Banten Tourism Travel Guide and Tourist Information.
Banten is one of the young provinces in Indonesia that stand on the tip of Java Island. Formerly was a part of West Java Province. Along with the prevailing regional government changing, in respect to the insistence of Banten People's aspiration to demand the separation from West Java Province, and after long process based on Law Number 23 Year 2000 concerning on Formation of Banten Province dated 17th October, 2000, established Banten Province as the 30th Province with the administrative city is located at Serang City.
Geographically, the location of Banten Province is strategic because of the link between Java Island and Sumatra Island as well as the capital of Republic of Indonesia and West Java Province as a potential market of Banten's products.
Banten at early begin was a Port City with the business activity and prosperous people and it was important port since Sunda Kingdom. When it was become a part of Sultanate of Banten, Banten became the biggest port city on South East Asia as big as Malaka and Makassar city port. On early 17th Century AD Banten was one of the important commercial center in the international trade route in Asia. On 5th Century Banten was part of Tarumanegara Kingdom and there was inscriptions relic found, named inscriptions of Lebak or inscription of Cidanghiyang. The inscription was found on 1947, it is written on Sanskrit language and pallawa letter. The contents of the inscription was glorifying the courage of Purnawarman king. After the collapse of the kingdom Tarumanagara which was attacked by Srivijaya kingdom.
This province uses its own unique culture and language, both called Sundanese that is also used to call its people. The ancient kingdoms of Banten are Tarumanegara, Pajajaran, Banten and Cirebon would make interesting studies for the student of archaeology. Cirebon is located on the border between West and Central Java, having a mixed culture originating from the ancient Cirebon and Banten kingdoms, resulting in similar customs and dialects of the two people, although Banten city is located at the extreme western part of the province. Banten city on Banten Bay was one of the first places to begin trade with the Dutch. There is little to see of the past glories of this area today with the exception of the Grand Mosque, which was completed in 1599 and is certainly worth a visit.
Banten Province well know as one of the richest province in Indonesia. The province combines many of the most important Industrial Zones in Indonesia and also has the extended recreation areas along the western coast of Java and in south the Ujung Kulon National Park and the mountainous areas that are home to the Baduy people. The Baduy are generally stay in the river basins in the mountains of Kendeng Ciujung. This area is known as the heritage area from an old ancestor and it also become most of tourism object in Banten Province.
Banten also have a lot of treasure to whom that likes history, such as the ruins of Surosowan Palace, Kaibon Palace, Banten Great Mosque "Masjid Agung Banten", Speelwijk fortress, Chinese temple Avalokiteshvara, and the harbor of Banten, Karanghantu (devil rock's harbor) that still used nowadays already existed since centuries ago. From this place, Sultan Banten's troopers took fight against the pirates and take defense from the Dutch.
Some of tourism object such as Debus, Debus is kind of martial art from Banten. This art was created in the 16th century, in the reign of Sultan Maulana Hasanuddin. Debus, is an art of human abilities to perform of an extraordinary things like, immune of sharp weapons, immune to fire, drinking mercury water, fry an egg on the head and others.
Other tourist attraction from Banten is coming from some tourism objects such as Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia call it Taman National Ujung Kulon, Dua Island or Bird Island, Umang Island, Krakatau Volcanic mountain, and many more.
Banten tourism travel guide and tourist information popular destination :
Anyer Beach is located at Anyer, about 38 km from Serang City. The beach is facing the West, so we can see the view of Mount Rakata (the remaining / child of Mount Krakatau that exploded in 1833) and the sunset. A beautiful sea sight with all activities such as Jet Ski, Speed Boat, Para Sailing and other water sport, those types of activities can be found here, as well as sunset view from the beach and an old lighthouse at Cikoneng.
Anyer beach also has unique enchantments, its white sands amaze many tourists. They are so pure; visitor can feel the softness of the sands. The deep blue sea attracts many divers around the world because its various sea lives are so completely perfect. The sea breeze can make visitors' mind fresh, out of stress and enjoy. And the last enchantments that can make Anyer beach as the most favorite place to visit is the view of the legendary Krakatau Mountain and its historical lighthouse.
Avalokiteshvara Chinese Temple.
Avalokiteshvara temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Banten. This temple is built around 1860 and successfully renovated at 1930. It's so unique place, since it situated in the front of Speelwijk Fort. On this temple visitor also can see the Goddess Kwam Im relics from the Emperor of China during the Dynasti Ning.The visitors can stay here during their trip to Banten. Simple and humble place to stay but it's one of the option whenever we're in Banten.
The Baduy is hills Tribe are a community of people who refuses all external and strictly practice a traditional style of living, is one of tribe living in peace and leading a simple life blending with natural and in isolation tribe, the living with out the influence of modern culture and technology, their area is culture conservation and put under protection and manage by the government, their life so unique and attractive to be observed.
The community is classified in the Baduy Dalam (inner baduy) and Baduy luar (Outer Baduy). About 400 people of Baduy dalam live and three villages which are completely surrounded by a protective zone of Baduy Luar. Each villages of Baduy in headed by a Puun (Leader) who is deemed sacred for possessing hereditary spiritual power.
Banten Grand Mosque.
Sultan Maulana Yusuf founded the grand mosque in 1566; it has a five-layered roof and an eight-cornered minaret. Around the mosque there is a market that sold some foods and Islamic souvenirs. For Muslim's pilgrimage this place is something important. But for architectures visit also something worth, beautiful minarets and several Old Dutch buildings in the same area.
The Sultan of Banten in the mid 1500's was busy as he transferred the wealth the city created as a city-port into bricks and mortar which we see a legacy of today. As well as the Palace he had this mosque constructed and he himself is buried in the grounds to the north. The base is rectangular while the 5 tiered roof hints at earlier Hindu influences. The eye-catching minaret looks like a lighthouse and is visible from much of the local grounds. Its construction date is unclear while some rumor has it being built by a Chinese Muslim again in the middle of the same century.
This beach is about a three-hour drive along the highway to the west of Jakarta, and has a great beach for swimming, as the waters are relatively calm on this side of the island. A great place for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, and underwater photography, this resort offers a complete set of facilities including restaurants, accommodation, motorboats, and diving equipments. This beach is located in West Banten, Labuhan district, Padeglang Regency, which is accessible by any land transportation and takes about 3 hours drive from Jakarta. The parlous state of conservation in Indonesia, and in Java in particular means that this small, degraded forest behind this busy beach resort is one of the best places to find some of Java's lowland endemics. The forest has heavily used both by tourists (more high school students) and by local woodcutters and trappers. All the forest on the ridge tops appears to have been recently logged and this forest would appear to have a limited future - another victim of Indonesia's economic woes.
Besides white beaches behind hundreds of swaying coconut trees, one panoramic highlight is the visibility of the infamous Krakatoa Volcano from Carita, rising above the horizon in Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.
Dua Island (Pulau Dua) is the name of a small nature preservation inhabited by some 50 kinds of fish-eating birds. It is located in the Banten bay and is accessible by boat from Tanjung Priok sea harbor or from Marina, Ancol.
This pristine island is also one of Indonesia's major bird sanctuaries, where more than 50,000 birds stop over during the winter or breeding season. Among these migratory creatures include egrets, ibis, teals, kingfishers and pelicans, while herons, storks and cormorants are some of the permanent residents. These birds originated from Africa, Asia and Australia and stay on this island to lay and hatch their eggs during April through August each year and fly back home afterwards. Little wonder, then, that this natural heaven is also known as Pulau Burung (Bird Island). The island is a hop away from Banten old town and can be accessed by walking on the shoal during low tide.
Actually the Krakatoa/Krakatau Volcano belongs to Bandar Lampung, a province of Sumatra. But the Krakatoa is most easy to reach from Banten and its part of Ujung Kulon national park in the south west of Java, so Krakatoa is implemented in Java section. Krakatoa is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes that located in the strait between Sumatra and Java. With devastating effects this volcano erupted just over a century ago in 1883, bringing its fine ashes with the wind streams as far away as over New York City, whereas the eruption's tidal waves reached the American West Coast. At that very instant, Krakatoa vanished as if devoured by the sea, causing formidable tidal waves which in turn swept off just about everything alive from the surrounding coastal areas. However, the disappearance of the gigantic Krakatoa also meant the birth of small islands in its place, one of which is called "Anak Krakatau" or Krakatoa's Child, which is at present an extremely active young volcano. From both West Java's, West Coast, and from Sumatra's Lampung Province, this young and very active volcano is clearly visible. A boat trip to this place may be worth making.
A unique location is in the middle of Sunda strait. It's a little volcano pierce from the ocean. Krakatoa could be reached from Anyer or Carita beach. About 2,5 hours ride a speedboat and anout 3,5 hour or more by a slow diesel boat. There are three islands surrounding Anak Krakatau. All of these islands seem to be parts of big Krakatoa before the big eruption in 1883. That's why there are a few lagoons caused by the eruption. These lagoons were a home for Giant Trivially, Red Snapper, Grouper and many others reef fishes. Besides fishing, the visitors are also can enjoy the scenes of Mount Krakatoa that also amazing.
Fort Speelwijk and Graveyard.
This fortress is sited in the north west of Surosowan, Pamarican village. Fort Speelwijk was built in 1682 by VOC and expanded in 1685 and 1731 to control the activities of the Banten kingdom and protect the Dutch interests at Banten. Situated not so far from Chinese temple Avalokiteshvara, this fortress directly facing to the sea. From this point, the Dutch troopers was watching and guarding the fort from pirates and local heroes. Inside the fortress, there's an Old Dutch grave. One of the buried bodies is a man who was born in Bergen-op-Zoom in 17th century. The Ruin of fortress implies that it was a great fortress in Banten, height about 5 meters and length of each side of 80 meters; also the canal for defense surrounded it. It has four bastions that still stand sturdily.
Just outside the fort to the east are some grave of those who never made it home. Like can be seen in Jakarta, Bogor, Penang and Melaka the silent tombs tell the story of western endeavors in the east and it is to the credit of the host countries that these burial places have often been spared the bulldozer. The ruin of Speelwijk fort is also stayed at the northwest of the tomb of the third king of Banten kingdom, Maulana Yusuf, who ruled in the 1570s. Since 1985, local archaeological finds have been displayed in the Banten Site Museum on Mesjid Banten Lama Street.
Surosowan Palace - Fortress.
Surosowan Palace was built during the reign of Sultan Maulana Hasanuddin (1525-1552). Most of buildings were totally damaged during an attack lead by the Dutch Governor General Daendels in 1808. To the south of the square lay the impressive Surosowan Palace, designed by a Dutchman and later razed by his countrymen. The Surosuwan Palace was pulled down by blasted attack of Daendels because Sultan Syaifudin refused strongly of Daendels' order of Grootepostweg project that begun from Anyer to Panarukan and order to develop new port in Lada Bay. Even, Sultan flapped Du Puy off, a vice officer of Daendels, and sent his head to Daendels. Daendels was getting up set, and then he demolished the Surosuwan and Kaibon Palace. Now becomes ruins, leave the red bricks and several sites. Like water castle, the alleys and the moats.
Once upon a time the Palace covered an area of some 30,000 square meters with 2 meters high walls 5 meters thick and while the perimeter walls are still relatively intact inside looks like some cowboy builders have just tipped their bricks haphazardly round the site. Ground works are visible and a keen eye could probably make an educated guest mate as to how the Palace looked in it's former glory. The main entrance would have been on the northern side and in the European style there was a bastion on each corner protecting the flanks. Moats once encircled the whole but today just 2 remain, the southern one especially being a turgid, stagnant pond almost, creamy in color and foul in stench. Constructed in the mid 16th Century.
In front of the palace, there is a museum that houses artifacts discovered during the excavation at the palace. Museum closed on Mondays. The cannon Ki Amuk was located at Karangantu but is now installed in front of the Surosowan Museum. On the cannon Islamic inscriptions can be found, and around the muzzle, a sun is drawn, which reminds of the pre-Islamic kingdom of Majapahit. An old legend tells that one who is able to put his arms around the cannon will see all his wishes come true.
Ujung Kulon National Park.
Ujung Kulon National Park surrounded by Handeuleum Island is at the northern bay, Peucang Island at the western. Marine life in the surrounding seas is a kaleidoscope of colors. Beautiful sea gardens are found off Peucang and Panaitan islands. From one of these two islands visitor can start to explore the park. In the park are several posts of the PHPA where visitor can stay over for the night. If the visitor want to hike in the park we must hire a guide from the PHPA in Tamanjaya. It is wise to bring own food and sleeping back if visitor want to stay over for the night in the park. If visitors want to walk around the whole park along the tracks it will take us about 3 three days (in distance about 45 km). On the western tip of the peninsula is a lighthouse built by the Dutch, which stands near the site of the ruins of the old one.
The art of Debus focused more on making a persons body to be unaffected to sharp objects’ attacks. Debus existed for more than hundred years. It came as Islam’s teaching started to spread in Banten. The art started as a tool to spread out Islam’s teaching, but when the time of invasion of Dutch came also when the Great Sultan Agung Tirtayasa ruled the land the art was used to rise the people’s sense of patriotism. Due to the lack of weaponry against Dutch which was well equipped and fully loaded with guns, the only “weapon” that the people of Banten have was their heritage of Debus and they used it with their guerilla strategy.
In the Arabic language, Debus has the meaning of metal-based sharp weapon. It has a round-like pointed edge. Using this kind of tools the “players” of Debus are usually being hit numerous time without having any injuries. These are common attraction you can see in a Debus performance: Piercing a person’s stomach using sharp objects or a spear, Slicing a person’s body using a long dagger with or without leaving any scar, literally eating a flaming firewood, piercing long needles through skin, tongue, and between cheeks without staining any blood. More over they slice certain part of their body until they bleed, but instantaneously healed. They also “bathe” themselves with acid leaving their clothes deteriorate, but their skin and body aren’t damaged at all. Sometimes they chomp pieces of glasses and some other razor-sharp objects.
Nowadays, there are many Debus “warrior” live in Walantaka, Keragilan Serang area. It’s unfortunate that their quantities are decreasing through the years due to their youngsters prefer other activities as their source of living. Other causes are the fact that these performances are very dangerous. A lot of the players were injured during a performance due to lack of practice or somebody simply playing a “prank” with them. As time passes, the art became lessen. In the old times, visitor could watch Debus almost in all areas in Banten, but now visitor can only see it in certain event. It’s a heritage which has been crushed by the flow of time. Read More Debus Culture Performance >>