The rainy city in West Java.
With that only fact in mind, I decided to bring my trusty red umbrella. I don’t think I can afford to get sick in Indonesia during my 9 days stay. Of course, I will be housed in a resort but no one can tell of the opportunities I might have for some strolling in the central town of Bogor.
After a 3 hour flight to Singapore, a 20 minute layover in Changi and an hour flight to Jakarta, the hot weather of Indonesia greeted me. Looks like I didn’t leave Manila after all. So much for my hoodie.
It took me more than an hour taxi ride from Indonesia’s capital to Bogor. Traffic wasn’t that bad at 2 in the afternoon. It felt like I was passing by SLEX eternally until the airport taxi turned left then right to an estate that was so chi-chi. Hmm, this must be the place of Bogor’s rich and famous. No Dutch inspired houses in the area (Bogor was the vacation place of the Dutch when they ruled Indonesia) but a mix of modern and Asian inspired cribs. Palatial houses dot the estate that they made my jaw drop.
Novotel Bogor was my home for for a week and 2 days and the sprawling grounds of the resort (not hotel!) made up for its far off location. I can’t describe how “let’s be in one with nature” the place is. From its front yard to its rooms to the numerous function rooms. My training must be so “nose bleeding” to have a magnificent stay, I remembered telling my self.
After 3 days, let us say that the organizers picked the right location for mind numbing, throat soring and exciting training that is Climate Change Proofing.
Aside from the JCO donut I have tasted in one of the malls, my foodie adventure was limited to buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort. I am not complaining, though, since the restaurant changed theme everyday (except for breakfast and the ever present Indonesian fare).
My favorite theme, though, was the Mexican dinner where I had seconds of quesadillas and sliders. Among the Indonesian food, I was partial to chicken manado and their local halo-halo. Beef rendang and soto mie(s) did not tickle my fancy. And since I was staying away from all nutty – gado gado was a no go.
I’m Seeing Green
Bogor is known for its famous garden, and I am not referring to the Novotel grounds. If you include the front yard of the palace that is dotted by white dotted deer, then you have this large garden called Bogor Kebun Raya.
The Bogor Royal Botanic Garden is everything royal and more. Eighty plus hectares of endless plants, trees, creeks, manmade lakes, small bridges and greenhouses is too large for a half day walking tour. One can get easily lost among the grounds for the numerous interesting spots to stop and smell the flowers.
We had a “car tour” since we arrived at the Gardens at 4 PM but we still managed to get a glimpse of the greenhouse up in the hill and a photo-op, of course.
It was so quiet inside that you have no idea you’re in the middle of downtown Bogor. It was like you were transported back in time. Kulang na lang a Dutch prince riding his horse. It was so serene you just want to sit on the grass near the pond and daydream.
It didn’t look like the ala-forest of Makiling, the manicured gardens of Baguio or the by the bay feel of Sydney’s. Kebun Raya was different but familiar.
I stayed for more than a week but I think I have to explore more of Bogor the next time. Volcanoes, the white dotted deer, and more of Kebun Raya and all the gorengan (stalls selling goreng) —you all have to wait for me.