Once a cool hill-station escape from Jakarta, today Bogor feels more like a suburb of its sister city. Best known for the Bogor Botanical Gardens, which date back over 200 years, it also offers some splendid colonial-era architecture and makes a great jumping-off point for the lush greenery and tea plantations of West Java’s Puncak Highlands.
With a population of around 1 million, Bogor is a bustling city with the heavy traffic and pollution you’d expect from part of the Jakarta metropolitan area. Most Bogor tours focus on its natural charms, particularly the Bogor Botanical Gardens, a world-class tropical research and education garden, but also Mt. Salak, the waterfalls in the national park, and the nearby Puncak Highlands. Other attractions include traditional crafts, heritage buildings, and ancient stone tablets.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bogor is a must-visit for gardeners and anyone with an interest in tropical plants.
- Some say Bogor has as many as 322 thunderstorms a year. Bring an umbrella or a rain poncho.
- Bogor is much more walkable than Jakarta, so wear practical shoes and make the most of it.
How to Get There
Bogor is around 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of Jakarta in West Java. Regular trains run between the two cities, with a journey time of about an hour, while there are regular buses from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Jakarta’s Kampung Rambutan terminal. If you intend to explore beyond Bogor and return to Jakarta in one day, you’ll need a private car.
When to Get There
Bogor is relatively cool and rainy year-round, but June, July, and August are the driest months. The Bogor Botanical Gardens, the city’s main draw, are at their busiest on Sundays, while road and train traffic to and from Jakarta is lightest at weekends. As with elsewhere on Java, avoid traveling during Lebaran, the holiday period over Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, and if driving from Jakarta, leave early.
From Buitenzorg to Bogor
Once known as Pakuan, the center of a Hindu kingdom, Bogor was taken over by Dutch colonists during the 17th century. They would later name it Buitenzorg, meaning “carefree,” while Indonesians called it Bogor. Under both British and Dutch rule, it was an administrative center, home to scientific institutions and the governor’s mansion.