Garut Sheep Fighting

Garut, a city located in West Java, has a unique breed of sheep called Domba Garut (domba means sheep). Famous for its long circular horn, this kind of sheep intuitively likes to bang their head against the wall, trees, or other sheep’s head.

This unique behavior inspired people in Garut to have sheep fighting as their tradition. Sheep fighting is normally accompanied by Sundanese gamelan performance and held with a strict rule of game. For each match, the maximum number of charges is 20 times and the referee has the right to stop the fight early if necessary. If there is no clear winner, a panel of judges will determine the outcome based on the courage and endurance of the contenders.

Competing sheep belong to padepokans (communities of sheep owners) all across Garut. In every match, every padepokan will bring supporters to cheer on their ram fighters.

Sheep fighting are held every weekend. However, the location changes from place to place, from one livestock market to another. Don’t miss it the next time you visit Garut.

Ujung Kulon, Banten

Ujung Kulon, located in Banten province, is one of many Indonesian natural parks. In traditional Javanese language, “Ujung Kulon” literally means “the end at the West”. The name aptly describes its location at the western-most tip of Java island. The park consists of natural forests on Ujung Kulon peninsula and also some small islands nearby.

The main destinations of this park are in Handeleum and Peucang islands. People can go to these islands by renting a boat from a port nearby, Sumur, which is about 5 hours driving from Jakarta. It takes 1.5 hour to get to Handeleum island by boat, another 1.5 hour to reach Peucang island. Along the way, lots of floating fish cages (keramba) decorate the sea. Birds can sometimes be seen diving into the sea to catch fish.

In Handeleum island, visitors will be greeted by groups of deers. They look tame but they will run if they are approached carelessly. Try to approach them very slowly and get a picture or two. In Peucang island, not deers but it is groups of monkeys that will welcome visitors. Please make sure to safely guard your food as these thieves will not hesitate to take them when they have the chance. On another note, it is recommended to use mosquito repellent while visiting the park.

Sea-related activities like snorkeling and fishing can be done in this area. Thus, bring along snorkeling gear and fishing rods and try your luck to catch some fishes. Finally, the seaside is perfect just to sit or to walk around while enjoying the nature.

Pangumbahan Turtle Park, Ujung Genteng

Surprising sunset and sea turtles conservation are two highlights at Pangumbahan Beach, one of tourism spots in Ujung Genteng, southern coastal in West Java, 220 km away from Jakarta. In this site, the coastal area is clean and still shady with big coconut trees, making it ideal for sea turtles to lay their eggs because they tend to avoid barren and dirty areas. Most of the sea turtles often spotted here are Chelonia mydas, which can grow up to 1.5 meter length and weigh up to 300 kg.

These sea turtles are highly sensitive to any means of disturbance while laying their eggs during night time. At once, the sea turtles can lay 100-200 eggs although this can be halted if they sense threats or disturbances. Therefore, Pangumbahan Beach has to be isolated from residential area. The track heading to this place is quite extreme thus an off-road vehicle is preferred. It is best to use car with high ground clearance.

The ideal time to come to this area is in the afternoon, when the little turtles are usually released to the sea. During those time, visitors will have the chance to talk to the officers in charge regarding anything related to the breeding of sea turtles in the park. Visitors can also donate some money for this conservation efforts. By doing so, visitors will get the privilege to have a personal experience of releasing those ‘donated little turtles’ into the sea, along with the rest of the colonies.

The iconic scene of these baby turtles crawl into the big vast ocean is indeed a remarkable episode. Although sometime the waves sway them back to the beach, these tiny creatures will not stop trying to face the waves until they swim freely in the ocean. In addition, amazing sunset in the background will complement the beautiful scene. The combination of shades of clouds tinged with yellowish sun will be a pleasure surprise that is so worth to wait.

Kirab Boyongan Solo

Solo (formally known as Surakarta) is a city in Central Java which holds important role as one of the centers of Javanese culture. The city’s slogan “Solo, Spirit of Java” reflected on the architecture of the buildings, the citizens’ way of living and numbers of cultural events held throughout the year.

One event that must not be missed is Kirab Boyongan (literally can be translated as the Moving Parade). A lot of social groups were involved, including important government elements of said society. Most of them were walking during the parade, some rode horses and some were on horse carts. In these pictures, they were moving a traditional market called Pasar Windujenar. Lead by the Mayor, the parade departed from the old location of the market to the new one.

The parade was like one stop cultural show because people can see a lot of cultural elements in it. Starting from the wardrobe, almost all of them were wearing traditional clothes. Some of them even wear uniform of the kingdoms’ army, complete with swords and rifles. There were also several children who wear festive wardrobe made from traditional fabric, batik.

Other than the costumes, each social group who joined the parade also brought some attributes to show their identity. Some even performed attractions to entertain the public. People can see, not only various traditional wardrobes, but also various attractive performances – and all for free.

One important note: Kirab Boyongan is not a regular event. But don’t worry, Solo has a lot of other interesting Kirabs which are held regularly throughout the year. Come, and enjoy Solo, the spirit of Java.

Curug Cikaso

Ujung Genteng is one of the popular tourism destinations in the southern coast of West Java. It is about 170 km (105 miles) from Jakarta. Most people came here to enjoy the beach, but it has more than that. There are also a river and a waterfall in the area.

Curug Cikaso (Curug means waterfall), a 50 meters (160 feet) high waterfall, is located in the inner part of Ujung Genteng. This place is well known for photographers as they often wouldn’t hesitate to explore the waterfall’s landscapes carrying their tripod and wide angle lenses to take pictures with slow-speed effect. Other than breathtaking scenery, people can also jump to the water, swim under the waterfall and embrace the splashing fresh water above you. Very refreshing!

Another activity that people can do there is to ride a boat and go along Cikaso river to see the natural life there.

Breathing in the fresh air and listening to the sound of nature, including the waterfall, can really recharge the most exhausted mind and soul.

Longser Sunda

Longser Sunda is a mix of Sundanese dance and play, unique to West Java area. The actors play a story of common Sundanese people. They put some current issues into the story, supplemented with comedy acts making the whole three hours show very enjoyable. The stories are usually ended with some useful moral lessons.

Traditional dance performances make it even more interesting, where energetic movements and colorful costumes of the Ronggengs (the female dancers) really liven up the night.

Another important part of the show is the Nayagas – the gamelan (traditional music instruments) players. They play the music to accompany the dancers and also to provide sound effects during the play. The Nayagas work really hard to ensure that the music fits every scene. It is essential to amplify the effect of the play, including the comedy acts.

It was a delightful performance, accomplishment of months of training from all young Indonesians who were involved in the show.

Ciater Tea Factory

Ciater highland is located at the north side of mount Tangkuban Perahu, West Java (PS: Peep Indonesia will tell you the love story of Tangkuban Perahu legend later on). Here, visitor will find a large spread of tea plantation. The cold temperature, green landscape and very nice local people turns Ciater into one of favorite local tourism destination.

Aside from walking around the plantation trees and sightseeing, tourists can visit the tea factory managed by a state-owned company named Perkebunan Nusantara VIII. There, accompanied by a tour guide, visitors can see the production process of tea; from fresh tea leaves until the packaging. As tea lovers, visitors might want to ask hundreds of questions. Please do. The tour guide will be more than pleased to share his/her knowledge: the A-to-Z of tea.

During the visit, visitors will learn that the production process of tea was not simple. It consists of several steps where some of the works involve big machines. Not all are handled using machines, because some important works still need professional and personal human touch, especially the ones related to quality of the products. It was not a fancy factory, but notice that quality control was done in every step of the process. This is the main reason of why the factory were supplying some famous tea products in the market.

A combination of high quality tea leaves, the skillful hands of the workers and the help of traditional and modern machines produce first quality tea products.

At the end of the visit, visitors can try a cup of tea produced by the factory; a warm pleasant taste of tea – not just in your mouth, but also in heart and soul.

Ramayana Ballet

Candi Prambanan, one of the biggest Hindu temple compounds in Indonesia (candi means temple). The temple is located at the border of Yogyakarta and Central Java, and is one of the must-visit place on the area. When you do, make sure that you also watch the performance. Not just old temple, you can also get the experience to learn about Javanese folktale in a form of traditional dancing and music under spectacular lightings.

At an open space amphitheatre, at the temple’s yard, during the full moon nights, a group of dancers and gamelan players and maybe hundreds of technicians were working together to present the famous performance; Ramayana Ballet – an epic love story.

Entering the gate, you will be welcomed by beautiful music from the gamelan (gamelan is a set of traditional music equipments) played by nayaga. The music will send us back to hundred years ago, back to the ancient kingdom era.

A splendid lighting arrangement, also supported by the moon light, creates a perfect ambience – perfect to feel the dramatic atmosphere in the air.

The story reveals the fight of good and evil; between Rama, who was helped by Hanoman, against Rahwana, to save Shinta – Rama’s wife.

The dancers movement, the costumes detail and dazzling make-up put the soul of each characters. The adjustment of the lighting that follows each scene, including fire here and there, will give you the real-feel. The show was colossal, even majestic, as there were around 100 dancers on the stage.

It’s two hours of great traditional music and amazing traditional dance. At the end of the show, you can take picture with the dancers. It surely is a special souvenir from Indonesia. It surely is a different story to tell. Unforgettable.

Tidung Island

‘Peace’ might be the first word comes to mind when visitors make the first step on the island. Just 3 hours boat trip from Jakarta, lie two beautiful islands: Tidung Besar (besar means big) and Tidung Kecil (kecil means small). The two islands, connected by a two kilometer wooden bridge, are one of the most favorite holiday destinations in Indonesia – especially because it is not far from Jakarta. It’s perfect as a weekend getaway spot for busy people from the nation’s capital city.

The sea around the islands is very calm, perfect for beach activities. The underwater is amazing, perfect for snorkeling. Other than water activities, visitors can also rent a bicycle to circle the islands or walk along the bridge. The islands and the bridge offer breathtaking scenery and amazing sensation of walking ‘on’ the sea.

One day might not be enough the explore all the beauty that these islands possess. Not to worry, because the islanders are ready to provide a home-stay experience. Staying overnight will also give the chance to see sunrise at Tidung Besar and sunset at Tidung Kecil, and don’t forget the beautiful starry night on both islands.

Aside from tourism activities, the islanders were working on mangrove plantation to sustain the islands’ ecosystem. If interested, visitors are most welcome – and even encouraged – to join the program.