The Jakarta Post
The Blue Lake at Sawahlunto, West Sumatra. (Shutterstock/whywijayanto47)
There are many picturesque places that tourists can visit in Indonesia, but for those particularly fond of exploring sites that boast historic values, below are some destinations to consider as compiled by tempo.co:
1. House of Sukarno’s exile in Ende
A modest, tin-roofed house on Jl. Perwira, Ende, is where Sukarno used to live with his wife Inggit Ganarsih, his mother-in-law Ibu Amsi and two adopted children during his exile by the Dutch to Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
The house has three rooms and photographs of the young Sukarno, as well as paintings that he made himself, his favorite violin and manuscripts that he wrote to be staged at the local theater.
Sukarno lived in Ende from 1934 to 1938. About 100 meters from the house, there is a field. The Ende people call it the Pancasila Field. Sukarno's statue, about the size of a person, stands tall in the middle. Near the statue grows a tree, shading a long bench. Sukarno told Cindy Adams, his biographer, that he often spent hours pondering on the bench. That's when, according to Sukarno, he got the idea for Pancasila.
Ende can be visited by plane from Kupang in NTT or Bali. Apart from Sukarno's house, there are other interesting places around the city. The three-color Lake Kelimutu, for instance, is only a two-hour drive from there.
2. Sawahlunto, West Sumatra
In Sawahlunto, history spreads throughout the old zinc and wooden houses, the high pillars with wall-mounted sitting spaces, the railway tracks and the Mbah Suro tunnel, which was made in 1898 by Dutch geologist W.H. van Greve, 30 years after he discovered the largest coal reserve in Sumatra.
Seven hundred meters long, the mine was closed in 1932 because the groundwater seeps uncontrollably, inundating the dredging path. Therefore, under Sawahlunto city, at least 14,000 tons of coal have not yet been mined. By 2007, the cave was closed until Amran Nur became the mayor. The 67-year-old entrepreneur re-opened the cave to the public on April 23, 2008. "It took eight months to suck up the water," said Medi Iswandi, the head of Sawahlunto Tourism Agency.
Not all the water could be pumped out, though. The city administration was only able to dig to a depth of 15 meters as far as 186 meters in. It added air channels for the safety of visitors. The history of the cave is recorded in the mining museum, which was built in the ruins of foreman Mbah Surono's house in front of the cave.
In addition to axes and shovels, there are photos of people whose hands and feet were in chains, having been transported from Padang. They were the prisoners of the Dutch East Indies government who were tasked with extracting the coal to be exported to Europe. There is no record of how many thousands of people in chains died in that cave. At the end of the tunnel stood Goedang Ransoem, a public kitchen where food for the miners were cooked.
The photos depict the atmosphere when mining was still active and people's homes were still lively. The yard is now a public space, where the Sawahlunto people can be found spending blissful afternoons hanging out or exercising, while sipping the history of the city's history, which was founded in 1888.
Read also: Sawahlunto named world heritage site
3. Tiger Cave, South Sumatra
This prehistoric site is located in the karst hills, about one kilometer from Padangbindu village, Ogan Komering Ulu regency, South Sumatra. Cave visitors are required to climb the slopes that are quite steep, slippery and filled with leeches. The mouth of the cave is hidden behind tall trees, grass and shrubs. At the foot of the hill flows Aek Kaman Basah, a small river that goes into the Ogan River. Archaeologists from the National Archaeological Research Center found 17 ancient human skeletons, tools for flakes from chert and obsidian and cave paintings here.
It is estimated that the Tiger Cave community lived about 3,000 years ago. In contrast to Pithecanthropus erectus, Homo soloensis, and Homo mojokertensis, which went extinct in the Pleistocene era, the ancient humans of the Tiger Cave are believed to have survived until now. Archaeologists suspect that they are of Neo Mongoloid and Australoid races who arrived in Sumatra about 4,000 years ago, after the end of the Ice Age.
4. Colonial Exile, Boven Digul, Papua
Separated from Merauke in 2002, the Boven Digul regency in Papua was a very popular place of exile in colonial times. Indonesia's first vice president, Mohammad "Bung" Hatta, as well as Sayuti Melik, Sutan Sjahrir and Marco Kartodikromo, had been exiled here.
The Dutch East Indies government initially used this place to exile rebels in 1927. Among the exile locations were Tanah Merah, Mount Arang and Tanah Tinggi.
Bung Hatta came to the regency with 16 boxes filled with books. He wrote and read diligently while in exile. As for Sjahrir, he was immediately told to cut wood and build his own house when he arrived. He initially liked to bathe in the Digul River. However, after hearing stories that there were many crocodiles there, he hurriedly moved to the Bening River.
The regional administration is currently developing Boven Digul as an integrated tourism area. The remaining Dutch relics include hospitals, underground prisons, prisoners' tombs, and longhouses in Tanah Merah. Additionally, visitors can marvel at the beauty of cendrawasih birds, interact with the Korowai tribe that lives in tree houses and explore local culture.
5. Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress, Papua
Traces of high-value Asmat carving are preserved here. Located in Agats, the capital of Asmat regency, Papua, the museum hosts various wood carvings, statues, bows and arrows, machetes, spears, shields and other attributes for war and dances. In one corner of the museum hangs the skulls of enemies and the remains of a historic war procession.
As the city sits above a swamp, the majority of Agats work as fishermen. Most of their homes and buildings, including museums, are stilt houses that are connected by footpaths from a boardwalk as high as one meter.
The museum itself is managed by the local Catholic church, the Diocese of Agats. Every year, after the Asmat Cultural Festival in October, the contents of this museum continue to increase. All carvings that were rated as the best in the festival are kept there.
6. Danar Hadi Batik Museum, Surakarta
Thousands of batik collections from various eras are kept in this museum, including those that are more than a century old. The collection is displayed according to the year of manufacture, the origin of batik and the culture that influences it. Among the items are Batik Djawa Hokokai, Indian Influence Batik, Keraton Batik, Keraton Influence Batik, Sudagaran Batik, Farmer Batik, Indonesian Batik, Danar Hadi Batik and contemporary batik.
Located on Jl. Slamet Riyadi, the main street of Surakarta, Central Java, the museum is easily accessible from anywhere. From the airport, visitors can ride the Solo Batik Trans, which passes right in front of the museum. If you come in groups and want a unique trip, you can rent a steam train tour, which costs millions of rupiah.
The batik museum resides in the same complex with the House of Danar Hadi. The admission fee is Rp 25,000 (US$1.75) per person, or Rp 15,000 for students. The owner, Santosa Doellah, integrates the museum, batik outlets, batik workshops, restaurants and meeting houses in one complex, allowing visitors to tour history and shop in one visit.
Those not satisfied just by looking at the collection on display can also look into the back of the museum, which hosts hundreds of artisans busily working to make hand-drawn and stamped batik .
7. Malang Tempo Doeloe Museum, East Java
This museum exhibits a variety of ancient objects of art and culture from the history of Malang.
The place hosts a hallway containing old pictures. Entering it, visitors would be taken to 1,500 years ago, when the area around Malang was formed by a volcanic eruption. Originally in the form of a lake, the basin created by the eruption of the ancient mountain gradually turned into a swamp surrounded by mountains like Anjasmara, Arjuna, Welirang, Kawi, Bromo and Semeru.Visitors are also invited to become archaeologists, doing excavation work in the basement that is 3 meters wide, 6 m long and 2.5 m deep.
The Malang Tempo Doeloe Museum is located on Jl. Gajah Mada, just behind Malang City Hall. Visitors from the general public pay an entrance fee of Rp 15,000, or Rp 10,000 for students. The place also provides batik learning packages and sells Malang masks as souvenirs.
8. Mount Penanggungan, East Java
A variety of historic relics are scattered throughout the slopes of Mount Penanggungan. Most come from Hindu and Buddhist civilizations from the 10th to the 16th centuries. At that time, this mountain was called Pawitra. One of the oldest relics, the Jalatunda baths, is thought to date from 977.
People often come to meditate on the 1,653-m-above-sea-level mountain located on the border of Pasuruan and Mojokerto, East Java, as it is believed to have supernatural charisma. The peaks are round and bare, which is considered to be similar to the peak of Mahameru, a sacred mountain in India. About 80 historic sites have been found from the foot to the top of this mountain, which include terraces, hermitage caves and small temples with various statues and stone carvings. (ran/kes)