Fabulous Bogor Botanical Gardens
The Bogor Botanical Gardens (Indonesian: Kebun Raya Bogor) is a botanical garden located in Bogor, Indonesia, 60 km south of Jakarta. At the heart of Bogor are the fabolous Bogor Botanical Gardens, known as the Kebun Raya, the city’s green lung of around 89 hectares. Governor General Raffles fisrt developed a garden here, but the spacious grounds of the Istana Bogor (Presidential Palace) were expanded by Dutch botanist Professor Reinwardt, with assistance from London’s Kew Gardens and officially opened in 1817. It was from these gardens that various colonial cash crops, such as tea, cassava, tobacco, cinchona, were developed by Dutch botanist including Hohannes Teysmann, during the infamous Cultivation Period in the 19th century.
The park is still a major centre for botanical research in Indonesia. This was the one place in Indonesia George W Bush visited when he dropped by the country in 2006. Allow yourself at least half a day to enjoy Kebun Raya, while keen gardens could spend a week here and not be bored. It’s tricky to pick out highlights in such verdant wonderland- there are more than 15,000 species of trees and plants- but the gardens are said to contain 400 types of magnificent palms, including the footstool palm native to Indonesia, which tops 40m. There’s a good stock of graceful pandan trees (look out for their unusual aerial roots) and some huge agave (used to make tequila) and cacti in the Mexican section. Drop by the Orchid House and take in the lovely ponds, which have giant water lilies over a metre across, and look out for monitor lizards, exotic bird life and deer.
In the northwestern corner of the botanical gardens, the summer palace of the president was formerly the opulent official residence of the Dutach governor general from 1870 to 1942. Today, herds of white spotted deer roam the immaculate lawns and the building contains Sukarno;s huge art collection, which largely focuses on the female figure.