June 28, 2009

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII)

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Taman Mini for short) if literally translated means Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park.

It is located a bit out of the centre of Jakarta, in East Jakarta, which is much needed because it stretches over 250 acres. The main focus of the park is to get a glimpse of Indonesia's 26 provinces (at the time of building there were 26, now there are 33 provinces), which all have their own unique cultural identity.

All 26 provinces have a separate pavilion where you can see the province's traditional house, clothing, instrument etc. Even though the park's name uses the word "Mini", the houses are actually not small (it is not like Madurodam in the Netherlands). The houses are life-size replicas with some of them open to the public so you can actually go inside. Some provinces' pavilion also have scheduled performances of their traditional dances.

Besides the houses, there are also a lot of gardens, museums and an Imax Theatre which besides occasionally screens blockbuster movies, also has a movie on Indonesia's landscape called "Beautiful Indonesia". There is also a cable car you can ride on to get a bird's-eye view of the park.

Photo Source : http://www.flickr.com/photos/9549670@N05/tags/tamanminiindonesiaindah/

I recently visited Taman Mini, and the shame thing is that it could use some fresh paint...but nevertheless, it is a nice place to get acquainted to Indonesia's rich culture without leaving Jakarta. But if you want to experience the genuine culture, of course, nothing beats going to the actual provinces.

If you do plan to explore the whole park, you might think of freeing your agenda for a whole day and also, bring a car!

June 13, 2009

Borobudur Temple - One of the Wonders of the World

During my vacation, I went to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It was magnificent. No wonder it is one of New7Wonders finalists and it's on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Just a few pics of the Alhambra (from inside the Nasrid palace) :

Indonesia also has a couple of sites on UNESCO's list. One of them is the Borobudur temple and is often referred to as one of the world's wonders because it is the largest buddhist monument in the world. It was built in the 9th century and consists of 2,672 relief panels and 504 statues.

Pic from : http://mepow.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/candi-borobudur-bukan-sekedar-tumpukan-batu/

Personally, I haven't been to Borobodur yet, so going there is one of the top things on my Must Do list. If you are free this month, then it would be a good time to go because the Borobudur International Festival will be held on 25 - 29 June 2009. The festival includes cultural performances, trade exhibitions and seminars.

Also in commemoration of Vesak (a Buddhist holiday), a spectacular show of traditional Javanese dances with the Borobudur as a back-drop will be performed at the compound.

Want to visit Borobudur? Check its website for latest events : http://www.borobudurpark.co.id/

June 9, 2009

Monas - Jakarta's Landmark

It has been 1 month since my last entry. Mainly, it's because I was on a 2-week vacation. One of the places I went to was :

It is amazing how recognizable the Eiffel tower is that eventhough the picture is a bit blur, I bet you immediately know I was in Paris. Even if I say "France", the Eiffel tower would probably be one of the things that come to mind.

For Jakarta, its landmark is Monas, an abbreviation for Monumen Nasional, which means the National Monument.

Source : http://fahrurozi.wordpress.com/2009/01/

From the outside, the monument may not be as fantastic as for example the Empire state building in New York. However, Monas is rich in meaning. It was built as a symbol of Indonesia's spirit in fighting for its independence, thus the "eternal" flame on top (coated in gold).

It was also designed with Indonesia's independence date in mind : 17-08-'45. (17 metres is the height of the flame, 8 metres is the height of the room inside the monument which houses the National History Museum, and 45 is the width of the base. See pic, source : http://jakartathecity.blogspot.com/2008/12/monas-icon-of-jakarta.html).

Monas is open to the public. You can go to the top and get a bird's eye view of Jakarta or go to the basement where the National History museum has dioramas depicting Indonesia's history.

When local tourists come to Jakarta, they would most likely put Monas on their list of things to visit. However, for foreigners, maybe less so. I think it is the lack of marketing programme which doesn't make Monas a firm symbol of Jakarta as the Eiffel is for Paris.

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