Taman Mini: Indonesian Disneyland?
Yes, that is a hot pink bunny rabbit on a motorcycle. Prior to putting the bunny head back on, the guy underneath was smoking a cigarette — it just took me too long to get my camera out. So, where in Indonesia can you go to see architecture from all over the archipelago and bunny rabbits with enormous behinds (really, it was weird, maybe people shove them so they need cushion?)
The answer is Taman Mini. Taman Mini features architecture and cultural artifacts from 26 provinces (it was built in the 1970s, today there are 33 provinces) as well as other museums, a water park, and weird kitschy things. Lonely Planet tells me this park was Suharto’s wife’s doing. I guess everyone needs to keep themselves busy somehow. Chloe and I visited Taman Mini several months ago when we first arrived in Jakarta, but even now, months later, it still is one of the stranger places I’ve been. Most Jakartans drive through, but, as always, Chloe and I decided to walk.
We were able to take public transportation to the park, so that was wonderful and the admission for people who walk in is very cheap. We really didn’t know what to make of the place when we got there. There are amazing examples of architecture from across the archipelago…
…but then there are weird toy-like trains you can ride around the park as well as bizarre statutes and people dressed up in animal costumes. To me, it seemed as if no one could decide whether or not Taman Mini should be an amusement park or an outdoor museum.
It was also very unclear whether the homes should be entered. One door was a bit ajar so I gave it a good push and we entered one of the brightest rooms I’ve ever been into in my life:
I saw a staircase off to the side and decided to see what was on the second floor. Clearly, it was not meant for tourists:
It seemed like a good part of Taman Mini has fallen into disrepair. Paint was chipped and tiles were missing. It’s a shame because some of the homes are really beautiful.
The wood work here was really impressive:
This house, which I believe was from Padang, had a thatch roof:
This was my favorite house. You have to carefully walk up the narrow poll to get inside:
There were also some “artifacts” of questionable authenticity:
Because I’m sure men in Papua wear 1980s track shorts while paddling standing up. This actually made me angry because Papuans can be portrayed pretty negatively in Indonesia, but that’s a political discussion for another time.
In the middle of the park there is a “lake” that features islands that from above form a map of Indonesia:
Cable cars seems to be pretty popular in Indonesia:
Then we began stumbling on weird objects that just sort of seemed to be scattered about with no real curatorial plan:
We were happy when we found a book kiosk. They had a huge selection of Sabrina the Teenage Witch books in English, and not too much else in English.
We then found this odd castle military structure where a color guard was performing:
I had to post this photo because this bus is wonderful.
One of the stranger areas to walk by was the water park, Snow Bay. It was really out of place with its snow theme.
After walking around for hours in the humidity, I felt like this poor fellow:
So if you happen to find yourself in Jakarta, and are in a mood where you want to be entertained and laugh a bit, I suggest you check out Taman Mini. It’s an experience.