Just 60 km south, or a mere one hour by road from Jakarta lies the town
of Bogor, once known as “Buitenzorg” meaning “free of care”, located at
the foothills of Mt. Salak. It has a high, year-round rainfall and a
much cooler climate compared to metropolitan Jakarta. Here are spread
out the 87 hectares world famous Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebon Raya
Bogor), with the impressive out-of-town Bogor Presidential Palace
fronting it and soaring Mt. Salak at its background.
Botanical Gardens boasts over 400 species of palm trees, 5,000 trees
gathered from around the tropical world, and an orchid house containing
3,000 varieties. Records show that the Bogor Botanical Gardens harbours
3,504 plant species, 1,273 genus in 199 families.
are said to have been initiated by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who,
between 1811-1816, became Governor General of the East Indies during
the interim reign of the British over the archipelago. With the help of
botanists from London’s famed Kew Gardens, Raffles first laid out a
small garden. However, the Gardens were officially established by the
Dutch in 1817 under the directorship of CGC Reinwardt. A memorial to
Raffles’ wife still stands in the Gardens.
The Bogor Gardens
today function as an ex situ conservation site, a research center for
taxonomy and plant utilization. In horticulture the Gardens study
adaptation, planting and propagation of plants and develop the science
of plant growing. Getting There
From Jakarta, you can rent a
car (complete with a chaffeur) to go to Bogor. As mentioned above, the
journey to Bogor will be about one hour. Be advised that the traffic on
weekends and long holidays will be more packed.
Gardens are open daily to visitors. There are paved walkways for
visitors to stroll at leisure to admire the variety of old, gnarled
trees, walk under the canopy of their foliage and listen to the river
rushing over large boulders. On Sundays and public holidays the Gardens
are usually very crowded.
Aside from the
gardens, there's also The Bogor Palace, which was built by Governor
General van Imhoff and became the residence of Sir Stamford Raffles
during his rule over the islands. Later, in December 1954, the Palace
became the historic venue of the Bogor Conference attended by then
Prime Ministers of Indonesia (Ali Sastroamidjojo), India (Jawaharlal
Nehru), Ceylon (Sir John Kotelawala), Pakistan (Mohammed Ali) and Burma
(U Nu), in preparation of and to agree on the convening of the First
Asian African Conference. The Asian African Conference held in Bandung
in April 1955 and attended by 29 countries became the collective
platform of the Third World in the fight against imperialism and for
The Bogor Palace is laid out amidst manicured lawns where hundreds of spotted deer graze.
the entrance to the gardens is the Zoological Museum that has a
collection of some 300,000 specimens of land and sea creatures from
throughout Indonesia. It houses the skeleton of a blue whale, the last
rhino found on the Bandung plateau, and the coelacanth “living fossil”
fish found in North Sulawesi.
The Bogor gardens have several
branches on Java, Sumatra and Bali, most important of which is the
Cibodas Park located further up Mt. Gede at Cipanas. The gardens are
beautifully landscaped, and are perfect for strolling. Here,
researchers produced the quinine and coffee for which Java became world