Purwokerto: Naturally Pleasing

Story By
Cita Arsita Farani

From delicious food to water parks and natural sites, the city offers many satisfying charms.


Photos by Cita Arsita Farani, Christopher Woodrich, Stwn

Previously known as a hub city between Cirebon and Yogyakarta, Purwokerto has developed into a Central Java destination in its own right whose generous view over Mount Slamet is accompanied by cool temperatures and its numerous attractions make it perfect for families and nature lovers.

In fulfilling your food cravings, Purwokerto offers plenty of unique culinary options. Soto Sokaraja, known locally as Sroto, is a traditional soup with peanut sauce, crackers, vermicelli, bean sprouts, beef or chicken slices, and ketupat instead of regular rice. The broth is deliciously thick and savory from the peanut mix. You can also try Buntil, a mix of grated coconut, anchovies and spices which are wrapped in cassava leaves or something similar before being boiled in coconut milk. You can eat Buntil right away without the need for unwrapping it. For snacks, Tempe Mendoan is the perfect company for coffee or tea. This thinly sliced, fermented soybean mixture is fried with rice flour, but to only a half-cooked level unlike regular fried tempe.

In finding the hidden gems of batik to bring back home, Batik Banyumasan is not as well-known as its other Java counterparts, but the distinctly non-geometric patterns that represent the freedom of the Banyumas people make it easily recognizable. From Jahe Puger, Cempaka Mulya, Sekarsurya, Ayam Puger, Piring Sedapur, and Dunia Baru, there are plenty of options for you to choose.

North of the city, near the base of the mountain is an area called Lokawisata Baturraden, the most popular destination for locals. Here, you can camp, visit the water park, take part in outbound activities, or visit some of the area’s natural features such as Pancuran Telu and Pancuran Pitu, hot water springs which contain sulfur that is said to be good for your skin. A quick sulfur massage is also offered on the spot. To the east of Lokawisata Baturraden, Telaga Sunyi is a quiet yet gorgeous clear water spring for a refreshing swim. Be aware that most of these require hiking down and up some long stairways.

On your way back down, restaurants, water parks and edutainment spots can be found to the left and right. Among them are Caping Park with its glass-bottomed Edge Bridge and gorgeous view, mini zoo and fun rides at The Village family park, and Small World with miniatures of famous landscapes from around the world. If you’re willing to go a bit out of the way, to the west of the city is the Dream Land Water Park that boasts multiple water zones, a park, an aquarium and an outbound area.