This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most breathtaking and ecologically diverse places on the planet. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most threatened. The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra consists of three national parks. Gunung Leuser National Park is located on the north side of the island. It houses an orangutan sanctuary and research station, and is home to other endangered species like the Sumatran elephant, Sumatran rhino and Sumatran tiger.
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park is on the southwestern side of the island. The park’s boundaries include both mountainous and lowland terrain and is blessed with many rivers, lakes and hot springs. Kerinci Seblat National Park is the home of Sumatra’s highest mountain, Mt. Kerinci, and Lake Gunung Tujuh, the highest volcanic lake in Southeast Asia. Here, you’ll also find the mysterious, grotesque corpse flower in its native habitat.
Here’s what UNESCO has to say about this World Heritage Site:
Outstanding scenic landscapes abound at all scales. The mountains of each site present prominent mountainous backdrops to the settled and developed lowlands of Sumatra. The combination of the spectacularly beautiful Lake Gunung Tujuh (the highest lake in southeast Asia), the magnificence of the giant Mount Kerinci volcano, numerous small volcanic, coastal and glacial lakes in natural forested settings, fumaroles belching smoke from forested mountains and numerous waterfalls and cave systems in lush rainforest settings, emphasise the outstanding beauty of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, this World Heritage Site is one of the most threatened. Even though technically all three of these parks are protected areas, in Indonesia, “protected” doesn’t always mean safe. Local authorities often lack the will to enforce conservation regulations, the resources to do so, or both.
In fact, per Wikipedia, 20% of the forests in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park have recently been cut down and the area replanted with coffee beans. Hopefully, better management practices will prevail in the future.
If you’d like to go see this World Heritage Site, you will need an Indonesia visa. As long as you’re a US citizen, you can apply on arrival at certain land and sea ports, or you can get your visa in advance. See Indonesian Visa Requirements for Tourists for more details.
If you’re applying for your visa in advance, RushMyTravelVisa can make the process go much more smoothly. We’ll help you with the paperwork and provide you with a handy checklist to make sure that nothing is missed. Then, we’ll deliver your application to the Indonesian Embassy for the fastest possible processing.
Apply for your Indonesian visa today!