Academic Visit to Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia by Students and Lecturers from Department of Landscape Architecture at Faculty of Built Environment, UTM on the 29th November till 5th December 2008


The visit aims to establish a landscape architectural study with students of Bogor Agricultural University on planting design for urban spaces.


The objectives of the planting design workshop are:

    • To expose landscape architectural students on form and color of tropical, indigenous tree species available at Kebun Raya Bogor.
    • To allow the students to explore and exchange planting design schemes with their Indonesia counterparts.
    • To create a pictorial herbarium of indigenous and exotic tree and palm species planted in Kebun Raya Bogor.

This academic visit was attended by 21 students from UTM and 18 students from BAU. The workshop was supervised by Dr Ismail Said and Sumaiyah from UTM and Dr Nizar Nazrullah from BAU.


The academic visit to Indonesia has opened the eyes of students who took Landscape Architecture. This visit has widened the perspective of each mind on the landscape and culture of a community. Visiting places help the student in experience many true quality of living. It helps us to be aware and sensitive on the issues related to human needs, environment and culture. As far as concern, this visit teaches on cultural landscape and it gives opportunity to the students to understand the richness of culture in Indonesia.


The journey started on the 29 November where we departed from LCC terminal at 7 am in the morning. Students were very excited to fly because this is their first time experience flying in the air. From top, there is so much to see and learn about the land. Recall back what had been taught in the Mapping Technology class, students are able to see how the pictures from above look like. Indonesia has lots of green space. Most of the land was covered with greenery where most of it are agriculture products such as paddy, corn, onions and etc but paddy is the dominant plants that been planted. Unlike Malaysia, Indonesia was blessed for having a good soil. The land of Indonesia full with fertilizes soil because it is made up of volcanoes. The lava that comes out contains minerals that are needed in growing healthy agriculture products.

We then arrived at Jakarta at about 9 am in the morning. The time in Indonesia is an hour late. Drop off from the plane, we headed to the Indonesia National museum. It was our first destination. At the museum we find a lot of porcelain vases, cook appliances, accessories, garments and so forth. The most interesting part found there in the museum is the sculpture of Guatama Buddha, Brahma, Siva and Vishnu and others figure that represent the god that most Indonesian believes. History tells that Indonesia is famous because it has been the centre of religious activity before. Even Acheh was known as the “Serambi Makkah” by the Muslim until now. After that we move on to see the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. There was a lot of Indonesia houses being displayed at their exact scale. We are all mused with the houses.

Later on, we headed to hotel and check-in before we gather back for dinner. For the first time we had Nasi Sunda. It taste different. Some manage to finish and some didn’t. After dinner, we had a town trail for awhile. We couldn’t go further because it is quite dangerous to walk at night. Throughout the trail, one thing that really catch our eyes is the traffic in Indonesia. It is busy every minute from day till night. We have to keep in groups just to cross a tiny road because a lot of vehicles wouldn’t stop and they will not consider to give ways to pedestrian if nobody raise up his hand as a sign to stop. Then after a few hours, we return back to the hotel preparing for the next day.


Local people busy harvesting onions


The volcanoes found at the land of Indonesia.The most active volcanoes in the world Mount Merap











The second day, we move on early in the morning to Kebun Raya Bogor. The garden covers about 80 hectars and officially opened for public since 1817.There at the botanical garden we found out that there is many locals who gone for activities such as picnic, jogging , and there was group of all ages attend the Kebun Raya for educational purposes. Compare to our country, Indonesia really loves education. They come to the Botanical Garden to learn on plant species. What interesting about this garden is its collection of species that is hardly found in the tropics.

Most of the species here are matured enough. The plantings have a very distinct structure. A tour through the botanical garden left behind tremendous knowledge on plant species. The best thing that the students achieved was how to use a plant in design. Most students are good in design but they are weak in dealing with planting composition therefore being here in Bogor let them learn how to choose a proper plant for design purpose while strengthen their skill on planting. During the tour, we were accompanied by the students from Bogor Agriculture Institute and their lecturer Dr.Nizar.

The halfday journey at the Botanical Garden was worth everything. Hope that this trip will continue for the next coming semester because learning about plant is not only by looking at reference book students should be giving the opportunity to have a closer look. What’s best is that we can cope with nature and be a part of the environment and learn something out of it. Next we went to our site for the next activity.

Then we went to Bogor Agriculture University for a short workshop on planting design. Here we manage to work in group and exchange skills on designing a space. At first it was quite hard to understand Indonesia language and we face difficulties in communication. Although that happen, we still manage to communicate using graphics and yet it works well. It is great when we giggle together for quite sometimes throughout the workshop. The team work was very pleasant. After discussion we had a presentation on what we have done. Three groups were selected to present their work. Before the session ended, we thank the students of Bogor Agriculture Institute for their warm welcome and we also invite them to come to UTM. We did not forget to snap photos together. That’s the best part ever.


One of the biggest tree found at Kebun Raya Bogor



The entrance of Kebun Raya Bogor Beautiful architecture feature












The next day, we check out hotel and we headed to Cipanas and Pucak. Puncak is a highland as if Cameron Highland in Malaysia. At puncak, the students were brought Wisata Agro Gunung Mas. This is a tea plantation area. Students enjoy to watch how tea leaves were pluck. Plucking the leaves are not easy because it needs to be fast and only the best leaves should be pluck. We tried plucking but less pluck the best leaves. It was interesting though. One incident that happen here is being scolded by the workers.


The workers plucking tea leaves



Houses that settled on top of the Tea plantation. Small scale very cute



We borrowed their hat for a minute but they expect for some percent. We had no idea what is percent so we just left. After we moved they start to scold. We get confused. Then an attendant came and let the people know that we are only on a visit. It is common in Indonesia when we lend something it should be paid. After that incident we become more aware and think before borrowing anything. We then praise to lord for giving us a better living back in Malaysia, where we do not beg for money every day. Throughout the journey we really appreciate to be Malaysian and live a harmony living together.

After touring the tea plantation, we went to see the agro Mas factory. The factory was old. The machine tells us how old it has been there but still keep working as usual. We move from stage to stage and learn a lot about tea process. It is interesting because we can see from the finest selected tea leaves to the lowest quality. Some students bought the product to bring back Malaysia. We then head to another Botanical Garden.

This Botanical Garden is much younger than the one we went in Bogor. This garden is called Kebun Raya Cibodas. Here we were assisted by a botanist who is really good at plantings. He taught us many new species that were there. What is really unique about this person is his knowledge on plants. He could remember the usage of each plants and he is able to remember most of the plant there. We learn not only about plant that is used for design, he taught is on medicinal plant. Too many things we gain from there.

During that journey rains poured down, so we stop awhile and a friend of ours meet and accident. She accidently slipped. Luckily we did bring along our first aid kit. Some friend helps her to treat her wrinkles. When the rain stopped, we continue our journey until we reach a café and we stop there for lunch. Having lunch here was very contemplating. We were surrounded with lovely green trees that reach meters of heights. It is hard to see such panoramic views in the urban areas. What we should learn from there is to always protect the natures.

Then we went to Cipanas and stayed at a resort. The resort was beautiful and proportionate with human height. The room was very economical. It feels a bit like village house. Here it is very cold. We spend a night there and what is compromising there is the cool air and the landscape that surround them. It has very vibrant colours of flowers that really attract the eye. Look like they practice English garden concept there.


Sakura garden in Kebun Raya Cibodas



Nice green scenery of Kebun Raya Cibodas










The next day we woke up at 6.00 in the morning. We have to start the journey early because it will take 8 hours to reach Cirebon. Cirebon is known as the city of Shrimps or “Kota Udang”. Cirebon is yet busy as in Bogor. Early morning we can see a lot of people rushing to buy things in the market. The market is called “pasar limpah” among the Indonesian. Cirebon main industry is fishery.

We spend a night in Cirebon before moving out the next day. In Cirebon we visited one of the well known boutiques that sell Batik garments. Students really enlightened with the garments and bought few clothes as souvenirs. Looking at the Batik we clearly see the differences of the Indonesian batik and the Malaysian. Malaysian Batik is quite contemporary in design and elegant in their own way. Indonesian garments are more reflecting their very own motifs such as the” Parang”, “Bunga Tanjung”, “Pucuk Rebung” and etc.

The motif is very unique and that is why we can differentiate the originality of Batik design. We then went to visit Keraton. Keraton means palace in Bahasa Indonesia. At the Keraton we learn many thing related to Architecture. The Keraton is unique, but somewhere look a bit distracting because of its poor cleanliness. The management should really consider this factor because it is their attractions so they need to be more crucial in keeping it clean. But not everybody enjoy being here. It is because half of the student faces diarrhea. So the trip gone a bit boring and dull. Later then we return to hotel.


Pasar limpah sells fresh fishes



One of the impressive gateway in the Keraton









The next day we woke up as early as we can to move on to Yogjakarta. It took another 8 hours to reach there. In our way to Yogjakarta, we stop by at the Borobudur temple. This is the best spot to learn about architecture and history. As far as concern, Borobudur is the 152 in the world heritage list. The temple was superb in its own. It has a very beautiful fine decoration. What is magnificent about this building is how the architects applied the philosophy of a lotus in the placement of the temple. This temple situated at the center where it is surrounded by five hills and one of the hills is the most active volcanoes; the mount Merapi. From Borobudur we can see the tip of mount Merapi that is secluded by clouds. Through naked eyes, the Mount Merapi looks very far, but the ashes once did cover the structure of Borobudur. Just imagine. Then we solat at the surau there. Next, we return to bus and continue another one hour journey to our hotel in the heart of Yogjakarta.


Stupa’s that have the statue of Buddha inside it



A perspective of the Borobudur temple











The next day, we were already in Yogjakarta and we live in a boutique style hotel. Very small scale and proportionate with human scale. The interior was marvelous. We bet that the one who decorated the hotel was intelligent enough in carving complicated things. Again that morning we went to another Keraton. Compare to the last one, we think that this Keraton is much more clean and tidy. The king still lives there. We tour the entire Keraton and before we leave we listen and enjoy the very own Indonesia gamelan .The music was very nice. Then we head to a place called “alun-alun”. “Alun-alun” is a place where the king’s daughter, the princess comes to play. Among the Indonesian it is belief that anybody who walk straight passing the boundary (two big trees) is a good person. Students took part and find it is interesting. We then go for lunch at McDonalds’. The students really want to have fast food for once because some student still feels unwell. After this they must bring along their instant noodles to avoid diarrhea from reoccurring.


The “Alun-Alun”



The gamelan instrument









Back to hotel and for dinner we went to a place to watch Ramayana musical theater. Wow, very interesting. At first we think it was boring but no it wasn’t that boring. We feel great because we haven’t seen such performance before. Indonesia must have been very proud of this. We then went back to hotel.


Performance started. There’s Sita Dewi waiting for Ramayana



Backstage sneak peak. The actors were busy preparing for the performance













Today is the last day in Indonesia. At 9.00 in the morning we went to Kote Gede and stop by at a silver made workshop. We learn how silver we made off. Last destination is the Gadjah Mada university. We only see the front door and did not go deeper to the heart of the campus. Later then we went back to hotel, pack our belongings. We went to airport and flew back to Malaysia. This is one of the best journey we all experience. Hope that it will keep continue for the next batch. It is worth everything to be part of the world and learn different things. Traveling is the best teacher of all.