Bandung’s Newest Park Hip: Teras Cikapundung

The iconic red bridge of Teras Cikapundung (the Cikapundung Terrace).
The iconic red bridge of Teras Cikapundung (the Cikapundung Terrace).

There have been a lot of hips about going to the public parks in Bandung lately. And that’s partly because, more than at any time in its recent history, Bandung has once again become a park city. Old and existing parks have been revived and new parks built at an uprecedented rate since the current mayor, M. Ridwan Kamil, took office in 2013.

It’s no wonder that providing more open green space and parks has been one of Mr. Kamil’s top priorities after taking office. He’s a top knotch architect and city planner with international accolades and award-winning projects before deciding to run for the top office in his own city. Reviving existing parks and creating new ones are part of his vision in making Bandung a happier place for its citizens.

The amphitheatre stage of the Teras Cikapundung with the red bridge at the background.
The amphitheatre stage of the Teras Cikapundung with the red bridge at the background.

Teras Cikapundung (Cikapundung Terrace) is one of these new parks. It’s been a hip in the social media for a while since it was officially opened early this year. I actually visited it once before when it was in the final stage of its construction. Now I thought it’s time to visit it again and see for myself what the hip is all about.

Teras Cikapundung (TeCi) is located on Siliwangi Street, a main road connecting Cihampelas and Ciumbuleuit Streets on the west side of the Cikapundung river and Tamansari Street on the east side of the river. The location used to be a dirty, makeshift river bank kampong. (You can Google-map it to see exactly where it is.)

The fish 'turtle pond' where endemic fish of the Cikapundung river is kept before being released back into the river.
The fish ‘turtle pond’ where endemic fish of the Cikapundung river is kept before being released back into the river.

The TeCi project began in 2013 and was scheduled to finish in 2014. Its completion was delayed due to the difficulty in the land acquisition process and the relocation of its squatters.

Teras Cikapundung occupies an area of about 1,800 square meters and is divided into three areas or zones: a singing and dancing fountain park, an amphitheatre for art performances and, on the other side of the river, connected with a pretty red bridge, a park with gazebos and a fish pond that also serves as a breeding place for the Cikapundung river endemic fish.

Leisurely rafting on the Cikapundung river at Teras Cikapundung.
Leisurely rafting on the Cikapundung river at Teras Cikapundung.

Teras Cikapundung is quite accessible from any direction in the city. At least two angkot public transportation minibuses pass this park: the Ledeng – Cicaheum and Ciroyom – Cicaheum lines. Driving here is not recommended, however. The park only has a small parking space that can only accomodate motorcycles. Access to the park is free. The only fee you need to pay is for motorcycle parking, which costs 3000 rupiahs.

One of the art works you can enjoy at Teras Cikapundung.
One of the art works you can enjoy at Teras Cikapundung.
There is no inscription anywhere telling me about what this piece of sculpture work is, but the stone and bright coloured wood combination is very eye-catching.
There is no inscription anywhere telling me about what this piece of sculpture work is, but the stone and bright coloured wood combination is very eye-catching.

So what can you see and do here?

Well, first of all it’s a park, a public park. You can do what anyone would usually do in park: strolling, having a picnic with family or friends, or just sit in one of the benches reading a book. Many, however, come here just to take pictures, selfies or wefies – like many young peole I saw that day. For a small fee, you can also do a leisurely rafting. The park is quite beautiful, I must say. The layout and the works of art dotting the place are quite attractive too. Other than that, there’s nothing much to rave about. I think the park is attractive mainly for local visitors, those from Bandung and its vicinities, who have been deprived of open green space like this for too long.

"Tanah Biru" (Blue Soil), a ceramic stone ware sculpture work by Taufiq Panji Wisesa, one of the art works dotting the Teras Cikapundung.
“Tanah Biru” (Blue Soil), a ceramic stone ware sculpture work by Taufiq Panji Wisesa, one of the art works dotting the Teras Cikapundung.

I personally rather like the place and may drop by again sometime when I happen to pass by or when there’s an interesting art performance going on. I don’t think I’ll deliberately come here though, especially during the weekend when it’s crowded. Being an introvert, I think I’d rather go somewhere quieter.

 

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Malabar Tea-Processing Plant Tour

This is the continuation of my previous post about The Historical Trail Tea Walk at Malabar, Pangalengan.

The distance between Bosscha’s tomb and the tea processing plant is about 10 minutes drive, about 4 kilometers away to my estimate.

It was about eleven o’clock when I arrived at the plant and it looked quiet – probably because it was a Saturday. The management office of the plant is located just outside the plant and you have to go there to get the permission to enter plan’t premises and take the tour. There is no official sign about the requirements for the tour and how much you have to pay for it. But an officer I met at the office told me that the tour cost 15,000 rupiah ($1.1) per person for a group (which I think is quite expensive) or 25,000 rupiah for an individual for a “private” tour.

Entrance to the factory. The tea-processing plant tour begins here.
Entrance to the factory. The tea-processing plant tour begins here.

I agreed to pay the fee and after receiving the receipt for the payment (it’s a receipt not a ticket), I was directed to go inside the fenced premises of the factory and was met by a guide. He’s an employee of the factory.

At the entrance of the building, in what looked like a reception hall, I was shown old photographs of the history of the plantation and the factory on one side of the wall. On the other side were glass windows where you see workers and machinery. My guide told me later in the tour that they were the trasher machines.

The withering process takes place in this area. The freshly-picked leaves are aerated and let to wither for eight to twelve hours.
The withering process takes place in this area. The freshly-picked leaves are aerated and let to wither for eight to twelve hours.

From the reception hall, we climbed onto a deck on the second floor where we could see fresh tea leaves being spread on lines after lines of long platforms. The smell here was strongly ‘fragrant’ – the smell of raw tea leaves. I like the smell, though I must also say that it may not be to your liking. These leaves were being aerated or withered, my guide told me, and it’s the first process after plucking.

After aeration or withering, the leaves will then undergo disruption or maceration process. Maceration is a process whereby tea leaves are intentionally bruised in order to break the leaf celss and for oxidation process to begin. From here, the leaves are transported to another room for oxidation or fermentation. Here and towards the end of the oxidation or fermentation process, these leaves are subjected to warmer air to stop the oxidation. It’s called fixation.

From this machinery, different grades of tea are produced.
From this machinery, different grades of tea are produced.

I was getting more fascinated as we moved from one room and process to the next. Everything was new to me, and being a tea lover, I now learned more why leaves from the same tea shurbs and platations may end up being in different types and qualities of teas.

The tour ended in the quality control room where I met Miss Nurhayati, the tea-tester lady, who happily explained to me the different kinds and qualities of teas that the Malabar tea processing plant produces. She even showed me how she conducted the tests for different brews of teas and let me try them. It wasn’t as easy as I had though when I saw her doing it, of course. After all she’s a pro and a certified tester. She says she’s worked there for 20 years and every year she has to be retested and re-certified.

Different types of teas in their brews in quality the control room.
Different types of teas in their brews in quality the control room.

Miss Nur explained to me that a tea tester uses not only her taste buds but also her delicate and well-trained sense of smell. Having had the chance to taste the varieties of tea she had on her table, I understand better now that not all teas are the same. Some teas are strong in their taste, some are not as strong but more fragrant, and so on and so forth.

Tea tester doing her job at quality control room of Malabar Tea-Processing Plant.
Tea tester doing her job at quality control room of Malabar Tea-Processing Plant.

My guide told me that these varieties go to different markets because each market has its own tea preference. The teas from Malabar Tea Processing Plant are considered to be some of the world’s best and are exported to different parts of the world. Up until 2013, teas from this facility had been exported to 54 different countries and territories, with the main markets being Europe, the United States, Asia, and the Middle East.

The whole private tour lasted for about 45 minutes, partly because I asked a lot of questions.

A final note about the Malabar Tea Processing Plant: This particular plant, I was told, was not the one that Bosscha originally built. It was constructed after the World War Two because the original factory, the Tanara Plant, built in 1905 near the wisma, was destroyed during the war.

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