The Jakarta Post
Still don’t know where to spend your school holidays?
The green and spacious Eka Karya Botanical Garden in Bedugul’s cool resort area of Tabanan, about 80 kilometers north of Denpasar, will certainly provide you with beautiful natural surroundings and educational activities during your leisure hours.
I Nyoman Lugrayasa, head of the technical unit of the garden’s plant conservation section, has urged local school and university students to benefit from the garden’s massive plant and flower collections.
“We will give a 50 percent discount on ticket prices for students during the holidays to encourage them to visit this valuable botanical garden managed by scientists from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences [LIPI]. It is not only a holiday site but also a natural laboratory,” Lugrayasa said.
The 157.5-hectare botanical garden located 1,250 meters to 1,450 meters above sea level is home to 2,000 species of plants and 20,000 plant specimens ranging from orchids, roses and medicinal plants to palms and Cyatheas. It also has a stunning view of Buyan Lake.
“This is an in-site conservation area of tropical mountainous plants from the eastern part of Indonesia,” he said.
The management of the botanical garden has established cooperation with 103 elementary schools in Denpasar, Gianyar and Tabanan regencies. “We expect to collaborate with more schools. They can learn many subjects related to nature and the environment,” he said.
He cited as an example that students could learn the benefits of Cyathea plants from various parts of Indonesia including Bali, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Sumatera and Papua.
“People usually use this plant as a vegetable. They are often consumed as medicine and even used for handicrafts and art products in other parts of Indonesia,” he said.
The Bedugul Botanical Garden is one of four botanical gardens in Indonesia that is managed by LIPI. The other three are the Bogor Botanical Garden and the Cibodas Botanical Garden in West Java and the Purwodadi Botanical Garden in Central Java — all developed during the Dutch colonial period.
The Bedugul Botanical Garden was established under the auspices of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, on July 15, 1959.
Since its opening, the Bedugul Botanical Garden has had a mission of conservation, research and development and to provide educational and recreational activities.
Around 350,000 people, including 10,000 foreigners, visit the garden annually, paying only Rp 7,000 ( 82 US cents ) per person.
The garden is also equipped with recreational facilities including a resort, campground, restaurant and meeting room.
Currently, 24 international scientists and scholars from France, England, Brazil and other countries are carrying out research and development of new plant species and conservation.
Syahman Manurung and his wife Elida Silitonga, visitors from Medan in North Sumatra, expressed their happiness visiting the garden. “It is so cool and peaceful here, we can hardly find this in our crowded city of Medan,” said Manurung.
The existence of the botanical garden also provides economic benefits to locals. Siti Maemunah, a local resident, sells strawberries in front of the garden gate. “Every day I can earn around Rp 500,000, enough to cover our daily expenses,” said the mother of three.
Wayan Diasa, head of Tabanan’s tourism and culture office, confirmed that the presence of the Bedugul Botanical Garden has greatly contributed to the development of tourism in the regency. Tabanan has 26 tourist sites including the botanical garden, Tanah Lot and the Soka beaches.