Category Archives: Indonesia Blog

Pura (Temple) Kehen, Bali, Indonesia

This temple is located in Bangli area of Bali and it has some unique features. The temple entrance gate is not Bentar Gate type yet Kurung Gate type. There is also Bale Kulkul (wooden slit drum) located above the hundred years banyan tree. There were three inscriptions found mentioned about the temple yet there was no certain year it was built and the inscription also mentioned where Kehen name derived. According to the 3rd inscription from the year 1204, the temple had some temples related to each other as a union called Pura Hyang Hatu, Kyang Kedaton, Hyang Daha Bangli, Hyang Pande, Hyang Wukir, Hyang Tegal, Whayng Waringin, Hyang Pahumbukan, Hyang Buhitan, Hyang Peken Lor, Hyang Peken Kidul and Hyang Kehen.

Hyang Kehen is assumed to be derived from the word dkeren which means place for fire and related to the first inscription which mentioned Hyang Api (fire), Hyang Karinama and Hyang Tanda and some monks names.

It is believed that if the branches fall down there will be disaster. It has happened that if the priests died, if the king died and also some branches fall down means disaster for the people.

The gate is decorated with two elephant statues as dwarapala. There are also statues from Ramayana epics and inside the temple there are 11 Siva’s manifestation. The main temple wal is decorated with chinese ceramics in blue color.

PICTURES:Walini Tea Plantation,Ciwedey, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

Located in Ciwedey, this beautiful tea plantation situated about 2 hours drive from Bandung. Along the trip to the tea plantation you will be passing villages located on a hills, and most of the houses roof are made of terracotta roof tile making the view more beautiful to be seen.

Ciwalini Tea Plantation is such a huge area, it is hilly and creating beautiful curves. Below are few pictures at the plantation. The plantation is en route to Lake Situ Patenggang and Rengganis Crater, and not far from Kawah Putih Crater. Places can be seen nearby the area are: hotspring, strawberry farm and you can also try local ginger drink called bandrek to warm your body.

Tropical Pitcher Plant (Kantung Semar)

Indonesia has many species of Nepenthes sp, which can be found in Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and other islands in Indonesia. This pant can be easily acknowledge by the pouch shape. The pouch consists of digestive enzymes, and that the plant trap insects the pouch and digested the it.

However it turns out that in its natural habitat, the plant is not only a death trap, yet the liquid in pitcher plan has diverse microbial life and complex organism and insects that escape digestion.

The main insects found the pouch are Diptera ordo and Hymenoptera ordo. Inquilines of the pitcher consists of protozoa, bacterus, algae, fungi, rotifers, crustaceans, arachnids, insects and amphibia. The pitcher plants hist different sets of inquilines, depends on the size, life span of the pitcher as well as its fluid.

Inquilines has close relationship with the pitcher, some live parasitically, but most of them are mutualists. Beneficial activities include secretion of enzymes, feeding plant prey, successive excretion of inorganic nutrients, removal of excessive prey and assimiation of N2.

Though there are abundance of species’s of pitcher plants, the trapping mechanism are similar. The trapping process is driven by gravity, which the prey trapped in the pouch and unable to climb up. The uppermost of the pitcher has glands producing nectar and volatiles that attract prey.

Kakawin Sutasoma

Kakawin Sutasoa is a kakawin written in Old Javanese, a Kawi language with heavy Sanskrit. It consists of 148 chapters and 1,210 verses. Kakawin is Old Javanese poem, consists of four lines with same syllables. This kakawin is famous, as Indonesia motto was taken from this: Bhineka Tunggal Ika.

It was written in the end of 14th Century, during Majapahit Kingdom period by Mpu Tantular, a court poet when King Rajasanaraga (Hayam Wuruk ) reigned.

The original verse in the kakawin in which is used as Indonesia’s motto is ;Bhinnêka tunggal ika tan hana dharma mangrwa.  (Differences unites becomes one, there is no dual truths) This teaches tolerance among religions, which in the context of Sutasoma was between Hindu-Siva and Buddha.

 There are some opinion scholarly about the religious climate in the Mahapahit Kingdom period. Some declare that there are two religions in that period: Hindu-Sivaism and Buddhism. And some assumed, according to Negarakertagama, there were 4 sects: Sivaism, Brahmaism, Wisnu and Buddhism. During that period, Sivaism was the dominant religion and Biddhism was less popular. But there is another opinion that Sivaism and Mahayana Buddhism share equal popularity.

This is the synopsis of the kakawin. The designated Buddha (Bodhisattva) was reborn as Sutasoma, the son of King Hastinapura, King Mahaketu. Sutasoma grew up and become pious worshipping God and dedicated to Buddhism. He was not happy to be arranged wed and crowned as king. Then one night, Sutasoma escaped from Hastinapura. Arrival at the forest, the prince and then prayed in a monastery and came goddess Widyakarali and said that his prayer was accepted. He then climbed Mountains of Himalaya accompanied by some priests. He then arrive in a hermitage and listed to a king’s story about reincarnation of a king who ate human.

The story was about a king named Purusada or Kalmasapada. One day they ran out of meat for the king, as they were eaten by dogs and pigs. The cook was puzzled and hurried to find meat, yet he could not get one. He then went to cemetery and cut leg of a corpse and served it to the king. The king was so happy as the food tasted very good because he was the reincarnation of a giant. He then asked the cook what kind of meat he cooked. The cook finally admited after threatened, that it was human flesh. Since then, the king ate human meat, until his people were all gone. The king was wounded in the leg and could not be healed and then he became giant in the forest. He vowed to dedicate 100 kings to Kala if his illness could be healed. Sutasoma was asked by the priests to kill the king, yet he refused, until goddess Pertiwi came out to beg him. Yet, still Sutasoma refused and meditated. He then continued his journey and met a giant with elephant head who ate human. Sutasoma could defeat the giant and he preached the giant about Buddhism that he must not kill other beings and then the giant became his student. The prince then met a dragon who was also defeated by him and became his student. He then met a hungry tigress, who ate her own cub but was prevented by Sutasoma, but tigress refused and still wanted to eat her cub. Sutasoma then offered himself to be eaten by tigress and tigress pounced him and drank his blood which tasted nice for her. The tigress then repent and crying, that batara Indra (god) came and brought Sutasoma to life. The tigress became Sutasoma’s student. Sutasoma and his students walked and arrived at a war between Kalmasapada and Dasabahu, who was the cousin of Sutasoma. He asked Sutasoma to go home and offered him to marry his daughter. Sutasoma returned to Hastina and married and had children and crowned as King Sutasoma. The Purusada then had 100 kings to be sacrificed to Batara Kala, yet Batara Kala did not want to eat them, but wanted Sutasoma instead. Purusada then attacked Sutasoma and arrested Sutasoma and then sacrificed to Batara kala, and Sutasoma said he was willingly to be eaten yet, Purusada must release 100 kings. Pursada was touched and he repent. All kings was released.

Proboscis Monkey or Bekantan of Borneo

Pictures by Thomas,

Proboscis Monkey is one of the biggest monkey species, locally called as bekantan and its binomial name is Nasalis larvatus. The monkey is the endemic species of Borneo Island (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei). Due to fire and change of land allocation, they are endangered situation.

The physical trait we can see from the proboscis monkey is its big long nose. Male has bigger nose and it is to attract female and who ever creates the louder vocalization is the most attractive. The proboscis live in group of one male and several females. Male or female proboscis can leave their natal group for status elevation, breeding or reduce food competition.

Proboscis live predominantly arboreal at or not far from the river, occasionally terrestrial and quadrupedal. Very Their diet consists of leaf, unripe fruit, flower and also small smaller amount of insects. His diets generates gas that proboscis has protruding stomach. Mother proboscis sometimes chew leaves for the cub to be digested easier. The predators of the monkeys are python, leopard, crocodile, monitor lizard. Unlike other monkeys, they can swim to narrows and if possible they cross it arboreally.

They live up to 25 years, and their daily activity is resting, traveling, vigilance and feeding. After waking up they mone inland and at dusk return to riverside and eat before dark. Feeding time is in the morning and at dusk.

One of the National Parks you can see this wild monkey is in Tanjung Puting National Park. You can see them in the morning and in the late afternoon on trees at the riverside on their feeding time schedule.

-Various Source-

PICTURES: Rice Field at Bawean Island, East Java, Indonesia

Bawean Island is not only rich of beautiful beach and other islets with beautiful coral. There are abundant rice field and terraces nestles in the island that shows how fertile the soil is. Below are some pictures of rice terrace in the island. Farmers start to plant in December-January and then they will harvest around May. Farmers plant it simultaneously that we can see the vast rice field has same color.

Mentawai Tribe Experience: Where human unites with the nature, West Sumatera, Indonesia

Mentawai Tribe has been known for its tribe members who are tattooed with some distinctive tattoos, live in the jungle of Mentawai and very little touched by modern way of life. Their unique authentic culture has drawn attention for foreign visitors to experience, see, and witness the live of the tribe that lives from the nature, take a little from the nature and preserves their tradition and belief.
Many Mentawaian has embraced modern life, and only about 1000 Mentawai tribe still live in the Jungle, in Siberut Island. The ecotourism activity has been conducted to contribute to the sustainability of indigenous culture, belief, and life of Mentawai tribe. The experience involves staying overnight at traditional house, and seeing how the tribe use the resource in the forest for their life.
To access Siberut, it takes fast boat ride from Muaro Harbor of Padang to Siberut Island, which takes about 4 hours ride. And then arrival at Siberut Island take motorcycle ride to Muntei Village, the road is narrow that motorcyce is the best option to commute. There is only in few places signal of phone and internet can be found. Due to the high rate of rain in Mentawai, in case of rain, usually visitors must stay overnight at Muntei, at local house, as it is not possible to jungle trek and ride on long small motor boat which is called as pompong along Silaoinan River.
There are some different areas where the tribe settle, some located from 1.5 hours motorboat ride to 5 hours. And it takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours trek from from the river to the tribe house. The trek is muddy especially after rains. The locals walk barefoot, but for visitors who are not used to walk barefoot in jungle with muddy track, boots are provided. In my experience, it is easier to walk barefoot only we must be careful as there are thorns on the track. Wearing good size booth is very important as perfect size will make the trek easier. To keep balance wooden sticks will be given to clients, and even Mentawai tribe they walk with stick as well. The access has been a little easy as the tribe has laid trees along the trek to help them walking without getting trapped in the mud. And it is very normal if visitors fall and trapped in the mud while trekking for the first time.
It is recommended to apply bugs repellent during the tour, not only mosquito but there are very small bugs will love to bite you in the jungle. I have red itchy big bumps on my legs because i did not apply repellent. And i met many millipede along the walk.

The house is made on wood, and sago leaves which can be found in the jungle. The house is built on stilts and under the house is where they raise pigs. Normally they have dogs and chicken. Which they build small house at the back of the house. The house consists of one indoor room and one semi outdoor room ,which is similar to veranda. The veranda is where they do most activities, like making poison, weaving rattan and welcome with guests and chit chat.
The ceiling is where they place baskets and other tools which they use daily.
The indoor room is where they sleep, and cook and keep personal and valuable goods.
The house has no windows but it has two doors.
The roof is made of sago leaves folded over a slightly thin bamboo and then weaved with thin rattan to keep the leaves in place. Each one weaved roof is one meter and then the it will be tied by strong bigger rattan to the bamboo, as the roof frame. It is really amazing that there is no leak at all. And the leaf roof can last for 16 years, even though, there is almost raining everyday there.
A big party and ritual must be held to erect new uma, involves dancing and having pigs for party.
Mentawai tribe hunts for monkeys, and they hang the skull of monkeys or wild pigs above the door facing outside. While they hang the domesticated animals/cattle, usually pigs, above the veranda entrance facing inside the house. This is for the hope of Mentawaian, that the monkeys or hunted pigs skull soul will invite their friends when they hunt and while the cattle or domesticated animals facing the house means to keep them in the house.
In Muntei the closest village to the jungle still have few traditional houses, but many new modern house as well with metal roof, not sago leaves roof anymore.

Mentawai Tribe does hunt.They hunt for pig, deer, and monkey. They must hunt when they have new born baby and when there is a bid event like building uma and wedding. They hunt with their weapon, arrow. Before hunting there will be ritual by sikerey, the shaman. They make poison and rub it on the arrow. The poison ingredients can be found in the forest such as Derris elliptica (tuba),  root of Alpina galanga (galangal), very small wild red chilly, lapak tree bark and ragi stem. 
First step is to grate the un-skinned ragi stem and galangal. Put the shaved lapak tree bark which is usually directly from the tree by shaving the bark.  Grate the chilly and hammer the tuba root by wooden hammer that the milky white liquid can be seen. Mic the ingredient and then put it in a rattan ring and then squeeze it by wooden clamp that the fluid yielded. 
The fluid then applied on arrows by brush and the arrow is dried about 50 cm high above fire for 1 minute.And then applied again another layer and dry again until all the poison is gone.
There are 2 types of arrows, the one with arrow sign end is aimed for pig and deer, while the one spiky and pointed is to hunt monkey. Once an arrow hit animals, usually they must follow the animals for 10 to 15 minutes until the poison got them.
There are some rules may not be broken by Mentawai Tribe if they are hunting : they must not have coitus, they must not eat sour and must not shower.

Sikerei or Mentawai tribe shaman wears kabid around the waist. The tree for kabid material can be found in the jungle of Mentawai. To make kabid, the tree must be cut. And then using machete, the bark can be taken. One tree can make 3-4 kabid pieces. The bark used for kabid is the inside skin only. The inside skin then beaten using somekind of wooden hammer, on a tree. The bark must be beaten strongly many times to soften the material and when it is all beaten the bark is washed and dried. It can dry within half day. Kabid can last for about 6 months if worn daily and can last for 1.5 years if not worn daily. The tree to make kabid is locally known as baiko. Once cut, Baiko new bud can grow again after 8 months.

Sago is the staple food of Mentawai tribe. It grows well in the island. Sago can be cooked by wrapped in sago leaves or in a bamboo. Sago just cooked above fire for about 15 minutes and ready to serve. It tastes better in bamboo. They eat sago with fish or pork or chicken. Mentawai Tribe does not recognize spices, they only use salt for cooking. They grow sago in their land and once the sago tree does not produce good sago, it will be cut and let it for 3 months until sago worm grow in the tree.


Sago worms are cooked like other foods, but in the sago leaves or bamboo and then heat it above fire. They take the larva, pupa and the adult. Once they take the larva, they press the head of the larva to die and put in a leaf that it will not move anywhere. Sago worm is rich of protein.


Pork usually slaughtered when they have ceremony. And for ritual it is males who cook. And cooking only by boiled with salt. Mentawai have pig under their house and sometimes they attract males pig who would like to mate them. The tribe does not want their pig to be impregnated by wild pigs, as usually after 5 months or so the young pigs will be wild and leave the house.


Tenganan Village’s Tri Hita Karana

Repro picture : Tenganan Village

Tri Hita Karana is applied well in Tenganan Pegringsingan especially in the land use regulation. Trees may not be cut without any careful observation,although the tree is a privately owned. Every trees to cut must be discussed first with other village members. If the tree still has living leaves, this must be discussed by Kelian Desa. Kelian desa will delegate 3 people to check on the tree. They are: Bahan Luanan, Bahan Duluan and Bahan Tebenan. Tree is allowed to cut is after checked when 80% of the tree is died and 20% still lives and not a main stem. If one of the people does not agree, then they must be delayed another one or two months or more. Usually for public use, the rule is more flexible.

There is a special right for a newly wed couple in the village. Three months after the wedding, the couple must live separated from the parents to build a new household. The village gives them a new land of 2.432 are. And to build the house, they can take the woods from the forest. Tenganan Pegringsingan villagers must not pick fruits from these trees: durian, pangi, nutmeg and tehep. Those fruits can be picked when they fall to the ground. And it is not only the owner who can pick them, but anyone can pick them, especially who are diligently look for those fruits. It is not allowed to cut tree of : jackfruit, nutmeg, pangi, tehep, jaka (Aren) on the west part of river and north part of the village, there will be fined if anyone breaks it. If outsiders take the 4 fruits will be fined 10 catu or 25 kg of rice plus the price of the fruits taken. The fine is distributed : 50% to the village and 50% to the one who report it. The identity of who reports is classified. It is not allowed to sell or give away  the fiber bark, yet it is allowed to sell the rope of fiber bark of aren (Arenga pinnata). This later rule is especially to conserve the tree as the producer of fiber used for roof. And it is prohibited as well to make arak and sugar. However it is allowed to make tuak. Making red brick is not allowed to avoid the excessive use of wood. And there is a unique rule that the locals may not plant tarum tree even though tarum (Indigofera) is daily used to blue dye gringsing , Tenganan traditional weaving. Villagers must buy tarum from outside the village that Tenganan residents can cooperate and socialize with other village.

Therefore the village has conserves the forest for generations and probably the forest and the rice field in Tenganan will be eternal.


Tenganan Village preserves its tradition and culture, which has been existed since the 8th Century. It is different from culture for other parts of Bali. Locals has different traditional costume, slightly different rituals and rules from other parts of Bali. It follows awig awig or customary law and locals practice endogamy that obligates locals to marry Tenganan blood only. Breaking the awig awig can be exiled from the village and losing other rights as Tenganan residents.

Village origins sources from the first King of Gianyar who lost his horse. The king ordered people to search for the horse in exchange for a reward. Tenganan people found the horse dead. The king then said that Tenganan will be granted land as far as the smell of the horse carcass. The Tenganan people outsmart the king by carrying the carcass behind their clothes while measuring the land for the reward. That was how Tenganan Village originated from. And until today, ruling systems, land rights, natural resource rights and usage, marriage, education and traditional ceremonies have their own rules in Tenganan.

Tenganan village has an area of 917,218 ha which consists of ricefield: 255 ha, residential and public facility:78,23 ha and dry land and forest of 583 ha. The land can only be cultivated by locals, can not be sold or managed by others than locals, according to the village rule. The Land use is under costomary law and and given to a couple with a land to build a house which size is the same with other houses.

Tenganan people still practice weaving traditionally and the weaving is colored with natural color. We can purchase and browse for weaving as well as seeing how they make weaving with single and double ikat. This traditional weaving is locally called gringsing. Gringsing is believed to have magic. Gringsing derives from “gering” which means ill and sing which means NOT or help. from both words, gringsing means to avoid illness.

The weaving is in relatively long time from several weeks to several months, subject to the size of the weaving. That is why the price of gringsing is high. Everyone can make gringsing and wear it, it does not show any social status in Tenganan.

Read more about Tenganan Village on the next post.


Here we share the pictures taken by our former client who visited Tanjung Puting National Park. The pictures taken at some feeding station in the National Park: Tanjung Harapan, Camp Leaky and Pondok Tangguy. Not just orangutan there are other wildlife can be observed during the trek and while you are cruising along Sekonyer River.

The orangutans in feeding station are ex captive orangutans. Especially Camp Leaky provides useful information about the research and facts about this arboreal creature.

taken during a photo trip to Indonesia in 2018 – taken by Thomas Fuhrmann, SnowmanStudios – see more pictures on / mehr Aufnahmen auf