March 21, 2008


BatMus is the abbreviation for “ sahaBAT MUSeum ”, which means “Best Friend of the Museum”.

It is a community that arranges excursions every third Sunday in the month to museums and historical places in Jakarta (this activity is called "Plesiran Tempo Doeloe", which means "Trip to Old Times"). A few times, the excursions even have taken place outside Jakarta, to cities such as Cirebon, Semarang etc.

The BatMus community was founded in 2002 by Ade Purnama. There is no membership fee, everyone can join. All you need to do is to register for the upcoming excursion, which is announced through their mailing list. Although this activity is not conducted to generate profit, this is of course not a free event. There is a fee which will be used to pay for the museum tickets, among others. The amount differs depending on the place that is going to be visited on the particular excursion, but usually it is quite cheap.

Even though every month I get the info through e-mail about what the next excursion will be, I have only gone once (These excursions start early in the morning, while I just love to sleep in on Sundays!).

Last week though, I decided to join a BATMUS trip with my friend. This particular trip entailed a visit to the Inscription Museum (Museum Taman Prasasti) & the National Museum (Museum Nasional) which lies in walking distance of each other in Central Jakarta. For this trip, the fee was Rp. 30.000,- per person.

The meeting point for this excursion was in front of the Inscription Museum. We had to be there between 07.30 – 08.00 to re-register. While waiting for the tour to start, there was free hot tea & we were given “roti buaya ", which is a traditional bread in the form of a crocodile. The major advantage of going to the museum with the BatMus community, instead of just going on your own, is that BatMus provides a guide to explain the history behind the museum & its artifacts. Museums in Indonesia are usually not well-maintained & information about the artifacts is sometimes scarce. Therefore, it was quite nice that there was someone who could explain and answer our questions about the museum.

The last time I went to a BatMus excursion, we were divided in groups with a guide for each group. The guides were at that time volunteers, consisted mainly of students. This time, we weren't divided. We all just followed one guide who was a historian. The man was (of course) quite knowledgeable, & although the group was large, there was a microphone so we could hear his voice quite clearly. With everyone just hurdled up in 1 group, those who weren't that interested in hearing his explanation (i.e. those who were more interested in taking photos) felt free to do so. I remember my previous experience when we were divided in small groups, we were a bit reluctant to leave the group. And because we were really “photo shy ;)", we eventually couldn't resist not taking pictures & ended up falling behind our initial group… :P

After going around the Inscription Museum, we had a small break where we were shown a short movie about Jakarta in the old days (around 1900). After that, we moved on to visit the National Museum. Those who didn't bring a car (like me) did not have to worry. The National Museum was just walking distance away & there were many others who also didn't bring their own transportation or who just preferred to walk.
The volunteers of BatMus were there to lead the way & also to help us cross the street etc.

Although nearby, we were a bit exhausted & I guess they expected this, so we were given drinks & traditional snacks. However, because these refreshments were not handed to us (we had to get them ourselves), some of those who weren't quick, didn't get any. Maybe next time they should find a better way for giving them out.

After having some time to rest, we continued with a tour of the National Museum. Again, they provided a guide & we were free to choose either following the group or exploring the museum on our own.

At about 12 o’clock the tour ended & so did the BatMus excursion. Overall, I found the excursion quiet nice & enjoyable, the only downside for me was waking up early on a Sunday morning!

Nowadays, Sahabat Museum also has an activity called PinTong (short for Pindah Tongkrongan, which roughly means "shifting of hanging out places"). This is more of an informal gathering of the BatMus community. PinTong is not scheduled regularly & can be anything such as watching a movie together or just eating out.

Interested in joining an excursion? To receive info about upcoming trips, just subscribe to their mailing list : or send an email to


karla said...

I didn't know that you are a museum fan?? As I recall, last time we did Art study tour, you chose to go to Netherland compared to Koln....and I don't think it was because of Van Gogh :)

Fitri said... was an arts museum & as we know...i just don't get paintings! :P but i loved going to the chocolate museum in koeln :)

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