Jul 09 2012

I’m in Jakarta, where do I go next?

Published by at 10:34 am under Java

Many people arrive in Jakarta without a clear plan of where they will go in Java. In many ways, this is a mistake because this first impression of Java can be a very poor one and can encourage travellers to move as quickly as possible across the island. But with a bit of research, you can plan an orderly escape from Jakarta and really enjoy all that Java has to offer.

Traffic is a recurring theme in Jakarta

Traffic is a recurring theme in Jakarta. Maybe even the theme.

The following is a snapshot of places to consider visiting straight from Jakarta.

Bogor is only a 90-minute train ride from Jakarta and is one of the most popular first stops for people leaving Jakarta and a great stop it is too. At the heart of Bogor is the fabulous botanical garden which covers a staggering 80 hectares. Visitors can spend hours wandering through the maze of pathways and encounter serenity which is all too hard to get in Jakarta.

The peaceful gardens in Bogor are a fantastic relief

The peaceful gardens in Bogor are a fantastic relief.

Ujung Genteng
Ujung Genteng is one of those beachside destinations that is both stunning and off the beaten track, meaning accommodation is usually of the hut variety and food very local. But this is what makes Ujung Genteng such a fantasatic spot to unwind from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta. Be prepared for a long day of travel to get here though as public transport is sporadic at best.

Ujung Genteng is a place for relaxation

Ujung Genteng is a place for relaxation.

Bandung is another massive Indonesian city and is located a mere three hours from Jakarta. Bandung features many of the traffic problems of its bigger brother and many visitors see nothing of interest in the city due to poor accommodation choices. This really is the key — find a hotel away from train station to avoid the worst of the traffic snarls. The best thing to do while in town is to visit a couple of volcanoes, Tangkuban Parahu and Kawah Putih, as well as taking a walk through the forested valley in Dago.

Bandung's volcano, Tangkuban Parahu

Bandung’s volcano, Tangkuban Parahu.

If you’re into thermal springs, volcanoes and other quirks of geology, Garut is a great place to make your first destination when leaving Jakarta. Most people stay in the town of Cipanas — a town famed for its hot spring water. This hot water is piped into almost every hotel in the area so that you can soak in a scalding hot bath and soothe your aching muscles. This is particularly appealing if you’ve just done some climbing around the nearby Gunung Papandayan or pottered around the geothermal region of Kawah Sikidang.

Climb a volcano or three around Garut

Climb a volcano or three around Garut.

Many people skip all the above-mentioned towns and head on a nine-hour journey to Pangandaran, a southern beach resort popular with the people of West Java. It’s a fantastic location for a spot of surfing, a few beers, some food at one of the beach cafes and a hike through the monkey-infested national park.

Pangandaran Beach is worth a visit

Pangandaran beach is worth a visit.

Batu Karas
Batu Karas is a little-known spot an extra hour away from Pangandaran. It’s arguably a better place to learn to surf than Pangandaran and certainly has a more Western vibe than its nearby cousin. The town of Batu Karas is nowhere near as busy or crowded as Pangandaran, but this also means you’re likely to get bored more quickly as the drudgery of isolation sets in — or not. Whichever you choose, Batu Karas and Pangandaran are great first destinations on your trip across Java.

There's a great beach in Batu Karas

There’s a great beach in Batu Karas.

A large number of people visiting Java choose to travel from Jakarta straight to Yogyakarta, half way across the island. We’ve heard many people say that the reason they do this is that Jakarta gave such a bad impression of Java that they just wanted to get to Bali as quickly as possible, stopping off in Yogya along the way.

There are plenty of great things to see in Yogyakarta

Plenty of great things to see in Yogyakarta.

Of course Yogyakarta will be a city visited by almost every trans-Java traveller, but we reckon it’s best to do this after visiting one of the above-mentioned towns or cities first. Beaches, volcanoes, botanical gardens, hot springs and forest walks await and only add a few days to your journey — and these attractions end up being what many consider to be their favourite experiences in Java.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “I’m in Jakarta, where do I go next?”

  1. Gyson 29 Jul 2012 at 6:46 am

    You should go to Karimun Jawa. High-recommended place to dive and snorkeling. Take a ferry from Jepara (central java ), last year I went there it took me 6 hours by ferry to get to the island but i heard they now have a fast boat. Also, do not miss Bromo Mt. in East Java :) And Lombok, Komodo Island, Mentawai Island, aaah just soo many places to visit in Indo :D

  2. Roberton 29 Jul 2012 at 10:23 am

    OK so i am biased, i live there… but a good reason for that, as far as I am concerned there is only one place left within reach of Jakarta that still remains a paradise, Ujung Genteng. Still completely unspoilt, go there once and you will always return, still not very commercial, but some nice accommodation now and at last some nice places to eat. Peganduran is a bit commercial for me and Ancol and anyer.. well overcrowded, as they say a bit of a drive, but the road now is virtually all brand new and still completing the rest. A great journey anyway through the mountains, once you get past Sukabumi. Still few tourists go there at the moment, but every year is doubling. The beach is pristine, the water clear and blue, at the moment lobster and Marling are still in season for either eating or fishing, the surfing is truly amazing, i have been told this is where real professionals go, where Bali is for amateurs, i can’t confirm that though I have never been to Bali, not sure i want to.

    In the past Ujung Genteng was great but accommodation was aparse, things have changed a little now and exotic restaurants can be found with Japanese, European, Chinese and of course Indonesian food.

    Fishing, diving and snorkeling is to die for, its right in front of the beach, the waves are 200m out and from the beach to the waves is all coral reef, with every imaginable fish. In June you can walk along the shoreline knee deep and collect Octopus, and stay in one place for five minutes and you can see the turtles comng up for air while they are browsing on the sea-grass.

    For me, can’t beat, the best place in West Java if not Indonesia.