Explore Indonesia #6: Day Trip to Bogor, Short Getaway from Jakarta

Last Sunday, Elaine and I took a day trip out of Jakarta to Bogor for some fresh air. Bogor is a city in the West Java province. Located around 60 km south of Jakarta, we took slightly over an hour to get there. We left home around 8 a.m. and reached Bogor around 9.15 a.m. (traffic and weather were very kind to us that day).

On our drive there, we caught sight of faraway mountains in the distant background, which was really a majestic sight to behold. 🙂

Bogor Botanical Gardens

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Lovin’ the green grounds and fresh air.

The city of Bogor has a presidential palace and a botanical garden (Kebun Raya Bogor) adjacent to each other – one of the oldest and largest in the world. Our first stop for the day was the Bogor Botanical Gardens.

Fun fact: It is the oldest botanical garden in Southeast Asia (woah never knew that!).

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Inside the Gardens.

The Bogor Botanical Garden is located right smack in the Bogor city center. The main gate is located in the south and most of the garden facilities are concentrated there, such as the ticket purchasing booth, visitor center, plant/souvenir shops, library and conservation building.

The Gardens stretches over an area of 87 hectares and contains 13,983 specimens of trees and plants. There’s plenty of space to run/jog around, play a game of frisbee or soccer, fly some kites, or even have a picnic.

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Many picture-perfect spots.

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Locals having a picnic under a shady tree.

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Well manicured trees and lawn.

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Nice flat paths to walk/jog on.

The Bogor Botanical Garden is divided by the Ciliwung river and has three bridges. One of the bridges, the Red Bridge, is a pretty famous ‘attraction’ in the garden. Indonesians believe that if a couple crossed the bridge together, they would break up soon after (for real?!!). :/

One of my favourite spots is a place called the Mexican Garden – dedicated to all kinds of desert plants.

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Mexican Garden (Taman Meksiko).

There are approximately 100 species of cactus, agave, yucca and succulent plants from around Asia and the Americas. I never knew that succulents could be so pretty!!

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We-fie with our succulent friends.

Another must-see place is Astrid Park, located at the eastern wing of the Gardens. The park offers a splendid view,  with the bright colours of green, yellow, and red (from canna lilies) spread out across the garden grounds.

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Beautiful Astrid Park.

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Only missing my picnic mat.

If you feel like soaking in the panoramic view of the garden over a cuppa coffee/fruit juice, drop by Grand Garden Cafe situated in Astrid Park itself. Seems like the perfect place for a good read too.

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Grand Garden Cafe.

Before leaving the Gardens, Elaine and I dropped by the Gunting Pond. One can see dozens of pink lotus flowers floating on the surface of the pond, a really enchanting sight!

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Floating pink lotus flowers with the presidential palace in the backdrop.

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Shady walkway leading up to Gunting Pond.

Although passers-by are not allowed to enter the Bogor Palace  (unless you have special permission from the Indonesian State Secretariat), one can catch sight of the presidential palace from the Gunting Pond. The pond fronts the backyard of the Palace.

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Bogor Palace in the distance.

There are so many things that I wanted to see but didn’t manage to in the limited time frame — Bogor Zoology Museum, orchid glasshouses and orchidarium, Teijsmann Garden, Soedjana Kassan Garden, guesthouses, etc etc. And not forgetting, the northwestern part of the Gardens where herds of deer roam freely!!

I’ll definitely be back to visit Bogor Botanical Gardens again, perhaps with Agent D the next time round.

Both Elaine and myself had a great time at the Bogor Botanical Gardens. It is a must-go if you have never been there! ❤

Shopping at Bogor Factory Outlets

Apart from Bandung, Bogor has quite a reputation for factory outlet shopping as well. The outlets carry brands like Zara, Guess, H&M, Mango, and Adidas.

Elaine and I only managed to stop by Raja Factory Outlet before lunch. It is one of the newer kids on the block for bargain shopping in Bogor and carries apparels, shoes, and accessories in a two-storey building. Ladies and kids wear can be found on the ground floor whilst menswear is on the second floor.

Exterior of Raja Factory Outlet (photo credit: Raja F.O.)

Don’t have too high expectations; I personally found the fashion a little backdated. I did manage to buy some sportswear (Nike dri-fit shirts for Agent D and Pilates tights for myself) for a real steal though! *HAPPPPY*

Raja Factory Outlet can be found on No. 3 RT02/RW04, Jl. Raya Pajajaran, Jawa Barat 16143.

Read more about outlet shopping in Bogor in this article by honeycombers: Bogor Bargains. Enjoy! x

To-eat in Bogor

A friend recommended Sahabat Yunsin Resto to have lunch at when in Bogor. The place didn’t disappoint – food was good and prices were inexpensive.

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Sahabat Yunsin Resto.

The restaurant was a no-frills kind of place but the food preparation looked clean. According to my friend, their Mee Ayam and Mee Babat are popular choices and you can choose to have them either salty or sweet (asin/manis).

Elaine and I both ordered their Mee Ayam Baso (salty) and enjoyed every bit of it. The sauces weren’t overpowering, but it was tasty.

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My Mee Ayam Baso (salty) with ice Milo.

Sahabat Yunsin Resto has a few outlets around Bogor. The one I went to was on Jalan Jenderal. Sudirman No.12, Sempur, Bogor Tengah, Bogor.

After lunch and a filled tummy, we headed back to Jakarta around 3+ p.m. Traffic was great and we arrived back home in 1.5 hours.

Thanks for being so good to us, Bogor! Till we meet again!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Explore Indonesia #2: Taman Safari & Puncak

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In my past 7 months in Jakarta, I’ve gone up to Puncak and Bogor (Taman Safari) twice – the first time with Agent D (Sept 2015) and the second time with my parents (Feb 2016). I always find it a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta. As Puncak and Taman Safari are both on higher ground, the air there is much fresher and cooler. Barring rain, it feels almost like the nice spring-summer weather one gets in temperate regions.

I went with Agent D on a weekend and with my parents on a weekday. And what a world of difference that made in terms of TRAFFIC. With Agent D, we left Jakarta at 6 a.m. on a Saturday and only arrived at Taman Safari around 9.30 a.m. (3.5 hours on the road). With my parents, we left Jakarta at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday and arrived ALSO at 9.30 a.m (a whole 2 hours less!). If you’re visiting Jakarta and thinking of heading to Puncak/ Taman Safari for a day trip, GO ON A WEEKDAY. On weekends, one lane (there are only two lanes, each in one direction) gets closed and the closure of the two lanes is alternated. This means that if the road you are on happens to be closed, your vehicle CANNOT MOVE at all. That happened to us and we were in a stationary car for over an hour. I remember having a strong urge to pee but there were no toilets around!!!

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Waiting in the car for the road to open.

Taman Safari

When nearing the Taman Safari entrance, you’ll see many vendors selling carrots. You can buy them to feed the animals. BUY LOADS. Trust me, the animals loveeee carrots. The entrance fees for Taman Safari are about IDR 250k for foreigners and IDR 150K for locals. You have to pay for your driver and there is a small cost for driving in your car.

Taman Safari is a safari park where most of the resident animals roam about freely. The animals are very used to humans and will come right up to your car. If your car windows are down, be prepared to have animals peer in (and lots of SALIVA over your windows).

Elephants were the first animals we saw, followed by camels.

At first, I was frantically waving the carrots to the animals to catch their attention. Over here, comeeee. But once they caught sight of the orange little things, they galloped to my car all at once. It was a little overwhelming but I warmed up to them fast.

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Caught off guard by the zebra on my right.

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Patience dude, I’m getting your carrot.

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Here’s a carrot for having such pretty eyelashes!

Here are some of my favourite pictures of the animals. They are really good at flashing their big bambi eyes at you and giving a doeful look with the hidden message: “Pleaseeee could we have a carrot? Pretty pweeaase? One more pleaseeeee?” HOW TO REJECT SUCH CUTE FACES. I wished I had bought more carrots earlier on.

The animals do not observe ANY road traffic rules. They have no fear of oncoming cars and jaywalk everywhere and anywhere. So please drive carefully and don’t be too distracted with feeding them!

As our car approached the danger zone (which houses the meat-eating animals), we had to wind up our car windows and lock our car doors. Please do not dangle any carrots at this point or stick your head out of the window. Your head might be more enticing than the carrots!

The lions, bears, tigers, cheetahs etc were not in an enclosure and were roaming around freely too. Some were just beside our car. *shudders*  This was the first time I was in such close proximity to the King of the jungle. HE’S SO HANDSOME.

Towards the end, our car had to cross a “river” where the water level was quite high. I was worried about our car engine but thankfully it survived!

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Mr. Hippo having a dip in the “river”.

On the way to the parking lot, my parents spotted a beautiful peacock! Again this was my first time seeing a white peacock strutting around in all its glory.

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Hello beautiful!

Just-for-laughs 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Asses galore.

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What neat teeth you have, Mr. Zebra!

After driving through the safari park, you can park your car at the main attraction center. There is loads to see and do there — walk around the baby zoo, catch animal shows (dolphins, sea lions, elephants, cowboys and more), browse souvenir shops, ride/ feed animals, play at the waterpark/ theme park, etc.

With Agent D, we both trekked up to see a natural waterfall. The sound of the water beating down was really refreshing! And there were not many people around (seemed almost like an undiscovered area), which was really nice.

After spending about 15 minutes at the waterfall, we headed for the sea lion show. The sea lion show was very fun and entertaining; we enjoyed it tremendously!

With my parents, we decided to walk around the baby zoo. It is like a mini zoo with selected animals in cages (e.g., pumas, snakes, kangaroos, birds and more). You can also cuddle and take pictures with baby lions and orang-utans. Children will definitely love it!

We spent about half an hour at the baby zoo and proceeded to watch the elephant show thereafter. Sadly, the elephant show was quite disappointing! I wouldn’t recommend it if you were in a rush for time.

Puncak Pass

Agent D and I left Taman Safari around 12.45 p.m. for Puncak. Our driver brought us to a lovely lunch spot overlooking the hills and tea plantations. REALLY PRETTY. I forgot to note down the name of the restaurant sorry :/

After lunch, we drove up to Puncak Gantole. That is the place to go to if you want to try paragliding. The unblocked view of the massive tea plantations and rolling hills below was breath-taking. Again I stood amazed at God’s wonderful creation.

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Up, up, and away!

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Taken along with the wind.

Agent D and I wanted to have a go at paragliding but there was a 1+ hour waiting time. We couldn’t afford to wait that long because we had to beat the heavy traffic back to Jakarta. Oh well, looks like we’ll have to come back again sometime.

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And this marks the end of our day trip to Puncak.

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Picture perfect mountain backdrop.

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Perfect for chilling.

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Now all I need is a glass of wine. My life is complete.

My parents and I had lunch at the Banyan Restaurant downstairs. There was NO ONE, as if we had booked the entire restaurant to ourselves.


Surrounded by breezy cool air and natural scenery, it was a very pleasant meal. The food was so-so only but the ambience more than made up for it. On Saturdays and PHs, the Banyan restaurant hosts an extravagant allyoucaneat BBQ party accompanied with live music and fire dances (for just IDR 150k nett/pax).

The restaurant overlooks the pool so we went down to take some pictures whilst waiting for our food to come.

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Feeling on top of the world.

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Could chill here all day long.

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Hotel rooms facing the mountains.

I’m hoping to spend 1 night at Pesona Alam during my next trip to Bogor. If you happen to go before me, let me know how your stay went! ❤

Have a great Sunday everyone!! Can’t believe a new week is starting again.