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Teddi B United States of ...
I can't say enough wonderful things about this tour. Our guide Shirley was a delight. Her English is superb and she was so very attentive. The description of the tour is very accurate. The highlands are so lush and the climate a welcome change. We were greeted at the botanical gardens by a private garden guide who was able to point out and explain things that I am sure we would have missed if we were walking around on our own. Shirley heard me say that I love and grow orchids, so she made sure that we were able to stop at the orchid exhibit before we left. So nice to see the local orchids as well as the hybrids. We were probably at the gardens about 2 hours. I did not feel rushed though there are other parts to the gardens that could be explored if interested. After the botanical gardens it was time to head up the highlands to the tea plantation region. Lunch was at a resort atop of the mountains. So relaxing and the food was very good. After lunch we went on to the tea plantation. The views were stunning. Upon arrival we made our way into the historical tea manufacturing facility. Tea production no longer takes place there but there is a tea tasting, small gift shop and a room dedicated to explaining the history and manufacturing process. We then made our way to the actual tea fields which are gracing the slopes of the highlands. Such a serene setting gazing out over acres of lush green. There is something very calming about tea and it starts right here in these highlands. Unfortunately it was time to head back to Jakarta. Our day ended up being a bit longer due to the notorious traffic in Jakarta on our return. Shirley filled the time with conversation about cultural and historical information and our driver exhibited a great amount of professionalism and patience.
The problem with the photo advertising this tour is it gives an impression of what the some part of the day will be like. Sadly we did not get to see any dreamy vistas of tea plantations. A large part of the day is driving through urban sprawl, even in the mountains there are few rural vistas. It was an interesting tour, but we had great difficulty understanding our guide which significantly limited our enjoyment. You could not have a conversation and we gave up asking questions as we were most often not understood. No denying our guide did try very hard to make things interesting, but sadly tea plantation we visited were commercial, abandoned tea processing buildings with no exhibition or person to show us around. Guide took us around local accommodation for workers which was interesting. We have seen much better coffee and tea plantations in Bali. Lunch stop at top of mountain pass view ok, food good, toilets not. Guide took us to market stalls nearby which were interesting. Refuse real problem at this location. Bogor gardens were amazing, and guide appeared knowledgable, but it was a very random stop and look tour, repeatedly being asked if there is anything else we would like to see how would we know. Traffic returning to Jakarta bad, but we knew this would be a problem. Car was very comfortable and driver courteous. For what we paid, we would not recommend this tour unless they have a different guide and choose a different tea plantation to visit.
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