Bengkulu Things to Do

  • Samudera Ujung at sunset
    Samudera Ujung at sunset
    by adriansyah
  • Fort Marlborough - a British Colonialist Heritage
    Fort Marlborough - a British Colonialist...
    by adriansyah
  • Tabut - One of the cultural assets in Bengkulu
    Tabut - One of the cultural assets in...
    by adriansyah

Most Recent Things to Do in Bengkulu

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    The Impressive Fort Marlborough

    by adriansyah Updated Mar 18, 2014

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    Fort Marlborough - Walking Through Time
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    When visiting Bengkulu for a vacation or business there are many attractions to visit from its good beaches to nearby interesting historical sites. On the edge of the old port, the impressive fort Marlborough is a wonderful introduction for visitors to the city.

    Set on a hill overlooking the Indian Ocean fort Marlborough is an interesting place to visit. Dating from 1714 and approached through massive walls, it is an impressive and well-maintained piece of history, reputedly the strongest fort constructed by the British in the east after George Fort in Madras (city in southeastern India). The old British gravestones at the entrance make poignant reading. Inside, a small museum houses a few interesting old engravings, old pictures, and copies of official correspondence from the time of British rule in Bengkulu (1714-1824). Inside the fort, there are some 18th century antique Dutch VOC cannons, a tunnel connected to the outside and you can also see where the Dutch incarcerated Soekarno during his internal exile of 1939–1942.

    The fort is open daily from 8am-6pm, domestic visitor admission is Rp. 2,500 (about US$ 0.25) per person and foreign tourist admission is Rp 10,000 (about US$ 1) per person. It is easy to reach the fort, which is located on Jalan. A. Yani, to the left of Baru Koto market and opposite Tapak Paderi beach. From the hotel area of Panjang beach, visitors can take a yellow angkot (public city transport) for Rp 3,000, or it takes about a 20-minute walk to the fort.

    A visit to Fort Marlborough allows us to enjoy other enchanting tourist spots in the vicinity, such as the Tapak Paderi beach, the Thomas Parr monument, and the old building of Chinatown, and the British resident's building which is now used as the residence of the Bengkulu governor. The fort is now considered as a major historical attraction to draw tourists to Bengkulu.

    A Brief Story of the Fort

    The basic fortification was under construction for four years and was established by East Indian Company (EIC) under Governor General Joseph Callet rule, it was completed in its first form in 1718. Joseph Collet named his new fort `Marlborough` in honors of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, who was being haled as a National hero after winning a number of strategic battles in Europe against the French. The fort was the second strongest fort built by British in the east after Fort George in Madras, India.

    Bengkulu was briefly shaken out of its torpor during the Governor of Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1818-1824. Fort Marlborough was the seat of the British power and influence in western parts of the Indonesia until 1824, when under the terms of the Treaty of London, England handed over the territory to the Dutch in exchange for others, ending 139 years of British power in Bengkulu.

    The actual handover took place early in 1825 as in exchange for Singapore. The Dutch continued to occupy Fort Marlborough until the Second World War and after the fall of Sumatra it was then occupied the Japanese army. The following of the Japanese in 1945 the fort was again briefly occupied by the Dutch. After independent August 17, 1945 the Indonesian army and police force unit used the fort until it was abandoned in the late 1970`s. The fort remains in its present state following a sympathetic restoration programmed which was carried out in the late 1980`s.

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    Relaxing or Surfing at Panjang Beach

    by adriansyah Updated Mar 5, 2014

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    Fun elephant ride
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    Bengkulu’s main beach, Pantai Panjang, stretches for approximately 7 km (4.4 miles). It is located on Indian Ocean western coast of Bengkulu city, about 2 km from Suprapto shopping center. The beach has white sand and pretty good surf. Early morning on a mid to high tide will be the best time for a surf. It is the most popular beach for the local beach goers.

    You can find seaside cottages, nice hotels, shopping center, warung-warung (street stalls) and cafés along the beach. Other recreational facilities are also available such as: swimming pools, fishing ponds, etc. At the beach (right in front of Pasir Putih cottage) you can try delman (horse drawn vehicle) The delmans are only available on every Sunday, and every national public holiday. But unfortunately this beautiful beach still needs more and better supporting facilities, and also litter is a major environmental problem on the beach, litter is often left by the beach goers.

    How to get there?
    You can take a yellow angkot (city transport) from Jl. Suprapto or along its route to the beach center gate for Rp. 3,000 per one person. There is no entrance fee, except during Eid al Fitr public holiday also known as Lebaran, and Eid al Adha public holiday or Lebaran Haji, the visitors are charged for Rp. 1,000 per one person. If you are visiting by car, a parking fee of Rp. 3000 will be required.

    Warning: The beach has big waves which are kind of good for surfing, but be careful, it’s rarely suitable for swimming; it’s unsafe for swimming too far out because there are strong currents in some spots.

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    Looking back to the Past - The British Cemetery

    by adriansyah Updated Jan 21, 2014

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    Designed like a small monument
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    The graves in the British cemetery (jl. Jitra – kelurahan Jitra) behind the small Batak Protestant church are testament to the colonialists’ vulnerability to malaria. It is around 640 m from the fort Marlborough. In this British cemetery there are 15 graves which designed like small monuments. Some the British graves have 2 up to 4 gravestones. The first British man that was buried here in 1775 and the latest one (a Dutchman) in 1940.

    From the observation to the gravestone chronology, it can be known that the British used this place as a cemetery until 19th century, but then this British cemetery also was reused by the Dutch colonial rule when the Dutch controlled Bengkulu until 1940 before the Japanese forces came.

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    Visiting Jamik Mosque

    by adriansyah Updated Dec 28, 2013

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    Jamik mosque - Bengkulu
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    During the political struggles against Dutch colonial rule, Bengkulu was a home-in-domestic-exile for the Indonesian nationalist leader Soekarno (1939 – 1942) who later became the first president of Indonesia. During his imprisonment by the Dutch in Bengkulu, Soekarno, who was an architect, redesigned and renovated an old simple mosque (which established in 18th century) who later known as Mesjid Jamik (Jamik Mosque). The mosque is frequently associated with the figure of Soekarno. The best time to visit the mosque is during Friday afternoon prayers, when the entire building is filled with people. The people who pray at the mosque are easygoing and hospitable to visitors. No entrance fee.
    The Jamik Mosque is located on Jl. Sudirman and it is a noted landmark in the city now.

    * Jl. is abbreviation of jalan which in English means street or road, sometimes written as jln.

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    Soekarno's Exiled Residence

    by adriansyah Updated Dec 28, 2013

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    A Piece of Soekarno History in Bengkulu
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    Soekarno or was also known as “Bung Karno”, was a prominent leader of Indonesian’s nationalist movement during the Dutch colonial period, who later became the first president of the Republic of Indonesia (from 1945 to 1967). He was exiled to Bengkulu by the Dutch during the struggles against Dutch colonial rule from February 1938 until released by the invading Japanese forces in 1941. In Bengkulu, he met his wife, Fatmawati, who gave him several children. The most famous being the first female President of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarno Puteri.

    The house in which he lived in during his imprisonment is well maintained in its original form as a museum. The house is quite spacious and has a wide yard, located on Jalan Soekarno Hatta Anggut Atas Bengkulu about 1 kilometer from downtown, or 2 kilometers from Fort Marlborough. Exhibits include Soekarno’s properties such as a wardrobe, two beds, some black and white photos of Soekarno, reverence books and drama costumes, even Soekarno’s trusty bicycle, etc. A visit to this house of exile, offers visitors a better glimpse into Soekarno's life.

    During his imprisonment by the Dutch in Bengkulu, he who was also an architect designed and built a mosque, the mosque was named Jamik Mosque. The Jamik Mosque is located nearby Suprapto shopping center (Jl. Sudirman) and it is a noted landmark in the city now.

    Soekarno's exiled residence entrance fee Rp. 2,500; open daily 8 a.m - 18 p.m.
    * Jl. is abbreviation of jalan which in English means street or road, sometimes written as jln.

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    Lake Dendam Tak Sudah

    by adriansyah Updated Sep 23, 2013

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    Lake Dendam Tak sudah - Bengkulu
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    This small lake is located within Dendam Tak Sudah nature preserve around 8 km (5 miles) of the city center. Dendam Tak Sudah nature preserve covers an area of 5.8 sq km, at an altitude of 15 m. The lake is surrounded by Bukit Barisan mountains scenery and home for rare water orchid called “Vanda Hookeriana” which also known as pencil orchid, and other unique floras. When those plants are blooming, the lakesides would be more awesome views.

    It is a good place to relax, the air is pleasantly cool. It is possible to ask a local fisherman for boating the surroundings of the lake. Also, don’t miss another pleasure, get some jagung bakar (roasted corn) and kelapa muda (young coconut), the fresh juice drunk straight from a young coconut, bought at roadside around the beach. Drink the water and then scoop out the flesh. So far, the lake has not been Bengkulu’s main attraction for foreign travelers.

    To get to the lake take a yellow, green or red angkot (public city transport) to Terminal Panorama for Rp. 3,000 then red one C3 to the lake Dendam. You should tell the driver where you’re going before get on. And you should have exact change for the fare (Rp. 3,000) regardless of the distance and anything the drivers may tell you.

    Cons: not enough parking space and inconvenient for independent travelers.

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    Wind Down At Tapak Paderi Beach

    by adriansyah Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    Tapak Paderi beach Bengkulu
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    Tapak Paderi beach is located near fort Marlborough and is easy to reach by angkot (public transport). It is a nice place to wind down a few hours to talk to the locals and to watch the sun set. Sometimes it is possible to surf here at high tight. The swimming here is not too bad, but if you are just after a swim Jakat beach, 1.5 km north of fort Marlborough is a better beach and has more facilities. Also, don’t miss another pleasure, kelapa muda (young coconut), the fresh juice drunk straight from a young coconut, bought at roadside around the beach. Drink the milk and then scoop out the flesh.

    Tapak Paderi beach is crowded with young locals and street vendors on weekends and public holidays. Local surf community members could be found here at 4 to 6 P.M. From Tapak Paderi beach you can get to most tourist attractions on foot.

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    Tabut - A Cultural Festival

    by adriansyah Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    Tabut - One of the cultural assets in Bengkulu
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    Bengkulu has a number of traditions which still continue in Bengkulu people life, one of the cultural assets is the Tabot/Tabut (an Arabic word which means the coffin), and it is an interesting attraction to enrich your experiences particularly to observe one of Indonesian's unique tradition and culture.

    Tabot or now is called Tabut festival, the highlight of the Bengkulu people cultural calendar is the colorful and interesting festival, staged at Merdeka square nearby Fort Marborough - Bengkulu city. The festival highlights music, traditional and new creation dancing contest, Bengkulu folk song contest, bazaar, telong-telong contest, effigies, and many more at Bengkulu square. At the end of the festival the effigies are carried through the streets with much merriment and traditional music, and are finally tossed to the grave of Sheik Burhanuddin.

    Tabut festival is held annually from 1st to 10th of the month of Muharram (Islamic Calendar). Because the date is fixed by the Islamic lunar calendar, it moves forward 10 days each year. This year Tabut festival will be held from November 5th to November 15th 2013.

    The festival which takes place at Bengkulu square to honor and recall the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandchildren, Hassan and Hussein, at the tragic battle of Kerbala-Iraq, against Yazid people.

    Tabut ceremony originated from the Iraqi Shiite, brought to Bengkulu by workers (from Madras – India) who were constructing the fort Marlborough for the British East India Company. The first Tabut ceremony in Bengkulu was carried out by Sheik Burhanuddin (also known as Imam Senggolo) in 1685. Sheik Burhanuddin married the woman of Bengkulu, after he passed away the Tabut ceremony was then inherited to their children, including amongst others those who assimilated with the indigenous Bengkulu inhabitants. This ceremony has been going on for quite a long time, about 3 centuries. Because of the long period, this ceremony is considered as a traditional ceremony of the Malay tribe of Bengkulu.

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    Tikus the Alluring Island

    by adriansyah Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    Viewing from the lighthouse
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    It is a tiny island, that’s why the island is called Tikus which means mouse. The island has a good potential to develop marine tourism. This alluring island is surrounded by coral reefs that teem with various forms of marine life, soft and hard corals, and fish of all colors and sizes. Unpolluted and really clear water is reasonable for astounding diving and snorkeling around pristine coral reefs. For surfing you should walk far out across the reef will be necessary. The island can be seen from the beaches of Bengkulu.

    There is no inn on the island, except some small houses for the light house guards. If you want to stay you can camp free of charge on the island, but you need to ask permission first from the guard of light house and fill in a visitor book. There is no any food stall on the island, so you must also bring your own food, water and gears.

    You can only reach the island by chartered fishing boat, which will be quite expensive Rp. 350,000 up to Rp. 750,000 (about US$ 35 to US$ 75) depends on the type of the boat and the way you bargain. You can find boats for rent by asking around the fishermen or the local people at some beaches such as Tapak Pederi beach, Zakat beach, Malabro beach, Pasar Pantai beach (Tapak Paderi beach is recommended, it’s easy to get there by city transport from the city center). Fishermen will drop you off on the island, and pick you up in the afternoon (or depends on when you want them to pick you up). Usually the fishing boat crew will naturally expect a tip on the trip to the island, they would be glad to receive a pack of cigarette (Gudang Garam Internasional brand is recommended) as a tip. They will serve you better and more friendly after getting a tip.

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    Hi surfers try Samudera Ujung Beach!

    by adriansyah Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    Fun surf - Bengkulu
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    Samudera Ujung beach is strongly recommended for surfing mania. It is the best spot for more experienced surfers in Bengkulu. The beach is less popular than Panjang beach or Tapak Paderi beach, but Samudera Ujung beach offers you very fun surf . The beach is clean enough with its white sand and natural spruces along the beach and it is easy to reach. Only a few local or foreign surfers come to surf here, so you don’t have to wait for a wave patiently or fight against other surfers for waves.

    For surfers it will be a frustrating trip taking non-chartered cars. It is easier to get there by paying more for a chartered angkot (city public transport) for Rp 60,000 or around US$ 6(return trip). The driver will drop you off and pick you up later. Keep in mind, "Don't get into the vehicle until you've agreed on a fare you are comfortable paying, and even better pay from your stack of smaller bills so that the driver will not owe you any change when you are done surfing".

    No entrance fee, except on Idul Fitri also known as Lebaran and Idul Adha or Lebaran Haji, the visitors are charged by the locals for Rp. 1,000 per one person.

    Because the beach is out of the city, there is no inn/hotel or food stall nearby the surf spots. Please bring your own food, drink and gears!

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    The provincial museum of Bengkulu

    by adriansyah Updated Jul 10, 2012

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    The provincial museum of Bengkulu
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    The provincial museum, Musium Negeri Propinsi Bengkulu is located on Jl. Pembangunan No. 9 – Padang Harapan, is worth a look. The museum features a large display of interesting traditional costumes, housing, implements, and other geological and archeological items. It is open daily from 8 am to 3 pm, and entry costs Rp. 2,500 per person. But this museum is inconveniently located.

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    Thomas Parr Monument

    by adriansyah Updated Mar 26, 2012

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    One of British reminders in Bengkulu
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    Bengkulu has a number of British reminders, including the Thomas Parr monument. The monument was established by British goverment as for the remembrance of the death of a British governor in Bengkulu, Thomas Parr. He was beheaded at night by local fighters in 1807.

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    Hamilton Monument

    by adriansyah Updated Jan 7, 2012

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    One of British reminders in Bengkulu
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    Bengkulu has a number of other British reminders, including the Hamilton monument, erected in memory of Captain Robert Hamilton who died on the 15th of December 1793, at the age of 38 years, “in command of the troops”.

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    one of Catholic churhc inTown

    by meiyergani Written Jul 2, 2006

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    Santo Yoseph Catholic church
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    It was just behind Bengkulu's Governor Resident, Santo Yoseph catholic church is one of an ethalse building of Bengkulu , it was a symbol of harmony that the peoples with their different culture and religion should respect one to another, as Nation Motto; Bhineka Tunggal Ika which means UNITY in DIVERSITY

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    Brown Roof Mesjid Agung

    by meiyergani Written Jul 1, 2006

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    Mesjid Agung Lama, Bengkulu
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    Indonesian First President, Soekarno was in Bengkulu from 1938 to 1942, while he was here, as an architect, he was interested to offer his knowledge to make something good for people by design an architect of the building, it was Mesjid Agung which located at the center of Bengkulu City

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Bengkulu Things to Do

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When visiting Bengkulu for a vacation or business there are many attractions to visit from its good beaches to nearby interesting historical sites. About 2 km from the downtown, Panjang...

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