WHS: Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia

Been a while since we posted any visits, working on The Sitelist organized and all, so now that’s done let’s start up again; today’s visit is to West Java —

Ujung Kulon National Park (1991)

This national park, located in the extreme south-western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa. In addition to its natural beauty and geological interest – particularly for the study of inland volcanoes – it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforests in the Java plain. Several species of endangered plants and animals can be found there, the Javan rhinoceros being the most seriously under threat…

Yes, yes, rainforests are all very nice, but we made this our first stop in Indonesia to see the VOLCANO!

Criterion (vii) Krakatau is one of natural world’s best-known examples of recent island volcanism and the property with its forests, coastline and islands is a natural lanscape of high scenic attaction. The physical feature of Krakatau Island combined with the surrounding sea, natural vegetation, succesion of vegetation and volcanic activities combine to form a lanscape of exceptional beauty. In addition, the combination of natural vegetation of the lowlands, tropical rainforests, grass lands, beach forests, mangrove forests and coral reefs within the property, are of exceptional magnificence. The property includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands that demonstate on-going evolutionary processes, especially following the dramatic Krakatau eruption in 1883…

Ah yes, the exceptional magnificence, that’s what we’re about. And here is a shot of your exceptional magnificence:

Krakatau

Veritably otherworldly in its magnificence, this place. Clambering around the detritus of the recent eruptions is fun and all, with just enough danger of crippling yourself if you’re not careful enough to avoid the steaming rocks to give it that little frisson of excitement.

We’d take more pictures of the moonscape … but they just don’t really give you any idea of the place, at least not at our level of photographic non-skill; they just kinda come out looking like an old mining pit or something. But it does indeed merit that “exceptional magnificence” description; we’ve been to a few semi-active volcanic remnants, and this is by far the most impressive of them!

The people we booked our boat with was Krakatau Adventure, and we thoroughly recommend you start your trip research with them too; Thom is an absolute hoot, and we got what we figure was a pretty darn good price for the service.

That service includes a nice lunch on a non-active remnant of the former Krakatau next to the bubbling cauldron above there, where going by our experience you have excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with new monitor lizard friends:

Monitor Lizard

Although bring them something they like better than watermelon. Not sure what Krakatau monitor lizards think is tasty, but it’s definitely not watermelon, this fine fellow was quite totally disgusted with our offering here.

And after lunch you have the opportunity to do some diving or snorkelling if you wish, and you should wish; the sea life around this caldera is suprisingly notable, like this colorful new fish friend:

SHINY FISH!

Not actually sure just what this shiny fellow is. Some kind of parrotfish seems clear enough, but we don’t recall ever seeing pictures of parrotfish with zebra stripes like that? If any of you Dear Readers know what he (or she?) is, please share. Very friendly though, comes right on up to pose for the camera!

Speaking of “very friendly” — given as how Krakatau was world-famous even before being baked into a World Heritage park and all, and it’s an easy weekend trip from Jakarta, we kinda expected there to be a lot more developed tourism than we found.

But there really isn’t — the locals were still of the “please can we take a picture with you Odd Looking Foreign Person?” level of novelty of visitor. Which we always find entertaining, and especially so when it’s a giggling group of little Muslim girls figuring that we’re just the most entertaining thing they’ve had visit the village in, like, ever:

Indonesian Muslims

So yep, this is definitely an A-List World Heritage Site, solidly recommended for everybody’s bucket list!

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Alex

I go places.

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  1. […] it is the most convenient, like a couple minutes to the dock, for taking an early leaving boat trip out to Krakatau with Thom’s Krakatau Adventure, which we recommend because that’s how we did it and were […]

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