AMBARAWA Experience Rural Java’s Traditional Life

Ambarawa Museum

Ambarawa Museum

AMBARAWA Experience Rural Java’s Traditional Life – The hinterland of Semarang, capital of the province of Central Java is lush green: a beautiful scenic landscape of rising volcanoes, green valleys and fertile rice fields. Cruise lines call on Semarang to allow passengers to visit the nearby 9th century Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

One and a half hour’s driving from Semarang on a smooth road towards Salatiga, one enjoys the true Javanese rural life all the way to the town of Ambarawa , some 17 km north from Salatiga. This is the halfway mark to Borobudur.

Here in Ambarawa you can find Indonesia’s Railway Museum, home to 21 old steam locomotives, the oldest of which is the 1891 Hartmann Chemnitz, in use until the 1970’s when the railways here were closed. Nearby is also a natural grotto to the Virgin Mary and the Stations of the Cross, surrounded by flower gardens and fish ponds.

Slightly further west in the Dieng plateau are the ancient temples known as Gedong Songo, or “the nine buildings”, constructed between 730 AD -780 AD during the Sanjaya Dynasty.

Also not far from Ambarawa are the Losari Coffee plantation and the hill town of Bandungan, favorite recreation area for people from Semarang and Yogyakarta.

But Ambarawa also has a grimmer side to its history when during World War II, the Japanese interned European families in camps here.

Rawa Pening Ambarawa

Rawa Pening Ambarawa

The Rawa Pening Marsh Area

The existence of a marsh area here, called Rawa Pening, is closely related to the name of Ambarawa in the Javanese language: Amba meaning large or wide, and Rawa meaning swamps. Therefore, Ambarawa can be loosely translated as the town by a large swamp, the Rawa Pening.

Rawa Pening is a peaceful marsh area embracing four different districts located in the basin of Mount Merbabu, surrounded by mountains. These marshlands are filled with water hyacinths locally known as eceng gondok, from which people make beautiful souvenirs and handbags for export.

There is a park at the edge of the ‘lake’ as they call it. It opens at 08.30 to 21.00. There are boats for rent that will cost around IDR 25,000 for an hour’s ride.

Taking photographs here is one of the most favorite activities especially at sunrise when the sky and the reflection of the changing colors create a very mystical atmosphere. Photographs would wait since 5 o’clock in the morning waiting for the tropical sunrise.

Ambarawa Railway Museum

Ambarawa Railway Museum

The Ambarawa Railway Museum

On May 21, 1873, the Ambarawa Railway Station was built and named the Willem I Railway Station since it was the Dutch King Willem I who ordered its development. There were two types of railways running from Ambarawa. The 4ft 8.5in gauge passing Kedungjati to the northeast, and the 3ft 6in gauge line runniing south towards Yogyakarta via Magelang. Ambarawa was a hub between the two regions having different gauge sizes.

As the operation of the 3ft 6in gauge line was planned to close down, the Ambarawa Railway Museum was built and opened on October 6th, 1976 to preserve the many locomotives and all the cars. The most important component among others in its preservation was the cog railway, or rack-and-pinion railway lines, that enabled the running train in Ambarawa to climb. The rack was placed between the running rails and pinions would function exactly on the rack so that the train could run on a steep inclining slope.

The rack can today still be seen along the line between Jambu and Secang. Another such line in Indonesia can be found in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra.The town of Ambarawa is 474 meter above sea level, while Jambu is 478 meters, passing Bedono at a 711 meter altitude at a less than 5 kilometers distance. The line then descends to Secang at 466 meters above sea level. Most of the lines were closed in the 1970s with the development of better road systems between Semarang and Yogyakarta that made railways a slow option. Nowadays a small number are still operational for tourists and charters during the dry season from June to August.

Children at villages would come and cheer the train as it passes by. It’s quite a spectacle for both passengers and villagers. As a travel writer, Phillips Game put it, it’s the ‘Queen of the Mountain’.

Today, the Ambarawa Railway Museum preserves 21 steam locomotives, with four still operational. Among the steam locomotives are two B25 0-4-2T B2502/3, from the original fleet of five used by the line around 100 years ago. A B2501 is now preserved in a nearby town’s park. The rest are the E10 0-10-0T E1060 that was once used in West Sumatra’s Sawahlunto, and the 2-6-0T C1218, a conventional locomotive. Old furniture, telephones, and train signals and bells are also part of the collection that could reveal exciting stories about old Java adventures.

For more information on rates to ride the train, here is the address of the Museum Kereta Api Ambarawa (Ambarawa Railway Museum): Jalan Setasiun no. 1, Ambarawa. Phone: +62 298 91 035.
Agro-tourism of Tlogo

A few kilometers from Rawa Pening is the agro-tourism village of Tlogo. The village offers the serenity of a Javanese village and a nostalgic delicate colonial lifestyle on Java amidst coffee and clove plantations. The most extensive plantation is the rubber plantation that encompasses an area of some 600 acres, followed by the coffee and clove plantations. Tropical fruit gardens also surround the cool village.

There are around 20 cottages and 16 rented rooms available for those who wish to immerse themsleves in the life of real Javanese villagers. The village is set on a land 400 to 675 meters above sea level, called Delik Village,located some 40 kilometers from Semarang. Experience being part of a planters’ life and observe the interesting process taking place here.

Gedong Songo Temple

Gedong Songo Temple

Gedong Songo Temple

Ambarawa, at Bandungan disrtrict, also has a Hindu-Buddha temple complex called the Gedong Songo temples. Songo, meaning ‘nine’, is the number of temples at Gedong Songo that sit on the slope of Mount Ungaran, some 9 kilometers from the town’s center of Ambarawa. The temples and the surrounding mountains are in perfect harmony forming an inseparable part of the environment.

These temples were built by the Hindu Sanjaya dynasty in the 8th century, between 730 to 780 A.D. The historical timeline also shows that Ratu Shima or Queen Shimha was in power during their construction. She was known for her just and fair judgment and governance. She was a believer in the One God, Sang Hyang Widhi.

According to this belief the human body has nine orifices that need to be controlled. The Javanese call this the Babahan Hawa Sanga, the nine openings in our body that, when wisely controlled, will lead to a peaceful life as its prize.

Rediscovered in 1804 under piles of earth and tropical vegetation by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the temples are scattered in 5 main clusters, with the third being the largest. Each main cluster is dedicated to the god Shiva, although Brahma and Vishnu are present at several locations.

Take a horseback ride from Candi Village to the complex to experience its natural beauty . A horse ride is IDR 50,000 or cheaper when you can bargain well.

Others
Other places of interest around Ambarawa are those related to Indonesia’s national struggle to reclaim the country from Japanese and Dutch occupation. They are the Isdiman Palagan Museum and the Willem II fort.

 

Favorite Tour Packages

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE (5 hours)

Price : IDR  399.900 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

Extra visit : Mendut temple / Pawon Temple

SUNRISE BOROBUDUR TEMPLE (6 hours)

IDR  450.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple

BOROBUDUR + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (8 hours)

IDR  500.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

Extra visit : Mendut temple, Kalasan temple

SULTAN PALACE + WATER CASTLE + PRAMBANAN + BOROBUDUR (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

SUNRISE CHICKEN CHURCH + BOROBUDUR + KALIBIRU NATIONAL PARK (10 hours)

IDR  650.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

SUNRISE CHICKEN CHURCH + BOROBUDUR + KALIADEM LAVA TOUR (10 hours)

IDR  650.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

BOROBUDUR + PRAMBANAN + RATU BOKO TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

Extra visit : Mendut temple

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE + DIENG PLATEAU (12 hours)

IDR  700.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

BOROBUDUR SUNRISE + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple, Kalasan temple

BOROBUDUR SUNRISE + LAVA TOUR KALIADEM (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple

BOROBUDUR SUNRISE + LAVA TOUR KALIADEM + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  600.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple, Kalasan temple

see the articles about : Sunrise Borobudur Temple

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE + LAVA TOUR KALIADEM + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE + PARANGTRITIS (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

SUNRISE FROM THE SETUMBU/BAREDE HILLS AND BOROBUDUR TOUR (6 hours)

IDR 425.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

Many tourist hunting the sunrise on this hill, Enjoy the beautiful view of the mountain and borobudur from the top of hills. After enjoy the sunrise continue to the most famous greatest budhist temple in the world, Borobudur.

SUNRISE FROM THE SETUMBU/BAREDE HILLS CONTINUE TO BOROBUDUR TEMPLE AND PRAMBANAN (9 hours)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

IDR 525.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Include : car, fuel and driver

AMAZING SUNRISE FROM INSIDE BOROBUDUR TEMPLE (6 hours)

IDR 425.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

Amazing experience to see the sunrise inside Borobudur temple. You can enjoy and capture the sunrise also the temple before any people else arrived, it will be unforgettable moment. Before enter Borobudur temple, you must pass the gate of Manohara hotel

AMAZING SUNRISE INSIDE BOROBUDUR AND PRAMBANAN TOUR (10 hours)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

IDR 525.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Include : car, fuel and driver

EXCLUSIVE SUNRISE INSIDE BOROBUDUR AND DIENG PLATEAU TOUR ( 12 hours)

IDR 700.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.00 am

Include : car, fuel and driver

To see the sunrise in Borobudur temple, you must enter the Gate of Manohara hotel. Continue to Dieng plateau to visit oldest hindust temple in Java ; Arjuna temple, also enjoying beautiful nature around, likes vegetable terrace, farming plantations, Sikidang crater and Color lake

 

BEAUTIFUL MORNING BOROBUDUR TEMPLE TOUR (5 hours)

IDR 400.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.45 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

BEAUTIFUL MORNING BOROBUDUR TOUR AND PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (8 hours)

IDR 475.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.45 am, min 2 persons, *No breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

 

Java Heritage Tour TripAdvisor Reviews

  •   It’s a pleasure come to yogyakarta. Accompany with our tour guide Mas Adi, to be honest he treat us will excellent full services. Good manners and attitude attract us to come here again. I highly recommend to take this tour with you guys 🙏

    thumb fahmikhushaini
    10/10/2018

      Arriving on the day of my birthday was a great choice to began with. Had been really curious and would like to witness the Borobudur especially and it's been great so far. The trip was 4D3N with my super funny and responsive driver Supri 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻...More

    thumb Liao M
    6/03/2018
  •   Stumbled upon Pak Agus number while I was googling for day tour in Jogjakarta. Therefore, we got Pak Budi as our driver throughout our entire trip. He was very patient and kind. The road trip was smooth and he waited patiently for us. We got...More

    thumb FeatDaniels
    7/16/2018

      We did a quick TA search to figure out how we were going to spend 2 of our 3 days in Yogyakarta. We knew we wanted to go see the Borudubur and Prambanam temples but didn't exactly know what else we wanted to do. I...More

    thumb Ajay P
    7/10/2018

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