Egg, caterpillar, pupa, butterfly, repeat
We were dubious about visiting Kemenuh Butterfly Park as we’d visited a couple of butterfly farms in the past and had been disappointed. Happily, this was an exception and is a delightful and well run attraction with enthusiastic staff and lots of pretty butterflies.
A short drive south from Ubud, the small park sits overlooking picturesque rice fields. Butterflies are housed in an outdoor netted sanctuary, entered though chain mesh to a small but attractive tropical flower garden of delights full of flitting lepidoptera and a tinkling man-made water feature. We were captivated by the iridescent nectar drinkers, gracefully darting from flower to flower. The area is quite small which makes it easy to find and photograph the butterflies, even if they dart off as you snap.
The park keeps and breeds 14 species including the large Attacus atlas (atlas moth), locally called kup-kupu barong, which have been recorded as having a wingspan of up to 262 millimetres. For you lepidopterists out there (others skip this paragraph) the list includes: Idea stolli (common tree nymph), Vindula erota (common cruiser), Ideopsis juventa (grey glassy tiger / wood nymph), Cethosia hypsea (Malay lacewing), Euploea phaenarete (milkweed butterfly), Euploea corinna (common crow), Graphium agamemnon (tailed jay), Papilio demoleus (lime butterfly), Papilio polytes (common mormon), Papilio peranthus (swallowtail), Papilio helenus (red helen), Papilio memnon (great mormon), and Troides helena (common birdwing).
Within the enclosure, the Pupa Room, is where the magic happens. Staff collect the butterfly eggs and watch carefully as they turn into (very hungry) wiggly caterpillars, mostly camouflaged amongst the leaves. When they are ready, they spin a cocoon or chrysalis. The collection here is fascinating and mostly look like small gilt peanuts although the larger atlas moth pupas are more “leafy”. Interestingly, the shinny pupas are poisonous to predators such as birds, mice, lizards and ants — isn’t nature clever?
When they're ready (ten days to one month, depending on the species), they emerge into butterflies for a very short life (5-14 days) when they flit around the park, lay eggs, and start all over again. For a more gruesome explanation of the butterflies’ life cycle see this (graphic warning: it digests itself!) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/caterpillar-butterfly-metamorphosis-explainer/
Staff are on hand to answer any questions and explained to us that the parks core purpose was for conservation, education and recreation, all worthy values. Kemenuh Butterfly Park’s facilities include a gift shop full of all things butterfly, and a restaurant overlooking the rice fields with clean toilets. The best time to visit is early in the morning or late afternoon as you are more likely to see the butterflies at those times. If it’s raining give the park a miss, they don’t like the rain.
You could wiz though in about 20 minutes, but if you’re keen for photos, allow an hour. We were fascinated, but do think it’s a bit pricey particularly if you have a family in tow: 100,000 rupiah for adults and 50,000 rupiah for kids. Entry fee includes a welcome drink. Kemenuh Butterfly Park is one-and-a-half kilometres from Tegenungan Waterfall and makes an interesting stop on the way.
Address: 9 kilometres south of Ubud, Jalan Raya Kemenuh, Sukawati
T: (0361) 479 1681; (0819) 9901 3322;
Coordinates (for GPS): 115º17'2.46" E, 8º33'54.59" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 100,000 rupiah for adults and 50,000 rupiah for kids
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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