Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
To be honest, we thought it would have been a great idea to visit the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII). Get a glimpse of the whole country packed in one spot, and then recommend it to those that have no idea where to start when visiting Indonesia. We would call the entry ‘Taman Mini Indonesia Indah: Indonesia for dummies’. But having a tad experience around this country, and then visiting this park, we had to change our point of view. It was not an introduction to this complicated country. It was just another touristy venue. But don’t call us Indohoy girls if we didn’t know how to enjoy ourselves to the fullest.
Now I’m going to save you from all the details of the place and refer you to another page. TMII is very famous and there aretons of information online about it. What I can say is that it’s huge, a great walk around, and public space taken for granted.
I once came here as a kid. I remember it well. How could I not? It’s a monstrous golden snail shell. As a kid, I’ve always wondered what the inside of the shell looked like. And what do you know? Snails have their own home theater :D. Oh how I wished the inside was swirly.
Just a little trivia, the Keong Masor literally translated to Golden Snail is a classic folklore about step sisters. One was good but tortured, the other was evil and torturous. And you probably can guess the happy ending and who gets the prince 😛
The Golden Snail holds the IMAX theater, which has a 21.5 m x 29.5 m screen and used to be the largest screen in South East Asia back in the 80s. We’re not sure about its current status. It’s so huge.When you watch something it feels like you’re experiencing the movie because your eyes has no space for any marginal sights. Of course, this was the technology before 3D and 4D (with motion chairs) were introduced.
We happened to watch a movie about how beautiful Indonesia is… I mean was!They played a movie from the 80s. What’s with that? Do we not have any current movie that shows how beautiful Indonesia is?Can we not afford to make one and donate it to KeongMas? Vira butts in: hey TMII manager, do you copy that? Roger. (80’s mode: On)
I can’t remember the title of the movie, but it was pretty obvious. Something like beautiful Indonesia or such. The movie was outdated. You could see from some of the fashion worn, the hair do’s, and the missing skyscrapers and traffic jam of Jakarta from the air. Nonetheless, some of the natural sceneries were still as beautiful as we see it today. The movie was amazing since most of the footage was taken from a helicopter. It felt like flying. From this movie, I can say Indonesia hasn’t changed much and has evolved drastically, all in the same time.
Vira butting in: And though I’ve seen movies in 3D and 4D, this old IMAX movie gave me an even more real experience. It really felt like I was paragliding over a volcano looking over an endless beach…!
There are about 4-5 movies a day with different titles. To watch a movie, each person must pay IDR 30,000.
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah in Cable Car
We took the cable car just to see what was interesting from the sky. The fact is you can’t see much from the air because everything was in houses. It was entertaining to see the different shapes of houses though. You had to enter them one by one. You could see the different religious houses from top, and the Buddhist one looked pretty impressive. Oh well!
Of course, the cable car is also the only way to see the miniature Indonesia made in the artificial lake, smacked right in the middle of the whole park. I loved it when I was a child as I did on this visit.They have the major islands done, but of course, they couldn’t make the whole 17,000 island replica :D. Somehow, to put such effort in making this miniature still grips my heart.
To hop on the cable car, pay up IDR 25,000/pax.
There was a venue for each province. They had also installed venues of the new provinces that were established in the past years. It was really hard to choose which ones to see. But we settled with a few that are on our dream list.
Seriously, which traveler or tourist does not want to visit Papua? It has everything from the friendly shark whale to Kentucky Fried Chicken. That pretty much says it all.
The Papua venue is basically a Papua hut filled with a collection of stuffed animals, weapons, pictures, and artifacts. Inside, a Papua man/woman will kindly guide you through the house and explain about Papua and will answer your questions. Upon our visit, outside of the hut, there was a photography exhibition on the Sentani Lake Festival. It was intriguing. Really need to see it one day!
The Papua venue had miniature huts where we found a senior sculptorin process of creating a wall decoration. He was sitting in one of the miniature huts waiting for people to visit, take pictures, and buy his creations. We just sat, chat, and had a few laughs.
It was one of my favorite and least favorite moments of the day. It was my favorite because I just love getting to know new people, especially people with a great history such as this man.
“I’m too dark for a Javanese and too light for a Papuanese,” he says. We chuckle to the irony. It’s been a while since he left Papua and the Java air has changed the man. He’s stuck in between colors, he is the grey area.
It’s also my least favorite because it’s sad to hear such a talented man wondering about between jobs withless appreciation than he should be getting on what he did in the arts. It also seemed like the park wasn’t well managed having him as a freelancer. It was heart breaking. I won’t go too much in details to what we talked about, I’m just going to state that it was a high uumm..lowlight of the day.
We wanted to enter the Kalimantan venue but it didn’t look that exciting from the outside. It was deserted and some venues were unorganized. One of the Kalimantan venues, however, had these traditional steep ladders to reach the second floor. I’m not sure if we were allowed or not, but we climbed the decorated stairs.No one stopped us anyways. I can’t imagine how high and unsteady the real thing is. I think something closer to the real thing was on another East Kalimantan venue, and boy was that one scary. It was a tiny rush of adrenaline.
On the top of the stairs was a pot of gold. We found this beautiful wall of Kalimantan sculpture, I think partly made of rubber. It was massive and detailed, and I heart bad!
Out of luck, we stumbled in to a traditional dance competition for all ages in the North Sumatera venue. Replicas of the traditional houses were pretty impressive, but we were more driven to the dance competition instead. We didn’t see much of it, but we did like the fact that there was still a large enthusiasm from the people for traditional dances. All the contestants were neatly dressed up and ready to do their thing.
In the end, we kinda liked Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII). We also would like to note that, no matter how bland the venues were with the minimum things to see and do, there are 2 points that we can address:
Overall, as we have traveled Indonesia a bit in the past 2 years, we can say that visiting Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is nothing like traveling the country. What you see in the houses are also far from the reality of the journey. But, with the minimum public space Jakarta has, TMII is definitely worth the keep. It’s cleaner than most parks, and it’s spacious. Let us appreciate it as a place to visit and keep it there.
The most convenient way to head out there is by TransJakarta. If you have access to this express bus, then hop on the ‘Pinang Ranti’ corridor and get offatthe Taman Mini bus stop. It costs IDR 3,500/pax to enter the TransJakarta bus chains, which can be used for multiply busses as long as you don’t check yourself out of the system. From here, you would have to ask a bit to where you should cross to get your ‘mikrolet’ or minibus/bemo and on what number.
Once on the red ‘mikrolet’, get off TMII Gate 3 and walk yourself way in to the park. You pay a mere IDR 2,500/pax for this lag of the trip.
You can always walk around the park. It’s huge, but as travelers that you are, it’s probably nothing compared to your daily travels and trekking.
Other options are to rent a bike, which also come in two and three seated bikes. We found out about this later in the day and failed to rent one for the fun of it.
There are also the tour cars with open-walled carts that would drive you around the park should you be interested in them.