I have always said that Indonesia is as diverse as it’s people. With over 17,000 islands, 34 provinces and 238 million inhabitants it is no surprise that its rich culture is not only vast but also varied and that it’s customs and values have become tangible in the food, architecture and palette of colors offered by such as magical place.
Our latest local kiddy outing was to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. Taman Mini is a “culture-based” recreational area that boasts over 250 acres of parks, arcade games and museums. The main area comprises different pavilions that represent the different provinces of Indonesia and depicts different aspects of the culture of the provinces including architecture, clothing, and traditions. Taman Mini is the home to over 10 museums including the transportation museum, Soldier Museum, Sports Museum, Insects Museum Electricity Museum, among others.
We ventured out to East Jakarta on a weekday and arrived in Taman Mini around 10:00 am. The park had just been opened for business for the day and we were happy to see that the crowds were nowhere to be seen. We paid 9,000 Rp. per person (kids under three go in for free) and 10,000 Rp. for our car. We received a very explicit map and started our tour of the humongous park. . Although we saw that a mini-train and bus service was available, they weren’t running yet so we just started traversing the park on our car.
Our first stop was in the Bengkulu Pavilion. We were able to see different representations of houses available on that province and allowed the boys to roam around freely. Personally I loved looking at all the colors and the gorgeous wood carvings. Evan was just excited to run around and Josh enjoyed being set free from his stroller. Despite the fact that we were not able to enter the houses we got a very good idea of what life in Bengkulu is like since it seemed that most life is led outside the house on the veranda. I am not certain if the houses are open for visit during the weekend but I would love to go back and check it out.
After considering jumping back on the car to go to the next pavilion, we decided against it and continued walking between pavilions. We later arrived on the West Sumatra pavilion and I have to say that it was my favorite place. The depiction of the houses sitting on stilts and the beautifully ornamented rice barns make me feel like I was in Disneyland. I started daydreaming of visiting all these remote islands that are just a few hours away from Jakarta but a little monkey tugging on my pants brought me back to reality and reminded me that jungle trekking is not very wise to do with two little toddlers. I was, however, very happy to be able to have a little taste of what all of Indonesia is like just a few kilometers from home.
As we were walking around the pavilion we saw a little masked creature approach us, and it wasn’t either of my boys. A monkey (a real one) started dancing around us and making all kinds of tricks. The boys were mesmerized by this dancing creature and loved watching him walk around them. I wasn’t to weary of the monkey being so close to the boys since it seemed like it was very well-trained. After wearing several outfits, riding on a bike and playing the drums I felt like the monkey needed a break and so did my little monkeys.
We later entered a small museum in the West Sumatra pavilion where the exhibition comprised different temples and outfits. I fell in love with the colors and textures and the boys just enjoyed walking around barefoot.
We continued walking and stopped on a rest area by the lake. The artificial lake has little islands that represent all of Indonesia. Personally I was just glad to be able to sit down and take a break from the humidity and heat. We gave the boys their lunch and relaxed for a few minutes.
As we continued walking by the pavilions Evan had to stop to take a look at an old airplane. I was just happy to let him see one up and close without any danger.
A couple of hours into our visit we were all tired and thirsty so we hopped on the car again and rode to the cable car station. Evan and daddy rode the cable car while Joshua took a nap in the car. The cable car was 25,000 Rp. per person and Evan truly enjoyed it. While we were waiting in the car we took a quick look at the aviary there and vowed to come back some other day.
As we were leaving we drove by a kiddy-playground that had a carousel and different rides. Evan was very eager to go it but it wasn’t open yet. We drove by several beautiful gardens, a few museums and a kiddy castle. Almost by the exit gate we saw another airplane and Evan had to go in. It was the transportation museum and we paid a quick visit that I will write about later.
Our three hours in Taman Mini were certainly not enough to see all it has to offer. We saw only one of the fourteen museums and didn’t even play at the kiddy playgrounds. We will definitely go back with more rested children and more energy and time to spare.
Be warned that this park is not all tidy and perfectly manicured but it is a fun visit and the kids really don’t mind the little bit of rust or dust on the different attractions. It really is a must see if you don’t think you will be able to visit all the Indonesian islands and after all, a little but of local folklore never hurts.
- I would definitely avoid the weekends and national holidays. We were there on a weekday and by noon a lot of people started coming in. If you want to be able to sit on a bench and ride on the train and cable car without waiting in line for an eternity try to go on a weekday.
- Don’t go in too early. Everything starts opening up about 10:00 am. However, we felt like nothing was really up and running until about 11:00. We missed out on the tour bus and train because of that.
- Although there are several restaurants there, if you have picky eaters, pack your own lunch. Drinks and snacks are readily available and cheap but the only food offered is Indonesian and it might not appeal to picky pallets. There are several rest areas with tables and chairs so you can bring your own picnic.
- Bring cash. Everything is very affordable but no credit cards are accepted. There are tons of rides and even an Imax screen so make sure you have a lot of change in your pocket to pay the fees. They all range from 3,000 Rp. to 25,000 Rp.
- If possible, plan ahead and figure out which museums or pavilions you want to focus on. There are so many attractions that it can be overwhelming and you will regret missing out on some of them.
- Stay hydrated! The walk is fun but there is little shade so make sure you are drinking water so you don’t start feeling sick and just want to rush out of the park.
- If you are in Jakarta long term, take your time and visit a different area ever so often. I felt so guilty that we left early on but the kids were exhausted since they had had a long morning taking awesome pics with Becs that we were only there for a while. I would plan to go back maybe once a month and take our time on each museum and pavilion.
Jl. Raya TMII, 13810