The Southern Tip of Sumatra

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago of more than 17,000 islands. So it is sad for me to realize that I have been in only around ten of them. But last week I have the opportunity to at least add another island in my list. I went to visit my grandmother who is living with my aunt’s family in Lampung in Sumatra Island. Sumatra is one of the larger islands in Indonesia, and it is even larger than Java although less populated. Sumatra is located to the west part of Indonesia, separated from Java Island by Sunda Strait. It is one of the islands known as the habitat of the endangered Orangutan (the other being Borneo or locally known as Kalimantan), and also unfortunately the site of the extensive forest fires which send thick haze to the surrounding region for the past couple of years.

To reach Lampung in this trip, I took a flight from Surabaya with a short transit in Jakarta. The flight from Jakarta to Lampung itself only took around half an hour. The airport of Radin Inten II in Lampung is quite small and currently under renovation. Lampung is the southern-most province in Sumatra. Actually I have been to the island of Batam a couple of years back, which is also a part of a province in Sumatra, but Batam is a separate small island which is even closer to Singapore. So this is the first time I ever set foot in Sumatra.

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It was cloudy when the airplane landed at Radin Inten II airport
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Welcome to the city of Bandar Lampung

Lampung is not very famous for the tourism industry yet. But it does not mean there is nothing to see in this province. From the billboards which I saw around the city, I can see that the local government is trying to promote Lampung’s tourism industry such as with various festivals held in various part of the province. It is known for the Way Kambas elephant park and Bukit Barisan National Park. The Bukit Barisan National Park is a mountain range which along with Gunung Leuser and Kerinci Seblat National Parks, they form a World Heritage Site, the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra. The forests are natural habitats of various species of indigenous plants and endangered animals including Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino and Sumatran Elephant.

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From the hillside we can view the landscape of Lampung’s bay area
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The lights of the city at night as seen from d’Diggers Cafe

Lampung also offers a lot of nice beaches and smaller islands to visit. Most of these beaches are located in the bay area, next to Sunda Strait. Among those places are Pahawang Island, Kiluan Bay, Kelagian Island, Krui and Mutun Beach. During my visit to the province, I visited Sari Ringgung Beach which I will cover in my next post. I also visited Mall Boemi Kedaton, presumably the newest and biggest shopping all in the province. But still, don’t expect this mall to be as large as those in Jakarta or Surabaya. Oh, I almost forget that the world famous Krakatau volcano is also located in the province. Visitors would need permission from the local authority to the volcanic island though, since it is still active.

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Al-Furqon grand mosque in Bandar Lampung city center
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The multi-ethnic side of Lampung can be seen with this Thay Hin Bio temple

My aunt’s family lives in a suburb of Bandar Lampung, the capital city of the province. The neighborhood is quite rustic as it is located quite remotely from the main road and the city center. It is situated by the hillside with a nearby forest and the air is fresh. It is also still less populated so in the evenings it can get a bit quiet and eerie. It is very nice to meet my grandmother after a couple of years. I also got to see my other cousins in Lampung. Living quite far away makes us only meet very rarely. Quite fortunate with the technology nowadays, as when I was in Lampung I also got to video call my siblings in the US so they can chat with our grandmother. It was a nice short holiday and I will definitely go back for another visit!

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The area in front of my aunt’s house is very quiet at night
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