Grab a poncho and explore “Rain City” Bogor, a 1.5-hour drive from the Indonesian capital that’s popular for its lush landscapes.
Known also as Curug Leuwi Lieuk, or Leuwi Lieuk waterfall, this wet and rocky terrain has water cascading down between two cliffs. And the clear, blue waters that pool below make the spot a favorite for free-diving. Bring snorkeling gear and head for the flat-rock bases — at 3, 5 and 6 meters — just off the waterfall area, to take the plunge. Below, paddle towards the base of the waterfall to absorb the negative ions — good vibes! — and appreciate the volcanic rock formations. For safety reasons, solo jumps are not permitted, so bring a friend! Sukamakmur
Kebun Raya Bogor
Known also as the Bogor Botanical Gardens, this 87ha park, sitting at 260m above sea level, was designated in the 19th century as a Dutch colonial retreat. It was built on a man-made forest that originated between the fourth and seventh centuries. Today, it houses more than 3,000 species of plants from across the archipelago and about 3,700 heritage trees, some of which are a hundred years old. Jln Ir. H. Juanda 13; krbogor.lipi.go.id
The palatial colonial mansion situated next to Kebun Raya dates back to the 18th century and was a former residence of Sir Stamford Raffles. Since the country’s independence in 1945, Istana Bogor (or Bogor Palace) has been converted into one of six presidential palaces — which is sometimes open to the public. On these occasions, admission is free. Central Bogor; presidenri.go.id/istana-2.html#bogor
Built at the foothills of Mount Gede, Istana Panda is a special panda enclosure within Taman Safari that mimics the creatures’ natural habitat of Wolong National Nature Reserve in Chengdu. The two giant pandas and four smaller red ones are on a 10-year loan from the China Wildlife Conservation Association, as part of a government conservancy program. Jln Kapten Harun Kabir 724, Cisarua; tamansafari.com
Gunung Mas Tea Plantation
Go on a rigorous, ascending guided walk of the plantation, past rows of emerald bushes (you may choose one of four routes), or rent a horse for a different kind of journey across the fields. In good, clear weather, you may even paraglide from the nearby Bukit Gantole (or Gantole Hill) for a bird’s-eye view of the plantations and rolling hills. Arrive early for a chance to see the tea pickers at work. Jln Raya Puncak Km 87, Cisarua
This story first appeared in the November 2019 issue of Smile magazine.