Cepu is a small town on the eastern border of Central Java province.
In its heyday it was a centre for the logging of the abundant teak plantations on the nearby range of low limestone hills. Those forests have been seriously overlogged and the industry is now in decline, but the steam locomotives that were used to haul the logs are somewhat preserved in a museum in the town.
Thanks to natural seeping of oil onto the surface of the ground, the town was also a pioneer in the development of Indonesia's oil industry. Though production has now spread across the archipelago, Cepu still maintains some important facilities, including a refinery and the country's main oil and gas industry training centre.
The nearest airport is Semarang, 3-4 hours drive to the west. Surabaya airport is about the same travel time to the east.
The main Semarang to Surabaya train line passes through Cepu.
You will need a car.
- 1 Cepu Forest Railway. One of the four main centres for steam locomotives in Java. The largest collection of active preserved steam locomotives in Indonesia. Globally significant as an active and complete steam locomotive-powered logging railway. The main remaining line is about 30 kilometres (19 mi). Seldom used for logging now, tourist services and charters run to an arboretum where there are 150-year-old teak trees.
The take-home snack of choice is 'egg rolls', delicate wafer biscuits rolled up into a tube. Quite delicious.
The supply of timber has generated a small industry creating wooden crafts, carved statuettes of motorbikes and the likes. Items tend to be coloured with a heavy stain, and finished with a high gloss varnish.
On the road south towards Ngawi, there is an industry of digging up the roots of felled teak trees, and making them into tables and other furniture.
Thanks to the oil and gas training centre, the accommodation options in Cepu punch way above their weight for a small town. Most notably:
- [dead link] Ammi Cepu, Jl Gianti No. 14 (Just north of the oil and gas training centre), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A bright-white, colonaded riff on the Singapore's Raffles Hotel or perhaps even the White House. Extremely well appointed and managed. Very comfortable, if somewhat unexpected. Rp900,000.
The dialing code for Cepu is 0297.