Ever thought about being a more responsible traveler by helping to preserve the destinations you visit? Interested in going green on your future holiday? Opt for eco-tourism. The International Eco-Tourism Society defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that preserve the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015).
There are many destinations in Indonesia that provide ultimate eco-tourism experiences. Here are our recommendations:
1 | West Bali National Park
Renowned for its diverse ecosystem, the West Bali National Park consists of a large rainforest, dry savannahs, lowlands, and other habitats. It’s a safe haven for endangered species of animals, including the iconic Bali Starling. Established to preserve the natural habitats, Plataran L’Harmonie allows the visitors to immerse themselves in the serene nature of West Bali National Park. A 4-kilometer walk leads you to the jungle where a tropical treasure awaits you. In order to maintain the park’s eco-friendly environment, visitors must comply with strict regulations, such as no hunting, no unauthorized fishing, no cutting of trees, and adhering to a vehicle speed limit of 10km/hr.
2 | Tanjung Puting National Park
Covering an area of 4,150 km2, Tanjung Puting National Park is said to be as large as the famous Bali Island. Located in Central Kalimantan, this conservation area is undulating with altitudes ranging from 0-100 meters above sea level. It is home to endemic and endangered animals, such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys, red langurs, bears, mouse deer, and forest cats. 200 species of birds, 38 species of mammals, other wild animals, and a number of endemic floras can be found over here. Visitors will need to ride a klotok (a traditional riverboat used to navigate the waters of Indonesia) along the Sekonyer River to get to the entrance of the national park. If you are lucky, you might catch sight of monkeys swinging from one tree to another.
3 | Komodo National Park
Welcome to the dragon’s lair! Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara is home to endemic giant lizards called Komodo dragons. Spread over an area of 1,733 km2, Komodo National Park consists of three large islands: Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, as well as 26 smaller islands. Komodo National Park was originally established to conserve the endemic Komodo dragon, but in 1991, it got recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since then the conservation goals have expanded to preserving the entire biodiversity of the region, both marine and terrestrial.
This national park is also a part of the Coral Triangle, the richest center of marine biodiversity on Earth. There are so many things you can do in this area, including snorkeling, diving, meeting the giant lizards, and more.
4 | Tangkahan National Park
Tangkahan is popular among the tourists as “the hidden paradise” because not many people know about this eco-tourism destination located in Langkat Regency, North Sumatra. Occupying an area of 38,3777 km2, Tangkahan is a part of the utilization zone of Mount Leuser National Park and is home to many wild elephants. Here, you can get the chance to not only play with them but also bathe them. It is easily accessible by bus routes that take you to the park from Kualanamu International Airport, but you must first cross the swift Batang Serangan River. Quite an adventure, isn’t it?
5 | Way Kambas National Park
Another heart-pounding adventure that awaits you in Bali is the flying fish raft ride! Another eco-tourism destination where you can meet and greet the elephants is the Way Kambas National Park in Lampung province. This conservation area has 406 bird species and 50 different species of mammals, many of which are critically endangered, like the Sumatran tiger and rhino. This park consists of 1,256.21 km2 of swamp, savannah, and rainforest. You can take a closer look at the process of animal breeding here or simply watch the elephants interact with each other.
Those 5 destinations will enable you to enjoy an eco-tourism experience that is responsible and sustainable. Moreover, going back to nature would be perfect for your first trip after quarantine. So plan your trip ahead and stay healthy!