West Java

The enchanting and beautiful land of Parahiyangan or Sunda stretches from the Sunda Strait in the west to the borders of Central Java in the east. The region is primarily mountainous, with rich green valleys hugging lofty volcanic peaks, many of which surround the capital of the province, Bandung.
The Sundanese people of this region, the Sundanese, are soft-spoken and colorful, with a rich and fascinating history.

The powerful and ancient kingdoms of Tarumanegara, Pajajaran, Banten and Cirebon have all risen, ruled and fallen in this province and provide fascinating studies for students of archaeology and history. West Java was one of the first contact points in Indonesia for Indian traders and their cultural influences, and it was here that the Dutch and British first set foot in Indonesia at Banten. The Dutch moved their center of operations to Sunda Kelapa (now Jakarta) after fierce competition and rivalry with the British, only to return at a later date.

West Java effectively surrounds the nation's capital of Jakarta on three sides and enjoyable roads provide good links to most of the province passing through spectacular panoramas of rugged mountains, sparkling paddy fields and intimate holiday resorts. There are a number of resorts on the western and southern coasts which have modern hotels and are popular during the weekends, especially for people living in Jakarta.

West Java provides visitors with a great number of fascinating and wonderful things to see and do; venture to the reminders of the explosive and awesome power of Krakatau; explore the undisturbed wildlife reserve of Ujung Kulon on the south- western tip of Java; admire the Pulau Dua Bird Sanctuary off the coast of Banten and visit the isolated communities of the mysterious Baduy in the remote Halimun Mountain Reserve; discover unspoiled beaches at Pangandaran; treasure the royal palaces of Cirebon and the world renowned botanical gardens of Bogor.

Bandung, the capital of the province is about 180 kms southeast of Jakarta and was once known as "The Paris of Java" because of its tree lined boulevards and artistic influences. The city gained international fame in 1955 as the venue for the first Afro-Asian Conference which brought together the leaders of 29 Asian and African Nations with the aim of promoting economic and cultural relations and taking a common stand against colonialism.


The capital is situated on a plateau 768 metres above sea level with a cool climate throughout the year. Although it has a population of over two million the pace of city life is slower than Jakarta's.Several institutes of higher education are located here, including the country's prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology.

There ore short drives up to the mountain resorts of Lembang and the Bosscho Observatory, and higher to the volcanic crater of Tangkuban Perahu, the only crater in Java accessible all the way by car as for as its rim. It is an aweinspiring sight of emanating sulphur fumes. Descent into all the volcano's 12 craters is only possible with the aid of an experienced guide, because of the presence of suffocating gases at certain spots.

Just a 15 minute drive from Tangkuban Perahu is the Crater hot springs resort. Here you can swim in warm mineral water pools, good for healing skin problems.
The resort provides visitors with a bar, restaurants, tennis courts and cottage style hotels overlooking a beautiful mountain scape. In Banding, try to see the "Wayang Golek" wooden puppet show and hear the "Angklung" bamboo orchestra, as well as the classical Sundanese gamelan and dances.

Mang Udjo Angklung Workshop
One of the unique characteristics of this place is that traditional art performances are staged with a natural background of mountains, rice fields and plantations. Bamboo handicraft and musical instruments are made and sold here. Mang Udjo's "Angklungs" ore well known because of his fine workmanship and exact tuning of these bamboo musical instruments. His workshop is located in the village of Padasuka, around 7 km from Bandung.

Patenggang lake
One of the leading resorts is located in less than an hour by road to the south of the city. The eastern side of the lake is a cool forest having an average temperature of 10 degrees C and is often hazy the whole day. The north side is bordered by a lush tea estate, reaching far out to the west and south.

Juanda Forest Park
This is a 590-hectare (2,475-acre) forest for research and recreation with native plant species as well as from other parts of the world. The Japanese occupation forces left a number of caves and tunnels which they dug out of these cliffs during World War 11 for the devence of the area. This highland forest park is minutes away from Bandung.

Since long known for its hot water springs, Maribaya lies north of Bandung which can be reached within 30 minutes. The trip itself is worthwhile making, as you will pass through a picturesque road dotted with flowery hills and lovely villas all the way. The mountain air is cool and the sulphur-laden water just comfortably hot for swimming as well as for just soaking in. Part of the scenery is a 25 m high waterfall set against a steep mountain cliff.

Jatiluhur Dam
Situated just about halfway between Jakarta and Bandung, this dam was originally built with Fench technical assistance back in the Fifties, mainly for the purpose of generating electrical power for the region. Since then the dam developed into a multi-purpose designated area as it now serves irrigation to the surrounding arable land and fishery as well. Somewhat later, tourism saw a potential area for development as it now provides convenient facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, a camping ground, speedboats for water skiing and cottages. The water surface is enormously vast, the scenery tropical, the air crisp and cool.

Previously known as "Buitenzorg" (Sans soucis or Without worries) during the Dutch colonial era, Bogor actually lies closer to Jakarta 150 km) than it does to Bandung ( 120 km). Appropriately named by the Dutch as a town "without worries", they chose Bogor to be the site for constructing the first palace of the Dutch Governor General way back in 1745. Later restored in 1832, the palace still stands solid and elegant today with its stretched out gardens where deer roam freely on the green grass under majesticly tall old trees.

However, Bogor is famous because of its Botanical Garden which borders the Palace Grounds, covering an area of 87 hectares with thousands of species of plant life from all over the world, including towering age old trees and the rarest kinds of orchids. See the original "Havea Brazilliensis" rubber tree formerly imported from Barzil, and world's largest flower, the Rafflesia a foul smelling and stemless as well as leafless plant. When visiting this Garden, arrange for a permit to visit the neighbouring Presidential Palace which belonged to the Dutch Governor General before Indonesia's independence. Doing this may be a day-long visit by leaving Jakarta in the morning and spend the night in the Puncak mountainous region on your way to Bandung the next day. Here again, the whole car trip will be memorable as scenic tropical beauty all around is really astonishing. You will also pass by another smaller Presidential Palace at Cipanas, the setting of which is in a colourful and flowery vast garden around this woodenbut stylihs palace.

Zoological Museum
Exhibited in this Museum are mainly stuffed animals placed behind vitrines or glass display cases, arranged as if these animals were alive in natural surroundings. It is located on Juanda Street in Bandung.

Batu-Tulis Ciaruteun /Stone Inscription)
An inscribed stone in the Sanskrit language originating in South India, which is a relic from the Tarumanegara kingdom during the reign of King Purnawarman in 450 A.D. located on the bank of the Ciaruteun river in Ciampea village which can be reached by driving along the 9-kilometers road from Bogor to Ciampea followed by going on foot for about two kilometers.

Cibodas Botanic Garden
Located in the district of Pacet, 22 kilometers northwest of Cianjur, the Cibodas Garden Park, honored by its other name "Paradise on earth" impounds a 80- hectare area founded in 1890 for nature preservation purposes.

Taman Safari Indonesia
Animals from all continents roam freely in this 35-hectare park, 75 km southeast of Jakarta along the Jakarta-Bandung route. Among the animals kept here are some comparatively rare species such as the anoa, rhinos, giraffes, white tigers and European, American as well as Asian bears. Adjacent to the park are recreational grounds with swimming pool, tennis courts, an artificial lake, a waterfall and a children's playground with facilities such as a circus arena, a house of horrors, a merry-go-round and a small circuit. There are also restaurants, cafetarias and other facilities.

Lido Water Recreational Centre
It lies 21 km south of Bogor or 81 km from Jakarta. The lake is conveniently located along the route from Bogor to Sukabumi, surrounded by scenic panoramas. Water sport facilities, a restaurant and accommodation are available.

Pangrango is a cool place at the foot of this mountain bearing the same name, equipped with the longest restaurant and swimming pool. It has ample mountain views overlooking tropical forests and hills and is located on the Salabintana Road, at 7 km from Sukabumi.

Situ Gunung
Located in the district of Cisaat, 14 kilometers from Sukabumi Situ Gunung is a natural lake surrounded by damar trees. It is suitable for camping.

Pelabuhan Ratu Beach
Formerly just a plain fishing village it has now grown into a lovely holiday resort, more and more visited by holiday makers from Jakarta and Bandung, a mere three-hour drive from either city through cool mountain villages with picturesque scenerie Gradually but surely this area will catch up with the pace of development as is the case with Carita on the extreme West coast of Java. Pelabuhan Ratu Cisolok is a 15 km stretch of breathtaking beauty with hills, mountains and very wide sandy beaches everywhere around you, set againts the deep blue Indian Ocean.
Truly rare is the fact that thick tropical forests on rolling hills are found right next to stretches of white beaches. Taking walks uphilenables the visitor to look down on the horseshoe shape of the bay's coastline, whereas at night hundreds of fishermen's boatlamps are seemingly competing with the star-studded sky above, which is both enchanting and romantic. There is one four-star hotel, the Samudera beach, about 6 km from Pelabuhan Ratu, but several other smaller hotels and cottages are available at moderate rates.

At this virgin stage, this area represents unspoiled beauty in a typically tropical setting with hospitable inhabitants.
Because of its proximity to Jakarta this area is visited by more tourists from the capital than those from Bandung. Moreover, the highways to and from Pelabuhan Ratu have recently been greatly improved to assure you of a smooth ride to enjoy the sceneries you pass even better. Don't forget to enjoy the fresh seafood at reasonable prices.

Pulau Manuk
A rocky isle of 500 m2, it is located 127 km south of Rangkasbitung or 120 km west of scenic Pelabuhan Ratu. The isle functions as a tide breaker as well, so that the inward beach is safe for a variety of marine sports which would have been threatened by the menacing tides of the Indian Ocean.
The isle has a forest conservation park and rubber estate. During low tide, it is reachable on foot.

The Prince Sumedang Foundation Museum
Located in the Pavillion of the Sumedang Regency building, in which relics of Sumedang's ancestors such as gamelan, spears, crown and royal clothes are exhibited.

A typical Sundanese town in the highlands, Garut is surrounded by volcanic mountains and vast tea plantations. Around this area are a few lovely lakes and hot springs, one of which is at Cipanas where comfortable accommodations can be found. People visit these sulphur springs which have medicating effects to purify their skin. Mount Papandayans crater is probably one of the most spectacular mountain scenes on Java island.
There is the Cangkuang temple situated by Cangkuang Lake which was a major discovery of archaeological value as it was the first of its kind found in West Java, dating back to the 8th century. Situated 17 km from Garut, but 50 km from Bandung.

Sixty kilometres from Garut, Tasikmalaya is known for its patted mats, painted umbrellas and batiks of particular designs and colours.

Kampung Naga
The uniqueness of Kampung Naga is that in spite of its proximity to modern society, it has retained its traditional customs over the centuries. It is a small village in the beautiful mountains of the Salawu District, some 30 km from Tasikmalaya. Here the most important traditional ceremony is called the "Upacara Pedaran~ which illustrates its age-old history and culture, held only once every year.

Travelling northeast from Bandung towards the coast, the seaport of Cirebon offers a wealth of culture and history. Situated by the border of West and Central Java, it is a combination of both. There is an ancient royal cemetery where a holy sultan was buried which has become a place for pilgrimage at the Astana Gunung Jati.

In the city itself, the ancient palaces (kratons) of the Kasepuhan and Kanoman now serve as museum which are open to the public, exhibiting house ornaments, paintings, calligraphy and other art treasure of the courts. The royal carriages are sumptuous in design, one of them a gilded coach in the form of a winged elephant. Across the square from the Kasepuhan Kraton is the "Mesjid Agung~ (Grand Mosque) which is of a Javanese "Peak" architecture and made entirely of wood. Cirebon is also known for its distinct batik, now a flourishing industry which may be seen in the village of Trusmi. Another specialty this city can offer you is a wide range of seafood, probably the best in West Java.

The Linggarjati Tourism Park is located at Linggarjati village in the Cilimus district. The distance is 14 km from Kuningan or 24 km from Cirebon. The park occupies 1 1 hectares of land, and pro vices some recreational facilities, such as a swimming pool (Balong Kagungan) or the kagungan pond, lake and water springs (Cibulakan and silinggonom), water recreation and a fishing pond. Also available are resting places, cottages and villas, a tourism forest, a camping ground, a hall food kiposks/stalls and ample parking facilities.
The Linggarjati Agreement Building is located not far from the Linggarjati Tourism Park. From 1946 - 1947 a conference was held between Indonesia and the Netherlands, supervised by British delegates from the Tripartite committe.

Pangandaran, Karang Nini and Batu Hiu
This is the second beach resort area on the Indian Ocean after Pelabuhan Ratu. It certainly equals the latter's awe-inspiring natural beauty, however, it has the disadvantage of being so far off from Bandung 1223 km) and even more so from Jakarta 1400 km). Road conditions are good, thus making the trip by car or bus recommendable. However, if you prefer to take the train, get into the Bandung- Yogyakarta Express train and get off at the Ban jar railroad station about 4 hours later. From here it will be another 50 km by bus to Pangandaran.

The beach is called Penanjung, where most of the cottages and hotels are located, however, of modest ratings. Nothing luxurious should be expected. Pangandaran is especially of interest to nature lovers, as there is a wildlife reserve in the vicinity where wild birds and other indigenous animals live about freely to be enjoyed by visitors. Here too, the white beaches are fine, the ocean ever so blue and the seafood superb. Twelve kilometers before arriving at Pangandaran you will see a huge rock on the beach which is called Karang Nini.

A forest Conservation Park is located right here, which is another place of special interest to nature lovers. Nearby is a camping ground which has basic facilities suitable for the younger set. Somewhat further out, west of Pangandaran, driving 23 km on the way to Parigi, lies Batu Hiu, meaning Shark's Rock, which is a coastal rock having the shape of a shark.
Close by a recreation park is found where you can have an andless open ocean view and enjoy nature at its best.