The road to nowhere
Heavy through traffic is a nuisance in Salatiga. Buses and trucks from Semarang to Yogya, Solo and farther east all go through the town.
In the early nineties construction was started on a 13 km bypass west of town. The ringroad was to connect Tapen on the nortern border of town with the bus terminal in the south. However due to the Asian financial crisis in 1997 work came to a standstill after only 1.5 km and one bridge were finished.
Recently construction has been taken up again. But the road may still require years to be finished. There are several locations where a bridge has to be built, no trace of construction there yet. Some dozen houses had to be demolished, the inhabitants moved; these people are still waiting for their compensation.
There are also plans for a toll-road all the way from Semarang to Solo, that will pass by Salatiga on the east. Some work on this road also has been begun.
Hopefully when you come to Salatiga five years or so from now (2009), traffic in town will be much quieter. If you don't count the numerous motorbikes, of course!
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
Rock slide blocks road
Seen on the western slope of Telomoyo mountain. A big rock had slid down from the roadside and blocked the entrance to Mulungan hamlet (see Scenic drive around Telomoyo mountain, km 31.1).
Two men were taking turns in trying to break the rock up using only a sledge hammer. We do not know how long it took them, but when we passed by days later the rock had disappeared.
Logging on Telomoyo mountain
Who said the Javanese are lazy?
Do the walk from Pagergedog village to Sepakung Nature Reserve on Telomoyo mountain (see Scenic drive around Telomoyo mountain) and you will meet them on their daily business: tending vergetable gardens, carrying fodder for their cows and carrying logs to sell.
The logs are cut from pine trees and weigh 100 kg to over 200 kg. They carry them almost 1 km on a narrow, sometimes slippery mountain path to the point where a truck can come to pick them up. We hikers are anxious not to lose our footing and fall into the ravine, yet these villagers are surefooted with their incredible load. The smaller logs are carried by two men, the heavier ones by four. There is scarce room on the path for four men with a log!
Directions: See the Scenic Drive Tip, km 21.5.
- Hiking and Walking
Dukuh temple and ricefield walk
The landscape of Central Java must have been dotted with temples, Hindu and Buddhist. Near to Salatiga we already discovered Candi Ngempon and Candi Klero. Now a friend told us that the Archeological Authority is restoring another one at just 10 km from our town.
Candi Dukuh is located on a small hill of the same name overlooking the Rawa Pening marshes. No more than a pile of rubble remained, they are rebuilding it from the base up. The part they had done when we visited in December 2013 uses more newly cut stones than original ones. However some finely executed reliefs of deities have been recovered... in part.
Admission: Employees of the Archaeological Authority may be doing their job on work days and guarding the site on holidays. Leave a voluntary donation or tip in their guest book, e.g. Rp 5000 per person.
Directions: From Salatiga take the road to Ambarawa via Muncul swimming pool, by minbus, car or motorbike. From the pool proceed another 3.5 km through villages Kebumen and Tegaron and hamlet Karang. Once through Karang on your right you overlook rice fields and on your left you pass a colourful Chinese temple. A couple of 100 m past the Chinese temple see the signboard “Candi Dukuh” pointing right. Park here, or get out of the minibus, and start walking (unless you come on motorbike). More signs lead you on a short walk rounding Dukuh hill anti-clockwise, ending in a flight of stairs uphill. The stairs are slippery after rain.
Ricefield walk: We combined our visit to the temple site with a 1.5 hour hike through the rice fields bordering Rawa Pening marshes. Descend from the hill to Candidukuh hamlet. Take the concrete paved village road to the left, which at the border of the hamlet becomes a footpath among rice fields, muddy after rain. Following the path you twice cross an irrigation ditch by a bamboo footwalk. Stay on the main path, which brings you to Rowoboni village. There take the poorly surfaced road to the right (south). After a km and a half you end up on the main Muncul road. Walk along the road back to your car or flag a minibus back to Salatiga.
- Hiking and Walking
Sekar Langit waterfall
This small waterfall is easily reached; it is just a half km walk from the parking by a well-maintained path. The fall obtains its water from the forested slopes of three surrounding mountains: Merbabu, Telomoyo and Andong. All the valleys in the neighbourhood have abundant water.
The fall is a popular place for weekend recreation by local youth. But on weekdays one has the shallow pool below the fall virtually for oneself. After a prolonged dry spell the water may not be quite clean. But if it has been raining regularly, the water has washed away all debris that local visitors tend to leave.
If you want the sun to shine on the fall, come in the afternoon, because it faces west. The path to the fall leads past bamboo groves and coffee shrubs. When one has almost reached the fall, on must cross over to the other side of the river. Many years ago Theo had to wade through, but now a sturdy hanging bridge has been put in place there.
Admission: A small fee is levied from visitors on busy days. On off days we find the ticket booth empty and just walk in.
Address: Tlogorejo village, Grabag district, Magelang regency.
Directions: From Salatiga head for Kopeng, but take the turnoff to Kali Pancur waterfall. However, pass by the next turnoff to that fall; instead keep heading west direction Grabag through Pandean, Keditan and Pagergunung villages. At about 2 km from Pagergunung, after several hairpin bends downhill, there is a parking on your right hand well indicated by a signboard.
From Magelang take the road towards Ambarawa and head east at the turnoff to Grabag. At Grabag head north for 400 m, then east again.
- Hiking and Walking
Boomerangs from Salatiga
If you have been to Australia and bought yourself a souvenir boomerang, chances are that it was made in a small village near Salatiga.
On one of our weekly walks we parked at a space in front of an unmarked shed, and this turned out to be the production site of Handicrafts Supplier 'Bambu Bringin Co'.
Apart from boomerangs and masks the factory produces other wooden souvenirs like plates and wine-bottle stands. The whole production process takes place in the village, from shaping and painting or burning with aboriginal designs to finishing and packing. A couple of 100 villagers find work here. Which begs the question why these souvenirs are not manufactured in Australia to provide work and prosperity for the aborigine population.
Address: Pakis village, Bringin district, Semarang Regency. Postal code 50772.
Directions: From Salatiga take the road to Bringin, and past Bringin direction Karangjati. At the border of Bringin the road turns left. At 800 m beyond the bend a narrow and badly maintained road leads to Pakis village.
- Arts and Culture
Hydraulic ram pumps
We had not expected to find them on Java, but we stumbled upon them on one of our walks: hydraulic ram pumps. It is a technique for raising water without a power source. The trick is to use the kinetic energy of water running downhill to raise part of the water above its original level. This done by periodically blocking the downhill flow, which causes a pressure spike. For a detailed explanation (and how to build one) see the website.
These two pumps we saw close together near Tlogo village east of Tuntang. Exactly in the valley of a small river, Kali Kudo, near the border between Tlogo plantation and Getas plantation. They enable to irrigate fields above the level of the river. See one in operation on the video.
Directions: Take the rock-paved road uphill east of Susukan village (location of Jelok power station). The road rounds a hill on your left. Stay on the road through the rubber plantation, you will reach a crossing with a newly built elevated guard house. Here go straight on. The path goes down and bends to the right, at the lowest point you reach a small river. Across the river you hear and see a ramjet pump. Turn right following the river upstream, using the paths locals made to work their fields. Pass by a couple of sheds and another ramjet pump.
When there is no more clear path, return as you came or climb uphill (north) between the rubber trees until you reach a well-used plantation road.
- Hiking and Walking
Klero temple and Ketanggi river
Another small temple, just near Salatiga. It does not look impressive, but intriguing: an enormous base compared to the temple body itself.
On the base one finds foundation stones with holes in it, which must have supported wooden poles. Usually these held up a roof, but can there have been a roof over the temple?? The temple is devoid of sculpture and the stairheads look like they have been left unfinished. But that may be the result of the restauration in 2007.
Candi Klero is thought to be a Buddhist temple older than the Borobudur. It is in use by the Buddhist community until this day, as is evident from the offerings on the yoni inside the temple. People come to pray on the Javanese days Selasa Kliwon and Jumat Kliwon, and in big numbers for the yearly Waisak celebration.
The yard of the temple also contains an ancient lumpang dan palu (rice pounding tools) of andesit. That is why the local people also refer to the temple as Mbah Lumpang Kentheng.
From Salatiga take the main Solo road for 8 km until Klero village. At Klero, look out for the red factory sign at the right hand side of the road "Kawasan Berikat PT Nesia Pan Pacific Knit". On the other side of the road is a narrow road through a porch "Ngentak Klero". Take this road for about 300 m, then you see Klero Temple on your right hand.
If you think it not worth while to go out of your way to visit Candi Klero, consider combining your visit with a country walk. Proceed on the "Ngentak Klero" road to Poncol hamlet. There take the steep (and when wet slippery) footpath down to Ketanggi river, you find the footpath next to the guard post. Walk down the stairs of the dam in the river, follow the river bank until you are forced to climb out of the valley to the road again. Proceed on the road until it becomes a footpath. The footpath eventually takes you down to the river again. Wade through the river, climb up the bank where you reach an irrigation ditch. Walk to the left along the ditch until a bridge. Take the road from the bridge leading up to the main road and walk north along the road until you reach the "Ngentak Klero" porch. Distance about 4 km for a good hour's walk.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Walk to Sepakung Nature Reserve
We found it on a 1937 Dutch map, complete with the mountain path leading to it: Natuurmonument Sepakoeng. Pleasant surprise, it has been maintained in crowded Central Java. A small board CA Sepakung (Cagar Alam Sepakung) and a few border poles indicate the Reserve. It is practically untouched although the surrounding forest has been put to use by the local people; coffee shrubs have been planted right to the border of the Reserve.
It is only a 40 minutes drive and one hour walk from Salatiga. The path, which connects the east and west sides of Telemoyo mountain, is one of the most interesting we have walked and not too difficult. If you go it all the way it is about six km with a difference of elevation from 1250 m to 1400 m. But you have to get back the way you came, four hours in all.
Directions: From Salatiga take the Kopeng road, and the turn right to Kali Pancur waterfall. At Nogosaren hamlet take the road uphill to Srandil hamlet. Follow the mountain road (most of it recently resurfaced) to just past Srandil village. Here begins a rock paved path up the mountain, which changes into an earth path after one km.
- Hiking and Walking
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Ngebong cemetary - stretches of mountains
One of the unique places to view streches of mountains - from the volcanic Mt. Merapi, Mt. Merbabu, and Mt. Telomoyo complete with glimpse of Rawa Pening lake is actually to go to this "chinese cemetary". Located near Kemiri, about 4km towards Semarang.
Simply climb to the highest hills around and be awed.
Hang Gliding from Mt. Telomoyo
There is a hang gliding club who gathers quite frequently on top of Mt Telomoyo (1900m). A rudimentary launching pad has been built there. Landing zone is around Muncul (Banyubiru) area, overlooking vast paddy fields. Best experience is during the dry season.
As this is a non-formal club don't expect insurance etc. simply go to Muncul, about 7km from Salatiga and look for Dr. Agung who is an avvid member. His clinic is in front of "Java" mineral water factory which is beside the swimming pool.
- Hang Gliding
Ngempon Temple and hot spring
One never finishes seeking out Java's temples. We just found some that are in no guide, looking like little brothers (or sisters) of those in Dieng and Gedong Songo, at just 20 km from Salatiga.
Some restauration work is still going on. These temples use to come in sets of three, but here only two are looking superb, the third one is just a pile of rubble. The site has recently been fenced in, and the 600 m footpath approaching from the south upgraded. It is worth while to do some hiking in the neighborhood, taking paths that are sometimes hardly visible.
Close to the temples two rivers join into Kali Klampok. Across a steel footbridge you find a hot pool where you can soak your weary limbs and a warung serving hot coffee. Apart from some locals, no other visitors in sight.
Directions: To approach by the upgraded footpath you have to take the Bawen-Pringapus road, that starts just 3 km north of Bawen junction, or 600 m north of the Apacinti pedestrians' bridge, at a sign pointing to Pasar Pojosari. After 3.5 km on this road you reach Derekan village, ask here for the path to Candi Ngempon.
Coming from Semarang, you may get to the temples through Ngempon village. Follow the main road to Karangjati, and turn east direction Pringapus at the busy intersection just south of Karangjati market. After 1 km turn south to Ngempon village. Once there ask for directions and walk half a km.
If you missed the intersection, go 2 km farther south where a sign points to Desa Diwak. From Diwak it is 1.5 km north to Ngempon village.
- Hiking and Walking
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