If you are looking to be immersed in traditional kampung life and find a traditional handmade souvenir from Indonesia you have to follow the winding kampung streets of Bogor just north of the botanical gardens to find a whimsical factory where Bapak Dase works eagerly every day to provide locals and visitors alike with a truly authentic experience. Pak Dase has been handcrafting puppets for as long as he remembers and the quality of his labor is evident in workmanship and artistic display.
As you go into his little house in the Lebak Kantin district you will find yourself surrounded by mysterious creatures right out of the stories of Ramayana. These Wayang Golek (rod puppets) are carved from hardwood and you can see a few men carving faces and body parts and later painting them. If you fancy a traditional puppet you are welcome to buy the ones on display or have one made to your specifications. You can decide if you want a stained puppet or a bright white one and what kind of batik fabric you prefer it to be dressed in.
The prices for the puppets vary from about 600,000 rupiahs to 1.1 million for a set including Sinta and Rama from the Ramayana. Of course you can negotiate and get a good deal if you are purchasing several puppets. Make sure you bring cash as no credit cards are accepted and there are no ATMs in the surrounding area. These puppets are definitely worth their price as the quality is exceptional when compared to similar puppets available at the malls in Jakarta.
Pak Dase is very well-known in his neighborhood so you can ask for him and friendly faces will lead you to his house. You can find his shop by taking the footbridge to Wisma Karunia from Jl Jenderal Sudirman into the tangled kampung.
Lebak Kantin RT 02/VI, Kelurahan Sempur,
Bogor, West Java.
Phone: 0251-838 3758
Handphone: 0813 8303 9282
Wayang Golek: Art and Tradition that Withstand Time