Category Archives: Indonesia Blog

Traditional Villages in Sumba Island

Visiting a new places is not just admiring the natural beauty yet experiencing and see deeper of the local tradition and culture. One of the places worth visit is traditional villages. In Sumba Island there are some traditional villages that still preserves the local architecture. They are situated on the west and on the east.

RATENGGARO VILLAGE: This village is located not far from the famous Weekuri Lagoon. And can be a day trip from Tambolaka Airport. The houses in the village is erratic compared to other villages. The roof is higher that that of other villages. It is situated nearby the sea and it is captivating to be photographed from the other side, which is nearby the sea, that the village and the shallow blue sea can be captured in your lens.  If you are a photographer, can picture Sumbanese riding horse on the beach with the village background. 

Ratenggaro Village is surrounded by gabion wall. There are the megalithic artefacts in the village and at the beach related to their indigenous belief, Marapu belief.
Locals open their house for visitors to see the inside. The house is on stilts, with the lower area is for animals. The roof is made out of hays and reeds. The high roof has similar shape to Joglo house of Javanese. The high roof of Ratenggaro Village is probably built so to store crops and it is higher than other areas as the south west region is dry that they can store more food.

PRAIJING VILLAGE : Is situated on the West Sumba Regency. It is situated higher in the island and it has the best place to take photo of the village without drone. The houses roof is not as high as Ratenggaro yet, and as its geographic location, Praijing has ethereal beauty. It is surrounded by green vegetation, with a village street, and the thatched roof. You can walk in the village, meeting the locals, seeing their pets and livestock. Locals have habit to chew beetles nut like other areas in Sumba, that their teeth are reddish. Some women are working on the loom making Sumba traditional hand woven fabric, tenun Sumba.

PRAILIU VILLAGE :The village is not far from the city center. The village was the capital of Lewa Kambera Kingdom. The locals still preserve the custom and tradition until today. The direct descendats of Lewa Kambera Kingdom still reside in the village. The unique thing in this village is that we can see the megalithic tomb. The tomb of king weights 40 tons and when he died it is not just his body put inside but also pigs and other animals, and as well woven fabric. 


Fort Marlborough, Bengkulu

Bengkulu is known as the exile house of Soekarno, this city also has fortress built by British in the 18th Century, called Fort Marlborough. The fortress is Bengkulu 0 Km and it was designed in the shape of turtle, only 50 meters from Bengkulu coast line, not far from Chinatown

In 1912, Joseph Collett, docked his ship at Bencoolen and he found out that Fort York was which was erected in 1685 was in terrible situation and he suggested to move the fort to Carrang. In 1714, his suggestion was approved and named the fort as Marlborough derives from British national hero, Jogn Churchill, which is titled as Duke of Marlborough. After Joseph Collett other governor in position was Thiophilus Shyllinge (1716-1717), Richard Farmer (1717-1718) dan Thomas Cooke.

Fort Marlborough is the strongest fort in the East we can see until today. The front door is made out of iron which is in excellent condition. Visitors usually like to take picture here.

The fort was center of British activities until 1824. The fort was then under Dutch possession after London Treaty in 17 March of 1824, which British gave all its authority in Bengkulu. Dutch was in power until 1942 when the Japanese occupied Bengkulu until 1945.

It has a museums inside the fort where we can also see historical cannons and gravestones. Visitors can hike up to the fortress and see the Hindian ocean and the city view and Tapak Padri and Panjang Beach. According to our local guide the fort has documents about Sumatra Island’s natural resources


Bengkulu has 5 species out of 33 Rafflesia flowers of the world. Rafflesia is a shy plant, it is not easy cultivated and therefore it is very rare and not very easy to see. However in Bengkulu there are recorded about 50 to 60 Rafflesia blooms every year that it makes it a good place to see this beautiful flower for botany enthusiast or for curious travelers.

This gigantic red flowers can be easily identified for its size, color, smell and its 100% parasitic life. Here are 5 species of Rafflesia in Bengkulu:

1) Rafflesia arnoldii is the first Rafflesia flower discovered in the 1818 nearby Manna River, Lubuk Tapi, South Bengkulu. This flower was found by Thomas Stamford Raffles the leader of expedition and the guide Joseph Arnold. The flower diameter can reach to 1 meters and weight upto 11 kg. It has 5 petals, red colors and it has irregular white spots on its petals. At the inside of the flower it has spikey plates which has stamens and pistils. Flies are interested in the scent of this flower and that was how the productive process begins. It blooks only for a week and then dries and dies. The percentage of insemination is very small as very rare that male flower and femae flower bloom at the same week. 

2) Rafflesia bengkuluensis is the endemic species of Bengkulu. It was discovered in Penangkulan River, Manau IX village, Kaur Regency, Bengkulu. This species is not as big as Rafflesia arnoldii, its diameter range is 50-55 cm, and each petal size is 15-19 cm. The flower is dark orange or terracotta color with irregular spots of 9mm and widtf 406 mm. The diafragma is 16,2-18,6 cm and the spots on the diafragma is light orange and the diafragma holes about 10,6 cm. Its ramenta is tubercle unlike Rafflesia arnoldii, with its filiform ramenta.  It was first discovered in 2005 by Bengkulu University and Kebangsaan Malaysia University. 

3) Rafflesia gadutensis Meijer, was considered as Rafflesia arnoldii until 1984 when it was described by Meijer.The name was derived from where the first specimen collected at Ulu Gadut Padang, West Sumatra. The sizee is medium with diameter from 40-46 cm. The perigon and surface of diapragma is light red, and spots on the perigon and diapragma has similar size and the color is light red. The spots on the longest perigon is 10-12 spots, and its bigger than spots on R. arnoldii, and sometimes huddled together near diaphragma. 

4) Rafflesia hasseltii is known as the most beautiful Rafflesia and it was described by Suringar in 1879 according to specimen collected from Muara Labuh, West Sumatra. Because of the spots pattern on the perigon petals, the locals call this as red-white mushroom or riger mushroom. This species is easily identified and differentiate from othe species. The color is maroon and the petals has wide and dominant in the shape of irregular rectangle. One petal can have 4-6 spots. The flower size is 30-50 cm and sometimes can be 70 cm. This species is very rare, and now the productive areas are Ketenong II, Lebong Regency, Bengkulu  and Kerinci Seblat National Park. The habitat if R. hasseltii is a highland forest with formation of vegetation such as :  Altingia excelsa, Knema laurina, Elateriospermum tapos, Quercus elmeri, Tristania maingayi, Dysoxylum sp., Xylocarpus granatum, Litsea sp., and Syzygium sp.

5) Rafflesia kemumu is a new species discovered and it is similar to R. gadutensis in regard of the size of flower, however different in color and wart ornaments on the perigone lobes. This species was discovered in Boven Lais Nature Reserved which borders with  Tebing kaning Village, North Bengkulu 


Bengkulu is situated in Sumatra Island, and it is one of province of Indonesia and its capital is situated in Bengkulu city. Bengkulu derives from Dutch, Bengkoelen or Bengkulen, in English it is Bencoolen and in Malay is called as Bangkahulu. Some say that Bengkulu derives from Malay words: Bang means “coastal” and kulon means “west”. Traditional source say that Bengkulu or Bangkahulu derives from Bangkai and Hulu which means carrion or carcass or corpse at the upstream. 

According to word of mouth, there was a battle between kingdoms in Bengkulu that both sides had lost their troops they became corpse that were unburied at the upstream that people call it Bangkahulu or Bengkulu. There was a story about war between Aceh people who came to mary Princess Gading Cempaka, the daughter of King Agung Sungai Serut. The king rejected the proposal that later it became war.  Anak Dalam, the sibling of the princess who would come to throne as king screamed ” Empang ka hulu.” which means “block them, do not let them enter our land.” 

Small kingdoms in Bengkulu existed in the 12th to 13th Century. Selebar Kingdom was situated at the port of Baai and Jenggalu Island, Sungai Serut Kingdom and Sungai Lemau Kingdom were situated in Pondok Kelapa, Empat Petulai Kingdom in Rejang Lebong, Indra Pura Kingdom and Sungai Itam Kingdom in Lebak, Gedung Agung Kingdom and Manau Kingdom in South Bengkulu. In the 15th Century, those kingdomes were controlled by Majapahit Kingdom in Java after it defeated Sriwijaya Kingdom in the 13th Century.  In the mid of 16th Century, Bengkulu was ruled under Banten Sultanate.  In 1685, British arrived with their 3 ships: The Caesar, The Resolution and The Defence and they colonialized Bengkulu for 139 years, until 1824. During this period, British troop died of cholera, malaria and dysentery.  There was a battle as well between British and the locals. In 1714-1719, British built Marlborough Fortress led by Governor England Indische Company (EIC), Josep Collet. When the fortress was finished, Prince Jenggalu let his people to attack British in Ujung Karang and Marlborough Fortress, that the British left Bengkulu. This heroic event is commemorating annually as the anniversary of Bengkulu.  Dutch occupied Bengkulu in 1824-1942. And Japan occupied Bengkulu from 1942-1945. 

Source : Kompas

Rang Reng Cave Waterfall , Gianyar, Bali

Walking about 15 minutes descend through steps, we see the fan tiered waterfall. The water slides down along the rocks. It was stunningly beautiful. But we never thought that it was not the original waterfall, but made designed by a man named Made who has this idea. From the waterfall we went up to the natural swimming pools and the cave where the water comes from and flow to the waterfall.

Made grew up in this village and he knows well his village, river, waterfall and the forest. One day he meditated in the cave in the year 2015. And when he was meditating he had an idea about this place. It would be beautiful if the rock was cut, that it created pool and more water will flow on the rock surface and will make it more beautiful than before. He conveyed this ideas to his friends.

Rang reng names derived from Balinese which means beautiful ands spine-chilling. The names comes from Made’s experience meeting a boy in this place and told him the the cave was Rang Reng. Afterwards he never met this boy again and nobody knows who this boy was.

The cave is holy place for the locals, where they undertake melukat ritual whenever they have some terrible things happen, when they have nightmare.

If you do not want to go to see the cave, the waterfall is just enjoyable from a bamboo lookout where you can take photos.

Ubud Gianyar :Kanto Lampo Waterfall

This beautiful tiered waterfall is situated in Gianyar Regency and only about 30 minutes drive from Ubud. There are signs when you reach nearby the waterfall, that you will not get lost. Or just follow google map. It is accessible by car or bike.

It takes about 15 minutes walk from parking area to the waterfall through steeps to canyon. The waterfall flows along terraces rock and streams down into river which is a natural pool where we can swim and bath. So prepare your wet suites.

Place for drink, meals and live music in Canggu Bali

Canggu has vibrant life after becomes foreign visitors base for long stay in Bali. There are restaurants, villas, gyms, yoga retreat, world-class beach clubs, artisan fashion shops. And if you happen to stay in Canggu, and love to enjoy music during your stay in Canggu, here are my list:

Deus Ex Machina is clothing line store that has bar with live music everyday. The tables are situated in the semi outdoor space. They have good and to pray everynight. The unique thing the offer is free tattoo every Tuesday night from 6-10 pm.

Old Man’s is the most iconic beach front bar in Canggu. Named after surf break, this place offers Indonesian authentic menus and as well favorite menus. Live music is available every Tuesday and Thursday.

Far Away Bar&Grill is where sport enthusiast can gather and have fun. You can watch sport matches here while sipping cold beer or just hot coffee. On Tuesday you can enjoy live music here.

Nanu Cafe & Eatery is popular among locals and family friendly. They offer Indonesian and fusion menus. The restaurant has greens and playground. Every Saturday Night and Sunday Night there is acoustic performance.

Flores : Semana Santa The Biggest Catholic Event in Indonesia

Semana Santa is tradition that is still well preserved until today and even bigger than previous year, more people flock to join this ritual. The ritual has close relation with the legendary Tuan Ma.

The story started many generations before, mixed of legend and myth. About 500 years ago, at Larantuka beach, the wind was silence, waves were resting and the tide was low. A boy from Resiona tribe played at the beach to fish and snails in between reefs. He found a statue on the beach and he carried it home to give to his grandmother. And afterwards, Larantuka people who adhere animism and dinamism consider the statue as holy.  This story is handed down from generation to generation.

Other myth says that the young man saw a goddess walked on water. He asked the goddess but she sais something he did not understand. He then reported what he saw to the tribe leader, yet when they arrived back to the beach, the goddess had changed into beautiful statue. And nearby the statue, there are shells arranged into symbols that they did not understand. And after the arrival of missionary, they know that the symbol means ‘Santa Maria Rainha Rosari’. And then King of Larantuka made the statue as goddess that they worship. Whenever they were in a war, they did ceremony in front of the statue and they could win. Lamaholot people who live on the coastal of Flores prayed in front of the statue when they start to farm and when they are sick. King of Larantuka considered that the statue was a gift from ‘rera wulan’ or the God. The Larantuka people call this statue as Tuan Ma, which derives Tuan  means Mister and Mama means mother. While Lamaholot call it as Rera Wulan Tanah Ekan, god of heaven and earth.  The King took the missionary to Korke, where the statue was places. When reading the symbol, he kneeled and it meant Mother Mary. He said  that Mother Mary opened the way to this land to spread her son’s religion. The king concluded that Mother Mary opened that way to spread catholic in his land. Catholic spread easiy in here due to the relation with this statue.

Afterwards the king was christened to be Catholic and also his family members and the people, and then the Portugese arrived. And then why the statue arrived first?

In 1510 Portuguese ship sailed to trade to east and then wrecked. The ship in the past usually sailed with holy goods including statues. And that was how Mother Mary statue arrived at Larantuka before the Portugese /missionary arrived.

In 1650, King of Larantuka , Ola Adobala was christened and gave his kingdom to Tuan Ma as the manifestation of Mother Mary . Since then Larantuka is called as Reinha city (Portuguese) or City of Queen, or City of Maria. Afterwards, his son, Don Gaspar I, in 1965 parade Tuan Ma statue around Larantuka

Until nowadays, this tradition has been held for generations for 5 centuries. Every Good Friday or Sesta Vera, two statues Tuan Ma and Tuan Ana are paraded around the city with millions of candles along the route.

Sesta Vera is the peak of Semana Santa ritual, the holy week of Easter, that shows the tradition of Portugesse and Lamaholot becomes one. For more than 500 years, the palace of Larantuka and Semana Tribes come together with Confreria de Rosari, of the association of Mary party, work hand in hand with church to preserve this.

As Tuan Ma and Tuan Ana statues can be seen only once a year, devotees will make time to join the rituals. They come from all over the place, not only from Flores island only. But also other regions of Indonesia as this event is the biggest Catholic event in Indonesia. The devotees believe that the face of Tuan Ma they see depends on the feeling they have, sad or happy.

Various source

The Origin of Dayak Tribe of Borneo/Kalimantan

The term of Dayak is generally used to refer the non-muslim indigenous people, and non-Malay inhabit the island of Kalimantan. This is especially in Malaysia, as in Indonesia there are muslim Dayak that include them in Dayak tribe even though so they are called as Banjar and Kutai Tribe.

According to Lindblad, Dayak derives from Kenyah language, “daya” . which means upstream or hinterland. King also assumed that Dayak probably derives from aja, Malay language means native people.

The native people is called as Daya in Sambas and Pontianak, which means daya people or the land people. While in Banjarmasin, they are called as Biaju (bi means from, aju means upstream). Initially Daya (land people) referred to the native of West Kalimantan, from sub-tribe Bidayuh that lately called as Dayak Darat (Dayak Land) to differs them from Dayak Laut (Iban subtribe). In Banjarmasin Dayak term used in the treaty between Sultan of Banjar with East Indies in 1826, to replace the term of Biaju Luhur (Kahayan River region) and Biaju Kecil (Kapuas Manurung river region) and each regions replaced respectively with Dayak Luhur and Dayak Kecil. Since then Dayak refers to Ngaju-Ot Danum or Barito subtribe. And recently Dayak refers to native tribe collectively especially non Muslim or non Malay. According to Departemen Pendidikan dan Norma budaya istiadat Anggota Proyek Pengkajian dan Pembinaan Nilai-Nilai Adat Kalimantan Timur, the first person to use Dayak term is a Dutch scientist, August Kaderland, in the 1895.

Some have opinion that Dayak means hiterland, Dayak means Human, so Dayak means people who inhibit the hinterland, the upriver. Iban people used Dayak to refer to human, while Tunjung and Benuaq use it to refer to upriver. They also claim that Dayak also means strong, brave, galant and hardworker. In literatre there are four terms : Daya’, Dyak, Daya and Dayak. The native themselves did not recognize this ter and yet outsiders called them “Dayak”.

Generally the inhabitants of Indonesia speaks Austronesia language. According to linguist : Peter Bellwoof and Blust, Austronesian language origin is from Taiwan. Around 4000 years ago, Austronesian migrated to the Philippines. And about 500 years ago they started to migrate southward to Indonesia archipelago, and eastward to Pacific.

Austronesian are not the first inhabitants of Borneo. Between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago, the sea surface was 120 cm to 150 cm lower and Indonesia islands was a land (some geologist called this land as Sunda). Human migrated southward from Asia to Australia, that in the past Australia was not so far away from Asia.

From mountains region stream rivers in Kalimantan. And then they spread to downstream and reach the coastland of Kalimantan. At the southern part of Kalimantan, Dayak tribe built a kingdom, which is called as Nansarunai Usak Jawa, Kingdom of Nansarunai of Dayak Maanyan that was destroyed by Majapahit Kingdom in the 1309 to 1389. And this caused Dayak Maanyan spread over. About 1520, Islam influenced arrived from Demak Kingdom and also the arrivals of Malay traders.

Dayak people in the south and east of Kalimantan that converted Islam exit the Dayak community and did not call themselves as Dayak, yet call them selves as Orang Banjar and Suku Kutai. Dayak tribe who rejected Islam, returned to hinterland through rivers and lived Katu Tangi, Margasari, Amuntai, Watang Amandit, Watang balangan and Labuan Amas. Some returned back to the jungle. Dayak Muslim usually stay in South Kalimantan and Kotawaringin. While a Banjar Hindu, Lambung Mngkurat, according to Dayak is a Dayak (Maanyan or Ot Danum). In East Kalimantan, Tonuoy-Benuaq who converted Islam called themselves Suku Kutai. Tribes from other areas also came to Kalimantan. Chinese recorded came to Kalimantan in the period of Ming Dynasty and that the first city visited was Banjarmasin and that one of a prince of Biaju was coronated as king to replace Sultan Hidayatullah I. And this new king was Sultan Mustain Billah. They visited only and did not stay , just like European traders that visited South Kalimantan has already happened in Banjar Hindu Kingdom in the 14th Century. The Chinese traders started to stay in Banjarmasin nearby coast since 1736.

The arrival of Chinese at the South Kalimantan did not affect Dayak Tribe to move, and did not have direct impact as they just trade, especially with Banjar Kingdom. They did not trade directly to Dayak people. Dayak people kept plates, and other Chinese ceramics.

Dayak Tribe is separated into about 450 sub tribe. And the subtribes have similar culture, tradition, language and custom.

Now Dayak tribes are divided into 6 families: Apokayan (Kenyah-Kayan-Bahau), Ot Danum-Ngaju, Iban, Murut, Klemantan and Punan. Punan is the oldest Dayak tribe while other Dayak are assimilation result of Dayak Punan and Proto Melayu (the ancestor of Dayak from Yunnan). And those 6 families are divided into 450 sub ethnics. Although there are 450 sub ethnics, Dayak tribe has similarity as their characteristics. They live in long house, they make earthenwares, mandau, sumpit, beliong, the way they see the world, livelihood, and dance. Ot Danum-Ngaju village generally called as Lewu/Lebu and other Dayak called as Banua.Benua/Benuo/Binua. In Kalimantan, districts of Dayak is led by Kepala Norma Budaya leading one of two different Dayak ethnics.

Various sources