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Indonesia: Wildlife Destinations

Wildlife Highlights of Indonesia

1. Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra, is an important wilderness for rainforest wildlife, including orang-utan, elephant, rhino and tiger. The rhinoceros hornbill is top of most birdwatchers’ must-see lists.
2. Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, is a stronghold of the Javan rhinoceros.
3. Around 1,800 sq km of rainforest in Central Kalimantan is protected in Bukit Baka-Bukit Raya National Park, home to orang-utan, clouded leopard and sun bear.
4. Bali Barat National Park, Bali, protects the endangered Bali starling.
5. Komodo National Park was established in 1980.
6. Bunaken National Park, Sulawesi, and the Raja Ampat Islands of Papua (7) are both renowned for their exceptionally rich coral reefs. Lombok (8)  also has great marine life, particularly at Blongas Bay (hammerhead sharks) and the Gili Islands (turtles).

Komodo National Park

Komodo's star species: Komodo dragon • Timor deer • Dugong • Sea turtles


Located between Sumbawa and Flores and encompassing the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as several smaller islets, Komodo National Park supports a population of between 3,000 and 5,000 Komodo dragons. The world’s largest lizard, Komodo dragons can reach lengths in excess of 3m and top the scales at 70kg. They prey mainly on Timor deer and water buffalo using their toxic saliva to deliver a fatal bite.


Indonesian spitting cobra, Russell’s pit viper and green tree viper are also found in the park, along with long-tailed macaque, palm civet, the endemic Rinca rat and orange-footed scrub fowl. In contrast to the dry woodland and scrub found on the islands, the marine environment is extremely rich and diverse, with coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds. Dugong, manta ray and several species of cetacean and sea turtle have been recorded here.

Getting there The national park can be accessed by boat from either Labuan Bajo in the west of Flores or Bima in eastern Sumbawa. Both towns are served by flights and ferries from Bali. You can also reach Komodo on a more leisurely liveaboard cruise.
Getting around Local rangers lead guided walks in search of dragons from one of two park entry points: Loh Liang on Komodo Island or Loh Buaya on Rinca Island. Groups are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
When to go Dry season is April to November. Dragon mating season is July to August, with nesting from September to November.
Visitor centres Interpretation boards at Loh Liang.
Things to do Walking safari, diving, snorkelling, boat trips.
Places to stay Hotels in Labuan Bajo and Bima.
Further information



Biodiversity hotspot – Wallacea covers the islands of central Indonesia, including Sulawesi, the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) and the Lesser Sundas. This region has been identified by Conservation International as one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and is second only to the tropical Andes in terms of bird endemism. An adjacent hotspot, Sundaland, is separated by Wallace’s Line. Unique species in Wallacea include the Celebes crested macaque, Sulawesi hornbill and Komodo dragon.

Read the latest posts on Asian wildlife travel

wildlife travel essentials: Indonesia


Airlines serving major gateways like Jakarta and Denpasar include Cathay Pacific and Emirates. Domestic flights in Indonesia are relatively cheap; regular ferries connect Java with Sumatra and Bali, with less frequent services to other islands.


Local operators Adventure Indonesia offer trips ranging from Komodo Island liveaboard cruises and orang-utan safaris to jungle survival courses. International companies with specialist knowledge of Indonesia include Audley Travel.


The rainy season (October to March) can cause trails in some national parks to close.

GMT+7 to +9


Wide range of accommodation available.

Further information:


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Wildlife Wishlist was founded by zoologist, conservationist and award-winning travel writer and photographer William Gray. Sharing his passion for wildlife and recommendations for responsible travel, Will has spent around 30 years tracking down the world's best wildlife holiday experiences.