National Parks in Indonesia
The largest archipelagic state that lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire is bound to be a place of diverse, rich wildlife and ecosystems. Likely, Indonesia is a stunning country with various sceneries and unique wildlife on many of its 17 000 islands and islets. This Southeast Asian and Oceanic country is undoubtedly most famous for the islands of Java, Sumatra, and perhaps the most popular – Bali.
Of course, a country of this size and geographic location would have many areas worthy of the title of a national park. In fact, there are 54 national parks in Indonesia. You can learn more about them in the following text, listed by islands in alphabetical order. Also, at the bottom of it, you can find a map of all national parks in Indonesia for easier navigation.
Table of Contents
List of national parks in Indonesia
The following text lists all national parks in Indonesia by region, with a brief description of each. At the end of the list, you will find more information about the largest national parks, brief entrance information and a map for easier navigation.
Papua national parks (3)
The Papua province encompasses the western coast of New Guinea and many islands in Cenderawasih Bay.
Lorentz National Park
This World Heritage Site is famous for two things. Firstly, it is the largest protected area in Southeast Asia. Also, it is the only protected area that has so many different climates and ecosystems.In fact, the climate ranges from tropical and marine climate to snow capped mountains, with many other climate variations between these two extremes. Naturally, such an environmental diversity resulted in many different species in the area. Visitors can get to the park by renting a car or taking an organized tour from Wamena.
Teluk Cenderawasih National Park
Teluk Cenderawasih National Park is famous for being the largest marine national park in Indonesia, and it is located in Cenderawasih Bay. Interestingly, there are over 150 coral species in the park waters. Of course, the park is beautiful both underwater and on land. The islands scattered around the bay boast soft sandy beaches, and the turquoise sea is fantastic for diving be it snorkeling or scuba diving. Naturally, water activities are among the most popular. Along with diving, visitors can enjoy kayaking, or simply soak up the sun at the beach.
Wasur National Park
As one of the most well-preserved national parks in Indonesia, Wasur National Park is an underappreciated gem. It is home to several tribes of indigenous peoples, who have a long history in the area and a rich cultural heritage. The tribes still reside within the park and work on preserving and guarding the park. Particularly, savannas and wetlands compose the scenery of Wasur. Naturally, the park’s rich fauna is attractive to many people who enjoy walking trails and animal watching in the park.
Kalimantan national parks (8)
Kalimantan covers the Indonesian part of Borneo and an island that will in a decade become the island of the country’s new capital. The Indonesian portion of the largest Asian island boasts 8 stunning national parks.
Betung Kerihun National Park
Established in 1995, Betung Kerihun National Park protects the rainforests and biodiversity in West Kalimantan. Specifically, the park covers an area of approximately 8000 square kilometers. It serves as a conservation area of the headwaters of the Kapuas River, along with the montane and lowland rainforests of Mount Kerihun and Mount Lawit. Interestingly, the park is scarce in amenities and tourist activities; it is mostly oriented towards protecting the wildlife and the habitat of native tribes living in and around Betung Kerihun. Moreover, visitors can enter the park after registering and can take guided tours and explore it on boats.
Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park
This national park is sometimes simply referred to as TNBBBR, an acronym for the park’s name in Indonesian. Interestingly, the park owes its name to the two mountains at its heart – Bukit Baka and Bukit Raya. The park is an area of special conservation, which means that it does not cater to tourists with its amenities and services. Particularly, the authorities recognized Bukit Baka Bukit Raya as a national park to put an end to illegal logging and stop deforestation in the area.
Lake Sentarum National Park
During the rainy season, almost half of the park’s surface is covered in water. Naturally, the main feature of the park is that, along with a few permanent lakes, there are many seasonal ones. Lake Sentarum National Park lies in the basin of the Kapuas River, and there are many villages in and around the park. But, the water level does not limit the ability to visit the park. Renting a boat is a great option to take when visiting during the high water level season. Or, those who like to rely on their feet and take their time can explore the park on foot, taking the cute wooden bridges and paths designated for tourist visits.
Mount Palung National Park
The various types of forests of Mount Palung National Park are home to a protected orangutan population. Particularly, the area was selected as a national park in order to serve as a conservation area for these endangered, magnificent creatures. As of now, tourism in the area is quite low and it is quite complicated to enter the park. Also, there are no tourist services and amenities, apart from rare guided tours. So, the park serves primarily the purpose of conserving natural resources and the wildlife of the area.
Kayan Mentarang National Park
The national park at the Indonesian-Malaysian border is well known for its mountain trails and crystal-clear rivers. As a part of the Heart of Borneo initiative, which aims to protect the natural riches of Borneo island, Kayan Mentarang National Park is a location aimed at adventurers and those who love exploring the national parks in their raw states. So, this means that tourist services, programs and amenities are scarce. Particularly, visitors can walk through the centuries-old forests or enjoy kayaking on the river. Additionally, Kayan Mentarang National Park is also archaeologically important, with remains of human settlements thousands of years old.
Kutai National Park
Famous for its orangutan population, Kutai National Park is one of the popular tourist attractions in the Indonesian part of Borneo. A trekker’s paradise, the park boasts several walking trails throughout the forest. However, the orangutan is not the only primate that resides in this area. Particularly, Kutai is home to many animal species, including 9 other primate species. The facilities at the park include a toilet and a camping area. Also, visitors who wish to learn more about the park can book a guided tour of Kutai National Park.
Sabangau National Park
Notable for the world’s largest orangutan population, Sabangau National Park is one of the national parks that primarily focuses on the conservation of an endangered species. Specifically, the establishment of the park back in 2004 had the primary purpose of fighting illegal logging and massive deforestation of the area. Unfortunately, illegal logging still presents a big environmental danger, as hectares of this once large swamp forest are disappearing. Interestingly, Sabangau National Park is open for visitors, who can take the river tour or opt for a hike.
Tanjung Puting National Park
Different types of forests – swap forests, heath forests and lowland forests to name a few – characterize this Indonesian UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Another orangutan conservation area in Borneo, Tanjung Puting has been battling illegal deforestation for decades. Interestingly, the park is a very popular destination for ecotourism. Tourists can take guided tours on boats or go trekking through the park. Local communities live close to the park’s borders, and it is where visitors can book accommodation or enjoy local food.
Sulawesi national parks (9)
Understandably, the seventh largest island in the world has many natural gems that the government recognized as national parks. Particularly, there are 9 national parks in the Sulawesi region of Indonesia. Also, three national parks are a part of the network of Biosphere Reserves and three are proposed World Heritage Sites.
Bantimurung–Bulusaraung National Park
One of the most well-known national parks in Indonesia is famous for its kast area, with nearly 300 caves scattered throughout the park. However, the most famous site in Bantimurung-Bulusaraung is the stunning Bantimurung waterfall. Because of its particular and rich flora, Bantimurung-Bulusaraung is brimming with fascinating, diverse wildlife. But, certainly the most famous are Bantimurung-Bulusaraung butterflies. In fact, there is a butterfly museum at the park. This is the place where visitors can see the hundreds of colorful butterfly species that make this park unique.
Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park
This national park, originally established in 1991 under the name Dumoga Bone National Park, bears the name of an Indonesian World War II hero since the early 2000s. It is located on Sulawesi, and covers a large territory – over 280 000 ha of land! Naturally, popular activities in the park are walking and hiking. However, the park also attracts photographers and nature enthusiasts, as it is beaming with diverse wildlife and particularly endemic species. Furthermore, many locals who live near Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park offer guided tours. And, those who wish to spend more time in Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park can book accommodation in the area.
Bunaken National Park
Although Bunaken Island is a breathtaking place, the national park is a lot more famous for its colorful sea life. It protects a segment of the Coral Triangle, and within it several hundred coral species. Naturally, these coral reefs provide home and shelter to many fish and other marine animals. Because of this, Bunaken National Park attracts many scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts who wish to explore the fascinating, and lively world below. Of course, this does not mean that Bunaken itself doesn’t have anything to offer. The entire island is breathtakingly stunning, and visitors can enjoy a refreshing meal at the beach after a day of exploring both the land and the sea.
Gandang Dewata National Park
The montane national park that protects one of the tallest mountains in the region is very special to the local population. The native population of the area considers Gandang Dewata a sacred place. Interestingly, the loose translation of the park’s name is ‘the drum of gods’. Because of its sacred role in the lives of the people, Gandang Dewata National Park is not as promoted as a tourist attraction as other parks on this list. While visiting Gandang Dewata is certainly possible, there are no tourist facilities and attractions as of now.
Kepulauan Togean National Park
The Togean Islands are nothing short of beautiful – and Kepulauan Togean National Park is here to preserve them. Naturally, as it always is in the marine national parks, the most popular activities are snorkeling and scuba diving. The area is beaming with corals and colorful fish, which are always a sight to behold. However, it is a pity to only stop at that. The 500 islands are of volcanic origin, which means that the soil was perfect for development of various plant species. Because of this, there are many diverse landscapes scattered throughout the islands. Also, the local seafood is a guaranteed tastebud adventure!
Lore Lindu National Park
A part of UNSECO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserve, Lore Lindu National Park bears lots of natural and cultural importance. Namely, it is a park that protects one of the largest mountainous rainforests. In fact, the rainforest covers it in almost its entirety – 90% of the park’s surface is forest! Also, Lore Lindu and its close surrounding area is a location many ethnic groups chose to be their home. In fact, over 100 villages can be found in Lore Lindu National Park. But. the park is not a popular tourist destination, mostly because it is quite remote and lacks tourist infrastructure.
Rawa Aopa Watumohai National Park
The savannas and swamps of Rawa Aopa Watumohai National Park compose a unique environment, in which many species thrive. It is included on the list of Ramsar sites, which means that the UN recognized its wetlands as of great importance. Although the savannas and swamps are undoubtedly the most well-known ecosystems of the park, there is much more to Rawa Aopa. Make sure that during your visit you don’t miss the lowland rainforest and the mangrove forest. Much like many less popular destinations, the only tourist infrastructure in the park is the designated walking trails. So, visitors can take them to enjoy Rawa Aopa Watumohai National Park to the fullest.
Taka Bonerate National Park
One sometimes must venture on long(ish) journeys to reach the most beautiful places. Such is the case of Taka Bonerate National Park, a marine paradise centred around Takabonerate atolls. Interestingly, this atoll archipelago is the third largest of its kind in the world. Along with the standard and beautiful soft sand beaches, coral reefs and colorful fish, the famous attraction are baby sharks. Naturally, the most popular activities are snorkeling in the shallow waters of the isles and scuba diving in the deep. Also, it would be a shame to miss the local, seafood-oriented cuisine.
Wakatobi National Park
Wakatobi is well-known for its coral reefs and rich marine life surrounding them. In fact, this national park encompasses a small portion of the World Coral Triangle. The biggest island, and also one of the most-visited, is Wangi-Wangi. Also, it is a place from where visitors often take boats to smaller, less populated isles. Of course, snorkeling and scuba diving are the main attractions of the park. Visitors can also book boat tours, and go island hopping to explore as much of the park as possible. Additionally, Wakatobi National Park is an ideal destination for photographers due to its natural beauties.
Lesser Sunda Islands (7)
The Lesser Sunda Islands archipelago is made up of 6 islands and three smaller archipelagos. Out of all the islands, the most famous is undoubtedly Bali, a famous tourist destination. There are seven national parks in this region of Indonesia, and one World Heritage/Biosphere Deserve site.
West Bali National Park
As a primarily maritime national park, West Bali is notable for its underwater life. In fact, although the land does take a significant portion of the park, the most popular imagery is that of corals and colorful fish that live here. However, there is much more to West Bali than crystal clear, turquoise waters. Particularly, savanna and mangrove forests cover the mainland portion of the park and serve as a habitat for many birds and other animals. Visitors can enjoy many activities in the park. Namely, snorkeling, scuba diving and cruising.
Mount Rinjani National Park
On an island Lombok close to Bali, centered around Mount Rinjani is Mount Rinjani National Park. Interestingly, Mount Rinjani is the third-highest volcano in Indonesia with over 3700 meters in altitude. Because of its breathtaking panoramic views, the park has over the years become one of the most popular hiking and trekking destinations for visitors of the area. Interestingly, foreign tourists are not allowed to enter the park without a guide. Furthermore, single-night accommodation is available.
Kelimutu National Park
Undoubtedly the most prominent site in Kelimutu National Park is Mount Kelimutu, an active volcano famous for the colorful lakes in its craters. Particularly, for all the different colors of the lakes, and how they change over time. Although Mount Kelimutu is an active volcano, with the latest eruption happening in 1968, the park is open to visitors. So, people from all over the globe hike Mount Kelimutu to see the lakes. But, they are not the only attraction. Many people venture out at the brink of the day, hiking all the way to the craters to see the morning sun rising behind the mountains.
Komodo National Park
The 29 islands of Komodo National Park found their place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and World Biosphere Reserves. Of course, as such the park is famous worldwide. Namely, for its population of Komodo dragons, an endemic species that inhabits only these islands. Moreover, beaches are also prominent features of Komodo. Undoubtedly the most famous beach is Pink Beach. Here, the flamingo pink sand meets the turquoise shallow waters of the ocean, creating spectacular, one-of-a-kind scenery. Visitors can walk the islands or participate in underwater activities like snorkeling.
Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park
The main feature of this park are its various forests. Specifically, Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park is famous for its very diverse forest, along with other flora and fauna of Sumba island. Also, the area surrounding Laiwangi Wanggameti is a significant archaeological site. Its thousands of years old graves that witness the social hierarchy of the ancient civilization that lived in the area. However, visitors must keep in mind that there are not many tourist facilities and tours of Lawiangi Wanggameti right now, and that it takes quite some time to reach it. But, there is also a possibility to book accommodation in one of the villages that surround the park.
Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park
Just like Laiwangi Wanggameti, Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park is located on Sumba island. Lowland forests dominate the park’s scenery, and between the trees hide many waterfalls and caves. Because there are not many tourist facilities, nature in Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park is in its rawest, intact form. In fact, over 80 bird species made the park their home. However, the most beautiful attractions of Manupeu are its waterfalls. But, visitors should not miss the caves, either, as they are enchanting in their own way. While the park is not inaccessible, it is important to keep in mind that there aren’t many tourist facilities, apart from the accommodation in the surrounding area.
Mount Tambora National Park
Over two hundred years after its huge eruption in 1815, this active stratovolcano is a national park that attracts adventurers and nature admirers. While the park is not on the list of the most visited national parks, it surely has its beauty. Although tourism is not quite developed in the area, visitors who wish to explore the park can book accommodation in one of the villages surrounding the volcano. From there, they can hike to the crater or rent a jeep to the very top. The view is, of course, spectacular, but the journey and the nature on trails are also magic of their own.
Java national parks (12)
Java is the most populated island in Indonesia. Also, the country’s capital – Jakarta – lies in the northwest of the country. As such, Java is a great island to begin the exploration of Indonesian national parks – twelve of them on Java in total.
Alas Purwo National Park
This national park at the very southeast of the island is a surfer’s paradise. Particularly, the most popular location in this national park is the sandy Plengkung Beach in Groyagan Bay. The waves, which rise up to 5 meters, are equally astonishing and dangerous. Furthermore, the scenery surrounding the beach is very diverse. From moderate rainforests to lush green savanna fields and mangrove trees, there is much to see and do in Alas National Park. Interestingly, a local legend says that it is here where Earth, as we know it today, emerged from the oceans. Nevertheless, Alas National Park offers a lot for everyone – you can relax on the soft sand beach, surf the waves or stroll down the Mangrove Trail and take amazing photos.
Baluran National Park
Named after Mount Baluran, which boasts the highest peak of the park, Baluran National Park is a place of various sceneries. However, it is certainly most famous for its dry climate. In fact, nearly 50% of Baluran’s surface is covered in savanna and mangroves. Because of this, the national park is often nicknamed ‘Little Africa of Indonesia’. Of course, there are other beautiful sceneries as well. Beaches, although a bit further away from the entrance, are covered in soft sand. For all of its virtues, Baluran attracts visitors both local and foreign. One of the most popular activities is undoubtedly birdwatching, but many photographers also gather here to capture nature’s beauty.
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
This national park found its place on UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve list, and is one of the most popular volcanic locations in Indonesia. At the heart of it stands tall a breathtaking, active volcano – Mount Bromo – that the park owes its name to. Interestingly, the park serves as a home to over 1000 floral species. Specifically, over 200 species inhabit it. However, its biodiversity is not what the park is famous for. In fact, what attracts so many visitors and makes Mount Bromo the most popular volcanic location are its beautiful, pink sunrises. Thousands of visitors each year wake up before dawn and climb the volcanic slopes to enjoy the spectacular view of the sun waking up. Additionally, many enjoy exploring the park on horseback, in jeeps or in motorbikes, all available for rent.
Mount Ciremai National Park
This national park in West Java is centered around the highest mountain in the region, and has long been a protected area. While certainly not as popular as some of its eastern counterparts, this national park prides itself as one of the most beloved hiking locations. Of course, there are several hiking trails up the mountain that visitors can take, of medium to high-level difficulty. However, because of its steepness, and the slippery dirt, once the rain falls, this national park is not recommended for inexperienced hikers. But, those with more experience and willingness to take the challenge can enjoy the views of beautiful forest and view of turquoise lakes.
Mount Gede Pangrango National Park
Little less than two hours drive from Jakarta lies Mount Gede Pangrango national park. The area of roughly 150 kilometers protects two volcanoes in proximity, Mount Gede and Mount Pangrango. Interestingly, the park has four entrances, and visitors can enjoy hiking trails at each of them. Out of the entrances, the most frequented is undoubtedly Cibodas. Of course, hiking is not the only activity visitors can enjoy. Although the park is mostly sport-oriented, it is a great family destination for people of all ages to enjoy the camp at the top of trekking trails. Needless to say, there are many other views on the way to the top. Namely, the lake area and the tall waterfall descending from the heights. Additionally, UNESCO also recognized the richness of the park, and added it to the list of Biosphere Reserves in 1977.
Mount Halimun Salak National Park
This park in West Java protects two mountains: Mount Halimun and Mount Salak. Although it is only two hours away from Jakarta, just like Mount Gede Pangrango, Mount Halimun Salak is not as popular nor as accessible. However, mingling through the hard terrain definitely pays off. One of the main attractions of the park are its waterfalls, most notably Cimantaja and Cipamulan. Also, another attraction is the Kawati Ratu crater on the slope of Mount Salak.
Mount Merapi National Park
The establishment of this natural park was a process that did not go as smoothly, but in 2004 it was recognized as one. Mount Merapi, or Gunung Merapi, literally translates to ‘Fire Mountain’. The central and integral part of the park, Mount Merapi, bears this name due to the fact it is one of the most active stratovolcanoes in Indonesia. In fact, the latest eruption was in 2021, and the last enormous eruption took place in 2010. Nowadays, the park is not open to the public due to the high risk of eruption. However, those eager to see this beautiful location can enjoy it from afar by taking a hike on a nearby Mount Merbabu.
Mount Merbabu National Park
This dormant stratovolcano is adjoined with Mount Merapi and is one of the more popular hiking destinations in the area. Naturally, some of the most famous views are those above the clouds, and the area is especially attractive during sunrise and sunset. Of course, the hiking trails go through thick forests, where many different animals live. Also, waterfalls are an occasional, but admired sight! Visitors to the park must register online in advance.
Karimunjawa National Park
This park is sometimes also referred to as Karimun Jawa and Crimon Java National Park. Regardless of the name under which one recognizes it, this charming archipelago in the Java Sea, just off the coast of Central Java, is one of the most visited places in Indonesia. Naturally, it is not difficult to see why that’s the case. The archipelago is filled with fascinating wildlife – coral reefs and clownfish are perhaps the most famous examples. But, it is not just the wildlife that is stunning. The scenery of the islands, either the central Karimun or the smaller surrounding islands, is absolutely remarkable. Sandy beaches, rosy sunsets and turquoise waves are just some of the archipelago’s beauties. And, there are many ways to explore them! Snorkeling, scuba diving, island hopping and shark watching are the most popular activities in the park.
Thousand Islands National Park
Famous under its Indonesian name Taman Nasional Laut Kepulauan Seribu, this national park protects the northern section of a Thousand Islands archipelago near Jakarta. Specifically, the park protects over 300 reefs and around 100 islands. Furthermore, the park focuses on mangrove conservation and the protection of two sea turtle species. In fact, some of the beaches on the islands are hatching sites for an endangered sea turtle species, and the park dedicated a program to saving the animals from extinction. Of course, the islands are also covered in mangrove trees, which are under a special mangrove conservation program. Visitors can spend the night at one of the hotels, rent boats and go island hopping.
Meru Betiri National Park
In this park, the mountains and hills meet the soft sandy beaches and the sea. Naturally, because of this, Meru Betiri National Park has varying landscapes worth exploring. Also, Meru Betiri is another park on this list that is significant for the life cycle of sea turtles. Beaches like Sukamade Beach are famous for offering observations of turtle-hatching activities. However, undoubtedly the most popular beach is Green Bay. Naturally, there are other notable locations and beaches such as Rajegwesi Beach. The best ways to explore the park fully are by renting a motorbike or a boat (maybe even both, if one wishes to explore all of its locations to the fullest).
Ujung Kulon National Park
This park, which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in the early 90s, is one of the first nature conservation locations in Indonesia. Located at the southwestern tip of Java, Ujung Kulon National Park protects the Krakatoa and surrounding areas. What makes this park specific is its unique wildlife, with many endangered species finding their sanctuary within the park’s borders. Namely, there are numerous savanna, rainforest and maritime species that live in the area. Of course, Ujung Kulon is open to visitors who can take guided tours and book accommodation, or even camp here.
Maluku national parks (2)
The islands of the Maluku archipelago are also known as Spice Islands, as they are the homeland of the widely used spice – nutmeg.
Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park
This national park, situated on the biggest island of the Maluku archipelago, is a famous parrot sanctuary. As a part of BirdLife International, the aim of the park is protection of parrots on the island. In fact, there are over 20 color patterns of various parrot species. Apart from its bird conservatory project, Aktwtajawe-Lolobata is worth visiting for its lovely sceneries. After visiting the sanctuary, it is a good option to explore the forest and enjoy the view of waterfalls and rivers.
Manusela National Park
Manusela National Park protects several forest ecosystems of a total of six mountains within its borders. The park is located on Seram, one of the largest islands of the Maluku archipelago. Although its natural significance lies in various endemic bird species of the area, Mansuela is also famous for the deepest cave in Indonesia found within its borders. Unfortunately, deforestation is a serious threat that affects Manusela National Park and its complete ecosystem.
Sumatra national parks (13)
Sumatra is an island that lies in western Indonesia, and it is the sixth largest island in the world. It has a very long and very rich history, as well as incredible native flora and fauna. So, it is no surprise that there are 13 national parks on an island of such immense cultural and natural wealth.
Batang Gadis National Park
Famous for its population of several endangered species of big cats, Batang Gadis National Park serves as a habitat conservation area. While the park was originally much larger than it is now, it still protects a significant territory in the north of Sumatra. In fact, the park territory covers roughly 72 000 hectares of land. Interestingly, the park bears the name of a river that flows through it – Batang Gadis – that creates spectacular waterfalls. Furthermore, among the main attractions are the villages within the park borders. The villages offer insight into local culture, traditions and cuisine. They also serve as a fantastic starting point for hiking and trekking.
Berbak National Park
The dense, damp swamp and forest of Berbak National Park provide shelter to many fascinating species. Namely, this part of UNESCO’s Berbak-Sembilang Biosphere Reserve is famous as one of the rare habitats of the endangered Sumatran tiger. Because of its significance in preserving wildlife, it is both a UNESCO and a Ramsar site. The park is open to the public, and visitors can explore it both during the high and low tides. Depending on the entrance visitors choose, they can take different pathways to explore the lush green forest. For example, among the more notable paths is the pathway following the Air Hitam Dalam river.
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park
The range of scenery in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park is absolutely outstanding. While the majority of the park’s surface is nestled on the slopes of Bukit Barisan mountain range, a part of its territory reaches the Indian Ocean. However, the most prominent feature of the park is its tropical rainforest. The rainforest is of the utmost importance. In fact, Bukit Barisan Selatan NP together with Gunung Leuser NP and Kerinci Seblat NP constitutes UNESCO’s Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra World Heritage Site. Furthermore, many tourists journey to Bukit Barisan National Park to see the stunning waterfalls that the rivers of the area form.
Bukit Duabelas National Park
There are many things that make Bukit Duabelas National Park one of the rising stars on Indonesia’s national park list. Primarily, the local Orang Rimba community actively takes part in the conservation of the area. And while that means that the park authorities are not heavily oriented towards the tourist facilities, they are making an active effort in presenting (and offering) Bukit Duabelas National Park as it is. It is a quite small national park compared to others on this list, but it is not any less significant. In fact, a small population of komodo dragons lives within the borders of Bukit Duabelas. Visitors can explore the park by booking guided tours and trekking.
Bukit Tigapuluh National Park
The national park of Thiry Hills is of great significance, as it protects several endangered animal species. Namely, it is famous as a habitat of the Sumatra orangutan and Sumatra tiger populations, as both are on the brink of extinction. The indigenous tribes of Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak play a significant role in the conservation process. Visitors of the park can explore the park on foot or bike, enjoy the sight of waterfalls, and enjoy the local food. Since there is an abundance of bird species in the park, birdwatching is another popular tourist activity.
Mount Leuser National Park
Better known as Gunung Leuser National Park, this is one of the most famous Indonesian national parks on the list. Interestingly, Gunung Leuser National Park is a double UNESCO Site. First, it is one of the parks that compose the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra World Heritage Site. It is also a Biosphere Reserve, which protects the biodiversity and especially the orangutan population. In fact, the most popular activity in Gunung Leuser is orangutan trekking. Many of these fascinating apes are semi-wild, and they roam free around the park. However, they are not the only primates that made this national park their home. So, trekking in this park is almost a guaranteed lifetime experience in which one can experience some of Mother Nature’s magnificence to the fullest.
Kerinci Seblat National Park
This somewhat remote and isolated national park is one of the great potentials, which is yet to be fulfilled. Kerinci Seblat is the third national park that constitutes the aforementioned Tropical Rainforest UNESCO site. It’s the largest national park in Indonesia, and it protects a part of the Barisan mountain range. However, the park owes its name to its heart – Mount Kerinci, the highest mountain in Sumatra. In fact, it is also the tallest active volcano in Indonesia. Naturally, Kerinci Seblat National Park is a beloved hiking and trekking destination. The park authorities advise that visitors unfamiliar with the area book a local guide during their stay, primarily for safety reasons.
Sembilang National Park
Bordering Berbak National Park, along the coast, lay the swamps and mangrove forests of Sembilang National Park. This Ramsar site, abundant with diverse bird species, is quite isolated from the rest of the island. Because of this, visitors can best reach it by boat – an adventure on its own! Furthermore, the park’s nature – its forests and waters and wildlife – lends itself to photography. And while Sumatran tigers and primates are not an occurring sight as they prefer to stay away from humans, the birds are one of the main attractions of the park. Over 200 species and a population of thousands decor the trees, chirp and clack. A cherry on top is the breathtaking sunsets – the sight of the bright orange sun sinking into the Indian Ocean is a unique experience.
Siberut National Park
West of Sumatra, on an island in the Mentawai archipelago, stands Siberut island. And on it, a portion of a great natural and cultural heritage is designated as a national park. Siberut National Park is a perfect getaway destination for those who wish to be at peace, learn more about local traditions and experience life differently from the concrete jungles of the urban areas. Interestingly, the indigenous people of the island – the Mentawai – are a semi-nomadic tribe that lives the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. However, there are many other beauties the park has to offer. Trekking is one of the most popular activities, and many recommend spending several nights on the island for the full experience.
Tesso Nilo National Park
This national park is quite controversial and has been a center of discussion and environmental activism for a while. Particularly, the area of the park that used to consist of lowland forests has been subject to illegal logging for quite some time. Nowadays, the majority of what used to be forest has become a ground for palm plantations. The park serves as a habitat for the endangered Sumatran elephants and Sumatran tigers. That alone causes rage among the activists, as these animals are very endangered. Those visiting the remnants of the park can take guided tours of the area and enjoy meeting the semi-tame elephants that still live there.
Way Kambas National Park
If one wishes to see or experience a close encounter with an elephant, there is no better place than Way Kambas National Park. This park, located in southern Sumatra, is famous for its semi-domesticated elephant population. Furthermore, Way Kambas does not only protect the elephant population. The Sumatran rhino conservation area is a location of great importance for the ecosystem. Naturally, both are extremely popular with tourists, especially families with children. And while these stunning animals truly are a sight to behold, visitors interested in experiencing the natural beauties can venture into different activities. Namely, the paddling downstream and upstream of the local river, especially on sunsets, will surely take one’s breath away.
Zamrud National Park
There are many lakes and swamps in the world, but not many match the beauty of Zamrud National Park. Interestingly, the area has been under conservation for quite some time. Prior to becoming a national park, it was a wildlife sanctuary. When translated into English, the name of the park means Emerald – a name attributed to the main attraction of the park, Pulau Besar Lake or Zamrud Lake. The pristine waters attract many visitors, local and foreign alike. However, the park doesn’t boast a developed tourist infrastructure. In order to preserve the natural beauty as it is, activities that the visitors can enjoy are photography, animal watching and strolling down the roads of the park.
Mount Maras National Park
The sacred grounds of Gunung Maras National Park have for a long time been a very important location in the lives of the locals, and the tradition still preserves. The top of the mountain is a meeting point of many shamans, who practice sacred rituals. Because of its spiritual significance, the very top of the mountain is off-limits for tourists. But, that does not mean that one should give up on visiting. Quite the contrary, Gunung Maras truly has much to offer. The hiking trails through the forest range from moderate to difficult, they pass through lush forest and lead to crystal clear, charming waterfalls. Those who wish to take additional time to explore the mountain to the fullest can look into camping options.
Indonesia National Parks by size
National parks cover over 160 000 square kilometers of Indonesian territory. From tiny national parks which can be explored in a single day to vast areas one could explore for several weeks, the Indonesian national parks offer something for everyone. Undoubtedly the largest national park is Lorentz National Park, followed by Teluk Cenderawasih National Park.
The list below contains the list of the 10 largest national parks in Indonesia.
- Lorentz National Park
- Teluk Cenderawasih National Park
- Wakatobi National Park
- Kerinci Seblat National Park
- Kayan Mentarang National Park
- Betung Kerihun National Park
- Gunung Leuser National Park
- Sabangau National Park
- Taka Bone Rate National Park
- Tanjung Puting National Park
Entrance to national parks in Indonesia
In order to enter each of the parks, visitors must pay the entrance fee, and in some cases obtain entrance permission from the park authorities. The prices have a wide range, but there is a great difference between the prices local visitors and foreign visitors pay. Rule of the thumb is that foreigners will often pay entrance fees three times more expensive than locals, but that mostly depends on the park policies.