Photo: Enjoy the views.

Gunung Halimun Salak National Park

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If nature is your thing, after a visit to the Bogor Botanical Gardens head out of the city for a day trip to Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park with rainforest, plantations and a number of waterfalls featuring idyllic swimming holes to refresh and delight—you may even spot some wildlife.

The park covers 113,000 hectares, the largest area of rainforest remaining in Java, and boasts more than 700 species of flowering plants including 258 species of orchids. It was once the habitat of Javan rhino and Javan tiger, both sadly no more, but still roaming the forest are Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas), leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis), Javan gibbons (Hylobates moloch) and Javan langurs (Trachypithecus auratus), jungle dogs (Cuon alpinus javanicus), Sunda skunk (Mydaus javanensis) and the endangered Sunda slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) as well as rare birds including the Java hawk-eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi).

Take a cooling dip. Photo taken in or around Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, Bogor, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Take a cooling dip. Photo: Sally Arnold

You could spend days trekking the various trails and the two peaks for which the park is named, Gunung Salak (2,211 metres) and Gunung Halimun (1,929 metres) can be climbed (it is recommended to employ a guide), but the popular trek where you can enjoy three waterfalls, Nangka, Daun and Kaung, can easily be done in a half day trip from Bogor.

One entrance to the park known as Curug Nangka at Ciapus, 13 kilometres southwest of Bogor, is easily reached by public minivan (green No.3) for 25,000 rupiah per person—ask the driver to make a detour and drop you at the gate to avoid a couple of kilometres uphill walk. Entrance fees are payable at two separate gates—7,500 rupiah at one and 10,000 rupiah at the other. We were informed one is for the park, the other for the village. If you wish to trek further into the park or climb the mountains additional fees are required.

Tap tap tap. Photo taken in or around Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, Bogor, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Tap tap tap. Photo: Sally Arnold

A number of warungs selling food, swim ware and towels line the path at this popular local picnic spot, and paths are easily accessible and well marked, and unfortunately with a reasonable amount of litter too around the more popular sections. The further you climb up the path the more pristine the area, and larger the falls. Cross the river and follow the path to a pine plantation where it’s interesting to see tapping the oil for paint production among other uses and look back across the valley for spectacular views of the cloud-capped mountain peak.

Just outside the park entrance, a couple of homestays offer basic accommodation and campgrounds, and nearby a branch of the NGO International Animal Rescue is interesting to visit. This foundation is doing important work rescuing and rehabilitating captured endangered species, namely the slow loris. You won’t be able to view the animals, but the friendly staff speak good English and it’s well worth popping in for a chat. If you have veterinary skills it’s possible to do a volunteer programme here or you can support them financially via their website.

Spectacular in places. Photo taken in or around Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, Bogor, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Spectacular in places. Photo: Sally Arnold

To return to Bogor, follow the road from the gate back to the turnoff where regular minivans pass. The return trip is slightly cheaper as it won’t include the detour. If the cool waters of the waterfalls were not sufficient, a small natural hotspring can be found by following the main road for three kilometres starting from the National Park gate and turning left after the Highland Park Resort. Combine your trip with a visit to the nearby Hindu temple, Pura Parahyangan Agung Jagatkarta.

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Gunung Halimun Salak National Park
13km southwest of Bogor
Admission: 17,500 rupiah

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