Top 5 Things to See and Do When You Visit Bogor Botanical Gardens

Bogor Botanical Gardens is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bogor, Indonesia. It spread about 87 hectares containing over 15,000 species of plants and trees all over the archipelago.  It also has around 50 species of birds and bats.

The Bogor Botanical Gardens is said to have been initiated by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the Governor General of the East Indies during the British reign in between 1811-1816 but were officially established by the Dutch in 1817. Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt, a botanist, who was then the appointed Director of Agricultural business, transform the gardens into a botanical garden. In the present, the Bogor Botanical Gardens functions as a center for plant research and conservation.

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I visited Bogor Botanical Gardens with a local friend Hana. It was just a spontaneous trip, nothing planned. We just wanted to escape from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta and to catch up as we’ve never seen each other for a while. The night before, we decided to visit the Bogor Botanical Gardens – both of us are first timers- and we were not disappointed. If not for the lack of time, we would have loved to stay a little longer.

You don’t have to be a botanist or a plant lover to enjoy the place. There are tons of things to see and do in the place that one day is never enough.

Here is a list of my top 5 things to see and do when you visit Bogor Botanical Gardens

  1. The Bogor Presidential Palace

Originally built almost 300 years ago, the impressive out of town Presidential palace is no doubt my most favorite because it is undeniably beautiful. The palace is beautifully landscaped and is surrounded by lush scenery.

 

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Sit on the benches or on the grass and just admire the beauty of the palace yard. The fountains, the pond full of pink lotus flowers, and the lush scenery can take all your worries away, even just for a while. There are also a few statues in the area, including the Hand of God statue in the palace’s backyard which is accordingly a gift by Sweden to Indonesia almost 50 years ago.

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Note: You will only be allowed to enter and see the palace with a special permission from the office of Indonesian Secretariat.

  1. Astrid Park

Astrid was created to welcome the wife of King Leopold III of Belgium, Queen Astrid, in her visit to Indonesia in 1929.

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 This beautiful park inside Bogor Botanical Gardens is another thing you can’t miss. The surrounding lush trees, colorful flowers, and lots of green space make it a favorite place for tourists to behold and enjoy.  You will definitely enjoy the tranquil scene and peaceful atmosphere here.

Another thing to enjoy at Astrid Park is the beautiful fountain in the middle and the breath-taking giant lotus pond which is even more beautiful when the lotuses are in full bloom.

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  1. The Enormous trees and Giant Roots

The garden boasts of a wide arrange of plant and tree species everywhere in this garden.  The beautiful selections of these massive, enormous, gnarled, old trees (some a century old) are a few of the reasons why this is a must-see. The sad news though is that in October 2015, the oldest tree, The Lychee tree which is estimated to be 194 years old fell down after a heavy rain in the area.

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Walking under the canopy of the enormous trees and their foliage is always a great feeling but standing in the middle these huge roots is another story.  I felt like I am in an enchanted forest – like these roots are doorways to another kingdom, you know, they suddenly open and WHOOSH!!!! I am already in another world!!! Just like in the movies. Hahaha.  But no, I am in the real world – the world of gigantic, gnarled trees.

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  1. The Orchid House

Who doesn’t love orchids?

Inaugurated in 2002, the Orchid House which is around 800 square meters, is one of the many beautiful places you can check out when you visit Bogor Botanical Gardens.  This is an in situ conservation in an ex situ conservation area.

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The place boasts of an impressive collection of around 500 different species of orchids native to Indonesia.  From white to yellow to pink to purple – different colored orchids can be found here. They also have collections of colorful hybrids of orchids in another wing of the Orchid House.

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  1. The Broken Heart Bridge

So what’s special about this bridge?

The color? The sound of the rushing river or the view surrounding it?  Nah, nothing is really special about this bridge, except maybe for the myth behind it.

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Legend has it that whenever a couple crosses the bridge together, their relationship will be over. But hey, that’s just a myth. Just cross the bridge when you get there or if you happen to believe in myths, just don’t cross together. Let your partner wait for you on the other side of the bridge an hour later. Hahaha.

The river has a lot of garbage though. I hope that the admin will do something about it.

There are a lot of other beautiful places to visit in Bogor Botanical Gardens. However, we don’t have enough time to wander around and check out all of them.  I would definitely go back.

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Entrance

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Get Around

The gardens are open daily to visitors. The entrance fee is 14 000 IDR for local tourists and 25 000 IDR for foreigners.

Getting around the gardens is easy with paved walkways, signs, and beautifully landscaped lawns.

How I Got There:

From Jakarta, my friend and I decided to use train to Bogor, although we initially thought of going there by car which was a good decision since it was a weekend and we wouldn’t want to be stuck in the traffic and the Bogor Botanical Gardens is just short walk away from the Bogor train station so it wasn’t too difficult for us to get to the place.

Take note that Bogor is only a few hours from Jakarta so it is packed in the weekends (and on public holidays) with visitors from Jakarta and nearby provinces and even tourists from all over the world.

Transportation Options:

From Jakarta, you can also reach Bogor by car, bus, taxi or you can rent Grab Car or Uber which is way cheaper than a taxi.  There are also numerous buses going to Bogor departing from different parts of Jakarta, even from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. So yes, from the airport, you can directly travel to Bogor.

 

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Begin Again

Life happens. Suddenly, you just stop writing. Has this ever happened to you?

I took on a very long break from writing. It’s been eight months since I last sat in front of my computer to write. Eight months?! Yeah, it was a very long break. Shame on me! But, I’m sorry, not sorry. No apologies necessary.

I actually had a lot to write about, the wonderful (and the not so wonderful) moments in my life and the beautiful places I had been to in the last few months. However, life gets in the way. Suffice it to say, life sometimes necessitates a break.

Work was very demanding last year, I could barely catch up. Honestly, the day to day work responsibilities was overwhelming it took its toll on me. I got sick a few times last year and living alone when you’re sick is like hell. You have to help yourself or you’re not going to survive.

So I give myself permission to take a break. I dreaded it but this was an intentional, self-imposed choice. Writing has to take a back seat for a while, although it turned out longer than I wanted it to be.

Now that the New Year has come, I will resolve to come back stronger than ever. I’m back on a writing hiatus. Yes, I am excited to write again, to begin again.

Palayangan River Rafting Adventure in Situ Cileungca, Bandung: An Adrenaline-Fuelled Ride of a Lifetime

Hellen Keller once said, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all”.

We live in a wonderful world filled with exciting things to see and do.  Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and by living life includes taking risks and daring yourself to explore and savour new experiences anywhere and everywhere life takes you.

 

What was the most exciting, adrenaline fuelled, emotion-filled adventure in your life?

I’d have to say mine was the Palayangan river rafting adventure at Situ Cileungca, Pangalengan, in Bandung. Days before the trip, I googled the location and saw great, stunning action packed photographs of the adventure. I had never been on a river rafting before, so I knew this would be exciting.

 

Before the rafting adventure, we were taught of safety measures and commands on how to work it as a group. The orientation took a while as we were all cheering and laughing.  Most of us were beginners and we were so excited for this adventure. After the safety orientation and prayer, it was time to step into the raft and start the journey.

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There were six of us in the raft, including our guide. Our guide was a small, skinny man and that actually made me a bit hesitant. In my mind, I was thinking of how this man could possibly save all of us in case our raft turns upside down? However, left with no choice, I trusted him. I knew he is experienced and well trained so he surely is acquainted and aware of the possible obstacles along the way.

 

I adjusted my helmet, tighten my vest, and glanced excitingly at the rolling, churning river in front of me. When we climbed into the raft, I honestly had mixed emotions – I was excited but nervous I wasn’t scared until our guide told us to ‘ berdoa dulo” (say a prayer to God first). I was scared of being thrown overboard, colliding with rocks, getting bruises, and other worst case scenarios I could think of. Nonetheless, I trusted God that he would protect us and keep us safe. One more final instructions and the river took us to one of the most memorable adventure in my life.

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As we navigate through the waters, large rocks that seemingly appear from nowhere tried to snag our raft. There was no one paddling except for our tour guide. Well, I was also surprised about that and at first I didn’t understand why bringing a paddle was optional because I really thought it was vitally important to maintain stability of the raft. Little did I know bringing a paddle would cause us more harm than safety as the rapid waters push us to and fro.

We were enjoying the calm area of the river and the beautiful scenery along the way when the guide suddenly shouted ‘BOOM!’ (This is a command for leaning in, heads down, hold firmly to the rope, squat on the raft’s floor. If executed correctly, this should keep you in the raft.)  I gripped firmly into the rope, squatted, and waited for what was going to happen next.

A waterfall awaits us!

Wait, what?

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In a blink of an eye, we went vertically down the waterfall, dumping all of us in the rushing water. It was as if the world stopped for a second. I have no clue what just happened. Then I realized I was still alive! I thought I fell out of the raft as I could feel the raging waters fell heavily on my back! But no, I was right there, in the raft. Sadly though, my friend Dicey got her chin cut. She accidentally bumped into my helmet. We had to stop for a while and got her first aid. One of the aides handed us crushed leaves to help stop the bleeding.

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After the first aid treatment, we continued the journey. We have still a long way to go. We stopped at the rest area for some snacks, water, and of course rest. The crew there also gave Docey bondage for her cut.

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We really never know what lies around the bend of the river. One moment you’re enjoying the swirls of the river and admiring the scenic view, the next time you are stuck in between rocks, with the water coming down from waterfall filling your raft.

When this happened to us, the guide told us to not panic, although I did. But yeah, panicking is a waste of time. In my mind, I keep on praying that we will get through it. Then our guide commanded us to get up and threw all our weight to the other side of the raft, until we were finally fine. An aide also arrived and pulled our raft downstream. By that time I think the guide just wanted us to go for an unplanned swim or drink the water from the river!!!  Trust the experts, they say. Yes, the guides knew exactly how to handle any type of situation encountered while on the river.

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We had quite a lot of exhilarating ‘BOOM’ moments! Amidst all the terrifying rocks and wild waters, it was so much fun that we still managed to shout and smile through the splashes of the water and through the flashes of the camera we never knew where. What a pure adventure that was!

 

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The moment we get to the end of the adventure, with eyes closed and a grateful heart, I thanked God for his protection. On the way back to Jakarta, we had so many stories to tell. What a memorable, adventure-fuelled Palayangan river rafting  – truly a ride of a lifetime.

Glamping: A Luxurious Escape from Everyday Life

Green Destiny

Glamorous Camping or Glamping has been an undeniable trend nowadays not just for outdoor lovers but also for travelers who want to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.

Glamping is an upgraded camping. Yes, many would still want to opt for camping, especially the outdoor enthusiasts! No doubt about that. However, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Many of us love and want to explore nature, but uncomfortable negatives, the mess and hassle that camping brings are not very attractive to all kinds of travelers. Yes, you can even bring your little ones here!

In glamping, you don’t need to pitch a tent yourself, bring your sleeping bag, or cook your own meals ( although you may still). It’s like camping plus the complete comfort of travelers. From having standard to luxury tents to stay, to comfortable toilet and bathroom and other amenities you can enjoy, glamping far exceed…

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Angke Mangrove Natural Park: An Alternative Weekend Destination in the Bustling City of Jakarta

Green Destiny

The Angke Mangrove Natural Park in Kapuk Jakarta is the last mangrove forest in Jakarta. Located in Pantai Indah Kapuk area in North Jakarta, the park is developed purposely for mangrove conservation and preservation.

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Natalia (my Indo friend) and I have been planning to explore the mangrove forest in Jakarta, Indonesia. Natalia who is an Indonesian hasn’t been here so it’s actually our first time to visit the place. Since she is living in Tangerang and I in Kebon Jeruk, we decided to just meet at the park’s entrance.

The night before our visit, I browsed about the park’s reviews and pictures. There were not a lot of pictures really the reviews said it wasn’t worth the fee especially for the tourists/foreigners. The entrance fee was a huge 250,000 IDR for tourists!!! Wow! That is more than ten times the fee for the locals which only cost 20,000 IDR. Natalia…

View original post 645 more words

Glamping: A Luxurious Escape from Everyday Life

Glamorous Camping or Glamping has been an undeniable trend nowadays not just for outdoor lovers but also for travelers who want to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.

Glamping is an upgraded camping. Yes, many would still want to opt for camping, especially the outdoor enthusiasts! No doubt about that. However, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Many of us love and want to explore nature, but uncomfortable negatives, the mess and hassle that camping brings are not very attractive to all kinds of travelers. Yes, you can even bring your little ones here!

In glamping, you don’t need to pitch a tent yourself, bring your sleeping bag, or cook your own meals ( although you may still). It’s like camping plus the complete comfort of travelers. From having standard to luxury tents to stay, to comfortable toilet and bathroom and other amenities you can enjoy, glamping far exceed any experience a camper would have. Whoever founded glamping, I knew many are thankful! I am one of them.

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The view of the pond and the tents from the dining area

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My first glamping experience was in Legok Kondang, Ciwedey. This was during the AES Sunday School teacher’s retreat last April. It was a much-needed break from the stress of the daily grind in school.

Right when we arrived, I fell in love with the place. The campground is located in the middle of a forest. It was so serene. The surrounding trees, the sound of the birds and the rushing of the water from a small creek where our tent was set was a totally great experience. They also have hot shower, TV, and free Wi-Fi!

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One of my three most favorite memories was our evening devotional and testimony sharing in the campfire area. While listening to God’s Word and to testimonies shared, the kids enjoyed roasting marshmallows over the campfire while others enjoyed devouring roasted corn. After a while, it started to drizzle so we had to transfer to the dining area devoured the dinner prepared for us. When the sky was clear, we went back for group games.

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Balloons for the games!

The only negative thing happened that night was the noise coming from a group/corporate activity that lasted even during the wee hour of the night.

My other favorite thing was watching the sunrise on the balcony and taking a short nature walk after. Sunrises are always magical. I am not a morning person but when I had the opportunity, I wouldn’t want to miss catching a beautiful sunrise in the mountains. After greeting Mr. Sun, looking for critters and beautiful scenery wrapped up my morning.

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The view from the balcony

The Legok Kondang Lodge also offer a lot of activities such as team building, paintball, trekking, fishing, animal feeding, lampion, and strawberry picking, and rafting. Because of the limited time, we only choose rafting which was my third favorite thing on this trip! The rafting adventure was one of the most exhilarating experiences I had that I need to feature it in another blog.

See you then!

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) : Explore Indonesia In Just A Day

When friends asked me what would I recommend to see if they visit Jakarta, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) is undeniably on my top list. Why? TMII is like ‘Indonesia in a small scale’, with each and every famous tourist attractions in Jakarta and all over the country represented; the beaches exempted.So when you visit the place, it’s like you’ve explored the whole of Indonesia already.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) or Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park (when translated in English) is one of the most popular destinations in Jakarta. Located in East Jakarta, this recreational park is 150 acres, so huge and wide, that it would take you a day or two to enjoy everything this park has to offer.

The park has a replica of the iconic Monas, the National Monument and also real-life sizes of traditional houses (pavilions) of the different provinces in Indonesia, among others.

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The Monas Replica in TMII

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Museum Timur Timor

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This culture-based recreational park also features several museums with various collections of Indonesian arts, dances, clothing, and architecture. By visiting TMII, you will get a glimpse of how other races and ethnic group live and how they deal with their daily lives.

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West Sumatera Pavilion

IMG_0520Moreover, they also have other numerous recreational facilities like 4D Theatre, Imax Theatre Keong Mas, Train Aeromovel, Science and Technology Center, Cactus Garden, Jasmine Gardens, Orchid Gardens, Bird parks, and even different houses of worship – temples, churches, and mosques- for the five official religions found in Indonesia. If you’re travelling with kids, you can visit the Children’s Castle, Snow Bay Waterpark, Fishing Ponds Mina, and a lot more.

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The Children’s Castle

Another great place to visit in the park is the iconic miniature lake archipelago of Indonesia. You can sit by the lakeside and just enjoy the view or you can take the sky lift so you can have an aerial view of the lake and the whole of TMII.

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The Iconic Lake (Map of Indonesia)

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As I’ve said, TMII is huge! Wandering around on foot can be very tiring although this is also the best way to check out each and every attraction. There are bicycles for rent but they can be very expensive, you have to rent per hour. Not worth it. For those who wanted to stay for the night, there are restaurants and hotels nearby.

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Friendship of the Non Aligned Countries Museum

The entrance fee to Taman Mini is only IDR 10,000 per person. However, most of the attractions such as museums and parks have entrance fees as well. Ooops! Don’t fret!  If you’re on a budget, a lot of attractions are free!

How to get there: You can use the Transjakarta Bus but it can be difficult as you have to endure the many stopovers. If you want a more comfortable, fast,  just opt for Grab Car, Uber, or Taxi (which is more expensive) or you can rent a car to take you there.

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