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Selasa, 29 November 2011

Kota MUNTOK-Bangka Barat BANGKA Island

Mount Menumbung (355 meters) a rather high hill in the neighborhood of Mentok (North West Banka) stands as a memorial to the history of the Indonesian nation. It was built in 1932 during the DUTCH occupation period by Bangka Tin Winning Bedrijf (BTW) as a V.I.P. Guest House on the top of Mount Menumbung, is about 500 M above sea level.

Our former President Soekarno and the Vice President Moh. Hatta stayed in the guesthouse during their exile in 1949. Foreign missions came there for negotiating with our former President; the plane from UNCI (United Nations Commission for Indonesia) flew back and forth from Jakarta to Bangka Island during that period. This place is also called as Wisma Ranggam. The room, which was used, by the late President as well as his car is still can be seen in the building. Many Indonesians still like to visit this place of pilgrimage and see the well-kept personal belongings of the two former leaders, which are still in the compound. 

The Mentok smelting plant was built in March 1963 and completed in February 1967 by a German Company "Klockner Industrie Anlagen", spending the total cost of USD 2.6 million. This is the only smelting plant in Indonesia. Here the famous Bankatin is made. A short visit to the factory will give us an idea of how the tin one is smelted, which is done at a temperature of about up to 1,350 °C. 

The old lighthouse was built in 1826. It is located about 9 km of Muntok district. In the surrounding area we still can find wrecks of Dutch and British ships, which were torpedoed by Japanese warships during the Second World War, on 16 February 1942. Take our time to climb up 199 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the spectacular view from the height of approximately 60 M above sea level. We can see the whole beaches in Muntok. 


During the 17th Century, Hindu people from Siantan and Johor of Malaysia inhabited Bangka Island. Subsequently it was occupied by Sriwijaya Kingdom (686 AD) who was written "Wangka" which means "Tin" on a stone, that's why Bangka Island is also called "Tin Island", the stone was found in the Western part of the island, near Kota Kapur, now the stone still can be seen at the National Museum in Jakarta.

Bangka was ceded to Britain by sultan of Palembang in 1812, but in 1814 it was exchanged with the Dutch for Cochin in India. The Japanese from 1942 to 1945 occupied the island. It became part of Indonesia independent in 1949. The island, together with neighboring Belitung, was formerly part of South Sumatra province, but in 2000 the two islands became the new province of Bangka-Belitung. Bangka is famous for two other events; the Banka Island Massacre in WWII by the Japanese of Australian Nurses and as reputedly the setting for the book "Lord Jim" by Joseph Conrad. Bangka is also home to a number of Indonesians communist that has been under house arrest since the 1960's and are not permitted to leave the island.

Bangka Island is one of the island belong to Bangka-Belitung Province. The name Bangka is derived from the word ''Wangka'' which means ''tin''. This word was also written in Sriwijaya inscription dated 686 AD and discovered near Kota Kapur in West Bangka. Bangka lies east of Sumatra. Pangkal Pinang is the largest town and the capital of Bangka Belitung, and Sungailiat is the second large city in Bangka Island. One village, called Kampung Kim Hin, lies to the south of Sungailiat, this village is known for a type of alcohol called arak, which is produced from fermented rice. While, Muntok is the principal port.
From Jakarta it is one hour by plane. It has beautiful beaches. Boat service from Palembang to Muntok or Pangkal Pinang is adequate and should not take more than an overnight voyage.

This Island population is approximately 600 thousand people; consist of different ethnic groups, which come from all part of Indonesia. There are a large number of Chinese in habitants especially in the north around Belinyu. Accountings for 30% of Bangka population, 66% of Bangka people still depend of farming, other descendants of the tin mining company worker, fishing and other activities. Bangka has its own unique crafts witch are made of Bahar root (a kind of seaweed), craftsmen make it into various kinds of souvenirs such as rings, bracelets, cigarette pipes, etc. There are also handicrafts made of tin or pewter.

The best product from Bangka Island is "BANKATIN", which has a worldwide reputation amongst tin consumers as standard tin or grade "A" tin. The other important products of the island are rubber and pepper. During the Dutch occupation in Indonesia, the Muntok white Pepper became very famous and continues to be one of the best export commodities of Indonesia.

Sepintu Sedulang dance performed to welcome distinguished guests, the dance describes the open-hearted character of Bangkanese people, it is also performed during festivals occasions, other dance is Lion dance, it is performed to chase away evil spirits, some dancers being under a magicians influence go into a trance.
The province is surrounded by South China Sea, Bangka straights and Java Sea. Bangka lies just east of Sumatra, separated by Bangka Strait. The marine environment around these islands is colorful. Bangka Island, which is situated at the Southern of the China Sea, it's between Sumatra and Borneo Island. The land area is about 11,6 thousands square Km, stretching 180 km from Northwest to Southeast, the island has various highlands that are mostly located in the middle of the island and many rivers follow diverse of the open sea. There are many beautiful beaches located in the Northwest of Bangka Island. This Island is bordered by:
North Side: Natuna Sea
East side: Natuna Sea
South side: Pangkalpinang town and Bangka Tengah Regency
West side: Bangka Barat Regency, Bangka Strait and Kelabat Bay

The majority of the inhabitants are Malay Indonesians and Chinese mostly Hakkas. The population is split between those who work the pepper farms and those who work on the tin mines.

The average temperature on the island is 26 degree C and has an average rainfall of 179.3 mm per month; the rainy season is between October to March. The average humidity is approximately 80 %.

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