Way Kambas National Park

Way Kambas National Park

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This national park is one of the oldest reserves in Indonesia. It occupies 1300 sq km of coastal lowland forest around Sungai Way Kambas on the east coast of Lampung. What little remains of the heavily logged forests is home to endangered species of elephants, rhinos and tigers.

It is believed that close to 200 wild Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatrensis) live in the park, but reliable estimates are uncertain and poaching and development pressures are constant. The Sumatran elephant is a subspecies of the Asian elephant and is found only in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Another rare but endemic creature in Way Kambas is the Sumatran rhino, the only two-horned rhino of the Asian species. Its hide is red in colour with a hairy coat.

The area around Way Kanan, a subdistrict of the park, is frequently visited by birdwatchers. Of the most remarkable species, the white-winged duck and Storm’s stork get the binoculars fogged up.

Also in the park is the Sumatra Rhino Sanctuary, where four rhinos formerly held in captivity are introduced to wild surroundings in the hope of successful breeding. The Sumatran rhino is a solitary animal and its habitat in the wild is so fractured that conservationists fear the species will die out without intervention. Breeding centres for rhinos are a controversial component of species-protection campaigns as they are expensive to maintain and have reported few successful births. For more information, visit the website of the International Rhino Foundation (www.rhinos-irf.org), one of the lead organisations involved with the centre and antipoaching patrols in the park. It’s estimated around 25 to 35 wild Sumatran rhinos still live within the park.

For the average visitor not engaged in wildlife conservation, a visit to the park is a nice break from the concrete confines of Jakarta, but it’s not a true wild safari. Most visitors are led through the forest on elephants or by canoes on the Sungai Way Kanan and surrounding waterways. The most commonly spotted animals on the tour include primates and birds. Herds of elephants are seen here from time to time but sightings of the Sumatran tiger are extremely rare.

A day trip to Way Kambas costs around US$120 per person for a minimum of two people and can be arranged through tour operators in Jakarta. Bandarlampung-based tour agents include Arie Tour & Travel.

You could visit the park independently, but transport is limited and expensive. To strike out on your own, hire an ojek from Rajabasalama to Way Kanan, where you can hire a guide (around 100,000Rp) and arrange transport.

Krakatau

Krakatau

Krakatau

Krakatau may have come closer to destroying the planet than any other volcano in recent history, when it erupted in 1883. Tens of thousands were killed either by the resulting tidal wave or by the pyroclastic flows that crossed 40km of ocean to incinerate Sumatran coastal villages. Afterwards all that was left was a smouldering caldera where a cluster of uninhabited islands had once been. Perhaps peace had come, thought local villagers. But Krakatau, like all scrappy villains, re-awoke in 1927 and resulting eruptions built a new volcanic cone since christened Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau). It’s estimated that Anak Krakatau is growing by around 5m every year.

Tours to the island launch from West Java or from Kalianda on the Sumatran coast. Organised day trips with Arie Tour & Travel in Bandarlampung cost US$242 per person (based on two people). Hotel Beringin in Kalianda can also organise tours for 690,000Rp.

You can also join up with weekenders chartering boats from Canti, a fishing village outside of Kalianda, or from Pulau Sebesi. Charters usually cost around 1,000,000Rp for up to 15 people. There are regular opelet from Kalianda to Canti (7000Rp), and an ojek from Kalianda to Canti is around 20,000Rp.

Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park

Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park

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At the southern tip of Sumatra, this national park comprises one of the island’s last stands of lowland forests. For this reason the World Wildlife Fund has ranked it as one of the planet’s most biologically outstanding habitats and is working to conserve the park’s remaining Sumatran rhinos and tigers. The park is also famous for many endemic bird species that prefer foothill climates, and several species of sea turtle that nest along the park’s coastal zone.

Of the 365,000 hectares originally designated as protected, only 324,000 hectares remain untampered. The usual suspects are responsible: illegal logging and plantation conversion, and poachers are also at work.

Tourist infrastructure in the park is limited and most people visit on organised tours. The easiest access point into the park is through the town of Kota Agung, 80km west of Bandarlampung.

Kantor Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan sells permits into the park (5000Rp) and can arrange guides and trekking information.

Less-accessible access points are Sukaraja, 20km west of Kota Agung, and Liwa, the northernmost entry way.

Kota Agung has several basic hotels and there is a camping ground near Sukaraja.

There are frequent buses from Bandarlampung to Kota Agung (12,000Rp).

Kalianda

Kalianda

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Kalianda is a quiet little town overlooking Teluk Lampung 30km north of the Bakauheni ferry terminal. The main reason for passing through is to visit Krakatau, but the town can also be used as an alternative base to Bandarlampung. Nearby are pretty white-sand beaches, simple fishing villages and a dedicated resort area that’s becoming a weekend retreat for Jakarta residents.

To reach Krakatau, stop in at Hotel Beringin and ask about organised tours, or head down to the Canti harbour on weekends to pair up with local groups chartering boats.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/kalianda

Bandarlampung

Bandarlampung

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Bandarlampung was once a major backpacker thoroughfare connecting Java and Sumatra, and you’ll immediately notice the jump in ‘Hello Mister’s’ and toothy smiles as the locals welcome Western faces like long-lost relatives.

Perched on the hills overlooking Teluk Lampung, Bandarlampung is the region’s largest city and its administrative capital. The fourth-largest city in Sumatra, it is the product of an amalgamation of the old towns of Telukbetung (coastal) and Tanjungkarang (inland).

Most places of relevance to travellers are in Tanjungkarang, including the train station and the bulk of the hotels. The Rajabasa bus terminal is 10km north of the town centre; the airport is 24km away.

Krakatau and the Way Kambas National Park are the main spots to check out in the area when passing through.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/sumatra/bandarlampung

– Lampung

Lampung

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At the very tip of this bow-shaped landmass is Sumatra’s southernmost province, which was not given provincial status by Jakarta until 1964. Although the Lampungese have had a long history as a distinct culture, the most recent tug of Jakarta’s gravitational force is altering Lampung’s independent streak. Big-city TV news and fashions have crept across the Sunda Strait, as did Javanese settlers under the transmigrasi policies, designed to off-load excess population and turn a profit in the wilds of Sumatra.

Outside the provincial capital of Bandarlampung, the province’s robust coffee plantations dominate the economy and the unclaimed forests, closely followed by timber and pepper. There are also large areas of rubber and palm-oil plantation.

Today many Jakarta weekenders hop over to tour the Krakatau volcano or visit the elephants of Way Kambas National Park. The rugged western seaboard is ostensibly protected as the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/lampung