Ujung Kulon National Park, One of the World’s Most Pristine Natural Ecosystem
Ujung Kulon National Park is situated about 300 km from the capital city of Jakarta, or about 140 km from Serang, the capital city of Banten Province, Ujung Kulon National Park encompasses a total area of 122,955 hectares consisting of 78,619 hectares land area and 44,337 hectares of seas. The national park stretches across the Ujung Kulon Peninsula, Panaitan Island, Peucang Island, Handeleum islands, and Honje Mountain Range. Administratively, Ujung Kulon National Park is located within the Sumur and Cimanggu districts, in the Pandeglang Regency, in the province of Banten. Ujung Kulon National Park is one of the world’s most pristine natural ecosystem and Indonesia’s prime national park.
With scarcely any human interference, the national park has a very well preserved ecosystem of flora and fauna. Its most precious feature is the one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sundaicus) or more commonly known as the Javan Rhino, which is regarded as the icon of both the national park and the province. This majestic creature is known as one of the rarest mammals on earth and is classified as critically endangered in the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.
Aside from the Javan Rhino, Ujung Kulon National Park is also home to many other special wildlife such as the owa Jawa monkeys (Hylobates moloch), surili (Presbytis aigula), dhole/wild dog (Cuon alpinus javanicus), banteng bull (Bos javanicus), silvery gibbon (Hylobates moloch), Javan lutung (Trachypithecus auratus), long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas), Java mouse-deer/kancil (Tragulus javanicus), deer (Rusa timorensis), and more. There are also over 72 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 240 species of birds that make Ujung Kulon their home.
Ujung Kulon National Park is one of only few areas which feature vegetation profiles from sea-coastal to tropical mountains. There are over 700 types of flora within the national park, of which 57 are classified as rare in Java and quite possibly the world. Among some of the flora that are known to grow solely in the area include the Batryohora geniculata, Cleidion spiciflorum, Heritiera percoriacea, and Knema globularia.
There are two ways to enter Ujung Kulon National Park: By chartered boats from Carita Beach and overland by car via Labuan to Tamanjaya or Sumur. If you take the sea route, It is approximately 2-3 hours boat ride from Carita Beach to Peucang Island where the accommodation and national park representative office are situated.
If you take the overland route, from Jakarta you can head out to Serang, the capital of Banten via the Toll road for about 2 hours drive. From Serang, you continue westward to Labuan, in Pandeglang Regency for roughly about 2 hours. The little town of Labuan is where the main office of the Ujung Kulon National Park is located (at Jalan Perintis Kemerdekaan No 51). From Labuan, the road continues to Panimbang, Sumur, and Tamanjaya for a little over another 2 hours. Some of the road may be narrow and are not in good condition, so drivers must be prepared and. Remain watchful.
The Office of Ujung Kulon National Park area II Handeleum and Tamanjaya provide the entrance tickets, insurance, and general information about the National Park. The office is located in the Tamanjaya Village near the dock of Tamanjaya. All requirements for tourist activities such as boat rentals, local guides, porters and more, can be arranged at the office.
The Amazing Wasur National Park
Situated at the most eastern end of Indonesia, directly bordering Papua New Guinea, the Wasur National Park forms part of the largest wetland in the province of Papua and is recognized as the least disturbed by human activity. Playing host to a large number of flora and fauna, the natural park is dubbed “The Serengeti of Papua” for its astonishing high value biodiversity.
Part of the Trans-Fly biome that straddles the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border, Wasur is a low lying area of savannahs, swamps, forests, and slow moving rivers that inundate much of the land during the wet season. The dominant plants here include mangroves, Terminalia, and Melaleuca species.
The park provides habitat for a large variety up to 358 bird species of which some 80 species are endemic to the island. Fish diversity is also high in the region with some 111 species found in the eco-region and a large number of these are recorded as originating in Wasur. The Park's wetland also provides habitat to various species of lobster and crab as well. Highlighted with various species of birds including Trans-Fly specials and many Australian migrants, the national park is an absolute paradise for bird watchers.
During August to November, the national park experience the arrival of thousands of migratory birds from Australia and New Zealand, such as gray storks, pelicans, ibis, Royal Spoonbills, and more. This is a special feature of the park since it only occurrs once a year. Other fascinating rulers of Wasur’s skies include the Southern Crowned Pigeon, New Guinea Harpy Eagle, Dusky Pademelon, Black-necked Stork, Fly River Grassbird, Greater Bird of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, and more. The national park is also home to at least three species of wallaby, nocturnal cuscuses, sugar gliders, cassowary, Papuan fresh water crocodile, saltwater crocodiles, and more.
To reach Wasur National Park, you can take airplanes from Jakarta to Merauke, at the southern-most part of Indonesian Papua near the border with Papua New Guinea. From Merauke to the entrance of Wasur National Park takes a 2-3 hours drive on the Merauke-Jayapura main road. Alternatively, the town of Merauke is also accessible by a 1.5 hour flight from Jayapura’s Sentani Airport, capital city of Papua Province.
The Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschild) also known as the Rothschild’s Mynah or Bali Mynah, and locally called Jalak Bali is a critically endangered species, endemic to the island of Bali. Today in the wild these very rare birds can be found only in the West Bali National Park and at Nusa Penida.
Arguably the most beautiful of all Mynahs, the Bali Starling is easily recognized by its pure-white coat, fringed with black along the tips of the tail and wings and with striking blue skin around the eyes. A beautiful white crest extends from the top of his head as a final touch on this exquisite little bird. There is no significant difference between the male and female of the species.
The Bali Starling is a songbird measuring approximately 25 centimeters. They breed in the rainy season between the months of November and May. Their bluish-green eggs are oval shaped, with an average diameter of about three centimeters.
The Bali Starling was discovered on March 24, 1911 by a British ornithologist named Dr. Stressmann Baron. Dr Baron was travelling on the expedition ship, the Maluku II, which had to make a sudden stop on the island of Bali due to damage to the vessel. Stressmann first spotted the Starling in Bubunan Village, about 50 kilometers from Singaraja, Northern Bali. He categorized it as a new species, rare and different from any other whole specimen.
The bird’s Latin name, Leucopsar rothschild, was given by a British animal expert named Walter Rothschild who first published the description of the bird to the world in 1912.
In 1925, further studies by Dr. Baron Viktor Von Plesen showed that the Starling was only found in the area between the Brumbun Gulf and the Kelor gulf in western Bali, making those approximately 320 square kilometers the only natural habitat of the Bali Starling on the planet. During this time, the number of starlings in the wild were estimated at between 300-900 birds.
Soon after its discovery, the Bali Starling became the object of hunting, poaching and illegal trade. Aside from its eye-catching appearance, the bird’s melodic voice made it increasingly coveted by collectors and bird lovers alike. Furthermore, its status as a rare and endemic creature in addition to its exotic beauty and singing voice placed its value at hundreds of millions of rupiah. The rapid deforestation of the bird’s limited habitat was the final straw that drove the Starling to the brink of extinction.
With just 6 Bali Starlings left in the wild, the much sought after bird was thrust into the critical status of the endangered species. Captive bred starlings were then released into the wild, bringing their numbers up to 24. Although 400 more were released into the wild throughout the 1990's, by 2005, authorities showed the numbers to have once again dropped to less than 10. In present day, while the exact number of the species in the wild is unknown, estimates in 2012 showed at least 24 adult birds in the West Bali National Park, and over 100 on the neighboring Balinese island of Nusa Penida. About 1,000 more are believed to be held in captivity legally in zoos and parks around the world, and perhaps more than twice as many are still being sold and traded in the black market.
In 1937, the Balinese tiger (Pantheratigrisbalica) was declared officially extinct due to hunting, and habitat loss. But perhaps if we can protect our environment and the abundance of life it supports, we can prevent other animals from befalling the same fate.
Ubud Monkey Forest, the Natural and Sacred Site
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and temple complex in Ubud, Bali. It houses approximately 340 monkeys which are known as long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis). There are four groups of monkeys each occupying different territories in the park. The Sacred Monkey Forest is a popular tourist attraction in Ubud and is often visited by over 10,000 tourists a month.
In the Monkey Forest, you can walk around and enjoy the serene atmosphere. The forest comprises approximately a tenth of a square kilometer (approximately 27 acres) and contains at least 115 different species of trees. The Monkey Forest contains the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple as well as a "Holy Spring" bathing temple and another temple used for cremation ceremonies
The Monkey Forest street also provides many choices of restaurants, from western cuisine to Balinese dishes. Remember to visit Bebek Bengil about 500 meters from there. It's a popular restaurant at Jalan Hanoman, known for its specialties: fried/roasted ducks. Do also try the ribs. They'll leave you wanting more. Shops at Monkey Ubud Forest alone offer a wide variety of beads, baskets, wooden carvings, ikat textiles, paintings and silver jewelries.
For your stay, various lodgings are available in Ubud, from a simple bed & breakfast to resorts or private villas. Good choices for comfort and services at Monkey Forest Street are Komaneka Resort and KajaNe Mua Villa. A bit far, but worth the distance are Maya Ubud Resort & Spa and Four Seasons Bali (at Sayan, Ubud). Travel now and explore the sacred monkey forest of Ubud!
Walking around Ubud is an experience of its own. There's a famous story told by Janet DeNeefe, initiator of the Ubud Readers & Writers Festival, that once, a speaker had a block before his event and decided to went out for a walk around Ubud. He was so fascinated by the beautiful landscapes that he forgot to return for his talkshow.
You can also rent a bicycle or a motorbike. A lot of visitors prefer bikes for environmental reasons. However, since Ubud's located on a mountainous area, the roads tend to be steep. If you have something against sweating, motorbike's a more logical choice. Cars are usually only used when you want to to go outside Ubud.
Ubud is about an hour and a half drive from the airport. Taxis are available in the airport. Any travel agent in Denpasar will also be able to get you there. If you stay in a hotel, the management usually provides a shuttle service for a reasonable fee.The sacred forest is situated at the Monkey Forest Street (shown on the right), which is the main street of Ubud, so you won't miss it. Shops and restaurants line up the streets, so you might as well check them out while you're there.
Sebangau National Park, Pristine Tropical Forest
The Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan is one of the last remaining peat swamp forests in Borneo. The vast national park covering approximately 568,700 hectare is home to over 6,000 orangutans, forming one of the world’s largest populations in the wild.
Amidst the peat swamp forests, the National Park also offers beautiful scenery of pristine hills. From the top of Bukit Batu or Rock Hill, one overlooks the Sebangau National Park and all its fascinating scenery.
A long and challenging trek is available at Bukit Bulan or the Moon Hill. As trekkers make their way up the hill, they will be presented with refreshing trails along the Sungai Bulan, or Moon River. A unique ecosystem of peat swamp and granite rocks is observable at Bukit Kaki or Foot Hill. The granite rocks cause a dry environment, and thus the trees are different from those in the surrounding environment.
In the Sebangau National park are also crystal clear, refreshing, fresh water lakes. These lakes are also habitat to various species of fish and other distinct flora and fauna, and are the best place to watch nature‘s process at its finest. These magnificent lakes are known as Bulat Lake (Round Lake), Punggualas Lake, Jalan Pangen Lake, and Panjang Lake (Long Lake).
The Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangkaraya serves flights from and to Jakarta and Surabaya. Once you reach Palangkaraya, you can use land transportation or rented cars which take about 20 minutes to Kareng Bangkirai (the Entrance to the Sebangau National Park), alternatively, you can take the Katingan river entrance, which is a 90 minutes drive from the airport. Keep in mind that public transportation may not be as many as those found in other parts of the country. So make sure you’ve made your travel arrangements prior to arrival.
Nyaru Menteng, Home for Borneo Orangutan Survival
A lesser known orangutan reintroduction center but no less important than Tanjung Puting is the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Center near Palangkaraya, capital city of Central Kalimantan. The Center is located within the Nyaru Menteng Arboretum, which was originally meant only for rare vegetations. Today the reserve also includes a forest conservation area where captured primates are released to find their way back into the wild.
Sited within the arboretum, the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Center was founded in 1999 by Lone Dröscher Nielsen and Odom Kisar. Today it is home to more than 600 orphaned and displaced Borneo orangutans under the care of the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation. Since its humble beginnings, the center has now become the world's largest orangutan conservation facility with numerous cages, islands, clinics, vehicles, training forests and hundreds of staff.
The Head of the project is Lone Dröscher-Nielsen. Lone spent four years volunteering in Tanjung Puting, caring for small infant orangutans, before deciding to go out on her own and open the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Project. The clinic, quarantine facilities and socialization cages are inside a fenced area of 1.5 ha, while mid-way housing is at the farthest end of the arboretum.
The forest around the center is undisturbed by regular visitors and serves as the perfect place where the young orangutans are taught how to survive in the wild. As a site where certain special and rare vegetations are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes, the Nyaru Menteng Arboretum was established in 1988 on a 65.2 hectares area which was previously exploited for logging since 1974.
Located within the vicinity of Palangkaraya, there are a lot of accommodation options you can find within the close range to Nyaru Menteng. For more information on accommodation in Palangkaraya you can refer to our to stay and find a hotel in Palangkaraya.
Situated approximately 28 km from downtown Palangkaraya, the Nyaru Menteng Arboretum is administratively located at Tumbang Tahai Village, Bukit Batu Sub-district, in the city of Palangkaraya. The Arboretum lies pleasantly on the Palangkaraya-Sampit intercity route or to the east of the Tjilik Riwut Raya Road, easily accessible by rented cars or public transportation. There are more flights available to Palangkaraya than to Pangkalan Bun, the staging point for a visit to Tanjung Puting.
Relax on board your boat and take in the sights of monkeys jumping from tree to tree. The park is home to around eight species of monkeys including the very distinctive proboscis monkey, with its distinctive long nose it is sure to grab your attention. Try to spot wild orangutans swinging through the thick and lush vegetation. Remember to keep your eyes out for crocodiles too, they might be hard to spot but they’re definitely there! As well as this, the park is also a haven for over 220 species of birds.
Camp Leakey, the Orangutans Preservation
One of the main attractions of Tanjung Puting is Camp Leakey, the orangutans preservation. The camp was founded in 1971 as a haven for orangutans rescued from domestic capture. Today the camp remains a center of research of these amazing animals. Learn more about orangutans at the Camp Leakey information center. The daily feedings of wild orangutans will be the highlight of your visit as you will most likely get to see wild orangutans up close in their natural habitat. Camp Leakey was named after Dr Louis Leakey, the mentor of one of the camps founder’s Professor Birute Galdikas.
Pondok Tangui is also a rehabilitation center for ex-captive orangutans located in the park which has daily feedings of the apes. At both center, you will get the chance to see these amazing primates up close and learn more about how we can protect this endangered species of Borneo island. The park is also home to monkeys, birds and other wildlife, not to mention the pristine vegetation of the jungle itself. This is a world famous natural treasure which attracts a growing number of international visitors each year.
In the jungle there is no other option but to get around by foot so a visit to Tanjung Puting will involve walking in the great outdoors. As you trek through the tropical surrounds you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for orangutans, monkeys, bush pigs and wild deer as you go. Search for native wildlife sites including the great bird life while you take in the sights of a truly exotic tropical jungle.
Walks can be tailored to your level of fitness so discuss the different options with your guide before you set out. While you are staying on the river, traditional boats called klotoks will transport you around.
To explore the park, visitors must take a boat down the Sekonyer River from Pangkalan Bun. These boats will accommodate you for the duration of your stay in Tanjung Punting. Flights run from Jakarta and other major cities to Pangkalan Bun daily.
A number of tour operators run cruises from Pangkalan Bun down the river. If you pre-arrange your tour, the tour operator will pick you up from the airport and transport you straight to the river.
Located in the Riau province, the Tesso Nilo National Park is arguably the largest lowland rainforest on the island of Sumatra. Today the Park covers an area of 83,068 hectares, having grown twice as large from the former 38,576 hectares in 2004 when it was designated as a National Park.
Tesso Nilo stretches along 4 districts, namely the districts of Pelalawan, Indragiri Hulu, Kuantan Sengingi and Kampar. Tesso Nilo is planned to be expanded to cover 100,000 hectares to serve not only as the lungs for the Indonesia archipelago but also for the world. Riau used to have large tracts of jungle, however, because of large scale wild fires, and the building of palm oil plantations, almost two third of primary forests here has been destroyed.
For this reason, to stem further degradation, the government has mapped out the area as a National Park, while plantations already in the park are being reverted to the jungles. Even so, biologists assert that the Tesso Nilo Park still contains abundant tropical vascular plant species, surpassing those found in the Amazon region. The park is habitat to Sumatra’s endangered elephants, tigers, and tapirs. There are boars, deer, sun bear and other wildlife.
In 2012 Tesso Nilo counted some 150 elephants, while WWF found tracks of 50 Sumatran tigers. Nonetheless, the close proximity of the Park to human settlements still cause wild elephants to wander into villages and are, therefore, considered as pests by the local inhabitants. Illegal logging and wildfires also continue to threaten the Park.
To enter the Tesso Nilo National Park, one must first have a permit, signed by the Head of the Tesso Nilo National Park, which can also be obtained at the WWF Headquarters at Pangkalan Kerinci at Pelalawan, Riau at +62 781 494728.
Pangkalan Kerinci is about 5 hours from Pekanbaru, capital of Riau province. WWF can also arrange your tours and accommodation in the park. All visitors must be accompanied by a ranger. There are two check points before you enter the Park, where the permit and accompanying ranger are required.
From the WWF headquarters to the Park it takes about 3 hours by motorbike, passing palm oil plantations, farmland and cleared jungle. There are as yet no regular bus services from Pekanbaru to the Park. So best is to travel by car to Kerinci, and from there take a motorbike to the Park.
The Bekantan and Mangrove Conservation Park
The Bekantan and Mangrove Conservation Park is located about 1 km from the city center of Tarakan in the province of North Kalimantan, and just along the highway out of the city. This site has as its chief inhabitants a large family of proboscis monkeys, called Bekantan. These long nosed and large bellied monkeys are endemic to the island of Borneo, mostly found on the Indonesian side called Kalimantan. They are reddish brown and are often referred to as Arborial Old World monkeys. They usually live near water sources, and are good swimmers. Since they are not aggressive, Bekantans are now on the IUCN Red List as Threatened Species. Their habitat in Kalimantan are, among others, at the Danau Sentarum National Park, Gunung Palung National, Tanjung Puting National Park and the Kutai National Park.
The Conservation Park was started by the first mayor of Tarakan, Jusuf SK, who determined that the city needed to protect a 9 hectares mangrove forest. At first there were only two proboscis monkeys living in this forest, but these soon multiplied to the present 35 comprising of adults, youngs and babies. The animals in the Tarakan Conservation Park are used to humans, despite the fact that bekantans are normally shy animals-they do not run away when they see visitors, so that it is quite easy to take pictures of them in action from a close distance of only 5 meters.
The Walkways are pretty wide between 1.5-2 meters. Best time to watch Bekantans is between 11:00 PM - 02:00 PM Central Indonesia Time, since this is the time that they come down from the forest to eat the extra bananas specially given to them by rangers.