Just 60 km south, or a mere one hour by road from Jakarta lies the town of Bogor, once known as “Buitenzorg” meaning “free of care”, located at the foothills of Mt. Salak. It has a high, year-round rainfall and a much cooler climate compared to metropolitan Jakarta. Here are spread out the 87 hectares world famous Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebon Raya Bogor), with the impressive out-of-town Bogor Presidential Palace fronting it and soaring Mt. Salak at its background.
Bogor Botanical Gardens boasts over 400 species of palm trees, 5,000 trees gathered from around the tropical world, and an orchid house containing 3,000 varieties. Records show that the Bogor Botanical Gardens harbours 3,504 plant species, 1,273 genus in 199 families.
The Gardens are said to have been initiated by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who, between 1811-1816, became Governor General of the East Indies during the interim reign of the British over the archipelago. With the help of botanists from London’s famed Kew Gardens, Raffles first laid out a small garden. However, the Gardens were officially established by the Dutch in 1817 under the directorship of CGC Reinwardt. A memorial to Raffles’ wife still stands in the Gardens. The Bogor Gardens today function as an ex situ conservation site, a research center for taxonomy and plant utilization. In horticulture the Gardens study adaptation, planting and propagation of plants and develop the science of plant growing.