Indonesia, Java, Bogor, Kebun Raya (Great Garden), vegetation

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Kebun Raya

Top choice in West Java

At the heart of Bogor are the fabulous botanical gardens, known as the Kebun Raya; the city’s green lung covers 87 hectares. Everyone loves the Orchid House with its exotic and delicate blooms, but there are more than 15,000 species of plant here including 400 different kinds of palm (don't miss the footstool palm, which tops out at an impressive 25m). There are lots of graceful pandan trees and some huge agave and cacti in the Mexican section.

To avoid Bogor's infamous thunderstorms, try to visit as early in the day as you can and allow at least half a day to enjoy Kebun Raya. Just relaxing on one of the grand lawns with a book is as much an attraction as the horticulture. Look out also for monitor lizards, exotic bird life and deer.

Governor-General Raffles first developed a garden here, and the spacious grounds of the Istana Bogor (Presidential Palace) were expanded by Dutch botanist Professor Reinwardt, with assistance from London’s Kew Gardens, and officially opened in 1817.

Near the main entrance of the gardens is a small memorial, erected in memory of Governor-General Raffles' first wife Olivia Raffles, who died in 1814 and was buried in Batavia. There is also a cemetery near the palace with Dutch headstones, including the tomb of DJ de Eerens, a former governor-general.

Crowds flock here on Sunday, but the gardens are quiet at most other times. Don't miss the delightful Grand Garden Café, the perfect spot for lunch.

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