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When somebody talks about travelling to Indonesia, the first name that comes to mind is the beautiful island of Bali. Of late, there has been an increasing buzz about the jungles of Borneo too. However, the other major components of the country, namely Java and Sumatra also have places that deserve to be explored. Bogor is one such city in Java, just 60 kms south of the capital Jakarta that is known for its rich history and natural bounties.
While not many might have heard of it, Bogor is actually a pretty densely populated city with more than a million inhabitants. This region has been continuously inhabited for several centuries. The oldest remains date back to the 5th century AD but it kept going through political turmoil and warfare regularly. Eventually, it came under the control of Dutch colonialists. The city grew rapidly after that as the Dutch merchants realized its agricultural potential. For a brief while the region also came under British occupation but primarily Bogor remained under Dutch influence till the WWII when it came under Japanese occupation for a while and was finally freed after the end of the war.
Bogor is located under an active volcano which has erupted many times in the known history. It is also known as the City of Rain as it receives heavy rainfall throughout the year. It is located at a moderate altitude and enjoys cooler weather compared to the lowlands. All these aspects have made this region very fertile. As recognition of the fecund soil and rich biodiversity of the region, the Dutch administrators founded the Bogor Botanical Garden way back in 1817. It remains one of the largest and oldest botanical gardens in Asia. During the initial years, many world famous botanists from Netherlands worked here to develop it into a world class institution that also serves as a research centre for agriculture.
The garden is spread over 87 hectares and looks like a real rainforest at first sight. There are lakes, rivers and hill treks inside the garden. It contains such a rich variety of rare plants that it takes several days to completely cover this garden. If you are on time, you can see the gigantic Amorphophallus titanum flowers. The orchid garden is located in one corner of the garden and is worth a visit too. The garden area also includes the lavish Presidential Palace which used to be the residence of the colonial Governors. The best way to enjoy this garden is to stay in the Hotel Santika Bogor because it is connected directly to the garden with an underground route. For booking you can visit site.
If you still need more activities to get close to the nature, you can visit the tea plantations of Puncak just outside Bogor, go for white water rafting in the Citarik river or visit the Taman Safari which is a combination of a zoo and an amusement park that should be great entertainment for children. Overall, Bogor is an excellent place to experience the natural diversity and richness of South East Asia. Just keep in mind that it rains heavily towards the evening here and so plan most of your outdoor activities in the morning.