As much fun as it can be to explore Jakarta, it’s also fun (& obligatory I find) to get away from the traffic and air conditioned malls and get away for some fresh air and nature to recharge your batteries.
The closest and easiest option for us is to head to Bogor and we spent many weekends in the first half of the year driving up on a Saturday afternoon and returning to Jakarta again on Sunday afternoon – even such a short getaway does amazing things for your soul and not to mention sanity! The last time we decided to have a spontaneous trip to Bogor and in our excitement we packed our bags and piled into the car and headed off along the tol road, only to realise 30 minutes later when Samudra managed to suddenly projectile vomit all over himself and me, that we had left our bags inside the front door back at the house. Miraculously the traffic was light and we quickly reached Bogor city and stopped at a small mall and bought a cheap change of clothes and essentials and booked ourselves into a hotel a short five minute walk from the Bogor Botanical Gardens.
We got up at sunrise to make the most of our morning and walked across to the gardens, passing many andong (horse and carriages) on the road along the way which made Samudra jump up and down with excitement while pointing and yelling ‘neigh, neigh, neigh!’.
It was so refreshing to be inside the gated walls with all the beautiful trees and open space, and Samudra made the most of it by running around like crazy and squealing in happiness, chasing cats, smelling flowers and digging up dirt. We made it up to the beautiful gardens where the cafe is located and sat in the shade and ate while enjoying the serenity. It’s so rare to find quiet places back in the city, that you need to savour every moment that you can of peace wherever you can find it.
We continued walking around the park and I was stopped several times by students wanting to practice their English by asking the very same questions for their assignments.. “How long have you been in Indonesia? What is your favourite food? What do you think about Indonesia? Can I take a photo with you?” etc.. Just as I was tiring of repeating myself to different groups, I was so happy to see a bus load of foreigners arrive and hoped all the attention would suddenly be diverted away from us, only to be approached by an Indonesian English teacher and all his 30+ students wanting to ask more questions. I pointed to the large group of tourists infront of me but they insisted on talking to me… so there I was, surrounded by a circle of young Indonesian students all having to read out their questions at the same time… and although the answer to their first question of where I was from was AUSTRALIA… they proceeded to ask me so many questions about what are the seasons in Europe, what do I do in each season in Europe, what is the best place to visit in Europe to which my responses were always ‘I am not from Europe’ .. and each time I answered I was met with nods and beaming smiles. Oh bless you Indonesia! So if you’re looking for an escape, but don’t mind being the target of students needing to complete their English assignments, head to the Bogor Botanical Gardens! I promise there are places where you can sit and enjoy the serenity also and if you have kids they will love to run around and explore everywhere and will definately tire themselves out, and if not, drive them up the road to Kuntum Nurseries to feed the animals and enjoy some more nature. Make the most of your road trip and enjoy!