The Bedugul Botanical Garden : A Nature-Filled Refuge
The highlands of Bedugul are begging to be explored – green, cool and full of adventure. It is the perfect escape from the sweltering heat of the island’s southern coast, making it an ideal destination for a family day out.
These verdant hills can best be explored on foot within the sweeping landscape of Bedugul botanical garden or Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bali. The garden is indeed a treasure trove for botanists and plant lovers; but it also makes a great playground for those looking for brief respite from urban life.
This huge expanse of garden, whilst an aesthetically pleasing refuge from modern life, also helps plant species stand the test of time, allowing them to continue to thrive and flourish outside of their increasingly diminishing habitats. It gives the opportunity for visitors to experience firsthand the diverse flora found around the country and around the world. Some plant species at the garden are exhibited and displayed neatly for enjoyment and education, while others grow wild along the trekking pathways, inviting you to explore and discover!
Thousands of plant species are preserved here, many representing the vegetation of Indonesia’s eastern areas such as Bali, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua. New collections are frequently added, sourced from other botanical gardens, breeding programmes, and collecting expeditions. For scientific and educational purposes, the garden features a herbarium, seed bank, glasshouses, nursery, and library.
Most of the towering trees that occupy a good portion of the roughly 157 hectares of the garden’s land are of original forest at the Bedugul Botanical Garden, with convenient pathways and rest areas scattered below the canopy to allow for comfortable wanderings and quiet escapes. Whilst definitely good exercise for you and the family, trekking amidst the greenery of the garden’s forests also gives you the chance to bird watch. The garden is a good birding area with the Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Short-tailed Starling, Java Sparrow, Spotted Dove, Eurasian Tree-sparrow, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Streaked Weaver and Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker making frequent appearances.
Of course, picnics are wildly popular in the area – this is what the majority of visitors come to do. Entering Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bali and into the garden’s Ramayana Boulevard, you will feast your eyes on the beautiful, green landscape with colourful flowers and intricate statues that portray the characters from the Hindu epic tale, the Ramayana. The statues are popular amongst visitors and posing teenagers taking photographs. The most popular of the statues – and the biggest one – is the Kumbakarna Liga, depicting a giant battling a monkey army.
Visible from the Kumbakarna statue is a recreational facility for families that are up for a little outdoor challenge, Bali Treetop Adventure Park. This is a high-ropes adventure park, allowing you and the kids to see swing like Tarzan and see and enjoy the garden from new heights. The grass area by the park is one of the garden’s picnic spots. Here, you can bring your picnic baskets and even a music player (some visitors do that), and enjoy the cool, mountain breeze while enjoying your homemade lunch. The little ones can run around freely or perhaps play a little soccer.
Another popular picnic spot at the garden is up by the “lake view” area. Here, the ground is not as flat as the one by the Treetop area, but still allows for breathtaking views of Lake Bratan. Shutterbugs or even professional photographers will absolutely love this spot, for the rolling landscape along with the trees, benches, and the lake creates a great photo opportunity; perhaps a good spot for a family photo? There are always plenty of gazebos scattered around the garden to have a more private picnic.
Then again, everywhere in the garden is picturesque. With that being said, if you’ve had your fill of taking snaps and posing against the beautiful background, then it’s time to take a leisurely stroll through some of the garden’s specialist exhibits, such as the cactus glasshouse. The Bedugul Botantical Garden cactus collection, which consists of around 104 types, is obtained from the areas of Indonesia, Africa, America, Germany, and Switzerland.
Set outdoor, a beautiful area flooded by red, pink, white, and yellow roses makes the garden a dreamy getaway. Other specialist collections at the garden include medicinal herbs, providing the knowledge of natural cures for diseases; orchids; a fern bamboo forest; and ceremonial plants, an area that showcases different types of plants used for the Balinese Hindu offerings.
The Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bali is not only home to thousands of plant species, but also to many Balinese Hindu temples. You are welcome to enter and closely observe the ceremonies (if any are on) at these temples given that you wear proper ceremonial attire – sarong and sash will do, no singlets. On the grounds of one of the temples at the garden, the Pura Luhur Pucak Terate Bang, you will likely find dozens of monkeys scavenging around the grass fields of the temple.
Indeed, hours can easily slip by at the garden. If time permits, you should also visit the neighbouring Lake Beratan and see the breathtaking lake temple Pura Ulun Danu Beratan – not only is it one of the most important temples on the island, but also one of the most photographed. You can take your family to cruise the lake on a boat, or rent a duck-shaped pedal boat and take your little one on a ride on the calm waters, admiring the temple from within the lake. You can approach the temple, but mooring and climbing to the temple are not permitted.
SLEEP IN BEDUGUL
Though a day trip to Bedugul is very doable, you may want to spend a night in the area to enjoy the cool mountain breeze and wake up to a beautiful misty morning. A two-minute drive away from the Kebun Raya Eka Karya Bali is the cabins of Strawberry Hill, a small, incredibly homely accommodation to spend the night.
Incorporating features of a typical Indonesian mountain-style residence, such as wood floors and wooden-clad walls, Strawberry Hill reminds one of a cozy, alpine ski-lodge. Each of Strawberry Hill’s 17 cabins is named after a mountain in Indonesia, and comprises a comfortable, colourful and snug interior, a balcony where room service can be enjoyed overlooking one of Bedugul’s dormant volcanoes, and an en-suite bathroom complete with shower and separate bathtub, with plenty of hot water for those unexpectedly cool high-altitude evenings. Each cabin has a telephone, and a TV with key satellite channels.
The cabins are definitely comfortable, but the hotel’s very own strawberry farm is a treat especially for your little ones, who can pick their own strawberries for a healthy fruit snack!