For our first time visit to Jakarta last month, my husband and I agreed on two thing.
He wants to see at least one landmark and I wanted to visit the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah.
So on our first morning in Jakarta – which happened to be a Friday – we took a taxi from the Sari Pan Pacific hotel to this park located about 25 km in East Jakarta.
Perhaps because it was mid-morning or maybe because we were going out of the city, it was a quick 30 mins drive through a pretty jam-less highway (Jakarta standard).
Besides the modern skyscrapers and monuments along perhaps 10km of the way, I don’t remember what else did we pass.
As the taxi entered the compound, we passed through the toll gate where we bought tickets which cost Rph 9000 (around B$1.30).
We came down in front of a huge building and the entrance to the park by at either side of this block. Once inside, we immediately spotted the monorail. But this only runs on weekends when I believed the park is really busy. During our visit, it was practically empty – Jakarta standard.
A Singaporean family with a car us to join them as walking around 165 ha ground was no joke! Luckily my husband had the foresight to turn them down because it actually took me the whole morning just to explore only one side of the lake.
There is a lake in the middle of the park around which scattered 27 pavillions for each province in Indonesia.
At a Bengkulu house (Southwest Sumatera), we saw a huge (about 1 mtr long) weighting scale in the bridal chamber traditionally used to calculate wedding dowry!
The roofs of the Batak houses (Northern Sumatera) was what attracted me the most. Tall, pointy and hollow (see picture).
It’s a wonder how these folks could have built such designs without machinery and I am sure that my husband – used to constructing gigantic oil structures – was intrigued too. When asked why such design – the only answer they gave me was it promotes ventilation.
The Dayak culture was prominent at the East Kalimantan pavillion.
Here, I was well taken care of by a group of young tourism students on training.
They showed me figures with costumes (see picture), similar to the Dayak and Murut tribes in Sabah and Sarawak. However, they did not seemed to know acknowledge “Murut” and in the information booklets which they gave me (the only province which did), there was no mention of “Murut” anywhere.
But the most interesting custom of the native here was their burial style.
Dead bodies were placed in beautifully decorated coffins (see picture) placed on a stilts until all flesh had fallen off. The bones were then driven to the ground – and not buried as my guide specifically told me.
But it was a Dayak Bidayuh house (see pictures) on stilts that was the most impressive here. It must be around 30 ft high! The whole structure looked so rickety that I won’t attempt to climb this up no matter what.
All I can think of when I saw this house was how steep and narrow the pole ladder was.
The buildings at the Papuan pavillion were not as majestic as the Bataks. However, one building (see picture) which was a sort of school for their young men was interesting.
In the middle of this circular building (see picture) were 9 beams with one hanging from the centre to support and balance the incredibly high roof.
A Papuan man – who looks just like a Timorese – was most helpful and informative. I learnt that they who live in this island, thousands of kilometres away from us in Borneo, spoke similar accent to Sabahans. “Ko mau pigi mana?” he gave as an example.
Again, it was also their funeral traditions which I remembered well. Their deads are put in a sitting position while bodies of leaders are embalmed – a method developed and used since hundreds of years, my guide told me proudly.
Because we were short of time, I could not spend much time on the details and missed inspecting the costumes and many times, I was not even sure which province pavillions was I at – because they were no clear division.
Besides, being Friday noon, the whole place was quite deserted and in most of the buildings, I was the only one visitor.
After the first house, my husband was content on waiting for me outside the buildings…
With silent mannequins and empty beds in quiet rooms (see picture) – it was creepy and I did not linger.
After the pavillions of Sumatera, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Papua (among that I remembered), it was only halfway across the lake. My husband was tired by then and we took the cable car back to the entrance.
The view of the pavillions on the opposite side of the lake from air (see picture) was irresistable but my husband was adamant that he was not going to walk anymore.
Fortunately, the park offered motorcycles for hire – Rph30,000 (around B$4.30) for 1 hour.
And that was how we managed to go around the whole park in the end – as well as explored the Java and Bali province pavillions.
**Part 2 : Java And Bali At Jakarta**