Bogor Botanical Gardens

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Bogor is a city ~40 miles south of Jakarta and known as one of the wettest cities in Java! Its climate made it a favourite location for the Dutch and British officials to escape from the heat and pestilence associated with living in Batavia in the 17th - 19th centuries.  Indeed, Lieutenant Governor-General Thomas Stamford Raffles moved his administration here from Batavia during the 5-year British rule of Java. At that time, Bogor was known as Buitenzorg, meaning ‘without worries’. The current President of the Republic of Indonesia lives here when he is not needed in Jakarta.

The photo above is of the Presidential Palace who’s grounds border those of the Botanical Gardens which were built by the Dutch colonial government in 1817. The Bogor Botanical Gardens are one of the largest and oldest botanical gardens in the world, and one could spend days exploring here. 

We stayed at The Salak Hotel, just across the road from the Presidential Palace and the Botanical Gardens. The palace grounds were teaming with deer which could be tempted to the railings by offerings of carrots.

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Once inside the gardens, our destination was the memorial for Olivia Raffles who was the first wife of Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the Lieutenant Governor-General of Java and its dependencies. She was known as the life and soul of parties hosted by the British East India Company, and some say it was the need for a stiff drink which hastened her death. It was well known in the 19th century that life was often cut short for Westerners living in this part of the world; a headache and fever in the morning could mean death by dinner time. I presume it was no different for the locals, but they took it for granted. But, if you came out here with the British East India Company and survived long enough, you could return to Britain a rich man, and not always by legal means.

We were not very good and finding directions in the park, so stumbled on a small Dutch cemetery first.

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Later we found the memorial for Olivia Mariamne Raffles, and the only other people who stopped to look were a group of Dutch tourists and their guide.

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The park was full of people enjoying the lovely open spaces, and many people wanted us in their photos and/or stopped to ask what we were doing there? So, here is a selection of photos of Bogor Botanical Gardens and its people.

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As we sat in the cafe at the top of the hill, we saw a group of men being herded around for a photo-op. They were a delegation from Afghanistan, some of which seemed to be really enjoying themselves, others not so much!

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© Helen Gray 2021