“These are some old pictures of this place” our tour guide explained to us at the start of our garden tour. From the photos showcased at their lobby, I could see that there weren’t many changes to this place.
Rumah Atsiri used to be a former citronella fragrance oil-processing factory, based in Tawangmangu, Central Java. It is an educational recreation site related to essential oil. Rumah is Indonesian word for house, while Atsiri or Asiri means something that evaporates. It is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm.
Rumah Atsiri building
How much is it?
To visit Rumah Atsiri, we have to pay the card as an “entrance fee” which costs Rp50,000 per person. This card with Rp50,000 balance in it can be used as a payment method on the site. You can use the money for the garden tour (Rp15,000), the museum tour (Rp25,000) or spend it at their restaurant or shop.
At the moment the tours are only available for the weekend. I like the concept of the “entrance fee”. Don’t worry, if you spend more than Rp50,000, you can use cash for any money you spend in excess of Rp50,000.
We drove for about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Boyolali (my grandmother’s house) and arrived there at exactly 10. Since the garden tour and museum tour started at 11, we spent time in the cafe, trying a refreshing drink like a mocktail. Before going to the cafe, we stopped by their merchandise shop.
Inside the glasshouse of Rumah Atsiri at the end of the Garden Tour
.. and what can you find there?
They had a lot of interesting products in the shop. There were several craft kits such as soap making kits, or kits for making fragrant slime, suitable for children. There were a number of cotton and bamboo cotton t-shirts, with attractive designs such as the plants that we can find at Rumah Atsiri (Nico bought the mint and the rosemary t-shirts), and also a picture design of the Rumah Atsiri building or distillers (I bought one for this design!).
In addition, you could also purchase essential oils. I saw that they sold Argan Oil, and were interested in buying it but I decided to not get it because I still had my almond oil. There were also scented candles, air freshener with sticks and oil, and also plant seeds (alternatively you could buy plants in pots). I told you, they have something for everyone.
Here is a Kayu Putih tree
After visiting the shop we joined the garden tour. There were 13 participants in our group. During the tour, we were introduced to various types of oil-producing plants. Among these are lavender, rose, sandalwood, fragrant lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary and many more. The tour also explained how the oil was extracted from the plants. This covered the refinery process, as well as the enfleurage process.
I really enjoyed the garden tour. It gave me so much knowledge about oil-producing plants (which I’ll easily forget in the future). Some things that I will not forget are the reason why Sandalwood oil is so expensive, the fact you need tons of roses to create rose oil, and there are several types of mint plants in this world (that is good enough, Firsta! well done).
If you think this is Lavender then you will really appreciate the Garden Tour
At the end of the garden tour, we decided to go to the restaurant to have lunch. Their restaurant is spacious and offered several Indonesian and western dishes. We ordered Sop Buntut (their one of Tawangmangu’s pride menu) and Iga Bakar Madu, both were tasty. For the drinks, we go for their mocktail, the Rosemary Red Atsiri and something else which I can’t remember. Both of them are happiness drinks, sweet and refreshing.
Did you go to the museum?
Their museum, which only opens at the weekend at the moment, is pretty neat. At the entrance, I was greeted by several Kokedama–which I have seen at the glasshouse during the garden tour. Kokedama is a ball of soil, covered with moss, within which a plant grows. This idea comes from Japan because they have limited space/soil area.
Afterward, learning about Kokedama we got to see and smell various oils. My favourite is Geranium. Besides that, we saw a map of oil-producing plants in Indonesia, and also some trivia related to essential oils. I like the fact that some parts of the museum are quite interactive.
To sum up
Rumah Atsiri is another great example of the development of tourist attractions. It reminds me of Ullen Sentalu Museum in Yogyakarta. Places to go to learn something, spend the weekend/enjoy time with friends or families, and relax. I hope to see things like this more than places to take a selfie. Lastly, you can easily combine Rumah Atsiri with a visit to two temples: Candi Cetho and Candi Sukuh, which are only 30 minutes away from Rumah Atsiri. That is a day well spent in Tawangmangu.