This year I spent some time in Indonesia in Southeast Asia, a diverse country made up of thousands of volcanic islands. While staying in the capital Jakarta I heard about the beautiful Bogor botanical garden which is located 60km to the south in the Bogor City and decided to visit it without knowing much about it. Since I have always loved botanical gardens and parks I thought this could be a nice one-day excursion. It turned out to be much more than that.
Although it would be faster to take the trip by car I decided to treat myself with the unique experience of Indonesian train-travel. I bought a ticket for the economy class and from my seat by the window I witnessed the peculiar way of train-traveling in this country. People on the outside started climbing on the roof of the train where they will spend the entire trip. I couldn’t believe my eyes that these people were so casual in doing something so dangerous.
During the trip I did some reading about Bogor and found out that the city always had an important role in this area. The Dutch colonizers of the 17th century liked to use it as a capital during the brutally hot summer months in Jakarta. Soon, I discovered why. In the middle of the “The Rain City” I found an oasis of peace and tranquility – the Bogor Botanical garden.
As I entered the garden, I could instantly feel the difference in the quality of the air. As if the garden had a micro-climate of its own. I took a walk down the Canary Street, a beautiful road with tree canopies surrounding it from both sides and started to understand the appeal of the place. I tried to soak in as much as I could. I passed by a giant tree that I learned is the tallest tree in South East Asia. As I looked at its giant roots that spread out from the ground I thought about all the people that have, like me, passed this way in the admiration of the silent giant.
I wanted to visit the Bogor palace that is located in the park, but I found out you need to have a special permit from the state to enter it. Nevertheless, I admired this beautiful building that was originally made almost 300 years ago while sitting beside a lotus pond. There were no visitors in this area of the park as I noticed a couple of deer that silently grazed the green grass. Soon I was completely immersed in the tranquil, quiet and colorful world of the garden and just started to walk around without a plan.
I came across the wonderful Orchid House, a greenhouse specialized in the beautifully delicate orchids collected from Indonesian forests. Some of the fragile species found here are near extinction in the wild and I was thankful to be able to see them up close. After that I walked through the fern collection and over the beautiful Broken Heart bridge and though about all my friends who I would love to share this experience with.
After couple of hours in this very special place, as I exited the front gate back to the busy streets of Bogor, one of the most densely populated cities in the world I could feel that a part of me stayed in the garden behind me. Although I intend to come back for it in the future, for now it is safe and sound in the (best botanical garden) in the world.