A charming escape from downtown Jakarta, the Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya) are some of southeast Asia’s oldest educational gardens, officially opening in 1817. More than 15,000 species of plants, including hundreds of palm species, deck 215 acres (87 hectares) of lush green grounds amid the cool, rainy highlands of West Java.
There is a modest admission fee for the Bogor Botanical Gardens, which are big enough to merit spending at least half a day. Given their beauty and historical significance, they’re the highlight of any visit to Bogor and an essential stop on West Java highland tours, which also often include a trip to a tea plantation.
Bogor Botanical Gardens tours typically include highlights such as the Orchid House, the Water Garden, the Medicine Garden, and the orchidarium. History geeks will appreciate the cemetery, the Presidential Palace, and especially the memorial to Singapore founder Stamford Raffles’ first wife.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bogor Botanical Gardens are a must for garden admirers and anyone seeking a verdant respite from Jakarta’s bustle.
- With its lily-pond views, the Grand Garden Café makes an excellent spot for lunch.
- Bogor sees hundreds of thunderstorms every year, so bring an umbrella or poncho (or buy one at a minimart).
- Do not underestimate the journey time from Jakarta—it can take well over two hours at busy times of day.
- The Bogor Botanical Gardens are mostly accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Bogor Botanical Gardens are 36 miles (60 kilometers) south of Jakarta, about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)—or a 20-minute walk—from Bogor train station. Slow trains run from Jakarta and Bandung but can be very crowded during rush hour. If you’d like to combine your trip to the Kebun Raya with other West Java attractions outside Bogor, book a tour or private driver (or experience gridlock while driving on the left).
When to Get There
The Bogor Botanical Gardens are open from morning to late afternoon seven days a week. They are hugely popular with locals on Sundays, so a visit on that day is best avoided. If you’re traveling from Jakarta, traffic on the roads and the trains is lighter on Saturdays than on weekdays.
Bogor Botanical Gardens Research
During the Dutch colonial era, key cash crops were developed here, including tea (the first instance of tea being grown by a colonial power), the quinine tree, tobacco, and cassava. Today, Kebun Raya Bogor remains a globally known center of botanical research: the Indonesian Institute of Sciences operates the gardens.