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Magelang Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Magelang vacation

Tobacco Fields At Dusun Dongkelan - Magelang 3 stars
Back in 2003, along with a couple of university colleagues, I was sent for field work study at Ploso Gede Village in Magelang of Central Java, we got the chance to go deep into the village area and stayed for two weeks at the village’s smaller administration called Dusun Dongkelan. The air and the surrounding view of Dusun Dongkelan were totally awesome; fresh, green, and beautiful. Houses were not that plenty but farming land were; as far as the eyes can see, I could see farmers working on rice field, water spinach, onion and even peanuts fields. We departed from downtown Yogyakarta early morning; it took us only a couple of hours to get to Dongkelan and we spent the whole day wondering the “village”.

The people in Dongkelan were really friendly; they love to smile and ask you to take pictures of them, it was really funny. We would meet a couple of old gentlemen pulling big old looking carts full with grasses. The main product of Dusun Dongkelan I think was the tobacco field; if you go to Dusun Dongkelan, you definitely will see plenty of them; grown nicely and they were pretty well managed and definitely the tobacco plants were looking very healthy. Going to the tobacco fields were my favorite thing to do in my spare time when I was staying at Dusun Dongkelan.

The sanitarium at Dusun Dongkelan is one thing that needs to be considered for; they are still living with natural water from water well and the water isn’t looking good whatsoever; in other words, they are not clean clear water but yellowish more to brown color and most of the people built their WC just two steps away from the water well; so it’s pretty unhealthy.

You would love waking up in the morning to a chill air and foggy sight at Dusun Dongkelan. Electricity is still rare though, so you better pack torch if you want to go here and there in evening hours to help your vision. About 20-30 minutes drive from Dusun Dongkelan, you can reach a bigger community and certainly more modern in a way or two of Ploso Gede Village; try to go inside the traditional market to experience the life of Indonesian villagers, pretty interesting but I have to warn you, traditional market would often mean pretty messy and pretty dirty he-he. Near this traditional market, there will be lining up plenty of public transportation.

I would suggest you to drive around to check the beauty of the village but perhaps not to stay overnight or so if you are not used to village life in third world countries.


The Ancient Candi Mendut (Buddhist Temple) 4 stars
Before you reach the famous historical and ancient Buddhist temple, Candi Borobudur, in Magelang, Central Java; you definitely will drive by a smaller Buddhist temple yet much older than Candi Borobudur and also appears to be graceful, called Candi Mendut. As far as I know, Candi Mendut is related to Candi Borobudur, at least when it’s Hari Raya Waisak, a celebration of Buddha in Buddhist believe, many monks will walk barefoot while chanting some prayers; starting from Candi Mendut and end in Candi Borobudur.

If you want to go and look Candi Mendut from close or hoping to go inside the Candi itself, you are required to pay only for Rp. 3000 (around 30- or 40 cents) which is fairly cheap for such amazement; inside you will find a big statue of the Buddha and many sculptured on the wall; of religious stories and people in the past, angels, gods, children and some more characters; yet, do not expect too, too much as this Candi is fairly small, but of course after visiting Candi Mendut you ought to go to Candi Borobudur for more satisfying wander.

Many snacks and drinks vendors can be found near Candi Mendut along with souvenirs vendors. On the way before and after Candi Mendut you will likely spot some “houses” selling stone sculptured statues souvenirs; some are really elegant, looking original and dark in the form of women characters, some are good for lawn/garden accessories and lighthouse, water fountain, etc; those souvenirs are using stone that said to be the same as what the old people used to build Candi Borobudur; volcano-mountain stones.

If you go to Candi Mendut, there is a big bayan tree that the Indonesians address it as Pohon Beringin; some superstitious people believe that this kind of tree has mystical aura and usually relate to ghost or dead souls; but to sit under this tree is very nice especially when the sun shines too brightly and too hot.


Ketep Pass (Watching Volcanoes Activities) 4 stars
Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu are two volcanic mountains that are still active today. Both of these volcanic mountains are located in the provinces of D.I Yogyakarta and Central Java. Last year 2006, when Yogyakarta was hit by earthquake and that triggered the issue of Tsunami, it also woken up the sleeping Mount Merapi; it erupted slightly.

Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu can be seen from Klaten, Boyolali, Magelang, and Slemanl; all of these are districts and sub districts of D.I Yogyakarta and Central Java. The best place to watch these two mountains is at Ketep, the volcano centre where you can learn about the activities of the volcanic mountains especially on Mount Merapi activities. You can watch the documenter eruptions video of Mount Merapi, which is really interesting, at the Volcano Theater, a small cinema at Ketep.

I am not sure exactly why some people would address Ketep as Ketep Pass while others would just say Ketep, but if you heard either way, both are talking about the same volcano centre. From Ketep you can also see not just these two volcanoes but hills, also the famous Buddhist temple, Borobudur, and also the so-called bunker that supposedly could help scientists or whoever needs it at the given time when Mount Merapi erupting. Sadly, in 2006, one university student stayed inside the bunker with the hope that he would be saved from the lava of the volcano, but it did not help me at all, so he passed away.

The view from Ketep is really peace and very lovely. As far as the eyes can see are green, mountainous and hilly; another tourist destination that you need to see. Ketep is located in Muntilan, Magelang, not too-too far from downtown Yogyakarta, less than an hour drive!


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