Bali’s Botanical Gardens
Kebun Raya Eka Karya is the official title for Bali’s botanical gardens that stretch majestically across a plateau between two minor mountain ranges in an area known as Bedugul. The gardens provide a recreational destination for family gatherings, staff outings and international visitors interested in local species of flora.
Elevated high above sea level in the cool forest plains of the Tabanan regency, the botanical gardens cover approximately 154 hectares of fertile landscape and were established during the 1950’s as a branch of Indonesia’s national gardens in Bogor, outside the capital of Jakarta.
The gardens are within the vicinity of the landlocked Lake Beratan where the crisp air is a welcome escape from the humidity of Bali’s tropical south. There is also a traditional market close by where stalls are laden with locally grown fruit, vegetables, spices, vibrant potted orchids and other plant varieties suited to temperate conditions.
The gardens are crossed by a series of winding asphalt roads that can accommodate a family car or mini-bus for those who prefer to sightsee in comfort without overly exerting themselves. Alternatively, visitors can wander around and explore on foot to experience the clean country air and marvel at the diversity of native flora. Coloured tracks mark different routes that lead through pathways sheltered by towering trees to expose designated areas filled with roses, orchids, ferns and other plants that are cultivated for their medicinal properties.
A recent addition to the gardens is an innovative activity called Tree Top Adventures where a mini assault course, featuring suspended ropes, ladders and pulleys, is directed around a network of trees that soar into the sky. Participants must wear a safety harness and clip themselves onto the security cables as they make their way around the course. Designed to harmonize with the landscape and respect all existing flora, this activity introduces visitors to the natural beauty of the gardens and at the same time safeguards its existence for future generation to appreciate.
Trips to the botanical gardens can be arranged through any reputable travel agency and the journey, which is nearly 2-hours from Kuta, takes in some of Bali’s most stunning rural scenery of farmland, terraced rice fields and tropical forests. The gardens are extremely popular on weekends and public holidays when the Balinese like to come in extended family groups to a enjoy picnic luncheon and then pray at the nearby lakeside temple that is dedicated to the Goddess of water.
photo taken from planetmole.org
By mid afternoon a thick mountain mist begins to shroud the entire landscape of the gardens. The air becomes quite chilly and visibility is poor. Most visitors decide that this is the best time to pack up and make a few purchases at the market before venturing home. For those who decide to stay overnight there are plenty of simple guest bungalows in the Bedugul area that ideally suit travellers’ seeking a relaxed pace away from the hustle and bustle of Kuta and other major tourist destinations.