The capital region of Banyumas Central Java is only two hours by train away from the burning city by the sea Cirebon or about five hours away by executive class train from Jakarta.
Strategically located near a major road linking the southern coast of Central Java and the central highlands, Purwokerto has served as an important transit point for travelers on their way to other cities such as Yogyakarta and Semarang.
It is also known as a city of students thanks to the many universities such as Universitas Jenderal Soedirman and Universitas Muhammadiyah Purwokerto.
The task of exploring Purwokerto is made easier by Jl. Jenderal Sudirman, which divides the city in two.
To get around the city like a local and take the pedicab angkot (small public minibuses). A angkot ride typically costs Rp 3,000 (26 cents), while a pedicab ranges from Rp 10,000 to around Rp 25,000, depending on the distance.
Purwokerto actually has two taxi services operating but I hardly saw no taxis during my time there.
Gradually growing as a business center and a tourist destination, Purwokerto now has a number of best hotels such as the Hotel Santika Purwokerto, where I stayed two nights.
This hotel, which opened six months ago, and offers 121 rooms and suites. Its decorative elements Banyumas shadow puppets and batik. It is cheaper than the five-star Aston Imperium, but still quite decent.
The city has several attractions worth visiting, including the Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) Museum on Jl. Jenderal Sudirman.
As the sculpture suggests in the front yard, the museum commemorates RA Wiriatmaja, pioneered the establishment of the Indonesian banking
BRI Musuem shows an interesting collection of old paper currency, the Dutch colonization era so far, along with pictures and dioramas depicting the activities of the bank.
Pendopo Si Panji, which now serves as the office of the administration, is also considered an important historic building.
When I went there (a large, pavilion-like structure built on columns) in the evening, the pendopo was filled with people who are practicing the Marawis, which is a small hand drum from the Middle East.
The Marawis group always run on Satu Suro night, the Islamic New Year.
Adjacent to the pendopo is the open public square, Alun-alun where to collect. Townspeople
Unfortunately, Alun-alun was deserted when I visited it due to the heavy rain.
Purwokerto is also home to many tasty dishes, Tempe mendoan is the most popular. Tempe, the fermented soybean cake thinly sliced, covered in flour and then deep fried. Tempe mendoan can be enjoyed as a main dish with rice or as a snack topped with chili sauce and soy sauce.
Also recommended is sroto ayam Jalan Bank H. Loso.
Apart from serving sroto that is aromatic chicken soup, this place also has several traditional desserts such as Es Durian (Durian soaked in coconut milk and palm sugar, served with ice cream) and Es Kopyor (served with coconut syrup and ice).
About 14 kilometers to the north, is the tourist magnet Baturraden that offers visitors fresh mountain air, fascinating waterfalls and lush tropical forests.
For the adventurous, choices of physical activity include climbing Mt. Slamet or rafting along the river Serayu.
Together with the city of Semarang, famous for the Chinatown vibe and colonial architecture, Purwokerto is a growing alternative to tourist Yogyakarta.
When to go
If you are planning to Baturraden, avoid the rainy season (October to February). Exploring the city can happen any time, but a great time to go is during Satu Suro for all Islamic New Year festivities at Alun-alun.
What U.S. $ 5 can buy
Pasar Loon, the largest traditional market in Purwokerto sells traditional snacks and food as Gudeg Banyumas (jackfruit cooked in coconut milk, served with rice and chicken or egg) and the famous tem mendoan.
Another wallet friendly place to go grocery shopping, the snacks center in Sawangan area
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