Day 10 & 11: The road to Pangandaran


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Asia » Indonesia » Java » Pangandaran
July 27th 2015
Published: May 6th 2016
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Hotel de RivierHotel de RivierHotel de Rivier

Before heading to the breakfast, we could leave our bags in the room. The personal of the hotel would pick them up and bring them to the bus for us.
Today, we should leave Jakarta, and after two travelling days, we should visit Pangandaran. The last travel day, is not a long day, where we will go by the train through the country side of Java. Then, a shirt bus drive would bring us to Pangandaran, which I will continue in the next blogpost.



The day started with a little small trouble. The breakfast at 6 was good, and we should leave with the bus at 7. At least, that was the plan. In our hotel, we had 3 groups of our travel organisation, and somehow they changed the busses, including the bus drivers. And, our travel leader Bob had missed his alarm, so he was a little bit too late. Some members of the group did not saw him by the breakfast, and it was almost time to leave. They bumped at the door of the room, and suddenly our travel leader woke up. A little bit after 7 he was present. Then, they found out, the busses where changed. It took a while, but then we could leave. Indeed, we had a new bus including a new bus driver Halin and the busboy Ibraham. Halin drove us out of Jakarta. And, Jakarta is a very big city. The city contains almost 10.000.000 citizens, over 661 km2. That brings Jakarta in the top 20 of the biggest city’s of the world, claiming the 17th place. It is one of the fast growing city’s of Asia, in the past and still currently. It is growing faster than for example Bangkok (Thailand) and Beijing (China). The city is so big, it is divided into 6 districts: 1. Central Jakarta, 2. West Jakarta, 3. South Jakarta, 4. East Jakarta, 5. North Jakarta and 6. Thousand Islands (105 small islands in the Java Sea). I only visited the last district, number 5 North Jakarta. You can read my report in my previous blogpost. But, as you mjght guess, we are in the North of Jakarta, and where do we need to head to? The south, yes, indeed. It took us quite a long time to get out of Jakarta, although we took some high ways which were not much used by other people. It took us more than one hour to get rid of Jakarta. What I saw of the city, was mostly very high buildings. They are everywhere. In contrast,
Pusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi Tumbuhan

Some trees do have special fruits. This is the fruit cacao, where the lovely chocolate is made from.
you see some old, small houses near the side of the road. Slowly and slowly, we just drove out of the city, through our first stop.



Our first stop was not just a stop, we headed to the Bogor Botanic Gardens of Pusat Konservasi Tumbuhan. It also is the Center for Plant Conservation. It does not only conservation, the centre also involves research, education and ofcourse it is open for visitors en tourist. There, a guide was waiting for us. The Guide was Fanny, which was actually a pretty good guide. This Botanic Gardens is very big, and in the end, we only could saw just 1/3 of the park. It contains a lot of plants and threes mostly which are living in a tropical ecosystem over the world. This includes Asia, Africa and America. If you visit the park, you defiantly should try to hire a guide. Fanny was a good guide, which had a lot of knowledge about the plants and the trees living in this park. Sometimes, thanks to her you saw some little animals, for example a spider (please look at my picture). Although there are some signs with explaining about the vegetation
Pusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi Tumbuhan

When you pay attention, you can see some smaller animals including spiders as well
you see, a guide is defiantly a plus. One of the trees we passed in the beginning of the tour was the cacao tree. Chocolate is the best known product from cacao. This tree is only can live in tropical areas, but still is very critical to his environment. The trees will not grow in full force of the sun, and therefore, they mostly are plant underneath bigger trees which creating shadow. Also, the soil fertility, temperature and the amount of rain fall is critical to the tree. The tree can get around 50 years old and reaches a height of a maximum of 10 meter. The leaves look like leather, and are standing close to each other, which makes a very dense Scroll crown. When the tree reaches an age of around 4, he will start to blooming, and will start bloom the entire year, which means she shall always carry fruits. However, she is only able to carry 30 to 40 fruits each year. When the fruits are taken, they will be broken open, where the cacao beans will been taken out. A fruit contains between 40 to 50 beans. Which means, that the tree can deliver around 1 maximum 2 kg of beans each year. Thanks to the guide, we saw many threes containing fruit. But also close on the ground, we saw a very nice vegetation, where colours pop suddenly up. Or , you can spot some herbs on the ground. For example ginger. There were some trees where you were able to hide in. But, the park is most famous of its bamboo section. The park contains many species of bamboo, where some of the bamboo is able to grow 4 meters in only 2 weeks. In fact, bamboo is a species of grass, and therefore bamboo is a plant and not a tree. The name bamboo is coming from the Malaysian language. Without doubt, bamboo is the fast growing plant species on earth. Some species of bamboo can grow up to a meter each day. The biggest bamboo in the world is known as the Dragon bamboo, and can grow around 50 cm each day. She can reach a length of 35 meters. Seeing the Dragon bamboo blooming is rare, because she is only blooming once in 48 to 50 years. The best known animal, which can feed on bamboo is the Panda Bear,
Pusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi Tumbuhan

Do you see the ginger?
currently living in some populations in Central China. However, there are more animas which do eat bamboo, for example monkeys, the bamboo lemurs and bamboo rats. Humans also eat cooked bamboos, better known as bamboo sprouts, which you probably might find in your own supermarket. A lake is separating the park with the Bogor Presidential Palace. This palace is not open for public. This Palace is a old Dutch colonial building, which was first named “Buitenzorg”, where the Dutch Governors could escape for the heat and diseases of Batavia. This place was found by Baron van Imhoff (1705 – 1750) in August of 1744 and ordered an mansion to build on this place. Van Imhoff worked at time as Governor-General of the Dutch East Indien Company (VOC), before he died in West Java at the city of Istana Cipanas. Buitenzorg was not finished before he died, and therefore Jacob Mossel took over the orders to finish the mansion. A renovation in between 1808 and 1811 made sure the palace was further expanded, by the orders of General Herman Willem Daendels. A long time, the palace was not used, until the Indonesian president Joko Widodo moved into this palace in February
Pusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi Tumbuhan

Thanks to our guide, you can find the most beautiful vegetation in this park.
2015. The lake contains many water lily’s, which is nice to see when they open and a pink flower is coming outside. I agree, this is a nice park to visit, but you should take your time. I did not had that much time, which was a pity. If you like nature and plants, this park is defiantly a plus, but if you do not like nature at all, this is probably not a good place for you to hang out. This park is also nice to visit with kids, but because of the length of the park I should not suggest to take the full tour with small kids. The kids probably will like the gardens, because they can play hide and seek in the many trees where you can hide and the small narrow paths which are in the park.



After a last toilet stop and drinking tea, it was time to go in the buss to drive over the Puncak Pass, the area between Bangor to Bandung. “Puncak”, is translated as “top”, where the highest attitude here is around 1500 meters. Therefore, it has a cool climiate, in comparison with the tropical climate of
Pusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi Tumbuhan

This park has many species of Bamboo, where some species grow very hard.
Java. During the second world war, this area was already a touristic place, due it’s climate. A lot of people tried to escape from the heat of “Batavia” (Jakarta) to go to a cooler place, and that was Puncak. In that time, the Swiss build some typical Swiss chalets. Also, the influence from the Swiss you might find on the menu card in this area. Currently, you can find there good hotels and spa’s. For Javan people, living in the country side which does not have a high attitude, this area is quite special to them. Pine trees are among the vegetation. And also, the local people do wear winter clothing, for example beanies to protect them self for the cold. For the local countryside Javan people, this is special and they like to visit the area. The area is also known for the many coffee and tea plantations. When you drive at the Puncak Pass, you might pass different kind of citizen areas. You find some small busy little city’s, crowed by people. But, if you drive further on, you can find areas which does not contain that much of people live. Here, you have a good sight on
Pusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi TumbuhanPusat Konservasi Tumbuhan

The park and the Bogor Presidential Palace is separated by a huge lake, which contains much water lily's.
the many plantations. Also, the houses are not that poor when you saw in the slum of Jakarta or at Sumatra. But, besides the road you can find some small restaurants and places where you can buy water or to drink something. From here, you have a great sight over the area. For lunch, we stopped at the Puncak Pass Resort. A luxurious resort, where you can enjoy with great sights over the area. And, you can find some Swiss accents on the menu card. For example the “German bock sausage with French fries”. Or try the Dutch “Poffertjes”, an old Traditional Dutch Cake with icing sugar. Or try an American BBQ Pizza, which I tried. This pizza was good, because the BBQ sauce was great, and the pizza did contain extra tomato and chilli. Also, it did contain union, paprika, olives, sausage, meatballs and cheese. The waiters are very hospitable.



During the ride to our hotel, we made some different photo stops. One of these photo stops where just before a bridge, so we could walk over the bridge. Standing on the bridge, I realized why our travel leader suggested we should walk across. Underneath there
Puncak PassPuncak PassPuncak Pass

We are on the road to reach the Puncak Pass
was a hugeravine, probably 300 meters in depth. Time to make some pictures and enjoy the sight before going back in the bus. We arrived in Bandung. In Bandung we drove to our hotel, the Sukajadi Hotel and I had room 350. The hotel is very big and it contains a nice swimming pool. The hotel contains a lot of art, so walking around is very special here. It was a pity that we arrived late and the next morning we should leave also early, otherwise this hotel is a great place to discover and relax. Bandung contains a very important train station, which is also used by many backpackers, tourist and the local people. Therefore, the city contains a small centre with restaurants and pubs, not much, but enough to grab a good meal and a beer. One of these restaurants and was the Javana Bistro, which is also a very nice place as pub. Downstairs, a band was playing and the people have fun, above there was an area where you could relax and enjoy a meal. I ordered cheese soup with chicken parts, which was served with puff pastry. It saw very nice by serving, but if
Puncak PassPuncak PassPuncak Pass

At the Puncak Pass, there are many spots where you can stop for a picture. Here, a man has it's own small restaurant on the pass.
you would like to eat the soup, you had to eat first the puff pastry, which was stickled of the heat to the can of the soup. Therefore, it did not look that tasty, but the soup was perfect! Also, it was very hot, which means it was served in a good condition.



After one night in the hotel, we had to catch our train to Banjar. Banjar is our end destination at the trail tracks, however, the city is known for as a start point of the 83-km long train trail to Cijulang. During this route, you will not only encounter the Javan countryside, but you encounter hills and you pass in total 3 tunnels, including the longest tunnel of Indonesia, with a length of a little bit more than 1 km, the Wilhelmina Tunnel. You are not only taking a tunnel, but the hills also give you a beautiful sight to the Pangandaran sea from above and other great landscapes. Most backpackers take the train to Yogyakarta from here, which is also possible due the good railways. A train ticket in the first class is also not that expensive and doable for a backpacker with
Road CrossingRoad CrossingRoad Crossing

Here, we standing on a bridge, having a good sight of the deep Ravine below us.
a low budget as well. Banjar is an Indonesian City with around 15,000 citizens in the West of Java. In Banjar, most tourist take the train, and therefore the city has good hotels , restaurants and bars. However, today, we will take another route from Bandung to Banjar, mostly around countryside. Bandung is laying in West-Java, also known as Bandoeng, or the “City of Flowers (Kota kembang)”. But also known as the Capital of the Sunda people from the Sunda Kingdom. The Sunda Kingdome, in fact a Hindu Kingdom was at its strongest at 670 to 1580, located in Western Java. However, much people still do identify themselves with the Sunda Kingdome, due the fact the “Pantun”, traditional poetic verses are told generations. In the Pantum the legend of King Siliwangi is told, together with the Golden Age of the Sunda Pajajaran. The Sunda People are currently still the dominant group of citizens living in the West of Java. Therefore, besides the Indonesian language, the official Sunda Language is also widely spoken in Bandung. At 8:30, our train will leave out of Bandung, which means we should be around 8 at the train station. Our tickets were personalized, which means,
Sukajadi HotelSukajadi HotelSukajadi Hotel

This hotel contains a lot of beautiful art. Especially, the place with the swimming pool is great to hang out.
booked on our names and Passport number. Therefore, you tricket and your passport will been checked before you get access to the train station and the train. The train is standing over here, and some helpful people working at the railways helped us to the right railcar. We had all places in the first classes, but there are multiple railcars with first classes. Also, everyone has one chair which is booked, which means you are not allowed to choose your own place to sit. If you find your place, there is a small, small surprise, because you are able to turn your seats.... to the window! Best idea ever! “Toot”, the train is leaving! The train is tooting quite often during his ride. It does not make that much speed, so it is great to find out the countryside live besides the roads. The route is nice, and brings quite a lot of diversity. You will see some flat countryside, especially close by the city’s, but it soon will bring you in the country live where the people are working on the many rice terraces, build against some great hills and small mountains. Terraces with water on it, glancing in
Traintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to Banjar

This is the train which will bring us from Bandung to Banjar.
the sun, sometimes hides in a creepy pass of the mountains, covering with a little bit of mist. Some rice terraces are flat, and they most contains the typical rice houses. You will see people working on the rice terraces. Small towns passed by, and everywhere in these towns, the kids are stealing the show. Many towns are build very close to the rails, but you will not drive through a town itself. In the stations we stopped, the children liked to run besides the train and when the train was leaving and trying to get on speed, the children are trying to be faster with running. The train does pass some important roads with a rail crossing. The Rail Crossing is closed for several minutes before the train is passing, which lead to many traffic waiting before they can cross over. Mostly (young) man, standing in front, waiting on their scooter with a lot of traffic and especially the smoke of the many scooters behind them. Taking the train on this piece of Java is really amazing. The great views with the countryside is very great and the train is the perfect opportunity to do so. If you have
Traintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to Banjar

The train is rushing besides different small towns on the countryside of Java.
a change, take the train!





The train is faster than the bus, so when we arrived at 12:10 in Banjar, we had to leave the train and wait for an half hour before the bus arrived. The bus trip felt like a hell, because I became very sick. Therefore, I was happy when the bus arrived Pangandaran. I hoped that I could learn to surf here the next day, but that felt totally in water, as we rather say in Dutch.


Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


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Traintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to Banjar
Traintrail from Bandung to Banjar

A lot of children are playing besides the rails, and they like to try if they are faster by feet than the train, especially when the train is accelerate.
Traintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to Banjar
Traintrail from Bandung to Banjar

Everywhere at the countryside you see rice terraces popping up.
Traintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to Banjar
Traintrail from Bandung to Banjar

The Rice Terraces are build against the many hills you will encounter.
Traintrail from Bandung to BanjarTraintrail from Bandung to Banjar
Traintrail from Bandung to Banjar

A lot of traffic, including the scooters is waiting for the train to pass. Probably, they are waiting for several minutes.


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