Indonesian Wildlife Tour

The Best Wildlife Watching Spots in Indonesia

Located just on the equator and included in the rich coral triangle, Indonesia is blessed with countless of invaluable biodiversity both on the land and in the sea. This time, we are showing you the best places to get close up experience with Indonesian wildlife especially the endemic terrestrial species.



Tanjung Puting National Park


Tanjung Puting National Park is a real amazing place to spend with wildlife. Officiated in 1982, this park is the first orangutan rehabilitation center in Indonesia and the biggest one in the world. The orangutans live there are Kalimantan orangutan who have bigger body and darker fur compared to its counterpart in Sumatra.


orangutan by lisa m

Mom and baby orangutans at Camp Leakey by Lisa M


This park is established to save orangutans from harm caused by expansive palm oil farming that has destroyed their natural habitat. There are several rehabilitation centers in the park and Camp Leakey is the biggest one. It gives shelter to wild orangutan that became the victims of poaching. In Pondok Tangui, meanwhile, you will meet orphanage baby orangutans that lost mothers due to palm oil farming activity. In total, there are at least 23.000 orangutans in that forest.


Tanjung Puting teems with another exotic primate other than the orangutan. The long nosed Proboscis monkeys also call the park home. You’ll find endangered species as well like sun bears, Bornean forest cats, some species of birds and alligators.


bekantan by miguel m

Proboscis monkey spends most of the time on trees by Miguel M


The only transport in the park is Klotok (small wooden boats) that turns to be a floating hotel at night. It provides you with basic sleeping and toiletries needs as well as daily meals. At daytime, the boat are tied to piers and you have chances to trek around each rehabilitation center which offers absolute guarantee of free roaming orangutans encounter.



Komodo National Park


As UNESCO World Heritage Site, Komodo National Park offers you an attraction that you’ll never get in other places on earth – meeting Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat. The remarkable lizards are let roam freely in the area, so you’ll have plenty chances to see them hunt and rip the prey into pieces. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the dragons engaged in a rough fight.



Komodo lizard is spying on its prey


Among the many islands within the area, the largest living lizards mainly center on Komodo and Rinca islands. Though Rinca is less well-known compared to Komodo island, where the dragon got the name from, visiting Rinca is worth it. Rinca has more dragons compared to Komodo. Hence, you can easily spot the dragons on the island. Dragon-watching activity on Rinca is very challenging as the dragons are more aggressive compared to their siblings on Komodo island. But if what you look for are bigger komodo dragons, just head for Komodo island instead. Dragons on the island can amazingly grow to the length of 3 meters and weigh up to 70 kilograms.


As to the precise location, Komodo National Park enjoys the westernmost pristine sea of Flores island. The main entrance is Labuan Bajo city on the western tip of island from which you can arrange boat and diving tour. Or in case you want spend one day or two at the coastal city, there a vast option of hotels overlooking beaches you can choose from.



Way Kambas National Park


Established during Dutch era, Way Kambas turns out to be the oldest as well as the biggest conservation for the near extinct Sumatran elephants. It used to be an elephant training center for warfare and ceremonial purpose in old days. It’s only in recent years that local government changed its status into a rehabilitation center for the mammals. Way Kambas is located in Lampung, South Sumatra and it needs a bit of hard effort to get there.


way kambas

A happy elephant family in Way Kambas


Visiting Way Kambas will give you a new wildlife experience impossible to forget. There are roughly 70 elephants and 200 more wander freely in their natural habitat. The easiest way to get in touch with the animal is at the training center. There, you’ll see them do various activities ranging from roaming around the fields to taking bath. Unfortunately, there are few elephants chained on their legs as they are not tame yet. But with the tame ones, you can safely strike a pose with them or even ride them around the grassland for 30 minutes. For more interesting experience, take elephant safari tour that will take you wander into the jungle on top of the tender mammals.


Way Kambas National Park also preserves the endangered Sumatran tigers and Sumatran rhinos. However, it’s limited to the staff and tourists need special entrance permission from the forestry office in Jakarta first to be able to visit. Aside from tiger and rhinos, the park still offers more wildlife tour deep in the jungle, especially for those who enjoy bird-watching. Way Kambas jungle houses variety of bird species including the ones that critically endangered.



Gunung Leuser National Park


A Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, Gunung Leuser National Park has one of richest biological diversity in the world. It is an extremely important conservation area that protects lots of critically endangered species. In fact, the forest is the last remaining place on planet where you can see the exotic Sumatran Orangutan in the wild.



Male Sumatran orangutan in Gunung Leuser National Park


The chance to see them closer is offered at Bukit Lawang where they are trained to be self-reliant before being released into the jungle. You can join in the two times of feeding sessions at the rehabilitation center under a supervision of rangers. The orangutan is not alone in the jungle. They share the branches with the other unique primates like siamang, gibbons and the Mohawk-haired Thomas leaf monkeys.


The hinterland of the park mostly contains of steep slippery terrain and muddy slopes, but rangers will lead you through the trekking path for you to spot the native species of the forest. Be watchful during the trekking or you’ll lose the priceless opportunity to spot the elusive Sumatran mammals of tigers, rhinoceros and even elephants.



Ujung Kulon National Park


Ujung Kulon National Park is the only piece of Java where wilderness is kept at its best. Also, it’s the only place in which the critically endangered Javan Rhinos call it home. They mainly center on the tip of Ujung Kulon peninsula and sadly there are only 50 individuals left these days.


From the beginning, this one-horned animal has been the target for both illegal and sport hunting for its horns cost a lot of money. But ever since they are declared to be protected animal, the rhinos can graze and live freely and soundly in the park.


ujung kulon

Javan Rhinos are only found in Ujung Kulon National Park


Other than wild animals, the park draws visitors’ attention with its virgin beaches, rivers and pristine underwater beauty. It’s better to trek into the jungle before enjoying the other beauties of the park’s neighboring islands. It indeed need struggle but the result will be equal. You’ll first walk through shrubs and Kiara, Ujung Kulon’s native giant trees, before you finally reach Tanjung Layar beach. This spot is the westernmost tip of Java that boasts pristine beach dotted with cliff and rocks.


Ujung Kulon is about 5 hour trip from West Java’s downtown, makes it a quick nature escape from hustle bustle of Jakarta.



Tangkoko National Park


Located on the northern tip end of Sulawesi island, Tangkoko Nature Reserve covers an area of more than 8.745 hectares with mostly hilly terrain and pristine thick rain forest. And on the east, it is directly adjacent to blue Celebes Sea.


Tarsius is the smallest monkey in the world

Tarsius is the smallest monkey in the world


This park houses all kind of endemic animals on the island that exist no-where else in the word. While the colorful Celebes hornbills are easily spotted on the trees, tarsius will take you more effort to find it. This primate is the smallest one in the world that grows only to 15 cm in maximum. It also shares the forest with couscous and black crested monkeys that live mainly in groups.


The Black Crested Macaque

The Black Crested Macaque at Tangkoko


Tangkoko has some real wildlife adventure to offer. This is no safari park. So, there are no elephants or jeeps that will take you around the forest. You have to walk yourselves across the lush jungle, hiking up the hills and cutting through the reeds with live sound of nature on the background. All for a valuable encounter with flocks of free roaming rare animals. It’s a default guarantee that you’ll get fully immersed in this once in a life time experience.



Kerinci Seblat National Park


Kerinci Seblat National Park is the biggest protected area in Sumatra that covers four regions of West Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu and South Sumatra. It sprawls from the coastal area up the forester valleys and gorges of Barisan Mountains including Mount Kerinci where the park got its name. With the total area of 3,750 km², the park is twice wider than Bali island.


karinci seblat

Baby Sumatran tigers taking rest in Kernci Seblat National Park


This park is popular for its Sumatran tiger conservation service. It’s even becomes one of the most successful project in the whole Asia where tiger numbers actually increased. These days, there are roughly 200 tigers roaming in the park, several percent more than in the previous years.


You may not find the elusive bid cats as you trek down the park. But there are possible chances to spot herds of elephants, bears, tapirs and gibbons. The biggest treat will be for birdwatchers as there are more than 370 species including 17 endemic species of its own living in the park. Once-in-a-lifetime encounter includes the Sumatran ground-cuckoo, which was considered extinct until it was rediscovered there in 2002.



Meru Betiri National Park


Covering 580 km2 of lowland forest and coastal area, Meru Betiri serves important habitat for Javan endemic species especially the Javan tigers. In 1950s, the tigers were given critically endangered status after the population dropped to less than 10 individuals in the park. And later in 19705, sadly, the elusive big cats were finally claimed extinct.


meru betiri

Visitor releasing baby turtles back to the sea on Sukamade beach


Despite of losing its iconic inhabitants, Meru Betiri is still one of crucial wildlife services on Java island. It now draws tourists due to its outstanding turtle conservation centered on Sukamade beach which becomes the biggest nestling spots for the animal.


Visitors can see hundreds of turtles drag their bodies to the sand to lay the eggs. The next day, the staff will collect all the eggs to hatch and save them from hunters. Tourists can also join in hatchling release tour where they can free the hatchling back to the sea.



Wasur National Park


Wasur National Park is established as the largest and untouched wetland in Papua (it’s 4,138 km2!). Because of its jaw-dropping biodiversity, this national park is dubbed as “The Serengeti of Papua”. It is too not exaggerating if you call it a hidden paradise, since it contains various kinds of almost extinct flora and fauna in it.



A group of male and female birds of paradise


As one of wildlife conservations established by WWF, the Serengeti of Papua is home to 358 bird species, in which 80 of them are the endemic ones. So, don’t be surprised to see gorgeous fauna like parrot, cassowary and king bird of paradise pass you by or sing cheerfully above the trees around when you are in this national park.


kanguru pohon wasur

Tree Kangaroo is one of endangered animals on Papua Indonesia


Should you think that national park located in the eastern side of Indonesia and far from civilization is just a dark, gloomy and grumpy group of old trees, you do make a fatal mistake. According to WWF, 70 % of the park consists of savanna while the remaining are the other kind of forests such as bamboo and swamp. That means, you will also get the chance to meet wild boars, speckled fitches, short snouted hedgehogs, and even kangaroo there!

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