Musty but interesting
Published/Last edited or updated: 17th April, 2016
That said, as Bima has precious little to see, the palace is pretty much a top-shelf item.
Displays are split haphazardly across two floors in no real discernible order, with a collection of bedrooms, old photos (including an uncaptioned pic with a young white guy looking totally lost in the background), rifles, tribal shields, throwing axes, costume dresses and some suspiciously newish looking faux leopard-skin chairs. All sit under a generous layer of dust.
On the upper floor, keep an eye out for the instructive panel near the top of the stairs detailing some of the different alphabets in use in Sumbawa, including Latin, Bima, Bugis, Sasak, Jawa and Batak.
While some of the displays are quite interesting, it is the building itself that steals the show. It falls firmly into the "They don’t make ’em like they used to" category. The current structure was completed in 1930. The sprawling wooden building has broad decks, an upstairs terrace and lofty ceilings. The grounds have a few cannons laying around and the whole place makes for a pleasant 30 minutes to an hour to wander around.
The museum is officially open Monday to Saturday, 08:00 till 17:00, but when we showed up on a Sunday they happily took our 2,000 rupiah admission and for an extra 10,000 rupiah opened the whole place up -- just for us. It was one of those delightfully quirky Indonesian experiences.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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