Tlogo Plantation Resort has acquired another attraction. That is to say, the attraction has alway been there, i.e. a hill with magificent view of five mountains in the neighbourhood. But now they have built a pavilion and restaurant on the top.
Whether you stay in the resort or not, you can always make the 30 minutes hike uphill. Or if you prefer, ride a motorbike or a car. But the road conditions we saw in November 2012 were still such that we strongly recommend a 4-wheel drive.
Part of the construction program is a watch booth at the beginning of the rock-paved plantation road uphill. Here they ask a fee of Rp 2,500 for the upkeep of the road - if it is manned at all.
From the pavilion one overlooks Rawa Pening marshes with Telomoyo and Ungaran mountains on each side, and Sumbing and Sindoro mountains in the distance. Merbabu mountain is hidden by some trees, but it needs only a short walk to the left to get it in sight.
Directions: If you don't stay in the resort, you can still park your wheels for free in the resort's parking. Just report to security, saying you want to climb Gunung Rong. Then cross the Tlogo compound passing to the right of the historic plantation owner's house, then past coffee drying fields and rubber processing sheds, leaving the compound at the back side through blue iron doors.
Outside the gate go straight on (west), then turn left (south). Follow this road out of Delik village, then turn left again until you reach the beginning of the rock paved plantation road.
Pass the booth and pay the Rp 2,500 admission fee - if the booth is manned. Stay on the road, which steadily rises turning clockwise around Gunung Rong. At a junction do not go down, but take the last leg on the right ascending to the lookout pavilion.
If the pavilion is open, you can take refreshments here. For return you have two alternatives:
(1) The way you came.
(2) A footpath branching off to the right from the last leg some 30 m from the pavilion. Following this earthen footpath you complete the circle around Gunung Rong, it achieves the rock paved plantation road near the ticket booth. Not recommended in the rainy season: muddy and slippery.
This favourite road tour leads around Merbabu mountain, with close views of Merapi volcano. We made the tour several times, both before and after the October-November 2010 eruptions.
The tour can be made by car or by motorcycle, clockwise or anti-clockwise. Best start by day-break for cloudless views, although that is no guarantee.
The itinerary given here is clockwise, and avoids the main road from Salatiga to Boyolali. It took us sometime to find this route through winding by-roads that are not always in good repair.
The round-trip without stops will take about 3 hours, but it is worth while to spend time at lookouts and markets, and especially the Ketep volcano museum.
0.0 Start in Salatiga at the traffic lights between Jalan Veteran and Jalan Hasanudin, often referred to as the (former) cattle market, pasar sapi. Go direction Kopeng.
3.0 Crossing the ring road, straight on.
4.0 Pass by on your left: Pondok Remaja Salib Putih.
4.5 At this point the main road curves to the right. Leave the main road by going straight on through the porch to Pendingan village, The road is in bad condition for 1.9 km.
6.4 Crossroads, go straight on. From here the road is smooth.
7.9 Crossroads, go straight direction Boyolali (left: Salatiga, right: Tajuk).
8.2 Y-junction, turn sharp right direction Gedono.
8.6 T-junction, turn left direction Gedono.
9.4 Pass by on your right: porch of Weru.
9.6 T-junction at Weru, turn left. After 300 m the road makes a 90 degree turn to the right, and after another 200 m dives into a valley to a bridge over Genteng river.
10.4 Turn right (road forbidden for trucks). After 400 m you pass between two poles that won't allow trucks through, into Jlarem hamlet.
10.9 T-crossing, turn right.
11.1 Turn left, direction Kebondowo. The road will be rock paved for 1.3 km.
11.6 Side-roads at Ngablak. Go straight on, not up and not down. You pass two small bridges.
12.4 Leaving Gondang village the road is smooth again.
13.0 Crossroads, go straight on.
13.4 X-crossing with a tree in the centre. Go left and immediately right.
14.0 Crossing, keep going straight on.
14.9 Crossing, straight on, direction Sampetan.
15.5 Crossing, straight on, direction Malibari.
15.7 Follow the road turning right, and after 300 m the curve left.
16.8 Turn right, direction Ngargoloko.
17.1 At the pillar, go straight on, i.e. down (right goes up).
18.4 Turn left/down, asphalt road (straight is stone paved, right is sand).
19.1 Turn left through dukuh Ngadas, Candisari village.
19.5 Take the road to the right, direction Cepogo. The road is surfaced but in bad repair and rises gradually. Stay on this road for 3.8 km. After 3.6 km you pass dukuh Tempel on your right.
23.3 Go left and down over a bridge.
23.5 Border of Jeruk village (pillars). At the Y-junction go left. The road is narrow and winding for 10 km, and goes gradually down. Good views on your left. Stay on this road past several bridges and side-roads.
32.2 Straight on. A sharp left goes to Tumang.
32.7 T-crossing. You meet the main road from Boyolali to Selo. Make a sharp turn right for direction Selo.
34.2 Make stop at the lookout point (Gardu Pandang) to Merapi volcano.
38.2 Pass through the border porch of Selo.
40.5 Make a stop at Selo market.
41.1 Pass by the turnoff left for New Selo, i.e. the base camp for hiking to Merapi's summit.
42.7 Good view of Merbabu mountain.
43.2 Pass by Homestay Gardu Pandang.
52.4 Optional stop at Wonolelo Rest Area.
52.8 Crossing at Wonolelo, turn right.
55.6 Y-junction. Make a sharp turn right to Ketep Pass.
56.1 Ketep Pass. Stop and park for a visit to the volcano museum, viewing Merapi, and refreshments. Entrance fee: USD 3 (foreigners), Rp 3000 (domestic); parking Rp 3000.
57.5 Over a length of 500 m: strawberries for sale (Banyuroto village). Views of Merbabu mountain.
65.6 T-junction at Kaponan, meeting the road Magelang-Salatiga. Turn right direction Salatiga.
71.5 Ngablak village, view of Telemoyo mountain.
74.1 Kopeng market.
83.3 Back at Pendingan junction (see 4.5). Circle around Merbabu completed.
88.5 Back at the traffic lights at the former cattle market.
When you happen to be in the neighbourhood it may be worthwhile to inquire about a performance by students of the Department of Performing arts of Salatiga's Satya Wacana University.
There are about ten musical performances a year on the campus and they are all free! They range from pop music to Indonesian song to opera duets. The department is especially strong in combining Javanese and western music styles. Student groups perform abroad as ambassadors of Indonesian culture, a.o. to Singapore and Thailand.
Just call the administration of the department and ask whether and when a performance is scheduled: phone : (0298) 321212 ext. 242 or 376.
Browse our travelogue Concerts at SWCU for an idea of the broad range of music styles.
What about learning to ride a horse during your Java travels? Or, if you have already some experience riding, you can make a tour on horseback in the environment of Salatiga.
We met the owners of 'Havana Horses' by coincidence. They happened to be on the same flight as us returning to Salatiga. The Indonesian-Dutch couple have developed their riding school since 2004, when they bought a piece of land in Tegalwaton village. Subsequently the village has become a centre of equestrian sports. Others have established a racing circuit, where locals (mainly Chinese?) come to put their money on their favourite horse.
Havana Horses does not go for racing and betting, but for 'natural horsemanship'. Learn here to groom your horse, and to ride bareback without bit or spurs, on a horse that goes barefoot. In addition to the riding horses, the school cares for a few former dokar (cart) horses rescued from near death.
Address: Jalan Sakinah, Tegalwaton village, Tengaron district, Salatiga 50775.
Directions: At the Tingkir bus terminal south of town, take the road east direction Suruh for 2 km, then turn south to Tegalwaton for another km or so. You cannot miss the sign.
+62.815 4235 5473 (mrs Anna)
+62.815 7513 5911 (mr Havedz)
Telomoyo Mountain is our favourite mountain near Salatiga. With 1894 m it is not as high as better-known Merbabu (3142 m), but with its lush vegetation, steep ridges and deep ravines, streams which do not run dry, it is more interesting to go on discovery walks. And if you do not like hiking, you can drive all the way to the top as well as drive all around it.
The scenic drive around Telomoyo follows narrow roads, partly paved with rock only, but passable if you go slowly. You get to see changing views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, including Rawa Pening lake. When you make a stop you meet friendly villagers, who invite you inside but can only offer a glass of water. Yet they are reluctant to receive payment for a small service like pointing out the way.
The 21 km round drive can perhaps be done in 1,5 hours; and if you start at Salatiga the travel time is about 2,5 hours. However, you can make it a daytrip if you do one or more walks, perhaps have a picnic, and befriend some villagers.
In any case it is best to set out at daybreak. Even in the rainy season chances are good that the first hours of day are clear. All the pictures of this tip were taken in the rainy season.
The itinirary starts at the traffic lights of the Kopeng road (Jalan Hasanudin), also known as the former cattle market.
0.0 Start, traffic lights at former cattle market.
4.2 Pass by Pondok Remaja Salib Putih on your left.
9.2 Crossing at Getasan (Kores) – turn right.
10.9 Turn right – road to Wisata Kali Pancur.
11.4 Straight on at the first road right to Kali Pancur waterfall.
12.6 Straight on at the second road right to Kali Pancur waterfall.
14.3 Straight on at T-crossing where road from Kopeng comes in from the left.
14.6 Straight on through Pandean village.
[On your right is the road to Telomoyo summit with its telecom towers.]
15.3 Straight on through Dalangan hamlet.
16.4 At Ketanon hamlet turn right into a narrow road direction Pranten.
Next is 7 km rock paved road, partly muddy but passable. You drive mostly through pine forest and get views of Andong mountain.
17.9 Sharp turn left around ravine.
20.4 Pass through Pranten hamlet. On your left view of Sumbing and Sundoro mountains as well as Dieng plateau.
21.5 Pagergedog hamlet, border gate of Banyubiru district and Sepakung village.
[You may park here at the first house for several walks.
One hour takes you to a ridge overlooking the village and back, with view of Ungaran mountain.
Two hours take you to Sepakung Nature Reserve and back.
And from here is the shortest way to the top, 1.5 km climbing 520 m, about 2.5 to 3 hours there and back depending on your condition.
All walks start at the path leaving the village in south-east direction. For the first two walks you take a turn left after 400 m and avoid paths going steeply up or down.. For the summit you go straight on always choosing the steepest path.]
21.7 In Pagergedog the road makes a right angle turn left.
22.7 Straight on to Sepakung village.
[Alternative route: sharp left through Wirogomo to Ambarawa.]
The narrow road goes mostly steep down.
25.2 You pass through Watulawang hamlet.
26.3 You reach a wider road, turn right to Sepakung .
[Alternative route: left to Muncul swimming pool and Salatiga.]
26.6 Primary school (S.D.) of Sepakung.
26.7 Straight on, next is a stretch of 4.5 km mainly rock paved road.
[Alternative route: turn left to Nglimut – 2 km rock paved road – Muncul and Salatiga.]
28.6 View on a waterfall at lowest point in the road.
A short stretch of asphalt road until Srandil hamlet only.
29.3 At the right is a path climbing to Sepakung Nature Reserve
29.6 Srandil hamlet. Next you look down on Rawa Pening lake.
31.1 On your left Mulungan hamlet.
31.8 On your right is a path climbing to Karangbawang hamlet and the source of Kali Pancur (2 km, 1.5 hour there and back), and to the summit (3 km, climbing 860 m, 4 hours).
32.3 Crossing at Nogosaren village, turn right
[To visit Kali Pancur waterfall turn left, park and go 900 steps down.]
34.0 T-crossing, turn left to return to Salatiga.
At this point you completed the circle around Telomoyo, 21 km.
46.6 Back at the traffic lights at the former cattle market.
If a 6 to 8 hours hike to the top of Merbabu mountain is not your idea of fun, what about Telomoyo mountain? In the seventies a telecommunication relay station was built on the top of this 1894 m mountain, and to reach it a 7 km road was carved in its side all to the top. So you can drive there, although the road is narrow and in some places in poor repair.
When the weather is clear, from the top of Telomoyo you have a magnificent view on the surrounding valleys and neighbouring mountains: Mt Merbabu, Mt Ungaran and Mt Andong.
At the start of the road there is a gate, and you have to pay Rp 5,000 for a car. You are warned not to leave your car unattended and to be back not later than 5 pm. If you meet a car from the other direction, you may have to do some backing up, because at several spots the road is too narrow to pass each other. Last time we went there on a Sunday, and the gate of the telecommunication station was closed. That meant also backing down 100 m, to reach a spot where we could turn the car around.
Directions: From Salatiga take the road to Kopeng. At Wates village, where the road turns sharply left, take the road going down on your right, following a sign saying 'Wisata Kali Pancur'. After 3.4 km a road coming from Kopeng joins in at your left. 300 m from this junction, at Pandean village, a sign 'Telomoyo' points right. Here you find the gate of the road up Telomoyo.
The Dutch built Jelok power station in 1912, and it has long been the main provider of electrical power for Salatiga. Of course nowadays it is connected into a larger grid.
Jelok gets its water from Tuntang river, which flows out of Rawa Pening lake, which in turn receives its water from Telemoyo mountain.
An interesting feature is that the power station is not situated directly below the barrier in Tuntang river, but 4 km downstream. From the barrier a pipeline carries the water to a hill overlooking Jelok, where it makes a steep descent. At one point the pipeline crosses Tuntang river, and large parts are buried.
Directions: Drive or take a local bus north direction Bawen, get off at the bridge crossing Tuntang river. From here you can drive or walk.
Driving take the road east direction Tlogo, and after 2 km - at Delik village - the narrow paved road left. Turn left at Toyogiri hamlet, follow the road making a sharp turn to the right, after which in places it is rock paved only. 2.5 km from the sharp turn you arrive in Susukan hamlet.
Walking follow an interesting itinirary from Tuntang railway station along the right hand bank of Tuntang river. You pass the barrier, and when you see the pipeline crossing Tuntang river, follow the direction of the pipeline. Sometimes the path is only a grassgrown dike covering the pipe. End up climbing the last hill to a cemetery beyond which the pipeline starts its descent.
When friends invited us to join them to the Merapi, we decided to accept the invitation. Last time Theo stood on the top he was 30 years old, now he is 66. But we still managed it, actually the descent was harder than the climb.
If you are young and in good shape, you can get to the top in 4 hours. That is how Theo did it in 1972, starting out at 2.00 am.
The group we joined started at 14.30 pm and brought camping gear. Better set out earlier, because we had to make camp at Pasar Grubah (about 2650 m) in the dark. However, at 5.00 am we started climbing the rocky cone, and seeing the sun rise from halfway up was wonderful.
Actually it was quite crowded on the top, it being holiday season. Three groups had camped out and others came up during the night. No wonder that the trail has badly eroded since 1972.
If you want to try this climb, you can hire a guide and/or porter at Plalangan village (base camp) or at the "New Selo" parking. See the advice in our Merbabu mountain tip. And if you want to camp at Pasar Grubah be aware that the night is terribly cold at that height.
For a map and more pictures, see our travelogue Gunung Merapi
Several plantations around Salatiga are thriving again, mainly of coffee and rubber. They all date from colonial times. If you want to see rubber tappers at work, make a walk among the rubber trees. These photo's we made in a field owned by Perkebunan Getas, which lies between Salatiga and Beringin. It is most easily reached from hamlet Cakran, which is Salatiga's 'red light district'. (No red lights here, though; the houses have signboards saying 'Karaoke', which is an euphemism for the business going on there.)
Elsewhere, on the northerns slopes of Telemoyo mountain between Pagergedog and Tlumpak hamlets, we found people bleeding pine trees for resin using a different cut (third picture).
A century ago, when Salatiga's population was 12,000 among which 2000 Europeans, the town was considered the most beautiful of Central Java. The houses of Europeans and rich Chinese were surrounded by spacious gardens. The residence of the Dutch supervisor (Assistent Resident) faced Tamansari Park full of flowers and fountains, with for-europeans-only Kalitaman Hotel on its northern edge.
Nowadays only the town square (Lapangan Pancasila) remains as open space, and it is crowded on holidays. New housing is mostly built with only a minimal yard in front, Tamansari Park is all built up. Such is the result of population pressure.
Most change occurred during the last quarter century, when the population almost doubled and the economy flourished.
Here are some pictures from 1964 which may help give an idea what pre-war Salatiga looked like. It should be rembered though, that although after the war the space remained for a long time, maintenance had been lacking.
A visitor of Salatiga may try to locate these buildings, without looking at our Travelogue "Salatiga Past and Present (1)", where we give the answers.
The Gedung Putih or White House is the seat of the town government (Pemerintah Daerah, short PemDa). It dates back to colonial times, when there existed a dualistic system of government. A Javanese town regent (bupati) was allowed to govern the local population, but a Dutch "assistent resident" was looking over his shoulder and attended to matters regarding the Dutch.
The former residence of the "assistent resident" is now in use as the mayor's residence, whereas the White House used to be the residence of the Javanese governor.
Report politely to the warden at the entrance, then you are free to walk the grounds and perhaps have a chat at the public relations department (INKOM for Informasi and Komunikasi).
'Satya Wacana' Christian University (UKSW) offers Intensive Courses in Indonesian Language and Culture (short PIBBI in Indonesian) at least twice a year, in cooperation with the University of Sidney. The duration of the courses is 4 or 6 weeks.
These courses are popular among Australian students who gain credits for them. Unfortunately the information on the website (http://www.geocities.com/pibbiid/index.htm) seems to be out of date. If you are interested in a PIBBI course and cannot enroll through an Australian university, you are advised to contact the Language Training Center (LTC) of Satya Wacana university at: email@example.com.
The Senjoyo water source actually lies just beyond Salatiga’s border, but it is of prime importance for the town. It is the main source for the municipal water supply. The two textile factories depend on it. And there is still enough water left for irrigating the fields of the farmers downstream of Senjoyo river.
Since colonial times there also has been a swimming pool at the site of the source. As admission is free, every day the pool is crowded with local youth bathing and washing their hair. In the adjacent basins women do their washing and we saw even a bunch of people washing carpets.
Salatiga enjoys excellent tap water. Indeed it is customary to boil drinking water or drink bottled water. But Theo never experienced any adverse effect from drinking straight form the tap.
In colonial times up to 20% of Salatiga's inhabitants were Dutch. Their mansions with gardens were one reason why Salatiga was considered "the most beautiful town of Central Java". Unfortunately many of these mansions have been demolished and those remaining are often in poor repair.
Well maintained is the former residence of the "Assistent Resident", the colonial government supervisor. The city mayor now lives here.
1. The Ganesha statue is a post-colonial addition.
2. Imagine guests arriving in horse-drawn carriages in colonial times.
There are not many written records of Java's early history. One dated inscription on a rock has been discovered near Salatiga and is on display for interested visitors. The rock is named by the Sanskrit term prasasti and located in Plumpungan village, hence "Prasasti Plumpungan".
Writing in Javanese on the Plumpungan monolith, King Bhanu declared on the 31st day of the 4th month of year 672 of the Saka (Javanese) calendar: "Srir = astu swasti prajabhyah", which means "May you be happy! All the people". Thus the village of Hampran was designated as a Perdikan village, meaning a tax-free village. The people of this village served the goddess of Trisala, hence the village also became known as Trisala, which in later years became Salatri and eventually Salatiga. In the modern calendar the inscription is dated July 24th, AD 750. This date has been officially marked as the birthdate of Salatiga.