Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Java Jive '08 Part 3: Taman Mini Indonesia or But I Did Go To Bali And I Have The Pics To Prove It!

There are about a gazillion islands in the Indonesian archipelago and it would seem impossible to visit each and every one of them. However, there is a place not far from Jakarta where they have built replicas of famous landmarks from all corners of the country so that one can get a small taste of what it's like in say, Medan, Jogja and even Bali, without having to go there. Although, I'd think one would be foolish to actually give Bali a miss!

This is Taman Mini Indonesia. Its is a 250 acre park which displays distinctive cultural aspects of various provinces such as architecture, clothing, music and food. And what better way to see it all than by cable car!

Right in the centre of the park is a really big , or rather long, lake in which mini islands in the shape of the actual islands of Indonesia have been 'planted'.

Here is the 'island' of Sulawesi as seen from the cable car. Yes I realise it is upside down, but what to do, the stupid cable car didn't pass by the other side of the lake.

Some of the houses on display were really very impressive, like this one from the western Sumateran province of Padang. The horn-like shape of the roof symbolises its cultural affinity with the water buffalo.

This all-roof spiral structure comes from province of Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

The domed cage is the Bird Park. I dunno why, but I kept getting reminded of the pteranodon aviary in Jurassic Park 3.

And this is Indonesia's very own version of Disneyland!

The day we went to the park happened to be the very same day they were celebrating the park's 33rd anniversary. The entrance fee had been waived for that day and so the park was filled to the brim with visitors and of course CARS!

Meanwhile, back on the ground, we decided to explore a few of the more interesting houses on display.

The first one we went to was the one representing Padang, with the horned roofs. Up close the walls were very richly decorated with motifs depicting gods, human faces and local flora and fauna.

There were quite a lot of rather scary faces put up around the house, presumably to ward off evil spirits.

We spotted this monkey who was a bit too narcissistic for its own good as it kept looking at its own reflection in the mirror and not performing tricks for the audience.

This house looks like my friend's grandmother's house in Johor... and no wonder, its a replica of a typical residence found in the province of Riau which is just south of Johor (and Singapore).

People here sure loved their sampans. And they must have had lots of time on their hands to decorate the entire breadth and length of these 150ft long boats.

We arrived just in time to witness a performance of the 'dondang sayang'. Ah.. I feel like I'm back home in my kampung in Johor....

Just around the corner was a small museum that exhibited cultural items pertaining to the Riau way of life. We made a bee line for the museum.... mainly because it was fully air-conditioned. Hey, it was freaking hot, ok?

These are the musical instruments used during official and cultural ceremonies in Riau. As noted, they are somewhat similar to the ones in Johor and Singapore.

Erm.... I think this is the headgear used by the bride (or groom, I'm not sure) during the istiadat bersanding (kinda like the main wedding ceremony).

Hey, so that's where my grandma's old iron went!

Exiting the museum, we wandered further until we found ourselves in .... BALI!!!

The architecture and artistic values of Bali was very unique and the island's lot was by far the most popular among the tourists.

They've even reproduced a faithful replica of the front gate of a typical Balinese Hindu temple or chandi.

All in all, we had a very enjoyable and informative time here in Taman Mini. If only the whole of Jakarta didn't decide to follow us here!

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