Pekalongan Things to Do
Indonesia counts 33 provinces, 19 of which produce batik, each with characteristic colours and designs. Indonesian batik was inscribed in 2009 on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For those interested in batik art the Batik Museum in Pekalongan is a must.
The museum was inaugurated on July 12, 2006, and owns a collection of over 1000 hand-made batiks from all over the archipelago, from Jambi to West Papua. Many of these are antiques, like those made by the Dutch lady Eliza van Zuylen (1863-1947). There are the well-known classical batiks from Yogya and Solo with their brown or black and indigo colours. And the more colourful styles from Pekalongan itself. Being the foremost centre of batik production on Java, Pekalongan has absorbed many influences and in the museum you can learn to differentiate Arab, Chinese and Dutch styles.
We also learned that the wax used in making batiks is a mixture of up to seven ingredients in order to obtain the right consistency and stickiness. Various ingredients for the natural dyes as well are on display. And there is an opportunity to try your hand at some of the many steps involved in making the final product. For a typical Pekalongan batik there are eleven of these steps:
1. NUNGGUNG = drawing the main ornaments on paper
2. NJAPLAK = transferring the main ornaments to the cloth
3. NGLOWONG = drawing the ornaments outline with wax
4. NGISENI = filling in details which will remain white
5. MOPOK = covering the whole background with wax so that it will not be painted
6. NYOLET = applying the colours for the ornaments with a brush
7. NGLOROD = removing the wax by soaking the cloth in boiling water
8. NANAHI = applying wax for the white patterns in the background
9. MOPOK = covering the already coloured ornaments with wax
10. NYELUP = immersing in a paint bath for the background colour
11. NGLOROD = removing the wax by soaking the cloth in boiling water
The museum is housed in a Dutch colonial building dating from the beginning of the 20th century. Before it was refurbished as a museum it has served as Pekalongan town hall and as the office of the Municipal Revenue Service. A strong room for storing money bears witness of the last function, but now stores the part of the collection that cannot be displayed.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
One thing one can say for the beaches on Java's north coast: they are safe - even if they want you to believe otherwise. The Java sea is shallow, like at Lovina in Bali one can walk quite a distance before the water is too deep to stand.
Pekalongan has three recreational beaches: Pantai Pasir Kencana in town near the harbour fish auction, Pantai Slamaran 5 km east of town as measured along the coast, and Pantai Depok 5 km west of town.
We went to Depok beach. A curious policeman on duty came to see who we were and asked would we want to invest in a swimming pool near the beach? He said that the board warning “No Swimming” referred to the few days per year with high winds and big waves. It is on these days that the sea is eroding the beach, like in some parts of Bali's north coast (e.g. Yeh Sanih, but not Lovina). Rocks have been dumped along Depok beach to protect it, but one can still easily circumvent them for a swim.
Later we saw the policeman sitting near the ticket booth having taken his uniform shirt off. Well, it was hot. Fortunately at this beach there are some trees providing a little shade.
The 5 km road to the beach leads past squid breeding basins, and we saw three men in a ditch catching crabs in the mud with their bare hands. Off the coast were a lot of traditional fishing boats.Related to:
sunset and sunrise
you have to, either, go to the port for sunset in the afternoon, or wake up early in the morning to watch the sunrise.
pekalongan has its own secret place for you to see the magic of sun, when they get up and fall asleep. it's show beautiful. the orange sized coin sun will burn your soul with amazement. do not forgot to bring your own hot coffee in a thermos if you go there in the morning. or bring a book to wait for the sun set in the afternoon.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Road Trip
Bu Leman: Best oxtail soup of Central Java
When we drive from Salatiga to Bandung or Jakarta, we always make a stop halfway at Bu Leman's in Pekalongan for a meal of "sop buntut" at Rp 18.000. There are other items on the menu, but oxtail soup is her specialty. Our own skillful cook cannot match her recipe.
This is a small local restaurant on the eastern side of town. They are closed on Mondays, but when we passed by on a Monday we were served anyhow, being regular guests from out of town.
Favorite Dish: "Sop buntut" or oxtail soupRelated to:
- Road Trip
Pekalongan Off The Beaten Path
Watu Ireng or Black Rock
It's a local wonder, a big bare black rock. It reminded us of the Voltzberg in Suriname, but smaller and more accessible. The drive there by a good but not much used road through the western foothills of Dieng plateau was part of the fun.
It was easy to climb the rock, once we had found the right spot to start. A group of youngsters was just coming down. Unfortunately it started raining by the time we were on the top, so we did not stay long.
Address: Lambur village, Kandangserang district, Pekalongan regency.
Directions: West of Pekalongan take the road south (direction Banjarnegara) through Kajen and Kandangserang. At Lambur village drive on to the mosque, there turn sharp right and down. You reach the black rock after 2.4 km on a narrow village road in poor repair. A turnoff right near the entrance of the village at the village office (Balai Desa) is only feasible in the dry season.Related to:
- Road Trip