Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tracking Megalithic Sites in the Pasemah Highlands

Tegur Wangi site
Last update: November 24th, 2017

The Pasemah Highlands with its main city Pagaralam, geographically located in Pagaralam district, South Sumatra province - Indonesia. The highlands are famous for the mysterious megalithic remains. Many ancient sites are to be found here surrounded by dramatic highland scenery that provide the jewels of prehistory. The Megalithic monuments were set in place around 3000 years ago, but archaeologists still don’t know why and who erected them. The following Megalithic sites are all within a 20 km/12 mile radius of the main town of the highlands Pagaralam: Tinggi Hari, Atung Bungsu, Tebing Tinggi, and Tegur Wangi site. 

The megaliths are by far the best known archaeological attraction of the Sumatran highlands, and fall into two different styles. The early style dates from almost 3000 years ago and features fairly simple figures squatting with hands on knees or arms folded over chests. The later style, incorporating expressive facial features, dates from about 2000 years ago and is far more elaborate.

In the middle of the plantations you can find stones statues (some take a bit of seeking out) with a variety of shapes, carvings, and sizes. Tegur Wangi site (8 km 5 ml from Pagaralam) has four squat statues that sit under a small shelter, several dolmens (a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb).

Is it necessary to hire a local tour guide to track down the megalithic sites?
Travelling to a new rural area in Sumatra including the Pasemah highlands is not always as fun as the travelogues on websites.  It can be very difficult to find the megalithic sites without a local guide as some sites are "hidden" in the middle of the plantations. It would be wise to hire a local guide if you want to save your time and to reduce language barriers. Besides that, an educated local guide can offer a depth of experience and knowledge to which no guidebook will come even close. If you need a guide and arranged tour to the Megalithic sites and other sites off the beaten track within the Pasemah Highlands, you can contact  Wild Sumatra Tour or Air Langkap Wisata in Bengkulu city, or head to the Pagaralam tourism office in the city of Pagaralam. If you decide to hire a local guide from a hotel in Pagaralam, always ask for proper identification before dealing with him/her.   

One of megalithic remains in Pagaralam
Getting there and around:
There are frequent buses and public vans to Pagaralam from Bengkulu ( 4 – 5 hrs, Rp. 120,000), Lahat (2 hrs, Rp. 25,000), Palembang (5 hrs, Rp. 70,000), Bandar Lampung (9 hrs, Rp. 275,000). There are public transports to the villages near Pagaralam from the town center. Local services cost from Rp. 3,500 to Rp. 10,000.

Hope it helps.

Photos by Adriansyah Putera


  1. The person pictured on an elephant, if to scale, must be gigantic.

    1. Hello Ed, thank you so much for your kind visit and comment. Much appreciated.