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Southwest of Bogor the highway steadily climbs in elevation, winding through a sprawling hill resort known as the Puncak that’s popular with weekending Jakartans. This traffic-choked road winds up to 1490m before descending to Cibodas, famous for its stunning gardens, the Kebun Raya Cibodas. Spread over the steep lower slopes of Gunung Gede and Gunung Pangrango at an altitude of 1300m to 1440m, these lush gardens are one of the dampest places in Java. The Dutch tried to cultivate quinine here (its bark is used in malaria medication), though the East Javan climate proved more suitable.
You’ll find an outstanding collection of ferns and palms, 65 species of eucalyptus, Mexican mountain pines, and glasshouses bursting with cacti and succulents. A road loops around the gardens, passing via the Japanese garden with its cherry trees, and there are also paths leading through forests of bamboo to the impressive Cismun waterfall.
There are two guesthouses and a couple of inexpensive cafes in the gardens. Visitors must pay 2000Rp to enter Cibodas village.