Tea plantations, turquoise lakes, parasailing and historic gardens - while Jakarta can seem like an endless maze of traffic and concrete, a short drive south will bring you a world away, and makes planning a conference in the city a more appealing option.
Starting early to beat the traffic, drive to Puncak pass for morning tea with “poffertjes” and glorious views. For those brave enough, experience tandem paragliding from here, with experienced gliders from Indonesia’s National team, over green valleys. Traditional Angkot micro buses bring us from the landing point to Gunung Mas Tea plantation to see and try tea picking! We’ll continue through lush landscapes with views of distant peaks to Bogor - aka Buitenzorg - once the capital of the Sunda Kingdom, also called "Rain City" because of its daily afternoon rains. Because of cooler temperatures, it was the summer residence of the Governor-General of Dutch East Indies from 1745. The old Residence borders the UNESCO Heritage botanical garden – Kebun Raya - the oldest botanical garden in Southeast Asia, founded in 1817. The Garden researched and planted valuable species originating from other countries like oil palm, rubber, coffee, tea, quinine and tobacco. Current research focuses on plant conservation, reintroduction and climate change. Their famous orchid house contains over 3000 varieties and can arrange a fun Orchid planting demo and lesson!
We’ll have lunch in the Garden Cafe with sweeping views down to the water-lily ponds. Indonesian President Joko met Barack Obama here in 2017, and their table is a popular selfie spot. If you only have time for a day-trip – we’ll drive back to Jakarta arriving in time for dinner.
However, we recommend adding a night in Bandung, driving across the glorious Puncak mountain ranges, stopping at craftsmen villages selling pottery tea pots, wooden toys and stone carved Spice grinders. We’ll try exotic flying fish for dinner in Bandung, in a beautiful restaurant with pavilions, surrounded by a natural stream.
Bandung is famous for shopping outlets, but also for traditions and dramatic natural beauty.
In the morning we’ll drive to Kawah Putih - a strikingly turquoise volcano lake, 2430 meters above sea level. The drive takes 2.5 hours winding through pretty rice fields and villages, the last distance to the top is by micro buses. On the way back, try a Sundanese style lunch served on bamboo plates, in traditional huts with beautiful valley views.
On the way back to Jakarta, we’ll visit Saung Anklung Udjo, to see a unique and amazing performance! It’s a performing arts school for children of different and sometimes challenging backgrounds, teaching the Anklung - a traditional Bamboo instrument from West Java that create harmonies, recognised as a UNESCO's Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Another fun option is to explore using 4x4 jeeps, in some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in West Java. We’ll reach Jakarta in the evening, having explored some of the wonderful scenery and culture that lies within reach of this busy capital.