Away from Cibodas, and further down the road is the town of Cipanas. Here is the Cipanas Palace, the President’s mountain residence set amidst manicured lawns and refreshing hot springs.

Cipanas has grown into a sizable town, where is a market where tourists come to shop for fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, decorative plants and souvenirs.

And everywhere along the Bogor-Cipanas route up to Bandung there are plentiful hotels, from the most exclusive accommodation complete with meeting facilities, to housing estates, to the more simple accomodation. There are also many flower gardens, fruit gardens, playgrounds and much more for families to enjoy.

 

Get There

Travel to the mountain region of Puncak, Cibodas or Cipanas is by private car, taxi or tour bus, which on a weekday takes around one and a half hours from Jakarta via the Bogor toll road, but a lot longer during weekends and holidays.   This area is best enjoyed during the week, since the road is normally jam packed on weekends, from Friday afternoons through Sundays, and especially on long weekends and school holidays. At weekends and holidays Police enforces one way traffic hours to ease heavy traffic congestions on these narrow roads, alternating travelling hours for traffic going up or down the mountain to and from Jakarta.

Embrace the natural beauty of Lembang. Forget your home for a while, enjoy the cold fresh air and the petrichor emanating from the rain.

Located north of the magnificent city of Bandung, Lembang is a perfect getaway destination for nature lovers from the hustle and bustle of a city. Lembang highland is bestowed with picturesque sceneries, scenic tea plantations, and a nice change of cold weather from humid heat.

Lembang, A Mountainous Getaway from the Hectic Urban Life
Photo source: Shutterstock

Mountainous adventure and fresh air are the charms of Lembang, a favorite sojourn location among the urban population. Several destinations here should be on top of your list, such as: Lodge Maribaya which boasts natural adventures and waterfalls; the Instagrammable Keraton Cliff, one the best photo spots; and the legendary Tangkuban Perahu Mountain, fantastic with its natural scenery and mesmerizing craters.

Lembang, A Mountainous Getaway from the Hectic Urban Life
Photo source: Shutterstock

Lembang is also a great site to enjoy your family holiday. Visiting Farmhouse Lembang or De'Ranch is a must if you're with children. Visit the Hobbit house in Farmhouse or go horseback riding in De'Ranch, both are wonderful family-friendly attractions. You want something different? Stargazing at Bosscha Observatory offers a more educational type of vacation.

Lembang, A Mountainous Getaway from the Hectic Urban Life
Photo source: Shutterstock

In contrast to Bandung, where you can find modern mall and shopping centers, Lembang is better known for its culinary destinations. The Floating Market Lembang is a colorful and vibrant leisure park, which sells various cuisine on boats.

People say that green is a good color to relieve stress. As a fertile highland, Lembang is lush with plantations: tea, strawberry, and vegetables. You can visit these plantations and pick your own fresh crops or buy them from local farmers. These places are best when you want to get closer to nature.

Get Around

Since Lembang is very close to Bandung, it's easy to find a transportation to get around and enjoy the beauty of its tourism hotspots. Your hassle-free option is to join a tour. Using a tour allows you to have a planned sightseeing without worrying anything. However, if you want more freedom, exploring Lembang by yourself using public transport is very possible. There are taxis, transportation apps,  and public transportations to choose from.

Get There

It takes only about 30 minutes to reach Lembang from the very heart of Bandung. If you are from Jakarta, you need to go to Bandung first, by air or land. If you're planning to drive there, avoid the weekends or public holidays, because what is normally 2-hours trip can turn into 4-6 hours trip.

Using airplane (or helicopter, there are heli-taxi companies in Jakarta offering ride to Bandung) is not necessarily the fastest way to get there considering you have to get to an airport first and wait for the flight. But if you choose to do so, you can hail a taxi from Bandung's Husein Sastranegara Airport to Lembang or hire a personal driver to get you around.

You can also take the train if you like. It takes about three hours from Jakarta to Bandung. The plus side is a scenic route as the train makes its way through the long tunnels and majestic mountains. Once you reach Bandung Station, you have a wide range of transportation choice, such as taxis, ride-hailing apps, and public transportation.

Another way to reach Lembang from Jakarta is by driving a private car or taking public transportations such as bus, minibus, or shuttle bus. The 150 km toll road connecting Jakarta-Bandung makes driving the fastest mean of transportation. Although, it can be very congested on the weekends and public holidays, so make sure you leave early and plan ahead. If you are a foreign tourist, we advise you to take public transportation or rent a car and a driver.

The cool highlands of Subang in West Java provide an idyllic setting for an unforgettable personal experience where the crisp mountain air and the refreshing sounds of bubbling mountain streams soothe the soul. The town of Ciater is known for its natural hot springs with their healing qualities which promote physical well being. Here the Ciater Hot-Springs Spa makes the most of nature's rich rehabilitative resources, by pampering its guests in tranquil surroundings, delivering professional care through therapies and treatments that revitalize both the body and mind.

Oukup, Natural Spa and Medicinal Treatment the Batak Way

The Batak ethnic groups living in North Sumatra have long realized that nature is not only man’s main source of life but it also provides precious medicinal cures. Traditional natural treatments – in modern days called Spa – have long been part of daily life in Central Tapanuli, in Sibolga, Simalungun and even on the island of Nias. Here, the Batak traditional Spa treatment is known as Martup or Oukup.

Since the past, Batak women have relied on Oukup as the most effective way to to cleanse the body after giving birth, to improve blood circulation, and fantastic for getting rid of excess fat and eliminate body odour. Traditionally, special herbs are carefully picked and collected then boiled in water. The boiling water is then placed in a pail or open receptacle to steam, and a seat placed on it, where the girl will be sit down wrapped in cloth, for her body absorb its steam.

In doing so, her body will soon relax completely starting from her feet to the tips of her fingers, her spine and her head. Her body will perspire and detoxified and rid toxic substances as the now medicinal steam envelops her and enters her body through her opened pores. This traditional treatment will give three beneficial effects. These are complete relaxation and the body reinvigorated; in the short run muscle pain will be reduced. In the long run, when treated regularly it will heal many ailments at the same time rejuvenate the skin. If you wish to try out the Oukup Traditional Spa Treatment in Jakarta, do visit Gaya Spa at Jalan Wolter Monginsidi No. 25 at Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta. When in Medan, you will be able to find these traditional herbs, drinks and other medicinal treatments of the Batak Oukup in various of Medan Spas.

Handed down for generations, some of Indonesian authentic traditional spa treatments are still practiced until today and have made their way into the modern spa and wellness scene alongside other popular methods around the world.

One of the most unique is the Bakera treatment of the Minahasa ethnic group living around Manado, capital of North Sulawesi. This is a traditional treatment especially applied on women to stay healthy and keep in shape after giving birth.

Bakera is specifically aimed to tighten the female’s reproductive organs. Minahasans call this “bakancing” which is to tighten and bring back elasticity to the female’s reproductive organ after it slacked in the processes of pregnancy and giving birth.

The Bakera treatment releases excess blood and other unwanted substances. Stiff and loose muscles will be stimulated back to their initial state to allow the mother to take care of her newborn baby in perfect health. Additionally the Bakera is believed to bring fresh brightness to her face replacing its former paleness.

Bakera uses 20 natural ingredients where 40% of which are medical herbs that include, clove leaves, banana leaves, mango leaves, betel leaves, dukung anak, balacai leaves, Sesewanua leaves, tawaang leaves, and beluntas leaves. These natural substances will give the effect of increasing the body’s immunity, reduce pain and aches, stimulate a quiet and relaxed feeling, and eliminate germs.

The treatment also involves many herbs and aromatic ingredients such as pandan leaves, orange leaves, gongers, cinnamon leaves, garlic, and nutmeg. Additionally, 20% of fruits are used especially the lemong suangi to heat up the body, along with soursop leaves and guava leaves. All of the ingredients (fruits, flowers, leaves, and roots) are then boiled, and a stone is heated until it becomes reddish.

The lady applied the Bakera treatment will sit in a chair covered with only a piece of cloth. Then, the pot with the boiled ingredients is placed under the seat. The stone is also placed in front of the chair and is poured with the water of the boiled potion which releases steam and aromatic heat. The process takes some 30 minutes.

Long hidden in the shadows of its more famous neighbor Bali, the island of Flores is emerging as a unique destination in its own right. Not only is Flores in the East Nusa Tenggara Province, a staging point to your adventure to Komodo Island, -the lair of the dragons, - Flores is also blessed with an abundance of wonders such as the Tri-colored Lake of Mt. Kelimutu, the Liang Bua Cave archaeological site, and traditional villages like Bena and Compang Ruteng. With over 50 spectacular dive sites, Flores is a paradise for divers and underwater enthusiasts. The island is also surrounded by beautiful beaches with soft pearly white sands.

In addition to these popular attractions, there is still a side of Flores that should yet receive more spotlight: its culinary treats. This island also has various scrumptious traditional food, snacks, as well as delicious drinks that will complete your total adventure

Here are some of the tasty traditional foods and drinks on Flores:

1 | Ubi Nuabosi

Ubi Nuabosi is a type of sweet potato which is very popular on Flores. The sweet potatoes are processed in a variety of ways, the may be boiled, fried, or roasted. The people of Flores usually serve these together with dried salted fish or other dishes. Here, Ubi Noubosi is a source of carbohydrate an acts as an alternative to rice.

Tasty Traditional Treats of Flores Island
Photo source : www.daonlontar.blogspot.co.id

 

2 | Jawada

Jawada is a traditional sweet snack of Flores that takes the shape of a triangle with a lovely golden brown color. Composed of thin pasta not unlike glass noodles, Jawada resembles curly hair, from which it got its nickname as the "hair cookie". Jawada is made from rice flour, palm sugar, coconut milk, and salt. The dough is pushed through small holes made on a coconut shell to create the thin hair-like shapes. The dough is then deep fried, so it can maintain its crispiness.

Tasty Traditional Treats of Flores Island
Photo source : www.desa-leuwohung.blogspot.co.id

 

3 | Catemak Jagung

Catemak Jagung or Corn Catemak is a dessert that is highly popular in Flores, and East Nusa Tenggara Province. Made from corn, peanuts, green beans, and pumpkin, this is truly a healthy dish. Although it is known as a dessert that is eaten after the main course, Catemak Jagung is a savory dish and not dessert.

Tasty Traditional Treats of Flores Island
Photo source : www.pajaa.com

 

4 | Tapa Kolo

Literally translated, "Tapa" means roasted or barbequed, and "Kolo" means rice in a bamboo, so in simple terms, Tapa Kolo is rice which is put inside a small bamboo and then cooked over an open fire. This is a special dish that is usually served for traditional rituals and ceremonies as well as other events. Not just regular rice is used, the rice for Tapa Kolo is a special red rice which locals calls "Deal aka". Tapa Kolo is usually served with chicken, pork, or other meat.

Tasty Traditional Treats of Flores Island
Photo source : www.azzamaviero.com

 

5 | Se'i

For meat lovers, Se'i is the perfect treat. Se'i is smoked meat cooked in the traditional methods in Flores. Se'I usually uses Beef or pork, but sometimes fish is also used. To make Se'I, the meat is placed over an open fire at a heightrelatively higher than barbequing. This way, it is not the flame that cooks the meat, but the hot smoke. For this reason it takes longer to make Se'I as when compared to barbequing meat. The locals usually slice the freshly smoke meat and eat it right away or cook it again mixed together with a variety of vegetables.

Tasty Traditional Treats of Flores Island
Photo source : www.sobatinfo.com

 

6 | Moke Drinks

A traditional drink of Flores is Moke, considered by the people of Flores as symbol of friendship and hospitality. The drink is made of palm nectar which is distilled and processed using traditional techniques. There are two types of Moke which are the White Moke and Black Moke. White Moke is made from tapped palm nectar, while the Black Moke is White Moke which has undergone further distilling process which increases its alcohol content and turns it into a liquor, specialty of Flores.

Tasty Traditional Treats of Flores Island
Photo source : www.azzamaviero.com

Who here is as famished as a Hungry Hungry Hippo and would die for a tasty meal that will not only satisfy the tummy, but also pamper your taste buds? Do spoonfuls of rich full-flavored fragrant rice, mouthwatering succulent pieces of meat and titillating spicy goodness sound absolutely delish to you? Well then a plate of Nasi Lemak would just hit the spot!

Surprisingly named as one of the 10 most healthy international breakfasts by Time Magazine, Nasi Lemak tastes devilishly unhealthy, which means its utterly delicious.

Nasi Lemak is a Malay dish, most well-known as one of Malaysia's national dishes, and popular in Singapore and Indonesia, particularly in Sumatra's northern region. In Indonesia, basically consists of fragrant jasmine rice flavored with coconut milk with a side of beef or chicken, peanuts and ikan teri (anchovies), fresh cucumber slices, sambal and an egg. Other side dishes are also available depending on the establishment selling the dish. Sometimes other spices or aromatics are added to the rice to make it more savory and fragrant, such as pandan leaves, bay leaves and lime leaves.

The Exquisite Flavors of Nasi Gurih

Medan is one of Sumatra's cities offering a more authentic Nasi Lemak, or Nasi Gurih as the locals call it, experience. Its strong rich flavors are so memorable that a trip all the way to Medan would worth it just to have a bite

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

Sate, juicy slices of marinated meat on thin bamboo skewers grilled to perfection on a charcoal open fire and accompanied by a delectably savoury sauce - it is no wonder that this dish is one of President Barack Obama’s childhood favourites.Sate (or more commonly known as Satay) is undoubtedly one of Indonesia’s most famous dishes. It is also one of those dishes that most South East Asian countries claim as their own. However historically, it can be traced back to Java as the place where the Indian kebab, imported by Muslim traders, first took on a distinctly more eastern flavour.

Across this colourful archipelago and its diverse ethnic groups, most cultures have made sate their own by creating different variations of this crowd pleasing dish. Where they differ is the spices used, its complimenting sauces and even the way it is skewered.

Here are 7 different types of sate you can find in this wonderfully diverse country.

1 | Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay)

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

One of the most common types of sate sold across Indonesia (and also the world), Satay Ayam can be bought from street hawkers to 5-Star fine dining establishments. This sate consists of chicken meat marinated in sweet soy sauce and cooked on an open flame grill. It is then served with a spicy peanut or sweet soy sauce, sliced shallots and chopped chillies.

2 | Sate Kambing (Lamb Satay)

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

Another common type of sate sold across this country is Sate Kambing. Consisting of diced lamb and marinated in minced pineapple (to rid any unpleasant smells and help tenderize the meat), this sate is served with two options of sauces – peanut or sweet soy sauce.

3 | Sate Maranggi

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

Originating from the city of Purwakarta in West Java, Sate Maranggi is made from lamb or beef. The meat is marinated in a mixture of green chilli paste and cuka lahang (sugar cane vinegar) and served with sliced shallots and diced tomatoes.

4 | Sate Kerang

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

Sate Kerang is a delicacy from the city of Surabaya in East Java. This dish consists of boiled scallops marinated in lime leaves, ginger, sweet soy sauce and tamarind juice. Once cooked, it is then briefly grilled or sautéed to char its edges.

5 | Sate Padang

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

Derived from the regency of West Sumatra, home of the popular Padang food, this particular sate is made from ox tongue or beef. The meat is boiled in a mixture of lime leaves, lemongrass, coriander, ginger and turmeric, then char grilled before being served with a thick spicy yellow sauce.

6 | Sate lilit

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

A specialty from Bali, this sate can be made from a variety of meats such as chicken, fish, pork or even turtle. Most commonly it is made from minced fish which is mixed with shredded coconut, lime juice, coconut milk and shallots. The mince is then wrapped around a skewer of lemongrassed and then grilled over an open flame. When in Bali donot fail to order this yummy sate.

7 | Sate Buntel

Delicious Satay, Indonesia’s Most Famous Dish!

A dish famous in the regency of Central Java, this sate is made from minced beef or lamb that is wrapped in a layer of animal fat. Similar to a skewered sausagee, the mince meat is mixed with shallots, garlic, ginger and cumin, stuffed into a fatty membrane and then basted with sweet soy sauce while cooked over a grill.

Yellow Rice: A Fortune in a Plate of Rice

Rice is a staple food for the majority of Indonesian. It holds an important place in the country’s culture. A typical Indonesian meal consists of steamed rice and one or two main dishes. Steamed rice or plain rice is known as “Nasi Putih” or literally White rice.

Experiencing the local culture is a huge part of travelling and trying traditional food is a good way to taste a small part of that culture. Talking about Indonesian food seems to be no end in sight. Fried Rice is indeed famous but variety of rice dishes make Indonesian food is one of the world's greatest cuisines.

Yellow Rice: A Fortune in a Plate of Rice

Yellow rice or nasi kuning is a method of cooking rice in turmeric. The main ingredients come from shallot, garlic, lemon grass and coconut milk. Sometimes clove and bay leaf are added to give more tastes. The simple way to make Yellow Rice is processing a fresh turmeric in a blender and get the extract juice by strain through a sieve. Put rice, turmeric water and all ingredients in a heavy saucepan or rice cooker. Stir in a lower heat and cook until the rice is done.

Yellow rice commonly a symbol of Indonesian celebrations. It is often served during festivals or other occasions in Indonesia: wedding, birthday, anniversaries, new baby born, house warming. Yellow is a symbol of good fortune, wealth and dignity. The yellow rice is usually stuffed into a cone-shape mold, accompanied by various side dishes such as vegetables, fried chicken, tofu, tempeh, shredded omelette, and beef. These package popular as Nasi Tumpeng (rice cone)Nasi Tumpeng is not a recipe, but instead a symbolic account of a traditional ritual feasts, symbolizes joy and gratitude. The practice to use of Nasi Tumpeng became popular among Indonesians as what is known pre-requirement in any ritual. In Indonesia, each region has their own varieties. People in Manado, North Sulawesi, served yellow rice with spicy shredded tuna while in Kalimantan served with animal protein (egg/chicken/fish/beef) in red sauce made from dried chili called bumbu habang. And when you off to Bali, make sure to try yellow rice served topped with a fried egg or satay (skewered chicken or pork grilled in peanut sauce).

However, it doesn't mean that you have to attend some kind of festivity to get the Yellow rice. You can easily find yellow rice in some local “warung” or street food stall or cart, which typically eaten for breakfast. If you looking for something new to enjoy rice, Yellow Rice will make a big difference in a plate of rice.

The Scrumptious Story of Lontong Cap Go Meh

Although Chinese New Year celebrations are behind us, it is still interesting to talk about the signature dish that is a must to be served at the family dinner table for Cap Go Meh, the 15th and final day of festivities at the start of the Lunar New Year.

In Indonesia , Chinese Peranakan (of mixed descent) families usually gather on the 15th day of the first month in the New Lunar Year, when everyone joyfully shares this special cuisine known as Lontong Cap Go Meh. This is a fusion dish that has been adapted from Javanese cooking. The spread consists of many side dishes and ingredients that are put together to become one festive and scrumptious delight.

The Scrumptious Story of Lontong Cap Go Meh

There are a number of versions on the history of this savoury dish. The more mundane is that since Chinese immigrants in the 14th century were not allowed to bring women with them, they married local Javanese women, thereby creating a Chinese-Javanese Peranakan culture. As they settled on Java, they also became accustomed to their wives’ traditional cuisine. From then on, every Lunar New Year the traditional Yuanxiao (rice ball) was replaced with lontong, the local rice cake that is then served with various Javanese dishes.

Lontong Cap Go Meh, therefore, is believed to symbolize the assimilation of two cultures, the festive ambiance of New Year and the symbol of good fortune, where the elongated form of the Lontong rice cake is said to be the symbol of Longevity. The eggs cooked as Pindang symbolize fortune and the turmeric coconut milk broth represents Gold as symbol for wealth.

The Scrumptious Story of Lontong Cap Go Meh

The name Lontong Cap Go Meh itself, has a legendary history dating back to the year when Sam Po Kong, better known as Admiral Zheng He, first set foot in Semarang in Central Java. Here he announced that he will hold a competition for Cap Go Meh celebrations, as to who can make the best soup for that auspicious day. As the news spread, a local headman or Datuk heard of this challenge, a mere one day before, but he still decided to join despite the urgent timing.

He cooked everything that was available nearby and created his version of soup. Sam Po Kong tasted each soup that was created by every participant who came from across the region, each made with their special recipes.

When the winners were about to be finalized, Datuk asked what about his soup. Sam Po Kong then asked one of his troops to register Datuk’s accomplishment as “Luang Tang Shiwu Ming”, meaning this soup with many kinds of ingredients comes in rank 15. In the Hokkien dialect, the troop pronounced it slightly different to: “ Luan Dang Cap Go Mia “ which he announced out loudly. Datuk and other participants then assumed that Sam Po Kong named the soup “Lontong Cap Go Meh” because the dish did contain Lontong as one of its main dishes. Since then, Datuk’s original soup’s creation became famous by that name until this day.

There are at least 9 individually cooked dishes to prepare prior to serving the Lontong Cap Go Meh. These comprise : the Lontong, an elongated rice cake cooked in banana leaf wraps; Opor Ayam or chicken stewed in coconut milk; Sayur Lodeh, a vegetable soup with coconut milk broth; Sambal Goreng Ati, fried liver sauted with chillis; Pindang Egg: sweet flavoured hardboiled eggs; Koya: a powder made of dried shrimp and soy; Sambal Terasi: a spicy chilli paste; Pickles made from cucumber-carrot-shallot-birds eye chilli; and topped off with crunchy Prawn Crackers. This sumptuous spread is the signature dish to be served in the Chinese New Year tradition, still carried out in most cities in Central and East Java, including Semarang.

Nowadays, though, throughout Indonesia, Lontong Cap Go Meh is served on the daily Menu of restaurants serving Peranakan and Indonesian cuisine, such as at Merah Delima, Satay House Senayan and others in Jakarta and other cities.

In the western part of Java, however, a different custom is upheld for Cap Goh Meh. The Peranakan Betawi (Chinese descendents around Jakarta) have another assimilated culture, celebrating the day with a special different dish.

In the old Batavia or Kota Tua area of Jakarta, in Tangki, in the city of Tangerang and at Mauk, it is the custom for children-in-law to bring Bandeng fish to be cooked by the parents in law in Pindang style complete with spicy chilli paste. A similar tradition also applies in Cirebon, Tegal, Pemalang and Pekalongan along the north coast of Java.

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