Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Added Value?

Coming from a 2 km walk through the surrounding hills (altitude around 1000m) from Candi Sukuh temple one enters this waterfall through the lower riverside entrance. It being a Friday just after prayer time, the car park is very much deserted and the ticket officer has to scramble to present himself at the other side of the ticket booth.

Tickets are on a premium. Though the practice is commonplace in some Southeast Asia countries, this is one of the few places I've encountered in Indonesia to ask the poor foreign tourists to pay for overtime: 19,000 INRs. Still it’s not much (~2 $US) but compared to other cheaper waterfalls there’s not much in return. An area set aside for the waterfall (20 ha). A load of poorly maintained and unusable facilities (why a fishpond, if there’s not even water in it?), a track of upturned stones (which seems to dissuade everyone from continuing onwards to the waterfall), a complete lack of refuse collection understanding and a troupe of loitering monkeys which have taken up residence of the only bridge.

Anyway Air Terjun Grojogan Sewu (which translates as 1000 waterfalls) is seen to be famous. The LP Indonesia terms it as ‘probably the most famous waterfall in Java’. Other than that the water drops about 80m onto a bed of rocks (source, though it may be an overstatement), there doesn’t seem to be any other reason why it might be famous. Visitor numbers are down, but the fact that there are 2 parking areas might be the reason why it’s famous.

Between the car park and the falls themselves there is the aforementioned footpath, which alternatively to stumbling along can be taken by horse, some even cripple. Nearer the bridge which is the termination point of the trail are a number of stalls whose sole intention is to add to the refuse blending in with the scenery. There are a number of picnic spots as well as the odd pool in which to paddle.

Getting here other than described above is via Tawangmangu, 2 km away, a town which maintains good transport connections with Solo city.

Not so far away is the waterfall of Jumog, a better place to picknick. And Pringgodani.

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