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TRAVEL WATCH: AUGUST 23-30, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 7/8

J A K A R T A   C I T Y   G U I D E
Detour

By ZAMIRA LOEBIS

    ALSO IN TIME


Fine Food and Fun in Jakarta
Need to jumpstart your senses? Set aside a weekend for a whirl through Jakarta

Hot Tip
Jakarta is a city of cultural contrasts, especially in its treasure trove of museums

Short Cuts
Hilton International has withdrawn from its namesake properties in Indonesia

Web Crawling
Indonesia's official national tourism site is a worthwhile pit stop

Beat the heat in Jakarta by heading south. West Java offers spectacular drives and diversions from the capital. Begin with a spin to Bogor, a former Dutch hill station perched in the mountains, some 40 min. by car or an hour-long train ride from the city. The botanical gardens are the main draw here, and if you forget to pack a picnic basket you can unwind at the cafe overlooking a water-lily pond on the eastern side of the gardens. An hour's drive south of Bogor is Puncak, a great stop on the winding, hilly road to Bandung. The area is sprinkled with tea plantations to visit and good spots for lunch: try the Rindu Alam restaurant, set on a hill and surrounded by scenic walks, or the Puncak Pass restaurant and hotel.

Those who want a more rigorous sidetrip can drive another 30 min. to Cibodas town at Mount Gede-Pangrango National Park. Hikers can reach the base camp of the 2,800 m-high Mount Gede and its 3,000 m neighbor, Mount Pangrango, in a five hour circuit through dense rainforest and past waterfalls and hot springs before ascending the peak of their choice. To stay the night, head back to the Puncak Pass Hotel or check into one of the smaller guesthouses like the Valley View, which lives up to its promise of stunning vistas for only $17 a night. For more pampering, head to the hills north of Bandung, where the five-star Chedi hotel boasts exquisite architecture overlooking traditional Javanese farms and dwellings. West Java's Sukabumi area, to the west of Bogor, is also worth exploring. The Lido Lakes Resort, 40 min. from Bogor, offers modern fun--disco, golf and water sports--while the eco-lodges at Mount Halimun National Park offer low-tech thrills in a more natural environment. There is no telephone, television or radio to distract visitors--only breathtaking views, friendly hosts and delicious Sundanese cooking.

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