Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Piece of Soekarno History in Bengkulu

Soekarno's Exiled Residence
     Soekarno, born as Kusno Sosrodihardjo (6 June 1901 – 21 June 1970). 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 1942. 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. 
Entrance fee Rp. 2,500; open daily 8 a.m – 6 p.m

Jamik mosque
   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 Masjid 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. The Jamik mosque is located on Jl. Sudirman, nearby Suprapto shopping center between Splash hotel and Samudera Dwinka hotel, and it is a noted landmark in the city now. No entrance fee. 

* Jl. is abbreviation of jalan which in English means street or road, sometimes written as jln
* Location: Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Responsible Tourism

Generating greater economic benefits for local people
Responsible tourism is regarded as a behaviour. It is more than a form of tourism as it represents an approach to engaging with tourism, be that as a tourist, a business, locals at a destination or any other tourism stakeholder. It emphasizes that all stakeholders are responsible for the kind of tourism they develop or engage in. Whilst different groups will see responsibility in different ways, the shared understanding is that responsible tourism should entail an improvement in tourism. Tourism should become ‘better’ as a result of the responsible tourism approach.

Within the notion of betterment resides the acknowledgement that conflicting interests need to be balanced. However, the objective is to create better places for people to live in and to visit. Importantly, there is no blueprint for responsible tourism: what is deemed responsible may differ depending on places and cultures. Responsible Tourism is an aspiration that can be realized in different ways in different originating markets and in the diverse destinations of the world (Goodwin, 2002).

Focusing in particular on businesses, according to the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism, it will have the following characteristics:
  • minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts
  • generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry
  • involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
  • makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s diversity
  • provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
  • provides access for people with disabilities and
  • is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.

Sustainable tourism is where tourists can enjoy their holiday and at the same time respect the culture of people and also respect the environment. It also means that local people (such as the Masaai) get a fair say about tourism and also receive some money from the profit which the game reserve make. The environment is being damaged quite a lot by tourists and part of Sustainable tourism is to make sure that the damaging does not carry on.

There are many private companies who are working into embracing the principles and aspects of Responsible Tourism, some for the purpose of Corporate Social Responsibility activities, and others such WorldHotel-Link, which was originally a project of the International Finance Corporation, have built their entire business model around responsible tourism, local capacity building and increasing market access for small and medium tourism enterprises.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Curup - A Town With a Feast of Flora

This post has been updated on October 10th, 2018   
Foggy Peak of Mount Kaba
Curup is a small cool hill town in Bengkulu province famous for its beautiful mountain scenery and coffee growing areas. Coffees from Curup are famous for their rich, full bodied coffees with "earthy flavors". It is located in Rejang Lebong district, in the foothills of Bukit Barisan, 80 km (49.7 miles) from the city of Bengkulu  or halfway between the city of Bengkulu and Lubuk Linggau. It has a population of 28,173 inhabitants (97% are Moslems) with a population density of 7,132 inhabitants per square kilometer (census population 2010). In many areas both Curup and Rejang Lebong district, broad green valleys separate the mountains. Thick forests cover much of the Curup's land. Curup can be reached by numerous connections to/from Bengkulu and Lubuk Linggau.

Curup is a cool base for visits to the attractions of the surrounding mountains, including volcanic Gunung Kaba, 19km (11.8 miles) east of town, which has two large smoldering craters surrounded by thick rainforest. It has also many fine traditional stilted wooden houses of the Rejang people. The hot springs and waterfalls can be found in the villages around Curup.

It’s difficult to change money in Curup, so bring enough rupiah to see you through. But it is possible to get a cash advance on Visa or MasterCard from the BCA bank (Jl. Merdeka 151). In most parts of Bengkulu province, the rainy season falls between October and April. Rain tends to come in sudden tropical downpours, but it can also rain nonstop for a whole day (peaking from December to January), so come prepared.

Local Transport
The common Indonesian means of transport such as angkot (public city transport), ojek  (motorcycle riders who take passengers), and becak (pedicab) are available in many places in Curup. Most angkots serve a standard route, picking up and dropping off people anywhere along the route, angkot fare is Rp. 4,000 (about US$ 0.26) per person. You can find Ojeks at Curup bus station, traditional markets, and around crossroads. An ojek can take you around the town, or can take you where no other public transport exists. The base rate for an ojek is Rp. 5,000 (about US$ 0.33) per person for a short distance. Becaks (pedicab) serve a short distance only and they can be found at around the back streets, becak fare is Rp. 5,000 – Rp.7,000 (about US$ 0.33 - 0.46). It is wise to ask someone, such as your hotel employee or the locals, about the normal fare before you get on any local transport, otherwise see how much the other passengers pay and offer the exact fare.

Packing Tips For Your Hiking Trip (Oct & Apr) 
Mt. Kaba Trekking 
  • Luggage and bags: Locks for your luggage to protect your important item & travel documents from theft. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 
  • Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In most part of Sumatra, the wet season falls from October to April, the wettest months are January and February that can make travel more difficult. The weather is still hot and more humid in the coastal areas, but at higher elevations tend to be cooler. On January to February rains can come in sudden tropical downpours, and or it can also rain nonstop for a whole day. Bring plenty of socks to wear while wearing shoes, folding umbrella, a light waterproof rain jacket (heavy plastic raincoat might be too warm for the humid tropics), long pants and/or jeans, shorts, T-shirts, flip flops. 
  • Toiletries and Medical Supplies: First Aid Kit, anti Malarial tablets, analgesic pills, Antihistamine pills for any allergic reactions, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper for the eventual emergency, and anti-bacterial gel for use afterwards.
  • Photo Equipment: Bring extra batteries and SD cards, in case you go someplace where you can’t buy replacement stocks. Zip locks bags for use in protecting your camera equipment, travel documents, etc. It’s good to bring a transformer or adapter if your devices don’t play nice with the local electricity.
  • Camping/Outdoor Gear: Flashlight, mosquito repellent, pack at least two bottles of water per day.

Curup is also famous for its coffee growing area

 Photos by: Adriansyah Putera, Jeff Clairmont and Peter Kimball