A while ago, my town (which name is Surakarta, Indonesia) has bought a double-decker for tourism purpose. This double-decker were painted red and named as Werkudara. Werkudara is a name derived from Mahabharata story which usually performed in a shadow-puppet show. If you weren’t familiar with shadow-puppets then you would want to check here about shadow-puppets in Indonesia. All in all, Werkudara or Bhima is known as the strongest and the biggest from the Pandava family (according to Mahabharata) so that’s why his name was taken for the big and bulky of this red double-decker.
Well, last Saturday I’ve gone to try the double-decker and liberally playing the role of domestic tourists as if we never knew the town before (which was a COMPLETE LIE). The Werkudara was parked in the garage of Dinas Perhubungan dan Transportasi Surakarta in Manahan. So we rode motor-cycles there before we transferred to the bus. Werkudara only available in weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and the ticket should be booked at weekdays (at least on Friday afternoon).
It’s not so expensive for my opinion but since I’ve known the route the excitement was suppressed to minimal. Each person should buy the ticket for IDR 20,000 (around USD 2.5 or so) then we can enjoy the ride around Solo (or Surakarta, whichever name you prefer). It wasn’t that long of journey too. It took about only 2 hours to go around Solo with ten minutes break in the middle. Werkudara departs three times a day; at 9.00 AM, 12.00 PM, and 15.00 PM. I took the 12.00 PM ride and it was pretty scorching, you would probably want to take the 15.00 PM ride.
Talking about the (mini) journey itself wasn’t that exciting, I like the feeling of sitting higher than the other but, sadly, only that. Werkudara has a female announcer that would tell you about the venue you currently visiting (even though you didn’t stop even for a while), she would tell you about the name of the streets and some historical buildings (which aren’t many). The journey began from Manahan through Kotta Barat to Slamet Riyadi street. It went straight to the east until Gladhag then turned left to the Surakarta’s City Hall, turned right to Pasar Gede Hardjonagara, turned left again until it reached Panggung crossroad. It turned right until Tiong Ting, then right again until Taman Satwataru Jurug (a zoo) to take 10 minutes break. I took some pictures of Werkudara there.
The journey began again as the Werkudara take a U-turn and traced back the familiar route until the City Hall, it took the left turn before we reached Gladhag so we can enjoy the view of Vastenburg fortress (a fortress made by the Dutch when Indonesia were under their colonialism). It turned right not so long after and we went through the Arabian Town until a certain crossroad called Gemblegan. Werkudara turned right and went straight to the west until it reach Lotte Mart, it turned right again, then left, then right until it reached the crossroad of RS Slamet Riyadi and Solo Grand Mall. It went straight to Kotta Barat again then Manahan. Then voila, we were back to the starting point again! Exciting! (Note the sarcasm, please…)
Werkudara looked like any ordinary red double Decker with a fold-able roof. Well, but since the weather wasn’t that friendly here (there’s only two options here, people: it’s scorching hot or freaking wet) so the roof would be closed (in exception if you gone at night). The announcer was good but she only recites in Bahasa Indonesia (I don’t know if it’s because there is no foreign tourist in the ride or not, I hope that was the cause). The excitement only begins when the bus ran too close to the sidewalk trees. All of the branches and leaves would give you a very good slap on the face if you aren’t cautious. Trust me, I almost got slapped.
Anyway—despite my usual bitter words, the journey was fine and fun! Well, I’ve got to see people from a higher place that day, I got to know about Werkudara, I spent a day with my friends clearly having fun (or rather making fun of anything we passed), and good gossips to continue on living. LOL. You should try to ride this and feel the excitement by yourself. Don’t forget to bring your DSLR camera since using a pocket camera wouldn’t do any good (the bus kept moving, many of my pics are blur!).
Now, that was pretty much that I can write about my journey (or mini-journey?). What do you think about it? Is it worth paying for? LOL.