Which one are you?
You need to vent your stress?
You have just arrived in Jakarta for a business trip?
You have 1-2 days of transit period in Jakarta before departing to the final destination?
You have been appointed to work in Jakarta as an expat?
Whichever it is, if you don’t wish to spend your weekend at a shopping mall or club, you can consider these options:
1. Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands)
If you feel like wanting to freedive, snorkel, or just swim in the sea but not too far from Jakarta, Thousand Islands is the best option. Some islands like Pari, Putri, Macan, Bulat, Sepa and several others offer beautiful white sandy beaches. Several islands have mangroves too.
So far there’re only 7-pier destinations by express boats from Marina Ancol or traditional boats from Kali Adem / Muara Angke Pier:
- Untung Jawa
From Kali Adem to Harapan island (the farthest destination) takes 2.5 hours by traditional boat with one-way fare Idr 55,000. If you wish to visit another islands, you can charter a boat from the neareast pier with range cost Idr 350,000 – 500,000 depending on the duration and distance.
Some islands that have no resorts offer homestays with range around Idr 300,000 – 400,000 per night. Please leave comment if you need more information about homestays at Tidung, Pari and Harapan.
Some islands have resorts that can arrange transportations from Marina Ancol:
Kali Adem/Muara Angke can be reached by public transportations like bajaj (tricycle) or motorbike taxi from Jakarta Kota, the nearest train station. Taking online motorbike taxis (ojek) is more convenient nowadays, you can download the android applications of Uber, Gojek, Grab for the booking.
This hometown of mine is the nearest getaway from Jakarta and can be reached by train or car from city centre in an hour (in normal traffic). From Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, there are direct shuttle buses (DAMRI) to Botani Square Bogor with fare Idr 55,000 for regular bus and Idr 75,000 for the royal/executive bus.
- Istana Bogor (Bogor Palace): A presidential palace, located just next to the botanical garden, in walking distance from Bogor train station and bus station.
- Kebun Raya Bogor (Bogor Botanical Garden): a 210-acre garden with more than 13k different kinds of trees and plants.
- Suryakencana Street: Chinatown that’s famous with its local foods and can be reached by taking angkot (green public car) no. 02 or 10.
- Pajajaran Street: Factory outlets of famous international brands can be found along this street. Take angkot (green public car no. 09) from behind the bus station with fare Idr 3,500. After shopping if you are hungry or tired, there are some unique cafes that can be accessed from the narrow street accross Bogor Boutique Outlet.
- Pura Parahyangan Agung Jagatkartta: Having been known as the second largest in Indonesia after Besakih, this Hindu temple is located at the foot of Mount Salak, Ciapus, Bogor. From the bus and train station, take green angkot (public car) no. 03 to BTM (Bogor Trade Mall) with fare Idr 3,500, change to blue angkot no. 03 to Ciapus with fare around Idr 4,000-5,000 and continue with motorbike taxi (ojek) to the gate of the temple. Or you can take online motorbike taxi (ojek online) from bus and train station, it really saves time.
- Kampung Budaya Sindang Barang: Traditional farm houses that can be reserved if you want to stay overnight surrounded by the farms. Same direction as Pura Parahyangan Agung Jagatkartta but with blue angkot no. 03 that has “SBR” sign.
- Waterfalls (Curug): Bogor has more than 20 waterfalls. Most of the waterfalls are located in the valleys of Mount Salak (Gunung Salak endah – GSE) and Mount Pancar. If you want traveling by public transportation to GSE, take angkot (public car) no. 03 to Bubulak from Baranang Siang Bus Station or Tugu Kujang, change to different angkot at Bubulak station to Leuwiliang, do trekking for 20 minutes from the gate to each waterfalls. Most people go there by motorbike and you can take ojek (motorbike taxi) if you go solo. And for other waterfalls at the foot of Mount Pancar or Sentul, go to Bellanova Sentul by APTB (Transjakarta shuttle bus) from UKI Cawang then continue with ojek to each destination (Curug Kencana, Curug Leuwi Hejo, Curug Bojong Koneng, Curug Bidadari, Curug Lieuk, Curug Kembar).
- Taman Safari: Not less than 2,500 animals from different places of the world are conserved in this natural theme park in Cisarua Bogor. Enjoy the jungle vibes by watching real animals just out of your car window. Getting there by public transportation from Bogor bus station is easy by taking the minibus to Cianjur, tell the driver you are going to Taman Safari otherwise he will drive you to Cianjur. Renting a car is more convenient if you are traveling with family or in a group. Stay in the park to enjoy night safari tour if you love the night adventure, there are some hotels nearby besides Taman Safari Lodge.
Bandung is not only famous with its shopping session around Riau street and culinary tourism spots that are spread all around the city, but also popular with sights that offer nature sceneries. Exploring all sights need at least 2 days or you can pick 3 objects for a day trip.
- Kawah Putih: Beautiful crater in Ciwidey, about 1.5 hours from Leuwipanjang bus station (there’re minibuses to Ciwidey)
- Dusun Bambu: Combination of a resort, restaurants, play park, and food stalls in Lembang.
- Tebing Keraton: A hill in Ciburial with forest park view, 30 minutes from Bandung city center
- Tangkuban Perahu: A volcano that offers crater view, around an hour from Bandung by private car
- Stone Garden: A Geo Park in Padalarang, an hour from Bandung by private car
- Sanghiang Heuleut: A small waterfall in Padalarang, close to Bendungan Jatiluhur (Jatiluhur Dam)
From Jakarta to Bandung, you can go by train from Gambir station or by bus. Almost all stations in Jakarta and Bogor have express buses with routes to Bandung. There are also some travel agents that operate shuttle services from Jakarta to Bandung such as Xtrans, Baraya, Cititrans, and Daytrans. Mpx and Dewa Travel at phone no +62-251-8338221 for Bogor-Bandung route.
Sukabumi can be reached by train from Bogor station with only 3 trains a day or you can rent a car from Jakarta to Sukabumi. There are some minibuses from Baranang Siang Bogor bus terminal to Sukabumi but I don’t recommend this because of safety reason.
Some rafting operators can arrange rafting package to Sukabumi. The options vary depending on the duration and which river that you prefer. 2 main rivers for rafting in Sukabumi are Citatih and Citarik. Both have different types of challenges.
Cherokee Adventure is a reliable operator that I ever used in the past, they have private and group packages bundled with meals and if you would stay overnight at the village, they can arrange it.
- Ciletuh Geopark (Waterfalls and beach in a geopark)
From Sukabumi to geopark area, you will experience an off-road trip for at least 3 hours. Ciletuh.com offers some packages with reservation. I went there last year with the help of a local friend that became our tour guide and driver, he can also arrange a car and homestay. If you need his contact detail, please leave a comment.
5. Pangandaran: Green Canyon, Citumang and Batu Karas
Renting a car is best option for a private and sudden trip, moreover if you need to go back to Jakarta in the afternoon. But you must start the trip early at dawn because one way trip from Jakarta takes at least 7 hours depending on the traffic. If you travel on a budget, you can join an open trip (2D1N). Leave a comment, I can recommend some reliable operators with regular trip to Green Canyon.
Batu Karas beach is just 15 minutes away from Green Canyon, resting after body rafting at Green Canyon and Citumang while waiting for sunset can be relaxing. This beach is also known as a favorite place for professional surfers.
6. Ujung Kulon
Dare to join an open trip to Ujung Kulon? Private one is costly because you need to charter a boat and car with private guide. Most trips start on Friday night from Jakarta and end on Sunday night with price range from Idr 600k to 900k. I have some friends who run trip organizers if you need one.
Ujung Kulon National Park is UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and ASEAN Heritage Park, the place where Javan Rhinoceros have been conserved. The park consists of more than 50 protected rare species of plants, more than 30 species of mammals, not less than 70 species of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 200 species of birds. Interesting, huh?
While you are in Ujung Kulon, enjoy canoeing on Cigenter River, snorkeling around Pulau Badul, island hopping, trekking through the rainforest, or if you are adventurous enough, try beach camping at Pulau Handeuleum instead of staying overnight at Pulau Peucang.
If you are into cultural and historic sites, Cirebon is a cheap getaway from Jakarta by train. From Gambir or Jatinegara train station, it takes only 3 hours to reach Cirebon. Ticket can be reserved here (official website, in Indonesian language only) or Tiket.com in English.
I recommend to rent a car for a city tour if you are traveling in a group. I was exploring the city by angkot (public car) and becak (tricycle). Actually you can charter a becak that costs from Idr 50k to 150k to go around the city because Cirebon is not too big.
There’re some buses from Bogor and Jakarta to Cirebon but they usually stop and wait for more than 10 minutes at each certain areas to get more passangers, so I don’t recommend this.
Gua Sunyaragi (Sunyaragi Cave)
Actually it’s not a cave but a water palace park where a sultan (king) and his harem enjoyed a royal bath. In 1800, based on the history, a Chinese architect was killed after renovating the palace in order to keep the palace secret unrevealed.
Keraton Kacirebonan (Kacirebonan Palace)
Ratu Raja Resminingpuri, the queen of Sultan Kacirebonan I, built this palace after the Sultan passed away. On the front part of the palace terace, there are some gamelan (traditional musical instruments set) and ancient wooden chairs.
Keraton Kasepuhan (Kasepuhan Palace)
The oldest palace in Cirebon with blended architecture styles of Islamic, Sundanese, Javanese, Chinese and Dutch.
Keraton Kanoman (Kanoman Palace)
The palace that was built by Sultan Anom I. War weapons, gamelan and ancient horse carts can be found inside the museum.
Try these famous local foods in Cirebon if you are a spicy food lover:
- Docang: A rare traditional food & spicy soup served with grated coconut, some vegetables and compressed rice cake or lontong
- Tahu Gejrot: Fried tofu served with spicy watery dressing
- Mie Koclok: Chicken noodle soup, a white-thick porridge-like soup served with noodle and chicken broth
- Nasi Lengko: White rice with peanut sauce mixed with fried tofu, bean sprout and chives leaves that’s usually served with fried chicken
- Empal Gentong: a spicy curry soup served with sliced beef