Taman Mini Indonesia (better known as TMII) is one of Jakarta’s oldest and most popular tourist attractions. Located off the beaten track to the southeast corner of the city, the cultural park has just reopened to the public following a temporary period of closure for refurbishment and renovation. As the park approaches five decades of operations, Panorama Destination takes a closer look at this tourism institution to find out what gives it such staying power.
Covering around 150 hectares (1.5 km2), TMII showcases the diversity and cultural wonders of Indonesia. As the name suggests, it is presented as the country in microcosm. This cross-section effect is perhaps best typified by the buildings – the park features examples of traditional architecture from every corner of the archipelago; from the swooping crescent rooftops of Sumatra to the domed huts of Flores, and from Dayak treehouses to the rice barns of Toraja. These pavilions represent tribes and traditions from each of the 33 provinces in Indonesia.
The centrepiece of the park is its lake, which includes a map of Indonesia made out of miniature islands that jut out from the water and are lit up in the evenings by red and white lights (the colours of the Indonesian flag). A cable car crosses from one side of the park to the other, a birds-eye view of the lake and its sprawling map. A new jogging track also spans the full circumference, offering visitors a pleasant lakeside walk.
Other facilities at TMII include a number of museums, the Keong Mas IMAX Theatre and the Tanah Airku Theatre, which hosts performances of traditional Indonesian music and theatre. There’s a water park for kids, a bird park and a reptile house with a collection of snakes, crocodiles and Komodo dragons. Many of the different attractions are connected by shuttle buses, the cable car and a miniature train. Visitors can also rent bikes, scooters and buggies to make getting around easier and more fun.
Originally conceived as the “Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Project” by the Harapan Kita Foundation in 1972, TMII officially opened to the public on April 20, 1975. Its stated aims were to introduce culture and natural wealth to the Indonesian nation and other nations, to promote the unique potential of the region to attract tourists and investors, and to provide a source of inspiration for the nation’s development.
For today’s visitors to Jakarta, the park offers a rare open space in which to walk, exercise and explore. Tickets are relatively inexpensive and, with so much to see and do, there’s plenty of bang for your buck. From traditional cultures to modern attractions and from natural wonders to family fun, TMII offers something for everyone.