On our last Lebaran holiday, on the way from Solo to Jogjakarta, we intentionally stopped by on this Sugar factory, located on the roadside of Solo to Jogjakarta main road, on the outskirt of a small town called Klaten, to be precise.
Me and kiddo had been visited this place once, the main idea was we wanted to take a stroll inside this sugar factory complex using their wood-powered lorry used to carry sugarcane crops from a nearby plantation. We missed the last lorry schedule by 10minutes, so my children were quite disappointed at that time.
So when we were passing by this sugar factory again this time, we decided to stop and try our luck.
Me myself was growing up on small suburb outskirt Solo, near a sugar factory called 'Colomadu'. So I was no stranger to lorries carrying sugarcane, the sirens of the factory used to marks shift changing, or days of local night market setting on around the factory once a year when it's come to sweet season the factory will start to turn those freshly harvesting sugarcane into white sugar. I still remember the aroma of cotton candy sold by food vendor on the market with merry go round on the backdrop.
I always wanted go share the experience with my little family about it. The opportunity has open its own door for us.
Just like others, this Gondang sugar factory built by Dutch when they had Indonesia as their colony. Old yet sturdy, Gondang is one of the couples of the sugar factory still operating these days in Central Java, under government-owned company.
It cost IDR 25,000 per person to ride the lorry around the sugar factory. It was only 4 people aboard before us, another 4 passengers aboard after us, off we went around. The lorry itself was German-made, 1 loco and 3 lorries. We sat on 1st and 2nd seat row on 1st lorry, right behind the loco, once they started adding more and more wood to its loco-burner, we were chocked by smoke -literally- ; and moved to very back seat of the lorry while laughed for our poor seat choice.
Lorries run at 1 km/hour speed -I guessed- given the mechanic ran on its side faster than lorries. It's gave us good view of inside the factory. Those huge and unused machinery on its yard, many old trucks and vehicles used to transport harvested sugar cane and they even have their own electricity power plant inside the factory.
The tour with lorries around the factory took no more than 30minutes but was really worth an experience.
I wasn't aware that my son was very much into the sugar museum as well. The museum lay on the same complex with the factory, with a couple of old locos displayed on its front yard. We had to buy another ticket to go inside the museum,IDR 10,000 per person. The museum is not big but had quite complete information about history of sugar factories around Central Java. Some information that was framed on the wall were in Dutch language -since we don't understand at all, my son insisted to take some pictures of those information and he will show to his Dutch fellows at school and have it translate.
Apart from a usual map and mock-up they put on display, they had an old type-writing machine and sewing machine on display as well. I had no idea why it's on display. No information whatsoever. I guess it might be from one of the house occupied by head of Gondang Baru Sugar Factory.
Needless to say, 10,000 rupiah certainly worth for me, giving the experience our kids had on the museum. If it's not that we have to continue our road trip, we would stay a bit longer and have a tea break on their in house 'Banaran Cafe' . May be next time.