha green lung houses over 15,000 plant species, as well as fountains and a zoology museum. Stroll the grounds at your leisure, hop on a bus tour or take your own car to explore the premises. Near the main entrance is a small monument in memory of Sir Stamford Raffles’ fi rst wife Olivia, who died in this city in 1814 but was buried in Batavia (now known as Jakarta).
One of six presidential palaces in Indonesia, the 28ha Bogor Palace is where current president Joko Widodo resides. Standing right next to Kebun Raya, visitors must join
organised groups to gain access, with tours only taking place when the president is away. If your timing does not coincide with an empty palace, you can still see it easily
from the sidewalk. Keep an eye out for deer roaming the front yard – you can off er them snacks through the fence.
Walk through history
Take a walk along shady Sudirman Road to see Dutch colonial buildings. Named after the general who led freedom fi ghters during the Indonesian War of Independence, the road fi ttingly ends at the PETA (Pembela Tanah Air) Museum. A tribute to the country’s national heroes, the museum houses a collection of artefacts from the period of struggle
Walk in the park
Taman Kencana Park at Salak Street is where many Indonesians hang out after dinner, following feasts of local delicacies that include lasagna gulung (roll lasagna) and
asinan (vegetables and fruits pickled in brine or vinegar) from roadside stalls set up nearby. The park gets crowded on the weekends with a mix of tourists, groups exercising
and kids playing.
Thrill of the grill
Grilled over a charcoal fi re and served with peanut sauce, sate kambing (marinated lamb on skewers) originated in Bogor and remains the street food of choice here. The best place to tuck into some sate is at a little 24-hour eatery on Padjajaran Road with a long name: Sop Kaki & Sate Kambing Bang Hasan Kumis. The food here is so good that President Widodo is one of its satisfi ed customers.
Originally published in TigerTales Asia, Nov-Dec 2016 edition.