Spending An Enjoyable Weekend in Pekalongan
Pekalongan. The coastal town--that used to be one of the largest port hubs in Java--is a 5-hour train-ride from Jakarta. From batik shopping, exploring the old city, to savoring local culinary and breathing the fresh air of tea and coffee plantations, Pekalongan could be a great option for you to spend the weekend!
In 2014, UNESCO established Pekalongan as one of the world’s creative cities for crafts and folk art. No wonder, indeed. Until today, Pekalongan is well known as one of the largest batik-producing cities in Indonesia.
Peeking Into Pekalongan’s Coastal Batik
In this coastal city in Central Java, batik is more than just a merchandise. Batik has become the soul of Pekalongan--an inseparable part of the city’s history. The said history can still be found in the typical coastal motifs and patterns of Pekalongan batik.
The mix of culture in Pekalongan enriches its batik motives. Buketan motif (bouquet of flowers) is a Dutch heritage. The Arab and Indian influences gives Jlamprang motif a geometrical pattern that does not depict any living beings. Hokokai motif is filled with cherry-blossoms and butterflies, the memento from the Japanese occupation. The pastel colors of Chinese ceramics and the tightly-filled isen (filler motifs) are the two main characteristic of batik encim.
Interested in peeking into the various types of batik in Pekalongan? Visiting Pekalongan’s Batik Museum could be a great start to get a glimpse on the rich variety of batik motifs available. Afterwards, feel free to go on a shopping-spree! Traditional batik villages are scattered in various corners of this coastal town.
Walking the History of Pekalongan’s Antique Buildings
In addition to batik, antique buildings can also be found throughout the city of Pekalongan. They also have their own stories to tell.
According to a 2011 survey, there are 286 ancient buildings categorized as Heritage Buildings in the city. More interestingly, the architecture of these ancient buildings varies, depicting the three major cultures that colours Pekalongan: Arabic, Javanese, and Chinese. Arjati. That was how the government abbreviated it, for easy recall.
For history lovers, walking around the historical streets of Pekalongan will be an exciting adventure. The Chinese, Arabian, and Dutch villages, as well as antique-style artdeco buildings, can be seen on a becak (rickshaw) ride, or on foot. After a tiring walk, enjoy a fresh bottle of cold lemonade in Jalan Rajawali Utara, that hosts the Oriental Lemonade factory--operating since the 1920s.
Savoring the Culinary Scene of Pekalongan
Hungry? A visit to Pekalongan is incomplete if you’re skipping its rich local culinary experience. Cultural assimilation has filled the plates and bowls around Pekalongan with its distinctive coastal flavor. Try Soto Tauto, soup of buffalo meat with a tasty red broth.
Soto (spicy broth) was originally brought by Chinese merchants. Through time, the locals added tauco (fermented soybean pasted) to the spices--making its broth reddish in color. Voila, now you have soto tauco, or Tauto! One of the most famous Tauto vendors in Pekalongan is Tauto Haji Kunawi, located in Kampung Klego, Gang 5 No. 23, Jalan Dr. Wahidin.
You can also have Kebuli rice--the name already explained its Middle Eastern. This culinary feast can be experienced in Arabian Village of Pekalongan. The oldest restaurant serving Kebuli rice is Rumah Puas. Other Middle Eastern menus are also available.
Sego megono or megono rice is the local’s breakfast. Megono is a young jackfruit sliced into small pieces, served with rice and chunks of tempeh. This typical Pekalongan breakfast can be found in every corner of the city. The most popular megono street stalls is Lesehan Sego Megono (NGO).
That's already a complete dining experience for a day!
Enjoying the Coast of Pekalongan
In addition to coastal batik, antique building, and rich culinary scene, Pekalongan-- once a busy port hub of the past century--is also surrounded by small beaches. Pasir Kencana Beach is just 4 km away from the city center, and can be the perfect place to unwind while watching the sky goes violet. If you’re up to it, about an hour to the region of Pekalongan Regency, there is Depok Beach with its calm waters--perfect for a refreshing dip and relaxing.
Relaxing in Pekalongan Tea and Coffee Plantations
Still up for more adventures?
Not too far from Pekalongan, you can find Pagilaran tea plantation and tea factory. The tea factory produces one of the best green tea variants with export quality. You can also visit Petungkriyono coffee plantation--that produces around 30 tons of forest-coffee per year. Villages hidden around the mountains, forests, and waterfalls around Petungkriyono are tinted with the shrieks of Owa (a type of gibbons)--the protected animal native to Java.
Either it’s for leisure, culinary tour, batik shopping, trekking, history walk, or relaxing in nature, Pekalongan has so many things to offer! It’s definitely one of the best destinations to spend your weekend!