Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Beautiful and Spectacular Cikole Orchid Forest

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Raven Montmorency
Raven Montmorency is a pen name used for a writer based in India. She has been writing with her main focus on Lifestyle and human rights issues around the world.

Orchids are uncanny but marvelous substitutes for common flowers used on various occasions. Find roses too mainstream? Try gifting a bouquet of orchids. Need flowers to decorate a venue? How about orchids? Need a flower that’s hypoallergenic to send a friend who is allergic to flowers? Choose orchids! Although orchids are a rare find among flowers, they have become one of the most sought-after flowers for every occasion.

But even though we do find orchids in bouquets on occasion, most of us certainly have not had the chance to witness an orchid forest.

This unique family of flowering plants is native to Asia, especially from parts of the Himalayas to Indonesia and the Philippines. Indonesia is home to the most species of orchids in the world after Brazil. It is, however, unfortunate that there are few efforts pertaining to the maintenance and conservation of such forests by the Indonesians themselves.

Orchid cultivation

Cikole Orchid Forest in Lembang, Indonesia, is the epicenter of some of the rarest species of orchids on the island of Java. The orchid forest was established and introduced with the aim of preservation of various species of orchids. The forest is a huge establishment with orchids scattered around 24.7 acres of land. To preserve and promote orchids as Indonesian assets, the owner of Cikole Orchid Forest, Maulana Akbar, started the cultivation of various species of orchids. He envisions that the Orchid Forest will become the center of Orchid research in the world.

Orchid cultivation requires favorable conditions. They are shade-loving plants, so the grower must use 75 percent shade cloth to provide dense shading. The plants need high humidity of about 70-80 percent. The ideal temperature should be 64-82°F. To enable the growth and breeding of various kinds of orchids, the Orchid Forest has a greenhouse.

Blooming orange orchid in greenhouse.
To enable the growth and breeding of various kinds of orchids, the Orchid Forest has a greenhouse. (Image: via Dreamstime.com © MKiryakova)

Not only does the Orchid Forest have a collection of more than 20,000 species of orchids, the garden includes species from Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and the Philippines.

Around the orchid forest

Over the years, the management of the Orchid Forest has added support facilities and included innovative activities as a part of the Orchid Forest tour. Tourists may trek up the forest through the pine trees. There are breathtaking pathways along the trek. Various wooden bridges would take you from one side to the other, making your experience thrilling.

Most popular among the attractions is the suspension bridge that takes you through the pine trees to see notably beautiful species of orchids. As evening arrives, you will find the place looking like a utopia. Also, if you are keen on taking unique pictures, visit the Orchid Forest at night when all the lights are turned on.

If you hear some music in the woods, you must be near the amphitheater that is located exactly in the middle of the pine forest. You will witness a row of wooden benches around an open space that acts as a stage. On certain days, you may find a concert being staged at the amphitheater. On other days, you can simply take a seat and enjoy the music of your taste.

There is no dearth of eateries around the Orchid Forest. Grab a quick bite or gorge on a sumptuous meal at the culinary center at the park. The place also has some engaging facilities for children which makes it suitable as a family weekend destination.

A rare Vanda orchid, purple and white in color.
The Orchid Forest is a great family weekend destination. (Image: via Dreamstime.com © Daniel Dalili)

If you are tired from the excursion, you may also rest yourself on the colorful bean bags or take your time to recuperate from the taxing trek to the garden. The culinary center is also where you can click the coolest pictures with your friends and family. If your heart is looking for an adventure at the Orchid Forest, head straight to the camping ground where you can spend the night camping outdoors.  

Location and timing

Cikole Orchid Forest is located on Jl Tangkuban Perahu KM. 8, Cikole Village, Lembang District, West Bandung Regency. The garden welcomes its visitors every day of the week. Tickets cost around US$1.75 on weekdays and US$2.00 on weekends. There are also rides and other amusements to enjoy for an additional fee. The place remains open for visitors from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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