Saturday, 4 June 2011

10 Great National Parks in Indonesia

1. Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is one of the most famous national park and also a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful mountain landscapes and fascinating volcanic cones. It was established in 1982 and spanning an area of 503 km² in East Java, about 53 km from Malang town. The different of this national park is the only Indonesia's conservation area that has a sand sea, the Tengger Sand Sea, across which is the caldera of an ancient volcano from which several new volcanic cones have emerged. This unique feature covers a total area of 5,250 hectares and located at an altitude above 2,100 m. Mount Bromo is one of the volcanoes that sits inside the massive Tengger caldera and surrounded by sand sea. It is easily recognised by its white sulphurous smoke constantly plume from the crater inside. Within the park Mount Semeru is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, where a huge cloud steam and smoke belched from the crater for every 20 to 30 minutes, sometimes interspersed with ash and stones. Although Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park may described as one of the most dangerous area in Indonesia, but it is still visited by thousands of visitors each year.

2. Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park was declared as a World Heritage site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986, after six years of establishment. The park is situated within the Lesser Sunda Islands and consists of the three larger islands of Komodo, Rinca, Padar and 26 smaller islands creating a total surface area of 1,817 km². The islands are not only house the world famous and endanger species of Komodo Dragon, the world's largest lizard, but also feature a dramatic wild savannah landscape with patches of forest especially on the southern hills of Komodo and Rinca Islands. Furthermore, these islands are also surrounded by beautiful white and red sand beaches, blue lagoons teeming with diversity of marine life and some of the most spectacular underwater scenery in the world that entice divers and guests from around the world. Komodo National Park indeed a perfect holiday location due to its beautiful deserted beaches, hiking trails, great wildlife, various forms of coral reefs and also many interesting water activities.

3. Tanjung Puting National Park
Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo, south of Kalimantan, Indonesian. The park covers an area of 4,150 km² and consists of dryland dipterocarp forest, peat swamp forest, heath forest, mangrove, coastal beach forest, secondary forest and rivers. It was originally formed by Dutch in 1930s to protect the orangutans and proboscis monkey. In 1977, the park was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and later the government of Indonesia announced it as a national park in 1982. Other animals such as gibbons, macaques, Borneo clouded leopards, sun bears, wild boars, porcupines, and Sambar deer also can be found here. Reptiles, birds, fishes, amphibians and insects which are no exception as part of the animal species in this park too. Due to the area is rich in biodiversity and several important ecosystems, the Tanjuug Puting National Park is a perfect ecotorism destination. Many local tour agents also offer several boat tours to bring visitors a closer view of the wildlife and fascinating tropical rainforest, and a visit to the orangutan rehabilitation center is a must for those who comes to this national park.

4. Bunaken National Park
The Bunaken National Park was officially established in 1991 and is among the Indonesia's first growing system of marine park which is situated in Manado Bay, north of Sulawesi Island. The park consists of five islands; Bunaken, Manado Tua, Montehage, Nain and Siladen, and covers a total surface area of 890.65 km² where the majority is marine habitat and only 3% is terrestrial. The surrounded area is very rich in coral ecosystem and dominated by fringing reef and barrier reef corals. Hundreds of coral species are recorded in this park. Beside the wide variety of coral species, the deep, clear and warm waters around the islands assist the reproduction of plankton, seagrasses and sponges as food and shelter for small fish. Oceanic currents rich in food and nutrients sweep past the area, these attract an abundance of marine life ranging from big pelagics to tiny critters. With the presence of these features, a solid marine and coral ecosystem formed. Each year, thousands of divers, underwater explorers and photographers from every corner of the world come to witness and enjoy the natural beauty of the Bunaken's underwater world.

5. Ujung Kulon National Park
Ujung Kulon National Park is one of the most remote national park in Indonesia. It is located in the extreme southwestern tip of Java Island on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa. Due to its remote and isolated location, and difficult to access, Ujung Kulon remains as a native forest and untouched wilderness. It's largest remaining lowland tropical rainforest ecosystem together with the awesome Krakatau volcano and some good beaches with intact coral reefs have become one of the most rewarding national park in Java. In 1991, the park was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and presents some fine opportunities for jungle trekking, canoeing, snorkeling and diving. Ujung Kulon is best known as the last refuge in Java for the one plentiful one-horned rhinoceros which is critically endangered. The number is estimated in 60 and the chances to see them are slim. Beside the rhinoceros, the park also home to many species of mammals, primates, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fishes, insects and hundreds species of flora where some of them are considered as rare. A visit to this amazing tropical rainforest is worth it especially for those who likes the natural flora and fauna. 

6. Gunung Rinjani National Park
Gunung Rinjani National Park is one of the best place for mountain trekking in Southeast Asia where the Indonesia's third highest mountain, Mount Rinjani (3,726 m) sits in the center of the park. Thousands of mountain climbers, adventurers, explorers and travellers around the world come to challenge the Mount Rinjani in order to witness its beautiful mountainous landscape, massive crater, crescent shaped sulfur lake under the crater and new born small volcano formed in the lake. Furthermore, the lush forests sprinkled with waterfalls around the slopes of mountain have also increased the overall natural beauty of Mount Rinjani. This fascinating national park spans an area of 413.30 km² is situated on the island of Lombok and lies within a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallaceae) where the tropical flora and fauna of Southeast Asia meets that of Australasia.

7. Gunung Leuser National Park
Gunung Leuser National Park is the second largest and the most diverse national parks in Sumatra Island. It covers an area of 7,927 km² in the northern tip of the island. The park encompasses a large portion of Bukit Barisan Mountains, known for its steep, almost inaccessible mountainous terrains. The altitude ranges from beach area in Kluet (South Aceh), to 3,381 meter on top of the Mount Leuser (Southeast Aceh). The breathtaking Alas River cuts the park into an eastern and western half, where your tropical thirst for adrenaline will be captivatingly fulfilled. It also embraces various ecosystems which is a cluster of various nature reserves and forests such as mangroves, beach and swamp forest, lowland rainforest, moss forest, and up to sub-alpine forest. Around 130 species are identified in this national park, including the most famous Sumatran orangutans, the mysterious Sumatran tigers, endangered elephants and rhinos, Siamang monkeys, macaques, clouded leopards, reptiles, fish, and around 325 species of birds. Almost every adventurer who has visited and experienced the Gunung Leuser, surely would not feel any disappointment. Because it is far more than just a great adventure to the last zoo you visited.

8. Lorentz National Park
Lorentz National Park is the largest national park in Indonesia as well as Southeast Asia where the park encompasses a total area of 25,056 km² in Papua Province. It is the only nature reserve in the Asia-Pacific region to contain a full altitudinal array of ecosystems ranging through marine areas, mangroves, tidal and freshwater swamp forest, lowland and montane rainforest, alpine tundra, and equatorial glaciers. Due to the park is located at the meeting point of two colliding continental plates, the area has a complex geology with on-going mountain formation as well as major sculpting by glaciation. At 4,884 m, Puncak Jaya (formerly Carstensz Pyramid) is the tallest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes. Beside that, the area also contains fossil sites, which record the evolution of life on New Guinea, a high level of endemism and the highest level of biodiversity in the region. A perfect location for adventurers, explorers and researchers because Lorentz National Park still contains many unmapped and unexplored areas, and also many species of plants and animals as yet unknown to Western science.

9. Kerinci Seblat National Park
Kerinci-Seblat National Park is the largest protected area in Sumatra Island, covering a total of 13,791 km². Much of the national park comprises montane and hill forests, some still virtually unexplored. The park is an ASEAN Heritage site and since 2004, it was listed as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site. Kerinci Seblat is recognized as one of the most important reserves in the world for conservation of wild tigers and as a global hotspot for biodiversity. It is famous for its wealth of species where more than 375 species of birds, 86 species of mammal, including elephants, bears, tapirs, and Sumatran clouded leopard, 8 species of primate and 4,000 species of flora have been identified within this park. With the discovery of Muntiacus montanus, the park now has four species of deer and two species of mouse deer, with many local reports of more species remaining to be discovered, including the fabled orang pendek, a primate which has been observed by scientists but not yet scientifically validated.

10. Kelimutu National Park
Kelimutu National Park famous for it’s colored crater lakes. It is still a puzzle for both scientists and locals how the lakes gained its color and eventually change from time-to-time. The color of the three lakes are red, blue and white which eventually turns into black-brown, light green and black. The former red and blue lakes where separated by 200 centimeters wall of earth and located side-by-side while the former white lake is located to the west. This unique natural phenomenon is located on the island of Flores, covering an area of 50 km², the smallest national park of Indonesia declared in 1992. The Kelimutu National Park not only consists of lakes but also mountains, Mount Kelibara as the highest peak and Mount Kelimutu, and also various species of birds, plants and endangered animals. It is one of the best tourist attraction in Indonesia where the visitors may enjoy the surrounding breathtaking views with a cooler climate other than the three unique crater lakes.   


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